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. @Chris – you keep telling it how it is mate. I haven’t had this much fun in ages (for your own sake I hope you’re joking, anyone who was actually that left would be…well far right)

    You will notice in the BBC that corespondents like the “Political Editor” – you should like that title – have been repressed recently over growing allegations of Labour partisanship. So much so that they are now only blogging benign issues. So infatuated have some of the BBC been with their ability to talk directly to the spin doctors of the labour party that they have been held to account over it (you know who your are Mr Peston – who was recently told to stick to Business and not politics)

    You may also not be aware but the BBC is not regulated by OFCOM in terms of political bias as this is left to the trust which itself has been accused of being too close to the corporation and therefore unable to carry out it’s mandate of impartiality – I got that after I complained to the Beeb who refused to accept that they were holistically left leaning even if some programmes were (mainly the political ones and the news me thinks)

    Great Poll BTW

  2. 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. – colin

    Thats why he’s super-Ken! ;)

  3. “Thats why he’s super-Ken! ”

    mmmmm-yes I suppose so!

    I was not in favour of his Frontbench return, but I have to say he gets on to the popular wavelength with consumate ease.

    Also-there seems to be no Labour narrative against him-he must have something they can have a go at?

    Their trouble is that they have too often used him as the “acceptable face” of Toryism when trying tp portray Cameron as “right wing”….hoist with their own petard.

    Still-he is very much the Europhile, and a bit of a loose cannon-so anything can happen!

  4. @Colin – I think this is where the current Tory policy is worlds apart from prior setups. In the new order it doesn’t matter if you have differing views as debate is good. It only matters that in general terms you are pulling for the party. It add to the rich tapestry of the next government (something Gordon’s GOAT’s failed to do Dave seems to be handling quite well)

  5. Sorry potential next Government

  6. Keir-yes indeed.

    I’m in favour of different strands of opinion.It’s avoids myopic dogma & enhances the impression of a team.

    It’s just that EU is such a big factor globally-at some point it will feature in policy.

    Still if that is after a Tory win next year it won’t matter I suppose….not that I am assuming such an outcome at this stage.

    For now though Cameron seems to have made a very shrewd move with Ken C.

  7. Still-he is very much the Europhile, and a bit of a loose cannon-so anything can happen!

    Not too much of a problem as Keir said, the tories are apparently in favour of debate condiuisive to good policies- crash-gordon seems to want a Stalinesque club of yes men surrounding him.

    (Personally i agree with Super-Kens views on europe, so in a personaly note this is another reason for me that he is super)

  8. @Dean Thomas – And this is what’s great. You can say that and I don’t feel like i’ve eaten marmite (do I love it or hate it). I’m allowed to be wherever I choose.

    At least you have a veiw which is more than can be said for the current labour front bench who (until the last few weeks) have been peddling the same contrived claptrap week in week out.

  9. Although it is easy to take this poll at face value, I do not think that is wise. We all know come the election the gap will shrink, this poll would suggest a conservative win obviously, but come the election I doubt the gap would be this big.

  10. Sorry but are some of you suggesting that the BBC should be reporting every single poll that comes out? A big Tory lead is not new news – the scale of it isn’t shocking enough as yet to create any political eruptions which would be news.

    As and when mutterings start in the Labour camp related to polls then they’ll go to town. Other than that opinion polls in this much detail only interest saddos like us.

  11. I think the BBC is a particular variety of internationalist liberal left, which sets it at loggerheads with Labour quite often as well as the Conservatives. It’s sniffy about the white working class but celebrates multiculturalism like there’s no tomorrow. It also advertises most of its jobs in The Guardian, which speaks volumes for its employee constituency.

  12. JackR
    I think you are half right and half wrong.
    Mori does seem to amplify the mood. I suspect this is because of their high turnput filter – although it’s worth remembering that this was their method of counteracting the polling biases which favour Labour and tend to do the opposite for the Tories – other firms use past voting weighting.

    So in the sense that I think this poll has ‘turned up the volume on the mood, you are right.

    But generally things are going to get worse for the Government as the bad news continues, the bad polls continue, the noises about Brown get louder etc.

    So Mori may not be the correct on election day – but then Mori could get worse between now and then.

  13. If the Conservatives are so far ahead of the polls why aren’t they doing better in local council elections?
    They lost a seat in Enfield last Thursday, and even in Croydon where they put on an extra 2% share of the vote, Labour also increased its share of the vote.
    These seats were last fought in May 2006 and since then the Conservative lead in the national opinion polls has increased by 5%. It has been an article of faith among many conservatives that the local polls show the true support for their party, as for the last few years they have done better in these than the national polls were indicating. Are we see the breakdown of this phenomena?
    Are local conservatives under performing in local polls because of their poor performance as local councils, or is this a sign that voters are not signing up to conservative message as much as some commentators wish?

  14. I suspect the Labour Party is now in dire straits and at this point a crushing defeat will put it out off office perhaps forever as it has over the last ten years shed all its previous politically motivated and idealist support . It may just about beat the libDems at any election in the not too distant future but I would take no bets on them doing so at the next one after that.
    The situation in Scotland is extremely interesting as a huge UK defeat for Labour will have an astounding effect on the remnants of Scottish Labour support. There are already two significant socialist parties (not Labour ) in Scotland and the inevitable alliance of them
    will finish Labour off. Both these socialist parties (who could probably at the moment muster up to 10% vote in a Scottish election) support independence for Scotland and a collapse of Labour and perhaps *ten socialists in the Scottish parliament changes the dynamic in the Scottish parliament completely.

    * The Socialists put six MSPs into the first Scottish parliament then fell out, divided and put none in on the second election because of the split in their votes.

  15. @JackR – sorry mate but generally Tories do better in an election than poll results and Labour worse

  16. @Iain – No I don’t think people are suggesting they publish every one, but please show me where they show the 20 point lead for Con’s versus the amount of articles covering Brown’s big bounce

  17. “And this is what’s great. You can say that and I don’t feel like i’ve eaten marmite (do I love it or hate it). I’m allowed to be wherever I choose.

    At least you have a veiw which is more than can be said for the current labour front bench who (until the last few weeks) have been peddling the same contrived claptrap week in week out.” -Keir

    Ha, I reckon you hate that mermite (…although I wish you loved it…:()

  18. Still to JackR [sorry, I am not picking on you]
    ‘We all know come the election the gap will shrink’.

    Er no. Mike Smithson has done some research on this and so-called ‘swing back’ is something Tory admins have had the benefit of on a number of occasions – but there is plenty of evidence to suggest it’s not something Labour Governments benefit from.

  19. The detailed data tables show substantial movement from the January poll to this poll from Labour to the LibDems and a negligible increase in Comservative support . Over the month Labour have lost 23 voters the Conservatives have gained just 2 and LibDems 18 .
    It is the very restricive absolutely certain to vote filter that is responsible for the increased Conservative support but this is unrealistic as turnout at the next GE will be higher than the 46% of voters this implies .
    Strangely this month it is the SNP who suffer most from this filter . 27 voters in the poll dwingle to just 6 absolutely certain to vote .
    It should be pointed out that the detailed data always gives 3 voting predictions .
    Those absolutely certain to vote Con 48 Lab 28 LD 17 Others 7
    All those polled Con 39 Lab 31 LD 19 Others 11
    Those with 6 -10 certainty to vote . This is the least publicised of the figures but the most meaningful
    Figures this monrh Con 43 Lab 29 LD 19 Others 9

  20. @Mark forgive me if I keep smiling anyway :-)

  21. Well, I hope the polls are reflecting public mood – but the almost scattergun approach to solving the crisis may find a hit – the economy starts to move in the right direction. What do you think will happen then? Back will come, if not ‘saviour of the world’, at least, ‘saviour of the uk and the polls will most definitely see a change.

  22. Remember national trends do not translate into a positive picture up here in Scotland- we seem to be doing well to average on 18% / 20% – depending on which stats you use.

    The Nats are declining remember, they have consistently slowly lost ground up here- current 27% (-1) last time i looked. If this contitnues and we break the 20% barrier suddenly angus etc open up…. so yes…even as a scottish tory i’ll keep smiling too

  23. @Keir – Take your Tory blinkers off, never heard such a delusional and totally factless view this side of Tory HQ. Comlete lack of rational evidence, you could be a mail/express jornalist.

    Anthony Wells arent you going to give our new uninformed reader about partisan irrelevant comments

  24. Brian you relishing of the countrys economic problems is truely disgraceful, I mean hoping a solution is not found just so the government wouldnt receive any credit, im truely shocked.

    Lets hope you dont lose your job and home, but with such any attitude I cant see any place in society for such an individual.

  25. Surely the critical factor about the Lib Dem vote in polling is their geographical location. In Tory constituencies, currently few Lib Dems will be switching and floaters will be heading in the Tory direction to unseat Labour.

    Conversely, in Labour seats where Tories are third, we’ll see strong shifts to the Lib Dems. Do the pollsters do geographic analysis by constituency (genuine question), or is this too detailed for them to get into?

    Do some pollsters ‘poll north’ and other south? Is this a factor?

  26. @Chris – one would hope that Anthony can see I am simply applying balance to your rather odd but perfectly permissable views :-) – If you’d like to shut me up, why not remove yet one more civil libity from me

    @Chris I agree with your assessment of seeing the economies recovery as a political tool truly awful. I would like to see some Christian/Muslim/Buddist values applied here and get the parties working together

    @Chris – sorry which bit was factless? Tell me so I can give a full answer to the critique. PS I have nothing to do with Tory HQ but did decide to become a member of the party 3 months ago when I thought enough is just about enough

  27. Keir: “@Iain – No I don’t think people are suggesting they publish every one, but please show me where they show the 20 point lead for Con’s versus the amount of articles covering Brown’s big bounce”

    According to many of you a Tory Landslide is a given when you consider How Many People Hate Brown. A 20 point Tory lead is not therefore news – it is indicative of a given. The Labour bounce ran contrary to both this “fact” and the political norm that governments do badly in recessions – THAT is why it was news.

  28. Can we stop this silly argument about whether the BBC is biased or not – as Warren said miles up the thread and was sadly ignored, it’s in the eye of the beholder and is, anyway, nothing to do with this poll.

    The BBC news guidelines for reporting opinion polls are here:


    Generally speaking they don’t report them as stories in themselves, only if they are necessary to make sense of other stories (and please, I’m not interested in times people think they might or might not of broken them).

    Chris – I’ve put an end to this silly argument, but “never heard such a delusional and totally factless view this side of Tory HQ” probably isn’t a partically non-partisan comment either…. ;)

  29. [edited – Dean, this is not the place to discuss why you don’t like Labour or what you think they’ve done wrong – AW]

  30. Peter said I was being grumpy in a previous thread, but having read the feedback from my user survey a week or so back and seen the strength of feeling from readers annoyed by silly partisan comments I am going to be strict for a while.

    If you want to discuss how evil Labour are or call Gordon Brown names, Guido has lovely comments sections full of like minded people. I am sure LabourList or LabourHome or whatever would welcome comments slating the Conservatives (though actually their comments are far more sensible, I’m not sure where one goes for mad Labour rants!). This is for discussing polls in the spirit of non-partisanship, not arguing with the order side. Read the comments policy.

  31. Mike at 3.40 – Your statement that the LibDems are at 17-18% and all these polls are thus within the Margin Of Error of this figure is sadly fundamentally flawed . A poll rating of around 40% has a M Of E of circa 3.5% . A poll rating of 17-18% has a M of E of around 2% therefore 3 of the polls ICM Yougov and Comres are outdide the M of E by some margin ..
    Yougov have totally different methodology to all the other posters , the telephone pollsters use basically the same sampling techniques but with slightly different ways of posing the questions and all have rather differing ways of weighting the poll results .
    This is the reason why the end headline results are vastly different and averaging different pollsters does not necessarily give a more accurate poll forecast .
    Indeed although we do not know whose methodology is the most accurate ( and we will have our own favourite interpretation ) the vastly differebt methodology makes it staistically more likely that either Yougov or ICM/Comres are producing totally wrong poll forecasts than that they are equdistantly wrong from the figures produced by averaging .

  32. @Iain – “According to many of you a Tory Landslide is a given when you consider How Many People Hate Brown. A 20 point Tory lead is not therefore news – it is indicative of a given. The Labour bounce ran contrary to both this “fact” and the political norm that governments do badly in recessions – THAT is why it was news.”

    How many of us on here know that the magic 45% for the Tories is a massive milestone even in a rogue poll. This IS news and has been reported on in no less than 5 major publications and innumerable blogg sites.

    Couple this with Gordon’s -38 (I believe) rating versus NC and DC +9 it absolutely Massive. Add to that the approval rating of the rest of the cabinet is even lower it’s a MASSIVE story.

    The polls don’t win election, they don’t assure victory, but they do provide the narative for the politcal parties and are seen by the parties themselves as Customer Satisfaction Questionaires.

    To say that this is not as newsworthy a the 1 point gap (rogue poll misreported reported on the BBC – sorry Anthony) to the masses is ridiculous. What will make this even bigger news is if the Narative continues like this over the next few polls (although I do not believe they will show it this high for while consistently)

  33. @Anthony – was that a partisan comment you just made me old mucka

  34. @Keir

    Will it though? TBH it is not entirely certain if it will. All previous polling data since sept 2008 indicates David Cameron is finding it extremely tough to get up to 45% and then hold thereabouts.

    The interesting this mostly here is the Lib rating, they have apparently held the gains they’ve been making, now at a ‘no change’ on 17%.

    The question ought to be this; “what if the libs continue to make steady gains in the polls and hold onto that gain?” In ten months time or so we could be seeing an extremely strong Liberal Democrat hand…

  35. Keir – you are overegging this poll. It is a single poll, and therefore not spectacularly important anyway (by that standards almost the only polls that would be newsworthy would be rogue polls, which would be godawful atrocious reporting of polls). None of those approval ratings are particularly unusual at all, they are same sort of ratings that have been seen for months – in fact they are better for Brown and worse for Cameron than some other pollsters.

    The BBC’s guidelines are, anyway, that voting intention polls aren’t reported unless they are necessary to understand another story. They are not judged on the newsworthyness of the poll itself. The newspapers and Sky have different guidelines so will judge it differently. Sky, for example, were given the figures exclusively by MORI, so it was almost a given they would pump it up a lot.

    Now, can we please put this to bed.

  36. I would caution Dean Thomson on reading too much into an SNP decline. They are still at a significantly higher position than they were at the last Westminster election but of course their strength is in voting intentions for the Scottish Parliament in which they have opened up a substantial lead over Labour.

    I would also suggest that Scottish voting intentions have changed quite considerably over the last month at which I would hazard a guess tha the SNP gained at the expense of Labour and the LibDems but the only significant poll done exclusively in Scotland was on the independence question which showed huge improvement in the SNP’s position on that. The Westminster election in Scotland, whenever it comes, will I’m sure be dominated by tactical voting across the country supporting in many cases the candidate likliest to beat Labour. As the Westminster contest now has diminished constitutional significance for Scots you will find many Tories voting SNP to beat Labour (and I dare say not a few SNP votes going Tory in some seats for the same reason. The hate between SNP and Labour is overwhelming while the moderate and business friendly policies of the SNP has allowed a reasonable attitude to develop towards the SNP by not a few Tories – and vice versa probably)

  37. I forgot to mention that I believe the recognisable improvement in the Tory position in Scotland (albeit from a low base) is coming mainly at the expense of the LibDems who were the major gainers from the anti Tory sentiment that dominated Scotland following Margaret Thatcher’s perceived indifference to Scotland’s needs and ambitions.

  38. It looks like partisanship to draw an inconsistent focus in the headline, Anthony.

    Either report the lead or the share or both. Switching between the two on apparent whim has the distinct whiff of spin.

    This poll shows the story is the continuing decline of Labour, despite their best efforts.
    I think it shows there is no real optimism or desire for a Conservative government. In some quarters I still detect outright scepticism and fear of the prospect!

    Predictions of a tory landslide remain premature however, as they remain boxed-in by the desire not to upset the horses and the requirement to take decisive economic action – earlier sops to opinion, such as Osborne’s promise on IHT look far more dangerous with a little hindsight!

  39. Anthony
    Am I correct in thinking that Mori only include “certain to vote”? What percentage are these of their total sample? Does the whole response show a bigger or smaller Tory lead?

  40. I can’t see why the Cons should have suddenly shot up 4%, and 48% is considerably high than the findings of other recent pollster. Also the ‘others’ are 5% lower than what the trend indicates (see Anthony Well’s recent piece on the subject).

    Surely the average of Cons 43, Lab 28, Lib Dems 18 should be regarded as the most reliable indicator of where things stand at present.

    I’m pretty confident that we will see a 3% decline in Labour’s support over the next 3 months as the recession gradually impacts more lives in Britain. By the end of May we will most likely see an average for the Cons 45, Lab 25 and Lib Dems 19.

  41. WHGeer –

    You certainly are. MORI include only those who rate their chances of voting at 10/10.

    Normally just over 50% of people say they are 10/10 certain to vote – in this particular poll it was bang on 50%. The actual voting intention figures though are based on a slightly smaller proportion of the sample though, since don’t knows are also excluded. So, from a sample of 1001 people, the voting intention figures actually include 460 people (after weighting, that isn’t necessarily 460 individuals).

    Almost without exception Conservative voters say they are more likely to vote than Labour supporters, so any and all filters or weightings by likelihood to vote favour the Conservatives. In the case of Ipsos MORI, the filter is so harsh (10/10 in, everyone else excluded) it favours the Conservatives quite considerably.

    There is detailled discussion of it on the site here : FAQ-Turnout

  42. Ivan the Terrible – you are wrong monsieur! Actually Scottish public spending as a % of GDP is not 70% as you claim. CEBR figures you (incorrectly) quote were 53% of GDP not 70% (Sunday Times articel on “McCuba”) and the CEBR figures actually diverge from the official ONS figures.
    On a worst case scenario ONS publications have total managed expenditure (“identified” and “unidentified”) expenditure in or on behalf of Scotland (including stuff like Trident and Iraq war which we don’t want) at around 47% of GDP (excluding oil & gas related GDP in the denominator).
    Including oil and gas GDP (Scotland has an 83% share of the UK continental shelf activity in its territorial waters) it falls to below 40%. The UK figure is around 43%. In other words we have either a slightly larger or slightly smaller share of GDP consumed by the public sector than does the UK. Around 25% of Scottish workers are in the public sector, so give them a break – and I speak as someone who has always worked in the private sector.

    Anthony – hope this is not deemed partisan. Just sticking to facts here to counter an incorrect assertion made to Cllr Peter Cairns.

    Best regards.

  43. Mark – can you explain why one poll shows the Lib Dems at 22% when 3 others show them between 14 and 18% – which if the real level of support was 16% then all three would be in the MoE and the 22% poll is just an outlier. As mentioned in a previous thread why would the Lib Dems suddenly leap to 22% – no new stories helped them.

  44. Weighted Moving Average 44:29:17 so Mori looks as if it’s running ratehr ahead of the facts. But when a shift like this happens the polls will always be behind the WMA – for example MORI’s last poll showed a CLead 4 points ahead of the WMA but retrospetively it was only 1 point ahead.

    The 3rd Brown Bounce peaked at 40:34:16 2 months ago. So rounghly Lab is losing 2.5 pts per month of which 2 is going to C and 1 to LD. It may even be that the trend is accelerating – too early to tell. I think almost everyone in politics or the Civil Service thinks the game is up for Brown and Labour. See The Times on Tues.

  45. Borderer,

    “Just sticking to facts here to counter an incorrect assertion made to Cllr Peter Cairns.”

    Eh, what, when, doh……I must have missed something.


  46. Around 25% of Scottish workers are in the public sector, so give them a break – and I speak as someone who has always worked in the private sector.

    Fair point, i’ve never had the experience in both so i will take your word on that.

    “As mentioned in a previous thread why would the Lib Dems suddenly leap to 22% – no new stories helped them.”

    Could it be for the same reasons as the poll tends to favour the Tories overly? Are the Libs more likely to vote than say, labour etc?

  47. Whew ! i was getting bored reading all that rant about the media.

    This latest POLL certainly has brought out a lot of comments.

    Why all the excitement ? This POLL reflects what i said in my last 2 threads after the 2 previous POLLS – that the Liberal bounce was too much & the Tory lead was too little – this POLL is about right at the moment.

    Nothing more to say – except, much more interesting and newsworthy POLLS are not too far away !

  48. With appologies to Mr Wells for bringing it up but…

    @ KIER “Couple this with Gordon’s -38 (I believe) rating versus NC and DC +9 it absolutely Massive.”

    This was reported by the BBC – although it may have been after you wrote your comment.

  49. With a Tory majority of 194 what would the seating arrangements be in the house?

    Where’s John Snow when you need him?

  50. Mike at 12.30 – Two polls Comres and ICM have had the LibDems at 22% in recent days not one . Yougov as mentioned previously has totally different sampling techniques to the relephone pollsters .
    Mori and Populus are similar to ICM/Comres and you could argue that the range is 17 Mori 18 Populus 22 ICM Comres average 20 . However although these cpmpanies sampling is comparable the treatment of the results is not . The final published result will depend on the weighting . Hence Mori has 3 different results in it’s detailed data and there would be a 4th 5th and 6th slightly different result if Mori’s poll data were used by Comres ICM or Populus .

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