NDP gains support after leader's death

Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:35pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's left-leaning New Democratic Party has vaulted into a tie in public support with the governing Conservatives in the wake of the death of NDP leader Jack Layton, a poll released on Wednesday showed.

The Harris-Decima survey, released by Canadian Press, put the New Democrats and the Conservatives at 33 percent support, with the Liberals back at 21 percent.

Harris-Decima Chairman Allan Gregg said the outpouring of emotion for Layton, who died on August 22, seemed to have translated into increased support, but it remained to be seen if the NDP could hold those gains.

The Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will not have to face the electorate in a general election until October 2015.

Layton, who advocated higher social spending and corporate taxes, took the party from fourth place in the House of Commons to become the official opposition, in the May 2 election.

Canadian media coverage last week was overwhelmingly dominated by news of his death and his state funeral.

The poll of just over 2,000 people was conducted August 18-29. A sample of that size is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)