LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conser-vative party took the lead in two opinion polls ahead of European elections, the first time it has led the opposition Labour party in a national opinion poll for more than two years.
Two polls put the Conservatives ahead of Labour yesterday, giving the right-leaning party an unexpected morale boost before European elections later this month and a national election next year.
The surveys are likely to cause unease in Labour’s ranks about its election strategy as the same polls show that Ed Miliband, the party’s leader, is struggling to score well when it comes to voter approval despite being credited with coming up with some popular policies.
One poll, carried out last week, put Conservative support at 34 per cent, 2 percentage points ahead of Labour, who have enjoyed a lead of up to 10 percentage points since March 2012, the last time the Conservatives topped a similar poll.
The survey, based on a phone poll of 1,001 adults, was funded by Michael Ashcroft, a Conservative peer and a former deputy chairman of Cameron’s party. A long-time funder of such polls, he said in a statement that his polling was apolitical and pointed out “uncomfortable truths” to all parties.
A second poll, from Guardian/ ICM, put the Conservatives on 33 per cent, 2 percentage points ahead of Labour whose support it showed had fallen by 6 per cent since April.
It was based on responses from a random sample of 1,000 adults. The left-leaning Guardian newspaper, which published the results, said it showed that support for the Labour party was draining away.