October 14, 2015 / 3:26 PM / 3 years ago

Surging Canadian Liberals ask for majority mandate

HAMILTON, Ontario, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Canadian Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, surging in the polls in the final stretch of the election campaign, asked voters on Wednesday to give him a majority government on Oct 19 - but insisted he would not get over-confident.

“Am I asking Canadians to vote for us? Yes. Am I asking them to vote for us across the country? Yes. Am I asking them for a majority government? Yes,” Trudeau said in answer to a reporter’s question.

Trudeau has rarely talked about the possibility of jumping from the Liberals’ third-party status to majority government, mainly because it had seemed to be so far out reach.

But the Liberal Party has broken out from what had been a virtual polling tie with the governing Conservatives and the left-of-center New Democratic Party (NDP) and is approaching the support levels that have delivered majority governments.

The biggest change in the polling numbers has been the Liberals’ success in luring the biggest chunk of opponents to the Conservatives, outranking the other main opposition party, the NDP.

The Liberals now lead the NDP by 12 to 15 percentage points in three polls released on Tuesday and Wednesday.

They also lead the Conservatives, who are seeking for a fourth straight mandate under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, by between five and seven points.

The three polls - by Nanos, Ekos and Ipsos - have the Liberals winning the support of between 35.6 percent and 37 percent of voters. Majority governments have in the past been formed with support in the high 30s.

A cautionary note is that the Conservatives, who are strong in getting out the vote, have often tended to do better than their polling.

Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, prefaced his remarks about asking for a majority government by saying in French: “I don’t have the over-confidence to speak about a political strategy. I know Canadians will make a good decision.”

Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Christian Plumb

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