New poll puts Labour just 2 points behind Tories

Latest Ipsos MORI poll puts Labour on 38 per cent, with Tories just ahead on 40 per cent.

If more evidence were needed that Lib Dem voters are rapidly defecting to Labour, the latest Ipsos MORI political monitor should provide it. The poll puts Labour on 38 per cent, up 7 points since June, with the Lib Dems falling 5 to 14 per cent. The Tories are up 1 to 40 per cent.

If repeated at an election on a uniform swing, the figures would put Labour on 310 seats, the Tories on 294 and the Lib Dems on 20.

New Statesman Poll of Polls

Poll

Hung parliament: Conservatives nine seats short.

That Labour has achieved this level of support without a permanent leader and before George Osborne has introduced those 25 per cent cuts is impressive. CCHQ may claim that the Labour leadership hustings have provided "a goldmine of attack strategies", but it must fear that a populist, anti-cuts line could begin to resonate with voters.

I should add, of course, that several other polls out today show a less dramatic change in the coalition's fortunes. The latest Guardian/ICM poll, for instance, puts the Tories on 38 per cent, Labour on 34 per cent and the Lib Dems on 19 per cent. But you can bet it's the MORI poll they'll be talking about in Westminster tonight.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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