I’ve spent the last two days updating the candidates on the constituency pages (now all done apart from Northern Ireland – my greatful thanks to Blake Reynolds, David North and Matthew Israel for helping me collate all the data). In the meantime I seem to have missed MORI’s latest marginals poll for Reuters, which came out yesterday.

This is a regular poll for the election campaign, polling the same group of 57 Lab vs Con marginal seats where the Conservatives need a swing of between 5% and 9%. In other words, these are not the narrowest marginals, they are comparatively distant marginals, the ones that would make the difference between the Conservatives being the largest party in a hung Parliament, and the Conservatives having a decent majority. To get a majority of 1, the Conservatives would need to take about half these seats, and be roughly equal with Labour in support (previous rounds of MORI’s marginal polling are here and here.

The latest voting intention figures here are CON 32%(-6), LAB 36%(-5), LDEM 23%(+12). The swing in these seats is now 5%. In comparison, Ipsos MORI’s monthly GB poll had a swing from Labour to the Conservatives of 3.5%, so even beneath the Lib Dem surge, the Conservatives still seem to be performing slightly better in their Labour held target seats.

The increase in the Liberal Democrat vote seems to be much in line with the size of their boost in the country as a whole. Remember that this a sample of Con -v- Lab marginals, so most will be no-hoper seats for the Liberal Democrats – that they are advancing here is the first evidence that the Lib Dem surge is pretty uniform in terms of the political make up of seats.

Another interesting finding is that the number of people saying they would vote Labour and Conservative has not fallen. Rather, there has been a jump in Lib Dem support amongst those previously unlikely to vote (who MORI wouldn’t normally count) and don’t knows. It’ll be worth looking at some GB surveys to see if that is a wider pattern.

The proportion of people who thought they lived in a marginal seat seems pretty much unchanged – 30% think they do, 30% that they don’t and 40% don’t know. There is no sign of the impending election making people more aware of the nature of their seat. 12% of people said they were voting tactically, but this included 13% of Lib Dem supporters who said they were voting tactically… considering these are Con-Lab marginals, it suggests either a lack of awareness of the particular local circumstances, a lack of awareness of exactly what tactical voting is, or that these people had given their first preference as their voting intention, rather than the party they would vote tactically for.

342 Responses to “Ipsos MORI marginals poll”

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  1. Apart from YouGov, what polls can we expect tonight?

  2. Will they be post debate polls tonight? Or do we have to wait until tomorrow?

  3. Maybe I’m being thck, but if the Cons are down 6 and LB are down 5 how is it a swing to the Cons. Swing to Libs and good for Labour surely…

  4. Alasdair Cameron: It’s a swing Lab->Con since 2005, but a swing Con->Lab since the previous poll.

  5. So even in no-hope lab/Con marginals, the LibDem vote is well up. Whatever happened to the good old third-party squeeze? And little evidence of tactical voting here.

  6. I’ve had this trouble recently explaining to people that even though Conservatives poll less than labour in marginal polls, it is still a swing to the conservatives compaed to last time out
    Anthony……..are there any marginals with Lib dem as second being polled, because they must be close to signalling a Lib Dem landslide in those seats if this 12% increase was repeated where they are strong?

  7. **polling the same group of 57 Lab vs Con marginal seats where the Conservatives need a swing of between 5% and 9%**

    **The swing in these seats is now 5%**

    This is very good news for Labour. It suggests the Cons will win very few ( if any) of these seats -making a Con victory impossible.

  8. Alasdair,

    The key information is that in 2005 the vote in these marginals was 31-45 -17. Now it is 32-36-23

    So you are correct that the main swing is from labour to lib dem and the Tory vote is almost the same (or was when the data was collected) as in 2005. genrally the Tory % will stay about the same in each seat and the labour vote will fall, with Lib Dem going up

    As people pointed out yesterday the Tories will not actually win any of these seats (which are not the closest marginals but the ones needed for a majority Tory government) on these figures


  9. AL J

    It looks disastrous for both the blue and the red team.

  10. This has good news for red and good news for blue.

    Marginal boost of 1.5% is promising for them…. it probably means a lead of 8.5% would be enough.
    Some of the polls give Cons a 6-9% lead. Technically they are still in touching distance. Blues have gone quiet but all hope is not lost.

    If you are red then none of these seats trun blue. The yellow rise probably means blue are unlikely to gain the 23 yellows they seek. All in all the chances of a Tory majority you would feel from this are slim.

    If yellows drop, however, and people join blue in greater numbers, all hope is not lost.

    Regualr readers, will know that I think this scenario is very unlikely. But importantly it is still highly possible.

  11. Bit late this – wasn’t this reported 2 days ago?

  12. Good news for Blue (Eoin). How? They are not winning in these marginals and they need to. Are you living in a parallel universe but your comments slip through to the real world?

  13. @Jack Jackson

    How can this poll show disaster for Labour when it suggests Labour will keep these 57 seats?

  14. Allisdair,

    you meausre the decline of red…. add it to the rise or decline or blue… then divide by two. They need 6.9% to get a majority. This gives them 5.0%

  15. I was interested in the ICM post debate poll that put Brown 2% ahead of Cameron as best PM. This marginal poll also suggests a slight improvement in Labour’s position, with the swing down 0.5% since the last poll.

    With the Lib Dem surge its very hard to understand what is happening in the Con/Lab relative positions and how this plays out in seats, but there is no question from the media that while Labour supporters are reasonably happy with developments (possibly as they have expected to lose for a long time?) Tory supporters are getting very nervous and argumentative. There are now streams of anti Cameron articles, I fear for Ollie Letwin’s safety and there is a real sense that Cameron has mucked it up. Is this just a replay of a frequently jittery Tory party after 13 years in opposition or are they genuinely thinking their chance of majority government has gone?

  16. Eoin -‘will know that I think this scenario is very unlikely. But importantly it is still highly possible.’

    If I didn’t know better you’re covering a lot of bases there.
    Still sticking to your 38 Con figure tonight ? Can’t see it myself.

  17. Al J

    The problem for Labour is that even a very minor swing to the Conservatives during the remainder of the campaign would probably enable them to pick up quite a lot of these seats. The difficulty is not knowing the exact swings in each and every marginal. So whereas the Conservatives may pick up a number of these marginals they could conversely underperform in some of the so called easier marginals and actually get say only a 3% swing in some of those where, for instance, they need 3.5%. I mentioned before that the parties’ own polling would indicate much better what is happening in specific constituencies. We simply don’t know. This poll looks as if the Conservatives might get enough marginals to be the largest party but not enough for an overall majority – but even that is speculative.

  18. @Christopher

    I am being objective….. and I might add getting a bit sick of taking stick for it…

    My own personal opinion is lAbour will elad the next government with 300 seats plus the celtic parties. i ahve stated this posiiton from the outset.

    But in case you have not noticed blue posters get that much stick that a lot of them have stopped posting. i am trying to be fair kind and inclusive so that they feel welcome to post again. Now if you dont mind…..

  19. @ Eoin
    “This has good news for red and good news for blue.”

    Surely also good news for yellow?

  20. @Eoin – sorry if I offended you – just find your posts sometimes vague, argubly deliberately so.

  21. Owain a chara,

    Conceivably bad news in my opinion for yellows. I think evidence that their vote is unifromly spread is a bad thing. They are not in touching distance in an awful lot of seats…. I post ad infitum on this but I could if it helped retrive an old post on the seats that come into play….

    FrankG yesterday specultated that Derby North in this sample might go yellow. I am on record as volunteering to eat my shorts if any of these seats go yellow.

  22. @Christopher….

    “vague” “ridiculous” “weird” “static”

    I have had quite the day….

  23. @ Eoin
    Well there are of course a lot of seats which yellow will have a very hard time being in touching distance of, but this at least indicates that those they do have a chance with and are targeting are quite likely to go over to them.
    It doesn’t have to suggest a landslide to be good news ;)

  24. I have took a look at the target list and a 5% swing Lab-Con would take seat 88; however if we assume LD and SNP holds which is reasonable this brings the Cons 67 seats.

    This just about makes them the largest party.

    LD gains from Lab and Tory would complicate matters as would SDLP, Unionists – it may come down to the NI seats to decide who has the most MPs.

    Not withstanding LD support so far rising as much as UNS in these seats there will be some squeezing surely even if only 500 votes in the most marginal.

  25. I think the LD poll rating will drop by about 5% over the next few days.

    But the crucial thing will be how that 5% splits between the main parties. If nearly all of it goes to the Tories it would put them back in a position where they might just be able to win a small majority because their lead over Labour would be near 10%.

  26. @Owain,

    Theoretically yes,

    Two problems however

    1. they are not really targetting anything bar a few

    2. they are not in touching distance in that many

    It owuld be a miracle if they took more than 17 from red…

    In the end it will be less than 10

  27. Eoin –

    ’tis the fate of all soothsayers ;-)

  28. We live in very odd times. A near-collapse of the capitalist economic system, leaving us with levels of debt that were never dreamed of previously (and which would have been attributed to Zimbawe and similar failing economies if the possibility had been mooted). Then the apparent violation of the rule that politicians that lead the country into a recession and are more than 15 points behind in the polls are wiped out at the next election. The rise of a third party on the back of discontent with the main opposition party. And a volcanic eruption in Europe to boot.

    We have an amazing capacity for accepting things that would have seemed unbelievable only days earlier.

    The night of May 6th is going to be the most dramatic election night in living memory. I wish the winning party/parties the very best of luck. To say that they will be starting a term of office with problems to deal with is the grossest of understatements. All people of goodwill should hope that they succeed.

  29. Al J

    The poll suggests a uniform swing for the yellows..

    even at increasing to 80-90 seats and it actually looks higher from these numbers, the yellow share of the national vote from this poll is suggesting over 30%.Then Its a coatition government and guaranteed election reform. The minor colours don’t come into frame.

  30. Woodsman


    That cheered me up…. life was tough in the moral low ground land I was frequenting :)

  31. Can anyone tell me at what vote share LDs would gain more MPs under AV than PR?
    My feeling is that because they would gain so many second preference votes (most Con voters would prefer LD to Lab; most Lab voters would prefer LD to Con) the tipping point would be quite low – maybe 25%?
    The relevance of this is that if Clegg is going to make PR rather than AV a sticking point in coalition negotiations, he could be shooting himself in the foot. (And for what it’s worth, I think the simplicity of AV, its retention of one member constituencies, and the freedom from party lists, makes it preferable).

  32. Hmmm. A friend of mine is all in favour of PR but his football team recently beat mine 2-1. ( FPTP )
    Using his argument shouldn’t my sad team have been given one of the three points? He thinks not. I call that hypocrisy ( and the ref should have gone to Specsavers anyway! )

  33. @Jack,

    au contraire

    most of yellow gains are from yellow

    red can still take it with celts in support

  34. Glad about that Eoin – if I’d stepped in earlier I’d probably have just fanned the raging flames…..

  35. Jack

    *from blue ;)

  36. @jaykay

    I don’t think Clegg is foolish enough to think that most of the LD gains are real ‘converts’ – rather they are after ‘change’ and hence couldn’t be counted on in future elections.

    As others have mentioned, the LD votes are fairly evenly distributed around the country, so I would guess their ratings would have to go up a long way before they’d be better under FPTP than PR.

  37. It’s very unlikely that the LDs would be able to win more than 100 seats unless their share of the vote is greater than 30%.

    For example, a situation such as Con – 33%, LD – 31% would mean a swing from Con to LD of 4% which would only give the LDs about 20 Conservative seats.

  38. I think it would be a mircale if yellows exceed 80

  39. Is there any indication in the poll of TV in these seats?

    . In all these Lab/Con

  40. The LDs have recently come out accusing CCHQ of arranging the media attacks on Clegg yesterday, to a response of absolutely genuine shock at such accusations.

    P.S. did some of last night’s debate remind anyone else of this Yes Prime Minister moment?
    h t t p://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90f9Qm60tU8

  41. @Mike N,

    It is possible to loosley calculate ot

    eg… % who might swtich…. correlated with where there preferences lie

    pretty evenly split between red/blue.

    My advice in thse seats (bar Derby N) discount it

  42. JayKay – There’s no point in NC wondering whether to go for AV or PR at this stage. The most important thing is to ensure a hung Parliament. He needs to sort that out first.

  43. @Owain -good point – it’s amazing how much of you’ve previously seen on Yes Minster/Primeminister is still relevant today.

  44. CONS always knew they needed a huge swing from Labour.

    The Tories can say goodbye to the CON/LD marginals & will not pick up any LD/CON marginals.

    The three-way will hamper their ability to pick up floating votes in LAB/CON marginals.

    The Tory party’s last hope was extremely bad or extremely good economic data. It has fallen right in the middle, exactly where Labour expected it to be.

    The Tories cannot win a majority now, IMO. Cleggmania & the economy have dealt them a double blow they will not recover from.

  45. Jack Jackson

    Oh! I think we’re both using the word ”disaster” in different ways. I agree with both you & Yakobs in your analysis.
    I would suggest from a Con point of view, anything short of a majority would be a disaster.
    From a Labour supporter’s point of view, it would be a form of victory just to stop a Con majority, since we never expected to win anyway. Anything above that ie, having the largest number of seats would be a bonus. Having said that I still think it’s not ”impossible” for Labour to win outright ;-)

  46. Has there been any analysis of Pro-EU Tories moving over to the Lib Dems? They may feel that they do not have a home in the current Tory party, so would look at the LD’s.

    I have a feeling that the Tory party are leaking just as many votes to LD’s as Lab. I have heard a great number of conversations, with people saying they don’t trust the Tories, wouldn’t vote Lab, but would consider the LD’s. These are people that have backed the Tories in the past.

  47. People need to look at the next election after this though as well – if the Lib Dems get around 80+ seats on a broadly uniform swing then they will be in ‘range’ of winning another 50-70 seats at the next election. (assuming we don’t get PR before then)

    I agree that its unlikely that the Lib Dems will get more than 100 seats but if they did then they might have a realistic chance of moving into 2nd place next time.

  48. The swing lab to the Lib Dems since 2005 is less in these Tory-labour marginals than elsewhere. At the time this polling was done the Lib dems were on 31% nationally – up 8-9% on 2005. In these marginals they are up 5%. So the Lib dems are in fact piling up votes in their target seats (including sitting MPs) where I imagine they are beating UNS. If this smaller swing is also happening in safe labour and Tory seats (which we don’t know – no data!) then in the 100 or so seats the Lib Dems are actually working in the differential could be very large.

    There looks to be a marginal boost to Lib Dems going on but no-one is polling it


  49. @ AL J

    Nice summary – back in January a Tory majority appeared inevitable. Alec, Barnaby, you, me & Sue looked like a bunch of tribal die hards refusing to face reality.

    We have a different perception of ‘disaster’. ;-)

  50. Disagreeing with EOIN is perfectly acceptable, as long as one realises he spends most waking hours putting together easy to understand stats, for our benefit, that get right to the heart of this election circus.

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