Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor also shows Labour down since “smeargate”, but the overwhelming benificaries are the Liberal Democrats. The full topline figures with changes from last month are CON 41%(-1), LAB 28%(-4), LDEM 22%(+8)!

Any polls showing a party moving by 8 points deserves some degree of scepticism, though of course, the broad trend here – a further slump in labour support with people moving over to the Lib Dems is the same as in the Marketing Sciences poll, though obviously not to the same scale. In contrast it obviously doesn’t tally with ICM’s poll.

From a period when the polls were all very static and telling the same story, things are suddenly a lot more muddy. I’ve have a closer look at this poll later on when the tables appear.

UPDATE: The full results from MORI are now up on their website here, though the actual tables haven’t surfaced yet. One very significant finding is a huge improvement in optimism on the economy, 35% of people now think the economy will get better in the next 12 months. 37% expect it to get worse, giving a net economic optimism figure of minus 2. In last month’s MORI poll it was minus 29, so a huge leap. The public at least seem to be moving towards thinking the economy has bottomed out – though it remains to be seen how the budget will affect that view.

45 Responses to “MORI shows Lib Dems up 8”

  1. I think it is now reasonable to conclude, that from the last 4/5 surveys the Tory Lead is circa 13/14 and Labour are back just below 30 with Lib Dems the beneficeries. The interersting Polls will be after the Budget. I don’ t think we are going to see much of a change though. I’m guessing that Comres will be something like Con 44, Lab 28, Lib 21

    What do others think?

  2. It’s still landslide territory. Remember that Blair got 43% of the popular vote in 1997. I think those who think Cameron has failed because the Tories aren’t polling 50-60% expect too much.

    Still, it could all change over the next few weeks after the budget so we probably shouldn’t get too worked up about these numbers. In a fortnight they won’t mean a whole lot.

  3. I don’t think the picture we’re getting is particularly muddy, except for the Lib Dems. Tory support is consistently in the low 40s. Labour support is hovering around in the high 20s and on a good day might soar to, ooh, around 30.

  4. I am becoming increasingly sceptical of MORI opinion polls. Ever since there reassessment of their polling methodology the figures they are producing tend to move around alot from month to month.

    Are there any views on this?

  5. Wayne. How can Others possibly be as low as 7%? You have at least another 5% to take off the three parties.

  6. Colin,

    My maths ain’t great you are probaly right. I think Lib would be more like 19/20 and tories 43/44

  7. Remember the Tories need about a 9% lead over Labour to get an overall majority of 1. According to the average poll figures they are within margin of error of this at the moment making the possibility of a hung parliament a very likely outcome.

    Yes it is true that at the other end of the scale the Tories are within margin of error of a landslide majority. But if this were to happen they would need to be between 15 and 20 points ahead of Labour to take account of the +/-3 per cent margin of error in the polls that would mean that they were still well ahead to give them a majority.

    Apart from the odd poll or two this doesn’t appear to be happening. The Tories are generally static and it is the Liberal Democrats who are gaining from Labour.

    What do people think?

  8. Some big poll movements going on at the moment. The one thing that ALL polls are agreed on, however, is that the Conservatives a solidly on or above 40% – Ranging anywhere from 40-45%, with I guess an average of 42%.

    The Tories have polled 40% or above in every single poll conducted this year – A very solid performance indeed.

  9. “Remember the Tories need about a 9% lead over Labour to get an overall majority of 1. According to the average poll figures they are within margin of error of this at the moment making the possibility of a hung parliament a very likely outcome.”

    “What do people think?”

    I think you need to think more carefully about the margin of error. While it’s true that a poll with such figures MAY reflect hung parliament territory, it equally MAY reflect landslide territory. Most likely, it represents what it says.

    But once you get into the business of collating polls together, your overall margin of error shrinks. If ALL polls say Labour 28 (+-3) and Conservatives 41 (+-3); then the actual margin of error is, AIUI, more like +-1.

  10. Has a polling gap of 9% ever produced an overall majority as low as one? Difficult to believe – and not supported by any of the results of the post-war Conservative wins.

  11. This seems very odd. The Lab/Con figures are probably about right, but the Lib Dems having effectively a 57% swell in support in a month is very bizarre (from 14 to 22).

    I would suggest much of this 8 point jump is actually a correction from a inaccurately low 14% support in the last MORI poll in March – previously MORI were recording around 17/18 for the Lib Dems.

    A 4 point jump in Lib Dem support as a “non-of them” vote in the wake of smear-gate would seem more feasible.

  12. @ Richard – “Remember the Tories need about a 9% lead over Labour to get an overall majority of 1.”

    Depends on the distribution of the votes, surely.

  13. “The Tories are generally static and it is the Liberal Democrats who are gaining from Labour.”

    Yes I think that is the picture portrayed.

    We are waiting for an end to the phoney war, and the start of a proper GE campaign with opposing policies on offer.

    The sooner the better.

  14. The interesting question is why are the Tories not doing better? The government has had a pretty awful time, smeargate, unemployment rising at a rate of knotts, reposessions markedly up etc etc. So their poll numbers are not surprising. For the Tories anything less than 40% is likely to give them a problem (yes the demographics arent fair but it worked the other way round in the 1980’s) and given that we are likely to be a year away from an election figures of 40% – 42% are far too close for any sort of comfort. Cant remember what sort of figures maggie achieved in 78/79 but I seem to remember high 40s low 50s blair certainly achieved those sort of figures in 96/97. We can argue about changes in polling methodology but it does seem to me that the current tory position is not as strong as historical comparisons perhaps not disimiliar to kinnock in 91/92. If come the Autumn the tory figure has dropped a few points, say to around 39%, then there will be a lot of very nervous tory supporters around

  15. Not surprised to see a Lib rise in response to a Labour slump; it’s either that or a Labour ‘not voting at all’ response (probably filtered out).

    It’s always fun to think about what might be in 6/9 months time- but if we jumped back 6/9 months who would have guessed all the fun we have had?

    The EU elections could be interesting…

  16. Well, it looks as though the Lib Dem support is fairly solid and not the beneficiary of soft ex-labour support. It’s also looking like the Tories are having trouble getting above the 40-43% level.

    Also it’s not quite as simple as saying the Tories need a 9 point lead in order to get a 1 seat majority because when is the swing ever uniform?

  17. You can’t accurately take a national percentage and apply it to seats. Our stupid electoral system has so many factors to work in that you can’t really know – distribution of the votes being key.

  18. Interesting recent polls, and interesting comments here…

    For the record, the polls this year show a fairly consistent situation for the Conservatives, and the variations are generally between Labour and the LibDems.

    My dynamic graph (in Fireworkz) shows this very clearly, whereas looking at the figures probably won’t readily reveal the trends that overcome individual poll variances.

    My gut feeling is that the actual result of a live election will be more definitive than the poll scene suggests, despite all the strings being pulled by Labour with its benefits dependants and the rest of its “client State”

    Even so, it will be only after the budget is taken into account within subsequent polls that a clearer picture should emerge; and these recent polls are useful in measuring the changes that might well occur between these and the next batch.

  19. I think the EU elections could be very interesting. I think it is a foregone conclusion that the Conservatives will top the poll by some distance, and Labour will come second – but by what margin? Who will be third – Libdem? UKIP? BNP?? It will be a very intriguing election and, I think that although the budget is the next big thing, the tone of then next year will be set between June 4th and the conference season.

  20. Richard Whelan I think it is simplistic to assume the Tories need about a 9% lead over Labour to get an overall majority of 1. It may be broadly so if there was a consistent swing throughout the UK but in practice this is unlikely to occur. Tactical voting and un-winding of tactical voting may have a hugh impact on the results.

  21. James Burdett
    What do you think the polls will be saying next week after the budget?

  22. Neil I agree. While recognising that the Euro results (to a limited extent) may be influenced by the reaction to the Budget I think the Euro & LA results in themselves could have a much bigger impact on the next GE result. This is partly because of the impact on the morale of the parties and the momentum gained by any party perceived to have done well.

  23. Persoanlly I believe the lib derm’s massive rise is due to smeargate “neither smearer or smeared be” or someting like that. This is actually bad for both side, although obviously the lib dems will be happy anyway with the increase in support. What it indicates is a split liberalist/socialist vote. This may make the 40-43% polls for the cons result in much higher gains in the actual GE or at the very least the June elections. Lib Dem is now a viable option for at least opposition. If I was a labour supporter (and I’m not…surprise surprise) then I would still be very concened about becoming the 3rd party in polotics with the UK moving to a 2 party voting system – oh how much easier that will be :-)

  24. I am a Labour supporter so it gives me no comfort to agree that a 9% lead would NOT lead to a 1 seat majority.
    A national swing of this size will reflect a time for change message even if no great desire for the Tories.
    As such the swing in marginals will be greater balancing out some of the current anti-cons bias in the TPTP break out.
    Reckon gap neesd to be 5% or to lower national to deny outright majority.
    Whether 9% lead gives a working majority is another matter and depends on Scotland, Wales, West Country as 6-10 seats held there by Nats or LD’s outside UNS projections could shave 20 off the majority.
    DUP maybe OUP could be powerful.
    I should add as a democrat that if the Tory lead is 9% and they poll over 38% they deserve to form the Government.
    Please no PR debate, maybe we should have but we don’t and having ruled with 37% Labour can not deny the Cons mandate with more.

  25. I think a 9% national leadwould give the Tories a fairly comfortable majority as I would expect an “Ashcroft Effect” to take place in the marginals with a bigger lead taking place there compared to the overal national share.

  26. With regard to the actual elections which will happen six weeks on Thursday (not long now), the impact on party morale and campaign resources will be slightly different as between County Councils and Euros.

    Losing Councillors, and more especially control of Councils, has a direct impact on party organsisation in a given area. This can have a knock-on effect on membership and morale over a number of years, and so reduce a party’s effectiveness in that area at the next general election. To demonstrate this, just consider the rise of LDs when the process is applied in reverse.

    MEPs on the other hand have absolutely no effect on a party’s grass-roots organisation. In the main they are seen as an unwelcome distraction from the serious business of electing local councillors and, if possible, MPs. Very few people could name a single one of their 3-10 MEPs, while most can name their local MP and many could not only name one or more of their local councillors, but may well know them personally.

    On that basis, the County Councils are theroretically the more important. However, where the Euros will have a serious impact is in the media. Labour losing their last four remaining County Councils may make headlines for the weekend, but by mid-June it will have disappeared from the media (though not forgotten by those on the ground). However, if the governing party were to receive less than one in five of votes cast in a nationwide election, and possibly the support of no more than 5-6% of the electorate, that is something which will produce reams of analysis and speculation sufficient to destabilise any government.

    Whatever Darling says tomorrow, nemesis will be met on 4th June. If turnout drops much below 30% (highly likely) and Labour’s share falls below 20% (probable), then Labour will have received the affirmation of less than 5% of the electorate. Expect blood on the carpet on Monday 8th June.

    In 2004, Labour topped the Euro poll in Scotland, Wales, and 3 of the 9 English regions. They came a close second in 3 others, but in Southern England they came not just third (Eastern), but fourth.

    This year I expect Labour to come first only in Wales and NE, with Scotland too close to call. Yet all three are regions with no local elections, so turnout could be extremely low with knock-on risk to Labour.

    Elsewhere in England, we could see Labour drop back to third or fourth place in many regions, and even be reduced to single figures in the south. The ultimate humiliation could be delivered in the SE region where, despite the low threshold, Labour may find itself unrepresented.

    Effect of Labour losing MEPs on European Parliament – practically none.
    Damage to party organisation & morale at grass roots – some, but not that much.
    Consequences for survival of Brown and outcome of GE – dire.

  27. The LD change isn’t totally surprising. I think they’re actually on about 18%, so the last two polls have both been out by 4%, which isn’t a huge amount.

    It’s difficult to believe Labour could be reduced to single figures in the South East region with no representation but it’s not completely out of the question.

    Of course Labour only received 2.8 million votes or 28% in the 1999 Euro election on a 23% turnout, which was about 6.4% of the electorate. Two years later they won a majority of 167, so it’s difficult to extrapolate from Euro elections to general elections.

  28. @JGC
    “The interesting question is why are the Tories not doing better?”

    In the past 7 elections, the % vote for the majority party has been 43.9, 42.4, 42.2, 42.2, 43.2, 40.7, 35.3.

    Other than a bit of a freak result last time out, 40-odd percent has been both a winning amount and a limit to support. Seeing as the polls have been fairly accurate predicting Tory support in the past few elections its safe to assume that their current level of support would see them to power.

    However, they’ll struggle to gain much more than a couple of percentage points from here. Don’t go expecting them to poll 50%+ like Blair was doing in opposition. Polls have come on a long way since then.

  29. Mark,
    Snap I looked the very same thing this morning the tories are on about 42/43. I CANNOT SEE LABOUR GETTING OVER 34% ?

  30. Andy

    True, re 1999 euros, which were midway between the two landslide victoires of 1999 and 2004. The main difference however is that Lab were some 20% ahead in the polls in 1999, and, apart from a blip over the fuel protests in 2000, maintained a double digit lead over Cons throughout the Parliament.

    Thus, given that they are currently on no more than 30% and at least 10 points behind, it is not unreasonable to assume that they will poll somewhat lower this June than in 2004, hence a score below 20% is probable.

    Of itself that does not mean that the next GE is lost – except that it will be less than a year away, and, apart from Brown’s first honeymoon bounce, they have been behind Cons, often by very large margins, for most of this Parliament.

  31. @ Mark M

    Spot on, the only people expressing surprise at he Conservatives not getting more in the polls are Labour supporters trying to spin a ten point deficit into a positive. To be honest I would be doing the same if I was a Labour supporter and we can expect more of the same over the next 12 months everytime a poll shows a smaller lead for the conservatives.

  32. Paul H-J

    Do you really think Labour will do that badly in the Euros? Will we get any specific useful polling over the next 6 weeks?

  33. You know, it strikes me that the 8-point LD jump is more an effect of how badly they polled last time. Low 20s for them seems to be about where they’re trending overall; 19, 21, and 22 are a fair range of results for a party. I think the result on 14 was the oddity here and Mori just stepped back in line with the others.

  34. I agree with Mark M’s analysis, not since 1970 has any politcal party won with more than 43.9% of the vote and therefore why should the next general election be any different.

    If you therefore take 43% or tthereabouts as the likely highest share of the vote any politcal party can achieve, these recent polls are not particularly bad for the Conservative Party. The argument that they should be doing better at this point in the electoral cycle is flawed because; 1) It presumes there is a pattern as to how people vote or say they will vote inrelation to a period of time.
    2) previously on this website there was a discussion that stated that although Labour had enjoyed massive leads before 1997, that prior to the general election these had settled into a similar pattern to what we now see for the Conservatives.

    As for talk of a Conservative landslide on the scale of 1997 or bigger, this would be virtually imposssible to achieve, the best they can hope for in my opinion is about 43% of the vote and a majority of 60-70 seats. The worst I think they can expect is between 36-38% of the vote and near parity with Labour in terms of seats.

    As for Labour it would seem beyond their wildest dreams to maintain their current notional majority of between 30-40. The best I think they can hope for is 35-36% of the vote and near parity with the Conservatives in terms of seats and votes. (It is very rare for governing parties to increase their share of the vote- 1955, 1966 and Oct 1974 are the only recent examples and only one of those was after a Parliament of between 3-4 years. The worst I think they can expect is betwen 30-32% of the vote and between 220 and 240 seats. As for the idea that an econmic recovery would benefit Labour there are at least three drawbacks to this argument: 1) The economy fro 1993-1997 recovered but the Conservatives got no credit for that.
    2) When the economy was not the big issue last year the Conservtives were even further ahead.
    3) The idea that the economy will recover by next year was dismissed yesterday by at least 2 groups of economists and an article an group discussion on Newsnight. Instead they all tended to state that the economy might start to recover next year but it would not be a spectacular resurgence.

    As for the notion that this next election could be a repest of the 1992 election there are at least two major flaws which jump out. The first one is that the majority the Conservatives were defending was significantly higher and they still lost a substantial number of seats which is something the Labour Party can’t and secondly the Conservative party had recently chnged their leader to John Major (a virtual unkown unlike Gordon Brown) whereas Neil Kinnock had been the leader and face of Labour for nearly a decade.

    Finally, the Lib Dems are in a difficult position if the election is perceived as competitive. It is therefore unlikely that they will achieve a result better or similar to 2005, it is more likely their vote will go down probably to the 18-20% mark and they will lose between 5-15 seats.

  35. Agree that 14% was probably too low for the LibDems… I would have expected them to increase though, particularly in the South East on the back of their positive part in press coverage surrounding G20 / Climate Stuff. They have been in the Guardian and Independent constantly and presence felt on the blogs.. this won;t get them new supporters, but it might shore up those who waver between them and some others..

  36. At the end of the day the electon will be decided in the marginals.

    It was Mandleson who said that you do not need percentage swings, just 25-30 thousand votes in certain wards to swing an election. In rock solid Labour what is a 13% Tory swing? Nada.

    Some MPs have majorities that are measured in hundreds. Just think how many wards could change hands with a bit of selective targetting – a bit like the LibDems trying to decapitate the Tories.

    A majority of 2000 just needs 1001 to change sides.

  37. I have not written on this site before but as a teacher of Government I find it very handy.
    The bias in the electoral system that is said to require a Conservative lead of 9% to generate a Commons majority of one seat may have largely disappeared. The size of the bias is hard to measure but arises mainly from tactical anti-Conservative voting in about 30-50 Labour held seats and the assumption of minimal anti-Labour voting. It also has to do with the smaller average population size of Labour-held seats.
    It is likely that the large positive Labour bias no longer exists and if current polls were to happen at the election, I suggest that Labour would do very badly because it is losing votes to both other parties.

  38. @Jeff – but that’s the point isn’t it. How much is the difference (if you will excuse me for taking a slightly different approach to the number) of a labour opposition/potential new term vs labour wilderness and 3rd place.

    I would be less sure of the Labour “rock solid” vote now that the libs are on the rise. As I have said before, Britain now has 2 faces prominent – liberalist and conservative. The formaltion of the socialist movement is from an industrialised past that is no longer relevant in todays society. Labour have constantly tried to apply a model to the current UK but as New Labour (cos the old one didn’t get votes) proves it doesn’t work. only Center left and Center right works and that’s where the libs and Tories are now.

    Consider how many “true” labour supporters are voicing their ire at not being properly represented in this government. The real changes will come from the liberals balancing tory policy – we may actually get some proper debate rather than the current name calling of brown and his cronies.

  39. Wow, looks like post budget, the smart money is on Labour and Libdems approaching convergence at 25% each!
    That all makes life very easy for the Tories (in theory)

    …well i somehow, despite their best efforts, I can’t see the Lib Dems being taken seriously enough to reach the mid-twenties for any sustained period.

    I reckon next week or so, we might see something like:

    Con 43% (static)
    Lab 27% (and falling)
    Lib 19% (static)
    Oth 11% (static, but rising slowly)

    LibDems have the dilemma of who to attack most, because whomever they attack most defines their identity to an extent; and if they attack both they appear to lack any identity, which is what maybe keeps them from making any headway.
    Ultimately, the LibDems’ best bet might be to attack Labour the most and concede some southern seats to the Tories; but I doubt they’re brave enough to do that.

    I might even suggest that after April, Labour might not see 30% for a loooooooong time… think of all the rot and strife ahead this summer: dirty MPs; rising unemployment; wet summer; a constant stream of bad news… I don’t think even a crisis can save ’em now!

  40. From the detailed data it would appear that the split for 18-34 year olds in this poll is Con 32 Lab 37 Lib 22.

    I am amazed that a majority of the ‘youth’ vote would plump for the incumbant party at this time. I’m sure that a recent YouGov poll had the Tories well ahead in this group when I last looked.

    Though I’m sure Labour have some fight in them yet I don’t think they can really be this close at this stage.

    Poll’s a rogue.

  41. I am expected the Greens to do better in this poll.
    No one ever mentions the greens. Why???

  42. @max

    Simple really. Because they are not in any way a significant force in UK politics

  43. Jeff Todd,

    The idea that it takes 1001 voters to change their vote to overturn a 2000 majority is one of the common misconceptions about how elections are won/lost.

    This would only hold true if one assumed all of the following:
    1 – the electorate at the two elections consists of exactly the same people
    2a – either everyone who was eligible voted, or
    2b – only those who voted last time will do so this time
    3 – everyone who voted last time will do so this time
    4 – all votes for parties other than top two remain unchanged.

    In fact, the first is a non-starter since over any given period of time some older voters will have died and some younger voters will have come of age – even before taking any account of those who have either moved away or into an area.

    2a is disproved since turnout is seldom above 80%, and in recent years has fallen below 60% in many seats.

    2b and 3 – based on a combination of 1 and 2a bothof these are most unlikely

    4 – The gap can be closed – or widened – by people moving away from one of the two leading parties to any of the other parties or vice-versa. The psephological term is “churn” and this is known to happen within a campaign period.

    Experience tells us that the impact of individual voters moving from one party to another is far more limited than the effect of people moving from voting to not-voting and vice versa. This is known as “differential turnout” and, the lower the overall turnout, the more likely it is to happen. The Tory rout in 1997 was caused far more by Tory voters from 1992 staying at home, than by a surge in support for Labour.

  44. Lib Dems up 8% from 14% suggests previous poll under-estimated Lib Dem support. Even if 22% is high, this suggests some movement towards Lib Dems as reflected in other recent polls.

  45. Rather than rubbishing the poll, it has always seemed to me that MORI underestimated Liberal Democrat support.

    If MORI have now adjusted their filters to try to correct this, surely that’s a good thing?