Poll gives UK Cameron's Conservatives rare lead before national election

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 12, 2015 12:35 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives are 6 percentage points ahead of the opposition Labour party four months before a national election, an opinion poll suggested on Monday.

The survey, funded by Michael Ashcroft, a lord and a former deputy chairman of the Conservatives, is unusual as most opinion polls in recent months have given Labour a narrow lead or had the two parties neck-and-neck.

It underlines how unpredictable the May 7 election is and was published on the same day as Cameron made a speech portraying the vote as a choice between economic "competence and chaos" as he tried to leverage his role in nurturing a recovery.

The poll put the right-leaning Conservatives on 34 percent, left-wing Labour on 28 percent, the center Liberal Democrats on 8 percent, the anti-EU UK Independence Party on 16 percent, and the Greens on 8 percent.

Ashcroft, who has criticized Cameron in the past, says any research he funds is non-partisan. He said the poll, which was based on canvassing 1,002 people from Jan. 9-11, had thrown up an unexpected result which should be kept in perspective.

The unpredictable nature of the election was underlined by another poll, by Populus, of 2,056 adults carried out online over the same dates, which put Labour ahead on 37 percent, with the Conservatives five points behind on 32 percent.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Stephen Addison)