April 18, 2011 / 11:50 AM / in 7 years

Conservatives have healthy lead: polls

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s Conservative Party is set to retain power in the May 2 election but there is no certainty it will win a majority government, according to three opinion polls released on Monday.

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks with supporters as part of his election campaign tour in Saskatoon April 15, 2011. REUTERS/David Stobbe</p>

A Nanos Research tracking poll of results over three days of surveys showed support for the Conservatives at 39.8 percent, up from 39.0 percent on Sunday. The poll showed the Liberals have 29.8 percent of the vote, up from 28.3 percent.

Support for the smaller left-leaning New Democrats fell to 17.4 percent from 18.4 percent.

A Harris Decima poll for the Canadian Press put the Conservatives at 36 percent, down four percentage points from a week earlier. The Liberals stayed at 28 percent while the New Democrats were up four points to 19 percent.

An Ekos poll for CBC released later on Monday put Conservative support at 37.4 percent, up two percentage points from last week, while the Liberal support fell three percentage points to 24.9 percent.

Ekos also showed the New Democrats gaining at 20 percent, up two percentage points from last week.

Under Canada’s electoral system, a party traditionally needs to receive at least 40 percent of the national vote to win a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper have had a minority government since 2006. Minority governments require support of at least one opposition party to stay in power.

The daily Nanos tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling telephone sample of 1,200 decided voters and are considered accurate within 2.8 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

The Harris Decima poll of 1,008 adults was conducted between April 14 and 17 and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Ekos sampled 2,246 people between April 15 and 17, and its survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by Claire Sibonney, David Ljunggren, Allan Dowd; editing by Peter Galloway

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