Canada’s Conservatives claw back lead in new poll

* Party regains some support as census controversy wanes

* Liberals win ground among university educated

TORONTO, Aug 19 (BestGrowthStock) – Canada’s governing Conservative
Party has won back some ground lost to the opposition Liberals
in a public opinion poll released on Thursday as controversy
eased around changes the government is making to next year’s
census.

The Ekos tracking survey showed the Conservatives at 32.5
percent popular support, up from 29.7 percent in the previous
survey, when support for the party fell below 30 percent for
the first time in four years.

Support for the centrist Liberal Party was at 27.9 percent,
down from 28.5 percent in the previous poll.

Before the census issue erupted earlier in the summer, the
Conservatives had held a notable lead over the Liberals.

“While this change is only marginally significant, it pulls
the Conservatives out of a statistical tie into a small but
significant lead,” Ekos said of the poll it conducted Aug. 11
to Aug. 17.

It said the results also showed that the census debate was
still affecting voter preferences among highly educated
Canadians.

The government plans to eliminate a mandatory long-form
census, saying the questions are an invasion of privacy, but
the change has been criticized as endangering the census’s
integrity. [ID:nN22118361]

“When we look at what happened to the voting intentions of
the highly educated, it appears almost certain that the
narrowing race can be traced to the controversy over the
government’s decision to end the compulsory long form
(census),” Ekos said of its poll findings.

“Changes in the demographic anatomy of support lead to the
conclusion that this controversy has triggered a fairly
significant shift in the electorate during a fairly quiet
summer period when little else is at play.”

The Ekos poll showed that if an election were to be held
tomorrow, the left-leaning New Democratic Party would have 17.4
percent of the vote. Support for Canada’s Greens was at 10.3
percent, and Bloc Quebecois at 9.2 percent, with both parties
losing support slightly to the Liberals.

The poll also showed the Liberals gaining support among
highly educated Canadians, describing voter preference in the
category as a potential “new fault line pitting the expert and
professional classes against the rest of the political
spectrum.”

The survey polled 2,979 respondents aged 18 and over and
had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points,
19 times out of 20.
(Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Peter Galloway)

Canada’s Conservatives claw back lead in new poll