Brown Trails as U.K. Opinion Polls Point to Hung Parliament

Prime Minister Gordon Brown trailed in five opinion polls, while a limited rise in support for the main opposition Conservative Party put the U.K. on course for a hung Parliament after May 6 elections.

Support for David Cameron’s Conservatives ranged from 32 to 36 percent in six polls published today, while continued scores for the Liberal Democrats, the third party, of between 23 and 32 points increased the chance that neither of the two main parties will gain the outright majority required to form a government. Labour’s popularity ranged between 23 and 30 percentage points.

The momentum gained by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg after two televised leaders’ debates may prevent the Conservatives from winning the swing seats held by Brown’s Labour Party they need to take power.

“The Liberal Democrat surge is here to stay, but it is questionable how solid it will be on polling day,” Andrew Hawkins, chief executive of ComRes Ltd. said in an interview. “We are still very much in hung Parliament territory. Cameron still looks likely to be leading the largest party without a majority but the situation is very, very fluid.”

A ComRes survey published in the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror newspapers shows Labour gained three percentage points, to 28 percent, since the company’s poll published April 21. Brown’s party trails the Conservatives with 34 percent, down one point, and the Liberal Democrats at 29 percent, a gain of two points.

Undecided Voters

“The number of people who are ‘absolutely certain’ to vote but who are undecided about who to vote for now stands at 3.3 million British adults,” ComRes’s Hawkins said in a statement. ComRes surveyed 1,006 adults by telephone yesterday and today, with the data weighted to be representative of all adults and by past vote.

A separate OnePoll survey for The People tabloid newspaper put the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats even with 32 percent and Labour on 23 percent. OnePoll surveyed 2,571 voters between April 22 and April 24, with no margin of error given.

An Ipsos Mori survey for the News of The World gave Cameron’s party 36 percent, six points ahead of Labour on 30, with the Liberal Democrats at 23 percent. If the findings were turned into votes on May 6, Labour would be the biggest party with 280 seats, four more than the Conservatives, according to the newspaper. Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,245 adults by telephone on April 23.

Seat Projections

The Sunday Telegraph’s ICM Ltd. poll showed the Conservatives up two percentage points to 35 percent, compared with the company’s previous poll conducted last week. The Liberal Democrats are up one point to 31 percent with Labour on 26 percent, a drop of two points, ICM said.

The ICM survey showed Cameron’s party still lacks the support for an overall majority, with the figures giving the Conservatives 284 parliamentary seats compared with Labour’s 232, the Telegraph said. The Liberal Democrats would have 102 seats.

ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,020 adults by telephone on April 23 with the results weighted to the profile of all adults

A survey for the Sunday Times by YouGov Plc showed the Conservatives on 35 percent, up two points on last week, with the Liberal Democrats down one to 29 percent and Labour down three on 27 percent.

YouGov, BPIX

The figures show that the Tories are between 40 and 50 seats short of what they would need for an overall majority, the paper said. YouGov interviewed 1,412 voters online yesterday and today, the newspaper said.

A BPIX poll for the Mail on Sunday showed the Conservatives regaining ground at the expense of their rivals, climbing three points on last week to 34 percent, with the Liberal Democrats on 30 percent, a drop of two points, and Labour on 26 percent, also a decline of two. BPIX interviewed 2,139 people online April 23 and 24, the newspaper said.

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