Prospect of SNP deal to damage Labour at the polls
The prospect of a post-election deal between Labour and the Scottish National Party makes a quarter of voters less likely to support Ed Miliband's party, according to a new survey.
The findings will boost Conservative hopes that by talking up the possibility of such a deal, they can win back former Tory supporters who have switched to Ukip before the election in nine days' time.
Pollsters ORB, which questioned 2,000 people, found that a potential Labour-SNP deal made 25% less likely to vote Labour and 16% more likely - a difference which could be crucial in a tight election. Many of those saying such an agreement makes them more likely to vote Labour already intend to back the party.
Six in 10 people said such an arrangement would make no difference to how they vote.
The ORB survey also found that people who intend to vote Ukip were most likely to be put off by the prospect of a Labour-SNP deal. Some 29% of them said it would make them less likely to back Labour, while only 7% said it would make that more likely.
In recent days, Labour has used tougher language on a possible arrangement with the SNP.
After initially ruling out a coalition, Mr Miliband has insisted there would be "no deal" of any kind.
But last night Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, talked up the prospect of backing a minority Labour government.
In a BBC TV interview, she said the SNP would vote for a Labour Queen's Speech even if she did not agree with most of it.