Opinion polling for the United Kingdom general election, 1997

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The United Kingdom general election, 1997 saw the Labour Party win a landslide victory and end 18 years of Conservative government, with Tony Blair becoming prime minister. He had become leader of the party in July 1994, two months after the sudden death of his predecessor John Smith, and rebranded it "New Labour", in a move which was well received by voters and which saw the abandonment of many traditional socialist policies of the Labour Party, including the mass nationalisation of industry which had been pioneered by Clement Attlee half a century earlier and remained on the Labour manifesto until the mid 1990s, whereas the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher had privatised most of the state-owned industries and utilities during the 1980s, and the process had continued on a lesser scale under her successor John Major since November 1990.

The previous general election in 1992 had seen the Conservative win for the fourth successive election, although its majority was cut to 21 seats compared to the 102-seat majority it had won in 1987. However, the Black Wednesday debacle on 16 September 1992 had seriously damaged the Conservative government's reputation for economic excellence, and the Labour Party quickly became ascendant in the opinion polls. Subsequent local elections and parliamentary by-elections saw Labour and the Liberal Democrats both make gains at the expense of the Conservatives, and opinion polls pointed towards a wide Labour victory long before a general election was even on the political horizon.

Britain had been in recession in the run-up to the 1992 general election, with unemployment exceeding 2.5 million in April 1992 and reaching nearly 3 million by the end of that year. Black Wednesday was in fact followed by an economic upturn which saw an unprecedented run of economic growth that would remain unbroken for 16 years, with unemployment falling accordingly, but this did little to boost the Conservative showing in local elections, by-elections and opinion polls – even more so in the aftermath of Tony Blair's election as Labour leader. In December 1996, with an election no more than five months away, the Conservative majority finally disappeared. A series of scandals involving Conservative MPs, along with the long-running division within the party over Europe, had done the government no favours either.

On 17 March 1997, John Major called a general election for 1 May, and the opinion polls continued to point towards a large victory for Labour. Even The Sun newspaper, which had constantly supported the Tories for some 20 years and even claimed to have won the last election for the party with its fierce campaigning, declared its support for Tony Blair and "New Labour", condemning the Tories as "tired, divided and rudderless", and urged its readers to "give change a chance" and vote for a new government, although it still opposed some of New Labour's policies.

In contrast to Labour's huge victory, the Conservatives were left with their lowest number of MPs since the 1906 general election,[1] and without any representation in Scotland or Wales. John Major resigned as party leader, and was succeeded shortly afterwards by William Hague.

The Liberal Democrats, still led by their long-serving leader Paddy Ashdown, did well, further cementing their place as the third largest party in Westminster, returning 41 MPs compared to 18 in 1992, although they actually took a smaller share of the vote compared to the previous election.

Graph of Polling
Date Conducted Polling Organisation/Client Con Lab Lib Dem Lead
30 April 1997 ICM/Guardian 33 43 18 10
30 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 33 46 16 13
30 April 1997 MORI/Evening Standard 29 47 19 18
29 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 31 51 13 20
29 April 1997 Harris/Independent 31 48 15 17
29 April 1997 MORI/Times 27 51 15 24
29 April 1997 NOP/Reuters 28 50 14 22
28 April 1997 Gallup/Channel 4 31 49 14 18
28 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 29 51 13 22
27 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 30 49 14 19
26 April 1997 Gallup/Sunday Telegraph 31 48 13 17
25 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 48 14 16
25 April 1997 ICM/Observer 32 47 16 15
25 April 1997 NOP/Sunday Times 29 47 16 18
24 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 48 12 16
24 April 1997 MORI/Independent on Sunday 29 53 12 24
23 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 30 50 12 20
22 April 1997 Gallup/Channel 4 31 50 13 19
22 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 30 51 12 21
22 April 1997 MORI/Times 27 48 17 21
21 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 48 12 16
21 April 1997 ICM/Guardian 37 42 14 5
20 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 48 13 16
20 April 1997 Harris/Independent 30 48 15 18
19 April 1997 Gallup/Sunday Telegraph 31 50 13 19
18 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 50 13 18
18 April 1997 ICM/Observer 31 48 15 17
18 April 1997 NOP/Sunday Times 29 47 17 18
17 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 31 50 12 19
16 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 31 50 11 19
15 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 30 51 12 21
15 April 1997 MORI/Times 32 49 13 17
14 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 49 14 17
14 April 1997 Harris/Independent 31 49 13 18
14 April 1997 ICM/Guardian 31 45 19 14
14 April 1997 MORI/Evening Standard 29 50 15 21
13 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 30 50 14 20
12 April 1997 Gallup/Sunday Telegraph 31 50 13 19
12 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 49 14 17
11 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 52 11 20
11 April 1997 ICM/Observer 32 48 15 16
11 April 1997 NOP/Sunday Times 28 49 16 21
10 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 30 52 11 22
9 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 29 53 12 24
8 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32 51 11 19
8 April 1997 MORI/Times 34 49 12 15
7 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 33 53 10 20
7 April 1997 Harris/Independent 28 54 12 26
7 April 1997 ICM/Guardian 34 46 15 12
6 April 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 30 55 10 25
4 April 1997 ICM/Observer 30 50 14 20
4 April 1997 MORI/Independent on Sunday 30 55 9 25
4 April 1997 NOP/Reuters 29 52 11 23
4 April 1997 NOP/Sunday Times 26 53 12 27
3 April 1997 Gallup/Channel 4 30 54 11 24
3 April 1997 Harris/Central News 29 55 11 26
1 April 1997 MORI/Times 28 55 11 27
31 March 1997 Harris/Independent 28 52 14 24
31 March 1997 ICM/Guardian 32 46 17 14
28 March 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 31 52 11 21
24 March 1997 Harris/Independent 28 56 10 28
24 March 1997 MORI/Times 29 50 14 21
21 March 1997 Gallup/Sunday Telegraph 27 56 11 29
17 March 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 28.5 56.5 9.5 28
17 March 1997 Harris/Independent 27 58 10 31
14 March 1997 NOP/Reuters 29 54 11 25
13 March 1997 NOP/Sunday Times 26 54 13 28
10 March 1997 Harris/Independent 26 53 14 27
9 March 1997 ORB/Ladbrokes 26 56 12 30
4 March 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 28 54 12.5 26
3 March 1997 Harris/Independent 30 55 10 25
2 March 1997 ICM/Guardian 30 48 16 18
24 February 1997 MORI/Times 31 52 11 21
21 February 1997 NOP/Reuters 29 51 14 22
13 February 1997 NOP/Sunday Times 30 49 13 19
4 February 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 34 49 12 15
2 February 1997 ICM/Guardian 32 48 15 16
28 January 1997 MORI/Times 30 55 11 25
16 January 1997 NOP/Sunday Times 31 54 12 23
15 January 1997 Gallup/Telegraph 32.5 50.5 10.5 18
5 January 1997 ICM/Guardian 31 48 16 17
5 January 1997 ORB/Ladbrokes 30 53 12 23
14 December 1996 ICM/Observer 30 50 14 20
9 December 1996 MORI/Times 30 51 13 21
2 December 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 22 59 12 37
1 December 1996 ICM/Guardian 31 50 15 19
29 November 1996 MORI/Euro 30 52 13 22
14 November 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 26 56 13 30
11 November 1996 MORI/Times 33 50 12 17
5 November 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 28 55 11 17
2 November 1996 ICM/Guardian 34 47 15 13
1 November 1996 MORI/Mail on Sunday 30 54 12 24
28 October 1996 MORI/Times 28 56 12 18
21 October 1996 MORI 27 54 12 17
17 October 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 33 47 14 24
14 October 1996 MORI 30 53 12 23
7 October 1996 MORI 29 54 13 25
5 October 1996 ICM/Guardian 31 49 16 18
4 October 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 24 57 15 33
3 October 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 25 57 13 32
1 October 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 27.5 52 15 24.5
24 September 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 27 54 13.5 27
23 September 1996 MORI/Times 29 52 14 23
19 September 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 31 50 14 19
9 September 1996 MORI 28 56 12 28
7 September 1996 ICM/Guardian 32 47 16 15
3 September 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 25.5 58.5 11 33
25 August 1996 MORI/Times 30 51 13 27
15 August 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 28 54 14 26
12 August 1996 MORI 30 52 13 22
5 August 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 25 59 11 34
3 August 1996 ICM/Guardian 33 45 19 12
28 July 1996 MORI/Times 29 53 12 24
25 July 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 29 51 16 22
6 July 1996 ICM/Guardian 30 45 21 15
1 July 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 26 54.5 14.5 28.5
1 July 1996 MORI 32 52 12 20
24 June 1996 MORI/Times 31 52 12 21
20 June 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 27 55 15 28
10 June 1996 MORI 27 56 13 29
6 June 1996 ICM/Guardian 30 46 19 16
3 June 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 22.5 57 16 34.5
2 June 1996 ICM/Guardian 30 46 19 16
26 May 1996 MORI/Times 27 54 15 27
16 May 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 27 52 17 25
13 May 1996 MORI 27 56 13 29
6 May 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 24.5 55.5 15.5 31
5 May 1996 ICM/Guardian 28 45 21 17
3 May 1996 ICM/Sunday Express 26 52 15 26
27 April 1996 MORI/Sun 29 54 13 25
25 April 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 28 52 16 24
22 April 1996 MORI/Times 28 54 14 26
13 April 1996 ICM/Guardian 29 50 17 21
1 April 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 26 55.5 15.5 29.5
25 March 1996 MORI/Times 28 57 13 29
14 March 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 27 55 14 28
11 March 1996 MORI 29 55 13 26
4 March 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 23 57.5 16 34.5
4 March 1996 ICM/Guardian 31 45 20 14
26 February 1996 MORI/Times 26 57 14 31
16 February 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 25 54 16 29
12 February 1996 MORI 26 57 14 31
5 February 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 28 54.5 14.5 26.5
4 February 1996 ICM/Guardian 31 47 19 22
29 January 1996 MORI 28 54 15 15
22 January 1996 MORI/Times 29 55 13 28.5
19 January 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 25 54 18 20
17 January 1996 NOP 33 47 14 21
8 January 1996 Gallup/Telegraph 21 60.5 14.5 28
6 January 1996 ICM/Guardian 26 48 22 29
3 January 1996 NOP/Sunday Times 29 52 13 16
15 December 1995 NOP/Sunday Times 25 55 16 34.5
14 December 1995 ICM/Observer 30 50 14 16
9 December 1995 ICM/Guardian 26 48 22 27
4 December 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 23 62 12 25
4 December 1995 MORI/Times 28 55 13 29
1 December 1995 NOP/Sunday Times 25 57 15 31
20 November 1995 MORI/Times 26 56 14 17
17 November 1995 NOP/Sunday Times 27 56 13 26
5 November 1995 ICM/Guardian 31 48 16 25
30 October 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 21.5 61 14.5 24
23 October 1995 MORI/Times 27 56 13 26
20 October 1995 NOP/Sunday Times 23 59 15 21
7 October 1995 ICM/Guardian 30 47 19 29.5
2 October 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 25.5 55.5 14 29
25 September 1995 MORI/Times 28 51 16 28
15 September 1995 NOP/Sunday Times 27 53 17 26
9 September 1995 ICM/Guardian 31 48 17 34.5
4 September 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 26.5 54.5 14 14
28 August 1995 MORI/Times 25 56 15 31
18 August 1995 NOP/Sunday Times 24 57 15 29
5 August 1995 ICM/Guardian 31 48 17 31
31 July 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 22.5 57.5 14.5 26.5
31 July 1995 ICM/Express 24 58 14 16
24 July 1995 MORI/Times 26 59 12 26
21 July 1995 MORI/LWT 30 52 13 26
21 July 1995 NOP/Sunday Times 26 55 14 29
8 July 1995 ICM/Guardian 32 47 17 14
3 July 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 25.5 57 13 39.5
3 July 1995 MORI/European 33 52 10 22
27 June 1995 MORI/Economist 31 55 11 23
26 June 1995 MORI/Times 29 56 13 30
24 June 1995 MORI/Mail on Sunday 32 54 11 20
10 June 1995 ICM/Guardian 24 53 19 22
5 June 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 20 59.5 14.5 39
22 May 1995 MORI/Times 22 58 16 27
13 May 1995 ICM/Guardian 29 48 19 32
8 May 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 23 55.5 16.5 30
24 April 1995 MORI/Times 26 56 15 29
8 April 1995 ICM/Guardian 26 51 18 17
3 April 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 23 57.5 15 39.5
24 March 1995 MORI/Sunday Times 25 59 12 29
20 March 1995 MORI/Times 25 57 13 36
11 March 1995 ICM/Guardian 27 52 17 17
27 February 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 20.5 60.5 15 30
20 February 1995 MORI/Times 24 58 14 23
11 February 1995 ICM/Guardian 31 49 17 26
30 January 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 23.5 59.5 13 17
23 January 1995 MORI/Times 27 56 14 28
14 January 1995 ICM/Guardian 30 48 18 31
13 January 1995 Harris/Sunday Times 25 60 12 35
9 January 1995 Gallup/Telegraph 18.5 62 14 43.5
19 December 1994 MORI/Times 22 61 13 39
9 December 1994 ICM/Observer 26 53 17 27
5 December 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 21.5 61 13.5 39.5
3 December 1994 ICM/Guardian 31 49 17 18
21 November 1994 MORI/Times 24 55 17 31
5 November 1994 ICM/Guardian 31 49 16 18
31 October 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 21.5 56.5 17 35
24 October 1994 MORI/Times 25 57 14 32
8 October 1994 ICM/Guardian 32 49 15 17
3 October 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 25.5 54 16.5 28.5
27 September 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 21 57.5 15.5 36.5
26 September 1994 MORI/Economist 25 52 18 27
26 September 1994 MORI/Times 25 54 17 29
16 September 1994 NOP/Independent 28 50 17 22
10 September 1994 ICM/Guardian 33 45 18 12
5 September 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 22 56.5 17 34.5
26 August 1994 NOP/Independent on Sunday 26 54 16 28
22 August 1994 MORI/Times 23 56 18 33
6 August 1994 ICM/Guardian 28 49 19 21
1 August 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 23 56.5 14.5 33.5
18 July 1994 MORI/Times 23 51 21 28
9 July 1994 ICM/Guardian 31 44 21 13
4 July 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 26.5 51 17.5 24.5
20 June 1994 MORI/Times 24 52 20 28
10 June 1994 ICM/Sunday Express 26.5 45.5 19 19
6 June 1994 MORI/Times 23 50 22 27
4 June 1994 ICM/Daily Express 27 45 22 19
31 May 1994 MORI/GMB 22 46 22 24
30 May 1994 Gallup/ Telegraph 21 54 21.5 33
23 May 1994 MORI/Times 27 46 23 19
21 May 1994 ICM/Guardian 30 44 20 14
17 May 1994 ICM/Express 26 48 23 22
14 May 1994 MORI/Sunday Times 26 49 20 23
9 May 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 24.5 45.5 25 20.5
7 May 1994 ICM/Guardian 29 44 24 17
25 April 1994 MORI/Times 26 47 23 21
20 April 1994 NOP/Independent 26 48 21 22
9 April 1994 ICM/Guardian 30 42 22 12
4 April 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 26.5 51.5 17.5 25
1 April 1994 MORI/Evening Standard 28 46 22 18
31 March 1994 NOP/Independent on Sunday 26 50 20 24
28 March 1994 MORI/Times 27 49 20 22
12 March 1994 ICM/Guardian 29 44 22 15
28 February 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 25 48.5 21 23.5
28 February 1994 MORI/Times 28 47 21 19
12 February 1994 ICM/Guardian 30 44 21 14
31 January 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 26 45.5 23 19.5
27 January 1994 Audience Selection/Sunday Mirror 28 41 24 13
24 January 1994 MORI/Times 28 48 20 20
11 January 1994 Gallup/Telegraph 25.5 46.5 20.5 21
11 January 1994 MORI/Sun 30 46 20 16
8 January 1994 ICM/Guardian 31 43 21 12
14 December 1993 ICM/Observer 26 48 23 22
13 December 1993 MORI/Times 29 47 20 18
6 December 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 27 48.5 20 21.5
4 December 1993 ICM/Guardian 31 42 23 11
22 November 1993 MORI/Times 29 47 22 18
13 November 1993 NOP/Sunday Times 27 47 21 20
6 November 1993 ICM/Guardian 34 38 24 4
1 November 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 24 46.5 25.5 22.5
25 October 1993 MORI/Times 29 45 23 16
9 October 1993 ICM/Guardian 36 39 20 3
9 October 1993 ICM/Sunday Express 30 40 26 10
27 September 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 23 44.5 27 21.5
24 September 1993 ICM/Sunday Express 27 41 26 14
21 September 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 23.5 44 26.5 20.5
20 September 1993 MORI/Times 29 43 25 14
11 September 1993 ICM/Guardian 29 40 26 11
6 September 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 25.5 46.5 23 21
23 August 1993 MORI/Times 28 42 25 14
7 August 1993 ICM/Guardian 30 36 27 6
1 August 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 23 44.5 27 21.5
30 July 1993 MORI/Sunday Times 27 41 28 14
26 July 1993 MORI/Times 27 44 25 17
23 July 1993 MORI/Sunday Times 34 44 18 20
5 July 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 24.5 43 26.5 18.5
3 July 1993 ICM/Guardian 32 37 25 5
28 June 1993 MORI/Times 28 46 23 18
12 June 1993 MORI/Sunday Times 29 44 22 15
11 June 1993 NOP/Independent on Sunday 27 42 26 15
5 June 1993 ICM/Guardian 31 38 26 7
31 May 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 25 49 23 24
24 May 1993 MORI/Times 28 44 24 16
8 May 1993 ICM/Guardian 32 38 24 6
3 May 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 30 47 17.5 17
26 April 1993 MORI/Times 32 46 20 14
10 April 1993 ICM/Guardian 34 39 21 5
1 April 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 30.5 49 15.5 18.5
29 March 1993 MORI/Times 32 47 17 15
6 March 1993 ICM/Guardian 36 41 18 5
1 March 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 32 49 14 17
22 February 1993 MORI/Times 34 46 16 12
6 February 1993 ICM/Guardian 37 39 18 2
1 February 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 33.5 46 15.5 12.5
26 January 1993 MORI/CCC 38 44 13 8
21 January 1993 MORI/Sunday Times 37 45 14 8
11 January 1993 Gallup/Telegraph 33.5 45.5 14.5 12
9 January 1993 ICM/Guardian 39 37 18 2
15 December 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 34 47 16 13
5 December 1992 ICM/Guardian 36 41 18 5
1 December 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 34 47 15 13
30 November 1992 Gallup/Telegraph 29 52 14 23
20 November 1992 ICM/Express 33 49 14 16
12 November 1992 Harris/Observer 32 51 14 19
8 November 1992 Harris/World in Action 30 53 13 23
7 November 1992 ICM/Guardian 36 40 19 4
2 November 1992 Gallup/Telegraph 32.5 50 13 17.5
30 October 1992 NOP/Independent on Sunday 34 47 14 13
27 October 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 35 45 15 20
19 October 1992 Gallup 29 51 14 22
12 October 1992 Gallup 36 45 14 9
10 October 1992 ICM/Guardian 38 38 19 TIE
29 September 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 37 43 16 6
28 September 1992 Gallup/Telegraph 37 44 15 7
21 September 1992 Gallup/Telegraph 37 42 17 5
19 September 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 39 43 15 4
18 September 1992 NOP/Independent on Sunday 39 41 16 3
17 September 1992 Harris/Observer 36 44 16 8
7 September 1992 Gallup 43 41 12 2
5 September 1992 ICM/Guardian 39 35 19 4
2 September 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 41 44 13 3
21 August 1992 MORI/Times 38 44 14 6
14 August 1992 NOP/Independent on Sunday 43 39 14 4
8 August 1992 ICM/Guardian 41 36 17 5
3 August 1992 Gallup 40.5 45 12 4.5
28 July 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 39 43 15 4
16 July 1992 Harris/Observer 44 38 15 6
6 July 1992 Gallup 42 38 16 4
4 July 1992 ICM/Guardian 45 36 15 9
23 June 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 42 39 16 3
18 June 1992 Harris/Observer 46 36 15 10
6 June 1992 ICM/Guardian 45 36 16 9
1 June 1992 Gallup 45 37 17 8
26 May 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 43 38 16 5
17 May 1992 Audience Selection 45 37 13 8
14 May 1992 Harris/Observer 46 37 13 9
9 May 1992 ICM/Guardian 45 34 17 11
4 May 1992 Gallup 42 39 17 3
28 April 1992 MORI/Sunday Times 43 38 16 5
16 April 1992 Harris/Observer 44 36 17 8
12 April 1992 Gallup 39 38 19 1
11 April 1992 Audience Selection 42 36 18 6

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Background". BBC Politics 97. Retrieved 30 May 2017.