Tories pull level with Labour in new poll
The Conservatives have pulled level with Labour for the first time in three years, according to the latest YouGov poll for the Sun.
The survey puts Labour and Conservatives at 36%, with the Tories having come back from being 14 points down a year ago.
Support for the Liberal Democrats stood at ten per cent.
The Tories even appeared to be regaining their support among female voters, with the women's vote tied at 34%.
That represents a significant improvement among a section of the population alienated by austerity's assault on living standards and a perceived sexism among some sections of the Cabinet.
Tory HQ recently undertook a major operation to win back female support, including a summer focus on preventing child access to online pornography and measures to ban 'rape porn'.
Among 18-24-year-olds, the Tories even had a two-point lead.
The poll will make worrying reading for Ed Miliband ahead of his party conference next week.
The Labour leader's personal popularity is at an all-time low, with a recent Ipsos-Mori poll showing six in ten voters were dissatisfied with his performance.
His ratings are now as low as William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith when they were Tory leaders in opposition.
Miliband has suffered a summer of intensely negative press coverage, which only worsened after he managed to defeat a government motion authorising the use of force in principle in Syria.
That move should have been seen as a significant victory for the Labour leader, given that it was the first successful opposition push against a matter of war and peace for centuries.
But the ensuing press coverage portrayed David Cameron's position as principled and the Labour leader's as hopelessly contorted and cynical.
Meanwhile the coalition has been increasingly confident about celebrating economic growth, with George Osborne portraying the opposition as on the wrong side of history and Nick Clegg focusing on improving figures in his conference speech yesterday.
Labour sources are privately unmoved by the attacks, which they hope will suggest to voters experiencing hardship that the Tories are disconnected from the concerns of ordinary people.
But even health secretary Andy Burnham recently joined the ranks of those demanding concrete policies from the party, with a warning the party needed to "shout louder" or face defeat in 2015.
Labour sources say there will be 'meat' in Miliband's conference speech next week – code for policy.
The Labour leader hopes he can turn his fortunes around with the keynote address, in the same manner he achieved last year with his 'one nation' address.