Election race tightens to hung parliament: poll

LONDON Tue Feb 9, 2010 7:52am GMT

Furniture specialist Zelina Burt poses for photographers with an old street sign for Downing Street, at Bonhams auctioneers in central London January 14, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Furniture specialist Zelina Burt poses for photographers with an old street sign for Downing Street, at Bonhams auctioneers in central London January 14, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - A hung parliament looks increasingly likely as the Conservative's lead over the Labour Party slips, an opinion poll published on Tuesday showed.

The Populus poll for the Times newspaper found support for Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party up two points from last month at 30 percent, while the centre-right Conservatives were down one point at 40 percent.

The projections, in line with other recent polls, suggest the Conservatives would be three seats short of an overall parliamentary majority if repeated in an election due by June, the paper said.

The poll also showed a third of voters expect a hung parliament, up from 22 percent in December last year.

This could hand the balance of power to the centrist Liberal Democrats who gained one point over the past month to 20 percent.

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesman, Vince Cable told the Financial Times on Monday that concerns in the financial markets of a hung parliament were "completely and totally irrational."

Populus interviewed a random sample of 1,502 adults aged 18 plus between February 5 and 7 for the poll, The Times said.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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