66 per cent of UK Sunday newspaper market backs Tories, versus 33 per cent of public in opinion polls

The Conservative Party won endorsement from five out of the 11 main national Sunday newspapers this weekend.

The Labour Party, meanwhile, has the backing of three titles and UKIP of one.

Two Sunday newspapers – The Independent on Sunday and the Daily Star Sunday – did not declare an endorsement.

The five newspapers backing the Tories recorded a combined average circulation of 4,084,081 in March, according to ABC (66 per cent of the overall market). The three newspapers supporting Labour, meanwhile, have a combined circulation of 1,358,992 (22 per cent).

The latest poll of polls (source: May 2015) puts Tory and Labour support level at 33 per cent, with UKIP on 13.5 per cent and the Lib Dems on 9.3 per cent.

The Independent on Sunday said that it, like the i newspaper, is “not suggesting how you should vote on Thursday”.

“While our rivals have reverted to their ideological bunkers, we have sought to stay true to our name,” it said.

Despite the daily Independent title today giving its backing to another Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, The Independent on Sunday told its readers: “Go with your convictions”.

“This does not mean that we are a bloodless, value-free news-sheet. We have always been committed to social justice, protection of the environment and international co-operation.

“But we recognise that you can make up your own mind about whether you agree with us or not and, if you do, about which parties would give those values best expression in government.”

Today, The Independent has been criticised for its backing of a Tory-Lib Dem coalition by its own staff among others. 

The Daily Star Sunday did not feature an editorial this week.

The Sunday People’s editorial, written by Nigel Nelson, declared that the paper is not aligned to any political party. Listing the paper’s demands, the article said: “No political party standing at this election ticks all your boxes. That is why this newspaper fiercely maintains its political independence.”

However, after explaining that Conservative leader David Cameron had refused to be interviewed by the paper, it told readers “not to bother voting for him or any Tory candidate”.

After discussing all of the main political party leaders, the editorial concluded: “Mr Miliband has the character, the intelligence and the integrity to make a fine prime minister.

“Ed Miliband is a true man of the people. And he’s the man for Sunday People readers on Thursday.”

The People’s sister title, the Sunday Mirror, also endorsed Miliband “for your sake, for Britain’s sake” (not online). And The Observer joined its sister daily, The Guardian, in backing Labour also.

The Sunday Express set out in an editorial this weekend “why we believe you should vote UKIP and how a UKIP vote will serve your interest and those of this great country”.

The Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, The Sun on Sunday and The Mail on Sunday all gave their backing to the Conservatives.

The daily edition of The Sun, the Financial Times (Tory-Lib Dem coalition), Independent (both Tory-Lib Dem coalition) and Guardian (Labour) declared their endorsements last week.

The Daily Telegraph today called for a “justified Tory surge” in support ahead of the election, while both the Daily Mail and Daily Express today ran editorials criticising Miliband. The Times, meanwhile, told its readers to vote for Nick Clegg in his Sheffield Hallam constituency because he provides “the best hope of a Tory-led government would be once again to team up with the Liberal Democrats. That requires the presence of Mr Clegg, so they would be wise to vote for him.”

Away from newspapers, the Economist has endorsed a second Lib Dem-Conservative coalition as the best outcome for the UK.

The Spectator magazine  has backed the Tories – despite some misgivings about Cameron – although its editor Fraser Nelson said its Scottish edition would be urging readers to vote Liberal Democrat.

In a leader column posted online, the traditionally Conservative-supporting magazine said that the people who would lose out under a Labour government would be those who could least afford it.

"It has been easy to despair of David Cameron over the years; the extent of our problems call for more radicalism, purpose and direction than he has felt able to apply," it said.

"But as Churchill said of America, he does tend to do the right thing in the end – after exhausting all other options. You do not need to be a fan of Cameron to consider him far preferable to Miliband."

The New Statesman has signalled its backing for Labour, while voicing concerns about the leadership of Ed Miliband.

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