Labour opens up 8-point lead

By staff

Labour has opened up a substantial eight per cent lead over the Conservatives, according to new polling figures.

The Populus poll for the Times suggests that the debacle over defence secretary Liam Fox and a continued gloom over the economy are starting to deteriorate the governing party's poll lead.

Labour is on 41% and the Conservatives on 33%.

The Liberal Democrats hit their lowest level since entering government with just eight per cent.

The poll will go some way towards calming Labour nerves, after the party lost its poll lead over the Tories during their autumn conference.

Early suggestions that David Cameron had emerged unscathed from the Liam Fox row looked overly optimistic, as the poll showed a six-point drop in those who thought the Tories were "honest and principled", down from 36% to 30%.

There was also a six-point drop in those who consider the Conservatives "competent and capable", down from 48% to 42%.

While Conservatives will be relieved to see their party maintain its lead on economic competence, their polling has dropped by five points to 13% since June.

That trend is particularly evident among women – with the party's reputation for economic competence falling from 20% to 11%. Among manual skilled workers it has fallen from 28% to nine per cent.

Populus interviewed 1,511 adults aged 18 and over by telephone between October 14th and 16th.