The final round of Ipsos MORI’s marginal polling for Reuters has been published. These are polls conducted in Labour held marginal seats where the Conservatives need a swing of between 5% and 9% to win – to win on a uniform swing the Conservatives need a swing of about 6.9%, so this sample excludes around about 60+ of the closest Lab-v-Con marginals, and goes up to seats that would grant the Conservatives a pretty substantial majority. To get a majority of 1, the Conservatives would need to win about half these seats, which equates to being neck and neck in voting intention.

The topline figures from MORI today, with changes from last week, are CON 36%(+1), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 20%(-1). This represents a slight swing to the Conservatives since a week ago, and with a 7 point swing is just about enough for the Conservatives to get an overall majority on a uniform swing. In practice however, these figures would be unlikely to produce a Tory majority – to win on a 7% swing the Conservatives would also need to gain a substantial number of seats from the Liberal Democrats, and this seems unlikely on present national polling.

There are some interesting findings on tactical voting – MORI asked people if the party they said they were voting for was their first choice, or a tactical choice. 9% said they were voting tactically, a figure which has not risen during the election campaign – despite the widespread and intuitive belief that people make such tactical decisions during the campaign, MORI are not picking it up (or at least, not yet). MORI went on to ask them which party would have been their first choice – there were more people who said their first choice would have been the Lib Dems voting Labour tactically than there were voting Conservative tactically, but the sample sizes are so minute I would not put any weight on it.

Finally, unlike previous waves of the study MORI excluded people who said they were not registered to vote. 5% of the sample said they weren’t – I can’t see the question in the full tables so I can’t tell if these were people who gave voting intentions and were excluded, people who said they were unlikely to vote, or whether MORI asked about registration first and didn’t ask unregistered people further voting questions.

UPDATE: Bob Worcester has answered that final question. People were asked if they were registered to vote first, and not asked further questions if they weren’t – so we don’t know what answers they would have given.

NB – If there is heavy traffic tonight and the site gets too slow I’ll be switching comments off during “rush hour” everything is cross-posted to the backup blog at where comments will remain open.

166 Responses to “Ipsos MORI show 7% swing in Lab-v-Con marginals”

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  1. “I’m hoping for a very complex configuration of weather conditions on Thursday.”

    Haha :)

  2. @Rob S: AW has previously informed us that the pollsters adjust for shy voters, not just shy Tories. I don’t know how, though.

  3. @Colin H

    “Strange how the left of centre posters suddenly putting faith in an opinium poll. Personally I’d lay more store in Mori – a very good marginals poll for the Conservatives.”

    Opinium is not very consistent; the 25 last time was simply too low for Labour, so they have not made a sudden leap.

    This is within MOE of 34 28 29, which is the median of the other polls.

    MORI might show a tiny Con majority but ONLY if you factor out the Lib Dem/Con marginals. Amd anyone who thinks that a tiny majority is good news for the Conservatives is dumber than the winner of the world’s dumbest person competition. It would be a total catastrophe for them – as Mervyn King so correctly predicted. Terrible decisions to make, noone else to blame, probable loss of majority well before end of term, annihilation at the polls.

    Quake in yout boots, Mr Cameron!!

  4. The Frontrunner factor deserves closer examination. It can best be illustrated by a front running horse in the aintree grand national. Upon closer examination, it can also be illustrated in 2005, 2001, 1997, 1992, 1983, 1979, 1974 and 1970.

    On all of these occasions the front runners share was overestimated.

    By 1970 – 15%
    1974 – 4%
    1979- 3%
    1983 (It closed 5% in final few days, which corrected it)
    1992- c.5%
    1997- c.6%
    2001- c.5%
    2005- c.2%

    Given that the election is SO close this time. What would a circa 2% over-estimation do to this result?

  5. Paul Bristol – I saw the Citizens speech by GB myself, and agree the media will not be referring to his best bits.

    I get the impression that most jornos are bored of kicking Gordon and want him out of the way so that they can do what they’d like even more – kicking Cammo.

    Perhaps all our politicians deserve the media treatment they get. It would drive me mad. Being opinionated, I’m often tempted by the thought of what I’d have achieved in politics if life had taken differrent terms. I know deep down I’d feel a complete sense of frustration at the difficulty of getting things done and communicating through the media.

    I take my hat off to all of them who are not in it for themselves, on all sides (and there are more of them than we are led to believe) It must be among the hardest of vocations to try and serve the public by influencing and effecting change.

    What has impressed me about the campaign is the relative lack of smearing tactics. I haven’t noticed anyone being hauled out of the woodwork to re-hash old allegations, and I think they also all deserve credit for that too.

  6. this may be the stupidest poll I have ever seen

    …” this sample excludes around about 60+ of the closest Lab-v-Con marginals, and goes up to seats that would grant the Conservatives a pretty substantial majority. …”

    from the poll/ REUTERS

    Like other national polls, the previous four Reuters/Ipsos MORI polls — the most recent of which was published last Thursday — suggested the country was on course for a “hung parliament” in which no party had a majority of seats.

    However, the latest poll suggests the Conservative Party could now be on course for a majority of around two seats in the 650-seat House of Commons after the May 6 election, wresting control from Labour after 13 years. ****** This is the first major poll in weeks to indicate such an outcome *******

    -Methodoly and sampling data can be found here

    FYI it is an online poll

  8. I would suggest caution with Opinium, to be quite frank I have no faith in their polls.

    Its all about YouGov and ICM for me. I am not too keen on ComRes’ rolling poll either. A pool of 500 a day simply does not cut it for me.

  9. MORI were totally off the pace with their poll in the 2005 elections ICM and YouGov are the only true opinion polls

  10. Can anyone tell me who a shy voter is? Is this where the researcher asks questions and the respondent, is a little coy with the answers. Or are they don’t knows ? Or are they people that indicate negatives towards different parties, so when asked about certainty to vote, they are not 100% sure? Do different polling companies have different ways of dealing with shy voters?

  11. @Nick OK (previous thread)

    “I think the media is in complete denial about its own withering influence. We’ve seen again and again and again in recent times the media targeting someone (it has to be said, usually Brown, but it applied to scenarios outside of politics also) full-force for it to have no effect whatsoever, or even invoking a backlash. I haven’t seen Sky news today, so I can’t say if the news coverage is biased or whatever. To be honest, in this context I don’t think it matters. If the media continues to herald Cameron the winner, to pump up the idea of a Conservative surge, it will backfrire. I’m surprised they haven’t learnt this yet!”

    I think you’re absolutely right (and how can I disagree with someone called Nick OK anyway?!). One of the many political sea changes that we’re seeing in this election is the fading influence of the old news management levers. The print media used to treat us all as Pavlovs dogs; tickle the voters taste buds and they’ll salivate accordingly. I think they all thought they could do the same again this time around and spin their man (predominantly Cameron) into Downing Street. I don’t know about everybody else, but don’t you find it refreshing to see that old arrogant self assurance rocked to the core? In fact I’d go as far as to say that it may be becoming not just ineffectual but actually counter -productive, producing the very opposite effect to the one intended. If you examine the polling evidence, the polls haven’t flickered a twitch in the wake of press media feeding frenzies on Clegg and Brown, or premature “he’s a shoo-in” stories about Cameron. Whatever the result on Thursday, and some of us will be happy, and some of us will be sad, let’s all agree one one thing and rejoice that the power of the media magnates and bullies is waning fast. To quote David Cameron, but in a different context, “they’ve been treating us all like absolute mugs for far too long”.

    Another quick point on media bias. I’m a great defender of the BBC and my belief in their innate efitorial impartiality is always re-inforced when I see them crtiticised by both the right and left. In another thread on this website, there were many accusing them of right-wing bias, or anti Lib Dem bias, in some of their recent broadcasts. We should be careful about that; my experience of them is that they report events fairly, priding fact over opinion, and while some of their reports can be unnerving or politically disappointing, they’re also very likely to be true. And I also like the fact that they have a cross section of reporters in terms of their obvious personal political leanings. As such, the likes of Andrew Neil (an ex chairman of Young Conservatives), Nick Robinson (an ex chairman of Young Conservatives) David Dimbleby (Tory sympathiser), Robert Peston (scrupulously non-partisan), Michael Crick (Labour sympathiser) etc can all happily co-exist in one corporation. Could you say the same about ITN, Sky News or many of the newspapers?

  12. @Eoin

    Excellent- two new categories:

    The ‘Beachers Brook Tory’ and the ‘Shy Brownite’

    The front runner factor though will shortly be torpedoed by Tory posters saying that in 92/ 97/ 01/ 05 this was simply the ‘usual’ shy tory/ labour overestimation ;-)

  13. Weren’t ‘shy Tories’ just an excuse for the pollsters having got it wrong? ‘Don’t blame us, blame the voters’.

  14. so Reuters / Mori comes up with a poll that is slanted only on Con Lab seats….

    and they come up with a solution …that they admit …no other major poll has had in weeks…


  15. @wxdavid

    read the top of the thread for MORI’s own disassociation from Reuters….shall we say……slant…..

  16. There were more ‘shy tories’ in the 80’s than now I think. You could hardly find a living soul who admitted voting Tory, but Thatcher romped home! It was basically a term used to describe people too ashamed to admit they voted Conservative.

  17. @ John TT

    “..the relative lack of smearing tactics..”

    Yes it’s to everyone’s credit (almost). I can’t help thinking that Clegg’s polling figures have “softened”, as some here have suggested, because he’s been seen to be just as much old politics as the other two with petulant jibes in the debates, and again today about Cameron measuring up the curtains in No. 10. If he could just stay positive and not descend to these tactics…

  18. @RogerH

    That’s my impression too – most of the error in 1992 was caused by poor demographic weighting, was it not?

  19. any more polls coming out today ?

  20. Jesus I hope i am not eating my words on ICM and yougov later tonight :)

    Am I right in thinking we only ahve 2 more nights of this.. tonight and tomorrow and there will not be polls WED or will there be ?

  21. In the past Anthony has come up with a good term for shy Labour voters- Bashful Brownites.
    I know – I’m one!

    [It’s not actually mine, it’s Andrew Cooper’s – though when he coined it, it was Bashful Blairites – AW]

  22. Valerie,

    Relucntant reds? :)

  23. Re weather conditions

    I hope that the weather condition factor will be weighted with regard to regional differences? For instance, if it rains in the north people will turn out anyway because they are more used to it, if it rains in the south the southern softies will stay at home. Is their any research regarding this?

  24. @Jenny – YouGov and Comres I believe.

    The Comres could be a “cat amongst the pigeons”, because they’ve produced both dramatic widenings and narrowings of the Conservative lead, and at this late stage things get feverish.

    I would expect YG not to show any dramatic shift – although of course any movement will be pounced upon by the ravenous pack here :)

  25. I have to say, GB has surprised me. I’ve seen passion. He’s been eloquent and effective.

    I neither like or dislike the man, but he has grown in my estimation. IMO, if he was not carrying so much baggage (13 years of Lab rule) he would be streets ahead of NC and DC in the public’s estimation too.

    I don’t know what will happen on 6 and 7 May but it could well be that the UK loses a great politician – one who really has tried to make a difference.

  26. I’m not 100% convinced by Eoin’s list of elections where the “frontrunner” underpolled. The “frontrunner” referred to in 1992 is of course Labour, so another way of looking at it is “Labour have underpolled in every GE since 1992”.

  27. BBC Online News currently headlining “Protester interrupts speech by Gordon Brown in Central London”. Didn’t take long for that prediction to come true…

  28. @Neil A

    As did blueys in 1979 and 1983 :) :)

  29. The rightwing media have a vested interest in suggesting that people are swinging behind the Tories. They are trying to gain momentum, with the hope that people are like sheep and will back them.

    If the Tories don’t win, it will be egg on the faces of most of the newspapers and could suggest that people are no longer swayed by the editorial support given. My take on this, is that people don’t buy newspapers as much, getting most of their news from the TV and online.

    You can just see the headline in The Sun. ‘ It was the Sun, that lost it’ .

    My prediction for The Sun frontpage on election day is. ‘Vote for Labour and end up in the Brown stuff’. With a picture of Browns head, covered in excrement. Perhaps that would be a little too crude even for The Sun.

  30. Eoin – the typo could have been worse!

  31. BUMP!

    AustinK said “Am I right in thinking we only ahve 2 more nights of this.. tonight and tomorrow and there will not be polls WED or will there be ?”

    I (and others) have asked the same thing, no responses to date! Anyone in the know???

  32. This poll of marginals is not good for Lab whichever way you want to spin it. I hope Cameron doesn’t get in with a majority but I reckon he will.

  33. @John TT


  34. @Nick Hadley

    I think you are spot on about the waning power of the press moguls. I have always believed the spread of information and opinion on the internet is good for democracy.
    Look at the way we are all communicating!:-)

  35. How I wish the parties were not referred to as blues, reds and yellows. It makes this sound like a game of ludo.

  36. Eoin – not sure if I have interpreted your very interesting “frontrunner” comments correctly. Are you suggesting the CON’s share may well be overestimated because they are the frontrunner this time (as opposed to the usual interpretation that LAB’s share tends to be overestimated)?

    Also, I note 1987 is missing from your list.

  37. I agree with Mike N



    I love Ludo, care to join me in a game? I pick the reds ;)

  39. @John G

    Yes you interpreted it correctly.

    Let me check 1987 and get back to you… those figures where from memory but since I only uncovered 1987s yesterday they are not yet in my brain :)

  40. BBC;

    I doubt if they are biaseed but they are getting increasingly sloppy and are starting to go for soundbite above truth. For example a few minutes ago, I listened to Radio 4 news and they reported that a new Mori marginal poll gives the Tories a 7% swing, sufficient to give them a small overall majority – yet when you read the narrative on The Mori website it says no such thing, because they only get the overall majority on a 7% swing if they ALSO win all the Lib dem/Tory marginals needing asimilar swing. Since this is not ging to happen, the poll predicts NOC with Tories the largest party.

    If there were a bias it would be towards Labour, since their only current strategy is to try and convince Lib Dem voters that the Tories are going to get in…. But I don’t think there is bias, just slipshod reporting

  41. What happened to UKIP, BNP & the Green party ?

  42. @Mike P

    The BBC coverage has deteriorated and I think this is in part due to the partisan approah by Nick Robinson – silly man.

    BBC news in general is silly too, this (below) report on-line is I’m sure, trying to challenge the soaraway Sun as trivial news service:

    “A German man has unofficially married his cat after the animal fell ill and vets told him it might not live much longer, Bild newspaper reports”.

    Maybe Tory will do away with the licence fee if it gets in!

  43. There’s an idea for a new electoral system – get the main party leaders to play Ludo with the winner getting to be PM for 5 years.

  44. @neil A

    “The “frontrunner” referred to in 1992 is of course Labour, so another way of looking at it is “Labour have underpolled in every GE since 1992?.”

    You clearly missed my post a few up in the thread that predicted: “The front runner factor though will shortly be torpedoed by Tory posters saying that in 92/ 97/ 01/ 05 this was simply the ‘usual’ shy tory/ labour overestimation ;-) ”

    Like I said IMHO there is little if no overestimation just m.o.e in the mainstream polling companies numbers: BUT if I was pushed to say there was ‘shy voting’ going on I would say it was- in THIS election- by some who currently say they are DK’s and will vote Labour in the polling booth.

  45. Some of you dont seem to have a very high opinion of MORI.

    Why has the BBC hired MORI for its exit poll -when yougov got it exactly right in 2005

  46. @Gary

    At the moment a better game would be Risk


  47. This poll is a good one and useful – it is not Mori’s fault the way it is being reported.
    It shows what many sensible posters on here have been saying for a few days – that the cons current support probably gives them 280-300 seats.
    But 1-2% Lab-Con swing and we end up with OM or Lab largest party.
    What a great GE.
    Of course a full national poll from Mori with the same field work days to give a marginal lift would have been valuable as well.
    Finally, FWIW I am another leftie ignoring OPINION. The next You Guv will be interesting later toinight though.

  48. @JohnG,

    I found 1987s.

    with a couple of days to go blueys were on 45% but we know they got 42%. The final poll corrected itself a little (43%). A lot of the final polls correct themselves in the last 48 hours (see ICM in 1997, ICM/Gallup/NOP 1992, ICM 1983)

  49. Eoin – thanks for your response. The consistency is amazing!

  50. ROSIE P

    “Maybe Tory will do away with the licence fee if it gets in!”

    I really hope not – The BBC from its radio content to the TV drama’s is world class in my opinion and a bargain for what we pay.

    I dislike the dumbing down of news but programs such The Daily Politics / Newsnight are still very good.

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