Cameron, Miliband
Cameron seems to have lost poll lead over Miliband Reuters

David Cameron appears to have lost the recent poll lead he built over Labour with latest figures suggesting Ed Miliband's party is back with a six-point advantage.

The survey, by Tory supporter and pollster Lord Ashcroft, will be a disappointment to the Conservatives just days ahead of the local and Euro elections, putting Labour on 35%, the Conservatives 29%, Ukip 14% and the Liberal Democrats 9%.

The national findings are more in line with the spate of polls published before good economic news and the Chancellor's popular "budget for pensioners" appeared to boost the Conservatives' position.

Only a week ago the first Ashcroft survey in his weekly pre-general election series gave the Tories their first lead since 2012.

But, as Ashcroft states, other polls have offered a more varied outlook, suggesting the race between Labour and the Conservatives is still extremely close, with Labour probably slightly in the lead.

And that means his forthcoming poll looking at the vital marginal seats, which will decide the outcome of the 2015 election, will be watched with particular interest.

They have proved hugely accurate in the past and will be pored over by all the parties looking to maximise their resources in the campaign.

There is some better news for Cameron in the survey's findings on economic competence, however, giving them an 8-point lead when asked who would best get the economy growing and create jobs, usually a Labour advantage.

On the issues of cutting the deficit and debt and steering the economy through difficult times the Tories lead by 27 and 17 points respectively.

Labour will take heart that it has a 13-point lead on tackling the cost of living but the shine is taken off by the fact the Tories lead by six points on who would produce the practical policies that would work in the long run.

It will also be mildly reassured that the survey found 44% agreed the economy was going in the right direction while 49% said the country was going in the wrong direction. That is not enough for Labour to feel secure about, however.

Overall, the poll suggests neither side can be entirely confident they have yet sealed the deal with the electorate and that, particularly when it comes to the economy, the race is still on.

As for this week's Euro elections, the results show any huge vote for Ukip on Thursday may well be a protest rather than in the belief they would be the best party in dealing with the EU.

When asked the specific question of which party has the best approach to Britain's relationship with the EU, the results are extremely close with Labour on 27%, the Conservatives 25% , Ukip 21%, and the Lib Dems on 13%.

What is important about the Ashcroft surveys is the fact they will be weekly until the general election, allowing any obvious trends to be tracked with some consistency.

Similarly his marginals polls will give the clearest picture yet available of precisely where the real battles will take place.