The Tories slumped to a ten-year opinion poll low as the UK Independence Party scored its best rating and the highest for a minor party for more than 30 years.
Ipsos MORI’s monthly survey put the Conservatives down three points at 27 per cent, the smallest share of the vote the pollster has recorded for it since January 2003 under Iain Duncan Smith.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s net personal rating dropped six points too, with the number of Tory voters happy with his performance also tumbling to 69 per cent from 75 per cent.
Labour also shed two points to 40 per cent – a 13-point lead over the Tories – with the beneficiaries of the major parties’ fall being Ukip (13 per cent) and the Liberal Democrats (11 per cent) which each gained four.
It is the third consecutive month that Ukip – which came close to a shock victory over the Lib Dems in Eastleigh – has outscored Nick Clegg’s junior coalition party. Its 13 per cent rating is the highest for a “fourth” party since the SDP’s 26 per cent in 1981.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a 1,009 adults from 9 to 11 March.