Conservative lead surges to 17 points

First poll since David Cameron's conference speech shows party's lead rising by 8 per cent

The Conservatives have surged to a 17 point lead over Labour in the first opinion poll since David Cameron's conference speech on Thursday. The Sky News/YouGov poll put the Tories on 44 per cent, with Labour down four points to 27 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 17 per cent. If repeated at a general election, the figures would give the party a Commons majority of 140 seats.

The poll will be seen as a vindication of Cameron's decision to focus on character and leadership in his speech rather than policy. The survey found that 26 per cent of voters consider Cameron a natural leader with 42 per cent saying he was charismatic. Only four per cent said Gordon Brown was a natural leader and just two per cent said he was charismatic.

A previous YouGov poll carried out in the wake of George Osborne's speech had shown the Conservative lead narrowing to nine points, with the Tories on 40 per cent, Labour on 31 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent.