In Depth

16 days left: four new polls give little hope to Tories

Polling average still has parties neck-and-neck which is unlikely to keep Cameron in Downing Street

Columnist Don Brind

Four new polls have produced two Tory leads and two Labour leads. They leave the parties tied in the polling average - which remains the best guide to what is likely to happen on 7 May.

The best showing for the Tories comes with their four-point lead in the Ashcroft national poll: Con 34 (up 1), Lab 30 (down 3), Lib Dems 10 (up 1), Ukip 13 (unchanged), Greens 4 (down 2).

A week ago, ICM was giving the Tories a six-point lead: that’s now evaporated, though they remain ahead: Con 34 (down 5), Lab 32 (down 1), Lib Dems 10 (up 2), Ukip 11 (up 4), Greens 5 (u/c). 

Populus shows Labour moving to a two-point lead thanks to a slight fall in Tory support: Lab 34 (u/c), Con 32 (down 1), Lib Dems 9 (u/c), Ukip 15 (up 1), Greens 4 (u/c

YouGov for The Sun shows a one-point Labour lead: Con 34 (u/c), Lab 35 (u/c), Lib Dems 7 (down 1), Ukip 13 (u/c), Greens 5 (u/c). 

Remember, neck-and-neck is nowhere good enough if David Cameron wants to be certain of remaining in Downing Street. That’s because he’s reliant on the Lib Dems, who are expected to lose heavily on 7 May, leaking seats pretty equally to the Tories, Labour and – north of the border – to the SNP.

He needs to be between eight and 11 points ahead of Labour to be sure of a Commons majority.

Ashcroft completes the overnight picture with two Scottish constituency polls which illustrate that the SNP pose a threat to the Lib Dems as well as to Labour. The SNP are ahead by 13 per cent in Edinburgh North and Leith and three per cent in Edinburgh South. Both were Labour vs Lib Dem fights in 2010.

Any Lib Dem losses in Scotland further diminish Cameron’s hopes of renewing the coalition with Nick Clegg post 7 May.

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