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New poll shows Tories ahead of Liberals - but Harper's not buying it

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Feb. 8, 2011.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Stephen Harper's Conservatives are telling their supporters not to believe a new poll showing them well ahead of the Ignatieff Liberals, cautioning the results are "inconsistent with our internal polling."

The poll by EKOS Research, released Friday, puts the Tories 12 points ahead of the Liberals - 37.3 per cent compared to 24.8 per cent for the Liberals.

The NDP are at 14.2 per cent, the Bloc is polling at nine per cent and the Green Party is at 10.7 per cent.

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This is the biggest lead for the Tories since October, according to EKOS.

But the Conservatives aren't buying it.

In a memo circulated to MPs and supporters Friday evening, Conservative Party strategists caution not to discuss the poll.



"As always, we do not comment on polling," says the memo.

It notes that this poll is also inconsistent with other "recent published surveys."

"In the past, pollsters, have sometimes reported support for our Party that is unusually high relative to the prevailing data, only to have the anomaly corrected in a subsequent poll, giving the artificial impression of negative momentum" according to the memo.

Indeed, this poll has caused a stir - it is showing that the Harper Tories are heading even closer to majority territory. There will be even more election speculation if other polls confirm the EKOS finding.

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Prime Minister Harper and his team have repeatedly said they do not want an election and will do nothing to provoke one.

All three opposition parties must vote against the government to bring it down. It is not clear yet how the opposition parties will vote on the March budget.

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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