Labour maintains three-point lead over Tories in latest poll

Labour has maintained a three-point lead over the Tories in the latest Opinium/Observer poll, which shows a minor improvement in Ed Miliband’s leadership ratings and widespread scepticism about Tory pledges to cut taxes after the next election.

The poll – taken between Tuesday and Thursday last week and before the results of the Rochester and Strood byelection and the fall-out from the “white van” tweeting row – puts Labour on 33% (up one point on a fortnight ago), and the Conservatives also up one on 30%.

Ukip, which won the byelection and gained its second MP at Westminster, is unchanged on 19%, while the Liberal Democrats are down two on 7%, the SNP up one on 5%, and the Greens unchanged on 4%.

While David Cameron’s net rating of -9% – the number of people who approve of his performance minus those who disapprove – is still well above Ed Miliband’s score of -28%, the Labour leader has improved from -31% a fortnight ago. He has also returned to a postive net rating among a majority of Labour supporters.

After a week which began with David Cameron warning that the global economy was entering uncertain economic times again, with possible repercussions for the UK economy, respondents were asked if they believed that the next government would be able to deliver tax cuts.

At the Conservative conference in Birmingham last month, Cameron said if the Tories were re-elected they would raise the threshold at which people pay tax at 40% from £41,900 to £50,000.

The Tories also said they would raise the amount people can earn before paying tax at all by £2,000 to £12,500. The combined cost of the tax cuts would be over £7bn a year. Labour has accused the Tories of making unfunded promises.

Some 58% of all likely voters said they believed the next government would not be able to afford tax cuts while 39% said they thought they would be deliverable. Just over half of Tory respondents (52%) said they did not believe tax cuts were affordable against 39% who said they thought they would be.

Among Labour backers 51% said they did not think tax cuts would be affordable against 31% who thought they would be.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,948 GB adults aged 18+ from 18 to 20 November. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Powered by article was written by Toby Helm, political editor, for The Observer on Saturday 22nd November 2014 19.24 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010