Ipsos MORI have published their monthly politial monitor for Reuters. The topline voting intention figures are CON 40%(+1), LAB 38%(+7), LDEM 14%(-5). I always urge some amount of caution with great big shifts in support, but in this case we have already seen Labour increasing their support into the mid 30s and the Lib Dems dropping into the mid-teens with YouGov’s daily polling, so while it’s not to the same degree (this is the smallest Conservative lead any poll since the election has shown), the trends are in the same direction.

241 Responses to “Ipsos MORI – 40/38/14”

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  1. Valerie
    “But Colin, it’s not just LA’s who rely too much on ticking boxes. So do all organisations and companies, both private and public.”

    If you really mean “all” we will have to disagree.


    “Why is the Prime Ministers visit to India a “train wreck” ?

    Because everything DC does-or any member of the government does -or anyone who does not share Rob’s particular view of humanity & how it should be organised & directed for the greater good, does or says, is by definition a train wreck…….a train wreck full of very nasty people .

    It’s tough in Robs world,surrounded as he is by woolly liberals and grasping tories who don’t want to join his Bleak Utopia.

  3. Meanwhile, back on the original topic of the post…

    Labour starting from a high base could put pressure on the Tories come the cuts. How the public reacts to the cuts, and how quickly we return to solid growth could then determine the next GE.

    As for the LD poll ratings, having voted LD at every election (apart from London Mayor) since 1997, I don’t really detect any discernable difference between where they are now (mid teens), and where they typically reside between GE’s.

    As for Cameron’s tenuous grasp of foreign affairs, is anyone genuinely surprised by this? It is rather risible though for a PM to slate a state’s intelligence service (in this case the ISI) for having fingers in a few pies bacause that’s not the way democracies behave! Pull the other one, DC. That’s now the way the CIA, MI6, RAW et al behave? Seriously?


    I think it is a mistake to regard support for extension of the EU as a europhile policy – it is a policy designed to weaken the EU. In all honesty the Foreign Office has been pursuing that strategy since the 1970’s – to defeat the Franco-German-Benelux desire for deeper union. Perfidious Albion indeed.

  5. @ Ken

    “another white, middle class, ambitious showboater”

    Remind me – who’s leading the Conservative party? ;)

  6. @ Ken

    And the Liberal Democrat party? ;)

  7. @Billy………..It’s expected of us, but we have had the first woman PM, the Labour party is hardly diverse. :-)

  8. Howard – larger sample size reduces the variability of the sample, so if you were getting to much of a certain demographic just randomly through normal sample error, it would address the problem.

    What it doesn’t do is reduce any sample biases from other reasons, like non-contact bias or non-response bias (or in this case, probably just sending out emails in slightly the wrong proportions).

    For example, raw phone samples tend to overrepresent Labour voters, and therefore most phone pollsters use pastvote weighting to correct the problem (which it does very well). Conducting bigger phone polls wouldn’t solve that, because it’s a systemic problem, not one caused by sample error.

    Remember that the margin of error you see quoted is based purely on sample error (and is based upon a genuine random sample, which no media polls are). It doesn’t include all the other possible reasons for error or in a poll (or things like stratification of the sample which would reduce sample error).

  9. Ken – I have deleted several comments from you. The comment policy here is for non-partisan discussion, not criticising political parties or picking arguments with people with different political viewpoints.

  10. @Anthony……….Thanks for the steer. :-)

  11. @JOHNTY
    I totally agree about Turkey. Its inclusion in the EU is a motive of division between EU countries. I certainly do not subscribe to blind islamophobia, but the reticence of many Europeans to accept Turkey as a EU member is due to its lack of respect for human rights, e.g. regarding the Kurdish minority, and to the fact that it still occupies by military force a part of a EU country, i.e. Cyprus. The irony is that neither Greece nor Cyprus object to the inclusion of Turkey in the EU. The stronger reactions come from countries such as France, Austria and the Netherlands. If any of these three countries puts Turkey’s admission in referendum, the No will win by landslide.

  12. no need for any complacency, but Labour is so much better off than after the 1979 defeat.

  13. @WML

    I always thought Prince was a bit overrated. Altho’ he had a few good songs. I just remember he changed his name as a protest. You? :-)


    Yes I should have said ‘many’ rather than ‘all’. There is always an exception that proves the rule.

    By the way Ofsted is independent of Local Authorities so they are not responsible for how Ofsted behaves. One less thing to blame them for.

  14. @CHRIS LANE………..Couldn’t agree more Chris. The same of course could be said of the Tories post ’97.

  15. Chris Lane,

    I agree the first part of your statement. But the second – coupled with many comment posted here – indicates that it can nonethless be found in abundance.

  16. @Anthony

    Do raw voter samples overestimate labour voters because they are less likely to go out and do the deed?


    I doubt it’s a human rights issue. Islamophobia? Well there are strong anti-Islam sentiments in France and the Netherlands, particularly when it comes to the cultural practices of some Muslim countries.

    In many of the founding countries of the then EEC, Christianity, and in particular the Crusades, helped to define Europe as a political entity. They see the EU philosophically as a continuation of that entity.

    Personally, I am not in favour of Turkey joining in any case. It would be better served by looking east. It has already lost much of its identity anf if it were to join the EU, it would become the most generic country in the world. All IMHO, of course.

  18. Chris Lane,

    May I suggesat you do some research. Try the HoC Library.

    Lab secured 11.5m votes (36.9%) and 268 seats (42.2%)
    This represented a change of +50k votes, -2.4% share and – 51 seats compared to previous GE.

    Lab secured 8.6m votes (29.0%) and 258 seats (39.7%)
    This represented a change of -950k votes, -6.2% share and – 97 seats compared to previous GE.

    This also represents a change of -2.9m votes, -7.9% share and – 10 (-2.5%) seats compared to 1979.

    Are you sure the Labour party is so much better off today than after the 1979 defeat ?

  19. Martyn – David Miliband seemed very keen on AV in Brighton tonight.

  20. Valerie – no one really knows. It may be that Labour voters are more likely to be at home when pollsters ring – that they are perhaps less likely to have cash to go out. MORI find more public sector employees in their raw samples than in the population as a whole (which correlates with voting Labour), which could be because public sector workers tend to have more holiday and more sick days.

    It could be a bias in the way phone numbers are selected. People who are ex-directory are apparently more Conservative. Phone pollsters try to get round this by selecting numbers from the phone book… and then randomising the last digit, so some ex-directory numbers still get called. Depending on how phone numbers are distributed though, that should still bias samples towards phone exchanges with less ex-directory numbers.

    It could even be attitudinal – perhaps left wing voters are more altruistic, and more willing to spend 20 minutes answering a strangers questions on the phone.

  21. @Paul H-J & Colin

    You’re both right, complacency ill serves any organistion, especially political parties, but it can afflict all parts and shades of the political spectrum, remember. I think Labour’s high spirits may be down to relief that the scale of their defeat wasn’t as large as they feared it might be and the post election polls are providing astonishingly good news for them considering we’re amidst a government honeymoon. Whether high spirits and swelling morale is complacency or an indication of genuinely held optimism I suppose is open to debate. Conclusions on that may fall according to political partisanship.

    But maybe the two coalition parties need to guard against complacency too for there are real political hazards and dangers ahead for them. After years (eons for the Lib Dems!) in the political wilderness, I can understand the euphoria of Tory supporters seeing Tory ministers clutching red boxes and stepping out of limousines and into Downing Street, but the hard slog of goverenment will soon set in and novelty is a quickly lost pleasure. Ironically, their best defence against complacency might well be the effective oppostion provided by a reinvigorated and vibrant Labour Party. Good for our democracy too.

    A final thought and subject for debate. As our domestic politics realigns itself after the formation of this rather interesting and unusual coalition, does anyone see an inherent danger wrapped up in an opportunity for Labour? The danger is that they cede the much prized and vaunted political centre ground where, we’re told, all elections are fought and won. That, I would think, would be Cameron and Clegg’s long term political strategy. Where’s the opportunity then? Well, what if the centre ground concept is flawed and there is an untapped potential on the social democratic left, now intriguingly vacated by the Lib Dems as their leadership tacks sharply right. We now have a coalition made up of the two quintessentially English middle class parties and I sense that this may be where the real opportunity now lies for Labour. Their new leader needs to re-create that old Gaitskell and Wilsonian broad church that embraced the social democratic, co-operative, liberal and socialist traditions, severed almost irretrievably during the New Labour years. This isn’t lurching left or courting unelectability as the 1980s Labour Party did, it’s a rediscovery of what a centre left democratic party should be about. I have a feeling it may provide an irresistible home for many ex Lib Dem voters, and quite a few long deserted former Labour supporters too.

  22. @PAUL H-J
    -“Are you sure the Labour party is so much better off today than after the 1979 defeat ?”
    Erm, yes.

    1979 – The Conservatives had an overall majority of 43 seats. The Conservatives won 339 seats, Labour 269, and the Liberals 11.
    2010 – The Conservatives have an overall majority of ……oh dear.

  23. Nick Hadley – I think that was a brilliant post, particularly the last bit.

  24. @Nick Hadley

    I dont post much but im constantly reading this site and i have to say its posts like yours that make this site enjoyable to read (whether or not i 100% agree with what you say)

    Just want to thank you for enriching my online experiance rather then the occasional political tit for tat. Also thanks Anthony for great insights and having the decency to run this website.

  25. Nick Hadley,

    Ironically, the best defence against complacency in the government is – as you note – an effective oppostion.. hence the axiom that landslide victories make for bad government. Pym – or was it Prior (remember them ?) – was right in that respect.

    A complacent Lab party just waiting for the coalition to fall apart so they can sweep back to victory on 35-37% of the vote is not good for the country.

    As to yout last para – read my posts about the mistake I think Lab have made in rushing their leadership election. Which of the candidates comes even close to attempting the Butskell/Wilson aproach of standing up for the working class (as opposed to a motley collection of interest groups) ?

    Some of our Lab colleagues here think I am being cheeky when I suggest that they look more closely at Balls for leader, but he is the nearest they have to what you describe.

  26. Julian,

    Two dads went to a school sports day. Both had held school records in their day.

    In their final year at School Dad A had won the 100m in 10.2s to Dad B’s 10.8s. Now well in their 40s, this year Dad A ran a time of 16.8s to Dad B’s 17.2s.

    Dad B proudly boasts that he was much closer than in the sixth form. His time today was only 2% more than A compared to 6% more decades before.

    B is sure that with a bit of exercise he will reduce his time to 16.5s and win next year.

    Enjoy the summer ! Sports day has been announced for 5 May 2011.

  27. @NICK HADLEY -“Well, what if the centre ground concept is flawed and there is an untapped potential on the social democratic left, now intriguingly vacated by the Lib Dems as their leadership tacks sharply right.”
    I don;t think the centre ground concept is flawed. The LDs have vacated the middle ground by tacking right. That would leave Labour with a broad sweep from centre to left to command. The left have nowhere else seriously to go (for better or worse). It’s the centre ground where the real fight is. And I don’t think Labour can afford to lose it, IMO.

  28. @PAUL H-J
    You forgot to mention that Dad B had been well and truly wopping Dad A during the last 13 school sports days.

  29. Paul H-J

    Thanks for the figures. I was aware of them since I teach some of this stuff, and have followed lab politics for decades like a train spotter!

    The point I was making is that Labour is not doing a Bennite rush to the extremes and that by early 1980 it was clearly out of the running for the next election despite Thatcher’s unpopularity

  30. The left or centre left concept isn’t flawed in theory, it just doesn’t deliver in practice, hence the ultimate fate of Labour administrations, economic collapse.
    We are unable as a country to finance the ambitions of the left or centre left. As the State grows, to deliver on promises made, so the private sector is put under pressure to deliver taxes required to fund the growing State.Eventually the cycle will move against the ambition and the State resorts to borrowing to run its current account………..we know what happens next, to quote Liam Byrne, ” There’s no money left ” Tories in to sort it out, etc. etc. :-)

  31. Julian,

    Too true :-(.

    Still, Dad A now has the keys to the gym….

    Just off down to JJB…

  32. @WoollyMindedLiberal and others

    As sample size increases the poll improves, but it’s not like-for-like: if the sample size doubles, the estimate isn’t twice as exact (I oversimplify for clarity). After a certain point, the expense of taking more sample outweighs the benefits.

    @Richard P and others

    I take your point about Labour not being obliged to vote for an “AV and X” bill if Labour disagrees with X

    @Sue Marsh and others

    Thanks for the heads up about the Milibands support for AV


    Yes it is possible. In fact, under FPTP, it’s possible for the election to be rerun, the Conservatives to get exactly the same number of votes, the total number of votes to be exactly the same, and the Conservatives to win *every* seat. In fact, under FPTP, it’s possible for the election to be rerun, the Conservatives to get exactly the same number of votes, the total number of votes to be exactly the same, and the Conservatives to win *only one* seat (albeit by a very large majority). And people wonder why I’m so agin FPTP… :-)

    @John Murphy and others

    Are you seriously saying Labour’s manifesto commitment was to hold an AV referendum whilst saying “but we don’t really want you to vote Yes”. That was the plan?

    @eric goodyer

    I take your point that the duty of Oppositions is to oppose. I would however prefer that electoral reform not get messed up in the process.

    Regards, Martyn

  33. @WoollymindedLiberal

    I think it’s interesting because it shows you the somewhat precarious position that the Lib Dems are in in terms of pulling the plug on the coalition. The rank and file may not like what the Tories are doing but if they were to bring down the government, they would risk getting slaughtered and a conservative majority without any LibDem checks on it.


    I don’t think the election would happen in a vacuum so it’s unlikely that you would have an election without any seats changing hands between Labour and the Tories. But I was still struck by the possibility that you could have an election where the Tories won a majority even while Labour also made gains (also from Lib Dem seats).

  34. @Martyn

    I understand your opposition to FPTP though I think the scenarios you mention are rather unlikely to occur. I think in the 1992 Canadian election, their incumbent Tories were reduced from a healthy majority government to just two seats even though they won a few million popular votes and finished ahead of other parties who won far more seats than they did.

    I’ve always liked FPTP because I find it simple, easy to comprehend, fosters political cooperation, and can produce interesting politics. But I can see your opposition to it. It’s harsh and it doesn’t necessarily represent what voters in a constituency wanted.

  35. @ KEN

    “As the State grows, to deliver on promises made, so the private sector is put under pressure to deliver taxes required to fund the growing State.Eventually the cycle will move against the ambition and the State resorts to borrowing to run its current account………..we know what happens next,”

    I think this is spot on Ken.

    Rob’s “Smart State” Utopia will always become the Orwellian nightmare of authoritarian inflexibility as it needs more & more power to impose it’s mandatory equality.

    And the all pervading hand of the state in peoples lives, and where & how they must fit , gradually produces the downward spiral of economic & social torpor.

  36. @Martyn

    Well it may seem odd to you but that’s exactly what happened in the referendum on the Common Market as it was then called in 1975.

    Party members were allowed to campaign on Yes or No including cabinet ministers.

    To be honest it will always be the case for this subject has people who have genuine differences within as well as between parties.

    I think Labour should use this opportunity to force a wider referendum on AV PR and FPP on a separate day. Then let Libc and cons vote it down if they want to.

  37. @Colin……….You won’t see that on many union banners. :-)

  38. @John Murphy

    You said “…Well it may seem odd to you but that’s exactly what happened in the referendum on the Common Market as it was then called in 1975…”

    Hmm…nearly… :-)

    The 1975 Labour Government’s stance was for a “Yes” vote. The Labour Party’s stance was “Neutral”. Individual Labour Party members were allowed to be “Yes”,”No” or “Neutral” as they wished. Cabinet members (who are both Government and individuals simultaneously) were allowed to be “No” provided it was clear they were doing so in their own capacity as individuals and not as Government members.

    The position outlined by Garry K for our putative 2010 Labour majority government was that its stance would be for a “No” vote.

    So wheras the 1975 Labour Government was for a “Yes” vote in a referendum it was conducting, Garry’s putative 2010 Labour Government would be for a “No” vote in a referendum it was conducting. The former is logically coherent. The latter is not.

    I do, however, take your point that a free vote for individuals (provided it’s clear they do so as individuals) is legitimate. I also note that the Wilson method (Government pro, individuals/parties pro/con as desired) may be the way forward for the 2011 referendum.

    Regards, Martyn

  39. Martyn,

    Your final point has already been implicitly accepted by the Government – but with a minor tweak to reflect the reality of Coalition.

    DC, as leader of the government will push the referendum bill through the house to ensure it happens. However, when it comes to the campaign itself, DC will stand above the fray. Individuals / groups within the Coalition parties may organise and campaign as they wish. There is already a Tory No campaign group set up, but don’t presume that this means all Conservatives will be campaigning for a No vote. We could yet see a Conservative Yes campaign. (I might even be willing to lead it -but have not yet decided how I will vote) There will certainly be an LD Yes campaign. Perhaps there may even be an LD Vote No team – though I doubt it.

    For Lab, it may depend on the new leader, but there is no reason why he (or even she – the polls could be totally wrong, and it is an AV election) should not allow groups within the party to campaign on opposite sides. It would show an element of maturity and confidence that the leader is not afraid of internal fractiousness. Whipping the party machinery to campaign one way or the other may be counter-productive anyway.

  40. @Paul H-J.

    Thanks for the heads-up. Fair point.


  41. Nick Hadey:

    “Their new leader needs to re-create that old Gaitskell and Wilsonian broad church that embraced the social democratic, co-operative, liberal and socialist traditions, severed almost irretrievably during the New Labour years.”

    That’s a bit like what the SNP tries to be and they are no doing as well as you would expect from your analysis – which seems very sound in the abstract – or as they should be, considering the poor performance of the Labour and LibDem opposition.

    Labour are on their fifth leader in twelve years each one less effective than the last. The talent pool is not being refreshed sufficiently. They are held back by their subervience to London and ceaseless negativity in the confrontational Westminster manner.

    The LibDems have have also lost their most experienced MSP’s and havn’t the numbers to provide regular quality succession. Neither have the Cons of course but they happen to be in luck for the moment with a leader widely respected outwith the party.

    The Cons and especially the Greens avoid the negativiy though AS gives back whatever he gets.

    I can understand the temptation to do that, and that we all get pleasure from what we do well, but in my opinion it is a tactical mistake which also diminishes the parliament.

    Perhaps the explanation is that the many real Socialists are either submissive Labour loyalists or have defected to the Socalist parties now split and spending more time with their lawyers, and that the Cons are too few in number to have a looney right.

    Con fundamentalists, like those on the left, are careful avoid causing offence to voters and annoy the party managers and they keep quiet about their dafter theories avoiding all mention of M******* T*******.

    It may be that in Scotland the centre-centre is just too crowded for the SNP to benefit from your analysis, or perhaps the number of non-partisan anti-SNP voters negative voters, energised by fears of independence, is greater than I imagined.

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