March 19, 2008 / 1:23 AM / in 10 years

Conservatives well ahead in new poll

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s ruling Conservatives have taken a commanding lead over the opposition Liberals but do not have enough support to obtain a majority government in the next election, a poll showed on Tuesday.

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) stands to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 13, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

The Strategic Counsel survey for the Globe and Mail and CTV put support for the Conservatives at 38 percent, down one percentage point from a poll done by the same firm a month ago. The Liberals were steady at 27 percent.

The Strategic Counsel regularly gives the Conservatives large leads. Polls by other firms show either a narrow Conservative advantage or a tie between the two parties.

The Liberals won three special Parliamentary elections late on Monday, bringing their seat total in the House of Commons to 97, while the Conservatives won one seat to increase their tally to 127.

Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs to capture around 40 percent of the public vote to stand a reasonable chance of winning a majority of the 308 seats in the federal Parliament.

The Strategic Counsel poll of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between March 13 and 16 and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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