General Election 2015: Labour remains strong in polls despite personal Tory attacks

Meanwhile Conservative support has dropped by two points to 32 per cent - the party is as far behind as it has been all year

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The Conservatives have spent the last week trying to undermine Ed Miliband’s credibility. They may have been hitting at the wrong target. Despite the attacks, Labour’s support has remained stable. The party’s average score in the polls is still at the 34 per cent level it has been throughout the last four weeks.

But Conservative support has dropped by two points to 32 per cent.  The party is as far behind as it has been all year. Meanwhile, contrary to many a commentator’s assumptions, Ukip support has actually returned to the 15 per cent level the party was enjoying a fortnight ago.

The polls continue to disagree as to exactly how well Ukip is doing. But four of the six companies that polled both this week and last have registered an increase in Ukip support, and only one has found that it has dropped.

Ukip’s continuing strength is seriously damaging the Conservatives.  On average, the polls suggest that 16 per cent of 2010 Conservative voters have switched to Ukip, while only 6 per cent of those who voted Labour in 2010 are backing Nigel Farage’s party. Although regarded as notorious by some, Mr Farage continues to enjoy considerable personal popularity, a popularity his performance in last week’s leaders’ debate did nothing to dent.


According to YouGov his overall approval rating is better than that of his rivals and he is the leader most likely to be regarded as in touch with ordinary people’s concerns. He remains highly popular amongst Ukip supporters themselves.  If the Conservatives are to win back the voters they have lost to Ukip, they will need at some point to turn their firepower on Mr Farage.

But if Ukip support is holding up, that for the Greens is not. Their vote has slipped a point for the second week in a row and now stands at just 4 per cent.

Much of the earlier rise of Green support came at the Liberal Democrats’ expense, and the fall now may well help explain why Lib Dem support has edged up a point to 9 per cent.

Indeed, the Lib Dems could still have a pivotal role in the next parliament. The latest polls point to Labour winning 302 seats – enough for Mr Miliband to form a government with the help of 20 Lib Dems, and not need the help of 48 nationalists.

In the meantime, as they currently head for just 262 seats, the Conservatives have plenty of catching up to do.

John Curtice is Professor of Politics, Strathclyde University

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