In Depth

Fewer voters feel country is heading in right direction

Ashcroft polling shows more agree that coalition policies have failed and 'it’s time for a change'

Columnist Don Brind

As David Cameron goes into a final frenetic day of campaigning there’s a boost for Tory optimists from a ComRes poll giving them a three-point lead over Labour.

For Tory pessimists, however, Lord Ashcroft delivers news of a four-point fall in their support – the second sharp reverse in a matter of days. Over the weekend the Survation/Mirror poll showed Labour jumping four to wipe out a four-point Tory lead.

Ashcroft still shows the Tories ahead by two but he has another number that might cause concern. The drop in Tory support is matched by a four-point fall in voters agreeing that “although the last few years have been difficult, the country is heading in the right direction and we need to stay on the same path”. 

That statement got agreement from only 41 per cent of respondents while 51 per cent agreed that "the policies of the last few years have failed and it is time for a change".

ComRes: Con 35 (up 2), Lab 32 (down 1), Lib Dems 9 (up 1), Ukip 14 (up 1), Greens 4 (down 3).

Ashcroft: Con 32 (down 4), Lab 30 (unchanged), Lib Dems 11 (up 2), Ukip 12 (up 1), Greens 7 (u/c).

There are four other new polls: Survation gives Labour a one-point lead, while Populus, YouGov and BMG all have the two parties tied on 34. Here are the details:

Survation: Con 33 (u/c), Lab 34 (u/c), Lib Dems 9 (u/c), Ukip 16 (u/c), Green 4 (up 1).

Populus: Con 34 (up 1), Lab 34 (up 1), Lib Dems 10 (up 1), Ukip 13 (up 2), Greens 5 (down 2).

YouGov: Con 34 (up 1), Lab 34 (up 1), Lib Dems 9 (down 1), Ukip 12 (u/c), Greens 5 (u/c).

BMG: Con 34 (down 1), Lab 34 (up 2), Lib Dems 10 (down 1), Ukip 12 (down 2), Greens 4 (up 1).

Polling analyst Ian Jones points out that of the 81 polls conducted since the start of the general election campaign, 30 have put the Tories in front while 37 have had Labour ahead. 

Strikingly, Jones notes that when the campaign began the Tories had a 0.2 point lead in his poll of polls. “Today, the Tories’ lead over Labour in the poll of polls is… 0.2 points.”

Neck and neck is not good news for David Cameron. At the 2010 election he achieved a seven per cent lead over Labour - so he can expect to be losing to Labour in key English marginal. But any boost Ed Miliband gets from south of the border could be wiped out by the SNP surge in Scotland.

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