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Labour stretches lead over Tories

Labour has established a "convincing" 11-point lead over Conservatives in the key marginal seats Ed Miliband would need to win to secure victory in next year's general election, according to a new poll.

The ComRes survey of the 40 tightest Labour/Conservative battlegrounds for ITV News comes as a further blow for Prime Minister David Cameron, who is trying to use his party's annual conference in Birmingham as a launchpad to secure an overall majority in 2015. A separate poll for former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft yesterday suggested Miliband was heading for a "comfortable working majority" at Westminster.

According to ComRes, in the 40 crucial constituencies, Mr Miliband's party enjoys the backing of 41% of voters (up five points since a similar poll in June), ahead of the Tories on 30% (down one), Ukip unchanged on 17% and Liberal Democrats on 6% (down one).

In the 2010 general election, Labour and Tories were neck-and-neck on 37% across these seats.

However, Mr Cameron led Mr Miliband by 46% to 33% when voters in the battleground constituencies were asked who they would prefer as Prime Minister.

Six in ten (59%) people said that Mr Miliband puts them off voting Labour, including almost two-fifths (38%) who say they back the party.

A third of voters in the marginal seats (33%) said they would consider voting Ukip next year. But half (51%) said they would never vote for Ukip, even if the eurosceptic party could win in their constituency.

ComRes head of political polling Tom Mludzinski said: "These are the seats where the general election next year will be won and lost and Labour have opened up a convincing lead.

"However, despite the polls pointing to a Labour victory, voters in the marginals prefer David Cameron as a Prime Minister to Ed Miliband and the Conservatives will be hoping that is enough to swing enough people back round to back them when it comes to the ballot in May 2015."

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