Tories in lead with Mori for the first time since July

Tories in lead with Mori for the first time since July

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    Labour support drops 4% on the month as LDs get boost

The latest Mori survey, published in the Observer, shows a sharp fall-back in Labour support. Its poll, carried out from November 9-14th, has the following shares with the changes from October – CON 35 (nc): LAB 33 (-4): LD 20 (+2).

The poll is quite old and the field-work finished a week last Tuesday. Thus the whole of the survey was completed before the Queen’s Speech the week before last and was finalised five days before the November ICM poll for the Guardian which we reported here on Wednesday. So Tony Blair’s “big clunking fist” endorsement of Gordon Brown took place after the poll was completed.

Like all Mori surveys the headline figures are based on those who say they are certain to vote. Amongst all respondents Labour has a 5% lead.

    The firm has been the only pollster since April to have reported Labour leads and this latest survey is the first to have the Tories ahead since July.

The poll has bad news for Cameron – a decline to 25% of those saying they are satisfied with his performance as leader of the opposition – a product perhaps of the intensive campaign by the Murdoch press in the period just before the poll attacking the Tory leader. This figure, it should be noted, was not subject to Mori’s turnout filter but should be worrying nevertheless if supported by other polling firms. There’s a list of Cameron approval polls here.

My usual Mori comment. Unlike the other main pollsters carrying out monthly polls Mori do not seek to ensure their samples are politically representative by asking how respondents voted last time and making adjustments. For this reason I attach less importance to the pollster than to surveys from Populus, ICM and YouGov.

I should note that the pollster has invited me to a breakfast meeting with leaders of the firm just before Christmas and I will report back on the site.

In the same poll a year ago, just before the change in the Tory leadership, Mori was reporting Labour on 42% – ten points ahead of the Tories. In December 2005 this had changed to a 9% Tory lead – an extraordinary turnaround.

There is an poll in the Sunday Telegraph this morning on view of Scottish independence both north and south of the border. More later on this.

UPDATE: There are voting intention figures in the ICM poll – showing CON 37%, LAB 31%, LD 23%. It is not clear whether this is a normal ICM finding for Great Britain or, as the article suggests, for England alone. Maybe the print edition of the paper will clarify this. The shares are very similar to what ICM had in the Guardian on Wednesday. I cannot recall the pollster ever producing England-only shares but maybe this is different. Maybe not.

A total of 52% of those in Scotland said they favoured independence and, perhaps very surprisingly, 59% of respondents in England supported the proposition. There was also support from 48% of the English group to the notion of English independence.

SECOND UPDATE: The print edition of the Observer makes confusing reading for those trying to work out precisely what was in the Mori poll. It prints two charts – one showing, apparently, a RISE in satisfaction amongst all voters since January for Cameron with a slight decline since September. That does not marry up with the story. Why in heaven’s name don’t they just print a table of numbers instead of fancy colour charts which are highly misleading? Rubbish Observer – Rubbish

The print edition of the Telegraph makes clear that two ICM surveys took place – one in Scotland and one in England. So the vote shares sown above were for England only.

Mike Smithson

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