"The study by Policy Exchange looked in detail at the political landscape across the country and in particular difference in perceptions between the North and South.
"It found that the Conservative lead among people in the rural south is 42 per cent, but Labour's lead among people in northern cities is 43 per cent. In the rural north the Conservative lead is 10 per cent, while Labour is ahead in London.
"But voters across the UK expressed high levels of anti-political sentiment, with 81 per cent saying politicians did not understand the real world.
"When asked what political priorities should be, half said reducing energy bills and 43 per cent reducing fuel duty.
"Neil O'Brien, director of Policy Exchange, said it was too neat to talk about a political north-south divide and that the real variations were between urban and rural areas.
"'It's certainly true that the Conservatives do better in the south and Labour in the north, but within these regions there are huge differences," he said. "If you took the TransPennine Express from Liverpool to Newcastle you would find that 13 of the stops are in Conservative-held seats and 19 in Labour. It is in the northern cities specifically that the Conservatives do badly rather than the North as a whole.'
"He added: 'The results of our research show that political parties need to focus on addressing cost-of-living issues such as reducing energy bills and the price of petrol rather than broader issues affecting the state of the nation. The evidence also suggests that neither Labour nor the Conservatives have succeeded in appealing to ordinary working people.'"