April 12, 2008 / 1:58 PM / in 11 years

Conservatives widen lead in poll

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Conservatives have widened their lead over the Liberals in an opinion poll published on Saturday, but the figures give no party a clear chance of winning a majority government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa April 9, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

The Ipsos Reid poll, published in the CanWest group of newspapers, put support for the Conservatives at 35 percent, unchanged from a poll in March. But support for the Liberals fell to 30 percent, from 32 percent.

Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, coupled with the existence of three smaller parties, means that it usually takes some 40 percent public support to win a majority in Parliament. The Conservatives have only a minority of seats, and have stayed in power with support from other parties.

The poll showed support for the left-wing New Democratic Party rose to 16 percent from 13 percent, while support for the Greens rose to 10 percent from 8 percent.

The separatist Bloc Quebecois had the backing of 33 percent of Quebec voters.

Ipsos Reid polled 1,000 Canadian voters for the latest survey. It considers the results accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by Janet Guttsman, editing by Vicki Allen

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