ComRes tonight

John Rentoul tells us there is a ComRes poll on its way tonight. I’m off out, so won’t be updating till later, but feel free to discuss it here when it arrives.

UPDATE: the topline figures, with changes from the last ComRes poll, are CON 41%(-3), LAB 30%(+2), LDEM 17%(nc).

The poll shows a shift back towards Labour from the Conservatives – but this isn’t necessarily significant: the weighting in the poll was more pro Labour. This poll was weighted to to targets of Con 18%, Lab 23%, Ldem 11%, the previous one was weighted to Con 19%, Lab 21%, Ldem 13%.

That aside, this poll really does bring all five of the regular pollsters into line with each other, with the Conservatives on 41-42% and Labour on 30%-32%. Only the reported level of support for the Liberal Democrats varies between the companies.

On other questions, 39% of people were optimistic about the economy. 39% agreed with the statement that “I expect the economy will start showing signs of improvement soon”. 48% agreed that “David Cameron has what it takes to be a good prime minister”.

There was also a “are you a selfish bastard question?” Unsurprisingly, 83% people didn’t say they were selfish bastards and claimed that they would “make significant changes to the way I live to help prevent global warming or climate change”. Doing things to help the environment (and giving to charity) are both areas where people tend to give what they perceive as the answer they “should” give, rather than the truth. Populus gave some good examples back in November 2006 when the percentages of people who told them they recycled all their stuff and only bought low energy lightbulbs were flatly contradicted by the actual figures.

87 Responses to “ComRes tonight”

1 2
  1. the result is now up on the web-site

    CON 41 -3
    LAB 30 +2
    LD 17 (NO CHANGE)
    OTH 12 +1

    con lead 11

    this poll is in line with others more resently

  2. Labour is still closing the gap on the Conservatives in the latest ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday. The Tory lead is 11 points, which is only just enough for David Cameron to secure a majority in the House of Commons.

    Con 41% (-3)
    Lab 30% (+2)
    LD 17% (-)
    Other 12% (+1)

    (Change since the last ComRes poll for The Independent, published on 3 March. Since the last IoS poll on 15 February, the Tories are unchanged, Labour is up 5 points, the Lib Dems down 5 points.)

    The poll also finds a surprising degree of optimism about the economy. Although 62 per cent say they will spend less on their summer holidays, nearly 40 per cent expect to see signs of improvement in the economy “soon”.

    I am ready to make significant changes to the way I live to help prevent global warming or climate change:
    Agree 83% (81% in June 2007)
    Disagree 16% (16% in 2007)

    I will scale back my summer holiday spending plans to save money:
    Agree 62%
    Disagree 34%
    (In October 2008, 62% agreed that “I will scale back my Christmas spending plans to save money”, 36% disagreed.)

    David Cameron has what it takes to be a good prime minister:
    Agree 48% (46% in May 2008)
    Disagree 41% (42% in 2008)

    I expect the economy will start showing signs of improvement soon:
    Agree 39%
    Disagree 58%
    (C2s the most optimistic social group: 47% agree, 50% disagree.)

    Methodology note:

    ComRes telephoned 1,002 GB adults on 18 and 19 March 2009. Data were weighted by past vote recall.

    data from comres web-site

  3. DC has is now +7 as best PM

    economic improvement 39% think things will get better 58% worse

    cut back on summer spending 62% will 34% think they won’t

  4. female voters CON 41% LAB 30% LD 18%
    male voters CON 41% LAB 29% LD 16%

    SCOTLAND 19% 31% 12% 5% 33%
    NORTH 41% 37% 13% 9% ——-
    MIDLANDS 42% 26% 20% 12% ——–
    SOUTH EAST 46% 27% 16% 11% ———-
    SW & WALES 43% 29% 20% 6% 2%

  5. Stuart what do you think has caused this Labour recovery as it is?

    Plus, if the Tory rating has reduced yet more people think he’d be a better PM than Brown, does this not tell us that most people still do not trust the Conservative and Unionist Party?

    (Plus, the Tory rating still languishes in Scotland at an embarrassing level, what can be done to change this?)

  6. “Stuart what do you think has caused this Labour recovery as it is?”

    It’s not really a Labour recovery as such. It’s more a correction from the previous ComRes poll (which subsequently seemed to overestimate the lead) to what is very much the average lead from recent polls.

  7. Another few days of a static lead. Although now that the IMF is stepping up it’s publication of forcasts which contradict the treasury and AD/GB we could see it start to move again soon. I was expecting to see more of a shift this weekend, but then PMQ’s and the related news was a bit of a dud for DC in the end. It’s not like he’s going to run out of ammo any time soon though so I’m not overly concerned.

  8. I wouldn’t call this a recovery, more like a slightly larger wobble than usual. Another indication of the modest Conservative majority I expect next time.

  9. Small sub-sample in Scotland, but interesting to note from Stuart’s figures that the SNP are ahead here, i.e. 33% to 31% for Labour on Westminster voting intention. This reverses the position suggested in the recent yougov poll.

  10. the figures above in my earlyer post are direct from com-res own web-site as for some reason they put the figures up early don’t ask why the sub sample is from the document related to this poll which included all of the sub sample data,

    dean thomson,

    i would say as i did in earlyier comments that this is just a correction in comres polling i.e a coming into line with other polling. rather than any slight recovery .


    fully agree any poll which puts labour only 10-11% behind and had them 15-17% ahead is, just coming into line with ll other polls, the last poll that the comres did may have been well off of the mark with other polls.

  11. spellings a bit off tonight mor than normal , imust be tiered

  12. I’ve just had a look at the ComRes poll for the BBC’s Daily Politics from Wednesday. Oddly, the BBC neglected to report on the result that 84% of people agreed that Britain should decide in a vote before transferring any more power to the EU.

    Surely this shows that a party will be able to pick up plenty of support if it simply promises (and actually holds) referenda on the EU. The question is, will any of them be brave enough to actually take this stance?

  13. Really odd that the Indy is reporting this poll as evidence of a “Labour recovery”. It’s completely in line with other recent polls which gives the Tories around a 12 point lead give or take one or two points. A bit of wishful thinking on the part of the Indy, I suppose.

  14. My graph of all the reults so far this year shows this result to be consistent with others, though the last few ComRes results showed a higher Con lead of 15—16% (but not their first of 2009, which was just 9%).

    Interestingly, the Con position has remained much the same over the last few months, including late 2008 — yes, there have been ups and downs with all parties, plus the occasional “blip”, but a trend line is almost level.

    With Labour, their recovery toward the end of 2008 has definitely been lost, and there is certainly no indication of any improvement since mid-January, as all polls since then have given Labour 30 +/- 2%.

    I cannot read this latest ComRes as having any significance for Labour; and I don’t expect to see any real variation for some time, unless a General Election is called, say for this June, which will bring firm policies out of the woodwork.

    It that were to happen, I’d expect a significant widening of the Con/Lab gap during the following weeks..

  15. The regional variations are interesting, though I realise they are very small samples. I note that the Conservative lead in the Midlands is second only to that in the South-East. Am I right in thinking that there are more marginals in the Midlands than other areas? And if so, does that mean that the Conservatives might do better than expected in a uniform swing prediction?

  16. As Anthony points out any movement in the headline figures is driven more by changes in Comres past vote weighting than a change if any in voting intention . If this poll had been weighted to the same figures as their previous poll the headline figures would have been Con 42 Lab 28 LD 19 and noone would be saying Labour narrows the gap .
    Mike Smithson at plans to do a lead article on past vote weighting sometime next week which should be compulsory reading for all those interested in interpreting opinion polls .

  17. Even with the 10 or so seats notionally given to the Tories through boundary changes, the 10/11% lead in the latest round of polls doesn’t give Cameron any room for error in the run up to an election. Any turnaround in the economy and further recovery by Labour will put him into hung parliament territory – and the prospect of a Conservative government will only firm up Labour support.

  18. As I said last year I expect a GRADUAL decline in Labour’s support during the first six months of this year. The steep decline we saw last month surprised me.

    With 39% having still an unrealisticly optimistic view of the economy a 30% support for Labour is still to be expected.

  19. ‘I’ve just had a look at the ComRes poll for the BBC’s Daily Politics from Wednesday. Oddly, the BBC neglected to report on the result that 84% of people agreed that Britain should decide in a vote before transferring any more power to the EU.

    Surely this shows that a party will be able to pick up plenty of support if it simply promises (and actually holds) referenda on the EU. The question is, will any of them be brave enough to actually take this stance?

    No, it’s not the percentage which is important – the vote swing depends on how important people think the issue is. At the moment with the economy as it is I would suggest Europe is the last thing on people’s minds. It’s the economy which is vastly more important to most people. It may even lose votes; people could easily argue that parties should be concerned with the economy and that they shouldn’t waste time on a hypothetical issue of more / less power to the EU.


    CON 42.0% LAB 30.2% LD 17.3% OTH 10.5%


    CON 356 +146 LAB 231 -118 LD 33 -29 OTH 30 +1

    CON MAJ 62

    this is slightly down on the start of the month but not changed much since the middle of the month

  21. just had a look at the current trend as well it is still highly likely that the election day totalvote percentage for the parties could be

    CON 44%
    LAB 28%
    LD 16%
    OTH 12%

    this would give the conservatives a 150+ majority, but in the next few months we will see how all of the parties are performing in the local & EU elections in two and half months time.

  22. The Scottish figures do seem to be close to other polls but the sample size is really small as always. in addition Comres really do jump about a lot even compared to others.

    They had two polls in Feb which had sub samples showing the Tories in Scotland on 9% and 22%, which to be honest really tells us nothing.

    I did look at the average for the last sixteen Comres sub samples and it comes out pretty close to this one, so although it feels right we just can’t tell.

    AsIi have said repeatedly, who comes out on top in Scotland come the Westminster election really depends on how far ahead the Tories are down south.


  23. Jack-
    Sorry, I should have specified that I meant it as part of a manifesto, rather than coming out and actually saying it this week.

    Interesting for ComRes to change their weighting. On what grounds do they choose how to weight the vote, and if they arbitrarily change it poll-to-poll, can we really gain any meaningful results from them?

  24. Mark M , Mike Smithson has given the Comres weightings for the last four polls they are all different . There is no logical reasons for them to change them so frequently neither ICM nor Populus do so .. It does make their headline figures and changes less meaningful but we can look at the data tables and use our knowledge to interpret them more sensibly .

  25. As stated there is no recovery at all by Labour
    This company’s poll was out of line last time and has now joined the others
    If the economy improves I would expect a small narrowing of the gap – but if it declines as many experts predict then we will see how low Labour’s core vote will go – which I expect to be less than 28 per cent

  26. ComRes calculate their target weightings by some method that includes the average recalled 2005 vote from their recent polls, and the actual 2005 result.

    The actual mechanics of that, we don’t know. ICM and Populus use the same figures to calculate their target weights, and it provides very, very stable figures. They do change slightly over time as levels of false recall change, but you wouldn’t notice it to look at – the difference from month to month is a fraction of a percent.

    In contrast, the figures ComRes weight to seem to change drastically from one month to the next. Exactly how they arrive at these figures neither I nor Mike have managed to figure out.

  27. @anthony – Sorry silly question alert – have you asked them? or is it a polling companies secret? sorry I actually don’t know.

  28. @ PAUL (BROWNOUTIN2010)

    Lower than 28? Could things really get that bad for Labour?

    If it is so, I feel that the beneficiary would be the Lib Dems, who need to make a better hash of challenging for Labour voters (and in places like Liverpool they might be able to take a couple if they achieve a 8+% swing).

    Cameron can’t bank on being the beneficiary of labour decline below 28% outside of the middlands and S.E. In places needed for a Tory landslide the Tories are still rather weak or underperforming completely- I’m thinking of NE/NW and especially Scotland (exlude the borders as they are prob. secure Tory gains unlike the rest of the nation they seem to actually feeling a D.C bounce)

  29. Keir , both Mike Smithson and Anthony have asked Comres several times but have not received an explanation .

  30. ‘Jack-
    Sorry, I should have specified that I meant it as part of a manifesto, rather than coming out and actually saying it this week.’


    Still not convinced that any one really cares about the manifesto of a party bar the ‘chattering classes’ (us). In terms of voting it’s immediate impression land; and whether one has a job that matters. Does any normal person know a complete manifesto? No. Key factor is always hip pocket nerve, and in this world wide issues concerning the depression / recession the EU is irrelevant as we all have bigger hate figures such as bankers.

    I think the whole issue of Europe at this time is irrelevant in the street.

  31. Keir & Mark – to be fair, I have been in contact with ComRes about their methodology and got answers, but not detailled enough answers for me to understand how they calculate it.

    I believe Mike has been in much lengthier correspondence, but I’ll leave that to him to post about at some point!

  32. @Anthony/Mark – thanks for the responses. It does seem strange that ComRes won’t give you the data as it shouldn’t make a difference to them from a business model. In fact the more opaq their polling, surely the less faith we have in them. You might almost be able to replace them with someone like ‘ the oracle’ and save yourself a lot of money.

  33. Does ComRes research why people are optimistic / pessimistic?

  34. Can see more chipping away at this lead. The shambles of the tory economic policy and their flip-flop nature to addressing this problems I think will really start to hit home and push voters away.

    I think Labour will still be hammered at the Euro elections, governing parties always are, but can see this trend of voters moving back to Labour continuing to the level before Christmas. Also, if at this time, the economy is showing any signs of improvement (which it’s started to already) – Labour will and rightly get the benefits of this.

  35. @Chris – OMG which part of the country do you live in I want to move there. Gosh the rest of the UK is facing the most protracted recession in history and you’re talking about a recovery already happening! I’ll give 4 people who are close to me and who have recently lost their jobs to cheer up shall I. Please so that I can enlighten my poor friends who only have to worry about there houses during a recession what EVIDENCE do you have a an improvement in the economy. All most economic forcasters can point to is a slowing of the fall, we have not hit bottom yet and will fail to do so until all of the skeletons are free from the closet. This year we have companies with full order books going to the wall because of the credit issue. Next year we will see companies unable to fill order book because the demand won’t be there. I see no green shoots here my friend. I find your comment crass beyond words.

  36. This gives a national swing of 7%, which is just on the edge of what the Tories need for an overall majority. I know a lot of Conservatives are relying on a bigger swing in the marginals but that doesn’t always happen.

  37. @Keir – i’m afraid your clichéd rambling of a response is precisely what the gloom merchants are spouting – any good news, which has there has been signs off has been drowned out by line by line reciting of Mail and Express gloom stories.

  38. Chris,

    Keir may have made his point a little emotively, but I too am intrigued to hear about these signs of improvement in the economy. Are we talking about a slowing in the rate of deterioration or an actual recovery ? Is this a localised or sectoral phenomenon ?

    Perhaps you are referring to recent reductions in the net negative rating in the economic optimism index ? If so, beware, because even here, the optimism is that things will get better within the next 12 months, not that things have actually already turned up for the better.

    Please elucidate.

  39. Chris

    I’m not so sure Labour will benefit massively from an economic recovery. They were polling very low before everything hit the fan and Cameron tends to poll higher in ‘best PM after the recession’ questions.

    Also, if the economy wasn’t such a story I think that things like claiming expenses for your parent’s house just up the road, or indulging in some nookie in your commons office might make more headlines, and thus more of an impact with the electorate.

    Just my two cents.

  40. I must admit, in defence of Chris, that due to the very low interest rates of late most folks who bought at the height of market have been shielded from their ‘paper’ losses in property.

    People may know that they’ve lost money but they’re not having to fork out as much to live (lower mortgage costs) day to day. If you have still got a safe job life doesn’t seem so bad.

    Fact is though, there is a price to all this cheap debt; a low pound value and subsequent inflation I suspect.

    Given a 6-12 month delay before things start getting really hairy Labour would be mad not to go for a June election. ‘Feel good’ won’t get any higher than right now for years but has Brown got the balls?

  41. The election will not happen before 2010 May, as this PM has a record of avoiding the electorate as much as possible.

    Forget an early election, if they were planning one before 2010 it would have been Feb.

  42. I can’t see an early election either. Brown might be pinning his hopes on a recovery early in 2010, and a narrowing of the polls. Unfortunately, unemployment usually lags behind in a recession, and if this is somewhere in the region of 3 to 3.5 million by then as some are predicting, it would be hard to envisage a significant improvement in the government’s fortunes.

  43. There is no question that there will be an election before the last possible moment – 15 months from now. In the meantime anything could happen. As Ivan says, a substantial section of the population are not seriously affected by the situation; indeed, some have gained. I think the Toriea are giving a hostage to fortune in stressing inheritance exemption for those inheriting property worth up to a million pounds – and beyond. That will not go down well with the vast majority who are in a different league for inheritance.

  44. “a substantial section of the population are not seriously affected by the situation”

    I presume you mean the 3.5 million with a tracker mortgage… opposed to the 23 million savers.

    Or perhaps you meant the 6 million public sector workers with risk free salary linked,( many index linked,) pensions guaranteed by the state, and funded by the taxpayer……as opposed to the other 23 million workers mostly with no guaranteed pensions, and all the risk attached to the plumeting values of their pension funds & declining annuity rates.

    You need a serious addendum to your assertion & it goes something like this

    “…. and an even greater section of the population are very seriously affected-and will no doubt take this into account when they next vote”

  45. Dean I do think Labour run a real risk of going below that as their support is normally the least likely to actually vote – and also polls normally overestimate Labour’s strength
    I also cannot see an election until the last possible moment as Labour are currently going to be turfed out and so they – naturally as any other ruling party would – will wait as long as possible hoping ‘something turns up’ as in a recovery

  46. @Chris – sorry chris still don’t hear any evidence. I shall assume you don’t have any. I on the other hand have personal experience of it. My spouses uncle who was a small tileshop employee lost his job today as his store was closed as people are cutting back on redoing their houses. I can give you his number and you can ask him how his recovery is doing (sorry for being imotive). My Grandparent are currently being assisted by other members of the family as teir savings (my Grandad never borrowed even for their house) no longer support them at the age of 82 that may cause them a problem. If you are lucky that none of your relatives or friends have been effected by this, then I wish them all the best as it’s a charmed life they are living at the moment.

    @Ivan – you issed off the vast amount of people who are on a fixed rate mortgage secured for over 5 years at 7.5-8% or even higher. Sorry but add them to Savers and pensioners, I’m afraid I don’t see many winners.

  47. I agree that there is not nearly enough ‘good’ to outweigh the ‘bad’. I just think it’s likely to worsen a fair bit from here.

    Also, if Labour aren’t at least thinking of an early election why the sudden deluge of advertising?

    Nobody can surely have failed to notice the almost wall to wall ‘Direct Gov’ and local police Ads on commercial radio and TV of late. Most of which actually sways quite close to propaganda with the government ‘line’ “Real help now” slogan tagged on.

    They can’t keep up that level of spend for long. Something is afoot I am sure of it!

  48. @Ivan – Brown is fighting off the wolves in his own ministerial pack. They are trying to geta better result in the euro’s and locals to prevent an absolute route in a GE.

  49. From Anthony’s original posting:

    There was also a “are you a selfish bastard question?” Unsurprisingly, 83% people didn’t say they were selfish bastards and claimed that they would “make significant changes to the way I live to help prevent global warming or climate change”.

    Given people’s tendency to respond with the “politically correct” answer, it’s somewhat scary that 17% of the population are openly proud to be considered selfish bastards. Shows what a challenge the authorities have to bring about any meaningful changes to lifestyles.

  50. ‘Or perhaps you meant the 6 million public sector workers with risk free salary linked,( many index linked,) pensions guaranteed by the state, and funded by the taxpayer’

    I do get tired of this line; state workers have paid into the pension pot all their working lives. It’s not ‘funded’ per se by the tax payer. Basically the pension money has been spent by govts of all parties to build assets which everyone uses.

    If you prefer, consider state pensions as owning say , the all the M roads in Britain (or whatever, I don’t know the arithmetic in total) and ‘state pensions group’ because they are nice, allow people to use the major assets they have paid for, for free.

    Now, one could hand over pension assets to the value of the pension money govt earners have paid for, to a ‘govt pension pot employees fund’ and then make that pot pay for the pensions by charging people to use assorted roads and bridges which they would then own.

    But that would be unfair as it would hit some users disproportionately and it’s ineffective– a fairer way would be to charge everyone who uses it or could use it with a simple effective collecting method, otherwise called direct taxation…

    You see my point. Basically state employees have paid for their pensions but the govt has used their money to do other things with it – building assets which the whole community uses. Now, one can be boring and inefficient and give govt employees and ex-employees control of assorted state assets and they can then charge the rest of the community to use these assets on a user pays basis which would split the community.

    Or the community can grow up a little and realise that we all use assets owned by govt employees so it’s fair and right that we pay to use them by direct taxation.

    The normal bleat against govt employees taxation has totally ignored that they have paid into the schemes over many, many years…

1 2