Main Canada opposition party in trouble – poll

* Results show Conservatives could retain minority gov’t

* Support for opposition Liberals slumps anew

OTTAWA, July 8 (BestGrowthStock) – Canada’s ruling Conservatives
could have enough backing to ensure a stable minority
government if an election were held now, largely because
support for the main opposition party is slumping, according to
a poll released on Thursday.

The twice-monthly Ekos survey for the Canadian Broadcasting
Corp. put the Conservatives on 34.4 percent, up from 31.0
percent in the previous reading.

The opposition Liberals — who have been out of power since
early 2006 — dropped to 23.9 percent from 27.7 percent.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has had trouble connecting
with voters since he took over as party leader in December 2008
in the wake of an election that October, where the Liberals had
one of their worst performances in history with 26.3 percent.

Under Canada’s electoral system, a party needs at least 40
percent public support to capture a majority of the 308 seats
in the House of Commons.

To get a minority it needs around 36 percent or a
10-percentage-point lead over its nearest rival. The
Conservatives now have 144 seats and rely on the support of
opposition parties to govern.

The new numbers will no doubt help fan speculation that
Prime Minister Stephen Harper could push for an election later
this year. Harper told Reuters last month that he did not want
a national ballot this fall.

Canadians traditionally pay little attention to politics in
the summer — the House of Commons is on a three-month break —
and Ekos itself admitted it had no firm reason for the widening
gap between the two parties.

“Perhaps the absence of the critical lens that Parliament
provides to the public explains buoyed Conservative fortunes.
Another factor is the continuing recovery of the economy and
the juxtaposition of Canadian strength compared to the economic
and fiscal woes” of other nations, it said in a statement.

The Ekos automated telephone survey of 3,028 people was
conducted between June 30 and July 6 and is considered accurate
to within 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Frank McGurty)

Main Canada opposition party in trouble – poll