OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Conservatives head into a national election campaign with a seven-point lead over their Liberal rivals, an Ekos poll revealed on Friday.
The poll was little changed from a similar survey two weeks earlier but differed sharply from an Ipsos Reid poll released on Thursday, which showed a 19-point lead for the Conservatives over their main challengers.
The Ekos results would see the Conservatives returning with the most number of seats in the House of Commons, but still short of a majority. The Ipsos results would translate into a Conservative majority.
The Ekos findings put the Conservatives at 35.3 percent, the Liberals at 28.1 percent, the New Democrats at 14.2 percent, the Green Party at 10.6 percent, and the Bloc Quebecois, which runs candidates only in Quebec, at 9.7 percent.
"This could definitely be a very interesting election," Ekos pollster Frank Graves told CBC television.
The Ekos survey covered the longer March 17-24 run-up to Friday's defeat of the minority Conservative government, while the Ipsos poll covered March 22-23.
Ekos's automated telephone survey covered 2,503 voters, including 2,153 decided voters. The margin of error associated with the total sample is 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson