THE Conservatives have taken a narrow lead over Labour in a poll released ahead of the politically crucial conference season.
The monthly Ipsos Mori political monitor put the Tories on 34 per cent among people who said they were certain to vote in next year’s general election.
Labour was ranked at 33 per cent, with Ukip on 15 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on seven per cent.
David Cameron’s party edged ahead of Ed Miliband’s by putting on a single extra percentage point compared with the same survey last month, while Labour remained unchanged.
But the pollsters said the margin of difference was just three voters out of more than 1,000 questioned, so the parties are effectively neck-and-neck.
Nigel Farage’s bid to shake off the “wasted vote” tag received a boost, as the number agreeing that backing Ukip at a general election amounted to throwing away your vote has declined from 57 per cent to 50 per cent since May.
Over half (53 per cent) of those questioned said the eurosceptic party was raising important issues that other parties were not taking seriously enough, and 14 per cent said they would like their local MP to defect to Ukip.
Only 74 per cent of voters with a preference chose one of the three main parties –down from nine in 10 as recently as 2010.
Ipsos Mori interviewed 1,010 adults across Britain for the poll and interviews took place between September 6 and 9.