LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and the opposition Labour party are picking up voter support at the expense of smaller rivals who threaten their chance of securing a majority government at an election in May, according to a poll on Thursday.
With the rising popularity of nationalist and single-issue parties challenging the already declining power of the traditional two-party system, the May 7 vote is expected to be a closely fought battle which could plunge Britain into unaccustomed political instability.
But with election campaigning ramping up, a poll of 1,010 adults by Ipsos MORI showed the combined share of the two main parties had hit 70 percent for the first time since December 2013.
“After their troubles in 2014, it seems that the big two parties may be reasserting themselves, as the battle between them dominates the agenda,” said Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI.
The poll put Labour on 36 percent, up two percentage points on last month and their highest level in an Ipsos MORI survey since April 2014, while the Conservatives were up one point on 34 percent.
In contrast, backing for Cameron’s junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, fell by two points to just 6 percent, their lowest level in 25 years.
Support for the anti-EU UK Independence party fell two points to 9 percent, while the proportion of voters saying they planned to vote for the Green party dropped one point to 7 percent.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison