The Liberal Democrats might be enjoying a surge in popularity following leader Nick Clegg's performance on the first televised election debate, but independent retailers are backing David Cameron's Conservative Party.

The Grocer's first Business Barometer for the independent sector, launched this week, found just 6.3% of respondents planned to vote for the Lib Dems on 6 May. Some 59.4% said they would back Cameron, with Labour trailing behind on just 15.6% . The remaining 18.7% of indies were undecided.

The monthly Business Barometer will take a sector 'health check' by asking independents whether in the past month they have: made more or fewer visits to their C&C; received more or fewer deliveries; increased or decreased the number of wholesalers traded with; and spent more or less on stock.

"The Grocer's new Business Barometer, together with innovations introduced in this month's Independent View, reflects the importance of independent retailers to the economy as well as the community," said editor of The Grocer, Adam Leyland.