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. I know that many on this site go for the UNS, but there are others which give the Tories a lead on this sort of count

  2. @All,

    Paxman will grill all candidates. BBC is probably the least biased of all the channels & organisations that represent mass communication media.


  3. I’m sorry to split hairs (and I may be missing something) but if I take Anthony’s table behind the “UKPR Polling Average” and apply all the weightings as he has, the overall weighted average shares of the vote are:
    34 / 27 / 28 not
    33 / 27 / 29
    It’s a subtle shift but surely would change the “Labour short by 59 seats wouldn’t it ?

  4. @Colin and Derek,

    It now appears so certain to debate it is futile. I accept you guys are holding out for a yellow renaissance, or perhaps resurgence is a better word………….

  5. POLLY

    I’m sad that you don’t want to post here any more.

    But I can understand why you think it a pointless excercise now.

    Good luck

  6. In the Paxman interview, Cameron I think slipped up when he said the NI cut would threaten the recovery and then quickly corrected himself. I think Brown’s line may have been on Cameron’s mind. Did anyone else notice that?

  7. @Ash

    One of your trend graphs would sure look good now….

  8. Neil A
    I agree that there is a silliness in praising a deficit in the polls but there is an overriding hope behind it all, for which a ‘victory’ is not needed, and that is the end of FPTP. That is what we are seeing in the LD lift in the polls, not the empty ‘change’ slogan. People just want to be treated properly in a modern democracy , including many radical conservatives, (oxymoron?)among whom I class myself.

    Ironically I know from my international experience that your party (most of it, or at least half of it) can look forward to nearly continuous government under PR. You will lose the Bill Cash element but you will discover a new party arises with which you will share power and might just merge with yours eventually. It will call itself ‘Orange Booker’s’ or some such. ;-)

    Sometimes your new tories will even rule with the Greens who will also change their character from being ‘little englanders’. I’ll bet Ken Clarke can see this future. He is just biding his time IMO.

  9. Very close isn’t it? This site gives Labs 50 short in hung. others may give to the Tories, outcome as ever so dependant on individual marginals.
    But I wonder, another 2% as Eoin says and Labour could still maybe get a majority?
    Fascinating, and definitely nerve-wracking!

    Is that it for tonight? Is there counselling for poll addicts? Somehow I think I’ll be over it in a couple of weeks.

  10. Polly and Bill:

    Whether it’s true or not [and, of course; as Polly sympathetically pointed out re Nick’s expenses, truth is unimportant – it’s the “impression” that counts] I am assuming you have left the forum in order to elope together, to some right-wing utopia where hard-working families have the right thing done by them.

    To my surprise It’s a fairly pleasant image, and I wish you all the best in this world I have imagined for you.

    Kind regards,


  11. Howard,

    That is precisely how I see PR working out. And Maybe not a bad thing either…..

  12. @Pam – they’ll be a Com Res if you’re interested.

  13. YouGov/Sun 2010-03-25 37 33 18 4
    YouGov/Sun 2010-03-24 36 34 17 2
    YouGov/Sun 2010-03-23 37 33 18 4

    Just a little reminder of the last time the Tories were in opinion poll trouble. Everyone predicted their (our) destruction. Within a week or two they were back on top.

    I accept that the LibDem surge is a different beast, but my point is that its really a bit early to be writing Cameron off.

  14. @Howard

    An interesting evocation of a post-PR landscape

    @Paul Croft


  15. @ Ash – yes did notice the slip, don’t think it was anything to worry about though!

    Now then peeps, not had time to read all the posts but what has been going on – why are people leaving?

    On a lighter note, when we get to 6 & 7 May I thin the result will be thereabouts where the polls were at the start of the campaign. Hence a CamCon maj of c10 seats. Reasons to be cheerful? Well the mori marginals poll must be an underlying worry to Lab and LD.

    Oh, and the latest weather charts are showing a much better day for voting – but that could easily change too.

    It may be the 8 pollsters will be about right after all. They didn’t get where they got to today by being wrong!

  16. @ Howard

    But if they mingle orange and blue, they will get……Brown!

  17. I cannot believe the LDs are still at 29. That shows amazing resistance to the onslaught – perhaps their pre-first debate 27 contained not as much froth as the Glegg surge of 3 to 7% added to 30-34% added. The bubble has been reduced since that high of 34, but not pricked – only reduced to a trajectory in might have had from the 27% showing, as if the first debate boost had never happened. Labour’s slight recovery is interesting. They are still being spun as doing poorly, but frankly, are they? It is still much too close to call.
    I thought Cameron handled Paxo rather well tonight. I expect the Conservative rating to improve this weekend – if it doesn’t, I have serious doubts that a majority Govt is in prospect for them.

  18. Neila A:
    Yes, that might well be valid. there is still so long to go….

  19. @ Rosie P

    Why? How does that work?

  20. @ RICHARD O

    “Despite a difficult 2 years, splitting up with fiancee, moving house, and bringing up my young daughter half the time whilst working full time, I will hopefully wake up smiling, whatever the result!

    I’m sure you will Richard with a positive outlook like that.

    Very best of luck to you & your daughter.

  21. @Pam F,

    I think Labour would probably need to close the gap by a further 3% and hit at least 34/35% to get a majority. Possible, especially as the Lib Dem vote could fall further IMO.

  22. @Neil A
    I said something similar a while ago, when Simon Heffer laid into DC for only being 5% ahead. I said something along the lines of “he’s 5% ahead, not 10% behind!”
    If we genuinely do have proper three party politics now (and I sure hope the LD improvement IS permanent) a 5% lead is more than reasonable.
    I do though think much of the disdain of single digit leads comes from the Tory Right, who never did like Cameron and his Notting Hill Set chums, and would prefer to see Brown win.

  23. @ Robert C

    The ipsos mori indicates a 5% Lab to Con swing – that’s without the effect of any Lab to Ld. At the MoE the 7% (or thereabouts) the Cons need is well within reach.

    We all started this mission (campaign) with a reasoned view that things wouldn’t change much in the course of the campaign. So apart from the blip of LD surge (from previous DKs?) the outcome will not vary much from starting point.

  24. @Howard

    “Orange Booker’s” – what do you mean Howard….that’s a really funny name for old-fashioned Liberal Nationals like me!!!! I am sure we can think of a better name. I hate what the press have done to Clegg and agree with his new politics agenda, but I like much of Cameron’s message too.

  25. @Richard

    Completely support Colin’s sentiments – i’ve similar up’s and down’s over a short space of time and have come through it and hope you are starting to get through it also.

  26. Early as 13 days away from election day early?

    But no i am not writing Cameron off, it would be silly to even consider that. But neither can we write GB off at the moment either and that is what is simply extraordinary, wouldn’t you agree. I mean consider the context of this election in the light of the last 3 years. Who of us here (me included) had not written off GB?

    And the NC story? well that is too much of an outsider for me to truly assess its implications. What i do think is that the LDs will remain at around 28% till the end now. It is getting too late in the day to see them crumble. Well this weekend will tell the whole story I presume.

    p.s. The discussion today on these forums has been a far cry from the standards it used to be at and is putting me off quite a bit. Polls please so we regain some sanity.

  27. @ Rosie P

    But you need to gain LD seats for a Tory majority, which you won’t, plus you may even lose some on these polls (LD +7 from 2005 GE)

  28. @ Rosie P.

    The long term (six months plus) trend for the Conservatives was very much downwards going into the campaign. This has just accelerated. What do you see reversing such a well established trend?

  29. For those of you who want to look at charted trends have a look at

    h t t p ://1.bp.blogspot.com/_8BPw8BFVVL4/S8z48PFyvUI/AAAAAAAAAG4/qF-xtSaQlJo/s1600/ctrend+10-04-20.png

  30. @ XIBY

    Loving those charts. Respect!

    Couldn’t have put it better myself. The Conservatives went into the campaign with strong downward momentum and Labour in rapid recovery.

    The Lib Dems were just going into a gentle rise before the debates anyway.

  31. @ Robert C

    People are not (IMO) as volatile at GEs as the last few days of polls have suggested. It is more of a media/ x factorism.

    Voters will have made their minds up over those months leading to the election, and I agree it was a downward Con trend. But, during the campaign (as in al campaigns) not much shifts – without a massive gaffe etc.

    So, my feeling looking at the polls this time, versus last 10 GEs, we’ll look back on 7 May and find the result will ‘mirror’ what an early campaign poll discovered – and ALL of those were pointing to a CamCon maj.

    Then add in the thoughts of the pollster8 and CamCon of around 335 is about right.

    Forget the LD ‘surge’. If it continues higher than 2005 it will be from DKs and therefore not likely to have significant impact.

    All goof theatre though!

  32. Fond of the ‘rictus grin’? ha ha – oh deary deary me today ….

    “BBC is probably the least biased …” — hilarious – and said with a straight face.

    “He is a true Presbetyrian (sic)” …. given the nature of his friends, people like Whelan and McBride, this brings a whole new meaning to the word Presbyterian that I had not been aware off.

    The labour boat is leaking like a sieve. After 13 years of tormenting and undermining Blair and finally clawing his way to the top job Brown spurns an election winning opportunity and now finds his vote somewhere between 23 and 29 points. And day dreamers on this site are talking about a new conservative (!?!?) leader … ??

  33. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not predicting a Tory majority. I just think the triumphalism of Labour supporters who have been pushed into a solid third place is a little out of place.

  34. @Trevorsden @ Neil A

    I’m more than happy to predict a CamCon maj.

    Too close to call? I don’t think so. It is not possible to have the performance of Lab over the last 3 years without a decline in support. Below 34% and Lab are very unlikely to have maj.

    Lab are going to struggle to 30%, CamCon ideally needs 40% but with the LD tqaking a bit from Lab, 38 will hand 10 seat maj.

  35. Trevorsden
    New here are you? Might like to check out the comments policy (if you can read)

    Rosie p “All goof theatre though!”

    Beautifully and exquisitely spelt

    (Anyone know how to do a rictus smiley?

  36. Jonh TT


  37. @ Rosie

    A Tory majority? Certainly possible but not looking likely.

    Young Nick has trampled all over Young Dave’s USP. Can’t imagine Con taking seats off LD now.

    GB looks like he’s stopped the rot and the debate is now shifting into his territory. NC holding his own after the mud slinging.

    Where is the DC momentum going to come from? Collapse in LD support? No sign of that. Total implosion of Lab support. Can’t see it.

    Then what’s this? Young George saying in tomorrow’s Daily Mail – “We are ready to work with the LD’s in a hung Parliament”. The Shadow Chancellor looks like he doesn’t think Con can win.

    Looks to me that the towel is being thrown in by Con on ever achieving a majority. That might give a new boost to LD.

    Conclusion – the reaction to the leadership debates are being played out in the wider opinion polls. Everything else – the newspapers, the direct mail, the posters – are in the background. All that money deployed by Lord A appears that it will not be the knockout blow after all. Bet he’s none to happy, given all the scrutiny he has had these epast few months.

  38. Billy Bob – I like it a lot!

  39. This is perhaps the most interesting finding in this poll:

    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.

    What this means is that there is likely to be a much higher turnout than in 2001 / 2005 – probably in the 70-75% range.

    If that increased turnout is evenly spread, then there is a high probability that the Lab vote is still down from 2005 in terms of actual numbers whereas the Con and LD votes have risen. This probably means that Lab will rack up higher scores in their “heartlands”, but see significnt drops outside those areas – thus leading to significant loss of seats to both Con and LD.

    The idea that there is a pro-Lab bias in the boundaries which always delivers Lab same number of seats as Con when five points behind is hogwash.

  40. @polly ticks.thought you were a floating voter.. maybe you’ve sunk!

  41. @Howard,

    If PR led to the birth of a new (economically) Liberal party that felt comfortable in coalition with the rump of the Conservatives, then I would probably defect to it. Assuming it wasn’t anything like as Euro-integrationist as the current LibDem party. Most of my instincts are small-government, leave the people alone type “conservatism” (which is really just liberalism, before the term was annexed by the left).

  42. If the analysis of the IPSOS MORI marginals is correct then the LIbDem surge may be a fantom. If people haven’t voted in previous elections why would they do so now? It may confirm the theory that the TV debates have created a “Britain’s Got Talent” syndrome that everyone can play but only some will turn into votes. A pity.

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