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”

1 2 3 4
  1. “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.”

    It’s one thing to be shy about confessing it to friends and acquaintances but I find it difficult to believe a significant number would have refused to admit it in an anonymous opinion poll.

  2. Most media coverage is pretty poor – a symptom of the 24hr news cycle. Reporting needs to be quick, which often means just repeating what you’re given. I don’t think the BBC is any better than others in that respect.

  3. @Eoin

    “A lot of the final polls correct themselves in the last 48 hours ”

    As you probably know, there is a persistent rumour that the pollsters “tweak” their final polls to make sure they correspond more closely to the consensus. Certainly in 2005 the convergence seemed too good to be true!

    Any opinions on this?

    Note to AH: This isn’t calling YG into question, since the phenomenon could be equally well described as “the other pollsters tweak themselves to be closer to YG” ;)

  4. @ Rosie P

    I agree about Nick Robinson, his blogs are always getting shot down. To the Beeb’s and her credit thoughh, Laura Kuenssburg has done pretty well I think and Andrew Neil has been quite robust and certainly entertaining. Don’t think the licence fee is at risk if Cameron were to get in, he’s strongly backed the organisation the other day

  5. @ Gary – I agree with you completely


    Great Idea!

    UK Constituency RISK!!

    650 separate locations – I’d buy that game.

    Could you imagine how long that game would take?

    Mind you election night might be longer still…

  7. @Pankot,

    I doubt it….

    YG adopted a lst minute change lasy year and were very open about it. It made 1% difference. They would have ben close regardless.

    No it is much more likely that Job Public becomes a bit more cautious.

    For all the hype about change, it is against human nature…. The Stockholm syndrome is just about to kick in :)

  8. John IT

    Living in a country that can take what’s presented at face value with such cynicism drives me nuts! These guys bust a gut to put themselves across. The journos are supposed to be doing their job and informing the public.

    I lost my rag with the BBC website election live feed on Saturday and started complaining bitterly (many times) to the corporation that the text stories were all completely trivial. It had stuff like “girl asks for kiss from Clegg on train and wife says jokingly she’s jealous. Cameron in pub has pint of local brew which the landlord has named ‘I ate Gordon Brown’ In the space of 5 text stories 4 of them was about a heckler , 3 of them was about the same heckler at Gordon Browns meeting…with no mention of what he was speaking about. There must have been others that spotted this nonsense and had a pop because they changed the people who were in control of the feed. Last two days it’s been totally informative! :-)

  9. Dave – YouGov did not do an exit poll in 2005 (in fact, YouGov couldn’t do a traditional exit poll – it needs a fieldforce of interviewers, and YouGov doesn’t have human interviewers). 2005’s exit poll was done jointly by NOP and MORI, the same as this time.

  10. Mike N

    I’m not a Labour voter this time, but I’m disappointed by Gordon Brown’s campaign. Though totally lacking the personal qualities needed for a television campaign, he really is one of the few party leaders in my 60+ years who came into politics to make a difference, especially for those at the bottom.

    In the third debate, a young bloke who is teaching in a poorer area of Birmingham, asked what the three of them would do to improve the opportunities of the kids he taught. It was a gift of a question for GB , and I was on my feet shouting ‘give it to him Gordon’ but he missed the chance.

    In the Paxman interview, he was asked why people didn’t like him. It was crying out for an answer like ‘ lots of people don’t like you Jeremy, but you’re good at your job, and I’m good at mine, and that’s what’s important right now’. But he missed that one too.

    If he is out of No 10 on Friday, I think he will be remembered rather more fondly than the image the press give right now.

  11. @Eoin,

    You excuse the years when the frontrunner doesn’t underpoll by saying that the opinion polls narrowed at the last moment to be closer to the final result. But that isn’t true of some of the years when Labour was the one ahead. Some polls in 2001 and 2005 had Labour well ahead of their final GE score right up to and including the final poll.

    I think the picture is a bit less concrete than you paint it.

  12. @Gary

    If you play the Scot Nat option you’re not allowed to move out of Scotland

    If you play UKIP or BNP you’re not allowed to move out of England, much to your annoyance

    If you play Lib Dem you have to give back 1/3 of your winnings to the other players

    If you play Conservative you have to get some of your counters back over from France and Germany at the start of the game

    If you play Labour you have a rogue ‘Tony Blair as Jack Nicholson playing the joker’ figure who pops up in the last three moves and you have to roll a dice to see whether he deducts or adds to your score

  13. @AW

    “YouGov doesn’t have human interviewers”

    For some reason I now can’t get the picture of Robbie the Robot outside the polling station with a clipboard…. :)

  14. ..out of my mind

  15. It appears that the Lib Dem surge has counterbalanced the tory increase in lab/con marginals. The thing is about a situation like this, is that it’s never really happened before, so it’s hard to know where it’s going. What happens to the Lib Dem vote on the day will be one of the biggest stories of the campaign, and crucial to their future support.

    As we don’t know where the Lib Dem narrative will take us, how strong and reliable their support is, we can go only on what the polls present us with. And so because of this, we have to assume that the Lib Dem surge counterbalances the tory increase in lab/con marginals.

    Hmmm. I think tonight’s yougov, with only two days of polling left, will hold massive importance. I hope it’s not a crazy bank holiday one, I’m not sure if I can deal with that in this intense situation!

  16. @ MikeP

    The BBC is generally world class, maybe Robinson is in the late winter of his job . . . then maybe James Landale will emerge – he’s much more objective.

  17. @XIBY
    If I didn’t know this site better I’d think you were coming on to me.

  18. BBC editorial team: Nick Robinson and James Landale. I wonder how they could be perceived as biased?


  19. Neil A,

    Not concrete no your right. That is why we call them theories :) :) I left 1987 out the first time if you want to go back and check. There are many more authoritative and well grounded theories – best stick to them! But every theory begins somewhere :) If shy tory is founded upon four elections well and good. I buy it.

    My notion i sproved in 1970


  20. Just to quickly add, I LOVE the BBC…there’s something really comforting about it!

  21. Pankot – robots? We only use lizards ;)

  22. @ Rosie P

    The BBC is generally world class, maybe Robinson is in the late winter of his job . . . then maybe James Landale will emerge – he’s much more objective.


    I think Landale is outrageously Tory-leaning. Robinson is a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party in comparison.

    Anyone know if JL was an Old Etonian perchance?


  23. After reading some of the previous posts, even as a LD, I was looking forward to hearing GB on the BBC 6 o’clock news. Not a word from his speech although they did cover the fact that he had shown compassion towards a young girl in tears.

    I have to agree with many of the previous posts that there seems to be something of a pro tory bias, especially from Nick Robinson.

    Also agree that in common with other TV stations BBC are sloppy with interpretation of polls. Perhaps they need to check on this site before broadcasting.

  24. According to Wikipedia (yes, I know) Landale was an Etonian chum of Boris & Dave

  25. @ Dave

    No I don’t get that perception with Landale – but then again who am I to judge!

    I do have to say that Robinson is so sneery – if you know what I mean.

  26. Nick ok
    Just to quickly add, I LOVE the BBC…there’s something really comforting about it!
    You have been listening to sailing away followed by the shipping forecast too much! :-)

  27. SKY is awful

    ITV as well

    simply tory puppets

    the bbc is also guilty of bias the other way ..

    but in my opinion even the bbc has been rubbish this campaign

    a superb speech by brown in london today and ignored by the bbc for a fella with a placard


  28. Neil A/ JohnG

    LEt me explain,

    While the polls correct themselves in the final 48 hours they do not crrect themsleves fully…

    1992 corrected itlsef by 4% but it was till out a further 5%

    1997 coorected itself by 5% but it was still out a further 6%

    1979 corrected itself by 2% but it was still out by a further 3%

    1987 corrected itslef 3% blue 2% red but it was still out by 1% blue and 1% red…

    2005 which was the clsoest ever was still 1% out for blue and 2% out for red

    1970 correect itself by 3% but it was still out by 15%

    so when I say correction I do not mean fully corrected….

  29. This one off marginal poll, with no more to compare it against, before May 6th, is allowing both the BBC and Sky to be biased toward the Tories by talking about Tory ‘momentum’ and ‘Tories increase lead’, etc, without talking about the 3% margin of error, the 30% who have not decided and with no polls of Labour-Lib Dem or Tory-Lib Dem marginals.

    This poll,in effect, is useless, but is being used to show Tories moving ahead by the media. This will shore up the Tory vote and also bring down the total number of voters, believing it’s a ‘done deal’ or a ‘stitch up’.

    I think all polls should be banned 10 days before the General Election, because this poll, I feel, is very bad for Democracy, given how poor our media is in reporting them with any intelligence.

  30. @ Nick Hadley

    Just noticed your response. I agree also with what you’ve said, and think that in years to come this election will be key to the history of the internet, and the downfall of the press, and in many ways, the media industry. Also agree with your comments on the BBC. It keeps other broadcasters (for the most part) in line, and sets a standard that others are forced to adhere to. I feel their coverage, as ever, has been perfectly balanced.

    By the way, could anyone explain to me what an exit poll is?

  31. @Wandering

    You are looking at Brown’s speech from a bias point of view. I thought he was just shouting nonsense

  32. Hello all

    Well with these last few polls I’m going to go ahead and make my prediction for the final result.

    Con 300 seats
    LAB 210 seats
    LD 100 seats

    Tory minority government.

    By the way I also predict many seats changing hands unexpectedly. Some seats will be held unexpectedly and some seats will be won from third or even fourth place.

    All in all I’m looking forward to election night, its going to be great fun.

  33. Radio 4 have been pretty outrageous: Eddy Mayer; Martha Kearney.

  34. what time is yougov out ?

  35. @Scotleag

    Landale: Well what do you know! – amazing thing t’internet.

  36. I suppose it makes sense that there could be a “frontrunner effect” and would also put paid to that boring (oh so boring) argument of “but they always overestimate the Lab vote/Con vote” (delete as appropriate)
    When polled, many like to say they are backing the winner – simple as that, but in the polling booth, maybe they don’t. maybe they don’t even know themselves when they are polled, maybe they literally decide on the day?

  37. @ Rosie P

    I do have to say that Robinson is so sneery – if you know what I mean.


    I do know what you mean. I think it’s compulsory to have the sneer if you’re a former Chair of the Tory National Student Association.


  38. @Peterbell,

    C4 should cover it. :)

  39. TimMontgomerie

    HURRAH! Cameron wins in YouGov poll: David Cameron 41%; Nick Clegg 32%; Gordon Brown 25%

    I hope this rumour is very wrong.. I am going to stop looking, it’s not good for my health

  40. Oh and by the way – I don’t think much of Opinium either, but as a “red” I have to smile to see them so in line with the YouGov/ICM standard now. All I need now is for AR to put Lab on 30……..

  41. @ NICK OK

    It’s when someone dies and as they’re checking out they are asked why the died.

  42. @ SCOTTY DOG

    And you could have a variable win threshold at the end of an allotted election period based on our electoral system – 45% of seats required for the Lib Dems to win / 40% of seats for the Tories and 35% of seats for Labour.

    Labour have the added disadvantage though that every constituency they target immiediately suffers a catastrophic PR disaster and they lose one of their attackers automatically.

  43. @SCotty Dog (6.31)

    Like it!!

    But should it not be “Lib Dems give back 2/3 of their winnings.”

  44. I’m going potty, that must be post debate….

  45. @BEN

    he got the biggest ovation of the three leaders

    by some margin

    they even said so on sky , which was nice of them

  46. Ok folks, I have a theory for you regarding the MORI. MORI polled on Fri, Sat and Sun. 2/3 of that polling was therefore carried out in the immediate aftermath of the third debate, when other pollsters were showing a swing to the conservatives.
    However yesterday’s polls showed a swing to labour. The opiniom also shows a swing to Lab. Is the MORI largely out of date? Did it take too much of its data immeditely post-debate?
    P.s. I may be completely wrong ;)

  47. @ Pam F


    HURRAH! Cameron wins in YouGov poll: David Cameron 41%; Nick Clegg 32%; Gordon Brown 25%

    I hope this rumour is very wrong.. I am going to stop looking, it’s not good for my health


    No way that’ll be a poll of the parties %.

    Probably on ‘who’s best to be PM’?

  48. Nick Robinson – dreadful pundit ….well past his sell by date.

    Gets the blog comments he deserves. They always descend into a mass brawl!

  49. Scotty Dog:

    I hope you will take it as compliment that I have dowloaded and patented your excellent game.

    I’ve also tweaked it a bit:

    Interview by Paxman coming up: Go back two % points.

    You meet a nice old lady out shopping: Miss two gos and a full day’s electioneering, as your staff arrange a home visit.

    and so on.

    I also have thoughts about a presenter for TV………….

    “good game, good game.”

1 2 3 4