June 25, 2009 / 1:19 PM / 8 years ago

Conservatives regain poll lead

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s ruling Conservatives have regained the lead in public support after a showdown that put the main opposition Liberal Party on the defensive, according to a poll released on Thursday.

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 18, 2009. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

A weekly Ekos survey for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp put the Conservatives at 34.8 percent, up from 32.4 percent last week. The Liberals slipped to 32.6 percent from 33.7 percent, while the left-leaning New Democratic Party was at 14.3 percent, down from 16.3 percent.

The Liberals pushed Canada to the brink of an election last week by threatening to bring down the minority Conservative government unless it did a better job of explaining how it was tackling the economic crisis.

The Liberals then backed down, striking a compromise deal that fell far short of their initial demands.

Ekos President Frank Graves said the poll showed it was “not a good week at all” for the Liberals but that the slide in support could be a short-term setback.

The poll indicates the most likely result of an election now would be deadlock. Under Canada’s first-past-the-post system, a party needs around 36 percent or 37 percent of the vote to stand a chance of forming a minority government.

The Conservatives won elections in January 2006 and in October 2008 but on neither occasion were able to capture a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons. This means they need the support of other parties to govern.

The Ekos survey of 3,505 adults was conducted using a hybrid Internet-telephone research panel between June 17 and June 23 and is considered accurate to within 1.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by John O'Callaghan

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