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Wednesday, 2 May, 2001, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Poll Monitor: Sun poll predicts Blair landslide

By Louise Tillin, Senior Analyst, BBC News Analysis and Research

The headline emblazoned across the front of The Sun on Wednesday morning, "Blair's 227 Majority" will not prove cheerful reading in Conservative Central Office.

The latest Mori voting intention figures published in The Sun today puts Labour on 50% (no change on the last Mori poll for the Times), the Conservatives on 32% (up 2%) and the Liberal Democrats on 13% (no change).

The Sun publishes polls less regularly than other newspapers. The last Mori/Sun poll was conducted in the aftermath of the fuel protests and was published in October 2000.

It put Labour on 43%, the Conservatives on 36% and the Lib Dems on 16%. But Wednesday's poll confirms the trends shown in more recent Mori polls for the Times.

Labour lead

Labour's lead in Mori polls conducted throughout April consistently put Labour's lead above 15%, and it is only the ICM/Guardian polls which explicitly seek to correct the over stated Labour lead. They give Labour a slightly slimmer lead as a result.

The Sun predicts that on the basis of this poll Labour would have increased their majority in the House of Commons if Tony Blair had gone ahead with a 3 May general election.

They suggest that the composition of the House of Commons would be 443 Labour MPs (up 24 on 1997 result), 158 Conservative MPs (down 7) and 30 Liberal Democrats (down 16).

Tory scalps

Such a result on a uniform swing, the Sun suggests, would claim the scalps of Conservative MPs Gillian Shephard, Richard Spring, Graham Brady, Caroline Spelman and David Tredinnick.

The poll does not, however, take account of conditions in individual seats where Conservatives are likely to claim success or, for instance, the effects of tactical voting on Lib Dem hopes of holding on to some of their 1997 gains.

While the results at the next general election are not expected to be as dramatic as the Sun suggests, Labour will be reassured by the number of people who say they are "certain" or "very likely" to vote.

Seventy-one per cent said they were likely to vote, compared to 66% in Mori/Times polls conducted in April and March 2001. In May 1997 71.4% of people voted, while Mori on 1 April 1997 put the number certain/very likely to vote at 75%.

The poll will further reassure Tony Blair over his decision to delay the general election. Only 17% of those questioned said that the government should have held the general election on 3 May. Conservative handling of foot-and-mouth, and the potentially damaging recent race row appear to have done little to boost voters approval of William Hague: 64% consider William Hague to be a "weakness" for his party.

Mori interviewed 1,008 adults by telephone, 30 April -1 May.

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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
26 Apr 01 | Talking Politics
Poll Monitor: Voters sticking with Labour
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