Conservatives eye election-winning lead

Tories gain 11-point lead in the polls
Tories gain 11-point lead in the polls

The Conservatives have pulled ahead to their strongest lead in two decades in a dramatic reversal of fortunes from two months ago.

A YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph places support for the Tories at 43 per cent while Labour have fallen to 32 per cent.

The 11-point lead is the party's largest since Margaret Thatcher's heyday in 1998.

Translated into votes at a general election, it could hand the Tories an overall majority and see David Cameron usurp Gordon Brown as prime minister.

Just two months ago Labour were leading by the same advantage, sparking speculation of a snap autumn election designed to "crush" the Conservatives.

Mr Brown saw his approval rating soar over the summer as he gained a reputation as a prime minister above party politics and adept at handling external crises.

But a slew of blunders and scandals have since dampened public support for the government.

Today's poll is the first to be conducted since the proxy donor scandal broke last weekend and suggests the accusations of sleaze will do nothing to reverse Mr Brown's dwindling popularity.

However, with a 32-point approval rating, Mr Brown is still outperforming the worst days of Tony Blair - who went on to exit the Commons to a standing ovation.

Worryingly for Labour, the Daily Telegraph poll suggests support for the Conservatives is actively increasing, rather than voters deserting the government in favour of the Liberal Democrats and other smaller parties.

A ComRes/Independent poll earlier in the week also handed the Tories an 11-point lead but support for Mr Cameron fell by one per cent.

Today's poll shows voters actively turning towards Mr Cameron, with the Tories' approval rating up two points on last month.

The Conservatives reportedly believe their Blackpool conference - rather than the negative headlines surrounding the government - can be identified as the turning point.

Crucially voters are beginning to express confidence in Mr Cameron's abilities; as Mr Brown's own competence has been called into question.

In contrast to the last election - when voters overwhelmingly backed Labour on economic competence - a majority now belief the Conservatives are more likely to manage the economy well.

This comes as 60 per cent say they a "very worried" or "somewhat worried" there will be an economic downturn within the next two years.


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.