Labour and Conservatives neck and neck, reveals new poll

A poll conducted by Populus puts Labour on 36% and the Tories on 35% - a result well within the margin of error

The poll was conducted shortly after the Clacton and 'Heywood and Middleton' by-elections last Thursday (in the period from 10th - 12th October), which saw Douglas Carswell, who defected to UKIP from the Conservatives, return to parliament with a handsome majority.

Additionally, in Heywood and Middleton, the Labour party won, but UKIP came a close second with 617 votes separating the candidates.

The Populus poll places the two main parties on a level setting. Whether or not this means that the Conservatives can win in 2015 is yet to be seen, but considering that the same company gave Labour a six point lead in a poll conducted online between the 3rd and 5th of October, it is arguable that the Conservatives are gaining ground.

The Populus poll also gave UKIP 13%, the Lib Dems 9% and 3% for the Greens

Furthermore, another one of their polls, conducted between the 8th and 9th of October, also gave Labour a small lead of one, suggesting that this could be the start of a ‘neck and neck’ trend.

The Conservatives made the news last week for coming first in a poll for the first time since 2012, when the so-called ‘omnishambles’ budget was introduced by George Osbourne. The YouGov poll placed David Cameron’s party on 35%, just ahead of the Labour party on 34%.

It appears that there is evidence to suggest that the tradition of the polls narrowing in the run up to a general election is occurring this time. However, with the new ‘UKIP effect’, the increased support of the Greens, the falling support for the Liberal Democrats, the increased support for the SNP in Scotland, and numerous other factors, the general election of 2015 looks far more uncertain than that of 2010.

In other news, as May 2015 nears, the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky have announced plans for three television debates. One would include only Ed Miliband and David Cameron, an opportunity for viewers to see the two candidates go head-to-head. One would also include Nick Clegg, and one would include both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, as well as the main two party leaders. The Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru have criticised the idea.

Additionally, Douglas Carswell has entered parliament for the first time under a UKIP banner.

Overall, it seems as if the polls are beginning to narrow and that 2015 could be a very close race. But as previously stated so many new factors are making this general election more unpredictable than ever. The Conservatives could have gained new found success or this could be a blip. Either way, what's becoming clear is that a hung parliament is more than likely.

The full results of the poll can be found here: