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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Rogue poll falls into line
Graph showing the state of the opinion polls
David Cowling

The MORI/Times poll shows Labour on 48% (down 7% compared with one week ago), the Conservatives unchanged on 30% and the Lib Dems on 16% (up 5%).

The Gallup/Telegraph poll puts Labour on 47% (down 1% on last week), the Conservatives at 31% (down 1%) and the Lib Dems on 16% (up 1%).

In all the polls sampled since election day was announced, MORI has been the consistent outrider registering Labour leads of 24%, 20%, 28%, 26% and 25%.

The report accompanying the current poll tells us that it is impossible to make direct comparisons with these earlier MORI surveys because this one "asked about voting intentions in a slightly different way".

A bar chart showing the state of the parties according to the Times poll
The net result has been to bring MORI much more into line with the other pollsters, none of whom have so far registered a Labour lead above 19%.

The survey found that 35% of respondents thought Labour's campaign the most effective so far, compared with 13% who nominated the Lib Dems and 12% who chose the Conservatives.

Also, whereas in the 1997 campaign, 52% of people said they were interested in news about the election, the comparable figure in the current campaign is 58%.

There has been a slight increase in the numbers of people saying they are certain or very likely to vote - up 2% to 71% since last week.

Middle class split

Conservative supporters who might change their minds before 7 June split two to one in favour of the Lib Dems rather than Labour.

Lib Dem waiverers split heavily in favour of Labour over the Conservatives. Labour waiverers divide between the other two parties.

Gallup in the Telegraph offers a sombre message on prospects for turnout: at this stage in the 1997 campaign they found 72% of electors saying they would "definitely" vote, now this proportion is only 66%.

A bar chart showing the state of the parties according to the Telegraph poll
It found Labour well ahead of the Conservatives among women as well as men and leading them by 42% to 32% among middle class voters.

The poll also suggests that the seemingly monolithic opposition to Britain's membership of the single currency has to be set against a sense that membership is inevitable.

Gallup found that whilst 64% of respondents would vote against the euro in a referendum within the next few months, 68% nevertheless also agreed that "it is inevitable that Britain will join it sooner or later and we may as well get used to the idea".

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