Tories overtake Labour in new poll
Labour has fallen behind the Conservatives in an opinion poll published on the eve of Ed Miliband's high-profile speech to the party's annual conference in Liverpool.
And, in news which will make unpleasant reading for the Labour leader as he prepares to address delegates, the ComRes survey for The Independent found that fewer than one voter in four sees Mr Miliband as a credible future prime minister.
It is the first time since October 2010 that a ComRes poll has put Tories in the lead and one of only a handful of surveys this year to find Labour in second place.
Some 37% of the 1,000 voters questioned said they backed Tories - down one point since the most recent poll by the same company eight days ago - against 36% for Labour (down two) and 12% for the Liberal Democrats (up one).
Just 24% agreed that Mr Miliband was a credible PM-in-waiting, against 57% who said he was not.
And only 27% said Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls would make a better Chancellor than George Osborne, compared to 43% who said he would not.
Following Mr Balls's admission in his speech to conference that Labour had made "mistakes" during its time in power, the poll found that 40% of voters would be more likely to support the party if it apologised for its failings in office, against 52% who would not.
Almost half of those questioned (48%) thought the unions enjoy too much influence over Labour, but 37% said they do not.
The poll was carried out between Friday and Sunday, and Labour strategists will be hoping that the dip in support it records will be reversed by the "bounce" which parties generally benefit from thanks to the additional attention devoted to them during their conference.
ComRes interviewed 1,000 adults by phone between September 23 and 25.