The Tories' lead over Labour has been cut to just two points, according to a new opinion poll which suggests that a hung parliament remains the most likely outcome of the next election.
The latest daily YouGov survey for the Sun put the Tories down one point to 36 per cent, with Labour up one to 34 per cent and the Liberal Democrats down one to 17 per cent. If repeated at a general election on a uniform swing, the latest poll would leave Gordon Brown just ten seats short of an overall majority in a hung parliament.
The two per cent lead is the Tories' joint lowest since December 2008, when Brown's handling of the financial crisis gave Labour a significant poll boost.
Almost all of the fieldwork for the poll was carried out before the Budget took place and the Tories are hopeful that, as in previous years, they will benefit from the largely negative media reaction to it.
The New Statesman poll of polls, based on the five most recent surveys, continues to show that a hung parliament is likely after the election. The Conservatives are on 35.8 per cent, with Labour on 31.4 per cent, figures that would leave Brown 31 seats short of an overall majority.