CONSERVATIVES enjoyed a three-point lead over Labour in the latest weekly survey conducted for former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft - the party’s biggest margin for almost a month in a major poll.
And David Cameron maintained a comfortable advantage over Ed Miliband as favoured Prime Minister, with 30 per cent saying they were satisfied with the job he was doing at Number 10 and 29 per cent that they were dissatisfied but preferred him to the Labour leader, compared to 27 per cent who said they would rather see Mr Miliband in Downing Street.
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Less scientifically, voters questioned in focus groups staged for Lord Ashcroft in Ramsgate and Bury said that if Mr Cameron were a drink he would be a “good red wine”, gin and tonic or Vesper martini - as drunk by James Bond - while Mr Miliband would be a creme de menthe, a non-alcoholic beer or “the sort of drink nobody would order”. Ukip leader Nigel Farage would be a pint of bitter and Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg a Babycham or Woo-Woo - a cocktail of vodka, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice - said participants in the focus groups.
The Ashcroft National Poll put Tories on 34 per cent (up three points since last week), Labour on 31 per cent (unchanged), Ukip on 14 per cent (down one), Lib Dems on 9 per cent (up one), Greens on 6 per cent (down three) and Scottish National Party on 4 per cent (unchanged).
Lord Ashcroft said: “All the changes are within the margin of error of last week’s figures, and of other recent polls, most of which show Labour a point or two ahead.”
The Tory peer added: “It has long been clear that the result in May will largely hang on how people resolve their dilemma when they prefer Labour to the Tories, but Cameron to Miliband.
“Several people in our groups, including some who voted Labour in 2010, said the Labour leader was the single biggest barrier to their taking the party seriously. Though some felt he was ‘genuine’ and ‘really does care’, the downside was that he ‘couldn’t lead a procession’ and ‘doesn’t seem to have confidence in his own beliefs’.
“Cameron, who for some had a lack of empathy with less well-off people that led him to make mistakes, was nevertheless ‘decisive’ and ‘exudes confidence’, which were crucial attributes in uncertain times.”
• The Ashcroft National Poll questioned 1,003 voters on February 6-8.