Labour and Conservatives neck and neck in latest Observer poll

Labour and the Conservatives are neck and neck in the latest Opinium/Observer poll, with less than two months to go until the 7 May general election.

Both parties are on 34%, with the Conservatives unchanged on a week ago and Labour down 1pt.

Despite recent signs that support for Ukip might be on the slide, Nigel Farage’s party is holding steady and is unchanged on 14% while the Liberal Democrats are up 2pts on 8%, just ahead of the Greens who are up 1pt on 7pts.

The SNP is unchanged on 3pts, compared with a week ago.

While Tory strategists had been hoping that the Tories would by now be recording consistent leads over Labour, these have yet to materialise as both parties remain deadlocked in the mid to low 30s.

Despite David Cameron being criticised for trying to avoid TV debates with Ed Miliband, his personal ratings remain way ahead of those for the Labour leader.

This week Cameron’s net rating is down just 2pts at -4% on a week ago, when the number of people who disapprove of his leadership is subtracted from the number who approve. Miliband’s rating is down more, by 6pts, at -31% while those for Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, and Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader are at -23% and -43% respectively.

Opinium also asked voters which party they trusted most to handle issues that they said were important to them. The Conservatives had clear leads on the economy (+20% over Labour), crime (+34%) and defence (+34%).

Labour was well ahead on tackling poverty and inequality (+35% over the Tories). The two parties were evenly matched on education, with Labour trusted most by 30% and the Conservatives by 28%.

Labour had a small lead on the NHS and health with 33% trusting them most, against 28% who preferred the Conservatives.

Powered by article was written by Toby Helm Political editor, for on Saturday 7th March 2015 19.07 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010