Ipsos-MORI’s monthly political monitor poll for Reuters has topline figures of CON 33%(-5), LAB 43%(+4), LDEM 13%(+2). This is the biggest Labour lead since the election that never was in September/October 2007 and significantly bigger than the leads of 4 or 5 points that YouGov, ICM, ComRes and Angus Reid have all been showing this month – note the small increase in the Lib Dem score too, something else which has been consistent across pollsters this January.

Note well that this poll was conducted before the GDP figures were released – a know a lot of people will be anxious to write stories about the negative economic figures producing a ten point Labour lead. They would be wrong, the fieldwork for this poll predates the figures.


60 Responses to “MORI show 10 point Labour lead”

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  1. On
    (a) the implied notion today that ‘they came back in 1979 so they automatically will do so again’
    (b) that the government have had the longest honeymoon
    History is very instructive here:
    Headlines are
    1) A split centre left vote lets the Conservatives through even where their policies are very unpopular
    i.e. you have to factor in the historical political context of any historical data you wish to deploy. Numbers on their own are of no use whosoever
    2) This has actually been one of the *shortest* governmental honeymoons on political record (third shortest of the last 31 years). A single month quicker and it would have been the second shortest.
    ***
    1) Impact of split centre left.
    Here the 1979 parliament is incredibly instructive.
    Prior to the SDP Limehouse declaration in mid January 1981- and the defection of over 30 MP’s- Labour had been riding high. By the end of 1980- with Thatcher’s economic policy recording *monthly* increases of unemployment circa 150,000- Labour had leads of 14% and 24% in Nov and Dec 1980 respectively.
    The SDP began to be formed with that declaration in January of 1981. But it needed time to become a fully functional membership based party undertaking campaigning. Furthermore it took the alliance until November of 1981 to be up and running as a national party and for the alliance to be formed with the Liberals.
    At the same time as all this was happening on the centre/ centre left Labour lost its centre right and began the period of the “longest [email protected] note in history“ civil war that only ended finally ended in the early 1990’s with the expulsion of the Trots. But it was at its zenith in 1981 with the IMO terrible Tony Benn challenging Denis Healey (against all the pleas of Michael Foot) for the deputy party leadership. A terrible campaign that went on almost all the year. If you- fancifully- ever want to blame a decade of Thatcher on a single person look no further than Tony Benn. Terrible politician.
    In Feb 1981 the Con; Lab; combined Lib/SDP numbers were 33; 41; 25 respectively = a Labour lead of +8. As initial press interest in the SDP waned over that summer- and unemployment continued its remorseless rise and inflation went above 20% – Labours lead reached 14% in September 1981.
    BUT as SOON as the SDP-Liberal alliance was officially formed and a functional party political entity that changed. Almost overnight. November 1981 gives us Con/ Lab/ Alliance numbers of 27; 27; 44…..
    The Alliance than gradually falls back after the initial media blitz and novelty factor and at the time of the April-June 1982 Falklands war is running at 23-25%.
    Labour *never recovers* from either the SDP set-up or its civil war/ Benn DL challenge to Healey (both taking place in 1981) and the policy platform adopted.
    The Falklands ‘factor’- so much as it was- is merely the icing on the cake for the Conservatives after all of the self inflicted wounds both of Labour specifically and the centre left more widely.
    At the election the 1983 Labour scrapes 28% and the Alliance gains a quarter of all votes cast (26%). The Conservative vote is -1% down (at 44%) on 1979…but FPTP now gives Thatcher a three digit majority.
    Labour’s shift leftwards and the formation of the alliance had done for centre left politics as a viable election winning position in 1983 (and then again in 1987 where Labours defence policy was still CND).
    Thatcher (like Blair later) was very very ‘fortunate in her opponents’….
    That is a real history lesson for you
    2) This governments ‘political honeymoon is the third shortest in 31 years
    Time in months it took election winner to lose its lead over main opposition party = to qualify a minimum two consecutive months of leads
    (using Mori only for consistency)
    1979 Parliament 5 months
    1983 Parliament 13 months
    1987 Parliament 23 months
    1992 Parliament 3 months
    1997 Parliament 40 months
    2001 Parliament NEVER: only single one-off months where Blair lost his lead- at no time were Conservatives ahead for two or more months.
    2005 Parliament 12 months
    2010 Parliament 6 months

  2. @ Rob Sheffield

    Very interesting history lesson.

    Owing to the reunification of the centre left behind Labour (because of the LD’s teaming up with Cons) a repeat of 1983 seems vanishingly unlikely.

    Do not forget however the importance of the centre right, which ushered in New Labour in 1997.

    2015 will be all about whether the right and centre right can unite behind Cameron…..at the moment this looks unlikely, but 4 years is a very long time in politics.

  3. Sergio

    Firstly New Labour were centrist not centre right IMO !

    But anyway I believe

    1) That the UK is basically a centre left country

    BUT

    2) that if there is no credible centre left/ centre party to vote for (only a far left option) then the UK will generally vote for a right wing platform in preference to a left wing platform

    Also remember that the Conservative platform at 2010 election was basically a centrist immediate post war Liberal party platform and the Lib Dems were to the left of the Labour party!!

    So NOBODY voted for the policy platform that has transpired since the election: one that is a centre right platform i.e. right wing on economics social policy and deregulation; but centrist on Europe, security and law and order) The governing policy agenda was NOT clear in either of the two governing parties manifestos.

    So- long-windedly ( :-) ) I think the issue on the right of the spectrum will be how many 2010 Conservatives leave for other parties or sit on their hands; and how many 2010 Liberal Democrats leave for other parties or sit on their hands.

    I don’t think the centre right and right will unite. If the government goes too far right the Lib Dems will peel off- probably circa 2013.

    If the government does not move more to the right then the right will be so disillusioned by 2015 that it will peel off (probably just the voters but maybe a handful of MP’s as well).

  4. @Rob – good work. I too was baffled by claims that this was a long honeymoon. In my mind it’s been a very quick transition from a heavy Labour defeat to a position where if we had new election Labour would romp home to a very substantial majority, if the polls are to be believed.

    @Jim Jam – not sure why a Scouse Tory moving to another area and living there before standing as a candidate would be a bad thing?

    Frankly, we have to do something about the fact that on all sides, Westminster politicians are coming from an ever narrowing social strata and have increasingly minimal understanding of real life.

    People should be very clear that I’m not coming into this from a class position – it’s entirely a practical viewpoint. We need a system that works, and the currently system, based on university debating clubs and influence by address lists just isn’t working.

    I was really shocked for example to discover that there was just a single MP with a science or maths PhD in the current parliament, and very few with degree level science qualifications or experience of any kind. This probably helps to explain why law makers have make some spectacularly bad decisions around issues of risk and harm and routinely fail utterly to understand basic statistics.

    The problems go broad and deep.

  5. Alec

    Support for the conservatives was already falling fast by the time of the 2010 GE…..it was held just in the nick of time for them and the momentum has continued in that direction.

    Completely agree with your view about our politicians. It does seem that the destruction of grammar schools (initiated by Labour, ironically) has had a very damaging effect on the political classes. As Andrew Neil pointed out, not one Prime Minister between 1964 and 1997 attended private school.

  6. JimJam,

    good question.

    Well if we consider that 10 months on from the election Blues poll of polls still has them polling what they polled at the general election, that would be a worry for reds. For some unknown reason blues voter retention is extraordinarily high…

    there are signs very recently it is cracking.. for instance TG now have blue on 38.3% for the month of January..

    The hope for reds is that Blue will continue to fall with YG, perhaps if blue could fall to 35-6 by May with YG, it might offer hope for reds …

    The % of the lead required by reds is abitrary unless linked with chipping away at the blue %…

    perhaps these MORIs and Angus[s] will be repeated with YG soon…

  7. Jim

    *YG :)

  8. Jim,

    Jay Blanc’s analysis on the trends is worth reading

    http://ukelectiontrend.blogspot.com/2010/12/long-honeymoon.html

  9. @Rob – re: ’70s history lesson’ wrong wrong wrong.

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