July 19, 2012 / 8:51 PM / in 5 years

Canada's Conservatives slightly ahead of opposition: poll

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s governing Conservatives have a slight lead over the main opposition party but do not have enough support to win convincingly if an election were held now, a new poll showed on Thursday.

The right-of-center Conservatives have seen their support gradually slip since they got 39.6 percent of the vote in the last election in May 2011 and won a majority government. The next election is scheduled for October 2015.

The new Nanos Research poll, conducted between July 7 and 12, put Conservative support at 33.6 percent, just 0.1 percent higher than in a survey Nanos did at the end of May. The center-left New Democrats, the biggest opposition party, was down 3.3 percentage points at 30.3 percent.

Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs around 36 percent of the vote to win a stable minority government.

The once-dominant Liberals, who fell to third place for the first time in the May 2011 election, were up 1.6 percentage points to 26.5 percent.

The Nanos Research poll of 1,200 adults is considered accurate to within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Last week a poll by Ekos put the New Democrats on 32.3 percent with the Conservatives on 30.2 percent. The Liberals were well behind on 19.5 percent. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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