More North East voters back David Cameron as a better Prime Minister than Ed Miliband, an exclusive Journal poll today reveals.
When asked which of the party leaders do they think would make the best Prime Minister, some 25% of the North East said Mr Cameron, versus just 16% for Ed Miliband.
The exclusive Other Lines of Enquiry North poll, using their in house Panelbase service, showed that even in Labour’s North East heartland, Mr Miliband is far from inspiring.
Which of the party leaders do you think would make the best Prime Minister?
Nationally the poll made for even worse reading, with Mr Miliband third behind Nigel Farage. The Ukip leader was on 14% UK-wide, 1% higher than Mr Miliband. Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg came in last in the voters minds both nationally and regionally, though more than a third said they backed none of the candidates put to them. (Biggest vote of all, however, came for “none of the above”, which scored 39% nationally and 45% in the North East).
Mr Miliband scored marginally higher with women then he did for male voters, with Mr Cameron also scoring higher with men.
One of lowest approval came for Mr Clegg, with just 2% of those over 55 thinking the Lib Dem would be the ideal PM.
But even this was beaten by the 18-25 age ranger, where none of those asked said they would consider Mr Farage as a potential PM.
Mr Cameron has pinned his hopes of a 2015 election victory on the economy, and the Journal poll suggest this could secure him another term in No 10.
Which of the following issues is most likely to influence your vote at the next General Election?
When asked which issue is most likely to influence their vote at the next General Election, some 35% of the North East said the economy, more even than the 27% nationally who named it as their number one consideration.
In the North East the second biggest issue was the NHS, at 23%, but nationally it was tied with Europe on 22%.
At 12% unemployment was a bigger issue in the North East than nationally (9%), reflecting perhaps the North East’s long running battle with unemployment.
The poll also showed that when asked if they will be voting at the next General Election, some 80% of the nation said yes, a figure far higher than the 65% turn out in 2010.
The Journal poll comes as evidence suggests Ukip has cut more deeply into Labour support than Conservative backing in key marginal seats over the past few months.
Mr Farage’s party is in first place in two of the seats - Thurrock and Thanet South - and second in a third - Great Yarmouth - according to the survey of 14,000 voters in 14 constituencies, carried out for major Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft.
The Ashcroft poll does hold out some hope for Labour in the North East, however, with the party set to re-claim Stockton South from the Tories.
Will you be voting at the next General Election?
The survey found that, rather than fading away in the wake of the European Parliament elections, Ukip support in the Tory-held seats where Labour is the main challenger had risen by five points since a similar poll in the spring. And Ed Miliband’s party was the main victim, dropping by three points compared to Tories who were down one.
Lord Ashcroft said: “It means that Ukip’s national vote share is not the most useful guide to their prospects at the election. Though they score 21% across this battleground, their vote in these seats ranges from 9% in Hendon to 31% in Great Yarmouth, 33% in Thanet South and 36% in Thurrock.
“We will see whether the party can sustain this level of support in these constituencies for another 10 months.
“But with Nigel Farage planning to concentrate his party’s resources in just 25 targets, Ukip’s impact is likely to be felt in a series of local contests to which their headline vote share may bear little relation.”
A poll by TNS UK, meanwhile, has showed Ukip’s national vote share falling four points to 19%.