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 special investigation by Andy McSmith
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: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower