Gordon Brown has slashed the Conservative lead in the polls to just three points, according to a survey released today.
The Ipsos Mori November Political Monitor put David Cameron's Tories on 40 per cent - down five points on a similar poll by the same organisation last month - and Labour up seven points on 37 per cent. Liberal Democrats were on 12 per cent (down two).
Public satisfaction with the Prime Minister also showed a sharp increase over the month. While half (50 per cent) remained dissatisfied with Mr Brown, the figure was down nine points from last month and 19 since September.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's satisfaction rating has risen six points since October to 41 per cent, while satisfaction with the Government improved by seven points to 32 per cent, with 59 per cent remaining dissatisfied (down from 69 per cent last month).
The three-point gap between the two biggest parties is the closest recorded by any major poll since March, and represents a dramatic fightback by Labour, which as recently as September was regularly trailing by more than 20 points.
It suggests that Labour has benefited from Mr Brown's response to the financial crisis, which saw him attend the emergency summit of world leaders in Washington last weekend amid widespread expectation of tax cuts in next week's Pre-Budget Report.
But public confidence in the economy appears to have fallen, following a brief upturn after last month's bail-out of struggling banks.
Some 17 per cent of those questioned said they expected the country's economic condition to improve over the next 12 months, down from 24 per cent in October. Just over two-thirds (68 per cent) think the economy will get worse - up from 59 per cent last month.
Despite public pessimism over the economy, more people (45 per cent) expected their own personal financial situation to stay the same over the coming year than thought it would worsen (39 per cent). Just 14 per cent thought it would improve.
Satisfaction with Mr Cameron dropped off slightly from 49 per cent last month to 45 per cent now, according to the poll. Over a third (34 per cent) of the public were satisfied with Nick Clegg's performance as Lib Dem leader and 25 per cent dissatisfied.
* Ipsos Mori interviewed 1,002 adults between November 14 and 16.Reuse content