Britain on course for a hung parliament, polls show

Tory lead cut to five points in latest YouGov poll and to seven in new Populus poll.

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Latest poll (Sun/YouGov): Labour 33 seats short of a majority.

Britain remains on course for a hung parliament at the next election, according to two new opinion polls which suggest that the Conservatives will struggle to win a majority.

The latest daily YouGov survey for the Sun put the Tories down three points to 37 per cent, with Labour unchanged on 32 per cent and the Liberal Democrats up two to 19 per cent. If repeated at the election on a uniform swing, the latest figures would leave Gordon Brown 33 seats short of an overall majority in a hung parliament.

New Statesman Poll of Polls

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Hung parliament, Conservatives 32 seats short.

Meanwhile, a new Populus survey for the Times showed the Conservatives' lead falling from ten points to seven. The poll put the Tories down one point to 39 per cent, with Labour up two to 32 per cent and the Liberal Democrats up one to 21 per cent.

The figures will alarm Tory strategists who hoped that the party's pledge to reverse Labour's planned increase in National Insurance had shored up their support.

But there was better news for the Tories in the latest Angus Reid poll for the blog PoliticalBetting. The survey gave the Tories an 11 point lead over Labour, large enough for David Cameron to win a small majority on polling day. The poll put the Tories down one point to 37 per cent, with Labour also down one to 26 per cent and the Liberal Democrats up two to 22 per cent.

On a uniform swing, the figures would leave the Tories five seats short of majority, but with previous polls suggesting the party will perform disproportionately well in the marginals, Cameron can be confident of winning power with a lead of this size.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats will be encouraged by the boost in their poll ratings, as the possibility of the party holding the balance of power in a hung parliament increases.

George Eaton is deputy editor of the New Statesman.