Eastleigh could fall to the Tories

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The Tories could be on track for a surprise victory in the Eastleigh by-election, according to a poll.

Research by Survation put the Conservatives on 33 per cent – four points ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

The figures reverse recent findings that suggested Nick Clegg’s party would narrowly retain the seat vacated by disgraced former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne.

However, the advantages are within the pollsters’ margin for error – suggesting with less than a week left that contest is going to the wire. The UK Independence Party also appears to be performing well, with the latest survey giving its support as 21 per cent. There are reports locally that the party is taking votes from the Lib Dems as well as the Tories.

However, Ukip did suffer a blow on Friday when one of its MEPs, Marta Andreasen, announced she was defecting to the Conservatives. Her departure revealed an acrimonious relationship with party leader Nigel Farage.

Labour is trailing on 13 per cent. Survation questioned a sample of 543 adults in Eastleigh between February 19 and 22.