The last of February’s regular monthly polls has rolled in – Ipsos MORI for Reuters have topline figures, with changes from January, of CON 35%(-3), LAB 41%(+3), LDEM 12%(nc). A six point Labour lead is the largest any poll has shown since before Cameron’s European veto in December.

The normal caveats apply of course, sure, it could be a sign that we are headed back to pre-veto situation, but equally it could be a blip. Looking at the wider pattern of polls we can be relatively confident that there has been some level of movement back towards Labour since January, but the polls seem to be averaging at around a 1 or 2 point Labour lead, so we are not yet back to the 4-6 point leads we were seeing last Autumn.


164 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Reuters – CON 35%, LAB 41%, LD 12%”

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  1. Sorry, that should read:
    “in the middle of the poll tax row, having (just) clawed its way back from 3rd place in 1983 (22.4%) to 2nd place in 1997 (24.7%)”

  2. Or even “2nd place in 1987”.

    I give up!

  3. If there is any glory in political reminiscence, I can only think of one serious contender………..May 4th 1979, a great day in so many ways, a breakthrough for women, although no serious effort by a female since, and the start of an amazing political period, a real Right vs Left battle………truly Elizabethan. :-)

  4. Ken

    Or possibly Marian – choose for yourself whether to choose the English or Scottish version. :-)

  5. If everybody who said they would never vote Conservative again in 1981 or 1985 stuck to it they would not have won subsequent GEs.
    I don’t question Liz’s stance but wonder when push comes to shove in genuine LD/Con marginal where Lab has no chance even in a 2 or 3 GE progression situation how many ‘never vote LD again’ people will hold their noses.
    Phil – no chance of defectors, the LD line is it would be much worse without us; given this position a respectable stance is to argue that as a Government back-bencher a dissenter will have more influence than an opposition one as 10 or more would have to jump to make the working majority untennable.
    What we do not know is what concessions have been achieved in private by LD’s.

  6. Ken – totally agree. It was a beautiful morning. I remember seeing Mrs Thatcher on TV outside no 10 as I was getting ready for school.

  7. @JIM JAM
    “I don’t question Liz’s stance but wonder when push comes to shove in genuine LD/Con marginal where Lab has no chance even in a 2 or 3 GE progression situation how many ‘never vote LD again’ people will hold their noses.”

    I can’t speak for others but my husband and I definitely wont. I just asked him and he said “can’t see the point”.

  8. @JIM JAM

    People forget it doesn’t take long to break a trust but it takes a long time to regain it, if ever. How can you believe that the LDs wont change their minds again after the election.

  9. IDS was probably ill-advised to describe young people seeking work as “kids”.

    In Scotland (and I presume the situation is similar in rUK) those aged less than 16 are “children”. Those who are 16 or 17 are “young people”. Those who are 18+ are “adults”.

    While I do accept that IDS is genuine in his attempts to reform welfare, he needs to understand the value of using language appropriately.

  10. @JIM JAM
    “the LD line is it would be much worse without us”

    I think what is happening is bad enough and it is happening with the help of the LDs. I don’t care what concessions have been achieved by the LDs in private. A minority government would not have been able to do what the coalition government is doing.

  11. @ Old Nat

    “While Anthony may not want us to discuss this polling question! I found an interesting point to be the question structure. There would have been a validity in asking the questions in contrasting format (independence v remaining in the UK), as opposed to their confused format (independence v “over the next 5 years”).

    That Yes supporters were much more positive than the Noes in both scenarios was also notable.”

    Well I think Anthony didn’t want us to get into a back forth debate on the issue of Scottish independence complete with back and forth personal insults.

    I don’t think an enthusiasm gap is going to win it for Scottish independence. Voters are going to turn out to vote in this because this will affect their future. I don’t think it’s all that surprising that no voters are less excited than yes voters. It’s rare really to find voters who are excited with keeping the status quo. You have to really work hard to manufacture that anyway. Economic interests of voters are going to mean a great deal depending on what narrative takes hold. (I’ve got to bookmark that link Statgeek gave to me that explains the powers of the Scottish Parliament).

    I like easy to understand crosstabs for understanding how a race turned out the way it did in an exit poll or for understanding movement in a pre-election poll.

    Yesterday, according to exit polls, Catholics voted for Romney (the Mormon) over Santorum (the fundamentalist Catholic). My god, there is hope for us all! (Of course, some of that might be a result of the “JFK makes me want to puke” comments).

  12. Desperately looking for something to say about tonight’s poll. The only thing possible is that it’s so average it’s interesting – tedium so dull it’s gone through to the other side. Even the non-voters are down to a normal 21%.

    However that very normality contains two points that reflect on the discussion about the Lib Dems. The first is that their VI is still a solid 9-10%. While lower figures are greeted with joy in certain quarters, it doesn’t stay that way for long. However these loyalists are not uncritical Government Approval is split with a lot of Don’t Knows. They tend to support the agreement with the Tories, but are presumably less happy about its implementation.

    Secondly there are a lot of 2010 Lib Dem voters out there who have not found another home. It’s been running at 30% or more in the last few polls.

    In a way you could argue that this is as you would expect. In a sense there is no real opposition at the moment. The Lib Dems are in government and Labour has the problem that most of the things it attacks are merely more extreme versions of policies it promoted or proposed in its own recent spell of power. Indeed some ministers from the previous regime give the impression that they could quite happily be still be sitting at the cabinet table. Meanwhile the Nationalists keep their heads down and Caroline Lucas can’t do everything.

    Most of the effective opposition seems to have come from outside Parliament: on the work schemes which today forced a government u-turn; on disability benefits from people like Sue; from the protests against sweetheart tax deals; from the health professional bodies (and even there the pressure came from the members not the leaders). Many of these movements haven’t even got much in the way of media coverage until they actually started to achieve something. Labour’s official response was too often sulky agreement at best.

    So it’s no surprise that there are a lot of voters out there waiting to be convinced of a credible opposition to the government.

  13. @ Old Nat

    “IDS was probably ill-advised to describe young people seeking work as “kids”.

    In Scotland (and I presume the situation is similar in rUK) those aged less than 16 are “children”. Those who are 16 or 17 are “young people”. Those who are 18+ are “adults”.

    While I do accept that IDS is genuine in his attempts to reform welfare, he needs to understand the value of using language appropriately.”

    Hmmmm. I don’t know. I sometimes feel like using the term “kids” can be offensive. But it can also be a term of endearment (I think I’m misspelling that). I guess what matters is the context in which it’s used and the tone of conversation.

    Has anyone thought of perhaps surveying young people who were either unemployed or underemployed and asking them for their opinion on how to reform welfare, jobless benefits, training programs, job search programs, etc.? I mean they’re the most affected by government changes to this and it seems like their voices aren’t really being heard outside a few plaintiffs defending themselves from attacks by news media folk and some politicians. They might have some ideas of how to make the system more effective and how to weed out those who are abusing the system.

  14. Oh and since I brought him up, if any of you were awake and watching Rick Santorum’s speech last night and were in any way offended by his bizarre and perhaps faintly homoerotic comments about British soldiers during the Revolutionary War, I’m sorry. :)

  15. SoCalLiberal

    I probably explained myself badly. I didn’t mean that enthusiasm would win the debate (though it might help), but that Yes supporters are generally positive about the future (whether in or out of the UK), while No supporters are generally fearful of the future (whether in or out of the UK).

    Whether positivity wins over fear or loses, we will need to wait and see.

  16. @LIZH

    “People forget it doesn’t take long to break a trust but it takes a long time to regain it, if ever. How can you believe that the LDs wont change their minds again after the election.”

    An interesting statement. Considering some of the talk has been about pre-1997 politics, surely it would apply to the ’97 to ’10 government, but it’s also interesting how some (from both sides of the spectrum) quickly forgive their preferred party. :)

  17. SoCalLiberal

    Didn’t see the speech, but if you feel the need to apologise for every comment from a US politician that might cause offence to some over here, this website will just be a sea of Democrat blue! :-)

  18. @Old Nat – “IDS is genuine in his attempts to reform welfare”

    Yes, an evangelical you might say.

    In sad manic hunt (Ian Duncan Smith).

  19. @ Old Nat

    “I probably explained myself badly. I didn’t mean that enthusiasm would win the debate (though it might help), but that Yes supporters are generally positive about the future (whether in or out of the UK), while No supporters are generally fearful of the future (whether in or out of the UK).

    Whether positivity wins over fear or loses, we will need to wait and see.”

    What I wonder then is how voters feel overall. Especially those voters who are undecided (or of those yes and no voters who are leaners but open to changing their minds). If the mood overall is negative, that might help the no vote. If the mood overall is positive/optimistic, that might help the yes campaign.

    Can the no campaign run a campaign on positivity?

  20. @ Old Nat

    “Didn’t see the speech, but if you feel the need to apologise for every comment from a US politician that might cause offence to some over here, this website will just be a sea of Democrat blue! :)”

    Lol, that’s true. I heard though that he had offended a whole lot of Dutch people with his false euthenasia comments. And I heard that some of his remarks had prompted Tunisian women meeting with Hillary Clinton asked her questions on some of his worrying/offensive remarks.

  21. Nick P- “The review of the murder of Daniel Morgan and specifically NI involvement has the potential to take the hacking investigtion into a whole new area.”

    Indeed, I’d recommend everyone watch Tom Watson’s speech at Westminster Hall:

    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=10282
    (15.59- 16.21)

  22. SOCALLIBERAL

    “Can the no campaign run a campaign on positivity?”

    Quite easily. All they need to do is to set out the positive advantages, to Scotland, of remaining in the UK. Many on the Unionist side have been calling for that for a long time.

    No doubt it will appear in due course.

  23. @ Nick P

    “The review of the murder of Daniel Morgan and specifically NI involvement has the potential to take the hacking investigtion into a whole new area.

    It’s possible nobody at News International will be considered suitable to run a tap, let alone control major UK broadcasters when it’s all done.”

    I honestly don’t know what these people were thinking. I haven’t been able to keep up with all the latest details but I heard news that the Murdochs probably perjured themselves in front of Parliament.

    (I still don’t know why they thought it would be a good idea to answer questions from MPs).

  24. @ Old Nat

    “Quite easily. All they need to do is to set out the positive advantages, to Scotland, of remaining in the UK. Many on the Unionist side have been calling for that for a long time.

    No doubt it will appear in due course.”

    I think too much negativity is going to backfire by infuriating voters and turning voters away. The burden is on the yes side, or at least it should be. But if the no side starts going negative, I think they will shift the burden.

    If Scotland becomes independent, I wonder if NYC will see the creation of an annual Scottish American Parade Day.

  25. SoCalLiberal

    They already have Tartan Day on April 6.

  26. @ Old Nat

    I had to wikipedia that. But apparently it was a one time event held 30 years ago.

    This seems like something Antonio Villaraigosa would support. Afterall, he did bring the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade (which is essentially Irish Pride Parade) to LA.

  27. @ Roger Mexico

    Labour’s official response was too often sulky agreement at best.
    ———————————-
    That’s not the whole truth of the matter. On the NHS, there was little protest from medical professionals or their representatives & little interest from the media until Andy Burnham got his Health brief back from John Healey.

    AB has driven the NHS protest not hung on the coat-tails of others – but he knows that people do not trust politicians so he he has encouraged other organisations to speak out & to protest. He is taking the ‘fight’ to Clegg’s own constituency this week with the aim of encouraging the folks of Sheffield to write, e-mail & call their MP (Clegg) to say they are against the bill & the LDs should vote against it.

    Meanwhile, Ed M has directly called out Williams & Clegg, saying Labour can get enough votes in the Lords to get Clause 3 dropped entirely, if the LDs are serious about that. He needs Clegg to confirm that the LDs will not over-turn it in the HoC.

    And ref. my comment of a few days ago, it’s now being reported that Ed M has let Clegg know that Ed M can whip enough votes to get Clegg’s Lords reform through.
    8-)

  28. @ Ken

    By the way, isn’t it nice to see Sue back on here, she adds class.
    ———————————
    Yes, indeed. I’ve been keeping up with her via her articles in the Guardian & Labour List. It’s uplifting to see her writing there & appearing on TV but I wish she was doing it for happier reasons.
    8-)

  29. @chrislane1945

    Nice of you to make the point about the sadness of Lady Thatcher’s declining years. I agree. Not much else to agree though, a wonderful decade when I enjoyed not only the rolling back of socialism but a wonderful period for the arts, when I found great joy in opera and music. Certainly the best decade of my 71 years todate.

  30. ROGER MEXICO.

    Found myself nodding throughout your last post.

    An interesting analysis .

  31. Right, breaking news. Yet another by-election coming up, and it’s only due to a resignation so we don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying ourselves because someone died.

    The bad news: it’s in a safe Labour seat, so it’s going to be a pretty boring one. We really need the governing party defending some of their seats. Whatever happened to Tory resignations? Whatever you may think of the Tories in the 90s, they knew how to resign with style.

  32. I share DC’s praise of IDS , having got the Welfare Reform Bill passed.

    The culmination of all those productive years at CSJ-triumph of the “quiet man” :-)

    As Con Home says-he hust has to make sure the computers work now.

    Education & Welfare reform now up & running.

    NHS to come.

  33. “Education & Welfare reform now up & running.

    NHS to come.”

    You missed the other words on the Coalition’s tombstone. Rest In Peace.

  34. To add to Chris Neville-Smith’s cryptic remarks, the resignation is of Marsha Singh the MP for Bradford West. He’s stepping down on health grounds: “I have been suffering with serious health problems for some months now… it has become clear that it is going to take much longer than I’d expected to recover”.

    I’m not sure if it is a ‘safe’ seat. Singh has held it since 1997, but it was supposed to be Tory target in 2010. As it happened Singh increased his vote against national swing, but that might imply that a lot of that Labour vote is personal. According to the 2001 Census (via Anthony’s constituency part of the site) it’s 43% Asian – nearly all Muslim. The BNP vote here halved in 2010, but they or a similar group might try to cause a fuss.

    In current circumstances it should be OK for Labour, but as always there may be local circumstances that affect things.

  35. @Roger Mexico – “… more extreme versions of policies it promoted or proposed in its own recent spell of power.”

    Osborne’s economic strategy is what provides the rationale for the “more extreme version” and to a large extent it creates the weather. Until 2008 there was no argument about public spending commitments – but we see now that the current scaling back of the state will be a permanent feature of the Tory vision – the cuts will not be reversed.

    Where America leads the UK follows, and we see a tea-party ideology gradually taking over conservative thought.

    The problem for Labour is that everything has been going in one direction since free market/Reganomics/Thatcherism. If the public mood does move in the direction of reigning in capitalism (and this gains traction in conventional media coverage), then the new leadership would be more than ready to ride that wave. Otherwise it will come down to an argument about competence.

  36. @Statgeek
    “but it’s also interesting how some (from both sides of the spectrum) quickly forgive their preferred party.”

    You will find Blair hasn’t been forgiven by Labour people and in the same way neither will be Clegg. To go forward, the LDs will have to lose their leader.

  37. Are you going to comment on the BBC St Davids day poll by ICM? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-17212309

    Some big results such as 77% of people in Wales against the coalitions NHS reforms and only 18% for, as well as strong support for some sort of fiscal/ taxation devolution.

  38. @LIZH

    …but the Labour Party can’t lay the blame of all its problems at Blair (as much as may like to). Many of the existing shadow cabinet were party to the problems caused. I occasionally heard some mention (not on UKPR; I didn’t visit here until 2011) that Cameron was part of Major’s government or campaign team, once the 2010 election got going.

    I suppose some people have long memories for some things and short memories for others (again, from all parties or end of the political spectrum).

  39. LIZH

    “You will find Blair hasn’t been forgiven by Labour people”

    Ludicrously sweeping (and largely incorrect) generalisation !

  40. BILLYBOB

    @” but we see now that the current scaling back of the state will be a permanent feature of the Tory vision”

    Don’t think we do :-

    Total Public Spending as % GDP :-

    2006/7 38.9%
    2016/17 38.0% *

    * OBR forecast-2011 Autumn Statement

    38% compares with the peak Labour spending years , prior to the recession/collapse in GDP as follows :-
    2003/4 37.5%
    2004/5 38.9%
    2005/6 37.9%
    2006/7 38.9%

    38% exceeds every year under Labour between 1997 & 2004

  41. Anybody following levenson?

    Yates is squirmingly funny. But the star turn Andy Haydon is on later.

  42. @ROB SHEFFIELD
    “Ludicrously sweeping (and largely incorrect) generalisation !”

    I am sure the polls will support my assertion. Blair was the mean reason that Labour people left in droves to join the LDs.

  43. @@ROB SHEFFIELD

    and because of Clegg LDs have left in droves to join Labour.

  44. @Statgeek
    ” I occasionally heard some mention (not on UKPR; I didn’t visit here until 2011) that Cameron was part of Major’s government or campaign team, once the 2010 election got going.”

    Well you have proved the point, it is the leader of the team that should and does take the blame not the people in his team.

  45. @Colin – ” …38% compares with the peak Labour spending years”

    So it does come down to competence. ;)

  46. In a 600 seat parliament with 30 others which is better for Labour supporters.

    Lab 270, Con 265 LD 35
    Or
    Lab 270, Con 275, LD 25?

    I acknowledge that I have the luxury of living in a Lab v Tory seat but were I in a Con/LD marginal i would have a tough choice.

  47. oldnat @ SOCALLIBERAL

    “Can the no campaign run a campaign on positivity?”

    ” All they need to do is to set out the positive advantages, to Scotland, of remaining in the UK.”

    No doubt it will appear in due course.”

    You surely aren’t seriously expecting that?

    There are no positive advantages for Scotland. There are advantages for the UK as a whole in Scotland remaining part of it.

    I’d be content if these things were indeed positive, but not only the whole nationalist movement, but the support for devolution (apart from a handful of romantics), rests on the fact that what seems a good idea in Westminster is seen as a bad idea in Glasgow, not to say Caithness.

    As a trivial example, take the claim that Tesco would quit Scotland. Unbelievable of course, and even if credible of hardly any weight in such a momentous decision, but apart from that, it isn’t going to be as persuasive for the Union to a milk producer 50 miles from the nearest supermarket as it is for the metropolitan politics media and celeb “elite”.

    So too with what may be the most important reason for the Unionists. Without the Scottish taxpayer the cost of Trident goes up by 9%. That’s not counting the cost of relocation. It’s not just the money itself, there comes a point when the English taxpayer says “enough”.

    Rightly or wrongly, the Unionists political consensus believes that r-UK’s place in the world (not least the security council place and relationship with America) might be not where the UK is at just now.

    It matters not that they may be mistaken if they believe it.

    DC claimed a fortnight ago that Scotland, as part of the UK, benefited from being part of the larger country with more clout internationally.

    No doubt Scots will give that argument what they consider to be its due weight, whichever way they vote in the referendum.

    I see it as another Tesco argument, albeit about an more important matter.

    If the advantages from one perspective are disadvantages from another it is difficult to make your case. Nor can inducements be offered which are unacceptable to the English nationalist taxpayer.

  48. SoCalLiberal

    Tartan Day has actually expanded to Tartan Week.

    http://www.tartanweek.com/

    One of my cousins goes over for it most years.

  49. Here is the full data for the ICM/ BBC Wales poll

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/29_2_12_bbcwalespoll.pdf

  50. LIZH………..You’ll be disappointed to hear that Tony is back, he and Ed M have been meeting to discuss strategy, on a regular basis, since EM became leader. I don’t quite understand what it is they have to talk about, but I don’t think it will go down too well with some rank and file members, perhaps Tone is passing on a few tax avoidance tips for later……! :-)

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