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May 6, 2015updated 07 May 2015 2:29pm

UK daily newspaper market backs Tories over Labour by a margin of five to one

By Dominic Ponsford and William Turvill

If daily newspaper circulations were votes, the Conservatives would be forming the next Government with a landslide majority on Friday.

The Evening Standard yesterday called for its readers to vote Conservative tomorrow as did The Times and Daily Mail in editorials today.

They join The Sun and Daily Telegraph in backing the Tories.

Only The Guardian and the Daily Mirror have endorsed the Labour party. The Independent and Financial Times have both previously given their endorsement to a continuation of the coalition between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats.

The Daily Express has backed UKIP telling its readers today: “Vote UKIP for a patriotic Britain”. The Daily Star, i and Metro have not declared endorsements.

Looking at the 12 national paid-for daily newspapers audited by ABC, plus Metro and the Evening Standard: 57.5 per cent of the UK daily newspaper market is backing the Tories, versus 11.7 per cent Labour, 4.9 per cent UKIP and 1.4 per cent a continuation of the coalition.

Press Gazette only counted UK sales of the FT and subtracted the 224,298 sales of The Scottish Sun from the total. The Scottish Sun is backing the SNP and the Daily Record's policy is "anyone but the Tories", so broadly pro Labour/SNP.

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The latest poll of polls (source: May 2015) puts the Conservatives on 33.3 per cent, Labour on 32.9 per cent, UKIP on 14 per cent, Lib Dems on 9.4 per cent and the Greens on 4.7 per cent.

Over the weekend, five out of the 11 main national Sunday newspapers backed the Conservatives, three endorsed Labour, one UKIP and two did not state a preference.

The Scottish Daily Mail, which has a circulation of 89,323, told readers today that it would “never be so presumptuous as to tell readers what to do” but was critical of the SNP and Labour, and praised the coalition’s achievements.

In its editorial today, The Times said David Cameron "deserves a chance to finish" his economic recovery plans in coalition with the Liberal Democrats if he cannot secure an overall majority.

It said the power-sharing administration had been "stable and constructive" and the choice facing the country was between a repeat of the present power-sharing deal or a Labour government reliant on SNP MPs that would hold the rest of the union to "ransom" in what was "not democracy, but tyranny".

The Times said: "Mr Cameron would govern better with a clear Tory majority but the polls now indicate that is a remote possibility. The choice seems to come down to a Labour Party propped up by Scottish Nationalists or the Conservatives in a renewed coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

"The former would tear at the heart of the Union and unpick hard-won gains since the recession. The latter would advance the cause of enterprise and freedom in which The Times believes.”

The Daily Mail’s editorial today praised the Tory-led coalition’s “extraordinary economic achievement” over this last five years and advised readers to ensure Labour does not win the election. It said that Conservative voters should “seriously consider voting tactically for the party best placed to keep Labour out”.

An Evening Standard front page editorial yesterday asked readers to “consider what is best for our capital… and support the Tories”.

The Daily Mirror became the second national daily title to back Labour today, telling readers: “Vote for fairness and decency. Vote for a party that is on your side. If you want a better Britain, vote Labour.”

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