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Poll: Better a dead coalition than a live Harper government

Canadians actually prefer a coalition over the present Conservative government, according to a new poll. But if the government falls on the budget vote next week, most would prefer Governor General Michaelle Jean to call an election rather than ask the Liberals and NDP to form a new government.

The Ekos poll, conducted January 15-17, surveyed 1,000 Canadians. Results are considered accurate with a margin for error of 3.2 percent.

Among the poll results: An election held today would see the Conservatives take 36.2 percent of the vote, with the Liberals at 32.6 percent, the NDP at 14.3 percent, and the Greens at 9.1 percent. The Bloc Quebecois would gain 7.9 percent.

That’s a drop for the Conservatives since early December, and a healthy rise for the Liberals. The New Democrats’ support has stayed level.

If forced to choose between a Harper conservative government and a coalition government led by Michael Ignatieff, voters prefer the coalition, 50 percent to 43 percent.

But Canadians would prefer a new election rather than see the Governor General ask Ignatieff to form a government.

Significantly, those polled gave both Ignatieff and NDP leader Jack Layton 44 percent performance-approval ratings. Ignatieff’s disapproval rating was just 21 percent, while 44 percent also disapproved of Layton.

Stephen Harper’s performance-approval rating was 35 percent, with 55 percent disapproving.

Barack Obama’s approval rating among Canadians was 81 percent, with 4 percent disapproving.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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