Tory lead suggests another minority: EKOS

The Conservatives hold a seven-point lead over the Liberals, as the parties prime for the writ to be dropped Saturday, a new poll shows.

The Liberal Party that pushed the government to defeat Friday trails the Conservatives by seven points as it heads into an election, according to a new EKOS poll.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said after the non-confidence vote he would meet with the Governor General on Saturday, setting in motion a campaign that would end at the polls in May.

The final survey by the polling company before the election call suggests the Conservatives have the support of 35.3 per cent of voters and the Liberals 28.1 per cent. The poll suggests the NDP have 14.2 per cent support, the Green Party 10.6 per cent and the Bloc Quebecois 9.7 per cent.

Voters were asked to indicate what party they would vote for if an election were held the day after they were surveyed.

The party standings in the survey are similar to what they were the last time Canadians went to the ballot box in 2008, according to a report accompanying the poll results.

"While the Liberals and Greens are poised to make some minor gains at the expense of the Conservatives and the NDP, there is little chance that we will see any major changes in the balance of power," the EKOS analysis said. "At these numbers, the Conservatives will retain their status as a minority government and it is doubtful that the Liberals will gain enough seats to form a legitimate coalition with the NDP, let alone the government."

The survey of 2,503 people was conducted between March 17 and March 24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Compared to an EKOS survey done the week before, the new poll has the Conservatives up slightly from 34.1 per cent support.

Between March 10 and March 16, the Liberals captured 25.7 per cent support, and the NDP's support dipped from 16.4 per cent. The EKOS poll suggests the Liberals are stronger than the Conservatives among younger voters, while the Conservatives are ahead of the Liberals with seniors.

"These age differences do not bode well for the Liberal Party in terms of voter efficiency, as younger voters are consistently less likely to vote," according to the firm's analysis.

Close to 42 per cent of respondents said the Conservative government was going in the right direction, while almost 48 per cent said they were headed in the wrong direction.

The analysis said the Conservatives have their support base locked in and have little room to grow.

When asked which party they would choose as their second choice, 20.4 per cent of respondents said the NDP and 15 per cent said the Liberals. The Conservatives are the second choice of 9.4 per cent of those surveyed.