Britain could be on course for a hung parliament after the general election, a new poll has shown.
According to a ComRes poll for The Independent, the Conservative's lead over Labour has narrowed to 10 points over the last month.
It put the Tories on 37 per cent, down three points from last month, Labour staying put at 27 per cent, and the Liberal Democrats up two points to 20 per cent. Other parties were up one point, with 16 per cent.
If this result was reflected at the ballot box, the Conservatives would be six seats away from an overall majority, due to the nature of the first-past-the-post voting system. ComRes calculated that the Conservatives would have 320 seats, Labour 240, the Liberal Democrats 58 and other parties 14.
This is the second poll in a fortnight which indicates that the UK is heading for a hung parliament. An Ipsos MORI survey for The Observer published nine days ago put the Conservatives on 37 per cent, Labour on 31 per cent, and the Liberal Democrats on 17 per cent.
Labour strategists believe that these poll results reflect greater scrutiny of Tory policy, as private polling for the party indicates that attacks on Conservative plans to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1m have persuaded some voters that the Tories are a "party for the rich".
The ComRes survey also showed that 56 per cent of people are optimistic about the overall economy, while 41 per cent are pessimistic. When asked about personal finance, 71 per cent were optimistic and 26 per cent pessimistic.
A YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph, published at the weekend, will be of some comfort to the Conservatives. It showed a six-point lead for the Tories in 32 marginal seats in the north, putting the Conservatives on 42 per cent, and Labour on 36 per cent.