Tory lead builds to 11 points

By politics.co.uk staff

The Tories have opened up an 11 point lead over Labour in a new poll published today.

The poll by YouGov puts David Cameron’s Conservatives on 43 per cent while the government is on 32 per cent and the Lib Dems trail on 16 per cent.

The gap between Labour and the Tories has grown by four per cent since a similar poll was published a month ago.

The government has reached a plateau of around 32 per cent since last October when the credit crunch started to take hold.

The Tories need at least 40 per cent at the next general election to have a commons majority or else they face the prospect of a hung parliament.

YouGov poll for the Telegraph also found low levels of trust in the PM.

Jon Cruddas, an influential backbench Labour MP, attributed part of the problem to Mr Brown’s lack of “emotional intelligence”.

“We do look a bit mechanistic at the moment,” he said. “On the firefighting, we are doing quite well but we are not using the language to tell a difficult story. People know it is a global shakedown.”

Last autumn, the public gave the prime minister a seven percent lead over David Cameron on the issue of which party was most trusted to revive the Britain’s finances.

But today’s poll reveals the two men have swapped places in the eyes of the public on which has the safest pair of hands to fix the economy – the Conservatives now have a seven-point lead over Labour on economic competence.

The Tories lead on 43 per cent, Labour trails on 32 per cent and the Liberal Democrats hover around 16 per cent.

Such a result during a general election would give Mr Cameron the premiership and a strong Commons majority.

The poll adds weight to criticisms that Mr Brown is failing to lead Britain through the downturn. After initially being praised for his handling of the downturn, the PM has since lost some support within his own party over the cut in VAT, and for consistently laying all blame for the British recession on the US.

But American responsibility for British problems is not a perspective shared by the British public. Seventy-nine per cent of those questioned in today’s poll said they think that Mr Brown bears “much or some” of the responsibility for “allowing lending and borrowing to get out of control”.

Today’s poll showed savers could be the key to improving Mr Brown’s popularity. Thirty-seven per cent of those questioned said the reduction in interest rates had made their situation worse, compared to 18 per cent who praised its positive effects. A large majority of people also backed further bank nationalisations.

YouGov’s findings were echoed by another poll released today.

Mr Brown’s ratings are now as low as John Major’s were at the time of Black Wednesday, according to Ipsos Mori’s political update of 2009.

Concern over unemployment, which has increased considerably this month, could be a key factor in the lost of faith in the PM.

A quarter (24 per cent) of Britons see unemployment as one of the main issues facing Britain today, an increase of nine percentage points since December 2008.

This level of concern about job security in Britain has not been seen for almost ten years, since August 1999, the Ipsos Mori report reads.

Many of those who currently have jobs feel they are at a high risk of losing them in the near future due to the current economic crisis. Around half (49 per cent) of full-time workers are worried about the possibility of being made redundant or becoming unemployed over the next 12 months, up from 43 per cent in October 2008.

However respondents to the Ipsos Mori poll, when asked which party has the best policies for managing the economy, put the Conservatives (30 percent) and Labour (29 per cent) virtually neck-and-neck.

This compares with a 15 percentage point lead that the Conservative party enjoyed in August of 2008, although the report notes this was a time when satisfaction with Mr Brown and the government were particularly low.