Pollster cautions against toppling Canada government

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at a news conference in Kitchener, Ontario, August 13, 2009. REUTERS/Geoff Robins

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Conservatives have a slight polling lead and have pulled even with the opposition Liberals in the key province of Ontario as the Liberals mull whether to force an early election.

An Ekos poll showed the Conservatives at 32.6 percent of decided voters and the Liberals at 30.9 percent, roughly the same as a week earlier. The two parties tied at 37 percent in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.

“This weeks’s national sample of vote intention...suggests they (the Liberals) may want to think twice,” Ekos said on Thursday in releasing the results.

Polls have generally shown the rivals neck and neck this summer, though one released on Monday gave the Conservatives an 11-point lead.

The Conservatives won a strengthened minority government mandate last October, but the government can be brought down if the three opposition parties agree.

The leftist New Democrats have 15.7 percent in the Ekos poll, the Greens, which have no seats, are at 11.3 percent and the separatist Bloc Quebecois at 9.5 percent.

The automated telephone survey of 2,153 voters was conducted from August 19-25. It should give a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Janet Guttsman