New poll hints at hung parliament

By staff

A new poll suggests Britain is heading for a hung parliament, confirming current trends.

The Populus poll for the Times gives the Tories a ten-point lead, with David Cameron’s party on slipping one point to 40% and Labour up two points to 30%.

The Liberal Democrats are up one point to 20%, with other parties down two points to ten per cent.

If replicated at a general election, the results would leave the Tories three seats short of an overall majority, according to the UK Polling Report.

The figures are highly susceptible to the margin of error, however, and one point variations in the Conservative or Labour showing would leave Mr Cameron with a workable majority of 36.

Labour accusations of Tory flip-flopping on economic policies appear to have had some traction. The number of people saying they trust Mr Cameron and shadow chancellor George Osborne to handle the economy slipped four points in the last month to 43%, compared to 30% for Gordon Brown and chancellor Alistair Darling, up two points.

But Tory HQ will be pleased that their broader political agenda appears to be vindicated by the beliefs of voters.

A substantial majority believe society is broken in Britain, on 70%. Seventy-three per cent believe politics is broken.

The poll, conducted over the weekend, takes account of voter perception since the latest bout of expenses revelations. The percentage of voters who believe their MP abused the system is up from 34% last April to 46% today.

The consistent erosion of the Tory lead in the polls appears to have had an effect on the public’s assessment of the upcoming election. Thirty-three per cent of voters now expect a hung parliament, up from 22% in January. Forty-three per cent expect an overall Tory majority, down from 57% four months ago.