Following on from ICM’s poll on Saturday, Sunday’s Observer also features a poll showing an increase in Conservative support following the PBR. The Ipsos MORI poll has topline figures, with changes from MORI’s last poll conducted a fortnight ago, of CON 43%(+3), LAB 32%(-5), LDEM 15%(+3).

MORI’s previous poll, as you may remember, famously showed the Conservative lead cut down to only 3 points. That may have been something of an outlier – the Lib Dem figure of only 12% was particularly difficult to believe – and hence the very large shift in this poll may be exaggered, but all the same it suggests a swing back towards the Conservatives since the PBR.

There don’t seem to be any fieldwork dates in the Observers coverage of the poll, though it does make clear it was conducted after the PBR.

83 Responses to “MORI too show a post-PBR boost for the Tories”

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  1. I think the poll volatility is down to two opposing trends functioning simultaneously.

    Firstly the core support of the parties is growing harder, but this is in response to the fact that this is shrinking (along with party membership).

    The uncommitted, undecided floating voters open up an opportunity to fourth party groups or fifth columns gaining in popularity.

    I also don’t think the polls adequately reflect the dissatisfaction and apathy being bred by the current system and it is possible that the polling methods are contributing to our corruption, so I would like to see how the companies respond to this challenge.

    Incidentally Peter, I suggest you look at how Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, Turkey ,Spain and Portugal behaved and understand that they were sympathetic in their individual nationalisms; but then it is understandable that an SNP poster would choose to ignore this.

    I think you inadvertently add weight to my point that partisanship is unavoidable.

  2. john t t

    The view that the VAT cut won’t have any difference has a lot of good reasoning behind it. The aim of the exercise was to provide ‘fiscal stimulus’ or in other words, get people to spend again to attempt to boost the economy. Cutting prices by ~2% doesn’t help that, as I said earlier, people can only spend what they have (especially now, as we can’t borrow to spend like we used to).

    Small example. If I earn £20 and I am taxed 50%, I have the ability to contribute £10 to the economy. If prices come down 2%, I can still only contribute £10 to the economy, although I can buy more things. If, instead of cutting VAT, income tax is cut to 25%, I now have the ability to contribute £15 to the economy.

    They would likely have been concerned that the lump-sum method tried in America resulted in most people putting the money in the bank, and were trying to avoid it by providing a cut that could only be enjoyed by spending. It seems though, that they chose an ineffective option, as reflected in the polls and media.

  3. Hello,

    Sally C at referred me to you. I’m trying to find the most recent poll on British support for eurozone entry. Any ideas?

  4. I think the Polls reflect a feature of Brown which we saw just after last years Labour Conference-he looks & sounds good in set piece speeches.

    This was so again as he travelled the world speaking about the Credit Crunch & the Recession.

    But in both instances however, the subsequent decision making -the judgements about tactics-they seem to fail him & people can see it.

    Re Damian Green-it sounds as if there is a groundswell of cross party support for protest by MPs-probably on Wednesday.
    Discounting the emergence of duplicity or lying by the Home Secretary, I am not convinced that the general public feel quite so strongly as the MPs & journalists about the rights & priviliges claimed by the latter.
    I hope we get some Polls with sensibly framed questions to test the issue.

    Re the PBR -it has met with almost universal criticism.I must say that when you look at what the two largest global economies did there were clear pointers for the Government.

    China-who had no need for Credit related measures, given the State owns their Banks, opted for construction projects to stem unemployment.

    USA-who had tried a pretty unsuccessfull tax reduction, have concentrated almost entirely on Credit related initiatives.

    It is evident that lack of credit is the key problem-and unless this is unblocked pronto, the post Christmas period could be very bad on the employment front.

    Darling has already acknowledged that the PBR package may have been inadequate & he will have to intervene again.

  5. Thomas

    “Incidentally Peter, I suggest you look at how Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, Turkey ,Spain and Portugal behaved and understand that they were sympathetic in their individual nationalisms.”

    All nations do that not just neutral ones, in fact up until Pearl harbour it was the US position.

    The fact that these nations were neutral in the conflict doesn’t mean they didn’t have reasons to lean one way or the other, be they sympathy or self preservation.

    Your original contention seemed to be that the Dutch experience showed that neutrality doesn’t work. I pointed out that it worked fine for others.

    The Dutch problem, like Norway and Finlands wasn’t so much that neutrality didn’t work, but that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or that they were faced with someone who just wasn’t prepared to accept it.

    Norway is a good example, we look on it as an ally now, but in actual fact there was only a week or so difference between Germany invading it or the UK, as both thought it crucial that it didn’t fall in to the hands of the other.


  6. All, I am very gratefull for this website. It is the first site i’ve found that has a core of people who seem to give a balanced and fair representation of what is happening with the polls and more importantly why.

    I have only recently within the last 6 months started to really take an interest in the polls as I like many others are concerned about possible ramification of swings to and from the government.

    I believe you will find more and more people becoming interested in politics as we head to this election as I believe it will have one of the biggest turn outs of both Conservative and Labour core votes on record.

    I also think that as I am not a regular on here I can say with some authority that many many people are concerned with the D Green affair. We see too many other countires suffer because of a lack of democracy and all of the laws and traditions that protect it, that we are shocked when our own establishments are attacked – this comment has been echoed by labour / lib dem/conservative MP’s so please no accusations of bias.

    I am unclear of government involvement, but their collective and rather slow handling of this affair will I believe have a much larger impact than some on here believe. People don’t like indecision and dithering from their government, so this will be interesting to see – I was in gloucester when it rained a bit :-)

    What I think will be really interesting to discuss over the next few months, is the countries desire for change. As with all governments, they reach critical mass and create (without the need for opposition) the requirement for change. This need for change will manifest itself in many ways, but hopefully the polls will register it.

  7. Thanks Mark M – very clear. In an earlie rpost I pointed out that it’s retailers who will feel the effects of this VAT fiscal stimulus, as their increased margins will allow greater breathing space to compete through end-of-year and New Year sales.

    If it’s costing £18bn, it must have an effect, whether or not that effect is perceived by the voters. That 2.5% saving might just keep some of the big retailers from closing some of their stores (and creating voids for councils and pension fund landlords)

    It is therefore possibly a better idea than the eye-catching lump-sum (which will have to be reversed anyway). A lot depends on Xmas sales.

  8. No Peter, my contention wasn’t that neutrality doesn’t work, but that it doesn’t exist.

    Being a non-combatant did not make any of the countries you cited neutral and it was because the Netherlands was not neutral (particularly regarding war finance and the refugee issues) that it was invaded.

    Similarly the floating voters in this country are not disinterested in politics, only sceptical about what the established parties have to offer.

    If the political establishment excludes the sceptical masses then it becomes easy to slip over into cynicism, at which point the constitutional settlement starts to unravel. It is therefore easy to understand why the SNP wishes to place restrictions on participation.

    The relevant question is what measures can be taken to counteract any Hawthorne effect of polling analysis.

    On this I think plotted graphs of opinion polls are far more helpful than any weighted average – especially where it comes down to trying to ascertain whether any individual poll result can be determined as an outlier (or rogue) rather than any sudden shift in opinion.

    I would be very interested to see if Anthony could provide alternative graphic representation, as I believe this will provide an informative basis which would melt much of the astroturf found in these comment threads.

  9. Thomas,

    “Being a non-combatant did not make any of the countries you cited neutral and it was because the Netherlands was not neutral (particularly regarding war finance and the refugee issues) that it was invaded.”

    The Netherlands was invaded because it was in a strategically important position for both sides, it’s political stance had nothing to do with it, Norway suffered the same fate.

    “Similarly the floating voters in this country are not disinterested in politics, only sceptical about what the established parties have to offer.”

    Floating voters aren’t necessarily sceptical, they could be discerning, confused, indifferent, any number of things either at one point or over time.

    The polls tell us that they aren’t commited to any one party, but they don’t tell us why. You may like to think it’s sceptacism but that doesn’t mean it is.

    “It is therefore easy to understand why the SNP wishes to place restrictions on participation.”

    And exactly what has the SNP supposed to have been doing to restrict participation may I ask.

    “The relevant question is what measures can be taken to counteract any Hawthorne effect of polling analysis.”

    Given that the current definition of the “Hawthorne Effect ” is ” the alteration of the behaviour of a subject of a study due to their awareness of being observed” are you suggesting that people express different opinions in polls to those thay actually hold because they are being polled.

    Do you have any evidence for that or is it just more supposition on your part.

    As to alternative graphics i don’t know how helpful that would be for you given that you earlier yougave a list of polls without polster which because of the ommissions gave a false impression that the polls were currently erratic.

    The same series of polls in a graph without the proper caviates would give the same false impression.


  10. Peter, on each response you are either inaccurate or vague.

    Firstly, to be sceptical does not impute the reasons for it.

    Secondly, Dutch strategic geographic importance is lower than that of Belgium, they had not participated in WW1 and were widely sympathetic to the German cause, so there is no reason why a puppet dictator could not have been installed (as had been done elsewhere) as a precursor to the invasion of Belgium if that was the only reason.

    Thirdly, you stated yourself that you preferred to restrict access to these comment threads. If you wish not to be counted as representative of your party, then I suggest you remove the tag.

    Fourthly, you are inaccurate in your definition of the Hawthorne effect (‘a temporary change to behavior or performance in response to a change in the environmental conditions’) and I think you may be getting confused with the Heisenberg principle or observer effect. I provide you as exhibit #1 and subsequently every other commentator (including myself).

    Fifthly, in my previous listing of polls I did not omit any – as you can check for yourself according to the list on this site.

    So I ask you:
    Who exactly is trying to give a misleading impression?

    What positive measures do you suggest can be taken to avoid any future perversions of the actuality?

  11. Definitely what the Tories need but I agree, this indicates nothing solid. If the Conservatives vast lead could collapse to the extent of just 3 points ahead of Labour (versus the famous 28 points) in just a couple months then this is no time to be making predictions as to who is going to win the next general election.

    Interestingly enough though, one person mentioned that the Green affair may be good for Labour as it took attention away from the negativity of the PBR and the economy. We don’t have any polls yet to argue this either way, but the only thing Labour has had to rely on during these last few months of hugely improving poll ratings IS the bad news on the economy.

    It almost feels as if those months since the collapse of Lehman Brothers was a building up to this big PBR package which was meant to solidify those favourable Labour figures. Unfortunately it appears, at least at first, to have done the opposite.

  12. And a footnote to Anthony – I don’t want you to be accused of being as Stalinist as the police have been of late but maybe a good idea to bring the thread discussions back to the tranquility they had before this website became so popular would be to implement a more strict members system for posting? Ranters and posters who generally ignore your policy of open-minded, poll-based discussion get struck off? A three strikes policy could be fun.

  13. Mark M, I think most people, and the media, probably deliberately, miss the point of the VAT cut. Let’s say, your household budget is £1000pm. And 30% of that is at standard rate VAT. That would be a saving of £10.5pm. Too small an amount to really save. And here’s the clever bit, HM Treasury still gets another 15% of that £10.5 that you spend. Added to the recent fall in some mortgage repayments with the cut in interest rates, and more to come. Also the increase in child benefit and Pensions due in January, a most welcome time, and the increase in personal allowances due at the same time. i think we are in a wait and see mode, wrt the PBR and its effects politically and financially.

  14. Jordan, I’m concerned about restrictive posting: – 3 stikes and you’re out if WE believe you are ranting? and who would decide, what political stance would they have? Surely it would depend on your mood or the placement of the sun and moon in relation to uranus (sorry cheap joke)

    I agree with an earlier posting. Lead by example and keep to topic. You’ll find people will stop posting when other people stop answering.

  15. Jordan – I pondered that at some point, in fact, I even did up the graphics ready to roll it out – here, have a yellow card :)

    I changed my mind and decided against it though, I much prefer a light touch and occassional nudge in the right direction (and Littlethunder, if I ever did do it, the answer to your question would be that I would decide. It ain’t a democracy round here you know!

  16. Too comments: –

    Well said – Anthony for Emperor


    Never a truer word spoken in jest (sorry off topic – ranting again)

  17. C.L.A.D.

    I don’t understand how you get £10.50 :-

    Your household budget figure is VAT inclusive-in which case the saving is £1000 X 30% =£300, which =£255 pre 17.5% Vat…so 2.5% saving=££6.38
    Your household budget figure is VAT exclusive -in which case the saving is 2.5% X £300 = £7.50

    Whether either figure in that sort of budget features as significant when shopping on a High Street where prices are being discounted by 60% as I saw this morning, I think is debatable.Buying presents for my grandchildren today I saw a £10 price differential between two shops on just one video game.

    I agree with you that those seeing their mortgage payments fall will be pleased.-but that reduction will be academic if they lose their job next year.

    The increase in State Pension is indeed welcome-but it is of course simply a function of Inflation Rate as it is every year.
    Pensioners’ inflation rate tends to be largely influenced by Council Tax, Heating & Food. Only Food shows signs of reduction in huge recent inflation rates-the other two have seen dramatic increases which show no signs of abating.
    In addition, the falling interest rates will penalise those many retired people who rely on some savings income to boost their pension.

    So all of these things have different effects for different people, and drawing generalised conclusions for all the different economic groups is probably a mistake.

    I agree wholeheartedly with you that we are in a “wait & see mode”-but not for PBR’s effects-I doubt very much whether they will ever be isolated( the fiscal ones anyway).

    Very simply we are waiting to see how many jobs will go & whose they will be.

    And this is why I think the burgeoning army of Public Sector workers will gravitate to the party who they think is least likely to end their job & pension rights.They might think that is Labour.

    There are 6million of them-around 13% of the 2005GE electorate-or 22% of all those who voted then.

    The more unemployment rises next year , the more I think Public Sector workers will vote Labour, and vice versa for those in the Private Sector, and in Retirement.

  18. Anthony, lucky you dropped the idea with the graphics or you would end up giving out more cards than a postie the week before Christmas.

  19. UKPR had a ComRes showing the Tory lead down to 1 (-5), before it exploded. Any confirmation of this?

  20. Do you mean David?

  21. Cripes, it appears to be true. Major movement in DE-class voters.

  22. David:

    I checked the Comres Site before it crashed as well: it does indeed show a poll with the Tory lead at 1%, Con 37, Lab 36, Lib 17.

  23. David, who was the mole that told you?Have they surpressed the poll for the benefit of the Conservatives?Is this a breach of our democracy and has anyone told the Speaker of the House?Will the public be in uproar and are the posters on ConHome considering a march to parliament about this scandal of hiding the truth?



  24. Hold the Met,this is a current poll that has just appeared on net world.

    Conservatives – 37 (-6)
    Labour – 36(+4)
    LDems – 17(+5)


  25. We all know that FPTP proportionately disadvantages the Tories and Lib Dems – but with the Lib Dems (oddly in historical context) making big gains in the combined ‘chattering classes/student/anti-Iraq’ vote.

    But I think the Tories are still at least 15 seats down from where they ‘should’ be (discounting minor parties) – with UKIP/Veritas neutralised and (indeed the whole EU question) irrelevant in voters’ minds at the mo.

    The next election may well see the Lib Dems reverse the gains from previous elections – I would think that Winchester , for example, will go back to the Tories after the Mark Oaten scandal.

    The Tories will clean up in the Kent super-marginals (and in ‘South East England’) but will be lucky to get an overall majority of 10. They certainly won’t get a 1979-style majority of c.40 imho

  26. Am I missing something? ComRes poll for tomorrow’s Indy appears to be posted here:

    Fieldwork 28-30th November

  27. Hold everything again,

    A right wing forum site is saying the same poll by Com Res is:

    Conservatives – 48%
    Labour – 25%
    LDems – 15%

    One of them is going to look rather foolish.

  28. DC – Thanks for the proof.Guido Fawkes forum, too biased for it’s own good,so much so that it is now lying about published polls.

    Lead down to 1% in this Rogue of Polls.

  29. Thomas,

    Some Dictonary definitions for you.

    Sceptical; Not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations.

    Some of the electorate may well be easily convinced and thus change from party to party, some may be sure about most policies but shift weight between them depending on events, and some may well just not care and indeed far from being not easily convinced they are actually easily convincted that the parties are all the same.

    If you are saying that the electorate are sceptical but that there could be many reasons for that ,it still doesn’t prove wide spread scepticism.

    Some may be sceptical but it doesn’t have to be wide spread and indeed there could be many people who are sceptical about their party of choice but still vote for them as the lesser of two evils.

    Hawthorne effect; The alteration of behaviour of a study due to their awareness of being studied.

    That’s the dictionary definition I’ve got, although wiki ( never the definitive source for anything) does say that the definition has changed over time and is now variously definied.

    And no I am not mixing it up with the Heisenberg principle. You may make about as much sense as a Star Trek script but I am not mistaking it for quantum uncertainty.

    On Holland in may 1940 this from wiki;

    “The strategic position of the Low Countries, located between France and Germany on the uncovered flanks of their fortification lines, made them the logical route for an offensive by either side. The Entente tried to convince them not to wait for the inevitable German attack but join them first.”

    As I said never a definitive source but if you have anything better I’d like to see it.

    The fact that I support Anthony’s right to set his own policy on his own site and to take action if he sees neceassary hardly amounts to the SNP trying to restrict democracy, unless you are advocating that all websites should be open to all comments without moderation or restriction.

    No one is saying you can’t say what you like but rather that there are limits that you agree to before you enter and if you don’t like them don’t come in.

    It’s just like a pub, if the sign outside says “No Spitting” (well seeing I am from Glasgow) then if you spit inside expect to be shown the door. You may see that as some infringement of human rights I see it as the rules of the house.

    If anyone doesn’t like it they can find a pub that lets them s**t on the tables if they like.

    Also I never said you omitted any polls, but by listing them without the organisation that conducted them we couldn’t tell if the different methodologies of the pollsters accounted for the variations rather than volatility as you claimed.

    As Anthony has pointed out repeatedly different pollsters have different methodologies that either increase or decrease the shares for different parties. On that basis a set of pols which have the same basic raw data could have a variation in the results depending on who conducts the poll.

    Like most of your arguments it was sloppy, thats why I intermittantly pick you up (when I can be bothered), you aren’t as bad as Mike, but you do tend to make sweeping assumptions on very little evidence.

    You also just dig yourself in deeper, as with the comments on Holland in WW2 where rather than accept it was a weak analogy you try harder and harder to justify it.

    Of and using things like “Hawthorne effect” and “perversions of the actuality?” just make it look like you are trying to be clever by being deliberately obtuse.


  30. Peter,
    it’s good to see you raising the level of debate… just a couple of minor factual points though:

    On the point about statistical methodologies, if you reread the comments you’ll find I wasn’t disagreeing but augmenting the argument that different methodologies can’t be judged alike, in order to conclude the WMA is flawed. I’ll take it that you agree on the mathematic theory.

    Holland comprises just two regions within the Netherlands, which is itself only one of the three states commonly known as the ‘low countries’, but I’m sure you don’t need to read up on your geography.

    The Netherlands wasn’t invaded in WW1 because it’s strategic position means it doesn’t have a border with France, does not control the approaches to the straits and therefore did not have a mutual defence pact with the entente powers. This didn’t change between then and ’40, as I’m sure you’ll know from your history.

    As for dictionary definitions, that’s English language, and I’m sure I can afford a Scot some discretion on that.

    Finally the politics: your need to reply is a demonstration in point that this is in fact quite acute and contrary to your own interpretation.

    Perhaps you could engage with the issues at hand rather than making personal attacks – would you indeed prefer plotted graphs which give scope to integrate the poll variations we are attempting to make sense of, and is not the identified polling volatility a actually only a symptom of the line graph used?

    I think it is impossible to infer the swings in individual poll results are due to to the effects of news events when these cannot easily be disentangled from the different polling methodologies.

    I can only conclude that either you think any such inferences are safe, that you cannot suggest any way to disentangle one from the other, or that it suits your personal ends to see confusion reign.

    Considering the latest result from ComRes how we disinter meaningful conclusions about public opinion as a basis for policy-making is a subject of growing importance.

  31. Thomas,

    Have to take issue with you re Holland – a commonly used shorthand for the Netherlands – especially pre WWII – notwithstanding it only being a part the latter.

    Firstly, I agree with Peter Cairns’ basic point that Hitler was going to invade Holland whatever their government said / did. This was a strategic imperative for several reasons.

    Your comparison with WWi is invalid because the underlying causes of those two wars were actually quite different, and the nature of what was strategically important had changed dramatically. It was not just a question of Geography, but of resources, and the Netherlands had both – in particular the port of Rotterdam.

    It was in thinking that WWii would be a replay of WWI that got France into such trouble. The lesson of History is that when economic factors change, one’s response should also change, and the tools of yesteryear may not work today, let alone tomorrow. Rather apt at present wouldn’t you say ?

    Anthony, sorry if this is a bit off thread, but I thought Peter deserved defence.

    (will comment on Thomas’ last point separatel;y)

  32. Paul,

    or as the adage goes;

    “You never fight the same war twice”

    Bush though Gulf War 2 would be just like Gulf War 1, and look where that got us.


  33. Thomas,

    As Peter also commented (possibly on a different thread), Political Leaders should seek to lead public opinion into doing what is right and just, and not just following every fashion or trend. To that end, the volatility of the polls is immaterial for public-policy making, since to suggest otherwise imoplies that public policy should follow the polls, rather than simply be “informed” by them.

    It has always been when government action (or legislation) has been motivated purely by polling evidence that we have had the worst outcomes. For a government to base its entire priogramme on polls (or focus groups) leads to bad law, bad government, and is generally bad news for the country.

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