Cameron winning female vote for Tories

David Cameron is attracting a spectacular surge in support among mothers as women turn their backs on Labour, according to a new survey.

The shift towards the Tories is a boost to party strategists after targeting young female voters. Backing for Labour is slumping in particular among mothers from lower income, northern and lone parent families.

The survey of 6,000 mothers by the parenting website Netmums found 34 per cent support for the Tories among mothers, compared with 18 per cent for Labour and 15 per cent for the Liberal Democrats. Thirteen per cent said they were still undecided.

The survey revealed a 13.5 per cent swing among mothers to the Conservatives, enough to put Mr Cameron in Downing Street with a big majority.

It reinforces growing Labour fears of a backlash among female voters. Recent polling for the Fabian Society by YouGov found that women believe the Conservatives care most about the quality of services, while men think Labour do. Only 26 per cent of women believe that services would get worse if the Tories win the election.

The Netmums survey found that less than half (46 per cent) of the mothers who voted Labour in 2005 planned to do so at the next election, while a quarter (24 per cent) will vote for the Tories. Only a third of those polled who voted for New Labour's 1997 landslide victory will back the party this time round.

The poll predicted that a record number of mums will vote this year, with 70 per cent saying they will definitely vote and a further quarter seriously considering voting – a potential 22 per cent increase in turnout on the last election.

Reasons for the expected rise in turnout seem fuelled by the grim realities of the recession, which 44 per cent of mums say has increased their interest in key political decisions.

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of Netmums, said: "The recession has inspired record numbers of Netmums to take an interest in politics and turn up at the polls. But it may have also cost Labour the loyalty of the "Hovis" mum – ordinary hard-working families hit hardest by the country's economic collapse."

The survey found that Mr Cameron's carefully honed image as a family man has won him popular support from mothers, who find him more than twice as likeable as Gordon Brown.

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