Liberals, Tories in dead heat: poll

Conservatives and Liberals might want to think twice before plunging the country into another fall election, a new poll suggests.

OTTAWA — Conservatives and Liberals might want to think twice before plunging the country into another fall election, a new poll suggests.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey indicates the two main federal parties remain locked in a dead heat, neither within range of winning a majority.

According to the poll, the parties were in a statistical tie, with 32 per cent support for the Liberals and 31 per cent for the Tories.

The NDP were at 16 per cent, the Greens at 11, and the Bloc Quebecois at nine.

The numbers have barely budged throughout the summer, a period in which voters are typically disengaged.

“It’s hard to believe that any party would be sort of clamouring to have an election this fall given that none of the parties are even at 35, let alone 40 per cent, and you pretty much need 40 to be thinking that you’re anywhere near a majority,” said Jeff Walker, Harris-Decima’s senior vice-president.

The findings are consistent with those of most other polls throughout the summer. However, a recent Ipsos-Reid poll, which surveyed half as many respondents, suggested the Tories had amassed a commanding 10-point lead.

Despite the less-than-encouraging polling numbers, some Liberals are eager for an autumn election and are pushing leader Michael Ignatieff to topple the minority Tory government.

The Liberals will have an opportunity on Sept. 30 to force a confidence vote, most likely over employment insurance if it happens. The two parties are engaged in acrimonious negotiations aimed at making it easier to qualify for EI benefits.

Ignatieff insists he wants to make Parliament work but he’s also indulged in a bit of sabre rattling, warning that it’s becoming harder and harder to justify propping up the government.

By contrast, the Conservatives are warning against the prospect of another election less than a year after the last national vote.