November 2, 2010 / 7:10 PM / in 7 years

Conservatives widen poll lead

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Conservatives have opened up a five-point lead in public support over their main rivals but would not be guaranteed a clear victory if an election were held now, according to a poll on Tuesday.

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) is flanked by staff and security as he arrives for a mass to celebrate the canonization of Brother Andre at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, October 30, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>

The Harris-Decima survey for the Canadian Press put the Conservatives at 33 percent support, 1 percentage point higher than in a poll by the same firm two weeks ago. The Liberal Party slipped to 28 percent from 30 percent.

Many political observers expect the minority Conservative government to be brought down over its next budget in the first three months of next year.

Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs around 36 percent of the vote to win a workable minority in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives came to power with a minority in early 2006 and won a strengthened minority in October 2008, which means they need the support of opposition legislators to govern.

The Harris-Decima survey of 2,013 adults was conducted between October 21 and 31 and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson

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