There is a new(ish) Ipsos MORI poll in the Observer. The topline figures, with changes from MORI’s previous poll in mid-October, are CON 37%(-6), LAB 31%(+5), LDEM 17%(-2).

The poll was actually conducted last weekend at the same time as ICM’s Guardian poll, prior to the Queen’s speech, David Curry’s expenses accusations and the recent floods (before anyone suggests any of them might have contributed to it!). In ICM’s case the lead shrunk, but the Tory vote actually stayed the same, and the effect was to bring ICM in line with the sort of figures all the other pollsters were showing. This poll is clearly very different – it shows a 6 point collapse in Conservative support and represents by far the lowest Conservative lead for almost a year.

As ever, I would urge extreme caution on any poll showing a large shift in voting intention, especially where there is no obvious reason for a large, short term movement. Until we get the tables we can’t dig around to see exactly what is behind the movement, and until we find another poll supporting this shift, I wouldn’t get too excited/paniced (depending on your point of view!)

124 Responses to “Ipsos MORI show smallest Tory lead since 2008”

1 2 3
  1. “but Alec’s right to say there’s been an apparent trend towards Labour in recent weeks.”

    Alec would try to assert that, but its not really true if you look over the record that Anthony has on the right of the front page. Things have certainly recovered from the expenses scandal, but Labour are no better off now than they were before it. Earlier in the year, before expenses, they were dotting about the 30 mark often. Polls look worse for Labour now than before expenses.

    The last six polls have been Tories +14, +10, +14, +14, +13, +6.
    With Labour being firmly in the mid 20s in three, and around 30 in three. Alec would indeed try to suggest that shows a trend back to Labour. But then, you are talking about Alec.

  2. Um.. all I’m saying is that the polls have looked slightly more positive for Labour over recent weeks than they have for months – that would be true whether Alec had also observed it or not, and whatever happened earlier in the year. And I mean in absolute terms rather than what the gap is to the Tories. I don’t think it’s particularly significant on its own, anyway, though.

  3. Toby – the timing of the other three is right, but the Conservative Europe policy is too early – we had several polls showing no narrowing after that, but before the Sun/Brown row and Glasgow NE.

    Shopkeeper man – Woo! I’m a very small one man think tank.

    M – oh course not, but I went on and said you shouldn’t over egg it, it might be a blip like many blips before and that you should wait and see if the trend is confirmed. If you want a contrary voice on there, contrary voices need to be prepared to go on, otherwise *every* interviewee would be claiming it was vastly significant.

    Stuart/king harold – the dates were 13th to 15th, it’s in the Observer article.

  4. James Ludlow,

    I quite agree. That’s why I think this poll is a rogue. However, what I was alluding to was the assumption that the current situation is inherentely unstable, while any increase or decrease in the Conservative lead would be necessarily stable.

    The comments on this poll are a very good iodine test for finding the starchiness of various people’s analysis. Do you think Labour should actually be at 10%? You’ll dismiss this poll a priori. Do you long for Labour to be at least competitive in 2010? You’ll see this as being part of a clear trend. Let’s not forget, the last poll before this was appaling for Labour: just 29%, which looks good only in comparison to previous polls.

    I would quite like to see a hung parliament in 2010, with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats forming a coalition. Combined they could do very well (or very badly) but my personal political preferences don’t change the fact that we are heading to the Tories having a working majority.


    Precisely. There are a lot of Team Cameron cheerleaders on here, but they’ve at least going something to cheer about without sounding nuts, which can’t be said for everyone else on the site.

    Still, I’m keeping an open mind, as much out of optimism as anything else. This poll MIGHT be a rogue, but it MIGHT be representative of a new trend. As with so many things in life, we will have to be patient before we know.

  5. Im new to commenting on this site and my comment got moderated for well over an hour (maybe 2 – I stopped looking at 12.30 and have just looked again), so has been lost in the mire. Any suggestions of how to post a comment that would not get stuck in moderation for so long? Ta.

  6. While debating the possible outcome of the next election on this board I am still puzzled a to what would be the best system for a better representation of the electorates wishes.
    The FPTP has problems the PR has problems the AV ha problems the boundaries set in favour of Labour.
    Maybe something approaching the Swiss style system with more referendums on major changes or the USA where you can force a referendum with enough signatures.
    Not that any of this will ever happen in GB, too many vested interests. It can not be right to have landslides with 25% of the total votes, have unelected Lords in the government. Not good for democracy may be that is why nearly half the people can’t be bothered to vote. As friend of mine said to me “ I don’t vote, it only encourages them”

  7. Ronnie – you’ve already done it! Comments from new posters automatically get held for manual moderation. Once one is approved, all your future comments will go through automatically unless they get mistaken for spam, or I manually moderate them.

  8. Not a lot to see here. This poll is as bad as the one that showed a 17% lead.

    The Tories are cruising to a comfortable majority.

  9. @M – I’m sorry, but I take umbridge at a couple of your posts that refer to me. Your post at 1.06pm regarding me being a ‘biased left wing Keysian economist’ is frankly ridiculous. All I said was that in some people’s view Labour inherited a poor situation in terms of public services. Even most Tories accept this, which is why they are so keen to prove they have changed their view on these issues. I then qualified my statement with observations about several potential criticisms you could make of Labour’s record in this area, so I wish you would grow up and actually read my posts.

    Second, your post of 1.55pm in response to Wes White contains another disparaging remark about me asserting a trend towards Labour. Again, if you read my posts you would see that I commenetd that the last two polls have shown a sharp lift in Labour support. This is a fact, but I didn’t claim this as a trend, and did say that we need more polling evidence before we can confirm this is indeed a trend. The evidence for a Tory rating of under 30% is more clear, with four recent pollsters scoring them between 37 – 39%, but I deliberately didn’t claim a positive trend for Labour based on two polls taken at the same time – we need more polls over a longer timespan to confirm or reject this notion.

    Please try to read and understand people’s posts before you criticise them.

  10. Anthony – I’d be interested to know from historic polling evidence how often a party can improve itsrating close to an election whilst its leader’s rating continues to be poor?

  11. “The Tories are cruising to a comfortable majority.”

    I disagree.

    They may well have a majority. It might not be comfortable.It most certainly isn’t a cruise.

    They have a mountain to climb, and it will be a bloody battle against Brown, to come out on top.

  12. @AL J
    Perhaps you are right, however, I have over the last 12 years, become so deeply distrustful regarding anything that appears to favor the Labour Party, that an assumption of dishonesty is my instinctive reaction.

  13. @M “Also, to Alec, yes biased left wing Keynesian academics (like you) do desperately try to tell people that Labour inherited a terrible situation.”

    Thankyou M, I genuinely wasn’t aware that there was anyone disputing this….perhaps people born in 98 ….perhaps people who had little reason to use public services beforehand for some unknown reason….

    This poll, almost certainly a rogue….but not the entire change. It seems to me their previous was also inaccurate the other way, which give an 11 point drop seeming more dramatic than a 6/7 change.

    Ignore it anyways, just spawned a few straws for labourites….and rather more ignorances of the comments policy by anti-labourites.

    You have got me wondering what Ipsos Mori were interviewing me for, some considerable time before 13th – 15th Nov. It certainly was’nt their previous poll.

  15. @AW
    Many thanks – Im new to this world :) ………… it seems a pretty excitable world today, especially for some people of a particular party political view …….who have hit the jitters.

  16. Unemployment isn’t going to peak until 2011. How much benefit can you possibly get when the unemployment is still rising for the next 6 months.

  17. James,
    On the ILO basis , the headline unemployment figure rose by 30,000 in the 3 months to September but actually fell by 10,000 in the 1 month August to September from 2.47 million to 2.46 million.
    The claimant count continued to rise by 13,000 August to September.

  18. The OECD report has the UK unemployment rate going from 7.8 percent and to 9.5 percent by 2011. Also the BDO report has 2.75 million unemployed by november of 2010.

    I think the august to september downgrade was a blip because unemployment is usally a lagging indicator. Granted reports earlier in the year had projections as high as 3.4 million unemployed at the peak.

    U.S grew last quarter at 3.5 percent and 82 percent of the people still think the economy is poor because jobs are still being lost. It’s curious that the UK lost growth in the third quarter and the view is so much more optimistic when you can argue the recovery has been better in the U.S. I guess you guys have a better attitude.

  19. King H Thanks for the reply.

    Anthony W

    Can I just say, it’s a wonderful thing you’ve done on this site. I’ve always been interested in polls and now all I need do is switch on the info. Thanks a bundle;-)

  20. Alec

    I’ve read all your posts above and found them carefully thought out and interesting analysis.
    I actually agree with you and you’ve made some good points.

    I look forward to further polls and more comments from you as we get nearer to the GE.

  21. M
    Re Sky News. A shift towards New Labour is to be expected strategically for the simple reason that they need their co-operation when it comes to televised debates. Brown could easily say no to a channel as biased as their owner, and go instead for BBC,ITV,C4 &/or C5.

    Murdoch is clearly a Republican and for him closer EU ties would be a threat to his football (ie profit) business. Therefore, a gratreful Tory Govt is his goal.

  22. Re: Kevin Hawkins (12:26pm) figures of changes in votes from 6 months before the election to the actual election:

    If those figures are correct, it is interesting that every single one back to 1987 shows a movement to the Tories in the last 6 months before a GE!

    I know that history doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but I still found this very noteworthy.

  23. Pete B,

    That is precisely why I and many others have always challenged the commonly held, but still misguided, view that voters swing back to the Government as an election apporaches.

    If you go back even further than Kevin did, you will see that there has been a consistent pattern of a shift to Cons, whomever is in government.

    Of course one cannot assume it will happen again, nor is there any consistency in the amplitude of swing.

  24. Political betting has noted an Angus Reid poll showing Tories 17 points clear and Lib dems only 1 point behind labour.

    Another blip or the true story?

1 2 3