Poll boost for Labour in marginals
Labour is on track to take more key marginal seats from the Tories at the next general election, according to a poll.
Research by Lord Ashcroft in 12 Conservative-held constituencies found Ed Miliband's party is set to win nine of them.
The study looked at seats where the MP had a majority of between 4.8% and 7.1% - including Northampton North, Worcester, Keighley, Cannock Chase and Croydon Central.
It found the Tories would currently hang on in just three of them - Kingswood, Blackpool North & Cleveleys, and Loughborough.
The results come after a previous round of polling suggested David Cameron's party would lose nine out of 11 seats where they had smaller majorities.
Lord Ashcroft said net Conservative losses and net Labour gains would have to total more than 46 for Mr Miliband to lead the largest party next May.
"Since my research so far has shown the Conservatives and Labour ahead in equal numbers of seats currently held by the Lib Dems, and Ukip ahead in two seats currently held by the Tories, the Conservatives can afford to lose no more than 21 seats to Labour if they are to remain the largest party," the peer said.
"My battleground polling has to date found them behind in 38 - albeit sometimes by very slim margins - and we have not yet reached the point at which the Tory losses end."
However, the Tory peer stressed that other factors - such as whether other Lib Dem seats were vulnerable, the ability of Ukip to make inroads elsewhere, and the surge in SNP support north of the border - could change the balance significantly.
The research also indicated a majority across the constituencies favoured Mr Cameron remaining as Prime Minister.
Some 30% were satisfied with his performance, while another 29% preferred him to Mr Miliband.
:: 12,008 adults were interviewed by telephone between October 2 and 27. Results were weighted to represent all adults living in the constituency, by past vote recall, and self-declared likelihood to vote.