Ipsos-MORI’s monthly political monitor is now on their website here. The topline voting intentions, with changes from last month, are CON 47%(+2), LAB 27%(-1), LDEM 15%(-1). The poll was conducted between the 18th and 20th July.

The rest of the poll is the usual litany of bad news for the government. Their net approval rating is at minus 59, Gordon Brown’s net approval rating is minus 51. 75% of people now think that the economic conditions in the country will get worse in the next 12 months, the highest MORI have ever recorded in the 29 years they have been asking the question. Only 11% expected things to improve.

In contrast David Cameron’s net approval rating is now plus 21, with 50% approving of the way he is doing his job. This isn’t as high as Tony Blair’s best scores when he first became Leader of the Opposition (his highest rating was plus 30 in March 1995), but is the sort of rating Blair used to receive around 1996 and early 1997. On the other hand, people are evenly split 44% agree, 44% disagree on whether David Cameron is ready to be Prime Minister just yet.

MORI have repeated a question that asked a while back, seeing whether the popularity of parties ran ahead or behind their leaders. It suggests that the Conservative party now has a more positive image than the Labour party, and that while David Cameron has a positive effect on the Conservative party (54% like Cameron, compared to 42% who like his party. 19% of people say they like Cameron but not his party, with only 9% saying the opposite), Gordon Brown is a considerable drag on the Labour party (only 29% like Brown, but 39% like his party. 21% of people say they like Labour, but not Brown, only 11% say the opposite).

28 Responses to “Ipsos MORI July Monitor”

  1. This poll is rather curious , the LibDem figure was in fact 18% but fell to 15% only taking those 10/10 certain to vote , usually it rises slightly on this basis . The Labour figure only falls by 1% from all respondents to those 10/10 certain , usually it falls by rather more .
    Clegg’s approval rating of +9 is much improved over recent Mori polls .

  2. A Labour approval of 39% must add to the argument that the party would be better off without Gordon. The danger must be that he continues to tarnish the brand. I would have thought that soon the party would take the view that they have nothing to change with removing him as the poll ratings can’t get much worse. James Purnell to the rescue?

  3. The evidence for them with Brown looks depressing.
    One should remember Callaghan had a personal lead but was attached to a union label which in the late 70s was very unpopular.

    The Tories still need to do a bit more I think to cement these gains, as some of these new supporters look like anti government rather than converts to Tory principles.
    But they say governments and only governments lose elections.

  4. From their point of view, someone else should have contested the leadership I think.
    Jack Straw or Alan Johnson.
    My guess is they probably won’t change it – it’s a good bit of chatter, but unlikely to happen.

  5. Mike Smithson made a point that of the 5 major pollsters, ICM and Populus are showing small gains for Labour while Mori, ComRes and YouGov are showing small Tory gains. The implication seems to be that the polls have stabilised for now with a Tory lead of 15-20% and any fluctuations are within the MoE. It will be interesting to see if the polls hold at these levels into the autumn or if another run of bad news for Labour sends them even lower. Cameron is raking up some good personal numbers and it seems that the public are starting to warm to him. Brown’s are terrible, as JJB’s said, Callaghan (and Major) both retained good personal ratings until the end and could have been said to have been dragged down by their parties. Brown seems to be doing the opposite!

  6. I think they won’t change the leadership because a new leader – such as David Miliband – would probably be able to improve the situation a little but wouldn’t be able to prevent Labour losing its majority. So anyone taking over from Brown now would effectively be ending their leadership ambitions prematurely. Someone like Miliband wants to be leading the party in 5 or 10 years time, not go down to defeat in less than two years time.

  7. MORI have certainly changed their ways – a Tory lead of 20% from them!

  8. At this stage of the last Parliament (August 2004) MORI showed Lab 36, C 32, LD 21.

  9. Another thing to bare in mind is that Labour have made so much of how Margaret Thatcher was forced out of office in an effort to muddy the image of the Conservatives, so for them to do the same would completely undermine the replacement of GB. That said, with these depressing figures I doubt that that will keep the Labour plotters content.

  10. Andy , I would have thought July 2003 would be a better comparison with the same sort of distance to go to the next GE . That Mori poll had Conservatives with a 3% lead . The nethodology was in any case totally different to make any comparison meaningless .

  11. keep gordon in , if gordon goes this would be bad news for cameron in the short term but going on the polls labour will lose anyway.

  12. Labour “might” benefit from a different leader, but who will do it?

    We need a challenger. This would either be a caretaker who has no political future to sabotage (perhaps they would be an old statesman). Tony Benn would have been a useful example but who else? Or we must look for young blood. Young blood won’t do this for 3 reasons:

    1) Over the past 10 years, I suspect that Blair, Brown, etc, created power bases. We might see this in that no-one plausible challenged Brown in the leadership. This discourages independent thinking as potential rebels are potential leaders.

    2) Labour will probably be stuffed in 2010 and who would want that on their CV? If they lost, they’ll be blamed for damaging the party and dividing it.

    3) Labour cannot risk losing their own leader in the next election as it would be a humiliation upon ignominy. Glasgow East and others show, very few seats are safe from concerted head-hunting in 2010. This narrows the talent-pool greatly, especially in younger MPs who are more likely to have come in on the 1997 wave. See Martin Baxter’s site with the current YouGov and even Alistair Darling is threatened. Nick Clegg, by the way, is heavily threatened by the Tories in Sheffield Hallam and then one can see why he might want to attract Tory voters.

  13. Labour’s problem with finding a replacement for Brown is that all the candidates that are proposed are the creatures of Blair and Brown and carry the same baggage. For a change of leader to give Labour a chance they need someone who could decontaminate the brand name in the same way that Cameron has decontaminated the Tories.

    The only member of the PLP I can see who could decontaminate New Labour is Frank Field, and he is hated by so many in the PLP that they would never choose the one man who might save them.

  14. WMA remains 45:26:17 as I suspected there is no Labour revival – the headline numbers are constant (with random fluctuations due to sampling errors) but the underlying trend is dire – we’re looking at a process like the breaking up of a large ice shelf: the ice stays together while the temperature rises and water leaks away, then crash another slab falls.

    Until the problem of management competence at No 10 is solved, disasters will ineluctably follow. Reports of infighting and resentment between Carter and Heywood seem to be the tip of the iceberg.

  15. To all talking about replacing GB.

    The Titiantic has already been holed. Changing the captain will not save the ship. A different captain may keep the vessel afloat a little longer to allow more time for others to get aboard the lifeboats, thats about it, but there is no certainty of that. But whoever is captain will certianly drown.

    GB is there to the election.

  16. To all talking about replacing GB.

    The Titanic has already been holed. Changing the captain will not save the ship. A different captain may keep the vessel afloat a little longer to allow more time for others to get aboard the lifeboats, thats about it, but there is no certainty of that. But whoever is captain will certianly drown.

    GB is there to the election.

  17. Sorry for the accidental double post

  18. Paul is right to refer to Labour as a tarnished brand.

    There are marketing experts who specialise in turning round companies whose image has been damaged, for instance Perrier after their water source was found to be polluted and Macdonalds when they got a reputation as a poor employer. I am no expert, but it seems to me that there are certain things they would recommend:-
    (1) Scrupulous honesty, moral as well as legal.
    (2) Total focus on meeting customer (i.e. voter) needs
    (3) Formulation of a clear mission followed by development of a business plan for its implementation, positively advertised to the public.
    A damaged company would certainly start by ditching its Managing Director (leader) to bring in somebody new and with the skills to spearhead the recovery, but this is a necessary preliminary to disaster recovery rather than part of the programme in its own right.

    Labour doesn’t get it:-
    1. It exploits the voters by regressive taxation and by sharp policies. One small, but typical of Westminster under both parties recent example is Equitable Life, where the Government dragging its feet on a report that morally it should compensate pensioners, it is suspected for the cynical reason that its liabilities will be lessened through deaths.
    2. The Tories are about to be offered an open goal by the forthcoming Warwick Conference in which Labour will negotiate its next manifesto with the Trades Unions in exchange for funding. Similarly, business gets preferential access to Government before voters’ interests.
    3. After a Labour has yet again failed to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, the Labour Party has no clear programme to offer.

    Unfortunately, it is highly doubtful whether Labour can do anything about its situation. It is constrained to draw its leader from the highly restricted pool of Labour MPs, and it does not appear that this contains anybody with the skills, experience, personality and ideas to drive a recovery programme. And, as both the loss of membership and the party’s subversion by financial interests indicates, it is probably too far gone to attract independent, as opposed to Trades Union, resources to fund the sort of come back programme I am describing here. Unless it can do so, Labour will not come back in the polls.

    The organisational issues I have referred to go far deeper than Brown’s competence and record as leader. Comments on whether poor Gordon Brown should go are beginning simply to go round in circles.

    To me, the most important question in some ways is how the moderate democratic left can recover in the polls if Labour loses in 2010. Repeated experience from 1931-1945, 1951-1964 and 1979-1997, and of the Tories since 1997, suggests that if the moderate left try to rebuild the Labour Party it will take a generation. Looking from an organisational perspective, a new party would come without a lot of Labour’s unwanted baggage. But such a party would have to have not only serious political leadership but the genuine bottom up support that the Social Democratic Party of the 1980s conspicuously lacked and that lead to the SDP being swallowed by by the Liberals.

  19. Is it controversial to say that Labour and Brown is still safe if any of the minor and less minor slips being made by Cameron and his party start to see mud sticking?

    So far the flecking of the Conservative image hasn’t turned into a spattering, but whatever decontamination of the brand has occurred it is by no means complete.

    Brown would also be well-advised to give Clegg all the encouragement he can in order to support the second-front against Cameron, as others note above the LDs primary focus on the ground is not on Labour.

  20. Frederick, you have made some very valid points, but I do disagree that political parties are brands.

  21. thomas,

    I’m sure you’re right in saying Brown needs to encourage a second front BUT his financial weakness and the deal he is likely to have make with the Unions is going in exactly the opposite direction.

    At the same time Cameron’s achievement will begin to be undermined if any of the current issues start to stick. However if in the well-trailed reshuffle he were to lose the current Chairman in advance of any finding that might play well provided of course he increased the number of women in his team

  22. Frederick: I agree with your analysis. There are (or were)several parties of the left with “serious political leadership” and “genuine bottom up support”.

    They operate only in the Scottish Parliament. The largest is the SNP.

  23. ICM standing out like a sore thumb with another out of sync POLL.

    Especially on the night that Labour support has collapsed in Glasgow East & lost a seat they have had for over 60 years.

    Now does anyone agree with me that the Labour Party are finished north and south of the border & are now finished as a political party – they will divide and fall within 18 months.

  24. Mike,
    all parties are in hock to their creditors one way or another – whether it be for financial support, technical communications support through various media, moral support in the polls or activist support on the ground.

    Being ‘taken over by the liquidators’ may actually benefit Labour as this would rebalance their prioities away from over-emphasis on either large single donors or bloc backing from the unions, thereby preventing them from being dictated to by one or other. This would benefit Labour by enabling to make a wider base appeal of commonality to a larger cross-section of society rather than just counting on a coalition of minority interests who are gradually being set against each other by successive Brownite ‘wedge’ issues.

    Meanwhile the conservatives are starting to come under greater scutiny over their dependence on benefactors who demand a return on their ‘investment’.

    Midland Industrial Council members have consistently been provided with free advertising and photo-opportunities with david Cameron in exchange for their financial endorsement (Scania, JCB), while a number of other suporters have each sought to try to influence policy (Nadine Dorries acting as a spokesperson for ‘Christian Concern for our Nation’ immediately springs to mind). Additionally it appears that Cameron chooses to commend donor companies in his speeches to the exclusion of some more relevant examples of leaders in the specific field.

    The less-successful smaller parties are similarly charged as lobby groups for the specific interests of members.

    It seems Nick Clegg has taken note of the trend in what would seem a series of counter-intuitive decisions to reverse long-standing policies which initially appear to be against the instincts of LibDem activists, so it will be significant whether he can convince their annual conference to support him or whether he opens up a divide between the policy buffs and ideologists of that party.

    On a smaller scale the SNP has its problems too with the likes of Donald Trump, Brian Souter and the hard-core of the independence movement. It hardly seems necessary to point out the Greens’ single-issue platform.

    Preferential access is a fact of life in the lobby system we have, the question each of the parties must answer is whether they respond in a sufficiently representative manner while balancing the demands of all sides.

    The concern about expenses and standards in public life raises questions about the thin divide between lobbying and corruption for all sides and shows it is a massive political issue about actual representational ability. But the conflict between bias and balance is an age old debate which I doubt will be resolved here or any time soon.

  25. ‘Now does anyone agree with me that the Labour Party are finished north and south of the border & are now finished as a political party – they will divide and fall within 18 months.’

    Wish fulfilment again oh Oraclesless one; yes they are in trouble but so they were in the 80s and the Tories in the 90s. Try to stay in the real world; only ‘god’ can see that far into the future… perhaps you should just stay at Delphi…

  26. It is possible that the current Labour Party is finished. However, I doubt this country will stop electing centre-leftish parties into power, just not for a while. Look what happened to the Conservatives in Canada, they were demolished in the 1993 election, yet there is a (somewhat rebranded) Conservative government there now.

  27. Of course they will.
    We have seen Labour written off in 1981-89, and the Tories
    from 1997 to about 2005.
    Perhaps parties are elected for longer periods of office, and when they are defeated the end is more spectacular, but I don’t think any party’s hold is permanent.

  28. The Labour Party is not finished in England, but in a PR independent Scotland there may be realignments involving several parties on the left. The New- bit is the one likely to fail.