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27 January 2011

Labour support at three-year high

Latest poll gives Labour a 10-point lead over the Tories for the first time since 2007.

By Samira Shackle

Support for Labour has surged to a three-year high, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos-MORI poll.

The headline figures are 43 points for Labour (up 4 from the last Ipsos poll), 33 for Conservatives (down 5) and 13 for the Liberal Democrats (up 2).

This is the highest lead shown for Labour since the election that never was in 2007, and is significantly larger than the 4- or 5-point leads consistently shown by other pollsters.

While the temptation here is to attribute this big lead to the disastrous GDP figures that came out this week, it is worth noting that the research for this poll was conducted before the figures were released.

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This could indicate that public faith in the government’s programme of cuts was wavering even before the figures were announced. The poll appears to back this up: it also shows the most pessimistic outlook on the economy since March 2009, with 53 per cent of respondents saying they believed the economy would get worse in the next 12 months, and just 24 per cent saying they thought it would get better.

David Cameron’s personal approval rating, though still higher than that of his party, is the lowest since he took office.

Although the poll seems to be doom and gloom for the Tories, there is some good news for their coalition partner – the small increase in Lib Dem support has been consistently reflected across the polls in recent weeks.

It is, of course, difficult to say how far this poll is an outlier. The true test will come in May with the local elections, when we will see whether this fall in Conservative support is reflected at the ballot box.