Voters unimpressed by saber-rattling: poll
VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Election-style jockeying by Canada's political parties has done little to sway voters, with the ruling Conservatives holding on to their mild lead, according to a poll released on Thursday.
The Conservatives lead the main opposition Liberals by 35.4 percent to 27.9 percent, which was roughly same margin found in a poll two weeks ago, according to a new Ekos survey for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
The New Democrats had 14.8 percent support, the separatist Bloc Quebecois, which run candidates only in Quebec, had 9.7 percent. The Green Party, which does not have any seats in Parliament, had 9.8 percent support.
The parties all say they do not want an election soon, but have nonetheless been making campaign-style noises since the beginning of the year as they jockey for support in advance of the federal budget, expected in March.
As a minority government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives will need the support of at least one opposition party to pass the budget. If it is defeated, the government would fall and an election would be called immediately.
Ekos said that while it found most voters want an election at some time this year, it also found that support for having that happen in the near future has shrunk since the political sable-rattling increased.
"The other striking feature of the poll is that it is Conservative voters who are by far the most leery of an election," Ekos said in a note accompanying the poll results.
The survey found the Conservatives would remain in power, but again fall short of a majority. The Conservatives won power as a minority government in 2006 and retained it in 2008.
But the survey also found the number of voters who feel the country is headed in the right direction continues to improve, with 44.2 percent of those surveyed saying that things were getting better, compared with 43.6 percent who felt otherwise.
Ekos said its telephone survey of 4,622 Canadians conducted between January 13 and 26 has a margin of error of 1.4 percentage points.
(Reporting by Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)
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