OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Liberals have returned to the position they had held for the past several years as the most popular opposition party, a poll released on Monday showed.
The federal election in May had reduced the center-left Liberals to a distant third place behind the governing Conservatives and the leftist New Democratic Party, but the Nanos poll now has them edging out the NDP.
Nanos has the Conservatives at 35.6 percent, down 2.1 points in the past month and compared with 39.6 percent in the election. The Liberals have shot up 4.7 points in the past month to 28.1 percent. They won only 18.9 percent in the election.
The New Democrats, who want corporate taxes hiked to pay for more social spending, polled at 27.3 percent of committed voters, down 2.7 points on the month and compared with 30.6 percent in the last election.
The NDP has been hampered by the death of its charismatic leader, Jack Layton. Some of its best-performing members of Parliament are competing to replace him but have largely vanished from the public eye as they have had to step down from their critics' positions in the House of Commons during the leadership race.
The Liberals had ruled Canada for more years than any other party but lately have seen progressively smaller electoral results, so much so that a book that was published last week proclaimed "The Death of Liberal Canada." They too called for corporate tax increases in the election but less of a hike than the NDP had proposed.
All three major parties had promised balanced budgets.
With the Conservatives holding a majority of seats in the House of Commons, the next election is scheduled for 2015.
Nanos surveyed 938 committed voters by phone between November 16 and 21. Such a sample size is considered accurate to within 3.2 points, 19 times out of 20.
Reporting by Randall Palmer