Conservatives edge higher in poll

Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:01pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Public support for Canada's governing Conservatives has risen slightly but the party is still short of the backing it needs to retain a stable grip on power, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The weekly Ekos survey for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp put support for the Conservatives at 31.0 percent, up from 30.5 percent the previous week. The Liberals, the biggest opposition party, climbed to 27.7 percent from 26.3 percent.

Under Canada's electoral system, a party needs at least 40 percent public support to capture a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons, and around 36 percent to win a workable minority.

The last election was in October 2008, when the Conservatives retained power with a strengthened minority that still left them relying on the support of opposition legislators to govern.

Minority governments in Canada rarely last more than two years but Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Reuters on Monday he was not looking to go to the polls in the autumn.

The Ekos automated telephone survey of 1,724 people was conducted between June 16 and 21 and is considered accurate to within 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a speech during a Conservative caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa January 22, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>