The huge difficulty David Cameron will have winning a majority at the next election has been laid bare by a new poll published today, which reveals more than a third of those who voted Conservative in 2010 would not do so again were an election held tomorrow.
The figures, which will worry Tory MPs, show that the 37% of one time Tory voters that have abandoned the party far outweigh the 6% of voters who have been attracted from other parties. Considering the Cameron failed to win a majority in 2010, he can not afford to lose votes to other parties if he wants to govern without the Lib Dems.
The poll was conducted by Lord Ashcroft, a former deputy chairman of the Conservatives, as part of his 'Project Blueprint: Phase 4' research into how the party can win the next election.
According to the survey around half of the voters that have abandoned the party said they would vote Ukip in an election tomorrow.
Less than one in five defectors have switched to Labour or the Liberal Democrats. One third say they do not know how they will vote.
And only 3% of voters who did not for Tory in 2010 and would not do so tomorrow would consider doing so in the future.
Lord Ashcroft said: "This research shows it is far from impossible for the Tories to win outright. But to do so they will need the votes of everyone who supported for them last time, plus practically everyone who is even prepared to think about doing so next time.
"Drawing a contrast with Labour and highlighting progress on welfare, immigration and the macro economy, important though they are, will only take the Tories so far. It needs to be clearer what would be on offer under a new Conservative government.
"It is one thing to say don’t turn back, but we also need to know where we’re going."
Cameron found himself in Downing Street in 2010 having won just 36% of the national vote. And no prime minister has improved his party's vote share since Harold Wilson in the second 1974 election. The last Conservative prime minister to achieve it was Anthony Eden in May 1955.
Also on HuffPost:
Chloe Smith vs Paxman (skip to 6:20)
This isn't so much a car crash of an interview, more a head-on collision between the last two spaceships ferrying mankind away from a doomed planet Earth thereby wiping out our entire species. It's that bad.
Michael Howard vs Paxman
Vintage Paxman this, a veritable Grand Cru of an interview. Howard is asked a whopping 14 times "Did you threaten to overrule him?", (referring to a meeting with Derek Lewis, head of Her Majesty's Prison Service). Evasive is not the word...
Bill Shorten vs Agenda
Showing unflinching party loyalty that would have made Stalin proud, Bill Shorten sacrificed his own opinions to subscribe to a stance he hadn't even heard yet. "I haven't seen what she said but let me says I support what it is that she said." Good for you Bill, good for you...
Brown vs Marr
Asking the PM if he's on drugs? Brave Marr, very brave...
Brown vs Boulton
For one glorious second it almost looks like the two gents are about to come to actual blows, which lets face it, would be an utterly fantastic wonder. My money would be on Brown.
Brown (again) vs Himself
Watching Brown's face, not to mention election chances, crumble live on TV is a behemoth of a spectacle, Shakespearean in it's utter tragedy.
Lord Pearson vs His Own Manifesto
A monumental failure to misunderstand the fundamentals of politics.
Diane Abbot vs Neil
Superb piece of grilling here as a continually smirking Portillo looks on clearly enjoying every squirming second...
Karl Rove vs The Rest Of The World
When Fox News calls the election for a Democratic president you know it's time to give it up...
Chairman Nhlanhla Nene vs Gravity
Sometimes negotiating the interviewer is the easy part.. The best thing about this clip is the first crack 11 seconds in. From that moment on this unfortunate gent has a look in his eyes of someone who knows he's doomed...