Ipsos MORI have published their monthly political monitor and it shows another towering lead for the Conservatives. Topline voting intentions are CON 47%(+7), LAB 29%(-5), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 6%(-3). The eighteen point Conservative lead is the highest they’ve managed in any poll since 2009, and the highest lead for a party in government since 2002. Usual caveats apply about any poll showing such a large shift in support over a month, but in terms of direction this does echo the ICM and YouGov polls earlier this month that also showed shifts towards the Conservatives. Full details are here.

A quick word about that UKIP score of just 6%. While it is obviously very bad, it’s not the sudden collapse one might assume. For whatever methodological reason, MORI do tend to show significantly worse scores for UKIP than polls from other companies. It is NOT a case of UKIP support being at 11% with ICM and YouGov last week, their MEPs getting into a fist fight and their support collapsing (however tempting such a narrative is!). MORI has been showing them at significantly lower levels of support for several months anyway – 9% last month, 6% in August, 8% in July. Nevertheless, it does appear as if the Tories are beginning to claw back support they’d previously lost to UKIP.

ICM’s latest poll from the Guardian is out, with topline figures of CON 43%(+2), LAB 26%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 11%(-3), GRN 6%(+2) – changes are from ICM’s last poll, conducted for the Sun on Sunday in mid-September.

The seventeen point Conservative lead is the largest that ICM have shown in any poll since October 2009 (the Guardian cites it as the largest since 2008, but I think that’s because they are looking at the ICM/Guardian series of polls – the 2009 poll was one for the News of the World).

The size of the lead is likely flattered by the timing – it was conducted over the weekend, so the Conservatives could have expected some sort of boost from Theresa May’s first conference as leader. It’s also worth noting that ICM do tend to produce some of the most pro-Conservative voting intention figures – they have adopted a substantial number of changes since the polling errors of 2015 (switching to online, weighting by political knowledge, reallocating don’t knows differently and modelling turnout based on age and social class) which tend to produce the most pro-Conservative figures. That’s not to say they are wrong – in 2015 all the pollsters understated the Tory lead, so it’s very likely that in correcting those errors, changes will me made that produce more Conservative figures. We won’t know for sure until 2020 whether pollsters have gone too far in those corrections or not far enough.

In this case, even before the turnout weighting ICM would have been showing a very robust 14 point Conservative lead (and the reallocation of don’t knows actually helped Labour). Whatever you did with this data would have produced a huge great Tory lead – it’s the combination of a new Prime Minister, a Conservative conference boost, and a distracted opposition. Full tabs are here.


There are new YouGov voting intention figures for the Times this morning, with topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%. The Conservatives continue to have a solid lead and there is no sign of any benefit to Labour from their party conference (fieldwork was on Wednesday and Thursday, so directly after Jeremy Corbyn’s speech).

Theresa May has been Prime Minister for two and a half months now, so we’re still in the sort of honeymoon period. Most of her premiership so far has consisted of the summer holidays when not much political news happens and she’s had the additional benefit of her opposition being busy with their own leadership contest. Now that is over and we approach May’s own party conference and the resumption of normal politics.

Theresa May’s own ratings remain strong. 46% of people think she is doing well, 22% badly. Asking more specific questions about her suitability for the role most people (by 52% to 19%) think she is up to the job of PM, she is seen as having what it takes to get things done (by 53% to 19%), and having good ideas to improve the country (by 35% to 27%). People don’t see her as in touch with ordinary people (29% do, 40% do not) but that is probably because she is still a Conservative; David Cameron’s ratings on being in touch were poor throughout his premiership. The most worrying figure in there for May should probably be that people don’t warm to her – 32% think she has a likeable personality, 35% do not. One might well say this shouldn’t matter, but the truth is it probably does. People are willing to give a lot more leeway to politicians they like. In many way Theresa May’s ratings – strong, competent, but not particularly personally likeable – have an echo of how Gordon Brown was seen by the public when he took over as Prime Minister. That didn’t end well (though in fairness, I suppose Mrs Thatcher was seen in a similar way).

The biggest political obstacle looming ahead of Theresa May is, obviously, Brexit. So far people do not think the government are doing a good job of it. 16% think they are handling Brexit negotiations well, 50% badly. Both sides of the debate are dissatisfied – Remain voters think they are doing badly by 60% to 10%, Leave voters think they are doing badly by 45% to 24%. Obviously the government haven’t really started the process of negotiating exit and haven’t said much beyond “Brexit means Brexit”, but these figures don’t suggest they are beginning with much public goodwill behind them.

Finally, among the commentariat the question of an early election has not gone away (and will probably keep on being asked for as long as the Conservatives have a small majority but large poll lead). 36% of people currently want an early election, 46% of people do not. The usual patterns with questions like this is that supporters of the governing party do not normally want an election (they are happy with the status quo), supporters of the main opposition party normally do want an election (as they hope the government would be kicked out). Interestingly this still holds true despite the perception that an early election would help the Conservatives: a solid majority of Labour supporters would like an early election, most Conservative supporters are opposed.

Full tabs are here

I’ve been tied up with boundary changes and having a birthday at the weekend, so this is just a quick post to catch up with some of the voting intention and Scottish Independence polling I’ve missed. Looking at Westminster voting first, I’ve updated the voting intention on the sidebar to include all the latest figures. Overall the Conservative party’s lead remains strong – most polls still have the Tories at around 40% and Labour around 30%.

The two most recent polls, from YouGov and Ipsos MORI, both showed the Tory lead falling a bit – YouGov had a lead of 7 points (down from 11), MORI a lead of 6 points (down from 11). In the case of YouGov, this is actually within the normal range of their recent polling (they had the Tory lead at 7 and 8 points in August too) and the MORI poll is probably at least partially a reversion to the mean after an anomalously high 45% score for the Tories their previous poll. Nevertheless, it may be a sign of Theresa May’s honeymoon continuing to fade.

Two years on from the Indyref we’ve also seen a handful of new polls on Scottish independence. The last time I wrote about polling on Scottish independence was at the end of July. Back then we had seen a couple of polls from Survation and Panelbase taken immediately after the EU Referendum that appeared to show a shift in favour of Scottish independence, but a YouGov poll taken a few weeks later showing no apparent change. We’ve had several more Scottish polls since then, including more recent polls from Survation and Panelbase, as well as polls from TNS and Ipsos MORI. The picture now looks very clear, showing NO ahead with no obvious net movement towards Yes as a result of the EU referendum (though as John Curtice points out there has been churn under the surface). MORI show NO five points ahead, Survation, Panelbase and TNS all have NO six points ahead.

Ipsos MORI have released their monthly political monitor. It’s their first poll since Theresa May became Prime Minister, so the changes since last month show the same honeymoon boost we’ve seen in other companies’ figures. Topline figures are CON 45%(+9), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 7%(-4), UKIP 6%(-2), GRN 4%(nc). The Conservative figure of 45% is the highest MORI have shown since back in 2009 (and note how low UKIP is – MORI tend to show some of the lower figures for UKIP and other recent polls haven’t shown them nearly as low, but it’s hardly positive). Full tabs are here.

Yesterday ICM also put out their latest voting intention polling. Topline figures were CON 40%(-3), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 14%(+1), GRN 4%(nc). Still a very robust twelve point Conservative lead, but down from the sixteen point peak in ICM’s last poll. Tabs are here.