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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Poll Monitor: Voters sticking with Labour
MORI/Times poll
By BBC Political Research editor David Cowling

The latest MORI poll for the Times newspaper shows Labour support at 50% (unchanged from the previous month), the Conservatives on 30% (down 1%) and the Liberal Democrats with 13% (down 1%).

These headline figures are clearly very encouraging for Labour and equally depressing for the Conservatives.

The average Labour lead in the four polls published so far this April is 21% - last month the comparable lead among six published polls was 18%.

Little enthusiasm

However, once again we have poll findings that reveal an electorate sticking with Labour but, it seems, without any enthusiasm.

MORI found that overall satisfaction with the government has dropped 3% compared with last month; and satisfaction with Mr Blair had fallen by the same percentage.

The March MORI/Times poll registered the biggest month on month drop in economic optimism since this question was first asked in 1979.

Labour's record low of -29% (the net difference between those who expect the economy to get better over the next 12 months versus those who think its condition will worsen) of March has marginally improved to -22% this month.

If this index of public opinion does not improve dramatically between now and 7 June, Labour will fight their campaign with the worst economic ratings of any incumbent government for decades.

Tory pressure

It is these negative ratings for Labour that put such pressure on the Conservatives. If Labour dissatisfies so many people on so many measures, why are the Conservatives trailing so far behind them in the same polls?

Mr Hague has been the focus of much of the resulting criticism and this poll will do little to ease the pressure on him.

Whereas Mr Blair's net dissatisfaction rating is -2%, Mr Hague's is -29%. Whilst 43% of respondents think Mr Blair is in touch with what ordinary people think, only 30% say the same of William Hague.

The poll also draws our attention relentlessly back to turnout at the next election.

MORI found 66% saying they are either certain or very likely to vote. In the run up to the 1997 election the comparable figure for intending voters was 78%.

However, MORI claim that there is no party disadvantage to be found in these figures, as Labour's lead among this group of motivated voters is reduced by only 1%.

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See also:

18 Apr 01 | Talking Politics
Poll Monitor: Unlucky Friday for Tories
05 Apr 01 | Talking Politics
Poll Monitor: Election delay has little effect
03 Apr 01 | Talking Politics
Poll monitor: Labour lead grows
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