February 12, 2009 / 1:15 AM / in 9 years

Canada's ruling Conservatives hurt by crisis: polls

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s governing Conservatives are losing popularity over their handling of the economic crisis and are now almost tied for public support with the main opposition party, according to two new polls on Wednesday.

A Nanos Research survey released on CPAC television put the Conservatives at 34 percent support, almost 4 percentage points lower than their score in last October’s federal election.

The opposition Liberals were at 33 percent, up 7 points from the election. The party performed so badly in October’s national vote that it replaced leader Stephane Dion with Michael Ignatieff.

The Nanos Research survey of 1,000 adults was conducted between Jan 30 and Feb 3 and is considered accurate to within 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

A Strategic Counsel survey for the Globe and Mail newspaper and CTV television released earlier in the day put the Conservatives at 32 percent and the Liberals at 33 percent.

“It shows how the change in leadership for the Liberals and the economic downturn have all come together to create a much more competitive political environment,” Strategic Counsel pollster Peter Donolo told CTV.

The minority Conservative government last month unveiled a stimulus-rich budget that will plunge the country into deficit for the next five years. Opposition parties said the measures were insufficient.

Ignatieff, taking a tougher line with the Conservatives than Dion had done, backed the budget but only on the grounds that ministers report back to Parliament regularly on how the steps to stimulate the economy are being implemented.

The Strategic Counsel survey of 1,000 adults was conducted between February 5 and 8 and is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway

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