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Friday, 26 January, 2001, 16:17 GMT
Poll monitor: Turnout fears remain

By editor of BBC political research David Cowling

The MORI/Times poll puts Labour on 50% (up 4% on December), the Conservatives at 31% (down 3%) and the Liberal Democrat unchanged on 14%.

However this survey was completed before Peter Mandelson's resignation.

Once again the public are sending mixed messages to Labour.

The headline voting intention figures show that, after four years in government, support for Labour is above its 44% share of the vote in 1997; and the Conservatives are still at their 31% vote share from last time.

If we are only three months away from the next general election, these figures are the sort that previous prime ministers would have died for.

But the worm of doubt gnaws away in Downing Street and Millbank Tower.

Turnout troubles?

MORI found 48% of respondents saying they were certain to vote in the next election, compared with 57% in January 1997.

But whereas in 1997 there was virtually no difference in determination to vote between Labour and Conservative supporters, this time they found 63% of Tories certain to vote (65% in 1997) but only 52% of Labour supporters (66% in 1997). Labour's lead over the Conservatives based on only those saying they are certain to vote falls from 19% to 14%.

The theme of recent months persists: electors are unhappy with Labour but unwilling to reward the opposition.

MORI found 59% who thought the government had not kept their promises since may 1997 (versus 28% who thought they had); and 62% who said Labour had not improved their personal living standards (compared with 28% who thought they had).

Yet at the same time these disillusioned electors register no increase in support for the Conservatives over the party's worst performance in modern history.

Unlike 1997, it seems the first three priorities for Tony Blair and Labour will have to be: motivation, motivation, motivation.

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23 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Labour maintains its lead
19 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Poll monitor: Labour increases lead
17 Nov 00 | Talking Politics
Poll monitor: State of the nation
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