Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has topline figures, with changes from their last poll, of CON 44%(+5), LAB 30%(-5), LDEM% 17%(+2). The poll was conducted between the 16th and 18th of January.

Clearly it shows a very substantial shift in support from Labour to the Conservatives. Normally I’d advise some caution in any poll showing a big switch in voting intention and advise people to wait to see it confirmed in other polls, but in this case, while the extent of the switch in support is rather larger, the trend is the same as we’ve already seen from Populus, YouGov and ComRes. The boost in Labour support we saw last year appears to have gone into a sharp reverse.

UPDATE: Full tables are here. Interestingly enough, while Populus, ICM and TNS have all shown economic optimism heading back down this month, the MORI poll shows it continuing to rise: net optimism is up to minus 40 from minus 48 last month. In contrast, optimism about how it will affect them personally doesn’t seem to increasing, 49% of full-time workers said they were worried about losing their job, compared to 43% last month.

181 Responses to “MORI show decisive swing back to the Tories”

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  1. New Labour is now almost dead!

  2. So; 14 points, which would correspond with a 52 seat majority, for the Conservatives. It seems that the YouGov poll was not a rogue as some people were suggesting, in fact if anything, the ComRes poll, giving only a 9 point lead, is more out of line.

    I can’t see this trend going into reverse anytime soon, and as I said a few days ago, I think we will see Conservative leads of 20 points+ becoming commonplace over the summer.

    Also, as I think I mentioned in another thread, look out for leadership challenges in the Labour party between the council elections and the conference season.

  3. Perhaps it’s now becoming obvious that the Government has no idea what it’s doing with the economy, and Conservative arguments that we are storing up debt for our children, and that you can’t borrow your way out of a recession when it was borrowing that got you into it in the first place are starting to achieve resonance.

    Perhaps the growing difficulties other countries are having with the Euro will also benefit the Conservatives who seem to be the most Euro-sceptic of the main parties.

  4. Anthony, why is MORI only weighted at 0.35 on the UKPR Average? Just wondered.

  5. Phil C – the details are all on the same page you found the 0.35 on! In short though, the average weights down polls that don’t have any political weighting.

  6. ‘ …Conservative arguments that we are storing up debt for our children, and that you can’t borrow your way out of a recession when it was borrowing that got you into it in the first place are starting to achieve resonance.’

    Shame that the rest of the world, including the dying Republican USA, actually is doing the same thing as Labour. Not arguing for Labour but I am having trouble trying to balance the world between those countries doing actions like Labour (heaps) and those doing actions like the Tories want (well, I cant think of any). As such, Tories may be right but the rest of the world is doing what Labour is doing.

    Resonance may happen, doesn’t make it right….

  7. Another Labour slaughter in the local elections anyone? Looks like the repeated bombardment of bad economic news is finally hitting home.

  8. Only Labour seem to be stealing from the poor to give to Russian billionaires

  9. I think the local elections will be very interesting. Labour’s support will be even less than national polls suggest because Scotland will be taken out of the equation, and I would not be surprised to see Labour taking under 25% of the vote this summer, possibly a good bit under.

    It is also bound to get the Labour party out in force baying for GB’s blood, so between the local elections and the conference season will be interesting too.

    I don’t think Labour really have any credible alternative leaders, that is one of their major problems. If they decapitate Gordon, or if he resigns – who is to replace him? And, unless there is an unopposed leadership bid in the event of Gordon getting the chop – Labour will be leaderless for some time, and possibly over the conference season – which would not exactly be ideal for their position in the polls.

    So yes, I think local election time will be very interesting, and the subsequent few weeks even more so.

  10. Eeh, four rogue polls in a row … who’d ever have thunk it … ;)

    @ Jack – I’m not sure “the world” really is doing quite what Brown is doing. For one thing, Brown’s doing it all on the never-never. And the Obama-led part of the world is doing it with tax cuts thrown into the mix. We’re not looking at identical economies here, or at identical policies to tackle the crisis.

  11. but who would want to leader of a Labour party looking like they could be defeated at the next GE?

  12. Adrian, I agree, and as it happens I don’t think Gordon will stand down however badly Labour perform, but he might be pushed. We already know David Miliband will not want the job because he knows it will last 1 year max – at least that is presumeably the main part of the reason he didnt stand against Gordon 18 months ago.

    I am sure there would be some in the party who would want the job, but they just don’t seem credible leaders: Harriet Harman; Jack Straw; Alan Johnson etc.

    But mark my words, it will almost certainly be on the cards come June/July/August, there will be intense media speculation from the moment the exit poll figures are announced on the night of the 4th June, and the speeches attacking Brown will start, and it will all roll from there. So what I am asking is, what do you all think the outcome will be?

  13. Neil – I think Labour’s best bet in the long-term will be to consider the next general election lost and instead start thinking about what it can do to give itself a fighting chance in 2014/15. If I was a Labour party strategist I’d be looking to ditch Brown, replace him with a competent caretaker to lead the party through the general election loss, then in the first year of opposition start the search for a real replacement leader who will then have a few years to grow into the job before the 2014/15 general election.

    What I suspect will happen, however, is that Labour’s fortunes for the next few years will mirror the Tories’ after 1997, with equivalents of Hague, Duncan Smith, and Howard trying vainly and failing to make the party electable again. Labour will be back someday but not necessarily within the lifetimes of most four-legged mammals.

  14. “Shame that the rest of the world, including the dying Republican USA,”

    Why do you call it Republican USA? To imply that the USA has been economically right of centre the last decade? If you think Bush and recent Republican congress’ have been right of centre then you are unable to think for yourself. Look at their actions instead of reading a label.

    “actually is doing the same thing as Labour.”

    Yes. This is Gordons reasoning too. If America is doing it, this is all he uses to justify his actions.

    We seem to have been following America off of a lot of cliffs in the last few years.

    In fact I am certain that Labour spin doctors have told ministers to repeat as often as possible “we are doing X … this is what America is doing too.” Dont you hear words to that effect from them almost every day?

    “I am having trouble trying to balance the world between those countries doing actions like Labour (heaps) and those doing actions like the Tories want (well, I cant think of any).”

    Yes, the vast majority are doing what Labour are doing. Just like the vast majority of people in a market are buyers just before a crash. Ever heard of the herd mentality?

    The people setting policy in the US are the same people that got America into their mess in the first place! Why would anyone still listen to them? It blows my mind. Once again, Gordon is following the US over a cliff.

    “As such, Tories may be right but the rest of the world is doing what Labour is doing.”

    Well, “you are either a contrarian or a victim.”

    “Resonance may happen, doesn’t make it right….”

    No, sound economic theory does.

  15. Adrian,

    Id have thought that too. Its weird though. I couldnt understand when so many people stepped up to take the leadership of the Tories when it was obvious they couldnt win for at least a decade. I guess there is always someone who thinks they can do the impossible.

  16. The difference with America is that it has a far more productive and diversified economy than Britain and isn’t as critically reliant on financial services. America can sustain these levels of borrowing and debt for some time to come.

  17. James Ludlow – if Labour followed the Tories pattern.. does that mean their next three leaders will be James Purnell, Jon Cruddas and Jack Straw?

  18. It might … or worse …

  19. James Ludlow

    So in efect, you think they need someone to do a Michael Howard?

    After all, he did exactly that after IDS was deposed. Took the reins, halved Labour’s majority, then conducted an orderly transfer to DC.

  20. Our economy has been closer to the US economy in both character and cycle for at least a decade so our problems are the most alike. It’s therefore not surprising that the governments have decided on similar actions to deal with similar problems.

    Both have had a decade of property price and consumer debt driven growth and both now have to deal with banks broken by it.

    Europe isn’t as damaged or as dependant on consumer spending so has adopted different or smaller stimulus packages.

    If the Tories top 45% in a series of polls then we will be back to October and GB will be in real trouble but with nowhere to go.

    The next set of polls will be really interesting.

    If today’s news carries on then on the day that the governments “Bail Out mk 2” has seen back shares fall sharply it could be that the public that rallied to Brown with mk 1 will turn against him.

    This isn’t a prediction but if this latest attempt at throwing money at the problem doesn’t go down well with the public we could have a real crisis of confidence in the government.

    Even though I am not a Labour fan I really don’t like the idea of this country facing that.



  21. I think that is certainly the line Labour SHOULD take, to avoid the wilderness, but I hope it is not the line they will take, and I rather suspect they will not.

    Gordon Brown likes power. I don’t see him sacrificing himself for the good of his party, particularly because he himself will have a great pension and a job in Brussels – so who cares what happens to the rest of them!

    So, if Gordon does not step down voluntarily, which he wont – not the Gordon I know – then there is always the possibility he will be pushed after June 4th.

    What happens then is anyone’s guess, and depends on several factors. How long will it take to topple him? How many will want his job? Will anybody want his job? How long will a leadership contest (should there be one) take? Will there be a new leader in time for the party conference?

    Of course, all this may not happen. Gordon may cut his losses and call an election on June 4th (unlikely). Or Gordon may hang on after Labour’s disaster on June 4th, and hold on until he feels the time is right – probably May/June 2010, when it is forced.

    Another factor is the Irish EU vote. Gordon will be desperate to avoid an election, at least until after the Irish have voted, for fear of the Tories getting in and repealing the ratification. If the Irish vote NO again (we can always hope and pray) then there is a possibility he will try to hold on until after the third vote (unless the EU come up with some way of overriding the referendum before then).

    In any case, nothing is clear cut yet – and no doubt it will all become clearer as the year progresses. It could be a very interesting year, but it could also be a very depressing year, politically, whichever side you look at it from.

  22. Sorry, I didnt make clear that the last post was in response to James Ludlow

  23. Anthony – so it does, I must learn to read.

    However that’s a weighting of 0.75 so it doesn’t explain the whole of the low weighting, presumably you’ve marked it down for another reason?

  24. I support your sentiments Peter Cairns.

    Those that went back are already leaving.
    I want them out but it’s worrying to think what sort of handle they will have on things in the next few months. There is no pleasure in watching a Government fall apart when we so badly need a good one.
    Sky news reported Brown was ‘morose’ again. It does not bode well.

  25. the local elections are coming and the polling points to a conservative win and a wiping clean of all countys and unitry councils up and down england, labour wipe out more like blood bath with that sort of polling. just looking 17 months ahead towards the next election, we also have local elections in the same year and the best result from a conservative point of view is for another wipe out at local level as well as national, i.e putting labour on there backside and wiping out there voter base at a local level to stop them coming back four years later.

  26. @ Neil – yes, I pretty much agree with what you say above. There are a lot of things up in the air and the most strategic response probably won’t win the day – it will require someone with both foresight and clout to pull it off and I’m not sure Labour has enough people with both right now.

    Politically I think things are rather depressing regardless of one’s political affiliations. Weak, panicky government headed by someone given to (shall we say) mood swings is not really what we need during a recession. And afterwards there’s a serious danger that Labour will collapse and the Tories will have no meaningful opposition for a number of years. Ours is a system that works best when there is a reasonably strong opposition keeping government on its toes and subjecting bills to real scrutiny. As we saw during Labour’s recent glory years, a weak opposition allows far too much leeway and the government of the day has a tendency to become arrogant, self-righteous and overbearing. Whichever party is in power, too much power isn’t good. And I say that as someone who is delighted that the Tories are substantially ahead again.

  27. i actually agree witrh james if the bias canbe sorted out in the system which has led to such large majoritys perhaps parliament will be more meaningful to peole who are not political geeks like me

  28. The newspapers this morning are’nt being very kind to Gordon Brown – one in particular – with a full page spread.

    2010 seems so far away – will we all make it ?

  29. Even optimistic Labour pundits must realise that if the economy does miraculously recover their fortunes will not. As in the 1990’s when the public refused to forgive the Tories even after things had begun to recover, now all the people made redundent, who have lost their homes or their businesses will be just aching to give them the most almighty kicking.

    People will also ask ever more loudly how it was that Brown, who ran the economy for ten years personally, had no idea what the bankers were doing. The Government should have been the regulators. They were obviously not up to the job.

    Dismal too are the long term prospects, when you consider that the next generation of Labour leaders would appear to be one of the creepy Millibands or James Parnell (The man responsible for the change in licensing Laws that have made our towns and cities total no go areas at weekends whilst forcing the best locals to the wall).

    Labour’s only short term hope is that between now and the local and euro elections, Mandelson can exploit the differences between Ken Clarke and just about every other living Tory on Europe. Unlike in the past when he couldn’t resist off message remarks, I think he is now so geared up to ridding us of this inept bunch of fools, he will keep it zipped.

  30. Brown is doomed, and he seems to be taking the Labour party, the stock market and the country down with him. The polls are begining to reflect that people now recognise this, and the polls are only likely to get worse for GB as the Tories strengthen their hand (good reshuffle), and the incompetancy of economic policy becomes apparent. The run on bank shares once again demonstrates how GB and AD just don’t understand how the world of commerce works – just as their ludicrously incompetant flogging of the gold reserves previously showed.

  31. “People will also ask ever more loudly how it was that Brown, who ran the economy for ten years personally, had no idea what the bankers were doing. The Government should have been the regulators. They were obviously not up to the job.”

    I think that is coming centre stage in the public mind now.

    GB’s performance at his Press Conference was sad to watch.He floundered from “Sub Prime-America” etc etc-to “Irresponsible Banks” in his desperate search for a “not me guv” story.

    But RBS has blown it all away.

    As The Times said the other day -if British Banks are too important to fail-how come they were allowed to grow so big so quickly?

    This has been a massive failure of Banking Oversight by the Regulatory structure designed & implemented by Brown.
    These are the Banks that Brown-in his pomp as Chancellor lauded to the skies .

    Little did he know -apparently- that it was all smoke & mirrors.

    People are beginning to understand this now & will punish Brown for it as they begin to pay the price of his incompetence and hubris.

  32. An end to boom and bust? – I think not

    An end to the riduculous Brown bounce? – I think so

    Finally we are seeing that Brown hasn’t got a clue how to sort out the mess of which he is responsible for creating the conditions.

  33. Rumour has it that one of the big credit rating agencies is about to downgrade UK Government debt!

    Strange how this has only affected us and the Spanish so far among he big economies given that “the whole world is doing the same as old Gord”. Perhaps ‘the world’ isn’t quite as poorly run as we have been? Who knows.

    If this happens we’ll have to pay higher interest on it and, with the amount we’ve been saddled with, that spells disaster ahead. Lack of availability of more easy money might mean Labour has to start sacking it’s own! Consultants and ‘red tape’ Civil Servants etc.

    I reckon we’ll see another 50% Tory poll when this news filters down to the ‘great unwashed’…in about 3 months.

  34. Weighted Moving Average is now 42:32:16 and of course this will be lagging the real shift in opinion. So the Retrospectives suggest that the CLead reached 10.6 on the 15th (when the WMA was 7.5) and it could well be 13-14 by now.

    Although they now have some extremely competent people at the Treasury and working on this, the fact that Brown is still blundering around and is rightly completely discredited means that trust will not be restored until he goes.

    I suspect that within 2 months we’ll have CLeads of 20%

  35. My method has the Conservatives on a 106 seat majority at the moment (it does assume that the Labours poor electoral showing compared to the polls happens again).

    Tories are currently polling 10% higher than they were before the last election, Labour 6% lower and LibDem 7% down – changes applied to election results has 42/29/15.

  36. The county council elections represent a real problem for Labour because the last three have all taken place on the same day as Labour has won a victory at a general election. That means that they have always coincided with a Labour peak and have always had a general election-level turnout.

    The next round will be very different with a much lower turnout generating results that will amplify Labour’s unpopularity. Moreover, the wards concerned cover a huge amount of the vital marginal seats with many Labour councillors defending small majorities.

    The result could be an absolute bloodbath.

  37. Whatever these figures show – when the Cons policies are put under scrutiny in a election campaign – they will be exposed as empty PR driven pap and the lead will evaporate.

    How the Cons have reacted to the economic crisis speaks volumes on how they would govern – panic, do nothing and panic some more.

  38. Out Gordon Out! As a strong Labour supporter I want a leadership challenge now!
    This Poll is not good for us (Labour) and it is clear Gordon Brown is not going to be able to pull us back on top, last summer I was fully behind him when others wanted him to go, now I’m not!
    I do think that when the election is called Labour will make some gains but to me Labour needs a fresh voice.
    If things get as bad as they did last summer in the polls, I have no doubt Gordon will be driven from Number 10 by his own Party.

  39. I should have added that the reason he is facing these problems is because he was chancellor for 10 years. This is a world economic crisis but no matter how hard he tries since he was the chancellor he will always face the blame.
    I want him to think about the party and step away.

  40. Jackr

    Who would you have as leader?

    Partially related, suppose you were a voter in Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath. Could Brown’s popularity ever get so low that a protest vote, against him personally, in his constituency would give the 21% swing needed for an SNP victory?

  41. Mark M,

    Almost certainly not, ex leaders are rarely removed even if their government is seen as a failure.

    Brown would be there as long as he wanted which in some respects presents Labour with a problem, does he over shadow his successor and remain, a bit like Thatcher, or walk away and give a new leader a free hand.


  42. @ JackR – “I have no doubt Gordon will be driven from Number 10 by his own Party.”

    Nevermind his own party. Hopefully he’ll be driven out by angry little demons jabbing him with red hot pokers.

  43. @ PeterCairns – after his disastrous premiership, I doubt Brown could overshadow anyone. Thatcher – love her or hate her – was of infinitely greater significance than Brown. He’d be more like the Ghost of Christmas Past.

    If Brown is ousted as leader, my guess is that he’ll stand down as an MP. His famously brittle ego won’t tolerate demotion.

  44. “This is a world economic crisis but no matter how hard he tries since he was the chancellor he will always face the blame”


    The reason he will face the blame is that Britain was is a considerably WORSE position to face the recession, which is why we are now in it deeper than any other industrialised country. The reason for this is that GORDON decided to try and make the boom years look as good as possible (so he would be more popular) by ridiculously high levels of debt and taxation to fund government spending on a level that was totally unsustainable.

    So it is absolutely right that Gordon should take the blame. His uber-socialist policies are the reason our economy is in such a bad way. However hard you try to say he was really a good chancellor, and is now the unfortunate scapegoat for some distant global problem, the fact remains he has been the worst chancellor – probably ever – but certainly of recent times.

    It is all becoming apparent now, but those of us with a little more understanding of the economy have seen this coming for the last 4 or 5 years. And it will not stop any time soon – certainly not this year.

  45. well if we think about it he was very lucky to survive after last summers polls and I think many in the party were prepared to give him a chance last summer but for it to happen twice will be too much. If the council elections are a disaster (which lets be honest they probably will be) then his time is up.
    Who will take over? Well I hope we have an exciting leadership election which engages the party and the country. The problem last time was the Gordon Brown just got the job and we didn’t have the chance to express an opinion.

  46. Hey, what happened to my comment? It got editted out!

  47. From the MORI Poll – where does this leave the AW thesis which was looking a good one?

    Public optimism about the economy continues to increase, and is now at its highest level since October 2007 – although those who think the economy will get worse over the next 12 months still far outnumber those who think it will improve. The proportion of those who feel the economic condition of the country will improve in the next twelve months is at 20%, compared with 18% last month. Six in ten (60%) think the economy will get worse, down from 66% last month. The Economic Optimism Index (those who think it will get better minus those who think it will get worse) is now at -40, compared with -48 last month.

  48. The problem for the government and particularly Brown is that the attitude of the electorate seems to have tipped back to where we were at the end of last summer; namely they react to anything they do or say with tired ears and eyes. In other words they are simply bored of Labour. That is so corrosive for a government because the more Borwn attempts to look busy or the more announcements he makes the more desperate he looks.

    I think this is shaping up to be the state of play for the foreseeable future; the Conservatives polling ~15% ahead and Brown trying to come up with a new initiative every day and repeating his mantra of ‘do-nothing’ which seems to have no real resonance anymore.

    I doubt there will be any leadership challenge. For one it is best for any Party to allow the incumbent to take the brunt of an election defeat. But additionally I believe Brown is so consumed with the will to keep power that he would make deposition so arduous and drawn out that it would not be in the interest of the challenger to get involved.

  49. Sadly this board is not what it used to be – a discussion of polls and polling, but has become apart from a few posters, increasingly partisan and now reads like the 5 Live message boards. Shame.

  50. @Stephen

    I think you’re wrong. Healthy debate on what direction a poll will take does happen here. Yes people are partisan but that’s what allows us an insight into the minds of other people supporting from other camps.

    I think AW does a great job at moderating the direction of conversations and the information he provides is invaluable.

    Thankyou Anthony keep up the good work.


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