General Election 2015: Tories win first week of campaigning as polls rise

Support for the Tories has edged up in our weekly poll of polls from 33 per cent last week to 34 per cent now

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The Conservatives appear to have won the first week of the election campaign – but still have plenty to do if David Cameron is to remain in Downing Street after May 7.

Support for the Tories has edged up in our weekly poll of polls from 33 per cent last week to 34 per cent now. That is enough to put Mr Cameron neck and neck with Labour after having been a point behind during the last fortnight.

Indeed, the Tories were ahead, albeit usually only very narrowly, in as many as six of the dozen polls published during the last week. Labour was ahead in only three, while the two parties were tied in the remaining three.

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Just how well Ukip is doing continues to be a point on which the polls disagree. During this week, one poll put its support as low as 10 per cent while another put is as high as 17 per cent (Ken McKay/ITV/PA)

At the same time Conservative strategists will take heart from the fact that Ukip support has eased down a point for the second week in a row. It now stands at 13 per cent. However, this is still well above the 3 per cent Ukip  won in 2010, while the party continues to attract former Conservative voters at more than twice the rate at which it is winning votes from Labour.

 

However, just how well Ukip is doing continues to be a point on which the polls disagree. During this week, one poll put its support as low as 10 per cent while another put is as high as 17 per cent.  Exactly how big a threat Nigel Farage is posing remains uncertain.

In contrast none of this week’s polls put either the Tories or Labour below 32 per cent or above 36 per cent. Every pollster agrees that the Conservative/Labour battle is very tight.

However, it is still too tight for Mr Cameron. Because Labour-held constituencies are smaller than Conservative ones, it is easier for Labour to win most seats.  Even though Labour continues to be at risk of heavy losses in Scotland, our latest seat projection puts the party on 293 seats, eighteen ahead of the Conservatives on 275.

With Nick Clegg projected to secure just 16 seats, the Prime Minister would be left with too few allies to be able to sustain a government. The 48 MPs that might be won by the SNP together with their Welsh and Green allies would be able to carry out their threat to block Mr Cameron’s path back to power.

Not that having to rely on the SNP would be a particularly attractive a prospect in Ed Miliband’s eyes. There is still plenty for both men to fight over.

John Curtice is Professor of Politics, Strathclyde University

The Independent has got together with May2015.com to produce a poll of polls that produces the most up-to-date data in as close to real time as possible.

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