ComRes January poll

ComRes have released their monthly poll for the Independent. The full tables are here. The topline figures, with changes from ComRes’s December poll are CON 38%(-3), LAB 30%(nc), LDEM 17%(+1).

The pattern here is in line with the recent YouGov and ICM polls – the Conservatives down, Labour largely stuck in the low thirties, a slight rise in the Lib Dem score. This poll was conducted between 25th and 27th January, so it is the first poll conducted entirely after Peter Hain’s resignation and – as yet – there is no obvious damage to Labour’s support.


89 Responses to “ComRes January poll”

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  1. The Conservatives must be losing a bit of support to the minor parties such as UKIP, since their vote is down 3% but the Lib Dems are only up 1%. Interesting, since the minor parties haven’t exactly been in the news lately.

  2. judging by local council results the BNP are doing well.

  3. Comres always have a higher Others figure than other pollsters .

  4. I am not a great fan of ComRes so I have my doubts about these figures. They have the SNP at 5% which considering Scotland has less than 9% of the population seems pretty extreme.

    For the little it’s worth for Scotland on 59 of 594 responses.

    Con 11%, Lab 30%, LibDem 10%, SNP 45%, BNP 1%, Others 3%.

    and no I don’t believe we are on 45% or even 40%.

    Peter.

  5. Anthony,

    Clicking for full details on YouGov results still isn’t working…..

    Peter.

  6. ComRes’s weighting for people who voted for “Others” in 2005 is sometimes inexplicably high. This month it isn’t actually that bad, about 7%.

  7. Add’s further weight to the idea that Cameron needs to start setting out out a clear message to the electorate, rather than just sitting back and watching Brown impode. Tories need to be pro-active.

  8. The full data from the Comres poll is on their website . Apart from the weighting they certainly seem to find more people saying they will vote Green and other Others than the other pollsters .
    The changes with how people voted in 2005 is interesting LibDem to Con is 12 with 4 in the other direction very similar to ICM’S figures but LibDem to Lab is only 4 with 22 moving from Labour to LibDem . On that basis Comres should have a higher LibDem figure than ICM – very strange .

  9. GIN I completely disagree. It is right to view this as a marathon and not a sprint, there is no point going full pelt now and no need to be miles ahead now.

    Cameron is rightly keeping his powder dry for when he needs it. If he can maintain a healthy lead like this without doing anything, and expand it at crucial times when he needs to, then that’s good.

    He should wait until closer to the May polls before becoming particularly active. Let Labour implode now, step in to the fore then.

  10. The overall numbers are down on the Comres Poll – more support for others ? But the Comres Poll is actually similar to the results of the YouGov Poll a couple of days ago – Tories 8 points clear of Labour.

  11. It’s hard for me to agree with PHILIP THOMPSON , but on this occasion i do – steady as she goes , why give policies to Labour to steal / Labour are doing a very good job at the moment of “self destruct” .

    I notice that Brown is appearing on the TV more often – NOT a good idea !! He is not as photogenic as Cameron & Clegg & looks feeble & quivering – on last sunday’s TV interview he was completely on the backfoot .

    8% Lead looks very good and in line with YouGov.

  12. KTL, polls need to be compared to the same type. This may match the YouGov lead, but it is undeniably a decline in the Conservative number (on the borders of the margin of error). The prior two polls had a double-digit lead and it was October when last it said 8%.

    Of course in September there was a 3% Labour lead, just to provide context.

  13. Sadly, Mike Richardson, an 8% lead (I note you choose the poll with the biggest gap…)does not match your oft-quoted predictions of a consistent lead over 10%. And even though the press are not yet hammering it, the Conway sleaze/misjudgement/theft issue could well blow up to be massive – it appears much more serious than any of the recent Labour troubles as it involves misappropriating taxpayers’ money…

  14. The Tories seem to have reacted fairly swiftly but removing the whip. Mr Conway’s current seat;

    Notional 2005 Results:

    Conservative: 21149 (49.8%)
    Labour: 11689 (27.5%)
    Liberal Democrat: 6258 (14.7%)
    BNP: 1060 (2.7%)
    Other: 2210 (5.2%)
    Majority: 9460 (22.3%)

    Verdict.

    With 50% of the vote and a 13% lead over Labour with the LibDems on under 15%, sack Conway and call fro him to stand down for a By-election with either someone from Cameron’s A list as candidate or someone strong locally.

    It sends all the right messages about the difference between Cameron’s Tories and both the old Tories and New Labour.

    Cameron should hit the TV studios raging and declaring he won’t tolerate this kind of behaviour.

    It would all be an act of course but it would probably work.

    Peter.

  15. Interesting Peter. Interesting too is Nick Robinson’s BBC blog which says that the reason Cameron might not be ‘raging’ as you put it is that Conway represents a powerful clique of ‘Old Tories’ who don’t like him (Cameron) much anyway but will tolerate him as long as (a) he’s in with a chance of winning an election and (b) he leaves them alone!

  16. Chris C – it appears much more serious than any of the recent Labour troubles as it involves misappropriating taxpayers’ money…

    That’s true – it is a more serious charge. But there again Mr Conway isn’t a Cabinet minister or even a Shadow Spokesman on anything – he’s just a backbench MP so I doubt if the story will stick in the electorate’s mind and have serious ramifications for Cameron. But I could be wrong on this. Time will tell.

  17. I think the Conway story is serious because the misuse of funds seems so blatant. But Cameron could, in a way, turn it to his advantage be being very harsh with Conway. I think Peter’s advice is spot on. All the same, I’m not sure that a by-election would be a good idea for the Tories. There is not a seat out of reach of the LibDems in that scenario.

  18. Clearly the Tories are back on their way to power – how else can we explain prolonged poll leads and the rediscovery of some real, quality sleaze. Just like the NHS, schools, petrol prices, immigration etc we’ve had to put up with New Labour’s half hearted attempts at corruption – they couldn’t even trouser the cash for themselves and their families. It takes good old fashioned Tories to show the nation a good piece of self gratifying sleaze. Its high time we re elected them – they know howw to get things done!

    And please – before you respond, bear in mind this isn’t an entirely serious posting – apologies AW.

  19. The Conway episode is embarrassing for Cameron but as with any individual piece of scandal it will blow over and be forgotten in a few weeks time. The lesson for Cameron is clear however. It’s not always wise to jump and down like an excitable teenager every time something goes wrong for Labour and try to associate every piece of sleaze personally to Brown. Sooner or later it will come back and bite you and you will look foolish. There is only one thing that the pubic dislike more than a politician and that is a hypocrite. Despite the best efforts of the Tory spin team, it is quite clear that Cameron decided last night to back Conway only to change his mind today when it became clear that the proverbial excrement was all over the fan. He (eventually) made the right decision and as I said, in time, no one will remember unless this is followed by a string of similar fiascos. That is possible (it seems that Conway may have embezzled upwards of £200,000 and it certainly doesn’t help that the honourable member for Eastbourne has allegedly taken to battering his own children) but the reality is that there aren’t really that many Tory MPs to create a scandal and only a handful who are known to the British public.

    My view of all these recent scandals is that they are not such a bad thing. It demonstrates that the system put in place is starting to work and by necessity both parties will have to tidy up their own houses to avoid embarrassment. 10 years ago, not one of these scandals would ever have been exposed and I think we all know that whether it is donations and expenses, nothing has been done recently that hasn’t been done for years previously. The fact that it is now being rooted out is positive.

  20. Peter:-
    “It would all be an act of course”

    Why?

    KTL:-
    “he’s just a backbench MP so I doubt if the story will stick in the electorate’s mind and have serious ramifications for Cameron”

    Theft of public funds is theft of public funds-backbencher or not. I think the electorate will wonder how many backbenchers pay their relatives taxpayers money for doing sod all.I suspect the answer may be quite a lot of them.Their expense allowances need much more oversight & audit.

    Arnie:-
    “it is quite clear that Cameron decided last night to back Conway only to change his mind today”

    Why is that clear?-and how do you feel it compares with Brown/Hain?

    “it certainly doesn’t help that the honourable member for Eastbourne has allegedly taken to battering his own children”

    ….!!! doesn’t help whom? Why is this relevant to this discussion?

  21. I think Arnie has a point in picking Cameron’s minor ‘wobble’ over backing, then sacking Conway. It was absolutley clear last night that the Tories felt the punishment handed out by the suspension was sufficient – and they said so publically. Having seen the morning press and heard the radio phone ins Cameron got concerned and back tracked. While it’s true to say this will blow over, Cameron has to be very careful about the ‘flip flop’ – this can devastate politicians and its something Labour have already played to some effect – remeber the grammar school row which kicked off a real slide in Tory ratings. Cameron is seen by focus groups as a bit slippery anyway, so any sense of impermanence may hit him, rather than the details of the story.

  22. I’m glad that Conway has had the whip removed, but I think that people need to be very careful about bandying about words like “theft.”

    He is innocent of theft, unless and until it is proved in court beyond reasonable doubt that he is guilty of theft, and saying otherwise is libellous.

  23. Alec, changing one’s mind to do the right thing is a lot less damaging than many politicians imagine.

  24. Colin,

    It would be an act, because although Cameron may not like what Conway has done, turning it to his political advantage rather than playing it down would be a conscious piece of Spin.

    NorthBriton,

    If Conway was the Tory candidate then the LibDems might have chance, but if the Tories push for a By-Election, which Conway knowing he would lose would never agree too anyway, then they would be portraying themselves as fighting and indeed punishing sleaze and that would be hard for the LibDems to overcome.

    Either way calling for a By-Election would be a win win for the Tories.

    On a wider point, what this might bring in to the light is a long list of MP’s who have employed relatives over the years, including the likes of John Ried.

    I suspect the vast majority have earned what they have been paid and done good work being both loyal and usually committed to the cause ( pretty much what you want from a researcher or office staff) but I suspect that it will still see them all tarred with Conway’s messy brush.

    I suppose that’s just the climate we live in and a consequence of the lack of openness in MP’s expenses which leaves people plenty of room to cast aspersions.

    Peter.

  25. Sean – you’re quite right, but the problem is that Cameron already has in some people’s minds an image of changing policy according to whcih way the wind is blowing – its more of a risk for him that for other politicians. (Especially when it only takes one lot of newspapers to change your mind).

  26. Peter
    “It would be an act, because although Cameron may not like what Conway has done, turning it to his political advantage rather than playing it down would be a conscious piece of Spin”

    So…if he had said-I do not like what my MP has done, but I don’t think it’s really a big deal-lots of MPs pay relatives..blah blah-that would have been more acceptable to you?-less of “an act”-less “spin”…..Right!!!
    Thank goodness DC didn’t follow your principles then.

    Since Arnie has declined the invitation-would anyone care to compare & contrast Brown on Hain with Cameron on Conway?

  27. Sean-I accept your stricture on the use of the word “theft”-and am happy to replace it with the words used by The Parliamentary Commissioner – “a serious diversion of public funds”..!!

    Peter:-
    ” I suppose that’s just the climate we live in and a consequence of the lack of openness in MP’s expenses which leaves people plenty of room to cast aspersions”..

    this from The Telegraph Online :-

    “The Committee on Standards in Public Life is now poised to launch an inquiry into MPs’ expenses although it has emerged that Jack Straw, when leader of the House, blocked a similar move last year on the basis it would embarrass backbench MPs.”

    Great isn’t it?-it really is time for these public servants to be dragged into the real world inhabited by the rest of the population.

  28. Philip and Mike, I’m not saying that the Conservatives should set out a full manifesto or anything like that, nut I do think they have got to start cementing into the minds of the public exactly what they are about, what they want to achieve, what Cameron’s personal goals are and in what way the country will be differant under a Cameron government. These kind of abstract idea’s take a lot of time to “bed in” to the public mind, but they are important, IMO, in gaining an initiative.

    My view would be to make the “Broken Society” the central theme of any Tory government and Cameron’s own personal mission. There were many terrific idea’s in the IDS report, take two or three of those ideas and over the next 12 months keep making speech after speech after speech around this one area until the public can say absolutely and totally what Cameron’s central vision is.

    That would be my strategy. I’m not a member of any political party or anything like that, its how I feel the Tories should be developing in 2008 if they want the best chance of defeating Labour in 2010.

  29. the comsres poll is good news for big dave as it shows the conservatives gaining a majority of of the seats around 312-322 if their was an election tomorrow,but the things may all come crashing down for dave and the conservatives if the S word comes back (sleaze) my prediction is another labour cock up but a slimmer lead for the conservatives next month 3 or 4pts with labour stuck on 30-31% a bad month for all apart ffrom the lib dem who will pick up much of the vote from the conservatives.

  30. Sorry Colin. I hadn’t declined your invitation to comment, it’s just that I have a life outside of these boards which means that I dip in and out of here and generally only during the day.

    To pick up on your questions. Yes, it was clear that Tory high command decided initially to back Conway. A formal statement was issued to the effect that such matters are dealt with by Parliament and Conway had apologised so that should be the end of the matter. The next day when the news story was picked up by every newspaper (and most worringly the Daily Mail) Cameron changed his mind. I think that was the right decision but it was a change of decision. Like I said, I don’t think it will resonate in a few week’s time unless this leads to a string of further embarrassments. But it does leave the public with the general impression that Cameron is happy to leap on the misfortunes of others without a second thought but when it comes to his own, his instinct is to protect and that (as with all politicians) he only takes action as a matter of expediency.

    As for Waterson, of course it has nothing to do with politics proper. It is simply bad press for the Tories in much the same way as Prescott and Cook having affairs was bad press for Labour. A string of such mishaps leaves the public with the impression that a plague should be set upon all their houses.

    As for a comparison to Hain/Brown, it is very difficult to draw any meaningful parallel. With regard to Conway, it was an easy decision to make in that it he was found to have diverted public funds for his (family’s) own benefit. Hain’s failure, was a failure on the part of his campaign team to record donations within a specified timeframe. He wasn’t trousering public money. It was incompetent and immensely stupid given the sensitivity surrounding the issue of party funding but was it obvious that Hain should be sacked immediately? Frankly I don’t think that is obvious at all. If there was proof of intentional misconduct on the part of Hain (as in the case of Conway) then yes I would have expected Brown to sack him. But there wasn’t.

  31. Thanks Arnie
    We have different views on both instances then.

    I profoundly disagree with the last sentence in your second para-both as to Cameron’s personality & instincts, and as to the “impression” you feel will be left with the public.

    Time will tell on the latter-and the polls of course!

  32. Gin – If I was a Tory I would be careful stressing the ‘Broken Society’angle too hard for two reasons. Firstly, it annoyed many people who whether we agree or not came to the conclusions that although there are clear problems, in many places society is a lot less broken now than it was when the Conservatives were in power. People generaly don’t like to be told their lives are ‘broken’, which is effectively what this message is. Secondly, two years out from an election its a dangerous tactic, with crime figures showing falls, and other social indicators perhaps moving in the governments favour before we are asked to vote. I’m not saying this is necessarily what I believe, but it would be a mistake to fight the next election talking a depressing talk about broken societies against a background of improving conditions. I would be interested if there any poll findings about this, as I don’t recall seeing any.

  33. By the next election you would have broadened things out. You certainly wouldn’t fight the next election on a single issue – Elections are never fought on a single issue – Look what happened to Hauge when he tried to turn the 2001 election into a single issue election. He failed miserably. So I’m not saying the “Broken Society” stuff should be the dominant issue in 2010, just that Cameron should make it a central theme for 2008.
    My feeling is, he needs a fundamental issue to claim as his own, and from which he can build a coherant “vision” that the public can 100% associate with him.

    BTW, the “Broken Society” is just about crime. Its about drug addiction, alcholoism, broken families, the state of many of our inner cities, etc…. In emcoapsses a lot of areas, not just crime, though of course violent crime and muder, is the most dramatic aspect of it.

  34. By the next election you would have broadened things out. You certainly wouldn’t fight the next election on a single issue – Elections are never fought on a single issue – Look what happened to Hauge when he tried to turn the 2001 election into a single issue election. He failed miserably. So I’m not saying the “Broken Society” stuff should be the dominant issue in 2010, just that Cameron should make it a central theme for 2008.
    My feeling is, he needs a fundamental issue to claim as his own, and from which he can build a coherant “vision” that the public can 100% associate with him.

    BTW, the “Broken Society” isn’t just about crime. Its about drug addiction, alcholoism, broken families, the state of many of our inner cities, etc…. In encompasses a lot of areas, not just crime, though of course violent crime and murder, are the most dramatic aspect of it.

    *reposted for spelling*

  35. Colin,

    “So…if he had said-I do not like what my MP has done, but I don’t think it’s really a big deal-lots of MPs pay relatives..blah blah-that would have been more acceptable to you?-less of “an act”-less “spin”…..Right!!!

    Thank goodness DC didn’t follow your principles then.”

    It’s quite clear from numerous posts Cameron and the Tories was in two minds how to deal with this with there minds made up by the press and Public reaction.

    Cameron had a range of ways in which to deal with it and I suspect “outrage” would have been the most politically advantageous one. That would have been Spin and would have risked being seen as such but would probably been a good move.

    That in no way makes me in favour of it or indeed ambivalent about corruption. If Cameron had played it down it would have been politically inept and hurt him. The issue was how should he deal with it politically not the right and wrong of it.

    It is clearly wrong and Conway should pay the price including being convicted if he is prosecuted but that is a separate issue.

    As to your rather childish, “Oh so you’d have preferred this” comments, save it for the pub, it’s a bit harry Enfield for here.

    Peter.

  36. Peter:-
    “The issue was how should he deal with it politically not the right and wrong of it.”

    An interesting remark.I hadn’t seen it in that light.

    Colin

  37. I think the Conway issue simply puts into context what I was saying about the Labour donation issue in a previous comment.The voters assume all party politics is now sleazy and the latest scandal simply damages politicians rather than individual parties.Interesting that most callers on Radio 5 yesterday simply slammed ‘these politicians’ rather than Conway. Not scientific but I suspect it’s an accurate view…otherwise Labour would now be in the mid 20% opinion poll bracket following the previous 12 months donations rumpus.

  38. Can I just remind everyone that the Peter Hain issue did not relate to taxpayer’s money, but it did pertain to his personal finances. Blears took out a loan. Benn confined his expenditure to a very small amout [£4000] in donations. Harman re-mortgaged her house to the tune of £50,000.
    Hain avoided raising any finance in his own name -despite spending more than twice as much as Blears/Harman and about 20x as much as Benn.
    By not declaring some of it to the Labour Party, he saved himself the 15% due to them [£15300].

    I agree that the public will distinguish between taxpayers [ie our money] and other monies, but this is a government Minister that Brown
    refused to sack. Guido raised questions about some of the donors IDs in Jan 2007. If these are the ones that were then ‘forgotten’ about, a police inquity could prove nasty.

    I believe the Tories will now take a hit in the polls. Conway is now the thoroughly disgraced ex-Tory. There will be a backlash, but better to get in out of the way now than leave trouble stored up for later [Hain etc].

    One thing that has not been commented on but may have an effect in the future, is the reaction of the Tory grassroots. They were inequivical. As a Tory grassrooter myself, it is hard to get a perspective on whether that has come across in the media generally – but they come out of it to me [?] as being decent and firm. Look at the excuses made for Ken, or the deafening silence…

    Secondly, this has seriously weakened the position of the old guard in the Tory Party. Tory grassroots were ready to slice Conway off at the knees [or worse]. Any retaliation from them will result in a furious backlash. Tory bloggers have got more and more behind DC and have now let some of the bed blockers know, they cannot hide in the folds of the grassroots skirts. The grassroots allegiances and attitudes have changed and I am not sure that some of them realised how much until now.

    A commenter on PBetting said that Labour should get blogging more, as they have to wait for detailed analysis of polls to find out how things are playing and by then the reaction is far too late.
    Are bloggers making pollters [abit] redundent or are they distorting the picture. Discuss?

  39. Sally C
    Re your point about the grassroots/bloggers I agree entirely.

    I was most heartened to read the unequivocal call on Con Home for Conway to be dealt with severely and the anger at what he had done.

    Alice Miles in todays Times expresses their sentiments I suspect-I couldn’t stop nodding at her piece:-
    link

    It was always clear that DC had to do what he did-it was the right & only thing to do.

    I sincerely hope he can take the logical step & push for much more scrutiny & audit of MP’s allowances.

    Whilst there is a “remote political class” element to this, for now it’s a Tory problem & I agree they might well suffer in the Polls for it.

  40. An enquiry into MP expenses is needed – but it is time all parties pressed for an enquiry in Europe into MEP expenses – MEPs will not allow an audit of their expenses which is a total disgrace.

  41. MR conway will most likely not be the candidate at the next election and his sons will not be taking any more of the tax payers money, thank god, but the peter hain problem will not go away and it would be in the intrest of the conservative if MR hain stayed on as an MP at the next election, he’s the next prescott (he’s a joke!!!!!

  42. Thank goodness all contributors here keep to your guidelines “all comments should be in the spirit of non-partisanship.”
    How irritating it would be if people posted partisan insults such as: [re: Hain] “..he’s the next prescott (he’s a joke!!!” – or [re: Gordon Brown] “…He is not as photogenic as Cameron & Clegg & looks feeble & quivering].
    No, that would lower the tone :)

  43. Just for peoples interest (okay interest isn’t the right word), these are the Scottish parliament expenses rules.

    http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msp/MSPAllowances/index.htm

    I tried to find the Westminster expenses rules but believe it or not I couldn’t find them.

    Peter.

  44. “I agree that the public will distinguish between taxpayers [ie our money] and other monies,”

    To be honest I don’t think they do.They tend to lump sleaze and dishonesty into one huge pot.

  45. More generally, I do not really think taxpayers see government money as their own money, even though it obviously is. If they were more aware of this, I think they’d be more angry about the almost daily wastes of millions of pounds on spurious government projects by a feverish and hyperactive state.

  46. Even more generally, I am often staggered at ‘liberties’ with employers, the taxman, benefits etc. that many people seem to openly [even proudly] admit to these days.
    Sounding like an old misery….

    Peter, I believe it.
    The Info Commissioner has had his request for Info on MPs expenses blocked by Mr Speaker.

  47. john H’s comment is very true, in the respect that all comments should be un-biased but as he will be well aware by now as will all of the people that have commented on the iseue of funding, the member who paid his son’s is now not standing as a member at the next election, but this could still be damageing for both parties as both have problems with slightly less transparant funding, but other than that we have an old govenment thats been in power for 11 yeras on 1st may this year, but if we look at all the most resent polls all show a loss of trust in our current govenment lower than that under the last conservative govenment during it’s last few years in power, the main problem for all the main parties is scotland with the SNP running very high in the polls up north, but in the midlands labour could get wiped off the map if things stay the way thay are at this time, if not and things turn ba for both main parties the Lib Dems my steal a few seats but thats a year or two away yet lets see what happens between now and then and yes i am as non bias as you can get, but we are all slightly one way or the other when you talk about party funding or who’s going to win the next election.

  48. Over in New Zealand someone by the name of Andy Moore has started a website asking people to not vote for the New Zealand Labour party.

    http://www.dontvotelabour.net Have a look at it.

  49. Weighted Moving Average 40:33:17 no real change. It does cofirm that the last ICM/Guardian Poll was wildly inaccurate (5 poits out on the retrospectives. But CommRes are the most erratic of all the pollsters (Standard Deviation of their errors is 3.2 the others are 2.3 or so) so nothing much can be read into their results in isolation.

  50. JohnH,

    One cannot concur entirely:

    ‘Thank goodness all contributors here keep to your guidelines “all comments should be in the spirit of non-partisanship.”’

    Whilst one agrees in the non-partisanship principle where possible, the mask soon falls-off most peoples faces, regardless of the tone of their comments. [Hands-up, guilty as charged. Note the last part Mr Hain! Sorry, could not resist.]

    You may not like the tone in which one writes, or the forcefulness of others. This should not deny the right or righteousness of commenting. What next, will you be deciding whether, or not, one is capable of having a vote over the European Constitutional Treaty…?

    So let’s keep to the guidelines, and trust in Anthony’s wisdom to warn us when we cross the line. As for etiquette, can we stop righting monologues within one paragraph? Suitable styles for reading (of a computer) include Peter Cairn’s or, dare one say, Fluffy Thought’s….

    It’s not just the message. It is an ability to get it across…!

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