Labour takes narrow lead over Tories as Lib Dems sink to 5%

Ed Miliband Gestures

The Liberal Democrats have sunk to a new low of just 5% in the latest Opinium/Observer poll which gives Labour a wafer-thin lead over the Tories with less than 100 days to go until the general election.

The rating for Nick Clegg’s party is the worst in any poll by Opinium since the Lib Dems entered the coalition with the Conservatives in May 2010.

If replicated at the election it would mean the party would almost certainly lose most of its 57 seats in parliament, making it less likely to form a coalition with either the Tories or Labour after 7 May.

Most Lib Dems think the party would be unwise to try to form a coalition if it secures fewer than 30 seats, as it would not be able to exercise sufficient clout in government or command many senior ministerial positions.

The view is that the party in those circumstances would be better off trying to regroup and rebuild in opposition.

At the height of Cleggmania in April 2010 the party reached the giddy heights of 33% in a YouGov poll, and briefly took first place ahead of both the Tories and Labour.In the latest poll Labour is unchanged compared with a fortnight ago on 33%, while the Conservatives are up four points to 32%. Ukip is down two points on 18%, the Greens unchanged on 6%, the Lib Dems down two points on 5% and the SNP is unchanged on 5%.

With the NHS already dominating political debate, 34% of voters said they trusted Labour most to run the health service, against 25% who named the Conservatives.The Tory rating on the NHS has risen by four points since the question was last asked in July – suggesting that Labour’s tactic of putting it centre stage in the election campaign may not be working as well as planned.

Opinium also asked which issues people regard as the most important facing Britain today. The NHS and health came top with 60% citing them as the most pressing, followed by immigration which topped the list for 45% of those questioned.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Toby Helm, political editor, for The Observer on Saturday 31st January 2015 23.57 Europe/London

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