Conservatives take narrow lead over Labour in latest opinion poll

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The Tories have a 2-point lead over Labour as support for Ukip falls, according to the latest Opinium poll for the the Observer.

After the Conservatives were panicked on Thursday by three separate surveys which put Labour ahead, Opinium’s findings will go some way to calming nerves at Tory HQ.

But the results, along with almost all other recent surveys, still point to a hung parliament on 7 May, in which no single party holds overall control.

The Conservatives are on 36% (up 3 points) while Labour is up 1 point on 34%. Ukip has slid by 3 points to 11% compared with a week ago. The Lib Dems are unchanged on 7%, the Greens have dropped 1 point to 6%, and the SNP is unchanged on 4%.

David Cameron’s approval ratings have improved marginally on a week ago and now stand on +2% – still well ahead of Ed Miliband, whose net score is down 3 points to -18%. The Labour leader remains well up on his rating before the campaign began.

Miliband is also seen by more people as a potential prime minister since the first two televised debates. Of those questioned, 36% said they could imagine him in Downing Street against 57% who could not.

The last time Opinium asked the same question in 2013, just 29% could imagine him in charge of the country and 65% could not.

Ukip’s fall to 11% will be cause for alarm for Nigel Farage as he battles to hold on to his party’s two seats in parliament – both won in byelections last year – and win his own seat in South Thanet, where he is in a tight battle against the Tories.

When asked which party they would prefer to team up with in a coalition, 54% of Tory voters said they would be happy to join forces with the Liberal Democrats while 37% were favourable to a deal with Ukip.

Labour voters were more split, with 38% happy to do a deal with the SNP, 37% with the Greens, 30% with the Liberal Democrats and 18% with Ukip.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,916 GB adults aged 18+ from 8th to 9th April 2015. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Toby Helm, political editor, for theguardian.com on Saturday 11th April 2015 21.23 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010