Conservatives see support sag

Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:15pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Public support for the Conservatives is dropping amid a political scandal but the Liberal Party is also having trouble attracting voters, according to a poll released on Monday.

The Harris-Decima survey for the Canadian Press put the Conservatives at 29 percent popular support -- down three points from a poll by the same firm earlier this month -- while the Liberals were at 27 percent, down two points. The New Democrats were up three points at 20 percent.

The last time the Conservatives dipped below 30 percent support was in a Harris-Decima poll released in May 2009.

The latest survey indicates an election now would result in political deadlock.

Under the first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs at least 36 percent of the popular vote to be sure of winning enough seats in the House of Commons to create a viable minority government. To win a majority a party needs more than 40 percent.

Support for the Conservatives has been sliding since Prime Minister Stephen Harper forced out junior minister Helena Guergis from government on April 9 after receiving what he said were serious allegations about her.

Guergis's husband, former Conservative legislator Rahim Jaffer, has also been at the at the center of a political scandal over possible improper conduct.

The Harris-Decima survey of 2,014 voters was conducted between April 15 and 25 and is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 21, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>