Conservatives have narrow lead: poll

Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:44am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Conservatives, who suffered a series of political reverses over the summer, have recovered slightly but only enjoy a narrow lead in popular support over their main rivals, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The regular Ekos survey for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp put the Conservatives at 32.4 percent support, up from 29.4 percent two weeks ago. The official opposition Liberals were at 28.9 percent, down from 29.1 percent.

The results indicate neither party would have much chance of a clear win in an election now. Under Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs to win around 36 percent of the vote to create a viable minority government.

The Conservatives -- who do not have a majority in Parliament -- enjoyed an 11-point lead going into the summer before running into trouble, particularly over a decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census.

Government ministers say they are confident the opposition will not bring them down in the new session of Parliament, which resumes on Monday.

The Ekos automated telephone survey of 1,513 people was conducted between Sept 8 and 14 and is considered accurate to within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves as he boards his plane in Whitehorse, Yukon August 27, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>