Hi – still offline most of the time, but here’s a quick update on the two polls that are out today.

Populus’s December poll had topline figures of CON 40% (+4), LAB 32% (-5), LDEM 16% (nc). The poll was conducted between the 7th and 9th of December.

Populus’s methodology tends to produce figures that are slightly better for Labour than, say, ICM or YouGov – in fact, they are the only pollster who until now had not shown the Conservatives back in the lead. There isn’t any nice formula you can plug a poll into and say “well, an 8 point Populus lead is thesameas an X point ICM lead”, but 40% for the Tories in a Populus poll is a good thing from Populus. The picture heeis much as we’ve seen elsewhere, the Tories advancing up into the 40s, Labour falling into the low 30s and the Lib Dems back off the canvas but now semingto be somewhere around the mid teens, depending on the pollster.

Ipsos MORI’s political monitor for December has topline voting intention figures of CON 42%

(+1), LAB 35% (+3), LDEM 14% (-3). The poll was conducted between 29th November and 7th December.

The figures here would appear to show Labour recovering, in contrast to all other polls. In recent days the news coverage has moved away from negative stories about the government to obsess over canoe man, and if this poll was very recent I’d guess it was a genuine recovery. Given some of it is almost a fortnight old and Populu’s more recent findings, I suspect the changes are more down to the fact that last month’s MORI poll was done on the phone omnibus while they reviewed their sampling points, rather than their standard face-to-face interviews (or even just random sampling error).

73 Responses to “New Populus and MORI polls”

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  1. NICK KEENE :-

    You refer to me as mad Mike for stating the obvious and not discussing probabilities insread of facts – if by being mad , it’s because i was the only one that said there would be no election / that the Tories would be in the lead in the POLLS by October at the latest / that the enxt election would be in 2010 – well then i must be mad !!

    Just adding to the latest government gaffs i listed for the week :-

    * Where was Brown in Lisbon ?

    * 11,000 immigrants working in security – the bulk of which were illegal and using fake National Insurance numbers !!

  2. Mike
    Calm down. If you want your comments to be taken seriously then you are going to have to be less partisan and more objective. I am a long standing opponent of this government and will continue to work hard in my constituency to get rid of them but not everything they do is wrong, bad or a gaffe.You should show more respect for the views of others.That way they may show more respect for your views provided of course that they strike a more balanced note than at present.
    Personally I would have more time for Gordon Brown if he was discovered in Lisbon shopping around for Christmas presents for his family rather than posing beside that wretched EU treaty.

  3. Nick – I certainly agree with the last bit!

    At PMQ’s Brown’s approach seems to preclude acknowledging jokes against him, let alone allowing himself to attempt a quick-witted response, or even just a personal one. Surely he could have done something with Clegg’s “sprouts” tease?

    I don’t mind partisan, as long as the detailed facts are accurate (it’s a pain to correct things). In
    that spirit I hope no-one minds if i point out that the Northern Rock money has the status of “loaned” not “lost”, and is fully secured.

  4. Adam,

    I think Arnie’s has already made this point for me but my (perhaps a little glib) response was because it’s not really a disaster for this government. Whoever is in charge is going to have to deal with the issues you raised. We were talking about whether or not THIS week had been a disastewr for Labour. I don’t think anyone can realistically claim that it’s been a disaster because in 40 years the population is going to double.

    As an aside; I’m not sure I really trust any figures that claim what immigration (or anything else in life) is going to be like in 40 years. I’m not sure Joe Public does either.

    That said, I guess you’re right that I should have dignified my response with a little more than the word “so?”. My apologies.

  5. Fair enough, Steven.

  6. Craig M

    Isn’t it interesting the way views vary.

    Having watched PMQs I have to disagree with The Guardian’s scorecard.
    I much prefer Cameron when he uses the rapier of killer facts & forensic criticism, rather than the cutlass of scorn….but who knows how people across the country assess these things?

    And what will they make of Brown’s performance today for goodness sake?

    If he really believes in this EU Treaty/Constitution/whatever , why on earth alienate all his working partners in that way?

    If-as I suspect -he dislikes intensly the whole navel gazing , self congratulatory excercise & thinks Europe should be looking outwards to influence world events ,rather than inwards to create more and more political union & beauracracy-why in hell has he signed?-how is he going to influence people he has just snubbed in this way?

    Maybe he really does have that psychological flaw.?

    Yet again-what does Jo Public make of this & how does it feed into voting intentions?

    He sure is a complex bloke!!

  7. There has been comment on people’s reluctance to admit voting for very right-wing parties in face-to-face polls. How does this affect Green and Respect figures (I cannot imagine it makes much difference to those for SNP and Plaid.

    The MORI poll appears to have a lower, 9% Other percentage, although within the allowance for error of the Poulus Poll, which at 11% appears in line with the general trend.

    Comments I have made recently about needs to break down the Other vote and methodolgical complications that the increasing importance of Other parties is causing, and which appear not to be being addressed, still apply.

  8. John TT

    Your are right that the BoE has “loaned” vast sums to Northern Rock, but secured against what exactly ?

    The reality is that unless a proper rescue can be arranged, then a large part of that loan will have to be written off (ie “lost”), while any rescue (including nationalisation) will in itself cost vast sums of money.

    Northern Rock is broke (in both senses of teh word) and propping it up with taxpayers money will eventually be seen as a mistake.

    Incidentally, the only way that the “security” could be actually be used to recover the loan is to foreclose on all the mortgages – can you see any government repossessing half a million homes ?

  9. Paul –
    Of course the Govt could not personally foreclose. They would do the sensible/obvious thing : sell the mortgage book to a third party.
    That would immediately release the funds to replenish the taxpayer. If that happens via a nationalisation process, then the shareholders will lose (like the Railtrack shareholders lost), nut not the taxpayer.

    One of the mis-conceptions is that all the loans are 100% + ( and sub-prime ) mortgages. There will be many homes which have 1-10% mortgages – clearly not in danger of negative equity problems. Likkewise, almost all of them have been mortgaged to prime borrowers, not sub-prime ones.

    To me, the rush to appropriate any analysis in order to prove a partisan point actually denudes the sincere of their perfectly respectable intention/opinions. I totally recognise the danger of RISKING at any price or potential benefits to our hard-earned tax revenues, which we all expect to go to proper causes.

    The problem for me is the noise of partisanship.

    To even quote Howard Davies (Spending is not the same as Lending) brings on accusations that “Brown appointed him, so he’s corrupt, and from UP NORTH anyway”

    If any expert can set out the chances of the taxpayer actually losing money over Northern Rock, I’d be happy to read, but please let it be an expert analysis, not a party-political one.

  10. John T: The government would only not lose if the sale of the book was worth more than the costs the government has incurred … both the loans issued, guarantees made (£40bn + potentially) plus any compensation they would have to make to shareholders if a nationalisation were done.

    There is far from a guarantee that a sale would recover all that.

  11. NICK KEANE wrote :-

    Calm down. If you want your comments to be taken seriously then you are going to have to be less partisan and more objective”.

    I don’t recall ever stating what my politics were – i am a lifelong observer of politics and a shrewd judge of the way things will go – envy about my predictions is a compliment in itself .

    I am a very calm person normally & loyal to this united country – but like millions of others in this land i see at last a light at the end of the tunnel – even though it’s 2.5 years away – the wait can be very frustrating !

    If you misunderstand my annoyance at negative thinking Tories on here who seem to think that the only reason they are high in the POLLS is because Brown is getting bad media coverage and are thinking the Tories are still in some kind of political wilderness – need to open their eyes to reality / same goes for the dreaming Socialists (Labour & Liberal) that don’t realise that their time is over and it would have been better for Brown to have called an election and gone out quite proud rather than in tatters in 2.5 years .

  12. Blair left at the right time – he knew what was coming / has anyone thought that some of the information the media are getting about Brown & his cabinet may well be coming from Blair supporters within the Labour ranks or from the man himself !!

  13. Presumably the Bank of England has secured its money against my household mortgage which NR are still collecting every month

  14. As a shareholder I have mixed feelings about the Northern Rock affair. Part of me accepts that no investment comes free of risk and therefore we must take our losses -just grin and bear it-and so vote for a deal if one can be found- even if we only get 25p a share. Another part of me feels that the Bank of England were caught half asleep last August at a time when the “fort” was surrounded by hostiles and by the time the Bank in the form of the 7th Cavalry belatedly came riding to the rescue they found that the fort was reduced to a smoking ruin. Yes the taxpayer and the saver etc have priority over folk such as myself but if funds had been made available to NR last August-at commercial rates-all this could have been avoided and that thought makes be mad!

  15. If I were a NR shareholder I think I would reserve most anger for my Board-and particularly Mr Applegarth who departs today.

    I would certainly be wondering why the floorboards under the Tripartite regulation system set up by GB, had so many gaps that all semblence of oversight of NR’s flawed funding model slipped through them .
    In particular I might be thinking a class action against FSA worth a punt.

    But I would mostly wonder how it was that my Directors were the only bunch in charge of a UK mortgage lender to run out of cash.

    News today focusses on the possible failure of both the bids & the looming probability of nationalisation.
    Make no mistake that would have major political fall out for Labour.-
    What price to pay for NR shares?
    What reaction from NR shareholders.
    And worst of all what is the actual collateral for the Treasury Loan?
    Newspaper reports have frequently pointed out the £55bn of mortgage book pledged to an offshore company as part of NR’s labyrinthine funding mix.This is said to be around half the total mortgage book value and may not be available as offset for the Treasury Loan.
    Another report gives NR’s AVERAGE loan to value as 77.4% !!-and values are said to be falling.

    ..and there must be a bucketload of other ramifications following a nationalisation of NR.

    This could get very interesting.

  16. Colin,

    You omitted to mention that NR just wrote off another £281m this week – not entirely clear why.

    I am not suggesting that the BoE will lose all the money it has lent to NR, but it is clear that they will not be able to recover the full amount, we just don’t know what the final bill will be until the fate has been resolved.

    Paul Smith, yes, your house may well be collateral for the BoE loan – but only if your mortgage has not already been bundled up into the off-shore securitisation.

    You may well be making your repayments diligently, but are they enough to meet NR’s costs for funding your loan ? In too many cases that answer is no, which is why NR is losing money as every week goes by.

    Put simply, if your mortgage is on a fixed rate, then the chances are that it costs NR more per month than you are paying them.

  17. Apparently, according to the Guardian, as well as having £55 bn held off shore by Granite in the Channel Islands so that it could be bundled and sold while still showing as an asset on NR’s books, Granite used it to raise £72 bn in loans , that apparently don’t show on NR’s books. work that one out.

    Also granite has a charitable status because it apparently supports a small charity in Newcastle, but doesn’t seem to have ever given it any money and until the Guardian contacted them they didn’t even know that they were the supposed beneficiary. further investigations suggest that lots of high street banks are using the same route to get round tax and FSA rules.

    The more we look closely at Britain’s world class banking system, the worse the story seems to be becoming. The worrying thing is that it is the corner stone of the UK economy.


  18. Paul HJ-yes I missed the NR sub-prime hit-I guess that hasn’t helped.

    News today is Gold Filled Sacks ( aka Goldman Sachs) called in by Darling to find a way through for bidders!!
    When you stand back it does seem odd that the very source of funds which turned the tap off to NR direct should now turn it on again via a third party.The nature & quality of the Loan Book hasn’t changed-maybe it’s the prospective new management which provides the confidence. In that respect Olivant would be my favourite.

    Ref Peter’s remarks about the UK banking sector-On QT the other night Chris Patten ( not a favourite of mine!) made a very interesting remark-something like this-” I never understood how a mortgage given to a poorly paid janitor in some USA mid-west town, which he cannot now aford to repay could bring a British Bank to it’s knees-now I realise that the Banks didn’t understand either”….!!

  19. A new YouGov poll is showing C 45, Lab 32, LibDems 14.

  20. The Yougov poll is excellent for the Tories. It will be interesting to see if this sort of lead (or any double-digit lead) is sustained into the New Year. If they get this sort of advantage next May then Labour really are in trouble

  21. IMVHO

    The reasons why Gordon Brown has slumped since coming to power are many of the reasons some give, but the most important ones are more terminal for this Labour government.

    There WAS a perception among a sizable proportion of traditional socialists that Gordon Brown represented something different from Tony Blair in terms of policy. These included issues such as The Iraq war, immigration, corruption and patronizing anti working class spin. Much sooner then Brown I am sure planned. This thinking has now shown itself to have been a desperate act of hope winning over reality.

    It is now clear to even the most hopeful of thinking libertarian type Labour supporters that the differences between Brown and Blair were just ones of personality and stile. Even these differences show Brown in a worse light the Blair. Who could at least sell his own and all of our grandmothers with a convincing straight face.

    These lost votes will not now come back under any conditions that I can imagine. Votes which have now started to transfer directly to the main opposition party or will bolster support for the BNP and the Lib/Dems.

    As it seems also that the aggregate Lib/Dem and BNP vote is also going nowhere notably positive, Mrs Cameron I believe can start thinking about curtains.

    Voters dont like been proved to have voted for the wrong man or party. Blair had a claim to loyalty that Brown does not, and will now never achieve. Nobody at all voted for Brown, so the less government dependent, less partisan voter, can dump our personality and personal habit challenged prime minister with a clear conscience.

    The Cameron strategy is working very well, and in the long term will work even better, as the many people distressed not to say SCREWED by this governments actions over the last 10 years, take their long delayed sweet REVENGE.

    Even if they have to eat their words hold their noses and vote for a Tory again in their millions.

  22. Atlas,

    I think your analysis is probably spot on. The question is what that means in polling terms.

    I suspect that while headline figures may appear to show support moving direct from Lab to Con with LD static, the reality is that there is significant underlying churn – ie Lab to LD and LD to Con – but not necessarily in the same areas.

    This could mean that when the election finally does come the LDs may face massive changes in their parliamentary group, losing 30-40 seats to Con but taking maybe 10-15 from Lab.

    Even regional polls may not be enough to show the effect of this churn since we are likely to see traditional socialists switch to LD, while the white working class opt for the BNP.

  23. In response to ‘Atlas Shrugged’ I do get bored when a site devoted to analysis of polls becomes a site for right wing propaganda as shown by your name. Ayn Rand was an idiot who masqueraded her loopy philosophy in rightwing trash novels. Yes, I know I shouldn’t write this but when a nom de plume is so provocative against the site I am lowering myself.

    Consider –

    Evil requires the sanction of the victim.
    Ayn Rand

    How does one equate this with Hitler?

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