September 15, 2009 / 2:28 PM / in 8 years

Conservatives well ahead: poll

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s ruling Conservatives are well ahead of their closest rivals and almost have enough support to gain a majority government if an election were held now, according to a poll published on Tuesday.

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa September 14, 2009. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

The Ipsos Reid survey for Canwest News Service and Global Television put the Conservatives at 39 percent, the same level the party was at in a poll done by the same firm in late August.

The main opposition Liberal Party -- which says it wants to bring down the minority Conservative government -- is at 30 percent, two points up from the last poll.

Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs around 40 percent of the vote to win a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.

The Liberals are promising to introduce a non-confidence motion in the government soon on the grounds that it has not done a good enough job of dealing with the economic crisis. If the motion passes, Canada will head into its fourth election in little over five years.

The government needs the backing of one opposition party to survive the vote and on Monday the left-leaning New Democrats -- usually a strong critic of Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- indicated they might back the Conservatives.

Ipsos Reid, like a number of other firms, showed support for the New Democrats had dropped in recent weeks. It put the party at just 12 percent, down from 14 percent in August.

Harper won a strengthened minority in an election last October and Ipsos Reid said 71 percent of respondents felt there was no need for another national vote now.

The survey of 1,001 adults was conducted from September 10 to 13 and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Eric Beech

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