OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s opposition Liberals, flying high under new leader Justin Trudeau, would most likely win an election held now but would not get a majority, according to a new poll.
Trudeau, the telegenic son of former Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau, took over the party leadership last month just before Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper became embroiled in a damaging expenses scandal. The next election is not due until October 2015.
The Ipsos Reid poll for CTV, released late on Thursday, said 36 percent of decided voters would choose the Liberals, up 1 percentage point from its survey last month. The Conservatives dropped 2 points to 30 percent, while the official opposition New Democrats rose two points to 27 percent.
That result would be enough to give the Liberals a minority government, which means they would have to rely on other parties to push through their legislation.
The Conservatives’ slumping popularity will give extra impetus to Harper’s plans for a mid-term reset. By July he is expected to bring in a major Cabinet shuffle, and he is expected to lay out a new set of priorities when Parliament returns from its summer break in September.
A poll by Forum last week gave the Liberals 44 percent, enough for a crushing victory, with Conservatives at 27 percent.
The Conservatives came to office in early 2006 promising to clean up government after a series of scandals helped bring down the Liberals.
The party has been on the defensive since May 14, when news broke that Harper’s chief of staff had secretly given C$90,000 ($87,000) to a Conservative member of the upper Senate chamber to cover expenses the senator had claimed improperly.
More damaging revelations could follow: Canada’s ethics commissioner is looking into the affair and a Senate committee this week sent the matter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Ipsos Reid online poll of 1,009 respondents on Monday and Tuesday had a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Doina Chiacu