The Conservatives continue to trail Labour in the north despite David Cameron's efforts to woo the region's voters.
A new YouGov/Daily Telegraph poll puts Labour's support in the north at 35 per cent, with the Tories behind on 33 per cent. The Conservatives are expected to make few gains in Wales and Scotland so a strong performance in the north is essential to the party's chances of securing a comfortable Commons majority.
David Cameron's party continues to maintain a convincing lead nationwide, with the Tories on 40 per cent, Labour on 27 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent.
Nevertheless, the electorate remain sceptical of Cameron's attempts to modernise his party. Of those polled, 64 per cent agreed with the statement that "David Cameron talks a good line but it's hard to know whether there is any substance behind the words".
The findings suggest that Cameron is right to warn that his party cannot take victory at the next election for granted.
Elsewhere in the poll, there was support for his description of Britain as a "broken society", with 75 per cent agreeing and just 15 per cent disagreeing with his assessment.
There was also strong backing for his pledge to maintain the new 50p rate of income tax, with 69 per cent of all voters and 63 per cent of Conservative voters supporting the plan to raise taxes on those earning over £150,000.