Voters tell Brown and Cameron: Stop lying to us!

The latest polls put Labour and Conservatives close enough for the Tories to be 15 seats short of a majority. More worryingly, people believe neither Labour nor Tory leaders are being honest

Voters have delivered a damning verdict on the economic promises of both Labour and Conservatives, with two out of three people believing Gordon Brown and David Cameron are being dishonest about how they would reduce the deficit.

Voters have delivered a damning verdict on the economic promises of both Labour and Conservatives, with two out of three people believing Gordon Brown and David Cameron are being dishonest about how they would reduce the deficit.

As all three main parties prepare to unveil their general election manifestos this week, a ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday exposes how far the leaders have to go to convince voters they have a credible plan to stabilise the public finances.

With three-and-a-half weeks left until polling day, the survey puts Labour on 32 points, seven points behind the Conservatives – suggesting that Mr Cameron would be 15 seats short of a majority. Worryingly for Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats are on only 16 per cent – a four-point drop since the previous ComRes poll in March.

Mr Brown, boosted by polls that continue to show he could deny the Tories victory on 6 May, will unveil a manifesto tomorrow promising "optimism" for younger people, despite the limited funds available for major spending commitments. Labour will increase paternity leave to four weeks, and pledge a new "Super ISA" savings account for 18- to 30-year-olds, supported by government money, extra sport and arts teaching in primary and secondary schools, and increased activities for young adults.

After 13 years in power, the Government is under pressure to present a fresh agenda to counter the Tories' message of change.

The survey, taken yesterday and on Friday, shows that 63 per cent of people agree with the statement that "neither Labour nor the Conservatives are being honest about how they would reduce public borrowing" – with only 27 per cent disagreeing.

The finding followed a week in which Labour and the Tories traded blows over National Insurance and the scale of Whitehall efficiency savings that could be made.

Some 44 per cent believe that Mr Cameron and his team are not yet ready for government, with the same proportion in disagreement – underlining fears among senior Tories that they have not yet "sealed the deal" with voters.But there is bad news for Mr Brown, with 54 per cent of people believing that a Labour government would be more likely than a Conservative administration to increase taxes, against 30 per cent who disagree.

However, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, comes out top (23 per cent) on the question of who would make the best chancellor, followed by the Lib Dem and Tory Shadow Chancellors, Vince Cable and George Osborne (on 21 per cent and 19 per cent respectively).

Of the possible outcomes of the election, 29 per cent said they would prefer to see the Tories form a government with an overall majority, while 26 per cent favoured a Labour-Lib Dem coalition in a hung parliament. Some 25 per cent said they wanted Labour to win with an outright majority, while 20 per cent favoured a Tory- Lib Dem alliance.

Nearly two-thirds – 64 per cent – said they believed MPs' ethical standards will be higher in the new parliament in the wake of the expenses scandal, compared with 28 per cent who disagreed. Meanwhile, a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times put the Tories eight points ahead of Labour, on 40 per cent – after starting the week 10 ahead. An ICM survey of 96 key marginals for the News of the World put the Tories down four points since January, on 36 per cent – and still not on track to secure an overall majority. But a national ICM poll for The Sunday Telegraph showed the Tory lead had doubled to eight points over the past five days.

In a boost for The Independent on Sunday's One of the Above campaign to increase turnout, the percentage of those who say they are "absolutely certain" to vote has increased from 44 per cent in February to 60 per cent today.

Mr Brown, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg are preparing to take part in the first of three televised leaders' debates, to be broadcast on ITV this Thursday. Mr Clegg will open this week's debate, while the Labour and Tory leaders will each open the BBC and Sky programmes over the following two weeks.

Poll of the pollsters: What the experts predict

The Tories to win, but by how much?

Andrew Hawkins, ComRes, pollster for the IoS

"This is one election where a uniform national swing is less important than regional performance. There is a danger that the polls still overstate Labour, and history shows that the result will probably favour the Tories."

Prediction Con majority 32

Ben Page, Ipsos-MORI

"It is too close to call in terms of numbers of seats. The Tories are not doing well enough in the marginals to be certain of a majority. But the TV debates could make a decisive difference."

Prediction Con 25 seats short of overall majority

Andrew Cooper, Populus

"With certain caveats, I expect the Conservatives will get just under 40 per cent, Labour just over 30 per cent and the Lib Dems just over 20 per cent. I expect David Cameron to be PM with a majority of more than 10 but less than 50."

Prediction Con majority of 10+

Peter Kellner, YouGov

"The Conservatives will have a small overall majority, and I think that the Lib Dems will do reasonably well. The public don't want Gordon Brown but have shown no enthusiasm for David Cameron, who is heading for a narrow majority."

Prediction Con majority 20-30

Robert Salvoni, Harris Interactive

"We believe that the 10-point Tory lead is soft; probably a reflection of disenchantment with Gordon Brown and Labour. Our polls show many more people who have voted Labour in the past are inclined to switch or not vote."

Prediction Con majority 2-10

Andy Morris, Angus Reid

"The Conservatives will win, and I think they'll end up with a small but workable majority, My view is the Tories will win the popular vote comfortably by about 8 to 10 per cent, with a disproportionate swing in the marginals."

Prediction Con majority 40-50

Martin Boon, ICM Research

"I think the Conservatives will win by about eight to nine points. Of course, there's no reliable guide to converting votes to seats. The real wild cards are the leaders' debates – nobody knows how far they might influence people."

Prediction Con majority 20

Johnny Heald, Opinion Research Business

"I do a lot of focus group work with target voters, and the desire to remove Gordon Brown is clearly stronger than the wish to elect the Tories. Cameron can also offer a bit of hope which people badly need."

Prediction Con majority 40+

Interviews: Jonathan Owen

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable