Are Labour’s campaign tactics working?
The February MORI poll for the Financial Times has the Tories up 5% to one of their highest levels for a long time. The vote shares with comparisons to the January survey are:- LAB 39: CON 37 (+5): LD 18 (-4).
The move to the Tories is in line with the ICM poll on Tuesday and seems partly at the expense of “others” which would appear to be down at 6% – reflecting a big decline in support for UKIP. It also follows Labour intensive campaign launch with Tony Blair’s six city helicopter tour, the pledge card launch, and last week’s high profile day on Channel 5.
Today’s figures mean that Mori are showing an 8% move to the Tories since October and would seem to underline ICM’s message that the Labour attempt to “demonise” the Tory leader is not working
Most of the survey was carried out before the Tory announcement on the council discount for pensioners which many commentators believe will give Michael Howard a further boost.
Apart from a survey immediatly after the David Kelly suicide in 2003 the 37% Tory share is the highest for the party since the petrol crisis in September 2000 when a 39% Mori share was reported. A big difference between today’s Mori poll and the February ICM poll is the support level for the Lib Dems. ICM had them at 21% – the level they have been at for months – while Mori is showing a 4% decline.
There are three things to note about Mori’s methodology:-
Labour nerves will be steadied by the fact that if this poll is replicated at the General Election and there is a uniform national swing then the Baxter seat calculation has: LAB 371: CON 208: LD 38.
The Tories will be encouraged by Mori’s record of overstatement of Labour. Their final poll four years ago had a lead for Tony Blair of 15% against the 9.3% that actually happened.
The Lib Dems will recall that Mori tends to show party shares which are on the low side and in the February 2001 survey had them at 14% against the 18.8% that they actually achieved.
The confirmation by a second poll of what ICM found earlier in the week will encourage further moves to the Tories on the spreadbetting markets where we expect Michael Howard’s party to rise above the 200 mark.
Tomorrow the YouGov poll should be published in the Daily Telegraph which – if the trend of ICM and Mori is repeated – could see the Tories back in the lead.
Â© Mike Smithson 2005