Lib Dems poised to hit Blair's majority, poll shows

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The final IoS poll of the campaign gives Labour a lead of eight percentage points, but shows that the Liberal Democrats, on 23 per cent, are well placed for a last-minute surge at Labour's expense.

The final IoS poll of the campaign gives Labour a lead of eight percentage points, but shows that the Liberal Democrats, on 23 per cent, are well placed for a last-minute surge at Labour's expense.

The poll puts Labour on 39 per cent and the Conservatives on 31 per cent. If those figures are reflected in the polling booths on Thursday, Tony Blair would be returned to Downing Street with a 144-seat majority.

But an extra poll for the IoS suggests the main uncertainty of the final days of the campaign is the scope for a Liberal Democrat surge. Charles Kennedy goes into the final stretch with his party riding higher in the opinion polls than at any of the last three elections.

And nearly three-quarters of Labour voters who name a second choice say they would go to the Liberal Democrats. Whereas 71 per cent of Labour voters name the Lib Dems as their second preference, only 42 per cent of Lib Dems return the favour. The Conservatives are the second choice for 22 per cent of Lib Dems, and 22 per cent name the Green Party.

Of Conservative voters, 50 per cent opt for the Lib Dems as their second preference, and 18 per cent name the UK Independence Party.

CommunicateResearch, the IoS polling company, has taken several steps to try to ensure that its final figures are as robust as they can be. The poll published today was conducted face-to-face in people's homes, while previous polls have been carried out over the telephone.

Labour is one point lower than in last week's telephone poll, the Conservatives four points lower and the Lib Dems five points higher.

The interviews were done using a coding system to allow people to indicate how they would vote without the interviewers knowing their answer. The voting intention figures are from the 57 per cent who say they are "absolutely certain to vote". Half of the don't knows and won't says were allocated to the parties they voted for last time, if any.

Latest poll Labour: 39% Con: 31% Lib/Dem: 23% Others: 6% Source: CommunicateResearch

CommunicateResearch, a member of the British Polling Council, interviewed a random sample of 1,091 adults on 23-28 April. Details at www.communicateresearch.com

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