No deal with Cameron after the election, say Lib Dem voters

Party's supporters favour an alliance with Labour in any hung parliament

Liberal Democrat voters would prefer to see Nick Clegg supporting Gordon Brown – rather than David Cameron – as prime minister in the event of a hung parliament after the election, according to a new survey.

The ComRes poll for The Independent and ITV News shows that 46 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters would be happy if the election resulted in a hung parliament and Mr Brown remained in Downing Street; it found 31 per cent would be happy if Mr Cameron became prime minister in these circumstances.

The opinions of Liberal Democrat voters would be important if no party wins an overall majority on 6 May. Mr Clegg would need the backing of his party's MPs, leading activists and members to enter into a coalition with a minority government.

According to ComRes, the surge in support for the Liberal Democrats since Mr Clegg won last week's first televised leaders' debate may have peaked. The Conservatives are ahead on 32 per cent (up one point since The Independent on Sunday's poll at the weekend), Labour on 28 per cent (up one point), the Liberal Democrats also on 28 per cent (down one), and the other parties on 12 per cent (down one).

These figures would leave Labour, with 279 MPs, 47 seats short of an overall majority. The Tories would have 245 seats and the Liberal Democrats 94.

The volatility of the electorate is shown by a ComRes finding that more voters would favour a hung parliament with Mr Cameron as prime minister than one with Mr Brown remaining in No 10. Some 34 per cent would be happy with the Tory leader as prime minister in a hung parliament, and 31 per cent Mr Brown – even though the overall party ratings would leave Labour as the largest single party.

In a ray of hope for the Tories, voters would be most happy with a Conservative government (41 per cent), with 36 per cent saying they would be happy with a Labour government. But on all four possible election outcomes tested, the public would be more unhappy than happy, confirming that the election is still wide open.

Mr Clegg continued to dominate the campaign yesterday, forcing Mr Cameron to shelve a TV election broadcast attacking Mr Brown and record a new one in the back garden of his Notting Hill home addressing the unexpected threat posed by Mr Clegg, which has alarmed the Tories.

Mr Cameron warned that a hung parliament would result in "indecision" and could leave Britain "stuck" with Mr Brown. His aim was to seize back the "change" mantle from Mr Clegg, who will occupy the centre- stage spot in the second leaders' debate on Thursday. Mr Cameron admitted that the election has been "shaken up", but argued that his "big idea" – replacing Labour's "big government" with a "big society"– would mean "smashing apart the old politician-knows-best system".

Both the Tories and Labour turned their fire on Liberal Democrat policies. Mr Brown conceded that Mr Clegg was enjoying a "political honeymoon" but predicted it would be short-lived. The Prime Minister said: "I know a little about what it means to have a short political honeymoon. You go through these phases. I wish him well in his." He criticised the Liberal Democrat plans to cut tax credits and child trust funds, and the party's opposition to renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Today Mr Brown will try to play to his strengths by unveiling a "growth manifesto". He will say: "The Conservatives believe that growth can happen by itself so long as government gets out of the way. But growth doesn't happen by chance. That is the economics of yesterday. Government is needed to pull away the barriers and obstacles that hold business back."

Mr Clegg said it was only to be expected that the two old parties would "lash out" as soon as voters showed they were ready to choose "something different". He said: "The general election campaign is starting to come to life for the simple reason that a growing number of people are starting – and it is only a start – to believe, starting to hope, that we can do something different this time."

The Liberal Democrat leader added that voters were seeing "that the old tired choices that they have been given by the old parties of the past no longer need to govern the way we run politics in the future".

ComRes found that the Tories are in third place among women (27 per cent), while men are much more positive about them (37 per cent). Labour is in third place in the North of England, Wales and the South-West, reflecting the surprise Liberal Democrat advance. Mr Clegg's party enjoys its strongest support (39 per cent) among 35-44 year-olds and is ahead among the C1 and C2 social groups. A crumb of comfort for the Tories is that people who decline to say how they would vote would be happiest with a Cameron-led government.

An ICM survey for The Guardian showed the Liberal Democrats (with 30 per cent) in second place behind the Tories (33 per cent), with Labour trailing third (28 per cent).

ComRes telephoned a random sample of 1,003 British adults on 17-18 April. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data at www.comres.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent