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Tories take three-point poll lead

The Tories have taken a three-point poll lead after a damaging bout of Labour infighting.

Research by Ipsos MORI for London's Evening Standard found that days of speculation about Ed Miliband's leadership has seen the party's support drop four points to 29%.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives were up two on 32% - the biggest advantage the polling firm has recorded for them since 2010.

Just 13% of those surveyed agreed Mr Miliband was "ready to be prime minister", while 73% thought the opposite.

The Liberal Democrats were up one on 9%, and Ukip down two on 14%.

Labour strategists are likely to be as worried by the drop in Mr Miliband's personal ratings as the fall in overall support since an equivalent poll last month.

With just six months to go until the general election, Mr Miliband has a net satisfaction rating of minus 44% - the worst for a party leader at this stage in the cycle since records started being collected in the 1970s.

He is now considerably worse regarded than Nick Clegg, on minus 36%, while David Cameron scored minus 15% and Nigel Farage minus 2%.

Even among Labour supporters, 58% said they were dissatisfied with Mr Miliband's performance as leader.

:: Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,011 adults across Britain by telephone between November 8 and 10. Data are weighted to represent the wider population.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the polls had been "bouncing about".

"We've had polls which have put Labour three and four points ahead," he told BBC News. "The only poll which matters is the general election day. Of course that's a cliche, but it's true.

"Our party is determined - from Ed Miliband, right down, throughout all our shadow cabinet and MPs - to get out there and say we'll have reform in Europe but we won't play fast and loose with jobs and investment like David Cameron, we'll have tough and fair immigration controls but we won't walk away from international markets like Ukip and the Tories, that we will have action on banking reform but also a bank bonus tax.

"We've got the policies. I think with Ed Miliband's leadership we can persuade the British people in the coming months that we've got the plan to make our economy strong and secure for the future. That's what we've got to do and that's what we'll do every day until polling day."

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