September 16, 2008 / 3:00 PM / in 9 years

Canada Conservatives in reach of majority: poll

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s ruling Conservatives have enough public support that they could convert their minority in Parliament to a majority, the Ekos polling company projected on Tuesday.

<p>Conservative leader and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves as he boards his campaign plane with his wife Laureen in Halifax, Nova Scotia September 12, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

Ekos’s automated telephone rolling survey showed the Conservatives with 38 percent support, up from 35 the day before, with the Liberals down two points at 23 percent.

Ekos pollster Paul Adams said the data also showed “a dramatic tightening in the race for second spot, with the New Democrats now within striking distance of overtaking the Liberals.”

The New Democrats, the left-of-center party that until now has been the smallest party in Parliament, is at 19 percent in the Ekos survey, followed by the Green Party at 11 percent and the separatist Bloc Quebecois at 9.

It is difficult to project the results with accuracy into seats in the 308-seat House of Commons, but Ekos forecast that this would translate into 161 seats for the Conservatives, six more than needed for a majority. The Liberals would take 65, the Bloc 44 and the New Democrats 38.

Currently, the Conservatives have 127 seats, the Liberals 95, the Bloc 48, the New Democrats 30, independents 3 and the Greens 1. Four seats are vacant.

The Conservatives were elected in January 2006 with a minority of seats in the House of Commons, meaning they have had to rely on another party for support. The federal election will be on October 14.

A smaller Nanos Research rolling poll released on Tuesday gave the Conservatives a seven-point lead, one point more than it showed on Monday. It put the Conservatives ahead 38 percent to 31 percent, with the New Democrats at 17 percent, the Greens at 8 and the Bloc at 6.

A rolling Harris Decima poll also published on Tuesday showed the Conservatives’ lead over the Liberals unchanged at 38 percent to 27 percent.

Ekos surveyed 2,848 decided voters from Saturday through Monday for a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Nanos covered 972 decided voters in the same period, with a 3.2-point margin. Harris Decima interviewed 1,366 people September 12-15 for a 2.6-point error margin.

Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson

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