New MORI Poll

Ipsos Mori have released a new poll conducted on behalf of Unison. Like ICM’s poll last night, it’s something of a return to normality after the extremes of last month. The topline figures, with changes from MORI’s last poll, are CON 39% (-1), LAB 25% (+7), LDEM 19% (+1) (the previous poll, you may remember, showed Labour way down at only 18%)

The poll included a booster sample of public sector workers allowing MORI to better gauge public sector voting intentions – there support stood at CON 32%, LAB 29%, LDEM 19%. An idea I often see expressed is the public sector employees constitute a “payroll vote” who monolithically vote Labour. It’s not true – public sector employees are more likely to vote Labour, but as this shows, it’s not some sort of guaranteed block vote – at present the Conservatives even have a narrow lead.

113 Responses to “New MORI Poll”

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  1. At first I thought . . . Eh? . . . That can’t be right; and then I saw the “public sector workers” loading.

    So you ask members of ‘Labours Client State’ and get a result more favourable to Labour . . . well, knock me down with a feather . . . who would have guessed that?

    The only poll worth anything is the one called the General Election – let’s see what Labour ‘poll’ then shall we.

  2. hmm… not sure what to make of this.

  3. it’s still 14pt lead whats the big deal other than a few more public sector workers were interviewed. at the last election and the locals and eu elections i voted tory and im in the public sector be it as a cleaner at a school but it could be the case that mori only interviewed low level workers such as cleaners cooks and teachers (on a higher scale)

  4. Jeez … who are the masochists who would vote Labour for another 5 years’ of misery.

    And don’t say all public sector workers. I’m a Civil Servant and there’s no way on God’s earth I’d vote for them.

  5. “it’s still 14pt lead whats the big deal ”

    A very good point Stuart.

    Surely it’s the gap which wins elections.

    Since 1945 there have only been three double digit % leads in a UK GE -two Conservative (15% in 83 & 11% in 87) & one Labour ( 13% in 97)

    The current gap appears to be in the 10% to 15% range & therefore in the top three bracket since WWII.

  6. are we aware of any more polls coming out tonight maybe?

  7. I am absolutely astonished! A majority for the Conservatives amongst Public Sector workers! Could this actually be a case of Turkeys intending to vote for Christmas given the Tory promise of 10% cuts outside Health and Education? Perhaps teachers and nurses are making the difference?

  8. Tony, actually I think you will find that the 10% savings are Labour’s spending plans.

    However it is widely recognised that we will probably need even great Tory saving to counter the debt created by Labour waste.

  9. Is this the place for some of the political comments here?

    Can we not stick to talking about polls?


    This one.

    It is of interest as it shows the Conservatives are – indeed – still comfortably in the lead.

    But it must be a worry for them that they are NOT polling in the mid to high 40’s.

    We might speculate as to why that is the case. But this does imply that their position is not secure. Even though they have a consistent and large lead.

    Could be some interesting polls if the economy shows signs of improvement over the summer. Might an October election be on the cards?

  10. @ Tony Dean – “Perhaps teachers and nurses are making the difference?”

    I don’t know about nurses but Cameron’s promise to scrap SATs seemed to go down very well with teachers the other day. My impression is that a lot of teachers have been very unhappy for a long time with the increasingly rigid and bureaucratized systems and initiatives imposed on them. So it might well partially account for the small shift in the Tories’ favour.

  11. The recent Populus poll asked voters if they may well change their current voting intention before the next election 20% of Conservatives ie 8% of the electorate said they may well change . The libDem % was higher at 37% but a lower % of the electorate .

  12. David in France –
    Re-reading my comment I see that it could be taken as politically partisan – it wasn’t meant to be. I was using clumsy vernacular expressions to register my astonishment at the findings of the poll amongst public sector workers. I finished by putting forward teachers and nurses, whilst actually wondering which job sectors of the public sector are swinging so heavily to the Conservatives so as to give them a relative lead within the whole group, which traditionally has supported Labour – albeit, as Anthony writes, never unanimously, as per some perceptions?

  13. not seen the full figures yet but if labour are coming in with some sort of mini come back then they will hope to be near or at 30% of the vote before even calling an election if this dose not happen and the tories pull away then the election will not be untill may next year maybe even june.

    camoron has given a gaff at a camoron direct in norwich for saying can i see your papers please in a german voice.

  14. For some time, it has crossed my mind what would happen if the next General Election produced a hung Parliament. It is not impossible for Labour to pull enough support back to deny David Cameron a majority.

    Personally, I think that that the Lib Dems would not want to be seen propping up a weakened Labour Party, so would side with the Tories. What would the price of their support be?

    If the Tories poll 40% or less, do people feel that the “anyone but Labour” syndrome is likely to produce a small Tory majority?

  15. I’m a Labour supporter but even I’m not surprised a majority of public sector voters support the tories. The amount of tinkering, target-setting, permanent ‘reform’ and general faffing about with the system is probably making itself felt. If I were a teacher or an NHS worker I’d probably be exasperated at it all. “Tory Cuts” slogans might win a few back over the coming months, but if we’re honest as a party we’ve failed to bring in the workers into the reform process, relying on trying to impose standards via targets from above.

  16. Does Public sector workers include those who now work for private contractors some in low paid jobs.
    School and hospital canteen staff, cleaners, refuse collectors, council tax collectors etc.
    If it is narrow payroll then the professionals, including Health and Education ,will be a much higher proportion than 5 or 10 years ago.
    Both these professions are not Labour as much as before as per Morgan above.
    As for the GE poll we have stasis until others fade somewhat.
    Need the 2 bye-elections to get the debate going again in the media.

  17. Silent Hunter – I should make clear, the final sample would not have over-represented public sector workers. MORI deliberately interviewed more public sector workers than necessary…then weighted them down to the correct proportion.

    It’s a way of being able to compare cross breaks that would normally be too small to rely upon.

  18. @ Garry K

    I agree, the Lib Dems certainly do not want to be seen as supporting or propping up an unpopular govt. In my opinion, Cameron and Clegg have worked well together on the opposition benches.

    Asfor the two by-elections, i ont think they will give us much of an indication on the election, atleast not asmuch as people are saying, look at it this way, Martins is in a safe Labour seat so his wont reveal much, if the bye-elections were in Labour vs. Tory land trhen they may reveal more.

  19. so norwich north is not labour vs conservative then
    MICHAEL or did we miss that one off the list

  20. In fairness that is just one constituent, if we had 3 or more by elections in Labour v. Tory areas it may give us a better picture, but its hard to come to the conlcusion on who will win the next election off one.

    Im not saying it wont give us some idea of what may, it just wont give us the whole one.

  21. My point was that it will get party fortunes back on the media agenda again, particularly Norwich North.
    I agree it won’t tell us much about the next GE.
    I suppose if they are super dreadful there may be more moves by the PLP to oust GB.

  22. Weighted Moving Average 38:24:19 it’s all very stable. And very odd.

    The press coverage and news flow for Labour has been uniformly awful – the worst any party has ever had AFAIK. Yet there is a slight recovery in the Labour vote. Could it be that people who formerly voted Labour are ashamed to admit it?

  23. It’s a very good point Antony this misconception that Labour have bought the vote of public sector workers – often made by Cons to justify cuts.

    NB- Are you going to do something about the totally partisan and irrelevant polling comments posted by BOUDICCA.

    Anyway – another stagment polls for the Cons – should be streets ahead not being pulled back – can see Con HQ getting quite nervous at this trend and also the more and more promising news on the economy.

  24. Chris – I’m sure any party would prefer to be higher in the polls at this stage of the cycle. Looking at the tables for recent polls I’ve noticed a couple of things which should be positive for the Conservatives. Their certainty to vote is better than the other parties and the undecideds would add to both of the main parties in equal measure. They have the advantage of being able to say to their supporters that “this is the time we can win”.

    Also the economic news can cut both ways. If the decline slows or the bottom is reached, that’s good news for everyone. But unemployment is rising rapidly and will continue to do so for a while. As someone has been unemployed for 7 months I can assure you it is a nightmare to find a job. That filters through families/friends and makes it very difficult to run a positive economy message – for everyone you cheer up, you really annoy another one. Mr Lamont probably destroyed any chance of a Tory victory with his green shoots comments, not that they had much of a chance of winning.

    I’m still not convinced that the Conservatives can win, but I cannot see Labour getting anything near a victory. Watching Question Time for the past few weeks has shown that there is a lot of anti Labour anger. There isn’t much Conservative love yet, though.

    I’m of the opinion that post conferences is when we will see the polls settle into the election run in pattern.

  25. @Colin – yes, the gap is 14%, but Cameron’s worry will be if Labour recover by another 5-6% (low 30s – still historically bad for them) – will things still look so rosy for the Tories? I also made the point on a previous thread that there is an issue over legitimacy, which although it matters not a jot in our system, will I think worry the Tories as they face some very tough choices if they win. I’m sure they dearly wish for a big mandate – I don’t think they will get it though.
    It’s also interesting that we suddenly have rapid and sometime large recoveries from the Labour scores of sub 20% at the height of the last crisis. This shows how timing could be crucial to the GE result. get a good month or two for either party and things could look very different. The peculiarity of our system in leaving the timing of the election with the sitting PM is something we shouldn’t discount as a major factor.

  26. Sorry I meant to say: “I’m still not convinced that the Conservatives will win…”

  27. Norman Lamont made his green shoots comment in the autumn of 1991, and the Tories did indeed win the General Election in 1992.
    (In fact the economy flattened in late 1991 showing some signs of optimism, but there was downward twist in the early months of 1992 – perhaps because we weren’t able to get interest rates down).

    Mark Senior quotes high figures from a poll showing voters could still change their minds before the election.
    But, in fact, there could be a lot more churn in elections than people tend to assume. I read some analysis I think by Butler and Kavanagh in their book about the 1987 General Election where their surveys indicated a quarter of Tories defected even though their total share of the vote was exactly the same. I do rather doubt that figure, but even if it’s half correct, it is still significant when the election overall looks like a faded photocopy of the one before.

  28. Alec-yes all fair points.

    But there is one huge factor missing from all our prognostications which is the GE Campaign & it’s effect on voters’ opinions.

    I believe Cameron’s strengths & Brown’s weaknesses will be emphasised in the media spotlight.

  29. Why are people surprised that public sector workers do not back Labour massively. My wife is a teacher and she is always complaining about what they are doing to the system. as she says ‘Why cant they just let us teach?’ . I am sure the same is happening in others areas too. Too many targets gets in the way of people doing their jobs and the people who know this best are those at the ‘sharp’ end.

  30. Alec….and then there are “events”…like the speech later today in which (BBC) Darling is to announce that he does not plan fundamental reform of the way UK financial institutions are regulated & will say the current regulatory system is not to blame for the credit crunch.

    But of course , Osborne needs to be able to shoot through an open goal as well as see it.

  31. Adrian –
    Like your wife, I was a school teacher from 1993 to 2002. I remember well that we felt the same before 1997 – we disliked all the monitoring and testing, “Baker Days” et al. After all it was the Conservatives who, with hindsight now correctly in my view, brought about accountability for what was going on in classrooms. However, I understand it has become even more prescriptive since I left. As Morgan admits the reform agenda has been too “top-down” frankly under Governments of both persuasions, but Labour as the most recent incumbent is getting the current blame. I suspect this is true across the public sector?

  32. In socio-economic terms, are public sector workers not among the higher paid, most secure and best rewarded workers in the country? Are voters in this bracket not normally more Conservative, and so to find only 32% of them voting Conservative is actually rather lower than one might expect of well paid, well pensioned individuals?

  33. I hate to keep laboring the point but we really do need to get away from this nonsense about “where the Tories should be”. It does not really matter very much whether they are at 42% or 38% if their lead over Labour is the same. A 14 point lead (for example) is a 14 point lead!

    I am also baffled by some of the talk of Labour “recovery”. They are polling below Foot in 83 and are 14 points down in this poll.

    Those of you stating that the tories should be concerned that they are not in the mid to high 40s are basicly saying that they should be concerned because they do not seem to be on course for a landslide greater than labours in 97. Well… no doubt Cameron would like a majority of 175 but i suspect he will settle for 60 or so.

  34. Chris

    It ill behoves you of all people to demand that Anthony snips somebody else’s comments. He has enough trouble snipping yours.

  35. Shouldn’t we regard a poll that includes an unrepresentative sample of ANY group (in this case public sector workers), as unreliable?

  36. Neil –  the point about 40% is that the margin of error for the cons is small so if something happens a 4-5% fall is serious for them.Cameron gaffe (worse than the ‘Allo Allo’ German voices) or Osbornes flipping becomes an issue etc.I agree with other posters who suggest that past ‘last year movement ‘are not much of a guide this time.First we have had a 3 term Labour Government, never before even 2 term.Secondly, the recession plus expenses makes this parliament less typical in the way poll numbers have progressed.I agree also with others that the Cons can win a working majority with 38% and with a smaller margin than UNS would suggest and don’t particularly think it will undermine their legitimacy.
    It may, of course, make them more timid as a few % would cost them a second term, maybe they would be less savage in the public sector?The key point in my view about the 40% is the effect it has on coallescing the opposition vote as I believe there is still a strong anti-Cons vore out there, maybe 50% maybe not but certainly enough to stop an outright majority.At over 40% the disillusioned Labour vote can think ‘well the Tories are going to get in so I think i will switch to LD’ or whoever .This happened in 1997 when it was clear the Cons would lose, best example to Referendum party, cost Mellor and others.If the Tory score settles below 40 in the run up to the GE and Labour creep up to 30 or so the anti Cons vote may well come back to Labour.Of course it may energise the anti-Labour vote for the Tories if it looks like the Labour party could scrape home as happened in 1992 after red Wednesday.
    Bizarrley best for Labour may be to get closer but not too close

  37. Richard B


    As Anthony has already explained, the main voting intention poll is weighted to reflect the general public just like any poll would be. Mori simply found a number of extra public sector workers in order to provide a large enough sample of these people to for an additional poll.

  38. @Colin – “I believe Cameron’s strengths & Brown’s weaknesses will be emphasised in the media spotlight”

    You’re probably right, but it cuts both ways. Working on the assumption that nothing says the same for ever, the pendulum of media pressure will swing back against the Tories at some time, and they have some tough questions to answer. Putting aside policy for now, on the expenses for example, its currently very unclear why Osborne hasn’t repaid large sums of CG tax on his flipping, while Cameron has sacked others for very similar offences, and there are even posters on Conservative Home asking why the shadow cabinet are still claimng the communications allowance that he called to be scrapped, highlighting what they see as his shallow lack of principles. That’s from his own supporters. The future is unknown, but with a 3 – 7% rise in Labour support in a week or so, it doesn’t take too much imagination to envisage a set of circumstances where the Tories are hit by something that shifts votes fast, and its game on. This is why they really want to be mid forties I think and will still feel vulnerable at 39%.

  39. Oops, sorry – I’ve noticed Anthony’s explanation now!!

  40. What is interesting is that the last time a poll was conducted on Public Sector workers it showed that the LDs had a lead in this segment, with Cons a close third to Lab. This poll on the other hand shows a similar pattern to the country as a whole but with Con / Lab much closer.

    Two small polls months apart is not enough to deduce any trends, but it should concern LDs that they are not doing better amongst this segment as it is critical to their hopes of winning seats from Labour.

  41. Paul HJ, I haven’t checked back, but I think the one you mean was by Populus. I’m be slightly cautius about drawing trends because we’re not sure if Populus and MORI identify public sector workers in the same way.

  42. @Neil Mungeam – the comments re the Tory score at below 40% isn’t anything to do with whether they will get a landslide, or (Chris excepted) a judgement on where they ‘should’ be. We’re just pointing out that if Cameron cannot command 40+% of the votes now, he may be vulnerable to a modest Labour recovery. Surprise scandals aside, I feel some recovery in Labour support is highly likely. Today’s unemployment figures are further evidence of this possibility, with the rise much lower than expect. So far, pretty much every UK economic indicator since March has been significantly better than predicted, and if this goes on (big if) the battle on economic competance will be much more competitive. Brown has a lost a lot of credibility, but if the economic battle continues to turn his way this is where a partial recovery could come from. One of the big questions that we don’t yet have an answer to is whether the better than expected news helps reduce the national debt projections – this might help remove the air of impending future crisis, but would have implications for both parties.

  43. Paul H-J
    What you write is fascinating. I do wish pollsters would do some polling in Lab/Con; LD/Con: LD/Lab hyper-marginals to see what is really going on, rather than just nationwide snapshots. Is this much more expensive to do Anthony?

  44. Jim Jam

    I do not really understand your point about margin for error. How is their margin for error any worse on a 38-26 lead than on a 42-30 lead? This is my point. Obviously if it is 42-30 vs 38-30 then that is a problem for them.

    I have not heard anything about this supposed Cameron gaffe in the media. Does not seem to have much in the way of legs. The whole expenses scandal seems to have lost them 3 or 4 points so i cant see one tasteless gag doing worse.

    I do agree with you that the higher the share of the vote they receive then the greater their perceived legitimacy but i do not think this will impact on their agenda/reforms.

    With regards the possibilities of anti tory tactical voting. This has surely been weakening since 97? Though of course if looks like a possible Tory victory then it might strengthen again. I am in general inclined to believe that Labour is so unpopular that its vote will fragment artificially boosting the Tories majority as Thatchers was in 83 when Lab and the Alliance pretty much split the opposition vote.

  45. When asking about Lab/Con hyper-marginals I mean those seats that would be around the contention area should the two parties be winning the same number of parliamentary seats, not current marginals as they would clearly be lost by Labour given current polls.

  46. I am not sure that the overall figures are very exciting – Tories in the high 30s / low 40s, Labour in the mid 20s, Lib Dems in the high teens / low 20s – much the same as we have seen for the last few months.

    I am, however, surprised that so many contributors are surprised regarding the small Tory advantage with public sector workers.

    There is the obvious argument that a public sector worker voting Tory is like a turkey voting for Christmas, but what about:

    1) public sector workers are not totally shielded from the problems Britain face (especially the non-economic ones, such as crime, ID cards, Iraq etc)

    2) many public sector workers may blame the government for putting their jobs at risk with their disasterous public finance policies

    3) being closer to the point of provision, public sector workers will see waste of resources more clearly than the rest of us – and they are taxpayers too; and

    4) even if cuts of 10% are likely to occur, that would suggest that 9 in 10 of all existing public workers will keep their jobs – and I would imagine that even a greater proportion of public workers than this would feel that their jobs “were too important” etc to fall within the cuts

    What does everyone else think on this?

  47. Tony Dean,

    As you surmise, the kind of polling you ask about would be horrifically expensive. Politicshome did run one last year which covered about 90 marginal seats. The detailed analysis was available subscription-only to help recoup the costs.

    One thing that poll did throw up is that a large number of seats not currently classified as “marginal” could actually come into contention – which fits with your comment as to which seats will become the “super-marginals” that will decide the result.

    On the Lab/LD marginals, it has already become evident that the two ultra-close three-way marginals where LDs were second to Lab (Edinburgh S and Watford) are now clearly LD/Con marginals where Lab is likely to come third (by some distance in the case of Watford).

    However, one cannot simply scroll down the list of LD targets on this site to see where the next Lab/LD battles are going to be becuase the strength of the LD challenge is very much dependant on how strong the LDs are at a local level and how much further behind them Cons are.

    To illustrate, compare these two scenarios:

    A: Lab 48%; LD 25%; Con 23%;
    B: Lab 53%; LD 23%; Con 16%

    In scenario B, even though the Lab majority is 30% compared to 23%, LDs may have a better chance of taking the seat than in Scenario A where they risk being leap-frogged by Cons.

  48. @Alec
    “Today’s unemployment figures are further evidence of this possibility, with the rise much lower than expect. So far, pretty much every UK economic indicator since March has been significantly better than predicted”
    I posted on this forum months ago that Labour were deliberately over playing the depth of the recession so they could claim the credit for data showing things not as bad as expected. Unfortunately the Conservatives played into their hands somewhat on this.

  49. Steve the tories were greedy and wanted short term glory by saying look how bad this is it must be labours fault, but if the recession goes away they will look stupid.

  50. @ Alec – “Today’s unemployment figures are further evidence of this possibility, with the rise much lower than expect.”

    I keep reading these comments suggesting that some statistic or another is higher or lower “than expected”. Chris does it over and over re: the Tory share of the vote – always lower “than expected”. One or two others cite some pitiful Labour result as better “than expected”. And now here you are doing it with unemployment figures. The BBC News headline on that story is “UK jobless total at a 12 year high” so I can only imagine that whatever worse figure was “expected” must have been terrible indeed.

    Still, throwing out very low expectations for Labour does give its supporters some succour when, miraculously, those expectations are exceeded by some small amount. Ditto setting high targets for the Tories allows you to feel reassured when the Tories don’t reach them.

    In my view, this poll doesn’t tell us very much other than that the positions of the three major parties relative to each other are more or less stable.

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