April 17, 2009 / 11:21 AM / in 9 years

Liberals take lead in new poll

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The main opposition Liberals have pulled ahead of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in voter support, according to a poll released on Thursday.

<p>Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff speaks to students at a town hall meeting at Western Canada High School in Calgary, Alberta, April 6, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>

But the Ekos/CBC survey also found that nearly half of those polled do not want to have another federal election for four years. Canadians went to the polls last October, giving the Conservatives another minority government.

The new poll found 36.7 percent of those surveyed would vote for the Liberals under new leader Michael Ignatieff if an election were held today. That compares with 30.2 percent for the Conservatives and 15.5 percent for the New Democratic Party.

The results showed a major shift from a January Ekos survey that showed the Conservatives with 36.2 percent support, compared with 32.6 percent for the Liberals and 14.3 percent for the NDP.

The new poll surveyed 1,587 people between April 8 and 13 and has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, Ekos said.

The survey also found 49 percent of those polled felt the Conservative government was moving in the wrong direction, compared with 38 percent who felt it was going the right direction.

Fifty-four percent said they disapproved of Harper’s leadership, compared with 38 percent who approved. Ignatieff’s leadership approval rating was 50 percent, compared with 28 percent who disapproved.

Both leaders, however, were walloped by U.S. President Barack Obama’s approval rating: a hefty 82 percent support among Canadians, according to the survey.

Obama’s plans to revive the economy were also favored over those of Harper’s Conservative government, with 54 percent saying the U.S. plans were viewed as sound, compared with only 31 percent for Canada‘s.

Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson

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