OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Conservatives appear to have solidified a substantial lead as voters rebuff Liberal efforts to force an early election, a turnaround from early September results that showed the two parties in a tie.
An Ipsos Reid poll published in Canwest newspapers on Tuesday put the Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, at 39 percent and the Liberals at 29 percent. Other polls last week had them 13 or 14 points ahead.
The Conservatives were reelected a year ago with a strengthened mandate, but still only a minority of seats in the House of Commons. That means a new election could be triggered if all three opposition parties teamed up against them.
Parliament defeated a Liberal non-confidence proposal on October 1. The Liberals, mindful of their sorry polling numbers, say they will not necessarily keep moving new confidence motions at every opportunity.
Forty percent support is often seen as the minimum needed to get a majority of seats, but Canwest quoted Ipsos pollster Darrel Bricker as saying the Conservatives would need more than that since some of their vote is concentrated in safe seats in the West. That means that races elsewhere would be tighter than the 10-point lead would seem to indicate.
The poll put the leftist New Democrats at 13 percent and the separatist Bloc Quebecois at 10 percent.
Ipsos surveyed 1,000 people from October 6-8. Such a sample size is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Janet Guttsman