Ipsos MORI have conducted a new poll of marginal seats for Reuters. The poll covered marginal seats currently held by Labour, in which the Conservatives need a swing of between 5% and 9% to win (that’s seats with majorities between 10% and 18%, so some pretty distant hopes in some cases – the top end of that scale will be places like Bridgend and Blackpool South. To get a majority the Conservatives need a swing of about 7%, so this sample of seats is either side of that.)

Current voting intention stands at CON 37%, LAB 41%. This represents a five point swing from Labour to the Conservatives. In comparison MORI’s last national poll showed a swing to the Conservatives of four percent, so as with all the other polling we’ve seen of Lab/Con marginal seats, the Tories are slightly outperforming their national swing… though not by that much.

Depending on where the cut off point was, a five point swing might not be enough for the Conservatives to win any of these particular seats polled! With the polls narrowing the battleground is now seats slightly more marginal than these. The poll was conducted over the weekend, so is entirely before the budget.

UPDATE: The full tables for MORI’s poll are here. A few other interesting findings. The Lib Dem share of support in these seats was 11%, but of that 77% said they might change their mind. It suggests some potential for tactical voting, but for it to happen people probably need to think their seats are marginals.

MORI did indeed ask people if they lived in a marginal seat, 30% said they did not, and 45% didn’t know. Of course given that these are seats with majorities of between 10% and 18%, this isn’t a huge surprise. By most historical definitions these aren’t marginals! There was no second choice question in this poll, so we can’t say who would benefit from tactical voting if it did happen. The closest are the final questions which asked people what outcome voters thought would be best for the economy. Amongst Lib Dem voters 53% thought a Conservative majority or hung Parliament with the Conservatives the largest would be best, 30% thought a Labour majority or hung Parliament with Labour the largest party would be best.

The purpose of the question, incidentally, was to test people’s reaction to the idea a hung Parliament would damage international confidence in the UK’s economy, and the result was that it didn’t really seem to figure highly in people’s preferences. 28% of people thought a hung Parliament would be best for the economy, 23% thought it would be best for international confidence in the economy – lower, but not vastly so.

324 Responses to “MORI poll of marginal seats”

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  1. Keeping out of the bias discussion above, SKY news are running a story that good news for Labour appears in a poll of marginals where they have a 4% lead over Conservatives. I have e-mailed their news desk, referring to this site and pointing out the poll relates to those where Labour held a 10-18% lead at the last general election. Hardly all marginals. Is this bias or just sloppy reporting? I guess the last. Perhaps they should always check Anthony’s interpretation of the polls to gain a balanced view.

    It is well known that A Wells is a Liberal Nationalist Democrat Lefty Conservative Councillor. However the Ritalin is working very well now.

  3. Is it not possible that the greater number of intended lib dem voters in this poll who would prefer the tories to labour if they change their vote doesn’t indicate lib dems are more favourable to the conservatives but rather that a greater number of erstwhile conservatives are intending to vote Lib Dem?!

  4. @Shaun,

    I doubt whether it is either bias or sloppy reporting. It merely reflects the need to sensationalise news. Given that the Tories have been expected to coast to victory at the GE for some considerable time now, it’s more ‘sensational’ to suggest Labour are leading in the marginals and may win the GE.

  5. @ Colin Green

    I graduated Birmingham University in 1998.

    I was in the University Labour Club.

    Any guesses what I was up to on May 1st 1997?


  6. @Shaun,


    Sometimes the release of an actual poll is sloppy, so it is unsurprisng if in chinese whisper like fashion it quickly deviates into something it is not.

    Indian’s they should air drop them ….
    Opinium- well they kept there’s hush hush
    Harris sort of plop onto your lap entirely unexpected often without context…

    At least you can say that you see Angus Reid coming…

  7. Mr Clegg’s comments to date have always stressed that he would see who had “the largest popular mandate” before considering any deals. If he is a man of his word, surely that means he would feel his duty to be to negotiate with whichever party gains the most votes at the UK general election.

    Should he support a party gaining fewer votes but more seats it would say much about his real commitment to electoral reform.

  8. MATT:

    “That partly explains why some London boroughs only have around a 10% Conservative vote i.e. incredibly low. ”
    I hope you take another look at those figures and see which ones have as low Conservative share as you mention.

    First example:
    Camberwell and Peckham

    1997: 11.9%
    2001: 10.9%
    2005: 9.8%
    It was already low at the 1997 election.

    As another example:

    2001: 13.4%
    2005: 14.6%

    Conservative share increased not decreased.

  9. @ Matt – We currently have around 8 million who are long-term unemployed.

    Amber let you off earlier, but this cannot go unchallenged!
    It’s simply not true. And not even close. In February the jobless total was 2.46m and the long term unemployed total was 27% of that.

    @ Matt – Under Labour, many young people between the ages of 18-26 are in full-time education which keeps them off the unemployment figures (Labour’s probable true intention).

    What government of any colour would not prefer young people to be in education and thereby improving their job prospects? Labour and Tories are always claiming to want to improve the skills base. Surely repairing “broken britain” has to include providing opportunities for the unemployed?

  10. You’ve got to hand it to Alastair D, he told it like it is tonight, no spin, no bull, just the facts ma’am., the man is different ! :-)

  11. @Brownedov

    I agree… given what he has said already, it would be hard for him to back the second largest party…

    Is there a chance cameron would PR? FPTP does not seem to do his party any favours….

  12. I would say that the poll is giving an average swing of around 5%.

    Therefore it may be the case that
    a) those seats that were polled that require a swing of between 5% and 6% are showing a 6% swing say.

    b) those that require a swing between 6% and 8% are showing 5% say.

    c) those polled that need a swing of between 8% and 9% are showing a swing of 4% say.

    The point is that I am more inclined to say that if the average is around 5% then those seats in (a) are likely to fall to the Tories.

    The above comment may or may not be true. It will be interesting to see the GE result in these Labour seats by % band once the results are in.

  13. @ ASH
    “I meant to add that George Osborne needs to have a very convincing response to the budget to counter that belief.”

    He gave it today at 12.30-Budget debate-BBC Parliament-always happens that way.

    Darling didn’t turn up-Cooper stood in.

    GO took it apart piece by piece-forensic.:-

    The stamp duty reduction for 1st time buyers is time limited-the new 5% rate is permanent.

    All Income Tax personal allowances unindexed-ie stealth tax increase for ALL taxpayers-not in PBR or in BUdget speech.

    THe 20,ooo “additional ” student places is actually 10,000, and funded for 1 year-the universities ( who are being chopped-have to fund the other two years)

    If it is too “uncertain” to have a Departmental Spending review till after the Budget, why is it OK to use uncertain growth figures for the whole edifice to stand on

    etc etc etc.

    I see AD has now said -in answer to a Nick Robinson question-that Labour cuts will be more severe than under THatcher.

    It’s getting a little confusing-I can understand why he said it though.

    From what one reads, the deathly hush in the markets is a wait and see if the Cons get in.

    If they don’t it will get a little more noisy unless & until they believe that a Lab Government is really concerned to act on the prospects of increasing borrowing by a further £600 billion over the next four years-and still be adding an additional £60 billion at the end of it.

  14. @ ROLAND

    Re: Ritalin – You did it again, I am ROFLOL :-)

  15. @KEN
    You’ve got to hand it to Alastair D, he told it like it is tonight, no spin, no bull, just the facts ma’am., the man is different !

    The man had it forced out of him, he will probably have an Epsom stylus DX4450 thrown at him when he returns to the bunker.

  16. @ ROLAND

    “If the Tories have come to a point whereby they cannot get an overall “win” let Brown have his broken winged victory”

    My feelings too ROLAND-let him demonstrate how he will deliver all that painless medicine, and protection of the public sector-and still keep the investors on side.

    And let’s see what UNITE’s pound of flesh looks like.

    Then we can have another election pronto to “take another look” at Mr Brown.

  17. @ROLAND HAINES…………….Harry Hill time..:-)

  18. @Brownedov

    A fair point, but presumably DC, as an opponent of electoral reform, would turn down any offer from the LDs on that basis?

    “Most new immigrants under Labour are Poles. ”

    Absolute nonsense.

    I posted the breakdown here a while back for the Labour era.

    The vast majority of net inward migration is non-EU.
    Look the figures up yourself on the ONS site.

  20. Oh AD;

    I guess ‘deeper than Thatcher’ is seen as macho by some of your Labour colleagues, the problem is this:

    – If Mr. Darling you have not held the reviews yet and therefore cannot announce them to the country then how the HELL do you KNOW they will be depper than the Thatcher cuts?

    I really wish I could get you in the witness box, no doubt you would tell the ‘TRUTH’ just like Brown and Blair did to the Chilcott enquiry.

  21. I’ve taken the time to plough through all 170 odd seats of the higher margins poll (well, skimmed through some that were just building blocks for the summaries).
    These are very promising results for Labour. I should be interested to know whether there is information on what the average % Lib Dem vote in these constituencies was last time as one gains the impression that previously squeezed votes from them are all that are on offer. In other words not many extra could be garnered to keep out the Tory. I know we have some very keen number crunchers here and I wonder if they have any insight.

  22. Read sheets for seats – sorry.

  23. @SHAUN

    ” Is this bias or just sloppy reporting?”

    Sloppy reporting Shaun.
    Sky interviwed Darling -who stated at one point, that he planned to halve BORROWING in four years !!

    They didn’t correct him.

  24. Bill Roy
    I think you are going to have to live with your frustration. Ranting at us will not change public opinion.

  25. @ BILL ROY

    “- If Mr. Darling you have not held the reviews yet and therefore cannot announce them to the country then how the HELL do you KNOW they will be depper than the Thatcher cuts?”

    Ah-nicely spotted BILL ;-)

    Ever thought of a career as a TV journalist?

  26. Darling’s interview is a sueful strategy.

    The economy is the no.1 issue to voters.
    On balance voters do not like cuts…. The know that Labour are reluctant cutters
    They may view the Tories as zealous cutters.

    by drawing the battle line around the £30billion-£40-billion mark for the forthcoming year (including growth, asset sales and efficiency) he has

    a)solidified existing support who fear ‘savage’ cuts
    b) perhaps turned the heads of floating voters who want an honest upfront assessment of the economy…

    Osborne has a tough job when he unveils his plans,

    he can either a- continue with his faster and deeper mantra… in which case floaters will stick to labour

    or he b- turn the floaters back to him back giving much greater specificity of detail on what would go…

    lack of detail is scaring mothers and pensioners he needs to issue gaurantees…..

    promising not to increase tax is partly futiel since few associate the Tory party with tax rises in the first place..

  27. Well, I think it’s worth noting that virtually all areas out of cities/large towns tend to vote for the Tories.

    The problem for the Tories in the last 10 years is that Labour have rapidly altered the demographic of the electorate. Take the following:-

    1) We currently have around 8 million who are long-term unemployed. This has increased rapidly under Labour. Under Labour, many young people between the ages of 18-26 are in full-time education which keeps them off the unemployment figures (Labour’s probable true intention). Out of these 8 million or so, few are likely to vote for the Tories, who are seen as tougher on the unemployed.

    2) Labour have offered benefits to those with children. Even the middle classes now get nice handouts for producing kids under this government. This is done without considering income (i.e. even those over £50,000 get child benefit and tax credits). This policy makes Labour popular with those who turn out babies as a career, and those who merely have them because they want a family.

    3) Immigration. Immigration has rapidly increased under Labour, changing our cities and large town demographics in a very short period of time. The fact that immigrants now make up a significant proportion of out towns and cities (again, I’m not saying that is a bad thing), means that voting behaviour has changed. They are more likely to vote for Labour (generally).

    Hence, Labour has cunningly – some might say – been able to increase its core vote potential.


    I find this to be one of the most offensive posts I have read on this blog.

    Please ask the moderator to remove it for you and show some dignity.

  28. ” lack of detail is scaring mothers and pensioners ”

    Really EOIN ?

    I thought it was the detail that was scaring them-the detail in Labour leaflets telling them ( incorrectly) that Cons will close Sure Start centres & stop the Winter Fuel Allowance & TV licence help.

  29. Amber & Sue

    I’m going to predict tonights YG

    Con 36
    Lab 34
    LD 20

    Fingers X’d ;-)

  30. Howard – we Conservatives rarely ‘rant’ or panic, but your wish that we did is obvious. However, if you think that pointing out facts and deficits in a political argument is ranting then I am even more sure of my prediction that the Conservatives will have a 40 seat majority.

    Perhaps AD saying he will ‘halve borrowing’ in four years is the truth?

  31. @colin

    Disinformation is practised by all political parties

    death taxes spring to mind…

    looking at it from the outside in, they are one of a kind in this regard.


    RE: Offensive post.

    I thought it was bordering on offensive too; I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking it goes beyond tolerable preference/ bias.

  33. Eoin,

    On the contrary, polling evidence suggests that people believe the Conservatives would put up taxes.

    People do actually believe that the Conservatives would reduce the deficit more rapidly than Labour would – but that isn’t necessarily popular.

  34. Eoin Clarke
    Is there a chance cameron would PR? FPTP does not seem to do his party any favours….

    I suspect Old Nick will be getting “cold weather” supplements to his pension before Cameron concedes that the Westminster’s 1872 plurality system is unfit for purpose because it would be forever, whereas conceding a less unfair taxation regime than Labour’s would always be on the table as capable of eventual reversal.

  35. @ AL J

    Yes indeed, if it holds from yesterday, I will be a happy camper :-)

  36. @Colin,

    I invite you to go back and read everything I have posted on George Osborne. Of course, I accept that you most likely have better thigs to be doing than reading my tripe. And this is fair enough.

    Rest assured, however, that I have been most fair to him. I was trying to find pre 1997 polling evidence on Shadow Gordy “Iron” Chancellor Brown. I think he faced voter doubts on his prudence.

    And that is a case in point. Why has Osborne not picked a buzz word through which voters could identify him.

    His bob the builer (fixing broken roofs) struck a cord if I remember?

  37. @Sean,

    Interesting Sean…….. thanks for that

    Colin and I have invested heavily in TB clinics, Rickets clinics and undertakers, (the poor dying in the street.) With these latest poll results perhaps we have made a mistake? What if the “Brave New World” makes the kind of profiting from the distress of the poor capitalism we planned a non starter?

  39. David in France/Amber Star – although it is in my ‘opinion’ a post I do not like, the fact is that it has been proven and is a matter of record that Labour has purposefully tried to engineer society by allowing and even encouraging the influx of immigrants into the UK.

    One by-product of this has been the rise in the popularity of the racist party. (Also please all do not refer to them by their initials, it will get logged by Google/etc., and will in its own way give some little credence to them).

  40. EOIN

    THe so called “death tax” was a Labour option , to put it at it’s lowest probability.
    It still may be a policy.

    Closing Sure Start, and stopping Winter Fuel Allowances are not Tory policy. Cameron explicitly said so in his Press Conference when he highlighted those lies.

    “disinformation” is such a mealy mouthed word don’t you think EOIN?

    A bit like “mis-spoke”

  41. @David in F and Amber….

    In Matt’s defence there is an attempt at fact base in his post

    the 8 million he is including th einactive- whilst it is not how I or you would measure it- that is a point of debate

    There is a widely held arguemtn that immigration demographics have favoured labour….. of course if immigrants pay their taxes they are entitled to favour whoever they want but it is a held position

    regardign child tax credits… I think thos eon incomes up to £64k get child benefits- i think that is the point he is trying to make…

    I suspect Matt could have put these points much more partisan than he did… all three were substantiated on his terms…

    i happen to emphatically disagree with eveything that matt says in this post but I favour hi smethod of posting to those that insult… and believe me I have had my fair share of those today…

  42. @Colin,

    may i ask kinfly that you do not capitalsie my name…? :)

  43. @ Éoin

    His bob the builder (fixing broken roofs) struck a cord if I remember?

    But you forgot the response: “The roof needed fixing because the Tories stripped the lead & sold it to their pals in the City”.

    That’s why Bob the Builder was mothballed.

  44. @Roland

    sorry old chap but your insult earlier necessitiates that I refrain from discussing matters with you. :)

  45. @ ROLAND

    “With these latest poll results perhaps we have made a mistake? ”

    Indeed my friend-financial ruin approaches with every new Poll.

    I wish now that I had hedged, by investing in Public Sector Training Camps & Recreation Outreach Facilities, and Trades Union Rest Centres & Holiday Camps.

    I think these have recently acquired distinct upside


  46. @Amber I am liking the É :) :) :)

    Yes, I heard the rebuttal but it took soem weeks before it arrived… ina short campaign a similar buzz word might work

    did obama not choose another bob the builder one?

    can we fix it?

    lets see are there any other Bob the Builder quotes? I dressed up as bob for a disability fundraiser and danced to hi sno.1 release so i think i rememebr it off heart… will give it some thought :)

  47. Bill and Colin
    If you re-examine your recent posts you will see that they are not exactly analytical of movements in polls -just complaints about interviewers. I rant at them too but they are only journalists and – they don’t know better. It seems to me that if frustration sets in, then a 38 % in YouGov tonight will make you happier but perhaps listen to what one of my party colleagues,, now deceased, said.

    ‘If you have something to say, write it down on a piece of paper and stick it in someone’s letterbox!’.

    If I were as annoyed with developments as you two are, I would cease posting here and take his advice. Walk it off. :-)

  48. @ Amber- you have to get the tuen in your head for this to work

    “Gordy and the gang have so much fun— working together to get the job done”

  49. I posted on here a few weeks ago, and I have to say I completely agree with @ROLAND HAINES and @COLIN. 18 months ago I announced unfortunately job losses and a tightening of costs, which although regrettable was needed to steer us through the economic times. In actual fact they say the mark of a good business is one that can manage itself in the bad times, this is why the budget yesterday was nothing short of a disgrace. They are mortgaging my kids future to save public sector job’s which I am afraid should have gone 18 months ago when the recession started.
    The fiscal tightening is required now, this year and we must not wait. Its only putting of the inevitable.

    I am in retail and we had a business review today and I have to say the thought of another five years of Labour scared everyone to death. I know this is not a scientific poll but its the reaction that even shocked me.
    I think these daily polls are interesting but I am not entirely sure they are particular helpful to be honest as I dont think they are giving a real insight to the true thoughts of the electorate. Weekly allows people to consider there intentions.

    Also the thought of strikes on the trains just anger people even more with the incumbant government. I commute by train everyday and I did laugh earlier when I heard Bob Crow state”We do not want to hold the strikes through the Easter break”, well yes I know exactly why that is, its because they want to target the commuters as this will have the maximum impact in terms of revenue on Network Rail.

  50. Publicity bias in YouGov results

    It has occurred to me that, whilst Murdoch Junior is doing his best to hide what is happening, the news must be getting through to people on the panels (not just YouGov). This might give them a heightened sense of importance so that when they are polled they may have notions above their station, so to speak.

    A bit like tracker panels.

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