ComRes have a new poll in the Independent on Sunday. The topline voting intention with changes from the last ComRes poll are CON 45%(-1), LAB 24%(-1), LDEM 16%(-2) (the drop in support for the main parties, interestingly enough, seems to have benefited the Green party, up on 5%, hich will be interesting if it is reflected in any other polls). The poll was conducted between the 16th and 17th July.

The Tory lead is steady at 21 points, which aside from the Populus poll this month seems to be the wider picture at the moment: no change, with a Tory lead at around about twenty points.

The poll also asked people whether they agreed with the statement “The Labour Party will lose the next election regardless of who leads it”. 68% agreed with only 22% disagreeing. This doesn’t actually tell us much about what would happen if Labour did change their leader – people are not good at predicting how they would react to hypothetical events, most of the respondents to the poll probably have very little idea who people like – say – James Purnell are, let alone what he would do as PM or how they would react. What it does tell you is quite how many people think Labour have already lost the next election, a lot of people are clearly alreay writing them off.

ComRes also found 74% of people wanted troops withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible, with 18% disagreeing.


35 Responses to “Tory lead steady in latest ComRes poll”

  1. I think if you check the Indescribablyboring web site again you’ll find it’s CON 45%(+1) not CON 45%(-1).

    http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/07/watch-this-spac.html

  2. That’s interesting about the Green Party being on 5%. Apart from coming second at the Haltemprice & Howden by-election I cannot think of any particular reason why they would receive a boost at this time. What was their rating in the previous ComRes poll?

  3. It was 2% apparently.

  4. Anthony, do you know if we’re going to get the ICM/S Telegraph poll tonight?

  5. AuldCurmudgeon – on the Indy website they have changes in support from the last ComRes poll carried out for the Sunday Indy. The changes above are from the more recent ComRes poll done for the Indy.

  6. This poll has only been going since 2004 making the “worst ever” accolades rather meaningless. The indy blog stealth added in this information after I pointed the omission out seven minutes after they published their post.

  7. I got the regional results from the full results PDF, and they’re very interesting. Scotland is Con 18%, Lab 29%, LD 12%, SNP 35%.
    The LibDems seem only to be holding up in Wales + South West (22%) and in North England (21%); everywhere else, the results are dire (Scotland 12%, Midlands 11%, South East 16%). Given that many of their seats are in the south and in Scotland, this is likely to be a disaster.
    I put the regional results into the beta-version regional predictor on Electoral Calculus, and the result I got (not quite sure I matched ComRes’s regions accurately to Electoral Calculus regions, though) is Con 450, Lab 123, LD 29, Nats 28.

  8. Thomas Widmann,
    I’m not sure I agree with the bias in your use of the adjective ‘dire’ and I’m not sure you’ve appropriately multiplied the margin for error when you divided the headline result according to the regions.

    Even accounting for a remarkable showing from the fourth party it is still interesting that the others remain at historic highs of 9%, while together fourth and fifth parties continue to grow at the expense of the traditional three (up 1% to 14%).

    With today’s arrest of the Tory PPC for Watford to add to a mounting pile of sleaze and corruption stories, this poll must surely provide conclusive evidence that public tolerance of lax political standards cannot be taken for granted.

  9. The Greens at 5% is certainly a bit of a puzzle. I can’t really believe that just because they came second by default in an east Yorkshire constituency by-election it would give them this “boost” in support, but there doesn’t seem to be any other available reason apart from perhaps the cost of fuel. The LDs are down at 16% though and there is a certain overlap between the two parties.

  10. Anthony. Unable to find any reference in IoS to their poll, apart from a brief comment on P2 , in a derisory article about DC and his shadow cabinet. Have they really ignored their own poll? If so, what is going on? “Independent” I don’t think.

  11. Anthony. Should much appreciate your comment/ opinion. The ComRes poll is not in IoS paper, only on their website, presumably read by few people. Is this a reflection on their political stance? Why would they spend money they can’t afford on a poll they don’t intend using, although all previous polls showing similar figures have been published? I don’t read the paper, so have no idea what is their current policy, in the present very strange political climate.

  12. Another possible reason for the Green rise, if it is confirmed by other pollsters, is that a number of Labour/LibDem voters who become disenchanted and would never vote Conservative have found a new home.

  13. They must have prompted for Green support. I don’t think most polling organisation do this – could be requested by this client?
    This will undoubtedly give the Greens a boost, as it reminds voters of their existence. I doubt very much they’d get 5% in a general election, even if they stood in every seat. If there were prompts for other ‘minor’ parties, like the BNP, they’d also get an advantage – in the IoS poll, the Greens will get a bigger share of the ‘none of the above’ element.

  14. Robert – I don’t think they did, the question wording was “If there were a general election tomorrow, would you vote Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat or some other party?”

  15. Exactly, Anthony, this is a higher threshold for the Greens: I understand the logic that YouGov and others got higher results for Greens when prompts included the party, but this is 5% resisting the way the question pushes them towards Lab/Con/Lib.

    I think it is fuel prices. Folk know that oil costs will just continue to rise, and that anyone who tells them business as usual will work looks increasingly daft.

    But then I do have a dog in this fight, so I would say that.

  16. I’d caution reading anything at all into it at the moment, unless the trend is matched in several polls, otherwise the chances are it is just a blip. ComRes, for reasons I’ve never quite worked out, weight others far higher than all the other pollsters. This poll weighted 2005 recalled vote to the equivalent of 10% for others, when actually others got 8% of the vote (ICM and Populus tend to weight others to around 7-8% of recalled 2005 vote)

  17. Comres certainly found more Green supporters in this poll than in their previous poll 33 compared to 21 and more switchers from the other parties 3 from Con 9 from Labour and 3 from LibDems compared to 0 , 4 and 3 in their previous poll . All this should have indicated an increase in their support from around 2 1/2 to 4% but weighting , likelihood to vote and rounding enabled them to claim a larger increase in support from 2% to 5% . It is worth noting that 1 fewer Green voter and 1 more LibDem voter would have given published headline figures of 4 and 17 % respectively .

  18. The Green Party has always been most popular amongst youngish middle-class women, so maybe if that group has become more disillusioned with the other parties it would result in a better result for the Greens.

  19. WMA 45:26:17 so nothing much changing. It does confirm that the Populus poll was a bit of a rogue, with a Retrospective error of 6.

  20. “people are not good at predicting how they would react to hypothetical events”

    I recall that argument being used for the hypothetical Brown as leader questions

    After the Brown Bounce subsided they seemed to be pretty accurate until the government went into tail-spin

  21. Yep – and it was right, people did fail to predict they would be temporarily won over during the Brown boost. I put a very long post up at the time (here) saying people were rubbish at predicting and Brown would actually get a big boost in the polls when he tookover… but that the reasons for his low ratings then – people’s negative opinion of Brown’s personality – weren’t likely to be changed, so in the long term they weren’t a bad sign.

    In this case, some of the reasons Labour are doing so badly can be pinned upon Gordon Brown, so even if they don’t realise it, people could be won over by a new leader (whether the negatives of another change of leader outweigh that is a different matter)

  22. And they’d be likely soon to get fed up with a new ‘leader’ unless the economy were to improve and petrol (and related) prices drop.
    The main problem for Labour is that we’re in an ‘oil crisis’, and that usually removes governments (all the main western government lost the next election after the early 1970s crisis, I am told).
    The bulk of ordinary voters are interested in the pound in their pockets, not the minutiae of politics.
    Anyone wanting to take over from Brown now might need their head examining! However, as they’re politicians ….

  23. Hi Robert,
    I personally doubt Labour would go below 32-33% (in an actual election).
    What do you think?

  24. This poll never made the independent website (except as a blog). Does anyone know why?

  25. I’d like to think that it’s because it didn’t show a great deal. I can hardly criticise newspapers for puffing up their polls and claiming they are hugely significant when actually they just show that everything is pretty much steady, and then criticise the Indy for not puffing up this poll!

  26. JJB – they got 36% last time. I find it unlikely that, given the collapse in their support, they’ll end up getting within 3% of their 2005 vote.

  27. I’ve thought for a while they’ll end up with 30-32%.

  28. Hello Joe.
    I actually think given the economic forecast and the fact that they’d have been in government for 13 years (new leader(s) or not) that they could well go down into the high 20s, as in 1983. Say 30% as a mid range guess.
    I think Others will do well, quite possibly into double figures, and the Lib Dems may get into the twenties again.
    What I think is a likelihood compared with current polls is that the Conservatives will drop, as they come under more scrutiny as a potential government, and because the electorate tends not to like large majorities – the ‘underdog’ effect. If the Tories can keep 40% they’ll have done very well indeed, and could just manage an overall majority – though if they’re the largest party in a hung parliament (most likely in my opinion, though it’s really too far ahead for anyone to make a proper informed guess), they’ll have won and Cameron will be in No 10.

  29. Interesting.
    I’m aware of the 36% last time, but I have long suspected that lots of Labour voters wandered off all over the place then thinking it wasn’t really urgent to vote Labour.

    So all along on this site I’ve assumed the 2005 result was below where Labour actually were. But the collapse of support we’ve been seeing suggests a lack of enthusiasm on the centre/left to prevent a Tory government, which perhaps is no longer a frightener.

  30. The LDs did not reach 23% in 1992 – 18%.
    A large Tory lead in the opinion polls might actually lead to some LD improvement though (so might be better if it’s lower).

    I’m still slightly unconvinced Labour can really be this far behind, however.

  31. Oh, I can fully believe that Labour are languishing at this moment in time, but I cannot believe that the picture will remain as it is all the way until the election.

    We are entering the crucial phase over the next 6 months and the next conference season will do much to set the mood.

    Having taking on the role of front-runner, the tories need to show they are worthy of it and whether they can last the pace they’re setting, because the closer to the election the more incumbents are given the benefit of the doubt – the first step to show that Labour have been a devil has been accomplished (more by events than by the efforts of the opposition, it must be said), now the challenger must overturn the presumption that the devil you know is a better proposition than the one you don’t.

    Any slip-ups by Cameron or the party (and they are beginning to happen) will count double against their chances because it would slow any momentum while distracting any real purpose that exists, so internal party discipline ought to be a big issue right now.

    I won’t make any predictions about what will happen, because it still depends on how we react when each of the leaders have their mettle tested under fire of battle – which is the biggest unknown unknown.

    My biggest piece of advice to Cameron would be to avoid any thoughts that ‘decontamination’ has been achieved for his party and make it an ongoing process to make sure that no new Aitkens or Archers try to hitch along for the ride.

  32. Yes….anyone caught with dodgy expenses or slashing tyres should be thrown overboard.
    There will be greater scrutiny from now on.

    The Government would need more than a good conference to turn this round.
    Their best hope is the economy doesn’t perform too badly.

  33. Joe, you are right that Labour’s 36% was lowered by the fact that the election was not seen as close, and by the low turnout (these are of course closely related) – and also by the defection of many Muslims to the Lib Dems and in a few places Respect because of the Iraq war.
    For these reasons I too think they are starting from a higher base. However, they have run into huge problems over the past few months, and there can be no denying how awful the polls are now, and I can see no reason why they will get better for quite a while. The present level is quite clear, and is not affected by where they might have been in 2005.
    Thomas, yes, they may recover, but as I have said elsewhere there will need to be an economic turn-round. I don’t think this will be significantly affected by what the Conservatives do or do not do. That’s not what normal mass of the electorate are looking at right now.

  34. Of course, not even economic recovery can guarantee a government’s re-election (although it helps).
    The UK had long since come out of recession by the time John Major called the 1997 general election – hence the term “voteless recovery.” Similarly, the US economy was in relatively good shape in 2000, but was it was not enough to give Al Gore the presidency.

  35. It seems that the old orthodoxy linking political fortune to the economic climate has reemerged among sections of the commentariat.

    Well, doesn’t this depend upon a personal judgement of whether and how much recent changes in poll popularity are due to the failure of the government rather than the success of the opposition?

    Considering many conservatives are claiming it is overwhelmingly the failure of the govt which is the cause of their decline it is a bit perverse to suggest economic recovery is a prerequisite for their poll recovery – this would depends upon the effect of direct causation, which no pollster would agree with.

    No, Labour can recover quite easily, provided they aren’t put off their stride, by watching the Conservative challenge implode (if this is to happen).

    Any rotten apples on Camerons bandwagon will prove doubly noxious and immediately recontaminate their brand, for although the overcoming of previous barriers to inclusivity has enabled them to spread their appeal into a fuller breadth of society (some of which were previously considered untouchable as far as they were concerned, particularly when Thatcherite doctrine indicated the non-recognition, or destruction, of society), they have not completely dispelled the impression their message has any underlying or unifying theme which can be carry across the full depth of society and into every corner with equal relevance.

    The ‘Broken Society’ narratives enters dangerous territory for the conservatives, because it strays very close to a “You’re not alright, Jack” form of top-down active interventionism – the intervention of a strict parent over the head of an indulgent nanny.

    For supporters of the Conservatives this may seem the correct medicine for these/for all times, but it remains to be seen how the invalid fares, because the prescription provides no guarantee that the diagnosis isn’t just of growing pains through a period of demographic change.