Tories lead in elections run-up, poll shows

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The Conservative party is firmly ahead of Labour in the run-up to local elections, a survey by YouGov for the Daily Telegraph suggests.

According to the opinion poll, attempting to measure voting tendencies across the electorate, the Tories are predicted to gain 37 per cent of the vote compared to Labour's 32 per cent.

However the party, led by David Cameron, still needs to increase its vote with 40 per cent needed to regain power.

Yet the results mean that the Conservatives remain in the lead for the 12th consecutive month – a record not seen since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister in the late 1980s, the newspaper reports.

The opinion poll, ahead of next Thursday's local elections, also found problems in the public's perception of chancellor Gordon Brown who is widely anticipated to take over from Tony Blair this year as leader of the Labour party.

When asked if they would prefer a government under Mr Cameron or Mr Brown, around 45 per cent chose the Conservative option while 35 per cent of voters questioned stated a preference for the chancellor – a sharp contrast to survey results only 18 months ago which saw Mr Brown as the popular choice.

The survey comes amid rumours that, should Labour's local election campaign fail to stir up support for the party, Mr Blair will step down from office after a decade in the role to detract attention from disappointment at the ballot box.

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