Ipsos MORI have published their September political monitor for the Evening Standard. Topline voting intention figures are CON 39%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 7%, GRN 4%.

MORI have made another methodological change in the light of the polling error at the general election. Previously they had started including how regularly people say they usually vote in the turnout filter, now they have also added additional weighting by newspaper readership. Again, the methodology review is still an ongoing process, and MORI make clear they anticipate making further changes.

The rest of the poll had a series of questions about perceptions of the party leaders and parties.

Jeremy Corbyn’s first satisfaction rating is minus 3 (33% are satisfied with him as leader, 36% dissatisfied). At first glance that isn’t bad – it’s a better net rating than Cameron or the government! In a historical context though it’s not good. New leaders normally get a polling honeymoon, the public give them the benefit of the doubt to begin with and Corbyn’s net rating is the worst MORI have recorded for a new leader of one of the big two parties (the initial ratings for past party leaders were Miliband +19, Brown +16, Cameron +14, Howard +9, IDS 0, Hague -1, Blair +18, Smith +18, Major +15, Kinnock +20, Foot +2)

Looking at the more detailed questions on perceptions of Jeremy Corbyn his strengths and weaknesses compared to David Cameron are very similar to the ones we got used to in Cameron v Miliband match ups: Cameron scores better on things like being a capable leader, good in a crisis, sound judgement; Corbyn scores better on being in touch with ordinary people, having more substance than style and being more honest than most politicians. Asked overall who would make the most capable Prime Minister Cameron wins by 53% to 27%.

Of course, all of Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings need to be seen in the context that he is very new to the job and the public don’t know a whole lot about him beyond the initial negative press. Early perceptions of him may yet change. His figures may get better… or worse.

MORI also asked about perceptions of the Labour and Conservative parties, and here the impact of Corbyn’s victory on how the Labour party itself is seen was very evident. The proportion of people seeing the party as divided is up 33 points to 75%, extreme is up 22 points to 36% and out of date is up 19 points to 55%. Both the Labour party and the Conservative party had a big jump in the proportion of people saying they were “Different to other parties” – I suppose it takes two parties to be different from each other!

Full details of the MORI poll are here

437 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 39, LAB 34, LD 9, UKIP 7, GRN 4”

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  1. Interesting that Corbyn has even lower net satisfaction than Michael Foot, who also got a good kicking by the press if I remember correctly.

  2. On the other hand if this poll is accurate (and that’s a a big if) cutting the Tory lead to 4% isn’t a bad start.

  3. Are there figures availableanywhere for Thatcher’s early leadership?

  4. I am not at all a UKIP fan, but I am a realist. UKIP at 7% is just silly (and very wishful thinking). It throws doubt on the accuracy of the other figures.

  5. In the General Election just four and a bit months ago, the Greens got 3.8% and the LibDems got 7.9%, which ties in with what this poll says – people who voted for them haven’t changed their minds in the few months that have passed.

    UKIP was on 12.7% in the GE though. Have they really lost about 6% with their votes going to both Conservatives and Labour? Is that plausible?

  6. @RMJ1 – snap!

  7. Anthony, sorry for a very pedantic point, but the Ipsos report has Labour on 34%, not the 35% mentioned in your write up.

  8. Candy
    As all the other polls in September (see top right) have UKIP in the teens this one looks like an outlier.

  9. My own approach to polls at the moment is basically to treat them very suspiciously, until they really prove themselves.

    I think pollsters are just finding their feet since the last GE gave them a pounding not dissimilar to what the Lib Dems received.

  10. 35%! One poll etc (although there’s another with 34%), but weren’t Labour supposed to be limping along in the mid-20s by now?

  11. ROLLAHARDSIX – Not a pedantic point at all! Was looking at the figures before likelihood to vote, a foolish error – apologies.

  12. We can ignore VI but not the underlying questions, these are the questions that pointed to a Conservative win throughout the last parliament. I have always looked at the underlying questions in the Scottish polls and in the lead up to the GE there were no ‘red flags’ for the SNP, nor are there at the moment.

    My theory is that underlying questions hold the truth and VI will often reflect the underlying questions, except when it doesn’t as in the case of May GE.

    If we look at some of the questions in this poll in particular ‘which of these do you think apply to Lab, Con?’ with changes since May the biggest change is for Labour with
    Divided 75% +32%
    Extreme 36% +22%
    Out of Date 55% +19%

    This first impression of divided, extreme and out of date is going to be very difficult to shake off.

  13. Phil

    “weren’t Labour supposed to be limping along in the mid-20s by now?”

    I think that was the hoped for level they might rise to in Scotland (though they seem to have fallen even further below that Elysian dream).

    However, in England’s political system, they are only 8 points behind the Tories at this stage – with a divisive referendum to come before the next UK GE.

    Labour being the largest party in England in 2020 doesn’t look at all an unrealistic prospect.

  14. Couper

    I’m not going to argue with you about “first impressions” again! You made a good point.

    However, how will the Tories score on those measures after a bruising referendum campaign?

    It does seem possible that by 2020, the focus might have shifted to a Tory party that is riven with internal conflict over past issues [1] and holding extreme views.

    Contempt for politicians may have risen to previously unscaled heights in such a scenario – but this an FPTP election.

    I’m not predicting btw – just outlining a perfectly possible scenario.

    [1] Depending on the referendum result and margin of victory, of course.

  15. @OldNat

    I have far more respect for the Tories election winning abilities than you. After killing off the LibDems and assisting the suicide of LiS, they are not going to miss this chance to destroy their arch-rival perhaps for good.

    I think Labour gave up on winning the 2020 election when they saw the 2015 exit poll and that was their tragic mistake. Hence they put up second raters in the leadership contest. The members and people that were equally devastated at the election of a Tory government saw Labour’s defeatism and were very angry with Labour not just for losing but now not even bothering to try to win next time. This was very clear in the anger expressed by Corbyn supporters to the Labour establishment.

    So I cannot imagine that the EU referendum will cause too many problems for Cameron, the bloodlust of being able to tear their arch-enemy apart will prevent them turning on one another.

    But as you say time will tell

  16. It doesn’t seem long ago that people were talking about the Tories never being able to hold power on their own again. It shows how nothing can be taken for granted, especially 5 years ahead.

    If Corbyn takes the Labour party leftwards in a popular way (rail nationalisation etc), but is replaced with a more electable leader before 2020 who knows what will happen?

    If there’s a No vote in the referendum it will throw all the cards in the air as well. Whoever gets in power after that will have their hands full unravelling the rats nest of EU regulations, treaties and other commitments.

  17. My thought for the day. I think there is a lot of churn going on that the relatively static Labour VI figures may be masking. This is based purely on anecdote and rationale rather than anything quantitative. I don’t know if any churn analysis has been performed post GE.

    I note that polling companies have updated their methodologies with new weighting methods to account for the shortfall in turnout that Labour suffered in May. If new Labour voters – attracted from Greens, a bit of UKIP, a bit of Didn’t Vote But Will Now – have replaced the Corbyn Won So I’m Off brigade – then we wouldn’t see much change in Labour’s VI. It seems reasonable to assume that something like this is going on, though exact proportions are unknown.

    However, if Labour’s new, more ‘radical’ supporters are more likely to turn out than the ones they’ve replaced, the methodological changes to adjust for historical lower Labour turnout might be a correction too far. We’re talking about a second-order quantity here so it won’t make a huge difference. But a difference nonetheless. It very much depends on the magnitude of the underlying churn.

  18. Pete B

    “will have their hands full unravelling the rats nest of EU regulations, treaties and other commitments.”

    No need if UK joins EFTA – most will continue to apply won’t they?

  19. ON
    I don’t know why we ever left EFTA (well I do, but I don’t want to start an argument).

  20. Lots of talk about Labour being in near terminal trouble. It may be – who knows? But as @Pete B says, many were saying the same about Cons a while back.

    The Tories in the 1980’s survived repeated recessions and all manner of scandals, until Black Wednesday when a daft decision on currency pegging blew up and destroyed for a generation the idea that they knew what they were doing with the economy.

    New Labour led the nation into a disastrous foreign war, with grave long term consequences, extraordinary economic and human costs, and as became clear, on a completely defective intelligence prospective – yet the nation was happy enough to re elect them. Only the unexpected implosion of the global economic system did for them.

    No one has a clue what events are ahead, but we can be certain that the ones that are terminal for one side or another will not be the ones we expect.

    Talking of things that could never happen, it’s interesting to note that in the three months to June, renewable energy provided 25.3% of all UK power demand. Quite impressive.

    Until very recently, we often heard people tell us that the national grid would not be able to cope with renewables providing more than 20% of capacity due to the problems of balancing.

    ‘Received wisdom’ is just opinion waiting to be proved wrong.

  21. A bit off topic but I know some people here would find this interesting. The Economist’s Bagehot interviews George Osborne about Britain’s place in the world:


  22. OMNISHAMBLES (fpt)

    @roger mexico
    I think you’re painting a slightly distorted picture. Corbyn is doing worse in MORI’s leader satisfaction ratings than any Labour since they started asking. Even worse than Foot.

    That post only applies to the initial satisfaction ratings though, the first one after being elected leader. As Anthony says “the public don’t know a whole lot about him beyond the initial negative press” and because of the polling we’ve known he was likely to win since July – there have been two months of that.

    It’s not a comparable situation to even Miliband (who didn’t get much of a honeymoon, but wasn’t expected to win. Foot would have been the nearest equivalent, but even that was less poisonous and there was hope that he would unite the Party.

  23. Four by elections tonight three Tory holds, one Labour hold, Labour flat no Corbyn bounce. In the Labour hold UKIP up 13%, In the Con Holds Cons up on average ~7%

  24. @Alec

    “Until very recently, we often heard people tell us that the national grid would not be able to cope with renewables providing more than 20% of capacity due to the problems of balancing.”

    And thanks to the removal of all the ‘green carp’ they’ll be sure it never happens again, making the world safe for common sense wisdom.

  25. Mildly interesting responses to whether “Patriotic” was an accurate description of Corbyn/Cameron in the Ipsos-MORI poll.

    England – X is “patriotic” – Corbyn 36% : Cameron 43%
    Scotland- X is “patriotic” – Corbyn 76% : Cameron 83%

    “Patriotic” is frequently used as a synonym for “nationalist”, or even “jingoist”, and can be seen as a positive or a negative characteristic.

    In a multi-national state like the UK, it also has a measure of confusion as to which “country” someone is seen as being a patriot for. UK? GB? England/Scotland/Wales/Ireland?

    Without any insight as to what the respondents were thinking of in their answers, this has all the hallmarks of a question set by someone who has a specific concept in their own mind (though we have no idea of what that was!) but probably little comprehension that other people might understand the term in very different ways.

  26. @Couper

    “Hence they put up second raters in the leadership contest.”

    Who, pray, are the first raters? Attlee is dead, and I think Denis Healey no longer has leadership ambitions.

  27. MOG

    “Who, pray, are the first raters?

    What a fascinating question! Not just within the Labour Party, but how does one define a “first rate politician”?

    Is it just the ability to propel oneself to a leadership role in a party and then the country?

    Or should we demand at they also have a coherent vision / set of principles?

    I’d grant the latter to Atlee, though I’m not sure that my Uncle-in-law-in-law Denis (the relationship is somewhat tenuous!) that appellation.

  28. With regard to Corbyn’s leadership ratings, I thought one revealing:


    about Which of these statements comes closest to your views of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, and the Labour Party? which was also asked of Miliband in March:

    Statement / March 2015 (Miliband)% / September 2015 (Corbyn)%

    I like {X} and I like the Labour Party / 22 / 23

    I like {X} but I do not like the Labour Party / 8 / 14

    I do not like {X} but I like the Labour Party / 30 / 17

    I do not like {X} and I do not like the Labour Party / 32 / 38

    where X is the appropriate leader.

    What it suggests is that Corbyn is actually a more liked leader than Miliband was[1], but that the Labour Party that is becoming the bigger problem than its leader, unlike previously[2]. This must have to do with the enormous increase in the percentage of people saying that Labour is ‘divided (frankly I’m surprised it’s only 75%). So those Labour politicians making a fuss about Corbyn’s ‘effect’ on the rating should perhaps consider who is the real culprit.

    [1] To be fair Miliband picked up ratings during the election campaign, some of them after this poll.

    [2] It’s clearly also complicated by both Cameron and the Conservatives having increased their ratings since March (see same page as above). Perhaps there’s some sort of consolidation effect as people become more pro a Party after having voted for them.

  29. The MORI adjustment is (oversimplifying a bit to make the point) down weighting the working class VI across the board.

    I’d say there is an element of that but there’s also a larger element connected to immigration i.e. white working class voters who are still Lab in their heads who aren’t voting whereas the bit of the wwc who switched to Ukip are less effected so that is distorting their final numbers.


    If correct it would be easy to prove by comparing the drop in the wwc Lab vote in low immigration areas compared to high immigration areas.

    The low immigration areas should have effect A (the general slackness factor) whereas the high immigration areas should have both factor A + factor B (the immigration factor).

  30. In the end the polling companies are going to have to include ethnicity like the US because it’s one of the main drivers of voting but they’ll put it off as long as possible.

  31. COUPER2802

    We are on different sides of the political spectrum but I totally agree with your post re the electibility of the Tories after the EU referendum. Beating Labour will be the priority, not squabbling over the referendum result.

  32. @Anarchists unite

    “And thanks to the removal of all the ‘green carp’….

    These Poles are getting better at hooking the fish lurking amidst the algae…..

  33. @TOH & @Coupar – “We are on different sides of the political spectrum but I totally agree with your post re the electibility of the Tories after the EU referendum. Beating Labour will be the priority, not squabbling over the referendum result.”

    Interesting, but swimming against the tide of history, in many ways.

    The Tory party has been the most successful electoral organisation in the democratic world, stretching way back into the early and middle parts of the C19th. It’s record of winning and holding power is phenomenal in many ways. My view is that it’s greatest asset is it’s lack of principle, which I mean in a positive way – it normally maintains a very pragmatic approach, which enables it to change tack and adapt seamlessly to circumstance.

    We’ve actually seen this during the last government, when Osborne launched an austerity blitz, found it didn’t work, and then dropped it in effect, choosing instead to run the whole parliament on almost the precise macro economic lines that darling propopsed for labour in 2010. No great idealogical angst involved in the switch – just a simple pragmatic approach, and a compliant press that meant he never had to say he was sorry. Even at the gravest time of our recent history in 1939-41, large chunks of the Tory party were openly advocating an accomodation with Hitler as a pragmatic solution to retain Empire and influence – while the left was united in its insistence that fascism had to be fought.

    The periods in history when the Tory party has fundered are precisely those periods when they ‘get religion’ – or at least, an ideological belief in an critical issue. Corn Laws, Free Trade, and recently, Europe and the EU are three issues that wrecked the party for a generation. The EU issues remain unresolved and unresolvable within a single party.

    We have already seen in our lifetime our relationship with the EU destroy Tory chances at the ballot box, because this is one issue where substantial numbers within the party have found a principle on which they must make a stand. The issue has, if anything, got worse for the party, with the debate moving from a vaguely esoteric discussion of treaties, to a fundamental disagreement about being in the EU at all. The ‘headbangers’ are now mainstream, and can also point to the support of nearly 40% of the electorate.

    I would be much less sanguine that the Tories can patch up their differences over the EU, and the referendum could well crystalize these divisions. Their only hope lies with whether the EU itself can offer sufficient change – which is now much more of a possibility as we increasingly see the economic and social impracticalities of the current EU – but it’s by no means a given that the changes will be sufficiently broad and deep to enable the party to unite behind a single position.

    The Tory party has made a virtue out of it’s lack of fundamental principles, but every now and then it discovers an issue where members have to take a binary stance, and if that issue is sufficiently fundamental to the UK’s future, then all bets are off.

  34. ALEC

    @”The ‘headbangers’ are now mainstream, and can also point to the support of nearly 40% of the electorate.”

    At some point north of 40% , “mainstream” becomes the critical appellation -a majority is a majority, whether it is banging its head or not.

    If we get much more ” EU cocking something else up” tv footage , I think Cameron can forget “renegotiation”, because a majority of the electorate will be saying -not interested-don’t believe any of it.

  35. I’m not suprised about Labour’s relatively good showing in the latest Mori poll (only 5 points behind Tories who are still in 6 month honeymoon period).

    In terms of people who approve of Corbyn, he is the third most popular leader of the opposition in the last 35 years and those that dissaprove are more likely to be spread across all parties.

    Also, more people have an opinion of him (69%) than any PM or opposition leader in the same 35 year period. Talk about recognition factor!

    Looks like a good launch pad to me!!!

  36. Alec,

    “while the left was united in its insistence that fascism had to be fought.”

    Bit of red-tinted glasses there, Alec!

  37. But let’s not get sidetracked onto a historical discussion. Your basic point is correct: the Tories are hard to beat when they are flexible, but they are their own worst enemies when they get obsessed over an issue, and this tends to happen when they start taking victory for granted.

  38. Alec
    Very interesting summary, which I mostly agree with, but i do think there’s one notable exception to your theory – the Thatcher era. Though there were divisions of course, they won 3 elections in a row with a leader who had strong beliefs.

  39. I do not bang on about Europe much, but when I do I point out that Cameron’s life will be impossible after the referendum unless there is a very clear vote to stay in the EU.

    If we vote “out”, big business will get him. If we vote narrowly “in”, the right-wingers will cry foul and get him.

    Tick tock.

  40. Yes but strangely, he’s resigning after the referendum….

  41. Carfrew

    That must be the plan. The campaign will be entertaining. I can’t wait to see his backbencher’s reaction when he waxes lyrical about his double-plus good Cameron EU.

    I am happy to enjoy it as frankly the difference between being in the EU or not is nowhere near as big as either side is prepared to admit.

  42. @Pete B – “Though there were divisions of course, they won 3 elections in a row with a leader who had strong beliefs.”

    I’d disagree. She gave the perception of having strong beliefs.

    On Europe, she handed over more powers than any other UK leader. She was a monetarist, until it stopped working, and then oversaw a huge Keynsian boom.
    She was for strong defence, but initiated the largest ever defence cuts in the armed forces. Etc etc.

    Thatcher was far more pragmatic than people now believe (a case of blue tinted spectacles?) and in many ways fits the classic pragmatic Tory line.

    Indeed – the issues that was her undoing was one where she failed to trim with the wind – but once they had dumped her, the first thing her party did was pragmatically dump the toxic issue, so they won again in 1992 with the Council Tax and not the poll tax.

  43. The Tories have a great track record of winning in large part because of the unusually powerful and right wing press in this country.

  44. It’s very hard to see what kind of a positive campaign the remain in the EU side can run.

    Even if Camerons renegotiation is “sucessful” it’s still in effect conveying a negative message about “how crap Europe is but we managed to get a sligtly better deal.”

    On the other hand if the Leave campaign can run with a Scottish “Yes” style message – something along the lines ” our future is in our hands if only we have the courage to go for it.”
    I think they could well win

    until the EU referendum is over trying to predict the 2020 is pretty pointless.

    Who knows what will emerge after the house of cards has well and truly collapsed. We’re not just talking about leaving the EU here, but the very real possibility of Scottish leaving the UK.

    This might well leave the Conservative Parties reputation for competance a little battered in the eyes of the public.

  45. apologies that was very badly written … oh for an edit button !

  46. Opinion polls asking people how they would vote in a General Election tomorrow, when the actual election is five years away might be, ahem, a little academic, borderline poppycock in fact. However, I suppose they add to the gaiety of the nation and feed the cravings of us poll junkies on UKPR.

    This IPSOS/MORI, like most polls, can be spun any which way you like. If you want the world to fall in on both Corbyn and Labour’s head, then there’s plenty of material here pointing to ultimate doom. If you wish Corbyn well, there are also contra-indicators suggesting that all is not lost and that, just four months after the election of our first majority Tory Government for a quarter of a century, their honeymoon is anaemic and unimpressive. I’d expect gargantuan opinion poll leads for the Government at this stage of the Parliament, especially with the emergence of an “unelectable” Labour leader, now being routinely thrashed and traduced in equal measure.

    For what it’s worth, and that isn’t very much considering the current stage of the electoral cycle and the tarnished credibility of political opinion polling generally, this Ipsos/Mori poll says two things to me. Firstly, Corbyn has a real mountain to climb to win public approval and, secondly, the Tories remain relatively unloved and electorally vulnerable. However, that vulnerability can only be converted into success for their many opponents by some very clever and astute opposition over these next four years. Can Farron, Farage, Sturgeon and Corbyn provide that?

    Way to early to tell.

  47. Kentdalian

    The arguments for leaving the EU will be very similar to those for Scottish Independence, and the polls are much closer than at the equivalent stage of the Scottish Independence campaign.

  48. @Hawthorn

    “…frankly the difference between being in the EU or not is nowhere near as big as either side is prepared to admit.”


    OK, but maybe don’t mention that to Scotties…

  49. “…and the polls are much closer than at the equivalent stage of the Scottish Independence campaign.”


    lol Hawthorn, I knew you were gonna bring Scotties into it!!….

  50. I tend to agree that the ‘remain’ side in the EU ref are currently facing a difficult set of circumstances. As @Colin alluded to, the more we examples of the EU failing to do what was promised, the weaker the remain argument becomes.

    The migrant issue isn’t likely to go away soon, and this particular issue demonstrates the EU’s inability to develop a common policy in a critical area, while the general [email protected] that is the Euro, while technically not an EU wide issue, may well be deeply affecting as far as UK sentiment goes.

    There remains a fundamental issue to resolve regarding the Eurozone. Within the Franco-southern block, there is an urgent desire for full fiscal integration. Germany on the other hand wants rigid rules, but without the full transfer union. However, without this, the Euro will at some point fail.

    For the UK, and those outside the EZ, this is a real problem. We want a vibrant EZ economy, as this is our largest trading partner, but the need for deep fiscal and political union within the EZ runs completely counter to how we wish to see the EU as a whole develop. It’s extremely difficult to see how a safe EZ is compatible with what the UK public supports in terms of EU reform.

    I can see no way to satisfactorily resolve these issues, and for me – perhaps not this time, but some time in the not too distant future – we are either going to see the end of the Euro, or the end of the UK in the EU.

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