Canada’s ruling Conservatives extend lead – polls

* Conservatives unaffected by scandal, says Ekos

* Liberal leader Ignatieff not connecting with voters

OTTAWA, May 6 (BestGrowthStock) – Canada’s ruling Conservatives
appear to be unaffected by a political scandal and have
extended their lead over the main opposition Liberal Party,
according to two polls released on Thursday.

A weekly Ekos survey for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
put popular support for the Conservatives at 33.1 percent, up
from 31.9 percent last week. Support for the Liberals fell to
26.1 percent from 26.6 percent.

The poll indicates neither party has enough backing to win
an election now, and reinforces the impression that Liberal
leader Michael Ignatieff has yet to connect with voters since
taking over the party in December 2008.

Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, where
the candidate with the most votes in each constituency wins, a
party typically needs at least 40 percent public support to
capture a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.

To win a workable minority government, it needs around 36
percent. The Conservatives won a strengthened minority in
October 2008 but still need the support of opposition
legislators to govern.

Conservative popularity, which dipped after Prime Minister
Stephen Harper removed a junior cabinet minister on April 9
amid accusations of scandal, has since recovered.

The Ekos automated telephone survey of 1,887 voters was
conducted from April 28 to May 4 and is considered accurate to
within 2.3 percentage points, with a 19 in 20 chance of being
totally correct.

A poll by Nanos Research put the Conservatives at 37.2
percent public support, up from 34.7 percent from a survey done
by the same firm in mid-March. The Liberals were at 33.2
percent, down from 34.2 percent.

Pollster Nik Nanos said the number of undecided voters has
hit a relatively high 22 percent, which he linked to negative
campaigning and mudslinging by both main parties.

The Nanos survey of 780 decided adults was conducted
between April 30 and May 3 and is considered accurate to within
3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Investing Analysis

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

Canada’s ruling Conservatives extend lead – polls