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Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 09:13 GMT
Poll monitor: Conflicting figures
Thursday's Times/Mori poll shows Labour on 54% (up 4% on two weeks ago), the Conservatives unchanged on 30% and the Lib Dems also unchanged on 13%.
The Telegraph/Gallup poll also published on Thursday tells us a different story, giving Labour 49% (down 4% on last month), the Conservatives 32% (up 5%) and the Lib Dems 13% (down 2%).
However, the poll also suggests that there is much yet to play for over the forthcoming campaign.
One third of all those naming a party say they might change their mind before 7 June, compared with a quarter who said the same at the start of the 1997 election campaign.
Among Labour supporters, 28% say they might change which is significantly more than the 18% who put themselves in that category at this stage in the last election.
Among Conservatives in this survey one-third say they might change, as do 54% of current Lib Dem supporters.
But where might these waverers go? By almost two to one, the Labour ones would go to the Lib Dems rather than the Conservatives; and Lib Dem waverers would split four to one in Labour's favour.
Mr Blair's decision to call a 7 June seems vindicated by the support of 65% of electors who approve the delay from 3 May.
Gallup shows Labour starting the campaign with a lead 4% less than at the beginning of the 1997 campaign and the Conservatives better placed than in their previous polls this year.
Looking only at those who say they will "definitely" vote on 7 June, Labour's lead falls back to 15%.
However, Labour will doubtless seek comfort from their 13% lead over the Conservatives as the best party to handle the economy; and that the proportion of people who believe their financial situation will improve over the next 12 months, compared with those who think it will worsen, stands at +6%.
The Conservatives on the other hand are clearly viewed as the party closest to public opinion over Britain's future in Europe; and will also be encouraged with the finding that 69% (including 58% of Labour supporters) of respondents would vote against a single currency in a referendum.
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