Conservatives see lead drop: poll

Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:08pm EST
 
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada's governing Conservatives have lost some of their lead over other parties amid speculation that the country will have a federal election this spring, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

The Conservatives lead the main opposition Liberals by 32.4 percent to 27.3 percent, but that was down from the 12.5 point lead they enjoyed in a poll two weeks ago, according to the Ekos survey for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The New Democrats drew 14.8 percent support.

The separatist Bloc Quebecois had 10.5 percent support, but were the strong frontrunner among voters in Quebec, the only province where they run candidates.

As a minority government, the Conservatives will need the support of at least one of the opposition parties to pass the budget to be presented in March and avoid Canada having an election in the spring.

Several recent polls have shown the Conservatives with an increasing lead over the Liberals, but Ekos said these results may show voters are having second thoughts with the prospect of an election appearing more likely.

Traditionally, political parties in Canada need to win at least 40 percent of national voter support to win a majority government.

The Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper won election as a minority in 2006 and were re-elected with a stronger minority in 2008.

The Ekos survey of 2,811 Canadians between February 10 and February 22 and has a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Christopher Wilson)