December 11, 2010 / 5:48 PM / in 7 years

Conservatives pull ahead in new poll

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Conservatives have pulled ahead of their main rivals in an opinion poll published Saturday, but would not have enough seats to be sure of a majority government.

<p>Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper answers questions from the media at the Sydney Marine Terminal in Sydney, Nova Scotia, December 10, 2010. REUTERS/Sandor Fizli</p>

The Ipsos Reid survey, conducted for Postmedia News, put support for the Conservatives at 39 percent, up from 35 percent a month ago.

The gains were at the expense of two smaller parties, the left-wing New Democrats and the Greens, while support for the main opposition Liberals held steady at 29 percent, Ipsos said.

Under Canada’s electoral system, a party needs more than 40 percent of the vote to win a majority in Parliament. The Conservatives have only a minority of seats in Parliament and need support from at least one other party to stay in power.

Analysts mostly expect opposition parties to defeat the government over its budget early next year, forcing a new federal election in the first half of 2011.

Ipsos gave no reasons for the climb in support for the Conservatives. The pollsters surveyed 1,000 Canadian voters between December 7 and December 9. They consider their results accurate to 3.1 percentage points 95 percent of the time.

Reporting by Janet Guttsman; editing by Vicki Allen

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