MORI’s monthly political monitor isn’t quite as grim for the Liberal Democrats as their poll for the Sun earlier this month. The topline figures, with changes from their previous poll, are CON 40% (+1), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 17%(+2). This probably doesn’t reflect a Lib Dem recovery just yet – the fieldwork was actually carried out before or immediately after Mark Oaten’s resignation – it is more likely to be normal sample error or the minor effects of using a different sampling method (the MORI poll in the Sun was a phone poll, this was a face-to-face poll).

Asked who they would like to see as the next Liberal Democrat leader 57% of people said don’t know or none of the above. Of those who did express a preference, Ming Campbell was the preferred leader of 19% of respondents with Hughes on 18%. Chris Huhne clearly had not been noticed by the public at the time – he had only 2% support, compared to 1% support for “Stewart Lewis” – MORI’s ‘dummy’ candidate they like to put into questions like this to see how many people are just picking a name at random.

Finally David Cameron’s ratings remain positive – his approval rating is now +15 with 52% of people still not having made up their minds. As MORI point out in their commentary, this is not hugely different from Michael Howard, IDS, or indeed Tony Blair when they first became leader of their respective parties. All began with positive numbers and large numbers of don’t knows. The difference was that when those don’t knows made their minds up about Michael Howard and IDS they decided they didn’t like them, whereas Tony Blair’s don’t knows decided that they did approve of him. It remains to be seen what all those don’t knows eventually decide about David Cameron.


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