CON 32 (-3); LAB 28 (-2); LIB DEM 32 (+11)
Our April Political Monitor shows that, among those who are absolutely certain to vote, 32% say they would vote Conservative, 32% Liberal Democrat and 28% Labour. The Liberal Democrat share has increased by 11 points since last month, representing the highest score that Ipsos MORI has recorded for this party since it formed in 1988.
The Conservatives are down 3 points since March, and Labour are down two points, reducing the Conservative lead over Labour to two points. These results, if applied with a uniform national swing, would result in a hung parliament, and the Liberal Democrats would gain 54 parliamentary seats. However, whether uniform national swing will play out in the election remains to be seen.
However, half the public (49%) say they may change their mind about who to vote for, its highest level since we started asking this in 1983. Lib Dem voters are more likely to say they may change their mind (56%), compared to 40% of Conservative voters and 50% of Labour voters.
In terms of party identification, a fifth (21%) generally think of themselves as Liberal Democrats. This is a six percentage point increase since February. More still identify with the Conservative party (28%) and the Labour Party (31%). Satisfaction with Nick Clegg has increased dramatically since last month. Nick Clegg, who has been the most popular party leader since April of last year, has seen his net satisfaction (the percentage satisfied minus the percentage dissatisfied) increase to +53 from +20 in March. This represents the highest satisfaction score for a leader since Tony Blair's first year as Prime Minister. By contrast, David Cameron's net satisfaction stands at +3, and Gordon Brown's net satisfaction is at -24. Nick Clegg is now more popular amongst the general public than Gordon Brown is amongst Labour supporters. Economic optimism remains positive, and has increased since March. The economic optimism index (those optimistic minus those pessimistic) stands at +15, compared with +7 last month.
As was the case prior to the 2005 election, the percentage of those who say they are certain to vote has increased, by 11 percentage points, to 64%. Tying in with this, the importance of the election result has increased; over three quarters of the public now say that the outcome of the general election is personally important to them (78%) compared to around seven in ten since November 2009.
In terms of tactical voting, one in seven (14%) say that their decision to vote is based on the desire to keep another party out, compared with three quarters (73%) who are voting for the party that most represents their views. Lib Dem voters are more likely to say they are intending to vote tactically (18%) than Conservative (13%) or Labour voters (11%).
The facts may have changed on Brexit - but people’s minds have not
Reflecting the national vote in the 2016 referendum, voters in Bedford split almost the same way, with 51.8% voting to leave the EU. Two years on, we joined the BBC Radio 4 Today programme to ask local Bedford residents what they have to say on the matter now.