Ipsos-MORI’s monthly political monitor is out, and has topline figures of CON 32%(-5), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 11%(nc), Others 18%. Changes are from last month’s poll, and clearly show a significant drop for the Conservatives and a boost for minor parties.

On leader ratings David Cameron’s net approval stands at minus 15, a signifcant drop from last month’s minus 2. Ed Miliband’s rating is minus 7, up from minus 15 last month and, I think, the first time a poll has shown him with an approval rating above David Cameron’s. Scrap that bit – Miliband certainly had more positive ratings when he first became leader and it’s actually been quite common for Miliband to have better net ratings than Cameron in MORI’s version of the question

One caveat about this though, it has a slightly odd sample. MORI’s sample contained significantly fewer people who said they voted Tory in 2010 than it usually does, in fact the weighted sample still had more people who claimed they voted Labour in 2010 than claimed they voted Tory. Regular readers will know that ICM, Populus and YouGov all use political weighting to make sure how people in their sample claim they voted at the last election roughly reflects what actually happened (with some variation due to assumptions about false recall). MORI do not (for reasons which I’ll come to below), therefore the political make-up of their sample can be significantly different from one month to the next.

Looking at the polls over the last few days and based on the information available from each company’s tables (only ICM gave full details in their tabs, so the others make some assumptions about the proportion of 2010 “others”):

In the last ICM poll, people’s recalled 2010 vote was CON 37%, LAB 30%, LDEM 24%
In the last Populus poll, people’s recalled 2010 vote was roughly CON 37%, LAB 30%, LDEM 24%
In the last YouGov poll, people’s recalled 2010 vote was roughly CON 36%, LAB 31%, LDEM 25%
In the last Ipsos-MORI poll, people’s recalled 2010 vote was roughly CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 23%

The reason MORI do not weight by party recall or past vote is because they are concerned that people’s past recall of how they voted could change rapidly, and therefore weighting by it risks dampening out genuine volatility in public opinion. ICM and Populus also think that levels of false recall can move, but think it changes only slowly over time, something which their model takes into account. YouGov are panel based, so store respondents’ answer to how they voted in 2010 and don’t need to worry about false recall changing.

These are legitimate differences of opinion, and obviously the different companies each believe that they are doing what is correct… but we shouldn’t be surprised if they result in different answers, and if a poll that has far more 2010 Labour voters in it is better for Labour and Ed Miliband than a poll with more 2010 Conservative voters in it.

147 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Reuters – CON 32, LAB 39, LDEM 11”

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  1. that’s Sean, of course.

  2. I think we need a poll –

    “Has Anthony Wells been wasting his time for 6 years?” :-)

  3. Sorry AW. I wasn’t trying to argue it meant anything!


    I’m sure there’s a tradition amongst journalists on local papers of getting a bit of info from the desk sergeant and coming up with a tenner for the benevolent fund, so what NOTW and Met police were doing is simply an extension of this for, no doubt, much larger sums.

  5. AW, Can you tell me what the limit of anecdotal is. Is it over 135?

  6. Sorry Anthony, I was only teasing.

  7. I think there is a discernible and probably permanent weakening in enthusiasm for or trust in Cameron after this debacle. The public are weary of it now.

    That, notwithstanding, Ed once again asked pertinent and unanswerable questions on Coulson. Cameron cannot explain why he chose to appoint him, continued with him into government and stood by him, even as the hacking scandal began rumbling again.

    The fact that Cameron employed him, meant that he was compromised in a police investigation to the extent that he could not be adequately briefed. This speaks volumes as to the problems Coulson’s presence presented for him.

    Given these circumstances. Cameron’s decision appears utterly bizarre and downright stupid.

    I don’t subscribe to the Manchurian candidate theory or anything like. Cameron was vulnerable to Murdoch’s influence, but no more so then Blair or Brown. I for one am delighted that Murdoch has had his influence effectively destroyed by this. It is a great gift for all of us, the political classes in general and our public discourse. I would have been happier with a second Cameron term free of Murdoch, than a Miliband first bought by dealing with the man. And I say that as a Labour party member. The real significance here is the freeing up of our politics rather than the VI shifts of the events themselves.

    I think however that no more political capital or easily available information is there to be eked out at the moment and the world’s bigger problems are pushing this story away – though with a lasting question mark on Cameron and a renewed albeit reluctant respect for miliband’s presence and capacity.

    Huge real stories are obviously, the famine – this will boost support for Government’s commendable policy on international aid, and the Eurozone crisis – I think directly this has no VI effect but indirectly may weaken the already diminished “recovery” and cause further problems for the coalition.

    Then there are the economic figures next week – at best they will be disappointing, at worst awful.

    All told , at present, things don’t look too promising for Cameron or the coalition, but not yet catastrophic, or overly grim.

    Events may be heading that way though.

  8. A Cairns

    “What ‘leadership cult’? the SNP is one big ‘leadership cult’.”

    Your partisan retort is misdirected because you are under the misapprehension that I am a member of the SNP.

    The SNP has a leader who has a high level of approval from his party members (mainly because he is successful) but in my opinion the members are united by the vision of independence rather than by a need to follow a strong leader and respond by supressing any doubts about the decisions of the person who is leader for the time being.

    Perhaps the SNP would have more members if they actually were a leadership cult.

    The SNP’s ability to govern competently (in contrast to other parties) is in part because they do not have all policy imposed by the leader and his personal staff. It is worked out by ministers and civil servants before being presented to cabinet, and then the committees.

    That gives a better chance of having a workable policy without unforeseen consequences than does sofa government. Ill thought out legislation requires forced compliance of reluctant backbenchers who know better and foresee problems. Compliance is achieved by threats of loss of minor office, deselection or worse.

    In such a culture the second-rate thrive and the independent minded are made unwelcome.

    There are of course other reasons why the SNP are successful: a small cabinet; high motivation due to the hope that the present team may achieve their historic aim; opportunites to develop policies in areas that metropolitan based parties ignore (CFP) and so on, but the main reason for their success is SLAB, its lack of talent, absence of polices designed for Scotland and unremitting negativity.

    The FM appears to only to get involved if there are problems. He sees his main role to support his ministers, or find a way round difficulties iif he can’t and he does it well. By not attempting to micro-manage everything he can give adequateattention to that which he does do.

    By a leadership cult I mean a body of authoritarian followers as described by Bob Altemeyer. His e-book The Authoritarians is about the American political and Christian right, but his analysis tells you everthing that is wrong with NewLabour.


  9. @ Old Nat

    Indeed – but I wasn’t making any claim that it was. Simply that the data being quoted was wrong.


    fair enoughski 8-)

    Be interesting to see what the next GDP figures are.

    I’ve now developed an interest in Scottish GDP.
    That’s what I love abput this site!

  10. Reasons to vote SNP

    No tuition fees and free care for the elderly.

    Gosh, if I lived in Scotland, I’d vote SNP !

  11. @Nick Poole – “I think it was a (minor) error for Cameron to keep referring to what she had said as corroboration of his bona fides.”

    Although he joked he had never seen her in her jimjams, the careful phraseology today makes me think that not only is he depending on Brooks not contradicting any of his statements, but also on Yates, Coulson and Wallis amongst others.

  12. ‘Your partisan retort is misdirected because you are under the misapprehension that I am a member of the SNP. ‘

    I was under no such misapprehensions.

  13. @ Old Nat

    “I think we need a poll –

    “Has Anthony Wells been wasting his time for 6 years?””


    I actually find this site a good time-waster for me cause’ as I prepare for the Bar (which is in less than a week and giving me great anxiety) I find it great that you all lapse into discussions of the law and legally related issues. Helps keep my mind fresh while still relaxing and taking much needed breaks.

  14. @ Valerie

    “Reasons to vote SNP

    No tuition fees and free care for the elderly.

    Gosh, if I lived in Scotland, I’d vote SNP !”

    I’d vote for Nicola Sturgeon if ever given the opportunity. I might consider writing in her name the next time I vote in a throwaway race where I like none of the candidates.

  15. @ Amber Star

    “Even if he is Labour in Scotland’s “largest” donor (& I doubt it), he has no more influence than anybody else.

    BTW: He also says, in the article:

    “It may seem strange to say, but it [the Labour Party in Scotland] needs to be less democratic. Once the leader is in place, it will require a benign dictatorship to reinvigorate this movement…”

    I am rolling my eyes at this because words cannot express etc.”

    I kinda see what he’s saying even if he didn’t do the best job at it. I think that there are too many campaigns that, due to disorganization and weak leadership, wind up having too many cooks in the kitchen if you will. Everyone wants to be in charge and you get muddled messages. In a campaign, someone needs to be in charge and running the show and someone ultimately needs to be responsible.

    Of course, having that sort of structure doesn’t mean having a dictatorship or shutting out new ideas or having reflective leadership with lots of input. But I get where he was going with his suggestion.

  16. @ AW,

    Could we have a specific question please in the next YG poll on the effect of the custard pie incident? This will be the only way to have hard data to stoke our debates … specifically:

    “Some people have suggested the custard pie thrower was employed by NI to generate sympathy for Rupert Murdoch. How much do you agree with this statement?”. Go on .. Anthony … please …

  17. @ John B Dick

    “The demand for a stronger leader is either badly expressed or counter-productive. Clearly he wants one or other of the two MP’s and the other is named to seem even handed and objective. A Murphy inspired article perhaps?

    In my opinion they should get someone less identified with NewLabour, defence of the unbavarianised status quo, and unbelievable spin on matters best forgotten.”

    I read the article. I think the problem with that suggestion is that Labour is a national party, not just a Scottish one and some of Labour’s best talent is going to come from Scotland (and IMO does). To waste that talent in Holyrood instead of in Westminster is a mistake. It’s sort of like the suggestion in 2007 that Barack Obama shouldn’t run for president in 2008 because he was more needed to run for governor of Illinois in 2010. It’s kind of counterproductive and wasteful.

    The other problem is that politicians generally don’t like to go take on rebuilding projects. Try to imagine yourself in the shoes of Murphy or Alexander, you could be in one of the great state offices if your party gets back into power (which might not be that far away) and have a chance to be a leading voice on the global stage for one of the world’s superpowers. Or you could go home and babysit a bunch of MSPs and try and clean up a mess in Holyrood….with no guarantees of success against a popular First Minister of Scotland.

  18. I don’t think I’m going to bother getting involved in any more “Hackgate” discussion, unless it’s a specific issue re: policing. The positions people are taking is so nakedly partisan that it’s become quite dull.

  19. More seriously …

    @ Colin …

    Do you really think HM Opposition should wait 2 years for all the enquries to report before asking searching questions about DC and JHs conversations with the Murdochs. This is completely valid opposition/hold the govt to account territory. It would be a travesty if they didn’t pursue it and all their questions are paying off.

    DC has only now, after being thoroughly questionned, admitted to a slew of “appropriate conversations” about BSkyB with NI people. Now JH has said that DC’s coversations were irrelevant, but he shouldn’t know whether they were relevant or not! (see here)

    This is what an opposition are supposed to do and it may still bring forth more revelations.

  20. Hello Neil, well then, what do you think about my piece about Mori, nobody commented so Ii imagine all were in agreement, except of course the partisans who said Mori were rubbish (because the result was not to their liking?). .

    But I would welcome your view. It was about a poll I wrote.

  21. @SoCal Liberal

    Best of luck with the bar exam.

  22. @ Colin, Valerie, Old Nat
    ‘Scotland, which experienced negative economic growth in the last 2 quarters’
    I didn’t realise that !”
    Since his data is [sic] wrong, it’s not surprising that you didn’t realise it.

    Scottish GDP was minus 0.4% in the last quarter of 2010 & plus 0.1% in the first quarter of 2011. Ok. I recast my statement to “Scotland experienced negative economic growth in the last six months” for all the difference it makes.
    My point is that SNP posters do not discuss these & other matters: as ever all we get in reply is the usual obfuscating pedantry.
    Let me be pedantic. “Data” is a plural noun & I’m shocked that someone brought up under the rigours of the Scottish educational system should be capable of such a blunder. I suppose it must reflect the lack of a English Grammar School education.

  23. @Howard,

    I don’t think the poll is “rubbish”, but I have a lot of sympathy with AW’s view that where a company doesn’t adjust for a variable in the sample (in this case past vote) then analysis of their polls has to pay particular attention to the figures for that variable.

    I don’t think any professionally produced poll is ever “rubbish”. I do think that the sheer regularity of YG’s polls (whatever one might think of their online panel arrangements) put the other pollsters at a disadvantage. When you only do one poll a month, it doesn’t take much statistical static to make your results hard to interpret.

  24. Neil A

    “I don’t think I’m going to bother getting involved in any more “Hackgate” discussion”

    While I understand that, I hope you are going to comment where factual content on English policing/legal issues are involved. Your expertise is required.

    (btw I say “English” not out of nationalistic fervour :-) – simply that most of this will be covered by English law).

  25. C35 L43 LD11

    And yet government disapproval has improved.

    Seems to fit with a slight decline in the Tory position vs Labour that we’ve seen elsewhere. But LDs will be quietly relieved at their number.

    Could the improvement in disapproval be from less LDs disapproving of their own party’s role?

  26. @Oldnat,

    Don’t worry, I can never resist the opportunity to opine…

    Strictly speaking it’s “English and Welsh” law, although the body of Welsh-only legislation is gradually growing.

  27. @Liz

    The plural of anecdotes is not data.

    Selection bias, reviewer bias, categorisation failures and question bias exist. And its those that make anecdotal evidence flawed, not the small ‘sample size’.

  28. On a completely abstract note (brought to mind only by the variety of British legal jurisdictions), I will be sworn in as an Isle of Man Special Constable on Monday. I think it is only temporary, but it’s still one of those things to tell your grandchildren…

  29. Valerie

    “Reasons to vote SNP
    No tuition fees and free care for the elderly.
    Gosh, if I lived in Scotland, I’d vote SNP !”

    To be fair to other parties in Scotland, these aren’t just SNP policies. They are part of a Scottish political consensus which includes 4 of the 5 main parties (guess which one is different!)

    To achieve these things, we have to spend less money on other things.

  30. Yes I agree but don’t forget that the sample proportions don’t necessarily need to an incorrectly weighted result since they are known and thus can be weighted, but of course they must be, as you point out.

    We should remember that Mori’s track record is nothing for them to be ashamed of. AW think Mori gives Labour a couple and ICM gives LD a couple. But the GE result gave nobody anything to crow about IMO. None were far off..

  31. ‘widespread hilarity about the shaving cream pie’

    Nick Poole

    General consensus in my neck of the woods seemed to concur with Marbles own view of his actions: ‘ I knew I was going to have to make a massive tit of myself.’


  32. ‘lead’ not ‘neeed’ oh dear, it’s getting late.

    We LDs Neil may be fewer, but i opine we are not ‘lesser’.


    I take your point but I was only trying to lighten the mood of the Board and failed miserably. I am humbled.

  34. I think the main point is the value of past-vote weighting. MORI think it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but random chance will occasionally mean you accidentally poll a sample dominated by voters from a particular camp. This poll looks a little bit like it might be one of them.

    I think the direction of travel (which is the important bit anyway) is right. I’d be extremely surprised if the Lab lead over the Tories wasn’t significantly higher in August than it was in June. But then again, I was expecting that (as were most people here, of all stripes) well before the end of the Bellfield trial opening the floodgates.

  35. @ Howard and Neil,

    I do agree with Neil that the problem with monthly monitors is that if one is an outlier you don’t discover that until the next month, but then you don’t know whether the new monitor is picking up a new situation (e.g. the impact of the hacking row) or simply a readjustment to the norm.

    In this way I think the YG tracker, with all the caveats on its methodology, gives us the best sense of TREND (leaving aside the numbers) which the other monthly monitors can be measured against.

    In this sense Ipsos Mori does seem to fit in with the general picture from the YG trend (and the other pollsters). And the ICM poll seems out of kilter (or simply a return to a norm after an outlier).

    I hope this doesn’t sound like cherry picking, but it is probably impossible to be entirely objective.

  36. Howard – not as simple as saying MORI’s method favours Labour (as it happens a lack of political weighting would favour Labour in a telephone poll, but that is largely cancelled out by MORI’s likelihood to vote filter which is much harsher than that used by other companies, and favours the Conservatives).

    The point is the variability in the sample – sometimes, like today, MORI’s sample will be *much* more Labour than other companies. Some months it will not (MORI, of course, would take the view that at least some of this is genuine volatility that other companies are wrongly dampening out)

  37. Accidentally entered my email address for nickname! Please can you delete, AW?


  38. Actually Jay they are data but just useless, that’s all.

  39. Anthony thanks very much. I seem to remember it being alleged on this site that Mori was favourable to Labour due to Bob Worcester’s influence.

    Another anecdote I suppose.

    And so to bed.

  40. @ Valerie et al

    Sorry, late to this discussion on Grammar Schools. Well I went to one, and local primary schools did prepare students, though of course there would be some private tuition teaching to the test.

    The school however also had a Governor’s exam that tested creative writing and analysis, which could not be prepared for in the same way. A decent balance perhaps.

    It’s also worth saying that having grammar schools and decent comprehensives is not mutually exclusive, in fact many of the comprehensives tended to up their game in response to their being a selective Grammar School in town.

  41. Anyway, MORI has Labour with a 7 point lead over Conservatives so the differential is the same as YG.

  42. I’m not sure that anecdotes are universally useless.

    If someone (whom I believed was honest and reliable) told me they’d seen people queuing up for petrol at several petrol stations on their way to work, I’d take that as good evidence there was a problem with the petrol supply system (and possibly go and check my tank..)

  43. Really think everyone on here (honorable exception of @Adrian B) has been asleep at the wheel tonight.

    I’ve been quite firm that Cameron has not been in serious trouble (in terms of resigning) over Hackgate, but today’s debate has provided some potentially explosive stuff. Once again, I think Ed has chosen the right battleground.

    It may still all come to nought, but Cameron has admitted he talked to NI people about the Bskyb bid, and Hunt has confirmed this. The battleground is now whether these conversations were appropriate or not.

    Any sensible view of this from a PM’s point of view should be that the only appropriate conversation on such an issue at such a time must be ‘I’m sorry I can’t discuss this’. If conversations extended to anything more than this they are inappropriate in my book.

    I expect a slew of FOI requests for details of the 26 meetings Cameron has confirmed took place, and while the details of conversations may never see the light of day, my view is that Cameron is now in extraordinarily dangerous waters. For the first time I can foresee a resigning issue arising from this.

    He clearly talked to NI about the bid and knew he could not deny this – to do so would have been to lie to Parliament, which would be terminal. Had he got total confidence that no details of these meetings would ever be published, my guess is that he would have denied the bid was discussed.

    That he couldn’t, tells me that he either suspects that former NI friends may one day come clean about the discussions or that there are some official records of these, with, in either case, the definition of what is ‘appropriate being unclear.

    I think Cameron is now in deep, deep trouble, but no one seems to have noticed.

  44. Interesting polls tonight, and notwithstanding Anthony’s rather lengthy attempt to pick holes in the validity of the Ipsos one, when both the Ipsos and YouGov polls are taken together, it would appear that the Conservative vote may well be starting to track south in line with Cameron’s personal ratings. We need to keep an eye on this before getting too carried away, but there seems no doubt now that Cameron has got into some real political difficulty over Hackgate and the Tory vote is having a significant wobble. All recoverable in time, but Miliband and Labour have very effectively milked the first gift that has come their way in this Parliament. This may bode well for them in terms of exploiting future Government travails.

    It is time to move on for now, however, and the political landscape is loaded with meaty and weighty matters. Quarterly growth figures are about to be published and these will stoke the next phase of the economic debate. Then we have the unfolding Eurozone crisis with the frightening prospect of one of Europe’s largest economies, Italy, going under in a sovereign debt crisis that dwarfs all others. Their debt, apparently, is 120% of their GDP; mind-boggling figures considering the size of Italy’s economy.

    A rather mischievous question for our regular right wing posters on Italy’s economic woes. If, as we are asked to believe, the sovereign debt problems of Ireland, Spain and Greece are intrinsically linked to “their bloated public sectors”, how can it be that a country that has been governed for such a long time by a centre right (some would say right wing) administration could allow itself to get into this parlous economic state? Might it be that something else has gone rotten in the state of Europe that has much more to do with a systemic failure of the banking system? Of course, if that is indeed the case, then the crisis deserves a rather less self-serving and partisan analysis.

  45. @Crossbat,

    Centre right governments are perfectly capable of profligacy. Berlusconi has assiduously avoided budget cutting, and the Greek debt was partly accumulated under the previous New Democracy government. In fact in some of these countries the party political system is a large part of why they have bloated public sectors, with state jobs seen as sinecures to hand out to party supporters.

    The better question is whether the appropriate response when deeply in debt is to borrow even more heavily in the hope of riding it out. Surely if the left’s prescription was correct, Italy should just borrow a sackload of money, dish it out and pay off their debts with the additional revenues the boost in GDP would create.

  46. @Neil A

    “Centre right governments are perfectly capable of profligacy.”

    I agree and I think the debate about what went wrong, and what should be done to escape the calamity that may come our way, should be free of any politically slanted diagnosis. It’s much too serious for that and, like I think both you and I do, we must accept Governments of all political hues mismanage their economies on occasions.

    The point about Europe is that nearly every economy on that continent, including the UK, was plunged into recession by the contagion in the financial sector that raged across the Atlantic and into Europe and beyond. Now, we can argue about how some economies were more susceptible and exposed than others and how some governments managed their recessions better than others, but to caricature Greece and Spain’s problems as being largely down to their large public sectors is to parody both the causes and the effects of the global financial disaster of 2007/08.

    In terms of the Bush and Berlusconi administrations, both derailed by the financial meltdown, maybe there might be lessons to be learned about pursuing dogmatic low tax and deregulation policies, every bit as much as other administrations should learn lessons about public spending profligacy.

  47. Ben Foley (on the previous thread)

    “A substantial part of LD support came as a result of them urging people to ‘keep the tory out’: it is going to take a long time before those individual voters can be persuaded to do the same thing again.”

    In the North of Scotland, not just a “substantial part” of the LibDem vote was an anti-Con vote. Perhaps some of the antiCon vote remained with the LibDems where they were incumbents, and they may still have more to lose. Votes went about 3:1 in favour of SNP rther than Labour.

    In more urban areas, the Libems had little to lose, but as many antiCons from the Labour vote saw the SNP as a better antiCon choice at least for the SP as preferred Labour over the SNP in the North.

    At least in the North of Scotland, the huge LibDem majorities were antiCon and/or personal to retiring incumbents.

    Didn’t Nick Clegg know that? Did nobody tell him?

    Should the LibDems Bavarianise?

    Are the LibDems as incompetently managed as Labour, SLAB, Conservatives, ….NI …the Met … RBS …Northern Rock…Enron ..Hollinger .. BP.

    What’s the common factor? Is it being paid so much you must be above doing any of the real work, and leaving that to others?

    Is it alcohol?

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