The prospect of a post-election deal between Labour and the Scottish National Party makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband’s party, according to a new survey.

Polling company ORB, which questioned 2,000 people, found that a potential Labour-SNP deal made 25 per cent of voters less likely to vote Labour and 16 per cent more likely – a difference of nine points, which could be crucial in a tight election.

Many of those saying such an agreement makes them more likely to vote Labour already intend to back Labour. Six in 10 people said such an arrangement would make no difference to how they vote.

People who intend to vote Ukip were most likely to be put off by the prospect of a Labour-SNP deal. Some 29 per cent of them said it would make them less likely to back Labour, while only 7 per cent said it would make that more likely.

The findings will boost Conservative hopes that, by talking up the possibility of such a deal, they can win back former Tory supporters who have switched to Ukip. The prospect is not putting off most Labour supporters: 31 per cent said a link-up with the SNP would make them more likely to back Mr Miliband’s party, while 16 per cent said it would make them less likely.

Among Liberal Democrat supporters, a Lab-SNP deal would make them 27 per cent less likely to back Labour and only 13 per cent more likely.

The findings chime with reports from constituencies by Labour and Lib Dem officials that the Tory attacks on a Labour-SNP link-up are persuading former Tories to return “home” from Ukip.

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