No confirmation yet, so take this with a shovel-load of salt, but a rumour has just reached me of a MORI poll tomorrow showing the Conservatives at 52%, Labour at 24% and the Lib Dems at 12%. Seriously, I’ve no idea of the provenance of this and have no idea how trustworthy it is, so treat it with due scepticism.

UPDATE: Mike Smithson has had it confirmed by MORI that there is a poll, and it will be released by the PA at midnight. They would not confirm or deny the figures though…

UPDATE 2: Now seems to be true. Mike Smithson says he’s got the figures from a journalist who has seen the embargoed press release and Nick Palmer reports being phoned up by ITN looking for a reaction to the poll. Assuming the figures are true the changes from MORI’s last poll are CON 52%(+4), LAB 24%(nc), LDEM 12%(-4). The poll was conducted between the 12th and 14th of September, so after Siobhain McDonagh broke ranks, but prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers: this might be a reaction to Labour’s leadership troubles, but the new economic crisis had not yet hit.

The raw changes from MORI’s last poll are, of course, somewhat odd. One might expect the Conseratives to benefit from Labour collapsing into disarray, but this instead shows the Lib Dems slumping. There is no obvious reason for this, so even if the figures I’ve heard are accurate (and it now seems they are) I still think the poll might be a freak result. Still, that won’t stop it becoming part of the ever growing narrative about the Labour party in crisis, and in that sense this is horrific, hideous news for Labour.

65 Responses to “Conservatives break 50%?”

1 2
  1. Not a regular poster but a regular reader…

    If this is true, (big IF) AND if other pollsters show something similar, I think it could well be one of the final nails in the coffin for Brown and Labour.

  2. Very interesting that the Tories are preferred over the Libdems. Why on earth the Labour party thought Gordon Brown would be good for them I will never understand, except that they had worked themselves up into such a frenzy over Tony Blair that they lost all grasp of reality. Brown was clearly going to be the stuff of disaster – but can I claim some credit – cf. posted in July. The Tories are going to have to seriously shoot themselves in both feet to lose the next election.

  3. A rumour… or a simple embargo breach, I wonder?

  4. Ominous signs ahead of the Labour Conference. If the proverbial keeps flying the governments way it’s difficult not to see the Labour Conference descending into a farce.

  5. If true it will be interesting to see from whom the extra few percent come from. If it’s from Labour then that’s expected, but if it comes from the Lib Dems too the it might be that Clegg may be a calamity after all.

    PS If this turns out to be wrong please can we have no attacks on Anthony for the posting as he did give a large caveat.

  6. UPDATE I have now spoken to MORI who have confirmed that a poll that they did at the weekend will be published at midnight by the Press Association. Fieldwork took place from Friday until Sunday when the domestic news agenda was dominated by Labour’s leadership troubles. MORI were “unable to confirm or deny the figures”.

  7. Maybe what’s happening is that the old left-right divide is re-emerging – the Tories have been prevented from moving too far to the right up till now because of nuLabour having moved to the centre – and the perception that the battleground was the centre – but as the nuLabour project falls apart, and it enters its death-throe phase, much of what remains of it will lurch violently to the left as the militants and unionists once more take charge – given nuLab’s need for funds. Then the Tories can swing to the right, the LibDems become increasingly meaningless, and we can all sleep comfortably in our beds at night, safe in the knowledge that an old truth has re-emerged, and that the nuLabour years were just a brief aberration, now over. It then becomes a straight left-right tussle, with the right winning hands down, and nuLabour being consigned to oblivion. We could be in for 20+ years of Conservative Government, with some kind of rump centrist Labour/LibDem alliance emerging as a new opposition.

    NuLabour was in fact really just the Tony Blair fan club, and without him it is vacuous.

    Just my thoughts.

  8. I wonder what influence Cleggs tax cut plan has had. It may have been designed to shore up support in tory target seats but may well have had the effect of turning off Labour voters who defected to the Libdems over Iraq.

    What may show this is comparison with the last poll to see how peoples allegences and voting intentions have changed.


  9. What this polls confirms is that being a divided party is the worst possible thing in politics. The Labour MPs trying to get rid of Brown are making a mistake from their point of view.

  10. This is notable in that it is a 9% swing (if my maths is right) direct from the Lib Dems to the Conservatives.

    In other words, the Lib Dems are advocating tax cuts and voters realise that only the Conservatives can deliver them.

  11. WR – 4.5% swing. The swing is the change in the two parties’ vote divided by two.

  12. And the fieldwork was conducted before the worst of this week’s financial storm and the Cairns resignation broke. Can’t wait the see the details and the regional breakdowns!

  13. “Still, that won’t stop it becoming part of the ever growing narrative about the Labour party in crisis, and in that sense this is horrific, hideous news for Labour.”

    I know his is not a partisan website, but still, ahh what a lovely line…

  14. “In other words, the Lib Dems are advocating tax cuts and voters realise that only the Conservatives can deliver them.”

    The poll was conducted before Clegg’s speech.

  15. It seems unlikely that we are really at 52:24 yet – though I have long been predicting that we’ll yet beyond 50:25. The Weighted Moving Average is 47:25:16. But the stasis of the polls in the face of an ever-disintegrating Labour party has been a bit of a mystery, and it could be that people are only now waking up to what a mess Labour is in.

  16. This is “No Change” for labour-though it increases pressure on Brown’s leadership.

    But it is pivotal for Clegg. If this position isn’t the
    “freak” which Anthony suspects-and it is mirrored in Polls after all the Party Conferences are through, then Clegg’s dramatic attempt to reposition his party will have failed.

  17. From a Labour prespective this looks like the same old rubbish. The electorate appears to have tried of them as the governing party and Brown as PM in particular. It looks like 25% is about the ‘bedrock’ support Labour can muster in its heartlands and they will struggle to garner any other votes.

    Far more interesting is the plight of the Lib Dems. Assuming (dangerous I know) that this isn’t a freak poll, they must be incredible worried. In my humble opinion, this has got nothing to do with Clegg, and everything to do with the “all things to all people” stance taken by Ashdown and Kennedy in the past.

    At its heart (i.e. the membership) the Lib Dems are a centre-left, europhilic party. This has been best illustrated by the fact that they have supported Labour governments in the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. As such, the leaderships recent shift to the right to fight the Tories (for all their denials) has created a hugh credibility gap.

    Tory-Lib Dem marginal voters (a right wing bunch) are unlikely to ‘go blue’, no matter what tax cuts the Lib Dems promise, because of their previous links with Labour. and disgruntled left-wingers will now not even have the luxury of an anti-Labour vote for a party with which there is some common ground.

    All in all – Tough times for Mr Clegg. I wonder if in a couple of parliaments or so, the Lib Dems will have returned to the 10 or less seats held by the Liberals post-war?

  18. Sorry – typos in my last post

    “tired of them” NOT “tried of them”

    “likely to ‘go blue'” NOT “unlikely to ‘go blue'”

  19. Clegg may well be a victim of “Events”. With Browns woes and the Collapse of one bank and potentially three other major institutions making all the headlines the Libdems one big chance to set the agenda in a non election year may wel have been torpedoed.

    Having fought two elections in similar circumstances (the death of Lady Diana, and the Invasion of Iraq) it’s frustrating when no matter how hard you try to get peoples attention they’re eyes are elsewhere.

    Having said that I did ask the question elsewhere if the 8% for the LibDems in the Scottish sample of the Sunday times poll was an indication of something. The jury is still out but this could be a pointer in the same direction.


  20. I think what this poll shows us is that people will not risk wasting their votes on the Lib-Dems when they want to give the government a hiding. This is really the problem the Libs a going to have at the election and the reason why Labour collapse is such bad news for them.

  21. A timely voice of dissent – I think that it would be dangerous to take this poll too seriously given that its timing is designed to influence the course of proceeding at the various conferences of the major parties.

    How such a poll will influence the different parties is open to speculation, but idle and unfounded speculation will usually make fools of us all.

    If the Tories start to feel any premature triumphalism is justified this could be highly counter-productive to the way events play out over the next weeks, so the mood of their respective conferences will be something worth watching.

    By all accounts the LDs have had a hugely successful gathering, redefining their public image while defining the tone of the season. The serious debates they’ve conducted on the floor of the hall will be in marked contrast to the stage-managed events and the deal-making-done-behind-closed-doors by both Labour and Conservatives.

    So we’ll have to watch for indications of the sympathies of all the reporters before we measure how they’ve been swung by their impressions of the proceedings.

  22. I think its often forgotten that these are opinion polls at a mid term of a parliament. Some people talk about opinion polls as if they are the actual results of an election.
    Theres not going to be an election this year. Or next year. Not until well into the year after next.Things could change radically by then.There might be a new PM by then. The economic outlook might be better. Oppositions have been hugely ahead before but not won the election. If the tories fall below ten points ahead in the actual election they wont win.

  23. More good news for the Tories in the putative Lloyds / HBOS merger. If there are job cuts in Scotland Labour votes will go to the SNP. If there are job cuts in England anti-Scottish feeling will help the Tories.

  24. In a Poll for childrens newspaper “First News”, 7 to 14 year olds expressed preferences for Cameron/Brown/Clegg as a PM.


    Last December the result was:-

    Gordon appears to have lost the tweenagers too!

  25. But it’s all the Tories (and their partners worldwide) economic free market plans which is causing the collapse of capitalism….

    Are Tories really secret leftists? Do Conservatives secretly desire high taxes, high tariffs on goods coming into a country, strong regulation of companies (such as banks), the death of PFI, rental rather than home ownership…Are Tories really Communists desiring a return to where the Government controlled everything (gosh, wasn’t that the empire?)

    Or perhaps there should always have been a bit of a balance between traditional left attitudes and the market driven frenzy of recent years (death to the Adam Smith Institute)…

    And for the Oracle (and others with a comic shortage), part of this is an exaggeration but designed to highlight the folly of accepting any party as having the sole answer….

  26. On another point not germane to this discussion but as we are all political nerds I’m putting it in- the Tories (Liberal Party) in Australia have just elected their next leader (the one after John Howard lasted about a year). But this time they have put in Malcolm Turnbull- a very good lawyer in the Hague mode but interestingly a Republican (as in he was Head of the Republican Movement)so now both the Prime Minister Rudd and the Head of the Opposition are Republicans.

  27. Sorry…,

    But as I have – unfortunately – predicted many events to date, not least the bubble that was housing-prices and debt-overhangs, could I be allowed to discuss economics, as well as poll-metrics, on this site…? Would break my self-imposed restrictions though…! :(

    Where are the [false] interpretations of current events, and where are their espouser’s…? Open discussion should always include humility.

    At which point I need to go to sleep…! ;)

    Nasty flu’ about ‘Tony: What’s the best cure you have found…?

  28. So the real question is, can this poll be trusted? It would seem strange that the Lib Dems would lose so much support just before their conference whilst Labour’s figure has not changed during a period in which they are tearing themselves apart. Perhaps former Labour voters who are now borderline LibDems have been turned blue by all the Labour infighting. Very strange though.

    A further possible cause may be that, in the last few days, some of the news channels (BBC in particular) have made a point of reporting how much the LibDems are having to shout to get heard at the moment. Maybe people are seeing this and shunning a party which needs to shout to be seen.

    It will be interesting to see what the poll reactions are to Nick Clegg’s speech today however. It will also be interesting to see which way the polls swing for Labour after the Lehman Brothers collapse and the HBOS/Lloyds merger. Will voters realise that Labour inflicted this on them with the economic policy of the past ten years or will they turn to an experienced ex-Chancellor to stay on as PM.

    Whatever happens this poll will certainly unsettle Labour as they head into their conference. Remember, when the Conservatives got their 16-point lead several months ago everyone treated it as an outlier. It seems now a 16-point lead is disappointing for the Tories. Lets wait and see.

  29. i was over in aus last year during the election for a wedding and all the talk then was of howard being beat into 2nd place but the one thing in aus that is very different is that beacuse the number of seats is lower and the number of votes is lower the swing needed to overturn a govenment is less than in the uk in australias case this was only a few pts, in the uk you have four factor the SNP/PC vote and the lib dem to labour and conservative vote pus the labour vs conservative vote but 52% has not been sean for some time the late 90’s and the start of the blair era in the next few weeks the polling data will give us more of an idea of weather or not this will continue or weather it was just a one off my guess it’s part of a much bigger change we are not seeing yet and the first part of that will be the lib dem vote melting away,then a steading out for a few weeks with labour lossing a few more votes one percent maybe in the second phase labour will lose a few more pts and finish around 20-22% by the end of the year maybe recovering by 3 or 4% at some stage the conservative should level out at 48 to 50% by x-mas and the lib dems lets not talk about them.

  30. A rogue – but one of those caddish charming ones that makes you smile.

  31. Surely the Libdem collapse can’t be due to Clegg’s gaffe over pensions (he didn’t know how much they get) – is that really worth a 5% drop in support?

    You would think that a party would benefit from the publicity surrounding a conference, not lose support.

  32. ‘Surely the Libdem collapse can’t be due to Clegg’s gaffe over pensions (he didn’t know how much they get) – is that really worth a 5% drop in support?’

    No–obviously 5% of the electorate would not worry about that. Or otherwise poll shifts all the time would be enormous. (that sophisticate an electorate????????)

  33. Stuart

    Australia has preferential voting for the main House of Parliament (least liked gets dropped and their 2nd votes get counted until 50% +1). It mean the least disliked gets in; with FPTP its quicker but it does magnify the winner. In Australia it does mean that there are no such thing as ‘wasted votes’ as it your vote will continue to count until someone wins, even if you put a Monster Raving Loony First.

  34. Okay hows about this,

    Brown on the ropes, Cameron miles ahead, but the LibDems below 15% looking at having only 25 seats post an election.


    A National unity Government to get us through the Finacial crisis with Clegg for DPM and Cable for Chancellor. It keeps Brown in No 10, it keeps Cameron out and it keeps the Libdems from a grubbing.


  35. And if the LibDems go below 15% nationally then aren’t we looking at the SNP as the 3rd party in Westminster?

  36. The Impartial Observer,

    No, We’d need to get a huge vote to get over 20 seats.


  37. Thanks Peter!

    Regarding your previous post I can’t see the LD’s touching that with a forty foot barge poll, to coin a phrase famous in Ulster politics! They’ve got burnt enough from propping up Labour in Scotland, they would be mad to try and save Brown!

  38. THE COMMENT ABOVE :- “A National unity Government to get us through the Financial crisis with Clegg for DPM and Cable for Chancellor. It keeps Brown in No 10, it keeps Cameron out and it keeps the Libdems from a grubbing.”

    is purely wishful thinking from a very complacent member of a a very small political party showing his Partisan allegances !

    This POLL may well be a rogue POLL – but if it is it will still be very very close to the true voting intentions of the British public. Once the conferece season is over and the Tories have released some more appetisers for the public – their POLLING results will have gone up again.

    As i predicted at the end of last year – the Tories will rise above 50% and remain there till the next election with the odd blip and rogue POLL – Labour have now reached their base of between 23 to 25% , that will not go lower , but the Liberals will drift between 12 & 16% and reach a maximum of 17% at the next election.

    I agree with the comment above about the demise of Labour after the next election and the joining forces with the Liberals to make one party – and the comment that we will be in for at least 2 decades of a Tory government – i predicted this myself in the last 12 months.

  39. I am so enjoying turning the TV on every night to watch the latest in fighting – I ask the question though, where is our Prime Minister to fight his corner or the corner for this country – strangely silent ? Say what you will about John Major – at least he fought back !!

  40. I could’nt help myself – I had to see the rough estimates of these figures from electoral calculus :-

    Conservative Seats = 493

    Labour Seats = 121

    Liberal Seats = 8

    Conservative majority of 336 !!

  41. It is silly to get worked up over this one poll. As Nicholas has pointed out this poll was taken before Clegg’s speech.

    Media focus has been on Labour’s internal power struggle.

    The real question is come the next election are the Conservatives popular enough that sufficient people are happy to see them win with a massive majority???

    Personally, I think the Lib Dems are putting out more attractive ideas than the Conservatives. And they have probably another 20 months to get those ideas across!

  42. When we can look at the average polling for October then we will be able to see if there has been any significant shift in public opinion

  43. “Prepare for Government” – Possibly the most embarassing public remark ever made by a politician, but at least David Steele had the excuse that the Liberals and Social Democrats themselves had a 52% poll to encourage them. Clegg repeats the absurdity,and with typical bad luck when their polling figure is down from 17% to 12%.It is difficult to see why anyone takes them seriously – the more intelligent of his audience must have cringed when he said it.

  44. Speaking from the right of the political spectrum may I say that it is daft to imagine that the Labour party will disappear into the dustbin of history anymore than it was likely the Tories would vanish in the aftermath of their 1997 disaster. At one point in the 1990’s Canada’s Progessive Conservative party was reduced to just 2 seats and declared dead and buried. Well they are now heading for their second general election victory in a row next month and with excellent even record poll ratings. What goes around comes around.

  45. Anthony – thanks for explanation. This is the first time anyone has been able to tell me how a swing is calculated!

  46. ‘What goes around comes around.’; I agree totally. And those who attempt to foretell the future of political parties really should go back to their fortune telling tents and practise on the lottery.

  47. ‘I ask the question though, where is our Prime Minister to fight his corner or the corner for this country – strangely silent ?’

    Actually I believe he worked hard to organise the LLoyds / HBOS solution-that doesn’t come by the companies themselves…

  48. ‘is purely wishful thinking from a very complacent member of a a very small political party showing his Partisan allegances !’

    Mike are you really complaining of someone else using wishful thinking; is it because you object to someone doing that which you always do? (How many times have you predicted the total downfall of Labour….)

  49. If you use Electoral Calculus directly, as “The Oracle” did, you don’t take into account the SNP.
    Mori’s poll have SNP+PC at 4%, so to get a more precise result, I went to the Regional Poll Predictor there.
    I adjusted the Tories up to 53.7% nationally, clicked “Use trend values”, and then changed the Scottish values to Con 16.3%, SNP 37.7%, which then changed the Conservative UK figure back down to 52%.
    The result from this is Con 490, Lab 93, Lib 9, Nat 38.

  50. The Liberals have, for the last 30 years acted as Labour’s auxilliary force, going where Labour troopers couldn’t go (to up-and-coming places). It is natural for auxilliaries to be hit hardest when the core force is having trouble looking after itself. Looked at like this, there is a good reason for their fall (contrary to what Antony thinks).

    Matthew Paris made a comment a year ago in his Times column to the effect that Lib Dem support is soft all the way through. Labour, he said, does at least seem to have a bedrock.

    More worrying for Labour is that this bedrock exists amongst the old and unfashionable, especially in unemployment black spots and amongst immigrants. As these people join the modern world, it seems reasonable to assume that they’ll vote more like the people of Surrey. That is, whilst Labour’s heartland is solid(ish) for now, it will probably disappear altogether in the coming decade or two. Contrast this with the Tories at their low point. Again, they had a high proportion of old people but, crucially, these were in the go-getting areas of the country that produce all the wealth and represent the country’s future.

    Labour on 24% represents what remains of tribal Labour plus its ‘payroll’ rote, that is, government, local govt and agency workers, who see a vote for any other party as a vote for redundancy.

    I agree with the other posters above that we are due an historic re-alignment of the left. Even as a Conservative, I would welcome this as healthy opposition makes government better and many local councils near me are already suffering from a lack of it.

    I think Tony Blair saw the future and tried to make Labour change accordingly. It is now clear that he failed. Now the way is clear for a (genuinely) new party to fulfill that role.

1 2