LABOUR and the Lib Dems appear to be neck and neck in West Fife going into today's general election.

A poll on the Press website attracted more than 900 votes and puts Labour and the Lib Dems both on 32 per cent with the other parties trailing.

In the Dunfermline and West Fife constituency, Labour is trying to win back a once safe seat which it lost to the Lib Dems' Willie Rennie at a by-election in 2006 following the death of MP Rachel Squire.

Candidate Thomas Docherty will be encouraged to have narrowly topped the Press poll but the real thing appears to be too close to call.

With 907 responses registered, Labour were just ahead on 294 (32 per cent), Lib Dems on 290 (32 per cent), the SNP on 81 (9), Tories 52 (6) and others 135 (15). There were 55 people (6 per cent) who said they would not vote.

Like all opinion polls the Press one comes with a 'health warning'.

The Press catchment area is not directly aligned with the constituency - areas such as Kelty, Dalgety Bay and Crossgates are in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat where Prime Minister Gordon Brown is not expected to have any trouble holding on.

However, it is a different matter in Dunfermline and West Fife with the Press poll reflecting how closely the main parties also see it.

On paper, the Dunfermline and West Fife seat should be a safe Labour seat given that at the last general election in 2005 they polled 20,111 (47.4 per cent) to the Lib Dems' 8549 (20.2).

However, there was a remarkable turnaround at the by-election, less than a year later, when Labour's 11,562 majority disappeared and the Lib Dems won by 1800 votes.

Mr Docherty said, "It is becoming clear that the Liberal Democrats are in difficulty here. People are realising that only Labour can stop David Cameron becoming Prime Minister.

"A vote for the Liberal Democrats would hand the keys to Number 10 to David Cameron to cut the economic recovery, cut jobs and cut support for hard-working families.

"Out of all the parties, only Labour is committed to Rosyth through our guarantee to the aircraft carrier project and the development of the local area.

"Labour will fight for the economy, fight for jobs and fight for families.

"The Lib Dems thought this seat was in the bag and people are rightly angry at being taken for granted." Mr Rennie said, "Your poll reflects the feedback we're getting that it is really close between ourselves and Labour.

"We are now finding that people who have previously voted for the SNP or the Tories are now thinking about switching to us because they're tired of Labour taking the area for granted.

"There's an element of tactical voting and it's a big decision people have to make.

"Nothing that's come up on the doorsteps has really surprised me because I try to keep in touch with the local communities all the time and it's not a case of just popping up when we want your vote.

"I think people in the area are fed up with negative campaigning such as our opponents making up stories saying we would scrap the carriers contract.

"People in the area know I've fought tooth and nail for the carriers and so they're not happy when they can see this type of scaremongering." Rosyth SNP councillor Douglas Chapman, who is contesting the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat, said the Press poll was way off the mark.

"It's certainly not what we've been finding on the doorsteps," he said.

"The SNP vote is staying strong and with the probability of a hung parliament we have good candidates who can be champions for Fife and Scotland.

"The SNP has been greatly disadvantaged by not being able to take part in the TV debates which have dominated the campaign but I think the novelty quickly wore off and they didn't deal with the real issues facing us.

"It's on the doorsteps that you find out what people are thinking and our voters are sticking with us." Tory candidate in Dunfermline and West Fife Dr Belinda Hacking said she did not believe the poll was representative of that constituency and was confident of gaining more than six per cent of votes.

She said, "We've been welcomed on doorsteps in the area and we are finding that there is strong feeling that people don't want Labour to get in.

"There may be people who are considering tactical voting but I would appeal for them to vote for the policies they believe in." UKIP's Peter Adams, a candidate in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said he was encouraged by the 15 per cent polled by 'others'.

"We're finding that people are fed up with the old parties who have been discredited by the expenses scandal," he said.

"More and more people are coming to realise the extent to which we are ruled from Europe even on day-to-day matters such as bin collections and post office closures."