Unlike the YouGov and Populus polls in recent days an Ipsos-MORI poll in the Observer doesn’t show any sign of a conference boost for Labour – the topline figures with changes from the last MORI poll, conducted directly prior to the Labour conference, are CON 34%(nc), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 16%(+2) This is an increase for the Lib Dems, but pretty static for the two main parties. There is no indication yet of the exact dates of the fieldwork.

The poll also underlined what is Gordon Brown’s undoubted strength since the Northern Rock crisis – an overwhelming 60% of people think Gordon Brown is best able to handle a crisis compared with only 13% for David Cameron and 9% for Sir Menzies Campbell. Rather cuttingly for David Cameron, amongst Tory voters 37% trusted Brown most in a crisis compared to 32% for Cameron.

A BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday also shows the Conservatives on 34% and Labour on 41%, but with the Lib Dems down on 12%. It’s the lowest Lib Dem score we’ve seen for a long while, but that’s to be expected. We don’t know what weightings they do use, but we do know from their polls last year that they tend to produce figures with the Lib Dems considerably lower than in other polls.

UPDATE – the full results of the MORI poll are now up on their website here, with one very interesting finding. A week or two ago we were told that Labour’s private polling showed them 7 or 8 points ahead, but asked how people would vote in an autumn election it shot up to a 14 point lead. We have no way of testing such claims of course, but MORI asked a similar question in this poll. From CON 34%, LAB 41%, LDEM 16% in the normal voting intention poll, asked how people would vote in an autumn election the figures changed to CON 35%, LAB 40%, LDEM 16%. It’s not a huge shift – Labour’s lead is only 2 points lower – but it contradicts the idea that Labour would have an even bigger lead in an immediate election.

54 Responses to “Sunday Polls – UPDATED”

  1. Wow, slightly off topic but a fun fact nonetheless:

    Electoral Calculus predicts Menzies Campbell will lose his seat to the SNP.

  2. It’s very interesting that Labour’s lead falls when people are asked how they would vote if there were to be an autumn election.
    I think regional breakdowns should be an important feature of opinion polls in the future – there are signs that swings to the Conservatives will be stronger in southern England and that the SNP will make gains (mostly at Labour’s expense) in Scotland.
    If the electoral cycle remains unbroken as it has since most people can remember, the Tories will be at least 3% ahead in the popular vote at the next election.

  3. Joe,

    Sitting leaders pretty much never lose their seats, so Ming Campbell will get through. it’s not the electorate he needs to watch out for, it’s his own team.

    Even though we still don’t have much detail on whats happening in Scotland, I think that it will be Labour v the SNP, with the overall shares something like,

    Labour 40%, SNP 24%, Conservative 16% Libdem 16% other 4%.

    The BBC has a Scottish seat calculator here although it’s a bit out of date,


    In 2005 vote shares in Scotland were;

    Labour 39.5% (40 seats), LibDems 22.6% (11 seats) SNP 17.7% (6 seats), Conservative 15.8% (1 seat) others 5% (no Seats) and a turn out of 60.6%.

    Compared to 2001 Labour were down 4.4.%, The SNP down 2.4%, the Tories up 0.2% and the LibDems up 6.3%.

    I am assuming that Labour will be more or less the same, but tht the SNP and Libdems will effectively switch places with the Tories static.

    However I’d expect very few seats to change hands, although I think it is just possible that the SNP can come close to the Libdems in terms of the number of seats.

    Another issue is that if we do have an election in November how should the SNP fight it?

    Posters of Brown and Thatcher on the steps of No10 might go down well with a Caption of “New Labour” with one word in Blue and another red. Despite the years since she left Maggie is still slightly less popular than foot and mouth in scotland.

    I think the British Jobs line, won’t go down well with Labours asian supporters in Glasgow, nor will 90 days detention. Equally during the Scottish election Labour made a big play for the Polish vote and I think that might be an issue in this election, give Browns line.

    I am not sure the whole emphasis on “Britain” will be a vote winner up here either, but there are risks in the SNP fighting a negative campaign at odds with the image it’s created at Holyrood.

    In addition we need to work with whoever wins, and as ever SNP supporters hardly jump to attention for a Westminster election, indeed the better the SNP do in Scotland the harder it is to get activists to bother about UK elections.

    The news that petrol will go above £1 a litre will be one that the SNP can use particularly as oil at $83 will do the party no harm. I know “It’s Scotlands Oil” is an old slogan but with Des Brown pushing nuclear which is hugely unpopular in Scotland, unlike the rest of the UK energy could still be a big issue up here.

    So here your chance folks, give us your suggestions ( slogans?) for how you think the SNP should fight it.


  4. Maybe the reason why the Tories seem to be suicidally calling for a snap election despite these appalling opinion polls is down to the turnout factor; they may be convinced that a November election would indeed produce a very low turnout, something which would probably benefit them significantly.

  5. Andy,

    The Tories are calling for an early election, because not to do so would make it look like they feared one and that would undermine there campaign and credibility, making it look like they were running scared.

    So they have no option but to pretend they are up for it.

    It’s a bit like a scared kid being dared to do something dangerous, he has to act brave so that he doesn’t get called a coward. It’s about being less scared of being riddiculed than the dare.

    Risky strategy but they don’t have any option really.


  6. Andy Stidwill

    “Maybe the reason why the Tories seem to be suicidally calling for a snap election despite these appalling opinion polls is down to the turnout factor; ”

    I agree with Peter, they havent got any option. No point saying “wellactually we’d rather not, thanks very much”

    However I do believe that GB risks his reputation as a strong stable leader interested in the best interests of the country if he takes us to the polls in mid November.

    At the moment he looks like he can beat Cameron whenever he wants, why risk a winter election, I’d say wait till Spring and then go to the polls. No reason to suspect he wouldn’t win just as comfortably then,in fact i believe more so.

    Having said that I think he will go now and win with a lower majority than he expects (maybe 30-40)

  7. I don’t agree with Andy Stidwill’s suggestion that an election this November would produce a low turnout. Turnout is likely to rise reflecting competition between the two parties. However, it would be lower than it would have been in the summer, partly because of a less accurate register.

    I also believe that Labour and the Tories are pretty close on the share of the vote – in actual reality.

  8. One obvious factor affecting turnout will be the weather in November. However, if the election is percieved aas a real competition (and it might be, even with a substantial LAB poll lead) then that will enourage a higher turnout. I would predict at least a 65% turnout, althoug I’d be surprised if it is over 70%


    The fact that you are a paid up member of the Conservative Party is neither here nor there – what the Conservatives need is supporters who don’t run scared everytime there is a bad POLL . Negative commenst only strengthen the Labour rumour that the Conservatices are a split party – which they are not !

    The reason i highlight the word “POLL” is because certain individuals on here were suggesting i did’nt discuss the POLLS but just talked politics . There was a suggestion to have my comments censored – so by highlighting what i am discussing makes sense to me , so that there is no confusion on the subject matter i am talking about .

    As for you suggesting that i don’t have an insight into Browns mind – no i don’t – but anyone who knows anything about politics and especially the Labour Party and in particular the Brown / Blair partnership – does’nt need to be a mind reader to know what choices he has . If the majority of people are suggesting an election will take place soon – i have a right to suggest tht it will not – of which i gave my reasons .

  10. As with everything else, it’s not just about how many people turn out but where, it would be interesting to look back over polls and see if the numbers likely to vote vary regionally.

    Labour voters streaming out to back brown in seats like Airdrie and Shots won’t make a blind bit of difference, but in a key marginal it could man the difference between a 100 seat majority and a humg parliament.


  11. well taking last six polls.. I make the new tally something like

    Lab 42.1%
    Con 33.0%
    LDe 14.5%

    How the Tory Brigade can call this a victory for Cameron is beyond me,Labour seem to be streching their lead…..

  12. The Northern Rock episode underlines the Conservatives main problem: in a financially risky world Gordon Brown still has the gravitas to be seen as leading a team that can ride out international financial crises. It may be unpleasant for the Conservatives as they believe many of our problems can be laid at the feet of the PM and ex-Chancellor.

    Back to the main point I still do not see the Labour majority that these latest polls might suggest.

  13. GIN, Dave, Warren

    come on, read the rules in yesterday’s ; watch the share, not the lead!

    As I proved with the data for the Sun/Channel 4 comparison, there was NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER, statistically, between YouGov’s 11 point lead and Ipsos MORI’s 8 point lead.

    NOT “quite a difference”, NONE AT ALL!

    Bob Worcester

  14. GIN, Dave, Warren

    Sorry, so anxious to get this off, I failed to finish as sentence (Anthony didn’t edit it out!). Yesterday’s exchange in Mike’s Political Betting 2.0)

    Bob Worcester

  15. Anthony

    I notice that MORI asked a ‘squeeze question’ of those who wouldn’t or didn’t want to answer clearly ‘who would you vote if there was a GE tomorrow’. The question was ‘who are you likely to vote for. All of course were ‘certain to vote’ but the latter group are clearly much less solid about their voting intentions.

    It would be interesting to know what the result was of those who answered without the squeeze question. It would also be interesting to know what portion required the squeeze question in order to get an answer out of them. Finally one would like to know what portion wouldn’t give an answer even after the second question.

    The answers to these questions might give us a better idea of where we are and what likelihood there was of a significant change during a GE.

    Off topic, I’m told that Adam Boulton is still convinced there will be no GE. Others take a different view. I suspect there is spinning to cover a potential line after a backdown; ‘all this froth and bubble was all Press talk, GB never said a word about a GE’. Everything hinges on the polls at the weekend but if GB bottles it on the back of a strong DC performance he’ll be badly damaged and DC will be hugely boosted.

  16. Personally, I don’t think a November election would produce a lower turnout than last time, and it could well be slightly higher, around 65%. I was only suggesting that some people in Tory Central Office might think that the turnout would be very low in November.

  17. Note the Mori Observer poll was NOT their normal 2,000 sample monthly political monitor but a special 1,000 sample poll for the Observer .

  18. Mike Richardson: Who’s running scared? I’m not, nor being divisive. Dismissing council by-elections as irrelevant froth is not running scared, its being consistent with my opinion that has been stated here for years. If I said when they were looking good for the Tories “now these are meaningful” I’d be a hypocrite, not loyal.

    JakeBraden: I don’t think any sensible Tory is calling present opinion polls a victory for the Tories, they’re quite clearly not! But nor are they realistic either, we’re in a state of flux that happens every year in conference season. Labour normally get a bounce after their conference, and we normally get a bounce after ours. Since we always go last, that means that Labour normally change the gap temporarily for one week only between the two conferences.

    We’ll see how things stand afterwards, that will be more meaningful.

  19. Philip Thompson: Looking back over the polls for the last few years, I can’t see much convincing evidence for a regular bounce for either party around conference time.
    And, except in the minds of political junkies hoping for (or dreading) an election, it doesn’t seem to me to be particularly a “time of flux” at present. More like a return to the status quo after the real “flux” associated with the fallout from the Iraq war, and then from the long period of uncertainty about when Blair would go.
    The present status quo would seem to be: Lab 39ish Con 34ish LD 17ish – with some slight ups and downs, partly due to events, partly just statistical fluctuations.

  20. Today’s Times has an article quoting John Turner,the CE of The Association of Electoral Administrators as saying an Autumn election could be “the worst in living memory”-reasons apparently are failures in postal voting systems not corrected yet/out of date electoral register etc.It is claimed that 1m people might be disenfranchised.Mr Turner advises GB to “keep your hand away from the phone”.

    The Conservative Conference is going well so far-Portillo said on TV this morning that the Press is starting to look supportive-and want a “decent fight”.

    But if there isn’t going to be one-either because of Mr. Turner-or because GB never ever intended to call one…the Conservatives have simply been rushed into policy choices from their six review recommendations in a period of weeks rather than over the next two years.

    Gordon will merely sit back & cherry pick , leaving the Conservatives back at square one.

    How cynical & calculating does GB have to get before the polls turn against him?

  21. Colin: “GB cynical and calculating”… Great heavens, surely this is completely unknown in political circles. It would never, for example, cross the minds of ANY party to say “bring it on” (when they really mean – no, please don’t). Or to promise tax cuts aimed especially at their middle-England base… No, never!
    But whatever the calculations, I hope GB does resist the temptation. We need a spell of sensible government (yes, and effective opposition too) before we are called on to make a judgement on three terms of Labour.

  22. Does anyone know whether it would be possible for a General Election to be held on a Saturday AND Sunday (as was recommended a few months ago)in order to increase turnout? Could the PM simply announce this or would it require legislation?

  23. Granted that it would be very unwise to allow any one set of local council by elections to lead anyone to think that the opinion polls might be somewhat inaccurate and therefore heading for a 1970 type disaster -if the next set of results this Thursday show exactly the same picture as last week then it becomes just a teeny bit harder to dismiss them out of hand as too many contributors to this website seem to do. There are no absolutes in this game. As Anthony has been saying for months the situation is extremely volatile-those Labour supporters who seem to think that public opinion cannot do a volte face may turn out to be right but victory is not their’s by divine right. The opera as they say ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

  24. Just to make clear I’m not John Turner of the Association of Electoral Administrators! Is that body related to the Electoral Commission? If not, are they independent?
    In a different part of The Times , Peter Riddell writes that Labour “distributes its votes more efficiently with lots of small majorities, while the Tories pile up big majorities in safe seats” Is there any evidence that this is the case? (leaving aside the obvious nonsense that the parties “distribute their votes”!)
    GB says and does nothing and yet is accused of being cynical and calculating. What power!

  25. “How cynical & calculating does GB have to get before the polls turn against him?”

    So let’s get this straight, what you are saying is GB has tricked the Tories into revealing policies before they’d got them sorted by never actually mentioning an election.

    Furthermore he deliberately became popular to fool the Tories into thinking he might have an election that we’d all talk about that he wasn’t talking about.

    Amazing to think how the Tories have gone from ridiculing the man to being so petrified that they are doing everything in their power to stop him calling an election he never mentioned, by claiming that they want an election that everyone knows they don’t.

    You’re right, the Tories aren’t cynical and calculating, just foolish and inept.

    In reply to the other points, I do believe there would be a big reduction in the turnout if the election was held in November, I think people would resent being called out to vote in an election we dont need to have, simply to please the politico’s.

    Brown will beat Cameron whenever he goes, he’d be far better off to wait for the spring, and then go to the polls then. If they have turned against labour then he can wait another year before we get to the stage when people thought we might have an election in the first place, so there’s no need to rush.

    GB has panicked the Tories into opening up their shop window before the shop is open, and now he can pick off their hare brained and rushed policy announcements at his leisure.

  26. Correction to the above – it would require amendment of the 1983 Representation of the People Act, under which weekends are “non-days”. That’s not going to happen sometime soon, so expect very low turnouts again.

  27. Charles – an election on a Saturday or a Sunday would require legislation. Currently the statutory timetable polling day automatically happens 17 days after the writ for the election is issued, not counting bank holidays or weekends, hence it is impossible to call a Saturday or Sunday election – the 17th day will never fall on a Saturday or Sunday.

    To change it would require the Representation of the People Act 1983 to be amended. I’m not sure if there is provision for it to be changed quickly using secondary legislation, or whether it would take primary legislation to do so.

  28. Davwas:-

    “GB has panicked the Tories into opening up their shop window before the shop is open, and now he can pick off their hare brained and rushed policy announcements at his leisure.”

    Yes I think he has-time will tell though. I don’t think they are hare brained at all….erm do you think GB would prefer to use them if they were?!


    “to promise tax cuts aimed especially at their middle-England base…”

    This middle class/middle england epithet used as a term of abuse by Labour gets increasingly flexible!-now it includes all homeowners whose property is worth less than £1m & all couples with children eh!

  29. Anthony – Is it my computer or do my posts appear,then disappear,then re-appear again?

  30. Anthony – One more thing.How come when asked if there was going to be a vote tommorrow the Labour lead is 14% but asked if there is an Autumn election its 5%.Is this more or less the same thing???

  31. Shouldn’t appear then disappear then reappear! If comments do not appear at all, it probably means I moderated them. As I said a week or two ago, some people were really not even attempting to live within the spirit of the comments policy, so I’ve been moderating comments far more harshly than usual.

    On the immediate election polls, all normal polls ask about an election tomorrow – that is itself normal voting intention, so I expect that the private polls Labour were claiming weren’t asking that, but some other wording asking about immediate elections. Since nothing about it is public we can’t possibly make any judgements about it, MORI’s question is kosher and above board and judging from that a fair question about how people would vote in an immediate election doesn’t make any great difference to the normal voting intention figures.

  32. “do you think GB would prefer to use them if they were?!”

    No, when I said ‘pick off’ I meant shoot down rather than use .
    Though there could be a bit of that too.

  33. I’ve had a look at the ICM poll in more detail and they are showing two things that seem to differ from August, the obvious one is that the Labour vote has gone up, but less obvious is that the turnout is up in the North and down in the south.

    It looks to me that at present labour is piling on votes in areas where they are already safe, where as turnout is if anything falling in areas where the Tories are both ahead and need to win.

    Still nothing detailed on Scotland although the SNP seem to be on a higher vote nationally (3%) than UKIP (2%). It’s about 8% of the “North” figure but i don’t know what that covers, so we are still in the dark about how the Brown bounce has effected Scotland.

    i am sure that the reported figure of SNP at 35% with the Tories and LibDems both at 10% or less can’t be right or if it is wouldn’t be repeated in an election.


  34. Anthony,

    Mori are showing the issues as;

    Most Important Issues

    Crime 55%
    Race/ Asylum 35%
    NHS/ Hosp’ 26%
    Defence 25%
    Educat’n/ Schools 19%
    Eco’ 9%

    How much have these changed over the summer? I think crime has risen which could explain Brown’s suggested “Have a Go Hero” law change. Also with Race and Asylum at number 2, the “British Jobs” line is hardly a surprise.

    Maybe you could do us a graph of the main issues over time and how they have changed with key point dates, like terror attacks and government announcements, along the bottom.

    Then we can see how events are shaping opinion and the time lag before politicains respond.

    Not that I am a cynic…….