Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has been released. The topline figures, with changes from their last poll, are CON 48%(+4), LAB 28%(-2), LDEM 17%(nc). It was conducted between the 13th and 15th February.

We’ve seen the Conservatives re-establishing their lead over the past month, but this is the first poll to put them back in the sort of territory we saw last summer when the Conservatives were regularly recording leads of 20 points. If other polls back up these sort of figures then we are heading back into landslide territory, and it’ll be interesting to see if Labour start experiencing the same sort of internal problems they faced last summer. At the moment though, this is just one poll, so let’s wait and see. It is also worth noting that back in the Summer MORI were showing the largest Conservative leads of all the pollsters, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect other companies to show quite such a large gap even if this does signify a further movement to the Tories.

Also notable is the lack of movement in the level of support for the Liberal Democrats. As regular readers will know, in the past few weeks we’ve seen big leaps in Lib Dem support from ICM and ComRes, a smaller increase from Populus, and no increase at all from YouGov and now Ipsos MORI. We still aren’t really much the wiser about what is really happening to Lib Dem support, though it is worth noting that the Lib Dems were already on the up in last month’s MORI poll, so one can look at this as the Lib Dems consolidating an increase they saw in the last couple of months.

167 Responses to “MORI give Conservatives a 20 point lead”

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  1. Seriously?

  2. Hardly surprising. Will it last? The government is having a torrid time. More anti-Labour than pro Conservative, I suspect.

  3. “More anti-Labour than pro Conservative, I suspect.”

    No internal feuding, young/untarnished front bench, the occasional release of the odd good policy (freezing council tax/more powers to local people) and an underlying narrative of ‘less nasty than they were’.
    What’s not to like?

    For the average ‘unpolitisised’ voter I suspect the Conservatives are starting to look a very good alternative. Not just ‘anyone but Labour’.

  4. Interesting. Can’t say I’m surprised. My feeling is that Labour is in full and irreversible meltdown now and polls will start to reflect this in the form of some fairly extreme results.

  5. I must urge once again that we do not get too complacent. Remember we need to capture about 130 seats to even win a majority.

    Saying that, if this poll was replicated in a GE with uniform swing it would give us a majority of 194 – an even greater wipe-out than 1997. However, that is not going to happen. In Scotland I think we will struggle to win 5 seats, so there is a lot still to do.

  6. Swings from Labour to Conservatives from pre-2005 Election polls – ComRes 12%, ICM 9%, Ipsos 12.5%, Populus 10%, YouGov 8.5%.

    If the swings in the polls were repeated in an election, the results would be CON 43.3%, LAB 25.5%, LD 18.1% for a Conservative majority of 142.

    As always, it’ll be interesting to see what other pollsters say in the wake of the Sir James Crosby/Paul Moore saga. If that proves to be the link between Gordon Brown and the credit crunch that the Tories needed then Labour are in serious trouble.

    Are we satisfied that the Brown bounce is over now?

  7. Great poll for the Tories, but what is going on with the Lib Dems?

  8. Very bad poll for Labour but I still have faith that the extra ordinary free ride from the press Cameron has enjoyed over his flip-policies policies and statements, the vagueness of his policies in a election campaign this lead will soon distingerate.

    It’s been a common trend throughout his leadership any sort of scrutinization in Con policies and the poll lead drops i.e. Grammar schools and there response to the economic problems.

    I still feel that Labour are being punished for the endless bad news stories about the economy and not necessary buying the Con message – hence the increase in others and Lib Dem share of the vote. If the economy recovers and the recession is not as sever as the gloom merchants predict (anyone stating otherwise is ridiculed) Labour should receive the benefit, even from this right-wing reactionary media.

  9. Is this David Cameron finally breaking through the 45% barrier, something he thus far has failed to do?

  10. Chris, I hear there is a vacancy for editor of LabourList, perhaps you should apply.

  11. @Neil – Thanks for the advice but i’m aiming a little higher to turn the trend of this ultra right wing sensationalist media.

  12. Good lord. I was expecting a few months of stalemate with the lead ~12-14% but all of a sudden the Conservatives smash through the 45% level. What’s interesting here is that the fall in Labour support has gone over to the Conservatives (partly) whereas the Lib Dems are unchanged. That’s the opposite trend we’ve seen from the last few polls.

    Whether this is the start of a new trend and we’ll see the likes of Populus and ComRes show the Conservatives clawing back support from the Lib Dems’ recent gains is yet to be seen.

  13. @Chris
    Amazing, I honestly never thought I would hear the British media describe as right wing. A few papers and Sky aside we have a very left leaning media. The BBC dominates most medium apart from print and has more Labour members than all the other parties added together.

    Still if you cant blame GB for the drop off in the polls or the Conservatives the media is the next option. Though you could always blame the electorate in true Stalinist style for not knowing what is good for them. In fact given the belief in targets and internally generated statistics why doesn’t GB set a target for the number of people who should vote for him and then announce he has achieved it according to his own data?

    Surely that would avoid having to deal with the “right wing” media?

  14. Chris,

    Do you count the BBC (several national radio stations/several national tv stations) as part of the “ultra right wing sensationalist media”?

    Compared to the Sun’s ‘Will the last person turn off the lights’ days the media are a pussy cat when it comes to Labour-bashing.

    You’re just sulking. If you want to make a difference, quit the bile on non-political message boards and help out your local party handing out leaflets.

  15. @Charlie

    This myth of Labour supporting BBC is ridiculous – just because they are not in the pocket of foreign owned media magnates does not make them Labour leaning. If you compare the coverage of the BBC to say even ITV – to call the BBC biast crazy. Have you seen ITV’s tonight? or the Tonight with the Tory party as it should be know.

    Anyone with a rational mind knows our media is utlra right wing driven – other than the Mirror and very occasionally the Guardian can you name other Labour supporting/Tory scrutinizing paper?

    PS i’d like to see where you’ve got your statistics on Labour members in the BBC – Mail or Express?

  16. Interesting. The Tories appear to be capturing new voters at a rate of knots. If you look at polls since the last election those floating voters have sloshed from one side to the other and back again repeatedly. At the moment the surge tide has swept them back into the Tory tally – will they stay or will they be swept elsewhere again?

    i do find it amusing that having been reading comments on this site for about 6 months or so now the polls that showed a slosh over to Labour were generally considered wrong, and now the polls are sloshing back the other way the Tory percentage can be banked for the next election which clearly will be tomorrow.

    Clearly people are abandoning Labour in some numbers as the message that this is a bad recession hits home – either to the Lib Dems or to the Tories depending on the week and the poll. Now does that mean that they are voting in favour of Cameron or against Labour? Wind the clock forward 15 months and where will these flating voters be then? What events and news narratives will we have seen then and what effect will they have on the voters?

  17. Chris,
    Thanks for the entertainment.
    Have you considered going pro? Ricky Gervais has nothing on you.

  18. As much as Id like to believe this poll, it seems a bit of an outcast to me. 48% is a bit much for me to believe right now, even with the tsunami of bad news highlighting Crash Gordon’s total incompetence.
    If Paul Moore’s evidence is as damning as he would like to think it is though, then Crash really is finished over night imo.

  19. Anyone remember the last months of Major’s government when we were regularly seeing MPs “crossing the floor” from the Tories to Labour

    If we start to see this kind of activity again, then their number is well and truly up.

    Perhaps David Freud’s actions at the weekend are a first sign of this?

  20. I think that from A Conservative point of view, the best time for Labour MPs to start crossing the floor would be around 1 year before the election, continuing until about 1 week before. Wonder if this will happen, and if so, what effect it will have on public opinion.

  21. Andrew Kennedy
    Perhaps David Freud’s actions at the weekend are a first sign of this?

    Bit too soon to tell, it wasnt that long ago that MPs were crossing over to Flash Gordons new “government of all the talents”.

    Lets hope so though.

  22. @ Chris

    You make some interesting points. The problem for Labour is that the gloomy news is likely to keep on coming month after month after month.

    And there is no sign that recession will be over by the end of this year. If Labour is being harmed by the economy (as you suggest) then I’m afraid they are heading for a heavy defeat next year.

    As for the issue of the media –

    The Sun has backed Labour for many years. They turned quite vicously on the Tories. Even now personal friendships with the Browns have ensured a relatively soft ride from The Sun.

    TV and radio are generally impartial. The internet is a free-for-all. If Labour have suffered at all it is because The Mirror’s circulation has fallen off a cliff and is now 1m behind the Mail.

    As for this poll – it’s a bit of a rogue. A bit like YouGov’s. I suspect this site’s average 42/29/18 is about right. Maybe 43/28/17.

  23. I’ve moderated one comment that crossed the line from the thread. Can I point people who haven’t read it before at the comments policy please – especially newer posters who might not be aware of it.

    It hasn’t been linked very clearly from the site for a while, now there is a link above the comments box.

  24. @ Ian – the “slosh” over to Labour in the last year at most had them 1 point behind the Tories. Labour couldn’t even muster a single figure lead, nevermind 20 points. If we’re reading the tide of polls as significantly in the Tories’ favour, it’s because it IS significantly in the Tories’ favour.

    @ Chris – I dread to think how far to the left you must be to consider the BBC and even The Guardian “right-wing”.

  25. Chris said: “PS i’d like to see where you’ve got your statistics on Labour members in the BBC – Mail or Express?”

    No Chris. It comes directly from the BBC. Sorry for the reality check.


  26. @Anthony

    Do you have any stats on MPs crossing the floor, ie time before an election, numbers, effects on polls, etc?

  27. Former Observer commentator, Andrew Marr, who is connected with senior figures in the Labour Party, and the BBC’s former political editor, said there is “an innate liberal bias” inside the public broadcaster.

    A survey of BBC employees with profiles on Facebook showed that 11 times more of them class themselves as “liberal” than “conservative”.

  28. @James

    I have never said the BBC or the Guardian as rightwing – think you’ve misunderstood my argument I’ve commented over the misconception of the BBC being left leaning, and when you actually look at their lead stories and ignore the Mail editorals, this clearly isn’t the case.

  29. @Charlie and M – I don’t think Facebook and a unsubstantiated ‘this is London’ article is hardly supported evidence. I judge what they report and how they interview and I’d say they are neutral maybe even slightly to the right, but in relation to political views of the wider media they’re pratically Communist.

  30. There is a list here

    There were 3 MPs who crossed from the Conservatives to Labour or the Liberal Democrats in the dying years of the Major government – but they were split 2 to the LDs and only 1 to Labour, so there really wasn’t a great flow of Con=>Lab defections. There was just Howarth. Interestingly there have been far more defections from the Conservatives to Labour while the Conservatives have been in opposition (Temple-Morris, Woodward, Jackson & Davies).

    If one goes back to the end of the Callaghan government, only Reg Prentice came the other way.

    At the end of the long Tory period in office between 1951-1964 there were no great crossings of the floor to the opposition (in fact Alan Brown went into the other direction between 1961-1962).

    So no, looking purely at what has happened in the past, I wouldn’t actually expect some great swarm of MPs crossing the floor.


    party vote% chg% seats
    CON 43.0% +9.8 375
    LAB 28.2% -8.0 209
    LD 18.6% -4.0 37
    OTH 10.2% +2.2 29

  32. @Chris

    I bow to you quite obvious independent analysis of the media.

    When your great revolution occurs and capitalism reaches it natural end please do remember this rather than lock me up for disagreeing with you.

  33. @ James Ludlow – yes I know that. And a 1 point Tory lead going into an election would have delivered a small but workable Labour majority. This is my point – the Tories have by no means sealed the deal with voters. Any lead they have at the moment is transient – the size of the lead not the fact that it is a lead.

    As long as voters remain floating around changing their mind on a regular basis they remain open to change. And we have a lot of things coming up that may change their minds – either to give the Tories a massive landslide, or to swing back to Labour in the last 14 months (as with Major) or to split evenly.

  34. It is pretty clear the true level of Lib Dem support is 17-18%. They have 18, 22, 14 and 18% from the four opinion poll companies. Obviously with the margin of error you can get 14 and 22% from 18%. The other two polls nail it. So lets stop saying the Lib Dems are surging. 17-18% is reasonable for them and with a GE campaign they will likely get to 20% but that is a drop from 2005 and they will lose seats.

  35. @ Ian – I have a problem with a definition of “transient” that ignores over a year’s worth of polls and points to a single result narrowing the Tory lead to 1 point some months ago as somehow evidence that everything is still in flux.

    We’ll see what the next year up to the General Election holds poll-wise but my strong suspicion is that we’ve seen the last of any significant fluxing. I just cannot see Labour recovering now – it had a shot when Brown replaced Blair and another when Brown saved the world. I don’t think it will get a third one.

    I’m not sure what “sealed the deal with voters” even means. The deal will indeed be sealed with many voters but not with others. “Voters” aren’t a single entity with a shared brain.

  36. Wow I am sure I shouldn’t be amazed, but that paragon of unbiased, impartial reporting, the BBC, has not thought to mention the latest poll. Oh, of course, they don’t do they, except of course the one before Christmas where Brown was only 1% point behind – but that was different wasn’t it, definately, err um

  37. Oh Ian, the old “sealed the deal” soundbite!!! This must have been one dreamt up by Draper. Let us just get this straight, in the real world of business, demonstrably not inhabited by Labour politicians (evidenced by lack of due diligence for mega deals), no one ever believes a deal is “sealed” until it is done. In this case it will be the GE, so of course Cameron hasn’t sealed the deal. These are OPINION polls, and are only an indicator. What many of us would like to know is does Brown think he can “seal the deal”, and if he does he should call an election, but he won’t because he has never sealed a deal in his life.

    Sorry for the partisanship Anthony, but roughly relevant to opinion polls!

  38. @NigelJ – I suppose there wasn’t much coverage during last summer when the Tories were 20+ clear? Come on get real.

  39. Media bias is in the eye of the beholder. As a Labour person it feels as if the BBC has had it in for Labour since Gilligan, but clearly Conservative supporters feel the opposite.

    Yes, Labour has the Mirror but as has been pointed out, the Mail has much bigger circulation and its’ leanings (editor/PM frienships aside) are probably beyond debate. Add in the Express, Standard, Telegraph, Times and it’s hard to say the media are left leaning. Even the Guardian is a “critical friend”, more critical than friend these days.

    The media hunts as a pack and through Murdoch’s influence likes to feel it reflects the public mood as much as it creates it. So it will give the Tories a fair wind but will turn on Cameron as quickly as it turned on Brown after “the election that never was”. He may not get through an election first!

    I’d still argue these polls reflect some direct moves from Lab to Con, but plenty more from Lab to undecided and a few to “other” including Lib Dem. Labour thought it was in the bag pre 92 and it didn’t work out that way, thus the lack of complacency pre 97. Still 14 months to go.

  40. Chris – i think you are confusing BBC reporting of the threat from Bananaboy with reporting on the polls. I do not recall once hearing form the BBC the situation in the opinion polls. The only publicity they gave to polling was to the poll that showed the “Brown Bounce” had brought them to within one percentage point. If you have evidence to the contrary (eg.any archived BBC website material )I would be very interested to hear it and happily retract my criticism

  41. @Chris
    That’s it keep up the facade.

    I am afraid I, like most people apart from yourself, believe the BBC to have a left leaning bias. It all depends I suppose where your regard the centre to be.

    You are the first person I have heard claim “Anyone with a rational mind knows our media is utlra right wing driven”

  42. The BBC appears to have a liberal bias because hysteria sells and as a public broadcaster doesn’t have to make money it doesn’t need to sensationalise.

    That means that compared to all it’s rivals that need to out sell each other a public broadcaster can take a more measured tone.

    That’s not bias or even that liberal, but then if everyone around you is shouting;

    ” 13 Year Old Dad is King of Broken Britain”

    any kind of call for a balanced perspective probably looks left of centre.


  43. Well said Peter – against the trend of media right wing driven sensationalism, the BBC is practically Maxist but the rational mind surely puts them in the centre.

    I mean if the BBC broadcast programmes like ITV’s Tonight (I remember the week of the Tory party conference and they ran stories on Taxation, and so called shambles of public services) they would be slaughtered by the press and Ofcom.

  44. @ Peter and Chris

    I am afraid I disagree. Like most people I have no interest in poor sensational journalism but to equate that style of journalism with the right wing is convenient for your argument no matter how much your believe it to be true.

    As NigelJ noted the BBC has gone silent on all polls
    showing a swing away from the Brown bounce but was happy to cover the BB is all its short lived glory.

    The majority of the journalists at the BBC have a deep ingrained dislike of the profit motive similar to people working at the Guardian and Mirror. It is this which I believe leads it to its institutional bias.

    It comes down to what you regard as right or left wing. My view is this comes down to what you regard as the role of the state in an economy. It has nothing to do with sensational media. Just because this is a foul feature of our society does not mean it is right wing.

  45. “I expect taht teh next set of polls will all show Tory leads in the teens, but that we could see leads of 20% or more within weeks rather than months”

    Posted by myself on 23rd Jan. (3 wks 4 days ago)

    As it happened, the subsequent polls hovered between Tory lead of 10-14%, but here we have a 20% lead.

    It seems that in the past few days the life, or at least the will to live, has gone from the government. Not only is Brown looking increasingly exhausted and at a loss, but the Cabinet appears to have started planning for life after Brown – a sure sign they have given up on the election – which must occur within 16 months.

  46. Peter,

    A balanced perspective on the headline ’13 Year Old Dad’? Maybe if we’re reporting from Africa!

    You’ll forgive me for believing, as you come from a state where public spending is nigh on 70% of GDP (CEBR stats for uk gov Jan 2009), that your view of the world may be tinted through ‘red lenses’.

    From where I sit, and from many other more impartial observers, the BBC is a liberal if not left-leaning institution.

    “The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias”,
    Andrew Marr, the Daily Mail, Oct 21st, 2006.

  47. Re crossing the floor. I think the disillusioned Labour MPs are ones who became politically active before their party lost its traditional roots in the 1990s. So they have been in Parliament since at least 1997 and are, again at least, well into middle age. If they change parties they frankly have few prospects of reclimbing the political greasepole (a good thing too), so they aren’t making such swaps.

    However, it seems to me that there are several cases of Labour MPs (no names no packdrill) who are leaving prematurely, seeing that they are likely to lose their seats anyway, so that they can start making their way in the murky fields of careers connected with the political world, but outside the world of elections. There are also cases of MPs who are standing again in marginals they appear sure to lose who are putting their efforts into their post-parliamentary career.

    The question for us pundits is whether the electors will identify the MPs who have jumped the apparently sinking ship, and whether the Labour Party will be punished at the next election in the constituencies concerned for what is effectively a vote of no confidence from the retiring MP.

  48. The narrative is clearly moving away from Brown-and most elements of the media are following it.

    In the end they have to follow public opinion.

    The coverage of RBS bonuses today on Sky was illustrative.

    Ken Clarke did a terrific job of echoing the outrage of the bloke in the pub, whilst managing to portray Brown & his team as dithering , indecisive-and worse-without the requisite conviction to act as majority shareholder & insist that bonuses for failure in a bust bank need not be paid-whatever the contracts say.

    At a stroke he portrayed the Government as too tied to “the Bankers”.In the current climate where commercial credit availability is still curtailed despite GB’s panoply of interventions that is death for Labour.

    GB can no doubt reasonably argue -as Mandelson has today-that these things take time, but that is rapidly becoming a currency which this Government is running out of.

    Th repeated examples of a state pampered dysfunctional underclass , the continuing cases of Ministerial expense manipulation, the uncomplementary analysis of JobCentrePlus ; the defections & criticism from erstwhile favoured GOATS….

    This is all beginning to look like an administration which is not in touch with the reality being experienced by the people.

    Brown must halt this quickly or the Polls will destroy him.

  49. I don’t know if it’s relevant but is there any history of seats where the sitting MP stood down as opposed to being beaten in a GE?

    Also is there any difference in the “severance” terms available to MPs who stand down and those who are beaten in the polls? Arguably the former could be said to have “retired” whilst the latter have surely been declared “redundant”!

  50. Ipsos-MORI does seem to give a slight bonus to the party to which the trend is favouring. At the height of the second Brown Bounce, they were the only party showing the Tory lead at one point.

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