Ipsos MORI have put the aggregated results of all their 2009 polling up on their website here (in fact it’s been up for a week, but I haven’t had chance to look at it properly!). The data is, of course, not particularly up to date (some of it would have been collected over a year ago), but the huge aggregate sample size provides us with some interesting cross breaks.

The overall shares of the vote for the whole of 2009 were CON 42%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19% – the equivalent of a 9.5% swing. If we look at different breakdowns by social class (comparing to MORI’s aggregate figures from the 2005 election campaign) we find that ABC1s have a smaller than average swing to the Conservatives: ABs have swung by 6.5%, C1s by 7%. The larger Conservative swings are in C2s (10% swing) and DEs (13% swing). There’s a similar pattern if you look at tenure – amongst those who own their homes the swing is 6.5%, amongst those with mortgages it is 10.5% and amongst those in local authority or housing association properties the swing is 13%.

This pattern of swing, with voters in groups that traditionally support Labour swinging the most strongly toward the Conservatives, produces a truly startling pattern when we get to MORI’s breaks by type of seat. MORI have the Conservative lead in Lab-v-Con seats with a Labour majority of under 8.7% of 21 points. Depending on exactly what notional figures MORI used and how they treated three way marginals, that represents a swing of around about 12.5%. Looking at Lab-v-Con seats with majorities up to 13.9% the Conservative lead is still 21 points – suggesting an even bigger swing in those seats (somewhere around 14%).

If the Conservative swing is biggest in Lab-v-Con marginals it must be lower elsewhere. It isn’t in safe Labour seats, MORI suggest a swing of 13% there. Part of it is Lib Dem seats, where the swing from Labour to the Conservatives is less than 1% (the swing from LD to Con is 7.4%, but I suspect that under-represents how well the Lib Dems would actually do). Where the big swings in Labour seats are really balanced out seems to be in the Tory heartlands – in seats the Conservatives already hold MORI’s figures only suggest a swing from Labour of 5%.

Of course the Conservative lead has shrunk considerably since last year, but if a pattern of swing like this happened in reality it could hardly be more perfect for the Tories – tons of extra votes in the seats they need to win, but very few extra votes in the seats they already hold where they don’t need them. To be honest though, while I’ve no reason not to trust the figures, it just doesn’t seem believable. Previous elections have never shown differential swings of this degree, we simply don’t get swings of 5% in one type of seat and 14% in another. Perhaps this is something different, perhaps this could be a real realignment election, but while other polls of marginal seats have shown bigger swings in marginals, none have shown swings this much bigger. Still, it’s intriguing…


159 Responses to “Analysing MORI’s 2009 data”

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  1. Wolf – Someone could have commissioned something for the Sunday papers, but there’s nothing regular due until Populus on Monday night.

  2. That was quick Wolf. You clearly wield far more influence than you imagined!

  3. New to this site but been following the reduction in the Torry lead very closely over the last few weeks. Could anyone give me an I idea when the next poll is due out.?

    I predict that it will close another point or 2 and then steady out. Poor economic news and Iraq inquiry (Gordon Browns appearing) will then result in the lead widening.

    I believe Cameron will wake up to the fact that he is having a bit of a wobble in the polls and he will put it right like he die in oct 2007. Plus Gordon Brown cannot go more than a few weeks without making a big mistake himself.

  4. Anthony

    Interesting analysis.

    When is the next poll due?

  5. Sorry Anthony, I have just seen your answer to my question in one of your previous comments.

    Somehow or other my computer seemed to be stuck on 80 comments for this thread not the 155 that it turned out to be.

  6. Thanks Anthony – it’s good that the pack’s moving again!

  7. DAZ-I have been thinking along similar lines.

    I’m not so sure Brown at Chilcot will be a factor, but the economy could yet have some surprises if the signals from equity & gilts markets are anything to go by.

    If the external narrative on the economy starts to provide any support for Cons, that would certainly knock what has been Brown’s biggest positive recently.

    I agree with your penultimate sentence too. He has a good track record when things look tough.

    And there is the campaign of course-this phoney war is not the real stuff.

    Im really interested to see if the next AR poll shows any movement.

  8. Am I missing something? It’s got very quiet around here lately?

  9. Surprised there is not more discussion of the CPS charging decision today.

    For what it’s worth, I think Labour have been a little unlucky with the way the news has played. Overall the “guilt” is fairly evenly spread between Tory and Labour politicians, but with Barbara Follett topping the repayment stakes, and three Labour MPs being prosecuted against one Tory peer (or ex-Tory peer, peers are a little easier for parties to dump it seems), the reporting has focused very much on Labour.

    And of course the announcement has driven Gordon’s Ulster Triumph to the bottom of the TV news.

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