Polls predict ‘inconclusive’ UK election results


The Conservative Party has reversed a slide in ratings, two new opinion polls published on 7 March showed, although both still pointed to an inconclusive election outcome, in which the Tories would fall short of an absolute majority.

An ICM poll for the News of the World newspaper put the Conservative Party's lead over Labour at nine points, up three since the same survey was conducted two weeks ago.

It is the first time for over two weeks that the Conservatives have managed to attract 40% of the vote.

A poll last weekend said their lead had been cut to just two percentage points, unnerving the Conservative hierarchy and financial markets.

Uncertainty about the outcome of the election helped push sterling to a 10-month low against the dollar a day after the poll drop, as currency markets fretted about whether the next government would be able to tackle the growing debt burden.

The ICM poll on Sunday put Labour up one on 31% of the national vote and the Liberal Democrats down two on 18%.

Replicated at a national election, widely expected to take place on 6 May, the ICM forecast would not give the Conservatives an overall majority, resulting in a hung parliament.

The paper predicted David Cameron's party would win 320 seats. Labour would win 260 with other parties gaining 80 seats, leaving Cameron short of an absolute majority.

A YouGov poll to be published in the Sunday Times also showed the Conservatives pulling away from Labour, but with a smaller lead than the ICM poll suggested.

The poll said the Conservatives' lead had risen to five points compared with a margin of just two points over Labour when it was conducted last weekend.

YouGov interviewed 1,558 adults on March 4 and March 5 for the Sunday Times, while ICM interviewed a sample of 1,005 adults on March 3 and 4.

(EURACTIV with Reuters.)

Labour and the Conservatives are neck and neck in the marginal seats that will determine the outcome of the general election, raising doubts over David Cameron's ability to win a clear overall majority, according to a special poll for The Times.

The survey was carried out by Populus in 100 key seats currently held by Labour and targeted by the Conservatives. Although more voters are switching to the Tories in these areas than in the country as a whole, the results suggest that the shift is well below the hopes and expectations of Mr Cameron's strategists.

David Cameron is ahead of Gordon Brown on eight out of ten personal statements. More than two thirds thought that Mr Cameron was "a nice, likeable, person," against just under half for Mr Brown, but both leaders were generally regarded as family men and as being strong and determined.

The Conservatives, seeking to end 13 years of Labour rule, have been well ahead in the polls for over two years, but their once-commanding lead has shrunk as the election nears.

The election is just weeks away, and will almost certainly be held on 6 May.

From a Brussels perspective, at first the UK elections were seen as a risk factor for the Lisbon Treaty. The UK ratified the Lisbon Treaty by parliamentary majority in June 2008, the same month that Ireland voted 'no' by popular referendum (EURACTIV 26/06/08). 

However, the UK Conservatives have consistently attacked Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown for failing to hold a referendum on the issue, arguing that the Lisbon Treaty is merely a "rebranded" version of the European Constitution, which Brown pledged to put to the people in 2005. 

Conservative leader David Cameron had promised to hold a referendum on Lisbon if he came to power before the treaty was ratified in all member states and passed into EU law. 

However, since the Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009, attention has turned to the European External Action Service (EEAS), which EU leaders would like to have put in place before the UK elections.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to keep Britain "in Europe's mainstream" if re-elected this year, criticising the more Eurosceptic stance of a Conservative opposition expected to win power come May (EURACTIV 18/02/10).

  • 6 May 2010: Probable day of the election.

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