Two new polls tonight, showing contrasting pictures. I already mentioned Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor in passing earlier on, but for the record their topline figures are CON 36%(+1), LAB 37%(-4), LDEM 11%(-1), Others 16%(+4). Like ICM’s poll earlier in the week they have Labour’s lead dropping, though unlike ICM (which had a boost for the Tories at the expense of others), MORI have the smaller parties increasing at the expense of Labour.

Meanwhile YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 43%, LD 9%. An eight point lead for Labour is the highest YouGov have shown since the start of December, before David Cameron’s veto, so there is certainly no sign of a narrowing of the Labour lead there. If anything it’s the opposite, though I will add my normal caveat about not getting too excited about individual polls. Sure, it might be the start of bigger Labour leads, or we might be back to smaller Labour leads tomorrow. Watch the underlying trends, rather than getting excited about individual polls.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting that we’ve seen ICM and MORI both showing Labour falling relative to the Conservatives (albeit, the actual shifts in the two polls were different) while the YouGov daily polls are still showing solid Labour leads. While pollsters may have different house effects, they are all polling the same population at the end of the day so normally show the same trends.

It is possible for them to diverge (for example, YouGov don’t weight by likelihood to vote, so wouldn’t pick up a trend that was solely turnout based) it would be unusual though. I’d still expect them to settle down into a clear trend over the next few weeks.

Tomorrow is budget day – for those who missed it earlier on, my pre-budget summary of YouGov’s recent budget polling is here.

175 Responses to “New MORI and YouGov polls”

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  1. Public borrowing has come in well over target which indicates cuts so far have been pretty non-existent. Either there will be cuts or a run on the pound neither of whcih are good news for the Tories

    There’s going to be more violence in Europe especially where police are seen as weak.

  2. Colin,

    We agree on much from our different perspectives on Economic matters.
    I guess why I am left of centre and you right of centre is things like Multi-culturism which i support.

    Don’t want a debate abiout it just defining our differences.

    Re Ashton – this would have been an engagement scheduled weeks or even months ago.
    She will have a piece of her speech written a while back to say loss of young life tragic wherever it occurs etc, Gaza Norway, Belgium; something uncontentious.

    Now if she does not add the tragic loss of young Jewish life in Toulouse would she have got criticised for not including them in her list and of ‘pandering to some in her audience’?

  3. COLIN……….There is a French cartoonist called, ‘Plantu’ who works for, ‘Le Monde’ he had a cartoon published last year of a huge dam holding back a vast reservoir of people dressed as revolutionaries, a la Les Mis, carrying the Tricolor. Underneath the dam was his representation of a Muslim suburb. The sluices were controlled by politicians, and Sarkozy with an evil grin on his face had various posters supporting or denying the current fashionable stance, the dam was beginning to crack and Le Pen was straining with a crowbar to widen it. It was a work of art and I just tried to locate it, without success, they seem to delete their cartoons on the web. :-)

  4. KEN

    Western Democracy & values just cannot respond to militant , separatist, authoritarian Islamism.

    I don’t know what the answer is.

  5. JIM JAM


    I always appreciate your posts here.

    On Ashton, I am afraid I share RS’s views about her suitability for her office.

    Yes I can see what you mean about her speech & it’s purpose. But I just think it is vacuous rhetoric to list the latest killings across the world & say how awful they are.

    They were all different in circumstance & context. Conflating a school bus accident & child murder is pointless.

    She would make a greater contribution if she addressed the sort of problem Ken is describing with objectivity & honesty.

  6. “I don’t know what the answer is.”
    I would say scrapping the political correctness aspect of popular multiculturalism.
    If you want multiculturalism to work, if has to be based in social anarchism – ‘Do what you want, as long as you aren’t forcing or coercing someone in to doing something they don’t want to’.

    That way people can have arguments about culture, without one side or the other being forced in to silence.

    It’s exactly the solution that worked with protestant vs catholic religion – rather than trying to ban one (like we tried in England for a few hundred years), we accept other people’s choices but we allow those choices to be open to criticism.

  7. WOLF

    @”Public borrowing has come in well over target which indicates cuts so far have been pretty non-existent.”

    It hasn’t:-

    Total Government Debt at end FY:-

    10/11:- 2010 Budget £932bn
    2011 Autumn Statement £ 905bn outurn.

    11/12 :- 2010 Budget £ 1059bn
    2011 Autumn Statement £ 1044 bn forecast.

    Autumn Statement 2011 showed slippage over 2010 Budget for Total Borrowing from 12/13-( +£ 20bn ); 13/14 ( +£65bn) ; 14/15 ( + £113bn)

    The causes of this slippage are reduced tax receipts due to reduced growth forecasts-not failure to meet spend targets.

  8. Colin

    Welsh Labour has just alienated the welsh farming community, by performing a U-turn on Badger culling.

    This could be damaging to Labour we might lose a vote.

  9. Tinged Fringe

    @” ‘Do what you want, as long as you aren’t forcing or coercing someone in to doing something they don’t want to’.”

    I don’t see how this stops the end game-which always seems to be separatist cultural ghettos .Laisser faire will simply encourage them.

    And when those start to proselytize , or even wage war against the indigenous culture-you have to deal with whole communities , rather than individuals.

    As I say, there is a real dichotomy between the basic instinct of the liberal western democracies , and the anti-democratic beliefs of authoritarian quasi-religious cultural groups who wish to live in them.

  10. Colin,
    Like I said, you do what you did with the Catholic vs Protestant problem – you remain secular and uphold the rule of law.
    If people in these cultural ghettos speak against the rest, then you just allow the other side to speak. If they get violent, you arrest them.

    It’s exactly the same way we’ve dealt with political difference – authoritarians have tried banning their political opponents and left or right, it tends to end violently.
    Allowing freedom of expression and association has led to the culture which allows us, despite our vast political differences, to discuss politics as equals and in a civil manner.

    The opposite solution would be uniculturalism – which is just creating one big cultural ghetto.

  11. Multi-culturalism does work; just look at Australia and the USA It works here too; look at all the ethnictities / football teams / religions that happily sit side by side. And even in the one person we are all multi-cultural; football team? Religion (or not)? County? Nationality? All these examples of cultures that exist inside each person…

    But what people wrongly call ‘multi-cultural’ is really exclusive ‘mono-culturals’ and these are a worry. Examples of these include Hasidic Jews, Plymouth Brethren Christians and some extreme Muslim sects; these are groups which live solely within their communites and so breed intolerance. (One can even make a point here about religious based primary schools being mono-cultural enclaves).

    Point? Mutliculturalism is alive and well, learn the correct terminolgy of ‘poly mono-cultures’ and look at thos as examples of intolerance.

  12. Fraser,

    Obama-Huntsman would be about a 50/50 race in my book and at the very least would force Obama to be on his A-game, as well as strengthening his hand within his party, assuming he’s a moderate liberal underneath it all, as I think his actions suggest.

    The quality of the debates would also be the best since at least Clinton-Doe, as both would be forced to present clear and rational arguments for their positions. Most importantly, from my point of view, it’s at worst a win-lose (mildly) situation i.e. Huntsman would be my preference but Obama is not a big problem by any means. In contrast, Obama can largely let Romney dig his own elephant traps and just waffle away knowing that Romney is clunky on the attack.

    If Romney wins, then a moderate Mormon isn’t getting a chance at the presidency (at least on the Republican side) for a long time. The hope of moderates therefore turns to someone like Mitch “truce on social issues” Daniels.

  13. Tingedfringe and Colin,

    Would I be right in suggesting that both of you would take exactly opposite principles as your starting point if we moved from cultural to economic issues?

    “Do what you want, as long as you aren’t forcing or coercing someone in to doing something they don’t want to.” – Very Friedmanite.

    “I don’t see how this stops the end game-which always seems to be separatist cultural ghettos .Laisser faire will simply encourage them.” – OK Diane Abbott.

  14. An interesting piece of financial news on the eve of Osborne’s Budget speech: –

    “The UK government borrowed almost twice as much as expected in February, official figures have shown.

    Public sector net borrowing, excluding interventions such as bank bail-outs, rose to £15.2bn, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

    This compared with £8.9bn in February 2011 and was much more than analysts’ forecasts of £8bn.

    The figures may come as a blow to the Chancellor, George Osborne, who will deliver his third Budget later.

    A Treasury spokesman conceded that borrowing was high for the month.

    Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said the figures provided a “disappointing backdrop” for the Budget.

    “Growth of tax receipts slowed and, after underspending for the rest of the financial year, departments appear to have had a final splurge [in February,” she said.

  15. @Crossbat11 – I doubt there will only have been a one month departmental splurge – we’ve still got March to go, which is traditionally a high spending month also.

    Some interesting thoughts on the budget, gained only from a one ear on the radio analysis, so don’t take these as gospel.
    i) He seems to have U turned on tax breaks for the gaming industry. One of his early cuts was to the tax concessions to this industry, which was a world leader. This action led directly to many companies relocating overseas, but now he seems to want to help them by bringing in a new tax concession. Perhaps he realised his mistake, but its a bit late for that now unfortunately.

    ii) The expected raising of the income tax threshold is probably going to be popular, but I couldn’t hear anything about NI thresholds – are these moving in sync with IT?

    iii) Some commentators are already saying that working pensioners are going to face higher tax bills and have a lower tax allowance than younger working people. Don’t know if this is true, but if so, it won’t be popular.

    iv) He seems to have slipped in a significant cut in future pensions. The £140 pw standard pension payment is the same as he announced last year, but we’ve had 5% inflation since then. If I’m right on this (and I may well not be) it means he’s just cut everyone’s pension by £7 a week/£364 a year.

    I’ve posted previously about how the new simplified pension represents a massive potential cut to those on very low incomes with continuous work records of as much as £80 – £100 a week previously (the media might one day pick up on this, who knows) but if what I think has just happened has, Osborne’s just twisted the knife that little bit harder.

  16. Astonishingly good performance by Ed Miliband in response to the budget.

    People will start thinking of him as a potential Prime Minister now! :-)

  17. Hi Anthony,

    Just been in touch with Mark Blumenthal at Pollster about his trend lines for the Primary races. Any chance we could get the same on your UKPR polling average.

    The Pollster trend lines were incredibly accurate in the 2008 Presidential race and help to put a single poll into better persepective.

    I realise you probably have some sort of weighting system to come up with the UKPR PA, but any chance of a trend line?


    What for challenging a person who shouldn’t respond? It was Miliband’s moment, with no opportunity from the government to rebut his statements (has always been this way). So demanding a response from someone who shouldn’t respond is pathetic.

    Happy with the tax allowance aspect. The rest of it is either N/A or costly, but not more than the tax allowance.

    Well, it was a perfectly valued point that clearly got under their skin. Good on you Ed, about time too!

    No matter how you dress up cutting the 50p tax rate, it will not go down well with those are finding it really hard to make ends meet out here in the real world.

    He didn’t have cut the top rate tax level, as it was a symbolic that ‘we were all in it together’. We clearly are not.

  20. It could even be a ‘valid’ point ;-)

    Ho hum

  21. @Statgeek – I didn’t see Ed’s response, and I know AW will not want us to debate who was good or bad, but responding to a budget is one of the toughest challenges in the parliamentary year for an opposition leader.

    He has literally a few minutes to prepare a speech that needs to attempt to set the tone of a debate in reponse to a government budget that has been months in preparation.

    Every leader of the opposition says that this is an extraordinarily difficult task, and in the past most have some across poorly and had great difficultly on this.

    I’ve no idea if @Paul Bristol’s view is correct, but if that is the impresssion that generally takes hold, it will be a major boost for Ed’s reputation among his backbenchers, at least.

  22. I though EM did well. There were plenty of soundbites and jokes – that lend themselves to being aired.

    EM and Lab MPs should be happy with the performance. But it will probably have zero effect on his (un)popularity rating.

    I imagine DC and the ConDems will be somewhat alarmed by Ed’s continuing improvement as LoO.

  23. Once again there is nothing to help middle earners – and indeed middle earners with children (most people I suspect) are getting severely punished for the mistakes of the previous government.

    All I can say is, GO had better have something up his sleeve in time for 2015.

  24. “getting severely punished for the mistakes of the previous government”

    Which mistakes are they then?

    The deficit has occurred because of the collpapse in tax revenues deriving from the banking crisis that started in USA.

  25. Just listening to Ed balls on BBC and he seems to be making strong points about both a tax rise for pensioners and the fact that the OBR didn’t conduct the analysis on which the 50p tax cut has been based.

    I don’t yet know enough to make up my own judgement, but the attacks sound strong at this point. I guess it will take a little while to see how this affects public opinion.

    It’s also worth noting that growth next year has been sluightly revised down from November.

  26. Alec

    re the 50p analysis…when GO was delivering the Budget speech he said IIRC that HMRC found that £18bn of taxable income was brought forward from one tax year to the previous to avoid the first year of the 50p rate. What this casually overlooks are two things:

    firstly, the ‘rich’ will do the reverse in 2013 and move income into 2013/14 that shoudl have bene taxed n 2012/13
    secondly, the ‘loss’ in tax on the £18bn was a one-off. It cannot be repeated again.

  27. @ Sergio

    Once again there is nothing to help middle earners – and indeed middle earners with children (most people I suspect) are getting severely punished for the mistakes of the previous government.
    I agree with the factual piece of your budget summary.

    And I know polling shows that Labour are still being blamed more than the Coalition for the cuts.

    But it will be interesting to see if the public share your perception that Labour are responsible for the current government’s failure to do more for the group of voters which GO introduced this budget as favouring.

    I’m not sure that the voters will agree with you; they may doubt that stamp duty on £2M properties in company envelopes really covers the cost of giving the wealthy a rate cut & may decide that GO chose to favour the better off at their expense.

    We’ll see how the polls react over the next few days/ weeks; it will be interesting. Anthony will need to dig out his ‘budget bounce or not’ articles & give them a dust. :-)

  28. I guess Anthony will expect the sites rules on PMQs to apply to the budget and no posts to appear about ‘my boy doing good’.
    I have been watching on the BBC and have to say what a massive improvement Huw Edwards is on David Dimbleby.

    Clearly the 50p rate is going to be the headline with possible VI implications beyong peoples own experience.
    All the stuff about WFTC reductions v Tax threshold increases will have limited resonance as people will find out the real impact once the measures are in place and VI may be affected accordingly.

    It does seem the that the WFTC reductions are this year and the big threshold increase next year so the Gov’t will be hoping for patience/forgiveness later.

    Re: CB compromise, regardless of the merits of the policy amended or otherwise, it appears we are going to have adjustments to tax (codes I guess in subsequent years) due to CB payments for those earning £50k and above.

    We have been told that simply taxing CB and raising the amount paid to make it neutral for basic rate tax payers was too complex but this compromise suggests otherwise.

    Am I missing somehting?

  29. Re the 50p rate…From page 6 of

    “Although the analysis is only based on one year?s data…”

  30. I watched Ed’s response. This isn’t like PMQs because it’s once per year so no prospect of a weekly tedium (re. he won/ lost, was great/ rubbish) so Anthony will maybe be okay with us making a few comments about it.

    How the public react to the speeches, rather than the content, will depend on which parts, if any, that the media cover on the main news bulletins tonight & how they ‘spin’ it.

    I am not going to indulge in an extended bout of partizanity, I’ll simply say that I thought it was well worth watching – very well crafted & Ed’s delivery was jolly good.

    Trailing all the budget proposals ahead of the event itself does allow the opposition an opening that the secrecy of past times didn’t give them.

    The reaction of the government front bench to Ed’s response was also fun to watch.

  31. Sunny Hundal tweeted that the threshold for the higher rate of tax is being lowered to £41450.

    He also tweeted “Very amusing that #grannytax is trending. #Budget2012””

  32. @Sergio

    “Once again there is nothing to help middle earners – and indeed middle earners with children (most people I suspect) are getting severely punished for the mistakes of the previous government”

    What do YOU think a middle earner is? Basic rate tax payers will benefit from the rise in income tax threshold. Another £220 saved off income tax from next April on top of the £330 that will have accumulated this April. Only once you earn over £50,000 will you start to lose child benefit, and then only at the rate of 1% per £100 you earn above £50,000. From memory, £50k puts you in about the top 8% of income, so “middle earners” will be touched.

  33. Amber,

    That was my subjective viewpoint, and I have no doubt many people (at least 40% or so) would disagree with me, it goes without saying.

    The problem for middle earners is that for Govts of all hues, they are the cash cow without which the Treasury cannot function. So they are the last people to get tax breaks, whilst the Govt can afford to tinker at the top and bottom knowing it will make very little difference in revenue terms.

    I do not agree with the charge that GO is trying to favour the better off at the expense of the poor. The fact is the UK is less competitive with a 50p tax rate. IMHO he did not go far enough and should have gone back to 40% with immediate effect, but lacked the courage to do so.

    All in all a pretty disappointing budget and I agree that it is certainly not one that “hard working families”, of which I am one, will remember fondly. Electorally, however, it may make no difference since very few voters would think that Ed Balls would have done us more of a favour, with his track record.

  34. I would flag up a couple of warnings on the budget.

    Firstly, the big inncrease in the income tax threshold next year is compensated by a reduction in the 40% threshold by twice the amount. This will swing thousands more middle earners into the 40% rate and I suspect will give ammunition to ‘the squeezed middle’ concept. When it comes, I think a lot of people will be unhappy when they realise that for relativel;y run of the mill mid ranking job they are being taxed on almost the same basis a billionaires.

    Secondly, I can find no mention of NIC thresholds anywhere in the budget. The promise has been to ‘lift millions out of income tax’. Until I see hard evidence that he is also lifting the starting point for NIC’s I’m going to hold my judgement. I would have thought that if this was going up in step with the IT threshold we would have heard about it by now.


    Many believe middle earners to be above the 40% threshold, but under the 50% (45%) threshold. What they forget is that said earners also earn at 20% for a bit, and also get their allowance.

  36. Ros Altmann at Saga has savagely attacked the Budget. Looks like pensioners – typically supporters of Cons – will be furious.

  37. If te threshold for the higher rate of tax is going to be £41450, is that when 40% kicks in, or is it after thearnings plus thr below tax threshold (about £50,000) kicks in?

    It’s a £50,000 that people will start to lose child benefit, isn’t it? So how many higher rate tax payers will not lose some or all child benefit?

  38. NickP

    The higher rate will kick in at £41450 and is in effect the sum of the basic rate limit plus the personal allowance.

    It would seem that more taxpayers are going to be pulled into the higher rate band.

  39. BBC website leads on 50P tax cut, Guardian leading on pnsioners being hit, Telegraph £3bn Pension raid pays for tax cuts, Mail Is That really Fair? Pensioners hit to pay for super-rich tax cut

    News management failing?

  40. statgeek

    “Many believe middle earners to be above the 40% threshold, but under the 50% (45%) threshold. What they forget is that said earners also earn at 20% for a bit, and also get their allowance.”

    So people who earn more than the bottom 85% of the population but less than the top 5%? Isn’t that a bit skewed?

  41. Thanks Mike N

    I don’t think I’ll be paying that any time soon, sadly.

  42. @ JIM JIM
    I guess Anthony will expect the sites rules on PMQs to apply to the budget and no posts to appear about ‘my boy doing good’.
    ……I know, I just couldn’t help myself, but it’s not often my jaw drops!

    I was really reacting to the perception (mirrored in approval ratings) of Ed Miliband, which has been a constant negative and felt a constant negative in nearly every opinion poll.

    Indeed, @Ken constantly uses this negative (justifiably) as the reason why Labour would probably find in hard to win the next election.

    Today, I saw something in his performance that will perhaps change this view. It has to be acknowledged …….he connected.

    Ken … I now look forward to your theory being put to the test that Labour only do well in the opinion polls when Ed Miliband is out of sight . :-)

  43. On the NIC rates, it looks like Osborne is going to open up gap btween NI and IT thresholds. This year (2012/13) the IT threshold rises from £7475 to £8105, while the NI threshold only rises from £7225 to £7592, meaning the very low paid will still be paying about £1.50 a week in tax.

    They are giving the impression that everyone earning below £10,000 will eventually not be paying tax, but I think a few people could be a bit surprised to see they are still paying 12%.

  44. Deficit reduction is the main objective and today was an opportunity to spread the pain a bit, which, IMO, was achieved. The really good news was the Government renewing its commitment to business, higher earners and wealth creators, albeit with the odd bruise. Whilst I sympathise with those inconvenienced by this budget, they will, ultimately benefit from the drive and creativity of those at the sharp end. By the time the effects kick in and growth accelerates, nurse Osborne will have been forgiven and we’ll all be better off, and I’m sure, a few goodies will be shared out in 3 yrs time to reward us for being good patients. :-)
    As far as the Labour response was concerned, well, they would say that, wouldn’t they. :-)

  45. PAUL BRISTOL………….Ed probably benefits from the association with a positive role model in Wallace. After that I think he’ll act as an anchor, you should be over the horizon by now, but his ears are acting as air-brakes. :-)

  46. On the child benefit issue…a single parent on £60,000 loses his/her child benefit, but two parents on a joint income of £100,000 keep all theirs, and they get two lots of personal allowances.

    It’s still the same unfairness, just moved up a bit.

  47. I don’t think that George was seeking to massage the media, he is putting the interests of our Country first and foremost. Unlike his predecessors, who were obsessed with spin, to the exclusion of all else, lucrative post governmental opportunities not-withstanding, and mostly off-shore, of course. :-)

  48. Nick P, totally agree with you on child benefit.

    GO should have left well alone. Fundamentally, he cannot axe child benefit for anyone and claim that he is on he side of families.

  49. @Ken

    … we shall see! :-)

    Perceptions do change.

    …….there is nothing wrong with supporting Wallace, when your faced with Preston and the evil Penguin.

  50. As with all budgets, you won’t know the truth about it, until the weekend, when the experts will have managed to digest all the information contained in the budget red books.

    Tomorrow mornings newspaper headlines will be interesting. The Daily Mail online site, has the headline about pensioners being squeezed to help the rich. If this is the type of headline tomorrow, I would expect the Tories poll rating to reduce a little.

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