Poll: Labour primed to overtake Tories on economy

Labour could be about to overtake the Conservatives on the key test of public trust with the economy, according to a new poll.

An ICM survey for the Guardian put David Cameron and George Osborne on 31% compared to Ed Miliband and Ed Balls on 27%.

The four-point Tory lead is a major disintegration of public trust in the Tories' handling of the economy, which saw them enjoy a 21-point advantage just 11 months ago.

The news is particularly damaging for the Tories as it comes at the end of an unusually successful week for the chancellor, in which inflation and unemployment both fell.

Importantly, most voters are not switching their trust to Labour, but rather opting for the 'don't know' column.

The ICM poll found Labour's lead stayed stable on 41% to the Conservatives' 33%. It remains particularly high among the young – with 25- to 34-year-olds backing Labour by 59% to 18% – and low among older voters, where the Tories keep a 46% to 32% lead.

A Times survey also published today painted an altogether different picture. The survey found the Labour lead had been squashed following the conference season, with the opposition on 40% to the Tories 35% – a five-point rise for the governing party.

That figure was out of line with most polls, however. The daily YouGov tracker put Labour on 45% to the Tories' 32%.

Importantly, the YouGov survey suggested Miliband was starting to overtake Cameron on personal ratings.

Respondents saw him as more principled, honest and in touch with ordinary people than Cameron. The prime minister was considered stronger and more decisive, however.

Meanwhile, Michael Ashcroft's survey for the Conservatives in Corby, where a by-election takes place next month, strongly suggests Labour is on course to win.

Labour's candidate, Andy Sawford, is now 22 points ahead – up from 15 points the last time the survey was conducted.

Half of those who voted Tory in 2010 and are now changing their support said they were doing so because of dissatisfaction with what the Conservatives are doing in government.