Coalition reeling as voters flock to Labour

 

Labour has opened its biggest opinion poll lead since the general election as the Conservatives struggle to recover from the aftershocks of the much-criticised Budget, according to the latest "poll of polls" for The Independent.

Click here to see 'State of the parties' graphic

It puts Ed Miliband's party at its highest support since he became leader, suggesting Labour is continuing to reap the benefits of the anti-Tory backlash since the Budget in March.

The findings make grim reading for the Liberal Democrats, who have slipped to their lowest level since the Coalition's creation, having lost more than half of their backing since the election in 2010.

With the Commons returning today, senior Conservatives hope to regain the initiative over the next few weeks following the decision by the Chancellor, George Osborne, to ditch several of the Budget's most contentious measures.

Mr Osborne faced fierce criticism earlier this month after making three Budget U-turns in four days, culminating with a decision to scrap the controversial "charity tax" proposal.

Ahead of his potentially embarrassing appearance at the Leveson Inquiry today, the Chancellor yesterday attempted to get back on the front foot over the economy, issuing his most strongly worded message yet to leaders of eurozone nations and expressing his exasperation at their continued failure to find a solution to a crisis that he said is hampering Britain's own chances of economic recovery. Like David Cameron, he has sounded a more Eurosceptic note in recent days – a move they hope may attract disillusioned Tories back from the UK Independence Party.

Meanwhile, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, also came out fighting yesterday, setting herself at loggerheads with judges over a planned clampdown on foreign criminals that is likely to play well with the Tory base.

Labour's support rose to an average of 42 per cent last month, with the Conservatives on 34 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 10 per cent.

An eight-point lead would be enough to deliver a handsome Commons majority of 80 for Mr Miliband in an election fought on the proposed new constituency boundaries.

By contrast, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party would come close to being wiped out, holding on to just 10 of its 57 seats.

The only consolation for the Tories is that their support recovered marginally in May – despite a succession of U-turns over Budget measures and damaging revelations at the Leveson Inquiry – after a steep fall in April.

John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, who compiled the weighted average of surveys conducted by ComRes, ICM, YouGov and Populus, said the polls showed continuing declines in the popularity of both Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg. Mr Miliband still suffers negative ratings but is less disliked than the two Coalition leaders.

He has returned to the level of popularity he last achieved last summer after the hacking scandal was exposed.

Professor Curtice said there was also some evidence of Labour finally beginning to make progress in convincing voters of its economic competence, although the Cameron/Osborne/Clegg team is still rated higher on the issue than Mr Miliband and the shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

"The next few months could well prove crucial to Labour's hopes of returning to power in 2015," Professor Curtice said.

"The public now has doubts about the quality of the leadership and government being provided by both parts of the Coalition and seems prepared to take a fresh look at the alternative on offer from Labour.

"The party needs to seize this opportunity to generate positive enthusiasm for the prospect of a Labour government run by Ed Miliband.

"If it can, it might succeed in establishing a poll lead that proves durable in the face of any future restoration of the Coalition Government's political fortunes.

"If not, then Labour might well find that all too rapidly its poll lead is once more pegged back again and the prospect of an overall majority in 2015 looking like a distant dream."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk