January 30, 2008 / 12:04 AM / in 10 years

Opposition Liberals take slight poll lead

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s opposition Liberals have retaken a slight lead in public support but do not have enough backing to guarantee them a victory in an election, according to a new poll.

<p>Liberal leader Stephane Dion speaks during a news conference in Ottawa January 9, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

The Harris-Decima poll for Canadian Press put support for the Liberals at 32 percent, two points higher than in a poll by the same firm three weeks ago. The ruling Conservatives were at 29 percent, down eight points.

Harris-Decima President Bruce Anderson linked the Conservatives’ fall to a spate of warnings about the likelihood of an economic slowdown this year and mixed messages from the government on what it was doing with Afghan detainees.

“That has been the consistent problem for the Conservatives. When they lose control of the agenda, their numbers tend to sag,” he told Canadian Press.

The poll was released on Monday.

Opposition parties occasionally speculate about trying to bring down the minority government -- which controls just 125 of the 308 seats in Parliament -- but have made no move yet. The Conservatives won their fragile grip on power in 2006 with 36 percent of the vote.

An Ipsos-Reid poll for CanWest released on Sunday put the Conservatives at 37 percent and the Liberals at 29 percent.

The Harris-Decima survey of 1,000 adults was conducted between January 24 and 27 and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percent, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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