The monthly Ipsos MORI poll for the Standard is out today with topline voting intention figures of CON 31%(+1), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 12%(-1), UKIP 10%(-1), not in itself any significant change from last month. Full tabs are here.

Econiomic optimism continues to climb, 50% of people now expect the economy to get better, 24% to get worse, a net score of plus twenty-six. This is the highest net figure since Tony Blair’s honeymoon in 1997 (the 50% getting better is the highest Ipsos MORI have ever found). If this outbreak of extreme optimism sounds surprising, remember that the MORI question asks about general state of the economy, as I’ve explored here before, questions that ask about people’s own personal finances tend to find more pessimistic results.

MORI also asked which party leader people most trusted on various issues, including Nigel Farage amongst the options. Cameron leads easily on the economy by 42% to Miliband’s 20%, on reducing unemployment (by 33% to Miliband’s 28%) and on immigration (by 23% to 20% for Farage, in second place). Miliband leads on banking regulation (by 29% to 21%) and looking after the interests of women (by 28% to 21%).

Finally MORI asked about the top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000, with intriguing results. Most polls I’ve seen in the past have been whether it should go up to 50p, whether it should go down to 40p again, whether it was right to cut it to 45p. MORI gave all three options, 50p, 45p and 40p. As we’d expect from past polling, 50p was the most popular, but was only picked by 41%. 27% went for 45p, 24% for 40p, so no one option commanding majority support. MORI also tested the question identifying the 50p option with Ed Balls, the 45p option with George Osborne and the 40p option with Boris. Despite Boris generally being a leap and a bound more popular than Balls or Osborne, it made hardly difference at all. Boris may be fun, but attaching his name to unpopular policies does not seem to have any magical affect.

29 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 31, LAB 38, LD 12, UKIP 10”

  1. First?

    And in other news..

    @LordAshcroft – “Meanwhile, I have just completed a poll in Wythenshawe & Sale East. Results soon…”

  2. Why should the outbreak of economic optimism be at all surprising? If I had been beating myself with a stick for a long, long time, then when I stop I would feel much, much better…

  3. As to the tax rate, surely the real question for Labour is whether the issue works like immigration for the Tories in reverse.

    Remember 2005? The Tory (anti-)immigration proposals were popular, yet mentioning it was a negative as it increased negative perceptions about the party. A higher rate tax may be popular, but does it mean voters will recall the mess of the last Labour government?

  4. From the above notes, it seems to me that people associate with a leader whatever the leader says he’s associated with!

    DC leads on the economy, reducing unemployment and immigration, because he says he’s dealing with those things. Ed M hasn’t spoken out on those issues, because he’s currently powerless to deal with them. For the same reason, DC has been able to define economy how he likes, and when people are asked about it, they only ever associate the word with being tough enough to cut.

    Farage does well on immigration because it’s his baby and no one doubts he’d feed the baby if he had the chance. Miliband leads on banks and women because he has spoken out on those issues and DC hasn’t shown interest.

    ‘Whom do you trust to..’ polling is not the guide to VI people might think it is, it seems to me. It’s certainly not the same as specific issue polling, like the questions on the higher rate of tax listed above.

  5. Pretty dangerous game to base a policy on public opinion such as UK Taxation, that so few have much knowledge of.

    The subject is in reality a red herring, as any increase is so easy to avoid, totally legally. I have yet to meet anybody from any level of income who wants to pay more tax than they have to.

  6. Colin Davis

    I think that Cameron leads on the economy, reducing unemplyment and immigration because he can be seen to be achieving in those areas not because he says his dealing with those things.

    The Economy is improving as seen from GDP figures.
    Unemplyment is and has been coming down since 2012.
    Immigration numbers although stil high are coming down in comparison with the last government.

  7. From the Ipsos link.

    “Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI said:

    “Yet another surge in economic optimism to near-record levels has given David Cameron a personal boost for his stewardship of the economy, while after a difficult month for Nick Clegg his personal ratings have fallen (as have Nigel Farage’s). And yet despite that, the party shares – and Labour’s lead – have remained steady. How these different trends play out together – especially as other issues come to the fore – is going to be key as we get closer to an election.”

    And that is exactly why the fat yin ain’t singing just yet.

  8. “. Boris may be fun, but attaching his name to unpopular policies does not seem to have any magical affect”


  9. @Ian Wright

    “The subject is in reality a red herring, as any increase is so easy to avoid, totally legally.”

    In which case it sounds like a good idea for Miliband to follow up with a major push on tax avoidance to make it a lot less easy to avoid.

  10. Christian – you are forgiven as only an occasional poster but you betray your partiality with this remark.

    ” A higher rate tax may be popular, but does it mean voters will recall the mess of the last Labour government?”

    But your point has some validity in the danger of being seen as anti-business, entrepreuners etc for Labour even with a popular policy was acknowledged at the time of the announcement and the first polls on the issue.

  11. In honour of the most recent UKIP coverage the following joke:

    David Cameron and Nigel Farage are on the terrace of the House of Commons having a drink, it’s sunny but gusty and the wind blows David’s hat off his head and in to the river.

    “Don’t worry David,” says Nigel, “I’ll get it!” and he jumps over the wall and in to the river.

    However there is no splash. David peers over the wall and to his surprise sees Nigel walking on water. Nigel strolls across the surface of the Thames picks up David’s hat and takes it back to him in front of the entire House of Commons press lobby.

    The next day the headlines read: “Nigel Farage Can’t Swim!”

  12. Phil,

    The only way he could realistically do that is to make every persons tax black and white, almost a PAYE for everybody, self employed as well. Can’t see that one.

    Tax has become so complex the system is the politicians make the rules and the much more clever Tax experts find ways around them and when challenged the courts decide. That won’t change no matter who is in power.

    Far better in my opinion to find a level to gain maximum yield, 40% worked well in the view of most experts.

  13. Ian – please, don’t. A few week’s ago we had a seemingly endless back on forth over what the optimum top tax rate was, several well respected contributors died in agony of boredom of it. I myself almost slipped into a coma several times. Please no one start it again.

  14. Lord Ashcroft poll of 1000 for the Wythenshawe & Sale East byelection:

    “But according to a survey I completed yesterday, Labour’s grip on the seat is firm. I found Labour on 61% of the vote with UKIP second on 15%, the Conservatives on 14% and the Liberal Democrats fourth on 5%.”

  15. Okay, I want to make two points about methodology in surveys.

    Firstly, this habit of asking about “Who do you associate more with X, David Cameron or Ed Miliband?” would surely be better if phrased as “… the Conservative leader, David Cameron, or the Labour leader, Ed Miliband?” A Prime Minister’s name recognition always counts for a lot in these things, but come election day, when neither of these names will ever be on the same ballot paper, it is the perception of the party leaders qua party leaders that is important.

    Secondly, it’s a well-known problem in any survey that if you give people three options on a scale (e.g. 40%, 45%, 50%), a bunch of people will pick the middle one simply because it’s the middle one, not because they have a strong feeling for it. The best way around this is to provide options up to and including extreme and unrealistic end-points, such that only unrealistic extremists would select them, and then people are freed from the mindset of selecting a “happy medium”. Shockingly bad question design from MORI, made worse by their complete failure to account for the popular perception that the top rate of tax applies to all of that person’s income once they cross the threshold.

  16. AW – Sorry I can understand that and there is no definite answer to it.

    The point really is should notice be taken of polls by politicians on subjects like this that so few people have more than very rudimentary knowledge.

  17. @Ian Wright (2.06)

    Can I suggest that most “experts” are in the higher tax bracket and therefore have a vested interest in proposing 40%.
    In addition, most of the argument for a reduction increasing the yield is based on what happened after the reduction from 50% to 45%. What that argument omits is the fact that many higher taxpayers conveniently changed the year in which they paid in order to minimise their tax. This resulted in an abnormally low tax take while the rate was 50%.

  18. @AW

    Sorry, wrote my response before seeing your comment

  19. @ James

    Surely the walking on water joke was a Margaret Thatcher one?

  20. Anthony

    “A few week’s ago we had a seemingly endless back on forth over what the optimum top tax rate was, several well respected contributors died in agony of boredom of it. I myself almost slipped into a coma several times. Please no one start it again.”

    Shame: we didn’t think it went on long enough and we can’t even remember who won.

    Was it 60% ??

  21. Thanks to Lord Ashcroft. One slight quibble with his question, he mentioned Mr Goggins, which may have increased a feeling of sympathy. Nevertheless, a satisfying poll for Labour. It will be interesting to see if the inevitably low turnout represents the same percentages, then one can get an insight into just how keen each portion of VI is to make their point.

    Ipsos Mori displaying that whatever the subsidiary questions on personalities and policies deliver as answers, although 16% of Labour voters are satisfied with the way the government is running the country, 100% of them are going to vote Labour. That is all with which Labour strategists need to concern themselves at this early stage.

    BB and Norbold, thank you for the posts addressed to me.

  22. With regard to where the UKIP vote comes from, Mike Smithson’s analysis at PB are presumably based on Ashcroft’s latest poll which was taken 4-10 November 2013. As I read the tables

    the percentages of how the then UKIP supporters voted in 2010, based on a sample of 985, were:

    Con 43%

    Lab 8%

    Lib Dem 15%

    UKIP 16%

    BNP 3%

    Other 2%

    Did not vote 13%

    DK/WNS 1%

    This seems plausible enough, though I suspect there may be a few 2010 Cons & BNP in the DNV total – a phenomenon you see much more stronly in the telephone polls such as the latest MORI. The overall percentage choosing UKIP was 16%, though it may be that these unadjusted Populus online polls overstate their support (just as the adjusted ones understate it).

    As to Colin’s question on the previous thread as to what part of the UKIP vote is ‘weak’ and will probably revert to the Conservatives, I reckon it is about 2-3% of VI which makes up the difference between UKIP’s lower bound (in YouGov) of 10-11% and its upper one of 13-14%. These people will probably vote UKIP for Europe and maybe local elections, but will almost certainly be Tories for May 2015.

    But that may be the limit of what will return. The others may decide to stick with UKIP, seeing no difference between the two main Parties. They may even go (back) to other Parties. We have tended to see UKIP as a problem only for the Conservatives, but it may be that they have also ‘intercepted’ swing voters who would otherwise go between Labour and Tory as well as mopping up dissatisfied voters who voted Lib Dem or abstained last time. The latter might well have gone to Labour if a fourth Party hadn’t become prominent.

    Whether Labour can eventually get these groups is another matter, but they are unlikely to go (back) to the Conservatives. If Labour can make itself attractive in policy terms, particularly with regard to immigration issues[1], then it may pick up votes from here. UKIP’s vote may decline in a General Election campaign (it did last time) but this may not be good news for the Conservatives.

    [1] Labour has traditionally been unwilling to tackle such areas of policy because of fears of racism, but it is clear that the most recent public worries arise from (almost all white) Eastern European migration being seen to disadvantage (often non-white) Brits. The MORI issue tracker illustrates this well. As such you can argue that it was Labour’s open door policy (and there is no indication that the Tories would have done differently) that was inherently racist. Labour are finally making noises about tackling the more explicitly racist aspects of this (such as foreign-only recruitment) but should also be pointing out the implicitly racist aspects as well.

  23. If Lord A’s poll is correct, that looks like seriously devastating news for Con hopes. On the face of it, the UKIP rise in a safe Lab seat isn’t coming from Lab, but from Con.

    However, this is a by election, this is a poll, not a result, and all kinds of other stuff could happen between now and 2015 anyway, so I’ll wait for a week or so and see the real result before making any further comment, but at present it looks that those people suggesting UKIP will threaten Lab as much as Con are wide of the mark.

  24. Roger – insightful as always.
    Seems you are with Colin D that recovering from the UKIP their 2010 votes will be tough for the Tories whereas in think many (2/3rds perhaps) will end up in the Blue column as FPTP push them to their least disagreeable party/candidate.

    We shall see.

  25. No one from Wythenshawe thinks there’s the remotest chance of Labour losing. Labour could stand Jimmy Saville’s corpse in Wythenshawe and they’d win.

    The only point of interest is in who will come second, and that looks excitingly close.

  26. remember that the MORI question askes about general state of the economy

    … yeah, he was funny … Arthur was

  27. Extremely interesting that 51% now want 45% or 40% on the top rate of tax despite all the bluster over the decrease to 45% before (when most people seemed not to have noticed that it was 40% during all of Labour’s time in office, ie even lower!).

  28. Far Eastener, with respect, most of the bluster this last wee have come from people in the media decrying Ed Balls announcement of a top rate of 50%. It’s not surprising if the support has shifted slightly.

    However, and what some pollsters have failed to recognize, is that the 50% tax rate is very popular amongst core Labour voters. It won’t necessarily win Labour more votes from Conservatives or any other parties – but it will consolidate their own core vote. As it stands, their VI levels of 37-41% will be enough to win an election with – all they need to do is consolidate it.