August 20, 2009 / 3:33 PM / 10 years ago

Conservatives maintain slight poll lead

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at a press conference in Kitchener, Ontario, August 13, 2009 where he announced the creation of a regional development agency for Southern Ontario, part of the government's economic action plan. REUTERS/Geoff Robins

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s governing Conservatives are still slightly ahead in public opinion polls over the main opposition Liberals, but would have no clear chance of victory if an election were held now, according to a weekly survey released on Thursday.

The Ekos poll for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. put the Conservatives at 32.8 percent support, up from 32.7 percent last week. The Liberals were at 30.2 percent, down from 31.0 percent.

Neither of the two main parties is close to hitting the 40 percent mark that would virtually guarantee winning a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.

The poll indicates the result of an election held now would be a deadlock, with the Conservatives or Liberals having to turn to a smaller opposition party for support.

Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs between 36 and 37 percent to stand a chance of winning a minority government.

The Liberals are threatening to unveil a motion of non-confidence in the minority Conservative government when Parliament returns next month but the poll shows they would stand little chance of winning any subsequent vote.

The Ekos automated telephone survey of 1,583 decided adult voters was conducted between August 12 and August 18 is considered accurate to within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson

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