A new Ipsos MORI poll for the Observer shows Labour back in the lead – the topline figures with changes from MORI’s last poll (conducted for the Sun a fortnight ago) are CON 40%(-1), LAB 41%(+3), LDEM 13%(+2).

Unlike YouGov’s poll published on Friday (although actually conducted slightly later than this one) the poll suggests that Labour have begun to recover slightly from their position earlier this month. With the present erractic position in the polls though it is hard to say for sure – we will have another two polls in the week from ICM and ComRes which may shed some light, but it looks as though we can conclude little other than that the two main parties are close to one another in the high thirties and low fourties, with the leaderless Liberal Democrats languishing in the low teens. All depends on what happens when they get a new leader – whether they recover support and, if so, at whose expense?

63 Responses to “Labour back ahead with MORI”

1 2
  1. This must be the first poll in an extremely long time to put both main parties on 40%+, maybe even since the the 1992 election campaign.

  2. Terrific poll for Labour. Absolutely outstanding result for Brown!

  3. Andy – since you ask, September 1992.

  4. Long may it remain. I’m disappointed the LDs are as high as 13%, but welcome both parties on 40 per cent or more.

  5. We’ll need to see the final figures but on these scores i’d expect the LibDems in Scotland to be on single figures, probably about 8% or even less.

    With the SNP conference on and the John Sweeny announcing the first SNP budget in mid November I think the LibDems won’t get much of a bounce in Scotland.

    Although if Huhne or Clegg were smart they’d get a ticket for the Scotland Italy game on 21st Nov , it would do whoever was seen there’s profile and chances in Scotland a lot of good.


  6. Hmm, I highly doubt that Labour would be ahead as there is nothing really to give a reason for it, they haven’t had the worst week recently but it still has been pretty poor.

    Furthermore, can we really be convinced that others are only on 6%, recently people are beginning to doubt Brown, wanting Real Labour (though watch out for this name as I have heard rumours that this could be more than a pipe dream) as opposed to New Labour and are disappointed by him, though they would not vote Conservative or Lib Dem

    The Others figure will be the most interesting, what with all the immigration fuss recently the BNP and similar should have has a little boost.

    I would most like to see the details of this poll, as I fear that it has been created by people who probably won’t vote at the next election.

  7. Volatile electorate. not much between the main parties.

    If Clegg gets elected he will hurt the Tories more than Labour.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else here find Clegg insufferable?

  8. Even with the increase in Tory support shown in the recent polls, one must also conclde that the levels of support that Labour seem to be achieving are unprecedented really after such a long time in power.

    A G.E producing 41:40:13 in Labours favour would give Labour a bigger majority than they currently have (based on the new boundaries, in the region of 56 seats as opposed to the notional 45 or so they would now have on the new boundaries.

    Brown’s move on I.T of course lost him some support temporarily but that was part of the calculation – the Tories best policy was exposed and rather efficiently neutralised and the ill feeling towards Brown over this will diminish with time.

    A solid performance from Brown, Cameron keeps his job a little longer and Cleggy for th Libs who will take 3% or so from the tories. :) Just as a bit of fun a G.E producing 41:37:16 in Labours favour would give them a majority of 90 or thereabouts.

  9. Peter: I just can’t imagine a Westminster LD meltdown north of the border, that is a major part of their heartland is it not? I mean on a swing, the last LD seats to fall are all in Scotland: Kennedy, Campbell etc have their safest majorities in all of Britain.

    What are the rest of the LD seats like in Scotland? How plausible are losses there in Westminster elections?

  10. Richard: In the MORI poll of Aug 1988 the Tories were on 50% with a lead of 14%. After Major became PM the Tories regularly recorded percentages in the 40’s, as high as 46% in the MORI poll of Jan 1991 and the 40+ mark was regularly hit every few months until the re-election in 1992. All this despite the problems the polls had then and a systematic under-reporting of the Tory levels.

    So no, 41% in not “unprecedented”. Not by any leap of the imagination.

  11. Philip, the seats that I’d say are safe for the Lib Dems are the ones you list: Menzies Campbell’s Fife seat and Charles Kennedy’s Ross and Skye seat (forgive me, I haven’t got 24 hours to type out these seats’ new names in their absurd entirety!); plus Edinburgh West, Orkney & Shetland and maybe Gordon (I say maybe simply given the impact Alex Salmond may be having there as the new MSP).

    Of course, all this is dependent not just on how well the LDs are doing but how they’re doing relative to the Tories in particular, because West Aberdeenshire, the Tweeddale and Berwickshire seat and Argyll & Bute all become vulnerable if the Tories recover much north of the border.

    Probably the most vulnerable LD seat is East Dumbartonshire (to Labour – Jo Swinson may be able to hold on but LDs didn’t do well in the somewhat different constituency in May); and of course their by-election gain of Dunfermline West (though Labour’s doing very badly in Fife at the moment).

    The other potentially vulnerable seats are Inverness and (very improbably) Caithness (which Robert Maclennan held as Labour until he defected to the SDP), but which Viscount Thurso probably has a lock on.

    So, in other words, I think the LDs have six secure seats and six seats vulnerable to varying degrees.

  12. Gin/Richard.Sept,92-both parties over 40 after 12 Tory years,and Tories won the next election. Long way to go yet.

  13. er – no they didn’t, the next election after that was 1997. Think my lot won that one by a bit!

  14. The ‘Others’ are far too low.

    Assuming both the NI and the nationalist vote stays the same as it was in 2005 this poll leaves 1.5% for all the other Others. At the last election UKIP and the Greens got twice that.

  15. Richard (Wilmslow) – hardly unprecedented. What about Major in 1990?

  16. What on earth accounts for “others” falling by 4%?

    Labour and LibDems have hardly increased at the Tories’ expense (a 1% fall).

  17. With these figures Electoral Calculus gives a Lbour majority of 56- and Lib Dems down to 2 seats, neither of which is Clegg or Huhne!

    It’s going to keep the politicians on there toes for a while yet

  18. Has there been a big collapse in SNP/Green/Respect/Plaid Cymru support?

  19. Any poll which has Labour ahead after a torrid few weeks most surely come of something of a relief to the party; but we’ll need to see more polls to see whether the landscape has “settled” now that silly season is over.

    I await the next few polls with much eagerness; but most especially ICM, since their latest poll, two weeks ago in the Sunday Telegraph, gave the Conservatives their strongest lead over Labour (+7) since Brown took over from Blair. It will be interesting to see if there is any movement away from the Conservatives there, whether to Labour or the Liberal Democrats.

  20. Others are clearly too low so I ran Electoral Calculus as follows; 38% Tories, 38% Labour and 16% Liberals with 2.5% tactical swing Tories to Libs and 2.5% tactical swing Labour to Liberals and this came out with a Labour majority of 40 but still only 8 Libs. The majority for Labour, at least, looks realistic.

  21. A seemingly pointless poll that is out-of-date the moment it is published, as it was conducted, 18th-23rd October, BEFORE the YouGov poll in the Daily Telegraph (22nd-24th October) – which showed a Tory lead.

    Also, MORI don’t weight the results according to how respondents said they voted in the last election, which everyone else does these days.

    So, not the ‘Labour comeback’ the Observer and posters on here would have us believe.

  22. Yes, that will be interesting Dave.
    This poll, however, would suggest that the swing has been not so much from the Conservatives but the smaller parties. Personally I find it very hard to believe that support for the “Others” has been almost halved in the space of a fortnight.

  23. The Mori headline results show a big fall in the combined SNP/Plaid share to just 2% . I suspect the bigger fall is with Plaid . I keep upsetting Plaid supporters by revealing that ALL the Mori subsamples for Wales ( yes I know they are small ) since June have shown a collapse in Plaid support and increase in Labour support . IMO this is reaction to their power sharing in the Welsh Assembly .

  24. The same reaction that happened to your party north of the border Mark?

  25. There is no sign of collapse in he SNP vote, although it may be below 30% at the moment. Given that at the last Westminster election it was only 17%, that’s still a huge rise.

    I am sure the SNP will go up a bit after a good conference, which also vindicates our decision to move it out of the traditional conerence season, where we were always crowded out by the UK parties.

    We’ve certainly had more coverage across the UK press this week than ever before, but part of that is the fact that we are in government.

    We won’t get a clear idea what is happening to the SNP vote until we see the full MORI tables. If it is close between Brown and Cameron the SNP could get squeezed as Scots rally behind “Oor Man” for PM.

    In the last MORI survey in September, the SNP was out performing UKIP which considering we only stand in 56 seast is a remarkable result.

    It is looking increasingly like peopelare seeing it as Brown v cameron.

    Given that we campaigned and won (just) on Salmond v McConnell and squeezed the LibDems, greens and SSP, we can hardly complain about it.


  26. I note that the Electoral Calculus calculation formula has been changed and it no longer predicts a LibDem wipeout at current poll levels . It is still a pretty inaccurate tool to wield as it predicts losses for the SNP on the latest poll figures . I would agree with Peter that SNP support is in the high 20’s at the moment but what it will be in 2 years time is impossible to predict .
    I stick with my view that Plaid support is well down on earlier this year and the reason for it is clear to me . Why vote Plaid when they have a joint administration in the WA may as well vote Labour in the first place .

  27. Barnaby Marder-I thought there was an election in 93.Perhaps you were out of the country.

  28. Again people are mistakenly working on the logic of uniform swings, tactical or otherwise to work out the results of hypothetical general elections.

    I think 3% needs to be added to the Tory lead (or deducted from the Labour lead) to give us an idea of what is going on in the marginal seats – based on the polls conducted in the marginals just over three weeks ago. As we saw in 1997 (and 1992) swings are often larger in the marginals.

  29. I think predicting the swing in marginals is even more hazardous than predicting the national swing.A marginals poll just before the widely reported ICM marginal poll gave Labour a large lead. With the collapse of the general LD vote this will make the situation in the marginals even more unpredictable and I’d expect several unexpected gains and losses for both the main parties.You simply have to factor in the effect of a real election focussing people’s minds and changing the current picture hugely.At the moment, with new leaders popping up all over the place it’s pointless attempting to find the true picture, because there isn’t one.

    As for the LDs, they’ll perform better in the seats they hold because that’s what they do, concentrate and consolidate.Although I’d still expect them to lose at least twenty seats, mostly to the Tories.

  30. I am surprised more commenters on here haven’t brought up Tim’s points.

    This poll is older than the last yougov take, and more importanly, MORI do not weigh their findings by past voting intention – and thus do nothing to mitigate the so called ‘shy Tory factor’. That alone would swing the numbers into the blue.

    And I think this is a real concern. Just ask (in the immortal words of Mrs T) ‘Little Sir Echo’.

  31. I agree with one thing Merseymike said, but not his other statement.

    Yes – Clegg is insufferable – vacuous, no coherent vision, and very very conceited.

    However, I think the reason they are low in the polls is because people have already decided they are an irrelevance, and after 10+ years of Labour people are going to fall mainly into two groups, I suspect.

    However, even I don’t expect the LDs to get as low as 11 or 13% – although it’s not impossible.

  32. I agree with Derek and Tim.

    To back up what I was saying about the marginals: in 1992 the Tories won an overall majority of 21. Had the country followed the logic of uniform swings (it was 1.9% nationwide), that majority would have been 61.
    I’m just trying to say that projecting opinion poll results into general election predictions is futile, especially when no general election is imminent.

  33. For those tending to be sceptical of MORI it is worth pointing out that a MORI poll at the beginning of April 2005 – a month before the election – put the Tories 5% ahead amongst those certain to vote!

  34. That’s true Graham.
    But then “certain to vote” was taken out the equation and Labour then registered leads, mostly greater than the 3% they actually received on polling day.

  35. There is a potential problem with weighting data back towards what people say they voted in a previous General Election.

    People sometimes even forget – but more significantly, some people deny they have voted for another party if they are no longer favourable to it and supporting someone else.

    A lot of people post 1992 would have denied they voted Tory in April 1992, and ditto for other parties and other examples before and since.
    Some polls in the late 70s also showed about half the 1974 Liberal voters had “forgotten” they had done so.

    So it’s not as easy a tool as many people think.

  36. Collin – there was no general election in 1993.

  37. John Major threatend his own side with one though.

  38. Andy
    I may be mistaken here but I am under the impression that the published MORI polls are based on those ‘ certain to vote’.

  39. I was out of the country in 1993, but am still pretty confident there wasn’t an election then :S

  40. All of MORI’s headline figures since 2003 (or thereabouts – I forget the exact date) have been based on only those certain to vote.

  41. Indeed Anthony, the underlying figures including all those expressing a preference gives Labour a 8 point lead (Lab 43 Con 35). The published figures which are based only on those who say they are certain to vote are Lab 41 Con 40.

    The criticisms of MORI are wholly unfounded as I am sure Anthony could explain if he could bother explaining it for the hundredth time!

    Rather than trying to debunk the data based on ill informed suppositions because one doesn’t like what it says, it would be better to stick to discussing what the figures may mean. It may be a rogue poll, it may not (I happen to believe that the two parties are very close and that this poll is not much different from the Yougov poll that gave the Tories a 3 point lead) but the methodology is just as sound as the other pollsters.

  42. Arnie,

    Well said,

    I try to be constructive I my posts ( leave aside the EU debate which is just looney tunes) and find that in general it is more interesting to take a poll as accurate and debate how one party or another can alter it or what event or action has caused it than to quibble over whether or not it’s true.

    We do get rouge polls from time to time, it’s the nature of the subject, but I think assuming that it’s right until proven otherwise and trying to ask ” Why is that” or ” So how do we deal with it” is more interesting and enjoyable.

    The (UK) Army has a maxim; “Plans are useless, Planning is everything”. which means that it’s not the plan but the process that is important.

    Whenever I see a poll I tend to ask, if this is true, What would I do, it’s a it like being the election planner for a party.

    If possible that’s what I’d like to see here, people discussing how to react to and change the results we see,


  43. Adam.Sorry-faulty memory.

  44. Hang on – ‘shy Tories’? Surely we are now in ‘shy Labour’ territory when it comes to polling data?

  45. Arnie and Cllr Cairns,

    Honestly, I’m sorry if my MORI shy Tory theory doesn’t fly – I had seen it thrown around on some other sites though (ConHome for example, but tellingly not by Tim Montgomery). Us Americans are a bit dense sometimes! But apparently I wasn’t alone in my thinking, so at least by it being brought up here in the comments it has allowed all of us site newbies to get the explanation for the first time.

    I didn’t realize that MORI polls taking into account only those certain to vote makes up for no previous-vote question. If so, this poll still strikes me as strange. Where is the rising Lab/LD support coming from now? The smaller parties? Maybe Barking BNP voters are going back to Labour (“British jobs for…”)? Greens to the LibDems? With frontrunner Clegg perceived as being to the right of Ming that last bit can’t be right.

  46. Derek – you certainly aren’t alone in your thinking! When ICM first started doing an adjustment for people who were embarrassed about admitting their true voting intention in the mid-1990s it benefitted the Conservatives and the phrase “shy Tories” has sort of stuck in the discourse about it.

    In fact, as Brian Swift says, ICM and Populus’s adjustment has tended to favour Labour for the last six years (though not so much in recent weeks, people have presumably been willing to admit to it again!).

    That said, “Shy Tories” is a slightly different thing to the question of past vote weighting. ICM and Populus use past vote weighting because they believe that raw samples tend to be skewed to Labour unless they are adjusted. MORI do not believe this (since they don’t use the same sampling methodology, it’s perfectly possible that they are both right, though given that were it not for different approaches to turnout weighting the two companies would produce contrasting figures, it’s likely one is wrong.

    The reason MORI’s figures are not out of line with other companies is that they use a very harsh filter by likelihood to vote, taking only those 10/10 certain that they will vote at the next election – this tends to favour the Conservatives, and cancel out the advantage that Labour would otherwise have from MORI’s methodology.

  47. Derek, no need to apologise although I would caution taking anything as read from ConHome!

    I do agree with you that is unlikely that the Others vote will be so low in a general election. My suspicion is that with the two main parties hogging the headlines in recent weeks, it has depressed the vote share of all other parties including the LibDems. The one exception is the SNP who for various reasons find themselves in the media spotlight right now.

    I’m sure if there were a general election now you could probably knock a couple of points off the main parties not least because Labour and Tory inclined voters in seats where the LibDems are the only challengers will vote tactically. Also an election campaign gives additional air time to other parties such as UKIP which they do not have at present.

    As to the reason why Labour’s vote has held up and possibly improved over the past weeks, I think this is nothing more than evidence of the chasm between what politicos such as ourselves see and what Joe Public sees. We place great importance on Prime Minister’s Questions but the average Joe doesn’t really give a monkeys. Indeed a few viewers might be put off by Cameron’s “good” performances seeing them as bullying and negative. Brown has certainly been damaged by recent events (notably his own lack of judgment over the election fiasco) but he is far from the dead duck that some of the right wing press want to believe.

    What it does serve to remind the Tories is that for all the success of the past few weeks they need to arrive at the next election having convinced the British people that they have a real plan for government and a coherent set of costed policies such that the gut reaction of the floating voter toward them is “This lot seem to know what they’re talking about and I trust them with my money more than Brown”. This is perfectly achievable but far from certain.

  48. Arnie
    That last paragraph is spot on IMHO

  49. I don’t beleive for one moment that Labour and Conservatives would actually poll 80%+ between them at a general election, something they’ve not managed since 1970, when the Ulster Unionists were still included in the Conservative total.

    They managed 80% in 1979, but even then, a far higher proportion of the population identified with them than is the case today.

    I can’t see the Lib Dems really polling less than 16% or so, and the nationalists, Greens and BNP are all likely to take more votes than in 2005, IMHO.

  50. WMA is 40:39:12 but with Brown’s personal ratings sinking like a stone, his credibility severely dented, and Labour having been transformed into a one-man party under the Supreme Leader it can only be a matter of time before the party ratings follow. MORI has a Standard Deviation of 2.7% and tends to under-estimate the C lead by about 1%.

1 2