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Polls split over election outcome
LONDON (Reuters) - Election polls published on Tuesday offered contrasting views of a parliamentary election outcome, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown was set to confirm Britain will go to the polls on May 6.
A poll for the Guardian newspaper showed ruling Labour could remain the largest party in parliament but be 30 seats short of a workable majority, after they cut the Conservatives' lead to just four points.
But surveys in the Daily Express and the Sun showed the Conservatives' lead extending into double digits, suggesting the opposition party would be able to form the next government with either a small majority or with the support of a minority party.
The ICM poll in the Guardian put the Conservatives on 37 percent of the vote, Labour on 33 percent, and the smaller opposition Liberal Democrats on 21 percent.
It said the gap between the two main parties was the narrowest in an ICM poll for almost two years.
But a separate Opinium survey for the Daily Express and the Sun's daily YouGov poll both put the Conservatives 10 points ahead.
The Opinium poll had support for the Conservatives at 39 percent of the vote, while Labour had 29 percent and the Liberal Democrats 17 percent.
The Sun's daily YouGov survey put the Conservatives at 41 percent, Labour at 31 percent and the Liberal Democrats 18 percent.
The Conservatives have held a consistent lead over Labour since January 2008. But analysts say the party needs a lead of at least 11 points to win an outright majority in parliament because of technicalities in the electoral system requiring it to win more votes per seat than Labour.
ICM Research surveyed 1,001 adults by telephone between April 1 and 3 and Opinium surveyed 1,903 adults between April 2 and 5. The Sun did not give details of its survey.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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