Tories most trusted with economy

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The Conservatives have overtaken Labour as the party most trusted to handle the economic crisis, according to a poll for The Independent.

The ComRes survey suggests David Cameron is winning over former Liberal Democrat supporters as he builds a commanding poll lead which has put him on course for a huge majority of 128 at the next general election.

When asked to put party allegiance aside and say who they trusted most to steer Britain through the economic crisis, 35 per cent of respondents said the Tories , 28 per cent said Labour and 9 per cent said the Liberal Democrats.

It is the first time the Tories have come out on top since ComRes began asking the question in September. In November, 47 per cent trusted Labour and 28 per cent trusted the Tories.

The latest poll puts support for the Tories at 44 per cent and for Labour at 28 per cent, the Liberal Democrats at 17 per cent and other parties at 11 per cent. The Tories lead Labour in all age and social groups except the bottom "DE" group.

One in five (21 per cent) of those who voted Liberal Democrat in 2005 say they intend to vote Tory now, while 7 per cent would switch to Labour. Support for the Tories is the most solid of any of the parties; 95 per cent of people who identify as Tory say they will vote for the party, against 81 per cent for Labour and 82 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

Only 57 per cent of Labour supporters are "certain" to vote, compared to 71 per cent of Tory supporters and 62 per cent of Liberal Democrats. Almost a third of Liberal Democrat voters from 2005 (31 per cent) believe the Tories are the best team on the economy, while 22 per cent opt for Labour and 20 per cent for their own party.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, said ministers must have the "humility" to admit the Government made mistakes before the crisis.

"There are a lot of lessons to be learnt by regulators, governments, all of us ... If there is a fault, it is our collective responsibility," he said.

"All of us have to have the humility to accept that over the last few years, things got out of alignment."

He will announce plans today for a new fund to rescue projects funded by public-private partnerships which are threatened by the credit crunch, including the widening of the M25.

ComRes telephoned 1,006 adults between Friday and Sunday. Data was weighted by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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