Just had this sent to me as I was packing up to go home, so don’t have time to post on it properly…but it’s a surprising news so I didn’t want to wait till tonight. MORI’s monthly political monitor shows Labour back ahead.

The topline voting intention figures with changes from their last face-to-face poll in December are CON 37%(-5), LAB 38%(+3), LDEM 16%(+1) (from their telephone poll for the Sun earlier this month the changes are an even more stunning Conservatives down 5, Labour up 6…but I think they are tending to produce slightly different figures these days).

The poll was conducted between the 17th and 23rd January – I’m told it was delayed simply because they wanted to take the time to double check the figures before publishing because of the surprising findings. This means the fieldwork would have been completed prior to both the Peter Hain resignation and the Derek Conway scandal, in fact roughly the same time that ICM were also showing a lift in Labour support.

Every pollster has now shown the level of Conservative support dropping, though there are contrasting findings as to who is benefiting at their expense. We haven’t yet seen any polls taken after the Conway affair, so it may well get worse for them.

(Incidentally, on the economic optimism question I wrote about the other day, the figures have got even worse. 60% think the economy will get worse, only 9% expect it to get better. The net economic optimism figure of minus 51 is the second lowest figure since 1980, the exception being the poll taken straight after September 11th 2001.)

79 Responses to “Ipsos MORI show Labour back in the lead”

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  1. It’s no good getting too excited (or depressed, according to who you support) about each individual poll. The public mood has been quite volatile for some time – and we all know that’s it’s going to be a long-term marathon that either main party might win in 2009/10.

    And in spite of the tone of many of these postings, the great British public has not yet shown that it has given Labour the boot – or that it’s entirely convinced that the Tories are really electable. Meanwhile, the slow-moving trends are more significant than individual ups and downs.

  2. A-hem…

    “By February the POLLS will be showing regular figures like :-

    Con. 44% – 47% / Lab. 27% – 30% / Lib. 14% – 18% as regular averages and between those figures . Watch this space ! This gap will continue no matter what now.

    For all my doubters and critics – please feel free to cut and paste this comment for future use !

    December 17th, 2007 at 12:29 am ”

    Nuff said.

  3. Glenn:-

    “In my opinion Brown and the Labour party are being forced by the public and the Tories to move their policies reluctantly to the right”

    Absolutely spot on Glenn.It’s totally cynical and without principle of any kind-but it keeps the punters confused..As witness the last PMQs-” I thought of reducing Police admin three years ago”…”Yes but we are actually going to do it”….”But will you actually get rid of this form in my hand?”…”Wait for the XYZ Report”…”That means you’re not going to get rid of the forms we would get rid of”……

    What on earth is the public to make of this sort of stuff?-no wonder they are confused.

    “at some stage there will be unrest in the Labour party over policy”

    I disagree Glenn-when push comes to shove they will support Conservative policies-or Attila The Hun’s policies-if it keeps their bums on the green leather.

    Cameron-somehow- has to convince people that whatever Brown’s administration promise, they won’t do it or they will cock it up.He has to convince people that the best party to implement Conservative Policies is the Conservative Party.

    The former should be a doddle-the latter is looking a little more difficult.

  4. ICM shows a slight increase in the Conservative lead…HOWEVER three more Conservative MP’s have been joined in the trough by their families and have been found out,I assume they will be named and shamed in tomorrows papers.

    How many more are there…this story will run.

  5. Still baffled by the insistence by many that any poll that is better for Labour/worse for Tories has to be rogue/silly/out of step etc. The Labour lead here is probably at the far end of the margin of error, but the pattern has been clear for 2 months now, backed up by votes in council by elections where Labour/LDs are doing rather well and the Tories are pretty consistently losing both votes and seats, (albeit in many cases from a previous high point).

  6. New ICM poll is Con 37 Lab 32 LibDem 21 so another rogue poll for Meesrs Beale and Richardson to complain about .

  7. I don’t know which polls are rogues or not, but I do have a gut feel (as a Tory) that we are doing well – but not well enough.

    Too reliant on tabloid headlines, and gaffs by the other parties…and I think we kind of ran out of material over Xmas/New Year. Good policy work has been done – it needs to be got across more. If they do that, they can open up 10 point leads again, and who knows, other polls may show that anyway.

  8. I was expecting ICM to give the tories a much lower lead than reported to be honest!

  9. I think the last post is about right. Good, but not good enough. I still feel the Tories achilles heel is in their dual identity and lack of a clear philosophy. Any party that has people like John Redwood and Ken Clarke in it will face uncertainty about what they actually stand for. Cameron has not cleared this up in two years, largely because he doesn’t actually stand for anything (other than the tabloid headlines) himself. As we would expect from the heir to Blair.

  10. Sorry – was referring to JJ Broughton’s post.

  11. Glen, Colin:
    “In my opinion Brown and the Labour party are being forced by the public and the Tories to move their policies reluctantly to the right”

    Well of course Cameron made no attempt to move the previously completely unelectable Tories to the left, did he?

    Brown was one of the founders of “New” Labour and, although more in touch with its roots than Blair, he was never going to move the party strongly to the left. We’d better get used to a fight for the middle ground. It’s the Lib Dems who may get squeezed in the process unless they can find something to catch the imagination (other than opposition to the Iraq war).

  12. I may be a C supporter but the data analyses are not biased anywhere.
    Of the polls since 1/12/07 YouGov shows Mean C support of 42.4 with a Standard Deviation of 2, the others show C support of 39.3 with a StD of 2. The difference of 3.1 is not remotely statistically significant. Except perhaps to a child :-)

  13. As the difference in the means is greater than than the Standard Deviations then it it is quite significant to any statistician whether 8 or 80 years old .

  14. Not surprising to see the usual suspects with a ‘this poll means’ post it note.The poll means exactly what it means, as does the ICM one showing a Tory lead.One thing the polls don’t show is a growing Tory lead which was being predicted as a certainty by several regulars before Xmas.The only effect of polls is on party morale and public perception.The fact that the polls have ceased to be spun in the press as “worst Labour poll since etc” will be good enough for Labour-for now.And I suspect the end of the Lib Dem free fall will be a relief to Lib Dems too.As for the Tories, live by opinion polls, die by opinion polls.When Cameron lost his equally large lead in the summer there was open panic among the Tory blogosphere , the public were fickle then as they are now.That’s what the polls mean.

  15. JohnH

    The observation is one about naked plagiarism-unrelated to party philosophy, and in complete contrast to policies enacted whilst in Government:-

    *Cutting basic rate Income Tax ( whilst concealing an increase in lower band tax rate)-after ten years of accusing Tories of wishing to do such a heinous thing.
    *Cutting Inheritance Tax after Tory proposals to do so.
    *Deciding to build more prisons, after years of saying they were not “the answer”, and accusing the Tories of just wanting to lock people up.
    *Reversing Policies on Targets & Bureaucracy in Health & The Police after years of implementing them.
    *Reversing policies on uncontrolled migration after years of characterising Tory concerns as “Racism”.
    *Introducing policies on Welfare to Work, after the Tories announced theirs (last October.)

    etc etc.
    I confidently predict that there will be more of this.Perhaps it’s what Brown meant by the “Change” he trumpeted on becoming PM-ie Change to all Labour’s previous policies, because the Conservatives policies seem more popular.

    I agree with you about the crowded centre ground-but judging by the latest ICM Poll it’s Labour who are getting squeezed -by the Lib Dems.

  16. Colin I think the points you have made are correct it was that very moment when Brown announced he would cut the rate of income tax by 2% then concealing it that I started to doubt his integrity
    Before that I genrally gave him my backing thinking he had done a fairly good job in his first term he seemed honest about being “prudent”
    My opinion started to change slightly through Labours second term when he started spending our money on public services without a well thought out reform agenda so we would get value for money then a consistant rise in taxation through stealth and council tax
    I also didnt like the way he and his buddys were trying to oust Blair
    So when I heard that 2% tax statement in that budget I thought you deceitful slimeball and it seems I was right I just dont belive a thing he says anymore every proposal he seems to put forward is muddled looks ok on the outside but get to the nitty gritty and it seems badly thought out and just not what you thought it was in the first place!
    John H has a point though Cameron did have to move his party nearer the centre to be able to become electable and I do think some in the party find this a difficult thing to accept and that will continue
    But I do think Cameron is more comfortable talking about and putting forward policies for social issues the NHS etc than Brown is when he puts forward policies on crime immagration, europe etc they always seem to be muddled and confusing and notice he is very silent on taxation we already know council tax will be up 4-5 %this year im sure he will be comming up with another confusing tax increace at the next budget

  17. Someone who should know better said:


    This is nonsense. Standard statistical significance measures do not come in until the means differ by something like twice the standard deviation.

    Perhaps Anthony would set this out for us all.

  18. Bob – I meant “opposite number” which is Cameron.
    The 10p tax band was introduced by Brown – I agree it was hardly a leftist idea to replace it with a 2% cut, but iut wasn’t concealed in any way. It was a straight swap.

  19. John TT-I watched that Budget presentation on TV.

    I saw GB’s announcement-“I have received representation about tax cuts”-pause to grin at Opposition-“I am pleased to say etc etc-lowest standard rate since time began “etc etc-sits down to backslaps from Blair-childish grins all round.

    Not a mention that the 10% band would be abolished.

    Papers the following morning highlighted the con-trick.

    It was pure theatre-to steal the Tories clothes-and those on lowest incomes paid for the whole charade ( well they start paying this April)

    As I said totally without principle, and not a moral compass to be seen anywhere.

  20. John TT

    I wanted to check my facts so have looked again at the 2007 Budget speech.The following words are the final ones in the speech before Brown sat down :-

    “And I have one further announcement.

    With the other decisions I have made today we are able to hold to our pledge made at the election not to raise the basic rate of income tax.

    Indeed to reward work, to ensure working families are better off, and to make the tax system fairer, I will from next April cut the basic rate of income tax from 22p down to 20p.

    The lowest basic rate for 75 years.

    And I commend this Budget to the House.”

    I can find no reference in the presentation to the scrapping of the 10% Income Tax Band.

  21. I’m pretty sure he did say something about it because I can remember naively thinking he meant that people would no longer pay any tax in that band (like the libdems suggested) not that they’d pay double. Hardly sounds like a policy from a “progressive” party does it?

  22. It is right that we are warned about small changes in percentages that may be due to sampling error.

    That said, it is not self-evident to me that the Conway episode (the psephological effects of which I suspect will not last long) should harm the Tories rather than Labour (or other parties). Firstly, the resulting general image may generalise across Westminster politicians as a whole. Secondly, voters might think that Labour as the majority party could have cleaned up parliamentary standards generally, and indeed perhaps unsophisticated voters may think this is a Government responsibility rather than one of MPs (a majority of whom are Labour) themselves. Of course, the other, simpler, possibility is that as Conway is a Conservative MP his actions will make fewer people intend to vote Conservative. But this is speculation. Clearly it is an issue which could in theory be investigated by attitude survey techniques.

  23. Just to state that ipsos-MORI have been advertising for interviewers for their call centre in Lowestoft. So if anyone wants a job get in touch.

  24. Here it is snuck in near the end:-

    “So having put in place more focused ways of incentivising work and directly supporting children and pensioners at a cost of £3 billion a year, I can now return income tax to just two rates by removing the 10p band on non savings income. “

  25. Thanks Steven-I missed it.

    It was the theatricals at the end which live in my memory.

  26. I’m old enough to remember the years before Labour lost power both in 1970 and 1979. In the four years before 1970, Labour lost 17 seats in parliamentary by-elections and were way behind in the opinion polls for a long period of time. Something similar happened in the years 1976-79.
    If the Tories were on course to win next time, you would expect them to win by-elections (not come third) and to have a large and enduring opinion poll lead. On top of that, they have no real power bases in the large northern cities. The Tories have an enormous mountain to climb, needing to gain 130 new seats to get a wafer-thin majority. In my opinion, these are “mid term blues” and Labour will win the next election, probably with a 20-30 majority.

  27. If he hadn’t announced it, there would have been reason to complain. However, he did announce it.

    If the 10p band hadn’t been introduced by Brown, but a 2p cut instead at the time(it costs almost the same) then accusations of “con-tricks” would have been avoided.

    A more progressive tax cut would have been to raise lower thresholds , but the target always seems to be the middle class voter.

  28. I totally agree John. In fairness the announcements on child benefits etc were welcome but I kind of resent the fact that my taxes went up (albeit slightly) while multi-millionaires had there cut (IHT etc). I guess I’m just whinging, I know it’s all politics and if GB didn’t try and pacify the middle classes then he wouldn’t be in power to make the changes I really do care about. It just irritates me that it’s so rare to hear anyone on the front bench really (vocally) standing up for Labour values.

  29. The votes they might win by doing so are already theirs.
    The middle class is the majority (though pretty well split politically)

    The “third way” was all about abandoning ideology in favour of follwing that majority. In doing that, Blair alienated those to the left of him politically AND those to the right.

    I’m part of the middle class, and I’m hoping against hope that “we” will in future provide polling companies with data that allows future Govts to apply relef where it’s most needed, not just where it’s most visible.

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