September 8, 2009 / 12:03 PM / in 8 years

Conservatives extend lead: poll

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s opposition Liberals trail the governing Conservatives by 5 percentage points, a poll released on Tuesday shows, soon after the Liberals pledged to bring down the minority government.

<p>Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at the opening ceremonies for the World Skills Competition in Calgary, September 1, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>

The poll, conducted between September 3 and September 6, put the Conservatives at 35 percent support, with support for the Liberals at 30 percent.

The Strategic Counsel poll for CTV and the Globe and Mail was conducted immediately after Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff vowed on September 3 to force an autumn election.

A similar poll last month had the Conservatives at 34 percent and the Liberals at 32 percent.

In the most recent poll, the New Democrats had 14 percent support, while the Bloc Quebecois, which only campaigns in the French-speaking province of Quebec, were at 12 percent.

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

Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs between 36 percent and 37 percent public support to stand a chance of winning a minority government. The Conservatives won 143 seats in the October 2008 election with 37.7 percent of the vote.

($1=$1.07 Canadian)

Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Frank McGurty

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