Poll shows Conservatives, Liberals stalled

Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:02pm EST
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By Scott Anderson

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Liberals have failed to gain any ground on the Conservatives, despite discontent with the government's decision to suspend Parliament until early March, according to a new poll.

An Ekos opinion poll released on Thursday showed the Conservatives with 31.2 percent support, compared with 29 percent for the Liberals.

This is little changed from a similar poll released last week that showed the Conservative government with 31 percent and the main opposition Liberals at 29 percent.

Just four months ago, an Ekos poll showed the Conservatives with 40.7 percent and the Liberals with 25.5 percent, though support for the minority government has eroded since then and the two major parties are virtually tied.

"It is extremely unusual for no party to command even a third of the electorate over many weeks, which is the situation we have now," said Ekos President Frank Graves.

"Though the Conservatives have tumbled from the low forties four months ago to the low thirties now, the Liberals have made much less impressive gains."

The Conservative government has felt a public backlash over a late-December decision to shut down Parliament for a longer than usual holiday break until March, when it plans to introduce a new budget.

The Liberals charge that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is trying to hide from his critics, over issues such as the economy or Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan.   Continued...

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks to two Haitian girls as they wait for treatment at a Canadian medical clinic in Jacmel, Haiti, February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Chartrand/Pool</p>