Not any more

Snap election would leave Harper with razor-thin minority, pollster says

In Canada on August 5, 2010 at 11:49

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives on Parliament Hill for the Conservative summer caucus meeting on Aug. 5, 2010.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 11:02 AM

Snap election would leave Harper
with razor-thin minority, pollster says

Jane Taber

Stephen Harper’s Tories would lose 29 seats, including seven in Quebec, putting his prospects for a stable minority government in doubt if an election were held today, according to a new national opinion poll.

The EKOS survey, released Thursday morning, reduces the Conservative hold in the House to 115 seats from 144. It wipes out, too, the 11-point lead the Tories had over Michael Ignatieff just weeks ago; the Liberals are now at 29.7 per cent nationally, virtually tied with the Tories who are at 28.5. (13.6 per cent of voters were undecided.)

The Grits, meanwhile, would see their fortunes in the Commons rise from to 99 seats from77; Jack Layton’s NDP would win 41 seats, an increase of five from what they have now, and the Bloc Quebecois would earn two more seats, representing 50 of the 75 in Quebec.

Once again, the EKOS seat projections raise the prospect of a coalition of Liberals and NDP trying to govern over the Conservatives.

Under pollster Frank Graves’s scenario – which is not exact science but based on calculations from this latest poll – Elizabeth May and her Green Party would also win two seats. But the projections suggest they would come in Ontario not British Columbia, where Ms. May is desperately trying to win against junior cabinet minister Gary Lunn.

The EKOS poll of 3,444 Canadians was conducted between July 21 and August 3 and has a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The seat projections show that Ontario, with its 106 seats, would see almost equal representation between the Conservatives and Liberals – 44 seats for the Tories compared to 42 seats for the Liberals. Right now, the Tories have 50 seats and the Liberals have 38.

Quebec tells a darker story for the Tories, who would see their 11 seats reduced to four under Mr. Graves’s projection. The Liberals would pick up six more, including most likely the seat now occupied by NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair in a Montreal riding.

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