But the poll suggests that Labour still heading for disaster
The October Ipsos-MORI monitor is out this morning and shows a big reduction in the Tory lead from the very exceptional figures of September when the party was a massive 28% ahead. That survey had taken place before the conference season began when Gordon Brown’s problems were at their height.
Everybody was expecting a big drop in the October numbers and so it has been. One unique factor that drives the MORI numbers is that the headline shares are based solely on those saying they are 100% certain of voting. So there can often be quite big changes which are not based on people switching support but because supporters of one party or another are more or less certain about voting than they were in the previous poll.
In fact the latest ComRes poll showed that almost the same proportion of Labour supporters as Conservative were ready to say that they were 100%. I have not seen the data yet but I guess that this will have happened here.
I’ve become quite a fan of MORI since the firm went through its methodological review after the London Mayoral election. The pollster has never weighted by past vote but in the summer introduced a totally new calculation – weighting the number of public sector workers in the sample. For some reason telephone pollsters find a disproportionate number of public sector workers ready to take part in polling surveys and this can skew the results to Labour.
MORI, unlike Populus and ICM, do not seek to extrapolate voting intention figures from those who say “don’t know” or just refuse to answer the question. Instead the firm asks as second squeeze question which does elicit many more answers.
There is something for all three main parties in the poll. Labour have seen a dramatic improvement albeit from an awful position in September, the Tories are in the mid-40s while the Lib Dems show an increase.
The “Brown bail-out bounce”, if it has happened at all, has not shifted the fundamentals. If the Tories stay in the 40s Labour is heading for defeat and Cameron will secure a majority.
More polling news on the way: I’m expecting a survey of marginal seats sometime today.