Quebec's Liberals edge back in lead: poll

Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:43am EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Quebec's ruling Liberals have edged in front of the separatist Parti Quebecois in the predominantly French-speaking Canadian province, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

The CROP survey for La Presse newspaper put the Liberals at 40 percent support, up 1 percentage point from a late-October poll by the same firm. The Parti Quebecois slipped to 38 percent from 40 percent.

The Parti Quebecois, which wants independence for the giant province of 7.5 million people, held referendums in 1980 and 1995 on whether Quebec should be independent. Both failed.

The Liberals won a majority in the provincial legislature in the December 2008 election and look safe for now. The Parti Quebecois has lost the last three elections.

Federally, CROP noted that support for the separatist Bloc Quebecois, which fields candidates for the Canadian Parliament, had fallen to 34 percent from 37 percent in October. The main opposition Liberals were up 1 percentage point to 24 percent, while the governing Conservatives were unchanged at 21 percent in the province.

The Bloc, which runs federal candidates only in Quebec, has 48 of the province's 75 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons.

The CROP survey of 1,000 adults was conducted between Jan 14 and 24 and is considered accurate to within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)