A fourth term for Labour would be the best election outcome for the voluntary sector, according to an online poll by Third Sector and research agency nfpSynergy.
More than 700 sector staff responded to the State of the Sector survey, giving their views on a range of issues, including the imminent general election.
Asked what result would be best for the sector, 42 per cent said a Labour government and 18 per cent a Liberal Democrat one. The Conservatives, despite their lead in public opinion polls, won the backing of only 13 per cent - one percentage point less than the proportion preferring a hung Parliament.
Labour's lead was reflected in the 51 per cent of respondents who also said the party had made a big difference to the sector since coming to power in 1997.
Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said the result was unexpected. "I was surprised that people were quite so pro-Labour and anti-Conservative," he said. "The Tories have made vast strides since 1995/96, when they were not that interested in the sector; now the sector is central to their thinking. Maybe it's ‘better the devil you know'. "
Charities with annual turnovers of less than £1m were the most likely to disagree with the statement that the Blair-Brown years had done a lot to benefit the sector, with 25 per cent. Charities with incomes larger than £6m a year were the least likely to disagree: only 13 per cent dissented.
Read the first of two features analysing our State of the Sector survey results here. The second will be published on 11 January.