Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor for the Evening Standard came out earlier today. Topline voting intention figures are CON 40%(-3), LAB 29%(-2), LDEM 13%(+2), UKIP 9%(+3). The Tory lead remains pretty steady (note that the increase in the UKIP vote is probably largely a reversion to the mean following an anomolous 6% last month).

Satisfaction ratings with the party leaders are plus 17 for Theresa May (53% are satisfied, 36% are disatisfied) and minus 38 for Jeremy Corbyn (24% satisfied and 62% disatisfied). That includes 22% of Tory voters who say that are “satisfied” with Corbyn’s leadership… I suspect they don’t mean that in a complementary way.

Nothing else has been published yet (MORI normally ask a few other questions, but I expect they’ve held them back to give the Standard another story), all the details so far are over here.

538 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 40, LAB 29, LD 13, UKIP 9”

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  1. More good news reported which will please all but the committed peddlers of doom and gloom here.
    “The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is likely to lower its forecast for public sector net borrowing for the current fiscal year, 2016-17. This was revealed in a report published on Monday (20 February) by EY ITEM Club, an economic forecasting group based in the UK
    The report said this forecast could be reduced by £3bn ($3.73bn) to around £65bn, amid stronger than expected tax receipts.
    Another highlight pointed out in the report was that the UK could see an upward revision to its GDP growth forecast. The OBR could increase this from 1.4% to 1.6-1.7%, amid the better-than-expected momentum in the country’s economy, the report said.” Source IBT

  2. I’ve just opened UKPR for an update on comments since my last visit, Sunday evening. I regret that I found it a most dispiriting experience.

    I am by now heartily sick of the endless, infantile arguing over Brexit. I like to visit for information and carefully reasoned argument, especially about polling, but as an extension, also about elections and electoral prospects. To go with that, a certain amount of speculation unsupported by facts is inevitable, but the degree of vitriol now being expressed in endlessly rehashing old ground is now becoming extremely unpleasant.

    I have strong views on the subject myself, and could name the posters here that I particularly dislike – but will not (there are culprits on both sides).

    Can we all please calm down?

  3. @Sea Change – “What would happen if we did this unilateral act of goodwill and then the EU refused the same for UK Citizens?”

    Well there is always the possibility that a Tory Prime minister could at last show some leadership and start to explain to the voters that sending back these people who work more than the average UK worker, and take fewer benefits and social spending than UK nationals would actually be damaging for the UK economy, increase our deficit, reduce the money available for the NHS, and harm our productivity.

    But probably not.

    @Pete B – I think you have some severe misconceptions about the impacts of tariffs and therefore the balance of power in negotiations on trade. If we have a deficit going into such talks, this means our position is weak – not strong.

    Yes, there is the isolated issue of which side gets more hurt by the tariffs, but even here, you are labouring under a misconception. It’s not so much the gross volumes, but the volumes as a proportion of total production that matters. The EU is, in relative terms, a far more important export market to us than we are to them, despite the disparity in gross numbers. A greater proportion of our GDP output would be impacted by potential tariffs on exports than the EU’s which is precisely why the deficit puts us in a weak position.

    The second factor is that you completely glide past the secondary impacts. The impact of inflation on consumers will lead to a slowing of the economy, which will be worse here than in the EU because a higher proportion of our consumables will be affected.

    It’s also highly likely that the trade barriers necessary in order to levy tariffs are going to harm all cross border trade. Finance in particular is going to become more complex, with the BCC warning that the estimated 3-5 days minimum lengthening of the time for exporters to get paid will significantly damage SME cash flow, which is the kind of issue that can bring down companies.

  4. Brexit is the eye of the storm, the centre around which all politics revolves. It has created an existential threat to both main parties.

  5. A timely piece from the Grunge – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/20/divide-and-rule-tactics-could-leave-uk-without-deal-say-eu-politicians

    ““The benefits go to the UK only,” said Tomáš Prouza, the Czech minister for EU affairs. “There is a real danger that British politics, with all its whipped up resentments of Europe, will mean British negotiators are unable to compromise, and we will head for a crash-landing.”

    That view is shared in many national capitals. Elmar Brok, a German MEP and a close friend and political ally of Merkel, said the British government should not underestimate the strength of the EU’s resolve. He said colleagues had told him Britain was seeking to win over MEPs, but it would end in failure.

    “The British government tries to divide and rule,” he said. “They believe they can take members of parliament out of certain nations … to win support by dividing us. If they try to negotiate while trying to interfere in our side then we can do that too. We can make a big fuss over Scotland. Or Northern Ireland.””

  6. Oh dear I did very well keeping out of it yesterday. How unpleasant this site has become. A normally reasonably polite indivudual is now writing:-

    “There are some very stupid people out there.” about people who disagree with him.

    I have noticed that this sort of thing is very prevalent amongst people I would call bad losers. Ken got to the heart of it the other day. It really has created a “black hole” on this site.

    Good job I am looking forward to enjoying my emerald wedding anniversary with my dear wife on Friday. Have a good day I have work to do but may pop in later.

  7. TOH yesterday 10.16 a.m.

    Thank you for your sympathy, but you still seem determined to ignore the point I was making, which is that everyone knew from before the vote took place that no negotiations of any sort could or would take place before the triggering of Article 50 (because it is the triggering of the article which informs the EU that a member State wishes to leave), and for the UK government to try to change the rules after the game had already started seems to me to be sheer hypocrisy!

    So no! It is the UK government’s decision to wait nine months before triggering Article 50 and not any ‘decision’ by Angela Merkel or anyone else to follow the agreed rules which is the cause of the delay. And this is not ‘IMO’ but the simple fact.

    I wish you a happy day on your allotment.

  8. Saffer

    I sympathise with your despair about the tone of some posts on Brexit, but I think it’s inevitable that what’s by far the biggest political issue of he day will often dominate conversation here.

    I can imagine that in decades hence, assiduous Phd students will be mining the UKPR archive to track the currents of sentiment and argument underlying this seismic event in European history. They may even be ferreting away trying to establish who exactly was hiding behind those monikers: how many public figures enjoying the opportunity to say what they really think? I hope AW recognises this and takes steps to preserve the archive.

    But of course, you’re right. We could do with more discussion of polling matters. For instance, with a NI election just over a week away, I’d be interested to see more on that. And there’s just been a poll in France (IFAP? – something like that) showing Fillon slightly ahead of Macron and stabilising. But ultimately the posts on here reflect the interests of those who post: if we all stuck purely to polling, it would probably be a much less vibrant place.

  9. Patrickbrian – yesterday 1.04 p.m.

    Thank you for a very perceptive contribution.

  10. John B

    Thanks for posting. Obviously we continue disagree ans may was prepared to discuss it before triggering Art %0 but was denied by the EU. Thank you for being civil, as you always have been, unlike so many on this site as I was just pointing out. I notice T was in particularly fine form in that respect yesterday and typical of many on that side of the argument.

    Have a good day yourself.

  11. John B

    ……….. as May………., sorry about typing error. In a hurrey to go out.

  12. As usual this discredit polling organisation produce wildly inaccurate figures for UKIP and the LimpDims. … probably the other parties too. To interpret these polls it is worth comparing their forecasts for the last General Election with the actual result…

  13. Sam – yesterday 3.04 p.m.

    Many thanks for that excellent contribution.

  14. Candy – 4.49 p. m.

    ‘We’ve been in the EU for 41 years, and the only negotiating style that has worked has been Margaret Thatcher’s brutally combative one. All the rest of the PMs got walked over. If we’re taking a hard line it is because the Europeans have trained us to understand that it is the only thing that works.’

    And this is where we have our fundamental disagreement, I think. You obviously don’t see yourself as a European, for you refer to them in the third person, whereas I think of myself as a European and always refer to us in the first person.
    We in the UK are just as much Europeans as the Italians, the Germans, the Spanish or the Lithuanians. IMO.

    Now if you had referred to ‘the EU Commission’, we might have had a reasonable conversation. Even so, I would disagree with you, for whilst our tabloid gutter press is happy to flag up any EU decision which goes against the wishes of the UK government (though not necessarily against the wishes of the UK people, of course, such as safety at work etc.) they never talk about the thousands of occasions when the UK input has been listened to, appreciated and adopted into EU policy through negotiation.

    So given the choice between negotiation and Thatcher’s hystrionics, give me negotiation every time.

  15. Candy – 5.08 p.m. yesterday

    “rules are rules, if you fall foul it is your own fault”.

    Precisely my point to TOH about triggering article 50.
    As for your general approach, if your view is representative of the Tories in the south then God help us.

  16. Pete B – yesterday 9.48 p.m.

    ‘And why are you worried that Ireland will blame us? Who cares?’

    It’s that sort of arrogance which will do the UK a lot of harm.
    Do you not want to be on good terms with our nearest neighbour?

  17. While we have been concentrating on Brexit, there have been polling developments in Germany.

    The German centre-left SDP has a new candidate for federal chancellor, Martin Schulz, who is popular in Germany.

    From bumping along at about 20% and almost 15% behind the conservative CDU-CSU coalition, the SDP, according to the Pollytix.eu website, is now on a weighted rolling average of 30.3%, close to the CDU-CSU on 32.6%.

    (The SDP gain has been at the expense of all other parties, and could possibly push the centrist FDP below the 5% threshold needed for parliamentary representation for the second time in a row, but the elections are not until 24 September.)

    Whether electing a new leader in the run up to an election in the UK is a worthwhile strategy is something for others to decide upon – or not.

  18. @Robert Newark – 7.15 a.m.

    But if we are all c. 15% worse off because of the fall in the value of sterling, a growth rate of 1 – 1.5 % is hardly going to make up the difference, is ti?

    Not that I’m an economist, of course……..

  19. @ Hireton

    Thanks for the reply. I did know that Nissan operated JIT.

  20. John B: “Do you not want to be on good terms with our nearest neighbour?”

    I think this is actually quite a key dividing line. I suspect most who voted for Brexit would answer, “No, I don’t care if we fall out with the neighbours'” I don’t know if any polling has been done to establish this.

    There have been suggestions that, post referendum, the nationalist/internationalist distinction has become a bigger signifier of political allegiance than right/left. If so, and it’s a long-term change, then we can expect a profound impact on the UK political scene.

  21. Alister1948

    Is that THE Martin Schultz, who was elected President of the EU Parliament after a campaign studiously ignored by the UK Press, which then complained about the result?

    Now that would be an interesting addition to the game…..

  22. John B

    That reduces wages by 15% in real terms so of course we are better off, reduced labour costs = more profit. (For a given value of “we”)

  23. John B

    Yes same Schultz… and a Macron / Schultz result would make for an interesting dynamic.

  24. Somerjohn

    I don’t think the extreme Brexiters want to be on good terms with half the country let alone our neighbours.

  25. Alan

    Now I understand………….

  26. John B

    Just popped back to get some tools and thought i would look in.

    “Not that I’m an economist, of course……..”

    If you were you would know that sterling has been seriously overvalued for a good many years and a correction was needed. Roger wrote very well on this subject a few days ago.

    Of course the vote to leave the EU triggered the devaluation, the markets do not like uncertainty and it will probably go lower yet before recovering to a more sensible level post Brexit. There are advantages and disadvantages to devaluation of course.

  27. OLDNAT

    “The certainties that some (on both sides of the EU debate) have as to what will happen, seem somewhat premature.
    Fortunately, none of them will be in the negotiating rooms!”

    Sentiments i can totally agree with.

    Looking forward to England v Scotland after the Italy game. I guess you are as well.

  28. @John B – re your reply to @Candy on Thatcher and her negotiating style.

    A point that went unanswered yesterday was that Thatcher was responsible for very many compromises in the EU, in order to get some of what she wanted. This was particularly around the Single Market agreement and later the entry into EMU.

    There were issues where she dug in, and other issues where she rolled over. The historic myths that have arisen over this and that have been swallowed whole by people like @Candy help to distort the truth and lead to a one eyed mindset on all matters EU. I suspect much of the Tory party is similarly infected, which may well be why they are seeking to be so much more confrontational.

    Thatcher was, as far as the EU was concerned, a compromiser, and was also responsible for handing over far more sovereignty to Brussels that any other UK prime minister, doing so because she recognised the benefits for the UK.

  29. @peteb

    I thought we all knew that as we are part of the WTO wetherefore operate within its rules and procedures?

    That is why I , and others, have posted a number times that:

    a. in the absence of any comprehensive FTA with the EU after Brexit the UK will be subject to the EU’s Common External Tariff which is available to all WTO members (including those tariffs on agricultural products which Brexiters so hate).

    b. when the UK leaves the EU it will need to have in place its own schedules of tariffs, tariff quotas
    and so on for WTO members. The Trade Department is now working on securing the 160 odd separate agreements on those which will be necessary.

    c. the UK will not be able to reach ad hoc agreements with other WTO members on ‘free trade’ for specific items which are not available to all WTO members. It will need to agree comprehensive trade agreements with a WTO member otherwise all WTO members would be entitled to the same terms..

  30. John B, Alan
    Yes same Schulz…Yes, interesting.

    Some people might think it would be a bit unsporting to choose someone popular as a party leader. If they did want to try, perhaps Sadiq Khan and Nicola Sturgeon could form a coalition?

    Going out, back later.

  31. Robert Newark

    Yes that was good to hear, i had missed that piece of good news.

    There is more good news for both the UK and Europe from Amazon:-

    “Amazon says it will create 5,000 jobs in the UK by the end of 2017.

    The number includes those working at three fulfilment centres that are set to open this year, as well as 1,500 technical roles.

    At the same time, Amazon is adding 15,000 jobs across the rest of Europe, taking its workforce there to 65,000 by the end of 2017.

    The company currently employs 19,000 people in the UK.

    Doug Gurr, UK country manager for Amazon, said: “We are creating thousands of new UK jobs including hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities as we continue to innovate for our customers and provide them with even faster delivery, more selection and better value.”

    Nice to talk about the real World.

  32. @Alister1948

    Re the German election I saw one poll over the weekend being reported which put the SDP ahead of Merkel’s party.

  33. Alec

    “Thatcher was, as far as the EU was concerned, a compromiser, and was also responsible for handing over far more sovereignty to Brussels that any other UK prime minister, doing so because she recognised the benefits for the UK.”

    She was indeed and it’s one of the areas where I profoundly disagreed with her.

  34. @Everyone – much comment, it seems, on my post last night that ended with the observation that there are some stupid people around.

    While I deliberately didn’t say which people I was referring to, where they are, or what they think of Brexit, it wasn’t the brightest thing to post on UKPR, so please accept my apologies.

    In my defence, in posting the comment, I was myself being stupid, thereby demonstrating the correctness of my logic.

    I think it will be abundantly clear to everyone that some people voted on both sides of the referendum based on reasons that were clearly illogical, ill thought through, impractical or impossible in reality, or in complete ignorance of the facts.

    Each side will tend to point out these examples in the others case, but it is an accepted function of democracy that people who know little or nothing about the things they are voting on still get the chance to vote. There is stupidity out there, without a doubt, but I don’t think either side can claim to be free of it completely.

    To offer @Saffer something more polling based, I would contend that four decades of misinformation about the EU has created some significant false impressions about both the EU, what it does and doesn’t prevent us from doing, and what leaving it will mean in reality.

    For me, the key polling question is going to be whether these impressions start to be contradicted by reality, and if so, what will the impact be on leave voters.

    The end point of most leave posters on here appears to be, as Blair said, the wish to deny completely the opportunity for leave voters to change their minds if and when these circumstances come to pass.

    To my mind, this fear of needing to face the electorate again, with further information and the greater clarity that the passage of time will bring, denotes not the insouciant confidence expressed by many on here, but a basic fear that they might have got things wrong and that the electorate might see through them.

    As with Trumps’s outrageous bluster, exuding confidence means next to nothing, and can sometimes mean nothing more than a thin protective shell overly!ing a fundamentally fragile self belief.

  35. @toh

    Re the value of the £, I have never understood why in the age of floating exchange rates for a freely tradeable currency such as the £ it could be overvalued for years.


    I have never found it a problem.

  37. Hirton

    Sorry, in a hurry to go out again. I should have said I have never found it a problem to understand.

  38. Hirton

    Roger wrote very well on this a couple of days ago if you want more. I think it was on this thread.

  39. In the meantime, although less important than Brexit, the chairmen of UKIP Liverpool, and UKIP Merseyside resigned with a rather strongly worded press release this morning.

    One rarely sees such a self-inflicted implosion. Although Thursday is still a few days away.

  40. @HIRETON

    If we didn’t have governments that interfered with the money supply to gain trading advantages and everybody had the same access and speed of information then you would perhaps have a true reflection of what the real value of individual currencies are.

    As it is, it’s an approximation at best. I don’t think anybody can absolutely quantify whether Sterling has been overvalued in the past. The drop in value of Sterling is in part because of the uncertainty rather than the underlying economy that has been resilient up until now.

  41. @ Alec

    When I was a pupil barrister I was walking into the Crown Court in Birmingham with My pupil master and a QC who was leading him in a serious trial. My pupil master noted the various ne’er-do-wells sitting on the steps of the building having a (possibly last) cigarette before their hearings and he made the comment whilst nodding towards the assembled “it is appalling to think that those feckless stupid *!*!*!*$ have the same vote as us”. The QC, known for his wit and sagacity said in response “they probably thinking just the same thing of us, but without the vulgarity”. Later that day when my pupil master had left me alone with the QC (bag carrying being my major skill in those days) spoke to me about what my pupil master had said and opined “of course it always feels good to decide who does and does not deserve the vote, but you must always remember it may not be you who is deciding into which category you fall”.
    It stuck with me!

  42. “they are” bloody typing skill AWOL again

  43. @TOH – thanks – I did wonder what you might have thought of this aspect of her time as PM.

    In the context of the current discussion, an interesting aspect of this was the observation by many that her ‘no holds barred’ approach to the rebate, which she really dug in on, created such significant opposition to her that she was forced to make very significant compromises down the line on matters that were really important to the UK.

    It’s an intriguing aspect of whatiffery to imagine who different the EU might have looked had the UK taken a less combative approach at certain points in our EU relationships.

  44. For those who advocate hard negotiations and no concern for our neighbour’s position in Brexit it might be as well to consider the “prisoner’s Dilemma” and Nash’s Equilibrium.

  45. WB

    Who is this Nash guy and why should I care about him? I want his stuff too!

  46. @ Alan

    I think he was with some guys called Crosby Stills and Young, or alternately he might have had a beautiful launderette (or was that mind)

  47. @ALEC “In my defence, in posting the comment, I was myself being stupid, thereby demonstrating the correctness of my logic. ”
    For some reason this reminded me of the story of three men looking out of a railway carriage window at the field below
    Man in the street “Oh, I see that there are black sheep in Wales”
    Philosopher “I see that there is at least one black sheep in Wales”
    Careful scientist “I see that at least this side of one sheep is black.”
    Train announcer “This train is now approaching Bristol”

  48. @Alec

    As a Remainer I sympathise with the idea that the electorate should have another chance to vote on the terms of Brexit. But as a democrat first and foremost, I can’t because: parliament gave the electorate as a whole the power to decide whether to stay in or come out and the electorate said come out. That’s the end of it really, except in the following unlikely scenario: economic circumstances and/or govt mishandling change the mood in the country (measured by polling!) to such an extent that politicians simply feel they have to give the people another chance to agree or disagree.

    As it happens, this is what Tony Blair is proposing.

  49. WB and Dave

    Great stories! Much needed on this site from time to time.

  50. Hireton: ” I have never understood why in the age of floating exchange rates for a freely tradeable currency such as the £ it could be overvalued for years.”

    TOH: ” I have never found it a problem to understand.”

    Ah, the sublime confidence of the non-expert! By the same token, I have always found Einstein’s General Theory a doddle. Physicists? What do they know?

    Anyway, the problem underlying Hireton’s puzzlement is that classical economists, neo-cons etc believe the market is always right. TOH, normally of that way of thinking, has no problem understanding that in this case the market has been wrong.

    He also presumably will have no problem explaining how, if the £ has been so overvalued against the dollar, we have managed to consistently rack up enormous trade surpluses with the USA (c. £40bn last year).

    The way neocons, Trump etc square that circle in the USA is to argue that there has been currency manipulation. While that is possibly plausible in relation to command economies like China, it is harder to argue in relation to the £, and specifically to the £:€ exchange rate, since trading between those currencies is dominated by London.

    Unless TOH thinks the City has been conspiring to keep the £ overvalued against the euro.

    BTW, a thoughtful non-economist might wonder why the £ hasn’t been much lower over the last few years, given our enormous and growing trade deficits.

    I think the answer to that lies in the enormous purchases of sterling by those acquiring UK assets – property, companies, agricultural land, shares and bonds etc – and depositing cash here. Some of it legitimate, some of dubious provenance (oligarchs etc). The trouble with that is that, while in the short term it enables us to sustain that trade deficit, it leads to more and more money flowing back out in dividends, interest etc. At some point a reckoning will come.

    So, to get back to Hireton’s question: the market has actually got the £’s value right, based on the underlying trade and monetary flows. It’s just that the resulting exchange rate is not great for UK business, which I guess is what TOH is thinking about.

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