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. @ BILL ROY

    “One by-product of this has been the rise in the popularity of the racist party. ”

    Indeed it has -the terribly shortsighted & stupid conflation of unrestricted mass immigration & concentration, with the politically correct injunction that strees resulting from it must not be vocalised , because it was racist.

    I know that Trevor Philips has his critics, and the organisation he heads does not meet with approval in Tory circles sometimes.
    But when he- a Black Briton-said -at long last that talking about these problems is not racist-he did us all a huge service. It changed the tone of the debate on the subject, and exposed the huge flaws in the idea of “multi-culturism”.

    He deserves huge credit-but alas it came too late to stop the BNP entering the vacuum of silence created by those who cried “racist” so loudly.

  2. Howard – obviously you have not read my posts. If you had taken the trouble to read them you will note I did not mention anything about journalists at all!

    I think you need to re-read everything in fact, for myself I will continue to analyse poll figures and pull apart Labours obvious misrepresentations.

  3. Why is everyone so stressed out?

    Is this not supposed to be intellectually stimulating?

  4. @EOIN CLARKE……………Snag is, Gordy is on the demolition side of the business ! Loads of one liners spring to mind. :-)

  5. @ EOIN

    “may i ask kinfly that you do not capitalsie my name”

    Yes -of course.
    I made the assumption-that you would wish to be addressed as you style yourself.

  6. With regard to Es and accents, I feel a bit disenfranchised by my Slovene keyboard as Alt Gr + E gets this………. €

    But then again I can do all of this…

    š???žŠ???Ž too

    Prediction for YouGov tonight 36/33/18

  7. DanBuck
    I can’t find anything in your email that relates to polls but I am sure that Colin and Bil will welcome your sympathetic contribution. The polls are held with people who have nevver been polled before in a month of Sundays so whether a poll is held weekly or hourly makes no difference whatsoever.

  8. newer should be never – didn’t spot it sorry.

  9. Hi all. Just found out Tony Blair is going to be actively ‘helping’ the Labour campaign. Do people think this really would help Labour in the polls or have a negative effect? ( Sue Marsh, in particular, I wonder what you think? Was gonna put ‘I wonder what you think, luv’, but thought better of it!!)

  10. @ Eoin Clarke/Anthony W- A question for you?

    My understanding was that this poll was carried out in marginal seats where labour have a 10-18% majority over Tories.

    I believe they polled in 56 seats somewhere between seats 88-172 in the Con target list? You still with me?

    AW posted earlier that the swing in these seats was approx 5% to Tories. Surely that means in seats 1-87 the tories would win and take a large % in seats 88-172..? So why do you post earlier this would equate to the Tories winning 60/70 from Labour.

    I guess I have missed something obvious, could you enlighten me please..?I have not read all the comments tonight so sorry if this has been explained already.

    I guess it all depends on which marginals were polled and where they fall in Cons target list…?????? thanks

  11. @ken,

    that made me chuckle I can see a few myself

    Tonights prediction

    Tory 38
    Lab 32
    Libs sumthin less

  12. @ Éoin

    1. There are 8million economically inactive – not longterm unemployed. Why would being ‘economically inactive’ make you part of Labour’s core demographic? Where is the poll of economically inactive to show what their voting preferences are?

    2. “Turning out babies as a career” is an unecessarily offensive phrase. And where is the polling data re: voting preferences of stay-at-home parents?

    3. All parents receive childbenefit, if they claim it. It is universal & not means tested in any way whatsoever.
    This has not resulted in wealthier families becoming ‘core’ Labour supporters. Check the polling on Party preference by income/ social class.

    4. Since when has immigration been a net vote winner for Labour?!!!! – nicked some ! marks back from Sue there ;-)

    I’m responding to you because I want to explain to you why I found the original post to be unsupported & bordering on offensive.

  13. Sorry Bill, it was Colin who wrote about the standards of TV journalism -my apologies for that. I still think you would be better off out there delivering leaflets. Don’t take it too seriously -not from a layabout like me anyway.!

  14. @eoin clarke
    Whatever insult was that?

  15. @Amber

    I do tke your point. My point is that at least Matt tried to back up what he was saying….

    Lots of posters write drivel with little attempt to substantiate…

    the turning out babies as a career i dd not read first tiem round…

    Matt tut tut…. my mum had eight but I promise it was not a career she works 50 hours a week for the church

  16. @HOWARD

    It looks to me like your not perfect in terms of posts either, but everyone seems to stray occasionally off message I guess.

    I terms of the polls, in honesty I am shocked to see this poll but then how can I take this one seriously compared to three days ago? I don’t mean to sound obvious but if a lot of people are like me and work all day, when they get home they rarely view the TV or newspapers, they are doing other things. Casing point is the business on Monday with the MP’s, no one I spoke to is surprised or cares. Most didn’t even know about it. Its the overall picture over a longer period of time. Certainly in my world there is an assumption all MP’s are up to no good. But that does not take away the bigger picture about the economy etc etc. I think rail strikes will effect the polls as this directly effects people on a daily basis.

  17. @Roland,

    Sorry I am taking Anthony’s advice and not stoking it up again…..

  18. @ DANBUCK

    Thank you.

    An interesting post from the real world out there which creates jobs.

    But as to :-
    “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. ”

    I want to feel the same way DANBUCK.
    THey seem counterintuitive to me too.

    But maybe my bubble is just like your bubble-not representative.

    I really do think that a very large & significant constituency ( which includes a “client vote”) has decided government debt is for governments to worry about-and has bought the GB line that Cons will cut their jobs & Labour won’t.

    We shall have to wait & see-if our fingernails last that long.

    But I have no doubt that if the electorate votes Labour back in to avoid pain-there will be an awful reckoning soon thereafter, from which Labour may not recover.

    Perhaps tonight’s Darling interview feeds into this-but I really don’t envy the uninitiated voter trying to make sense of these mixed messages.

  19. DanBuck
    Thanks for that. As someone who is knocking his pan out for his family, I sympathise greatly. when I was doing the same I would not have had the time to write to this column. I worked 12 hours plus (before travelling0. Still, made a good living so no moans.

    My message was about frequency of polling, which I hope you understood. now I would like to take you up on another part of that original post. It had lots of ‘people I know’ sort of comment and that is judged to be anecdote by the pollsters on here and so normally (but sometimes transgressed) people do not use this as evidence of a shift or anything.

    By the way welcome, I had not seen your posts before and I hope you find our company stimulating.

  20. Howard – :)

    As I indicated earlier I am not ranting I am merely analysing the polls and ‘events’. I do not hide that I am a Conservative and therefore like most people have a bias, hopefully muted during my analysis though obviously not always, hence my open declaration of my political leanings.

    I am sure we will cross-swords again amicably. ;)

  21. @ COLIN

    I think you have a very fair point about the “government debt is governments worry” point, on the rare occasion I do watch TV, tonight I saw the BBC talking about a recent poll and it stating that 50% + of the population were under the impression a little bit of cost saving is enough to tackle the deficit. This worries me.

    I do think at the moment if you dont follow politics and want to make an informed decision it would be hard. More importantly I do think the Conservative message needs to be clearer and this will result in a change in the poll. Thats my feeling. Labour has been good recently at getting there message across in terms of do not cut now, cut later mantra.

  22. @HOWARD

    Thank you for your welcome.

    I see your point I guess my polling evidence is a lot less scientific and more about peoples feelings and thoughts. I accept that.

    As I said this poll did shock me (As did the one the other week showing 2 point difference) but what I find really really strange is that if it was so significant why has it not been reported more? I have not been glued to the TV today obviously but I thought it would be splashed everywhere if so important.

  23. Hi,

    As a conservative supporter, who is now trying his best to respect this excellent site and not be partisan. I would make 3 points about the last few days events & polls.

    – Although clearly very disappointing for the Cons that the lead has shrunk significantly. It is still not such a bad place to start an election, circa 5% ahead.
    – Cameron should have taken a very difficult decision and put Ken Clarke in for Osbourne at the start of the year. This would have been a vote winner, no question about it.
    – You can’t underestimate the importance of Mandelson. Yes, the irony is the public don’t really like him, but he has turned a shambolic Labour operation 1 year ago, to a much more professional team ready for a fight.

    This is my genuine view. and for the record, although I would hate to see it, I think it could be a 1992 again, except this time in Labour’s favour with a very small majority. Maybe not good for the party long term, but would please GB!

  24. Simon

    The swing reported in the poll of marginals is 5%. That may not be enough to win any of the seats polled.

    In terms of how many seats it would gain in the 1-88 list, take a look at the target seats link on the left of this page – a 5% swing is required to take seat 88, but over 20 of these first 88 targets are either in Scotland (where the Tories will find it hard to make any headway) or are Lib Dem seats where a Lab/Con swing is irrelevant.

    Personally I think it may get them less than 80.

  25. @ DANBUCK

    Yes I agree with your first para.

    It doesn’t help of course that everyone talks about “deficits”-which are going down ( in theory at least) and not “borrowing” -which will be going up for a decade or more.

    And no one says anything about the cost of servicing it& what public servcices that will displace.

    It’s as though you go to your bank manager to discuss your ever growing overdraft, without telling him that your income is less than your outgoings, or what the numbers for both are-and you try to placate him by saying -I’m going to cut back on the booze & fags, so don’t worry.

    I also agree that the Conservative message needs to be clearer . I would like to think that it will result in a change in the poll.-but my confidence is a little shaken.

    On monday evening Darling. Osborne & Cable debate live (C4 I think)

    If Osborne is as good as he was in HoC today he will destroy the Budget.

    But as you say he has to explain his approach & why it is different & worth voting for.

    How many voters will watch it though?

  26. Amber

    I do agree with you and Dave in France that Matt’s post at 6.04pm is highly offensive.

    I am hoping Anthony will be able to deal with it -but have the feeling he must be out at the moment .


    Howard was more courteous than I.

    Welcome indeed.

    It is informative to have someone with your background here.

  28. Will the rail strikes planned for 6-9th April have any effect on the polls? The strikes will occur between 6-10am and 6-10pm.

    Or will they suddenly be called off as GB intervenes?

  29. I am no supporter of Labour but I do get tired of the attacks on their economic record; they basically followed tory economic lines / USA republican lines.

    I admit these free market policies were rubbish but I see no fundamental difference between what they did and what the Tories did , except the Tories would have done them even more so.

    Fundamentally the economic crisis shows what is wrong with total free market economics (Adam Smith Institute are fools)…

  30. @ COLIN

    Thank you.

    I am no expert at polling but I am knowledgeable on business and a bit on politics (Would like to think so anyway!).

    I am looking forward to Monday as I think Osbourne although mocked by many will shine. I have personally never been impressed with Cable I am afraid and Darling, although he comes across at being at odds with the majority of the Labour government, he does not have enough power and stature for my liking. He always to me looks weak, and I have been on various management and leadership course’s and he would not be held up as a figure that inspires confidence in the countries finances.

    On your comments I totally agree, no one talks about the servicing of the debt, when Philip Hammond tried to bring this up yesterday Ed Balls just shouted in his ear, so Labour obviously do not want people to know about this aspect of our debt. I am told the servicing will be the same size as the schools budget and that is scandalous in my view.

    My views are skewed to the Conservative’s as I work in business and this would just not be tolerated in my world but I think if the Conservatives continue to stress the importance of paying down the debt and relate it to normal household debt like you have this would simplify the matter. Also I think they need to go out and be positive about Britain’s future. Talk about new trade, new business opportunities, changing our schooling etc etc. I am sure this will come out in the election.

    But I also think the Labour machine is formidable with Mandelson and this has to be countered.

    Poll wise I would suggest the real changes will happen during the election campaign. The one thing I have noticed is the amount of people who will vote for “others”, I think this is a true reflection.

  31. Prediction for 1st April

    Cons: 37
    Lab: 21
    Lib Dems: 43

  32. Jack
    “Fundamentally the economic crisis shows what is wrong with total free market economics”

    As opposed to what alternative? Free market economies suffer from recessions every decade due to the fact that its impossible to have perpetual growth in any economic system. Seems to have survived far better than any form of planned economy. (primarily because there all gone due to their fundamental flaws).

  33. @ BILL ROY

    I think they will have an effect (the rail strikes) if they go ahead. I commute to London every day and they will cause big problems for many and other commuters.
    I think they will be more significant than the BA strike because it effects people daily and will have a drip drip effect.

  34. @ AL J

    Did you see Osborne’s speech? I haven’t seen it yet.
    If yes, was it worth watching?

    Is it true that Alistair ‘snubbed’ him & sent Yvette C instead?

  35. @Amber Star

    What I have heard is ‘Yes’ it is worth watching, and perhaps AD was sensible to shrink from the challenge and send a subordinate to take the flak!

  36. “……immigrants now make up a significant proportion of our towns and cities ………..they are more likely to vote Labour (generally).”

    More rubbish! Immigrants from European countries can’t vote in British general elections

  37. Who will go to bed happy tonight…………..

    Reds ? Blues ? Yellows ?………..You-Gov could be responsible for a rise in headache related absenteeism ! :-)

  38. @jack

    Agree to some extent. But in a genuinely free market, are you meant to socialise losses?
    It’s not just on economic policy either. On foreign policy, IDS backed a far more hawkish Iraq war policy.
    This does not however get Labour of the hook.
    Only the LDs and to some degree SNP and PC can claim some credit.

  39. @ AMBER STAR
    “If yes, was it worth watching?”


    You can watch it on bbc.co.uk/democracylive

    Enjoy. ;-)

  40. Amber

    I haven’t seen all of Osborne’s speech. I was called away just as he started talking and haven’t managed to catch him again. But I do want to see it -if only to know what his plan of attack is. I have been searching on the web but can’t find it anywhere -not even the news channels. ITV News might show it at 10pm – so I’ll have a look.
    Can’t believe Alistair would duck George ;-)

  41. AL J – if your having such trouble finding GO then follow the link from Colin’s post, I am sure you will manage to find it there! I wouldn’t want you to miss it just because ‘you’ could not find it.

    Here is the link again (thanks Colin):


  42. 37/33/18 apparently


    goodnight folks!

  43. Bill Roy

    I have found it now thanks. I will have to watch it later because QT is on soon.

  44. So it is a micro boost for the tories and a micro slump for Labour. If it (the budget) was well received, it would have gone the other way.

  45. Bill O’Conner:

    -“……immigrants now make up a significant proportion of our towns and cities ………..they are more likely to vote Labour (generally).”

    More rubbish! Immigrants from European countries can’t vote in British general elections-

    A non-sequitur.

    European citizens cannot vote in British elections – other than Irish, Cypriot and Maltese. So the Eastern Europeans cannot vote.

    But you seem to believe that Eastern Europeans make up the overwhelming majority of post-1997 immigration. That simply is not so.

    The number of new citizens is running at over 150,000 per year – and few are from Europe as they don’t need citizenship to come and work. The bulk of immigration still comes from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with a significant amount coming from Africa. In fact, coming from the Commonwealth, they do not need citizenship to vote.

    This represents a very significant Labour bloc vote. Obviously, the time will come when they flex their socially-conservative political muscles, and the left may be less pleased…

    But for now, they must represent a signficant amount of the Labour vote.

  46. @SImon

    I am sorry for the late reply, I was at the gym

    STATTO explained it pretty well

    1… a minimum of 5% is needed if any of these 56 seats are to be won

    2. 4.95% was achieved

    3. Theoretically on a uniform national swing that = zero seats.

    but… i doubt the validity of UNS. They most likely will win on current polling a few of these seats

    but they would also most likely lose a couple of seats were less that 5% is required

    eg.. a few of the scots ones i would forsee staying red…

    overall we cannot equate this poll beyond the 56 seats which were targetted…

    thus, i could extrapolate further but it would detract from the validity of the previous points

    i hope this makes sense

  47. EU citizens can vote in local elections. As can commonwealth citizens – they can’t vote in general elections.

    As to turnout, I tend to find that they don’t vote. Even if demographics would otherwise suggest that they would, most don’t realise they can vote and don’t feel they know enough about the parties or the process to take the plunge.

  48. @ JOSEPH
    “The number of new citizens is running at over 150,000 per year – and few are from Europe as they don’t need citizenship to come and work. The bulk of immigration still comes from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with a significant amount coming from Africa.”


    It is a pleasure to see someone who actually takes the trouble to get the facts about UK net immigration-easy as it is to obtain-rather than trotting out the same tired old clichés, based on complete thin air.

  49. Post budget and the tories are a very very long way of a majority

    i see no coming back from this..

    i think when anthony wrote his game changers this was point 4 of 4.,,,,

    at the time we did not know of the televised debates

    i venture to say that AW may have, had he known of them, inlcuded them as his 5th game changer….

    @Amber- I have to say on this evidence you have proven correct. between belize and undershooting borrowing Darling has managed to avoid damage from the polls….

  50. Eoin/Statto


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