Ipsos MORI have published their monthly politial monitor for Reuters. The topline voting intention figures are CON 40%(+1), LAB 38%(+7), LDEM 14%(-5). I always urge some amount of caution with great big shifts in support, but in this case we have already seen Labour increasing their support into the mid 30s and the Lib Dems dropping into the mid-teens with YouGov’s daily polling, so while it’s not to the same degree (this is the smallest Conservative lead any poll since the election has shown), the trends are in the same direction.

241 Responses to “Ipsos MORI – 40/38/14”

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  1. Not poll related, but still quite funny. BBC is reporting a membership rule review by the Hornchurch Constituency Conservative Association. Apparently there’s a tedious rule that prevents their local MP from being a full member…….because she’s a woman.

  2. @COLIN
    What a cogent thought regarding Labours real motives for the anger over the brokeback coalition. Not a hot burning jealousy, so much as fear for the future. “Oh Christ, thats the game is it, find common ground and push us out to graze”.

    I bet Wayne thought of it first Colin, interesting times.

  3. Colin,

    It seems that socialists (or at least New Lab) have not read their Marx.

    Those who do not learn the mistakes of history are destined to repeat them.

    It is not the Liberals who have “sold-out”, but the Fabians who accepted that central control could somehow deliver mutualism.

    In my view the Labour party have made a mammoth mistake by rushing into a leadership election without first asking what it is they stand for. They would have been better off installing Harriet Harman or Jack Straw as an interim leader and deferred their leadership election to next year. This was the error that we made in 1997, and then again but worse in 2001, which left us with a quiet man nobody really wanted. At least in 2005 we had a proper debate about values and direction.

  4. @Paul HJ – absolutely agree. Such huge defeats are privately bruising for opposition leaders, even hardened politicians, but while I understood the personal reasons for Hague and Howard to need to step aside immediately I felt it wasn’t what their party needed. Staying in post in effect as a whipping boy for both Labour and their own party to vent frustrations and act as the lightening rod for discontent for a suitable period would have cleared the air and enabled the proper debate as you suggest.

    For a losing PM I think it is different, and I felt Brown was right to go. However, unless Labour want to be ready for a September election I felt a suitable caretaker period to be followed by a leadership campaign would have given more chance for new policies to come through but also escape the dead media hand of the post election period. The campaign has been poorly covered by the media as they are more interested in new government stories – in six month time there would have been greater opportunity to gain media traction against a government enacting cuts and getting less new and less popular.

  5. @ Martyn

    In your desperation to abtain AV, you seem to have overlooked that a referendum on AV coupled with a boundary review that massively disadvantages Labour was never in their manifesto – for obvious reasons.

    It’s pretty simple; seperate that boundary review from AV and you’ll get Labour’s support. Labour are being entirely consistent about this from where I’m sitting.

  6. @Paul H-J

    “This was the error that we made in 1997, and then again but worse in 2001, which left us with a quiet man nobody really wanted. At least in 2005 we had a proper debate about values and direction.”

    I presume you’re referring to the current Foreign Secretary as the “1997 error” and the current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions as the “2001 worse mistake”. I’m sure Messrs Hague and Duncan Smith will be delighted by your ringing endorsements!

    However, I do rather agree with your assessments of them as politicians!!

  7. @Colin

    I am retired social worker,with 25 years experience working with children and their families, dating back to the early 1980’s. I think I can bring some knowledge and experience to the question of how different agencies work together to protect children.

    It is a fact that the number of children killed by their parents, approximately 30 a year, has remained the same since the 70’s when procedures and protocols were first put in place to try to ensure agencies worked together. Several enquiries had shown children could have been saved if there had been better communication between professionals.

    In my view child protection procedures have always been overly bureaucratic and used by different agencies to cover their backs and apportion blame when things go wrong. This has been the case under all governments. I think it is wrong to use the tragic circumstances of this child’s death to score political points.

  8. Alec – Hornchurch Conservative Club. They are very different creatures.

  9. …Though, putting my political trivia hat on, historically Conservative MPs didn’t actually join their local Conservative associations anyway (though I expect they were ex-officio members).

    Hence the Conservative party had difficulty expelling Neil Hamilton from the party after 1997, as technically he wasn’t a member. They introduced proper national membership rules under Hague, so local associations won’t have wierd and wonderful local membership rules anyway.

  10. Thanks for the comps y’all.

    Paul H-J and Colin

    I’m not sure I like the idea of a “core ideology … based on the role of the state as the servant of the people”. When “the people” get involved, us poor ordinary people usually have to watch out!

    More seriously, though I’m sure the leaders of the coalition are sincere in their view of the relationship between the individual and the state, the actions of the Government are based on the contractual model. To pick an obvious example, when GP fundholding is reinvented how much form-filling will be required for Colin’s GP to get a misapplied bandage fixed? (And by the way my best wishes to her – didn’t she have some problem with the hospital before?).

    Actually what’s even worse than the ideological problem is the cost. As I keep on pointing out choice is incredibly expensive. It’s bound to involve spare capacity and to work needs much more information, monitoring etc for choice to be informed. And of course postcode lotteries mean that you don’t have real choice – even if you can move, the best address for one service may not be best for another.

    And I don’t seem to remember the coalition saying “oh look we’ve got lots of spare money to throw at this problem”.

    That aside, one interesting point I think you have picked up on is the sympathy between the two parts of the coalition on issues of liberty. I must confess that I thought the Tories would revert to their traditional ways of what you might call “gesture totalitarianism” when they got in. Instead they’ve gone further than promised – see today’s proposed ending ASBOs for example.

    I suspect this may be one of the most important things to hold the coalition together – especially if Labour keep on attacking them for it. (I’m sure quite a few Labour supporters on this site are cringing whenever Jack Straw opens his mouth).

    Finally Nick Hadley’s reminded me of something I’ve wondered since the cabinet was formed. Has any previous PM had two previous leaders of his party in his cabinet? (I say “his” as I know it wasn’t Thatcher!)

  11. Nick Hadley,

    In 1997 we got Hague because Portillo (amongst others) was not available. I think even he may accept that he was too inexperienced at that time to heal teh internal rifts, but few of the “big beasts” wanted the job. It would have been better for Hague if he had come to the leadership in 2001. He might even have manged to force 2005 to a hung Parliament – about 30,000 extra votes would have done it. He has since matured and is content being Foreign Secretary.

    In 2001 IDS was the compromise candidate – not Clarke, not Portillo. Rather as if someone like Frank Dobson had stepped into a Brown vs Blair election. Honest, sincere, maybe even competent, but not a leader. IDS prolonged the internal strife ratehr than delaing with it. Hence teh party was not ready to challenge Blair in 2005 – to the distinct benefit of the LDs.

    As to IDS current role – anyone who has looked at teh work he has done in his CSJ campaigns will udnerstand that he should make a good DWP secretary.

  12. Roger,

    Answer to your final question as far as I know is “no” – at least not in the past 70 years.

    Closest I can recall is Ted Heath (who had Home).

  13. @ Paul H-J

    ‘Closest I can recall is Ted Heath (who had Home).’

    Unlike most MPs who have two Homes. Boom boom.

  14. Roger – Baldwin did from 1925-1929, when he had Balfour as Lord President and Austen Chamberlain as Foreign Secretary.

  15. Anthony

    Thanks for that. Odd that we talk about how ruthless the Conservatives are in getting rid of leaders; yet how many of them go on to have a second political life. :)

    By the way did you get my query about weighting earlier on in the thread? (It’s on the first page at 6.13pm).

  16. @Valerie

    “It is a fact that the number of children killed by their parents, approximately 30 a year, has remained the same since the 70’s when procedures and protocols were first put in place to try to ensure agencies worked together. Several enquiries had shown children could have been saved if there had been better communication between professionals.”

    Quite so, and even one death would be a tragedy for the victim and the families concerned, but I sometimes wonder, and this applies to many walks of our national life, whether we concentrate almost exclusively on the mistakes and blunders and the very few times it all goes horribly wrong. This is my point about the media and the partisan tendency to generalise from the particular. I know how difficult, maybe even impossible, it is to prove statistically, but I wonder how many times the hard pressed social services and agencies have interevened successfully and saved and transformed lives in the process. We don’t hear much about those cases, do we, nor the countless lives saved and enhanced by our national health service, nor the crimes solved and lives saved by the police nor maybe even the communities transformed by our armed services in Iraq and Afghanistan etc etc.

    I’m not advocating that we should ignore manifest failings when they occur, nor should we ever stop trying to improve what our public services do, but shouldn’t we be grateful that we live in a largely peaceful and affluent country where the topics that most people become animated about are what marginal rate of tax they should pay and how regularly their bins should be emptied?

    I always enjoy and appreciate contributions from people like yourself, Valerie, who have a lifetime of experience in the subjects that they comment on, and I wonder if there’s a lesson for all of us there in terms of our tendency to pontificate pompously about things we know little about, usually trying to exploit and accentuate the negative so that fits our particular political prejudice.

    Congratulations, by the way, on what sounds like a long and dedicated life in an unfashionable and often derided area of public service. I’m sure many children and families are indebted to you and your colleagues and the difficult work that you carried out on their behalf. Don’t ever apologise for it; you should be proud of it.

  17. @Garry K

    You said “…Just a correction, AV was in the manifesto (past tense)…”

    Unless you’ve done some weird kind of time-traveley thing, AV is still in the manifesto. Or is somebody popping round the country with a very big eraser?

    You said “…Losing parties are not surely expected to stick to the same promises until the next Election and a new Manifesto?…”

    The 2010 election was in May. It’s now July. The Labour manifesto is less than three months old. How fast was the expiry date on that thing? Yoghurts last longer.

    You said “…Since Labour lost, it is quite acceptable to review those Manifesto promises…”

    You make a valid point. So let’s examine it. Who reviewed them? When were they reviewed? Who was consulted during the review? Which parts were changed and which not? When were the changes published? How did Labour do this review with no leader and whilst having a leadership contest? Can I see the report?

    You said “…and change them to meet the new situation…”

    Does Labour have an explanation why AV was so good for the country in May 2010 and so bad for the country in July 2010? Did England’s performance in the World Cup make everybody so grief-stricken? Is “Big Brother 2010” really that bad? (Well, yes it is. But I digress). Is Matt Smith really so terrible compared to David Tennant? It’s just that I can’t think of anything that happened that made the population so dribbly silly that we cannot understand “rank in order of preference” and must only make cross shapes in a zombie stylee with BIG CRAYON?

    Regards, Martyn

  18. @Jay Blanc

    You said “…I meant that in general opinion of *modern politics* Coalition is synonymous with early election…”

    I can’t speak for general opinion. But it seems (and much to my surprise) that in actual fact, and by any definition of *modern politics*, Coalition is *not* synonymous with early election – quite the opposite in fact. If I’ve got the above right (again, Rob, check me please), Coalitions formed after an election with a working majority last for several years and usually to the last year of the Parliamentary term.

    Regards, Martyn

  19. @Sue Marsh

    You said “…Martyn – You’re totally paranoid…”

    But am I paranoid enough?… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  20. @Craig

    You said “…In your desperation to abtain AV, you seem to have overlooked that a referendum on AV coupled with a boundary review that massively disadvantages Labour was never in their manifesto – for obvious reasons. It’s pretty simple: seperate that boundary review from AV and you’ll get Labour’s support…”

    Craig, I’m just a voter. The minute I get elected God of All Parliaments, I’ll grant you your wish (although I do have to point out that I genuinely agree with making constituencies more equally populated).

    Regards, Martyn

  21. @Anthony Wells

    You said “…In short, MORI use a very harsh filter including only those certain to vote – in practice this normally helps the Conservatives, but MORI’s figures are still broadly in line with other companies because they do not have any political weighting, and therefore their unfiltered figures tend to be much more Labour than other companies. ICM, Populus and ComRes all weight (and in ComRes’s case, weight and filter) their figures to factor in likelihood to vote, essentially giving more weight to people who say they are more certain to vote. YouGov do not weight or filter by likelihood to vote, except during election campaigns…”

    At the risk of overtrivialising, what this boils down to is: snog YouGov, marry ICM/Populus, avoid ComRes.

    Regards, Martyn

  22. Martyn
    ‘made the population so dribbly silly that we cannot understand “rank in order of preference” and must only make cross shapes in a zombie stylee with BIG CRAYON? ‘

    You are amusing me anyway. :-)

  23. PAUL-HJ
    “In my view the Labour party have made a mammoth mistake by rushing into a leadership election without first asking what it is they stand for. ”

    Yes I agree.

    What depresses me unutterably is comments like this from Rob Sheffield :-

    “a stampede towards self interested individualism (or “liberty” as it is pompously and incorrectly termed) at the expense of communitarianism and egalitarianism: both of which require an enabling, active and ’smart’ state.”

    As if this ludicrous artificial & ideological dichotomy has not been tested to destruction !

    In my view DC is all about destroying that false divide for once & for all in this country. I think he would rather die politically trying to do it than watch the Big Statists continue to blather about process & endless ‘isms .

  24. Martyn
    Interestingly, I hope, (Roland page forward) in the country where they have genuine PR, that’s exactly what the voters still do with a big red crayon (but they blob not cross). I believe they use OCR to produce practically all the results by 2300 in the GE.


    “This has been the case under all governments.”

    Perhaps you can remind me Valerie-when was OFSTED given responsibility for regulating children’s social services; who instituted that change, and what is the consensus opinion about it’s effect ?

  26. Roger – YouGov’s sampling isn’t a pure random slice from the panel, it’s drawn to try and be as representative as possible to start with, so the class thing could well be producing the others thing.

    One thing to note though is that while it’s easy as pie to implement changes in weighting, changing the sampling algorythms is more complex (don’t ask me for details, I don’t understand it), so the new targets aren’t fully automated in the sampling yet, we’re still doing some by hand. Once it’s fully set up, the raw samples should be closer to target and that oversampling of others should vanish.

    The difference in the age cross breaks on the tables doesn’t mean anything – someone’s just using the wrong syntax for some tables. It isn’t connected to what polls are weighted by, which is entirely seperate.

  27. Anthony
    Surely the problems that you discuss on sampling could be better solved by holding fewer surveys, but with a much larger sample, thus reducing the effect of the formulae that you don’t understand apparently (I don’t believe this by the way).

    Would it not be sensible for YouGov to ask their client to agree to this to ensure a better result.

  28. WML – aka Howard,

    Ask the client to agrre to change what they want ? Now you are being woolly.


  29. Martyn,
    Labour still favours an AV referendum. But what makes you think that this commits Labour to support a bill introducing AV if the bill also contains other big changes that the party disagrees with? Surely if it disagrees with them strongly enough, there is every reason for the party to reject the bill.

    Also I think the referendum committed Labour to the AV referendum but not to actually supporting AV. I think Brown and some leading figures made pro-AV statements, and the wording of the referendum sounds pro-AV, but it nevertheless does not necessarily commit MPs to campaign for AV when the referendum comes.

    That said, the two leading contenders for the Labour leadership (the Milibands) have both made clear their backing for AV.

  30. Sorry, I meant to say: the wording of the manifesto (not the wording of the referendum).

  31. Paul H-J
    I think a consultant can advise his client to the client’s benefit. I’ve done it and have earned well as a result. Not all clients are bigots (mine were in business of course).

  32. Aleksandar,

    Home, a true gentleman, had a nice house (The Hirsel – just outside Berwick).

    He also had the rare distinction of having sat in the Upper House twice – first as 14th Earl of Home, and then as Baron Home of the Hirsel – and in the Lower House three times. Total span in parliament was an amazing 59 years (1931-1995 minus 45-50).

    So – three “Homes” and three “Houses”

    Boom, Boom, Boom ! :-)

  33. Richard P
    Your final comment is my hope for common sense. Did you hear S Hughes on PM? I believe there is a chance with either of the M’s that we can reach beyond partisan behaviour. They are intelligent.

  34. Blimey Rob – and on the day of a Pakistan plane crash.

    Do take a step back please.

  35. I had a thought/question. If there were to be another general election before the end of the year, couldn’t the Tories technically win a majority without gaining a single Labour seat or even an additional popular vote?

    If another election was held, considering the drop in the Lib Dem vote would that simply allow Tories to take seats without winning additional votes? For example, in the Lib Dem/Tory marginals, if enough Labour voters who had crossed over to vote for Lib Dems went back to Labour and/or enough Lib Dem voters simply stayed home rather than vote, isn’t it possible that the Lib Dem vote would drop enough to allow Tories to gain those marginals. Thus even if Labour held every single one of its current seats and even picked up a few from the Lib Dems, the Tories would still be in with a majority?

    Or do I oversimplify?

  36. SocialLiberal
    Well you may be right but what is the use if it’s not going to happen?

    Why is the Prime Ministers visit to India a “train wreck” ?
    Why does Colin describe the nasty side of the Tory party ?

  38. Howard – there isn’t any tricky problem that needs solving, just processes that need setting up and then optimising once in place (and size of sample wouldn’t have any impact – it would just scale upwards).

    I exaggerate only slightly – I do know how YouGov do all the sampling, but have never actually done the mechanics of it myself.

  39. @wml

    fair point but not sure it’s worth it, I don’t think a step back is allowed. Too much bubbling under, too big a chip…….

  40. AW
    We know that the MOE diminishes with size of sample. It seems counter- intuitive (a fancy way of sayimg I don’t know) to believe that sample inconsistencies won’t be ironed out somewhat with a larger sample. After all, the sample itself is dependent on accuracy of social and geographical analysis of the target audience (in this case a self-selecting panel).

  41. @Nick Hadley

    Thanks Nick for your kind comments, not all of which I deserve! In a nutshell, my experience was that, on the whole, parents did their best, but some, especially teenagers were pretty hopeless. Obviously there are parents who do truly terrible things to their children. I was just lucky enough not to have them on my caseload!


    I am not sure if the purpose of your questions about Ofsted is to make a political point, but I will try to answer them in the spirit of sharing information and knowledge, which is one of the things I like about this site.

    I believe Ofsted became responsible for inspecting all services for children following the split of social services into adult social care and children’s services; the latter being almalgamated with education. This reorganisation was carried out by the previous government at the recommendation of the Laming Report into the death of Victoria Climbie which was published around 2000(?) Hence, the Education Secretary is responsible for all services for children.

    In my view, the problem with Ofsted inspections is that education and social services are very different animals. A teacher’s performance in the classroom can be assessed as it is in the public domain. It’s a bit difficult for an Ofsted inspector to accompany a social worker when he/she visits a child at home with their family. I suppose they can always ask children for their views but the parents of a child on the Child Protection register might not be the best person to evaluate a ‘service’ they would rather not receive! So I think Ofsted rely too much on ticking the proverbial boxes.

    Hope that makes some kind of sense.

  42. @Rob Sheffield
    If knowing little or nothing of the past leads to the same old mistakes being made, why have Labour turned what is left of the subject in schools, into an apology for slavery and the British Empire?

  43. As a point of fact…
    Labour was committed to a referendum on AV not to AV.

    I don’t recall that committment coming out through the party policy making process but it came out of the manifesto proposals to cabinet.

    I think they’re quite right to vote down a bill that contains stuff regarding Boundary Commission rules and changes which are cetainly suspect.

    One could say that putting both these things into one bill was an act of naked political opportunism. But our blessed coalition surely could never be guilty of self interest dressed up as something more refined?

    I think Labour might also put down an amendment asking a third option for a form of PR. If we’re going to do this thing let’s do it properly and cut out the politicians and parties. Maybe we should set up a web page telling people to go and wirte PR on the ballot and not bother anwering the self serving question put to us by politicians who’d rather treat us like ill educated children than adults.

    Certainly there seems to be a good reason to have this referendum on its own day to nail the strightforward lie that AV is any more like PR than FPTP. By all means pay the price and take the poison but don’t call it by the wrong name. AV isn’t a reform its a change. AV isn’t PR or a step towards PR.

  44. Valerie

    “In my view, the problem with Ofsted inspections is that education and social services are very different animals. …. So I think Ofsted rely too much on ticking the proverbial boxes.”

    Yes I agree.
    So do Local Authorities.

  45. @ Woollymindedliberal

    You call to mind ‘the artist formerly known as Prince’ :-)

  46. @ Martyn

    I meant “you” as in “Liberals”. It’s great that you support the boundary changes, but Labour plainly do not, so it’s unfair to chastise Labour for not supporting something they never agreed to in the first place.

    @ SocialLiberal

    Basing off the swing in Lord Ashcroft’s marginal seats poll, I think the Tories stand to gain 16 seats whilst Labour only 13. Now if this was in a vacuum, and Labour weren’t taking vulnerable seats back from the Tories, you’d have the latter at 323 seats and the former trailing with 271. Not enough to get them a majority, but pretty damn close.

  47. @Colin

    But Colin, it’s not just LA’s who rely too much on ticking boxes. So do all organisations and companies, both private and public. To continue my Prince riff – It’s a Sign of the Times!

  48. It probably has already been mentioned but Labour still does support AV, what it does not support is the reduction of mp’s, the change to constituency boundaries and the actual date of the referendum. The AV referendum should have been a stand alone bill. This is a win win for DC, if the bill is passed his party will profit from the redistribution of seats, remembr that in the south east weher the tories are strongest there will be virtually no change. If the bill fails then no referendum which suits tories as well.

  49. Labour is fully entitled to wreck Government legislation on anything, including the AV referendum – that is what oppositions do.

    Sit back and await the uproar as it sinks in that David Cameron is leading the most Europhile Government since Ted Heath. Enlargement to include Turkey, The Balkans, Georgia, Ukraine & Belarus AND last week’s speech from Haugue (or maybe his junior Euro minister) in favour of a Common Security Policy. As a Labour member this is one suite of policies I fully endorse – but in time it will bring Cameron down

    Unless of course Osborne’s recession does it first

  50. Valerie
    My daughter was a Prince fan 20 years ago so I looked him up but it was very boring stuff. After Purple Rain, I can’t remember anything he did.. Hope I don’t do the same to you. In these salad days one has to take it easy which advice I believe should be heeded by some of our colleagues who are well off the wall and driving me up it.

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