Most people want George Osborne to increase taxes for the rich in next month's Budget to take more low-paid workers out of tax, said a new survey.
Some 60% of the public support the Liberal Democrats' flagship policy and key Budget demand, while 34% oppose it. The ComRes finding is a boost for Nick Clegg, who wants the chancellor to speed up the plan to raise the personal tax-free allowance to £10,000 by 2015.
The amount people can earn before paying tax will already rise from £7,475 to £8,105 a year in April. Mr Osborne made clear at the weekend that any tax cuts would have to be funded by spending cuts or tax rise, not borrowing.
Mr Clegg's hand will be strengthened by the ComRes poll, which suggests that taking people out of tax could be a vote-winner among older voters. Some 45% of 18-to-24-year-olds believe high earners should pay more tax to lift those at the bottom out of the tax net. Among those aged 65 and over, support for this policy rises to 73%.
The Lib Dem plan is more popular among men (64% than women (55%). It enjoys the backing of half of Conservative supporters (51%) and is more popular among Labour voters (69%) than the Lib Dems' own supporters (64%).
Labour has extended its lead since the last ComRes survey a month ago. Labour is on 40% (up two points), the Tories on 37% (unchanged), the Lib Dems on 13% (down one) and other parties on 10% (down one).