ComRes have a new poll in the Independent tomorrow. The topline figures, with changes from the last ComRes poll, are CON 40%(-1), LAB 28%(-2), LDEM 18%(+1).

Labour are lower than in other recent polls, but we’re seeing roughly the same gap between the Conservative and Labour as we have in all other recent polls. Interestingly support for “others” is at a relatively high 14%, though ComRes do often weight people who voted “other” in 2005 to a higher level than the other phone pollsters, and often show higher support for them in their topline figures. For the record the breakdown for the others here is Green 3%, SNP 3%, BNP 2%, Plaid 1% and UKIP 1%.

While I’m here, this morning’s Telegraph had some more details held over from last week’s YouGov poll, dealing with the issue of MP’s expenses. Not surprisingly public opinion towards them was extremely hostile. 68% of respondents thought that MPs salary and allowances scheme was too generous, with 23% thinking it was about right and a paltry 4% thinking they should be given more. Over three-quarters of people thought the second home allowance should be reduced or abolished (comprising 32% who wanted to see it reduced and 46% who wanted it abolished altogether).

Asked how much abuse went on, respondents thought “gross abuse” of the expenses system was common amongst MPs – though most thought there were some straight MPs! 13% thought more than 600 of the 646 MPs were grossly abusing the system, 55% thought more than 200 were. Only 10% thought less than 50 were.

Asked about possible solutions, 33% said they it would be better if there were less allowances and MPs were instead given a higher salary. 56% said it would be better if there was no salary increase, and expenses were checked more thoroughly. 12% said don’t know, and I expect had the option been given to just stop giving MPs lots of their expenses it would be been a preferred option!

66 Responses to “ComRes voting intention and YouGov on expenses”

1 2
  1. @Nick – I could see a shift in party loyalty in places surrounding places like ladywood in birmingham or any area effected by lack of jobs. Ladywood is well over 10% unemployed and a deprived area anyway. In fact I can see Birmingham as a whole being quite vollatile if the trend continues (this is not reflected in poll data yet, but that’s where I would target if I was BNP or others playing the race card).

  2. Pete B,

    Do not be so sure about minor parties winning seats in England (*) at the Euro Elections. Three things will be working against them this year.

    (1) Turnout – yes I know it is for the European Parliament, but I suspect that we will see a much higher turnout this year – c45%, possibly over 50%, not because the people have suddenly found a renewed passion or faith in the European Parliament, but because there is growing anger in the country and this is a perfect opportunity to vent that anger. Higher turnout will always reduce the chances of success for minor parties.

    (2) The electoral system used. Yes, it is PR, but since the number of seats has been reduced, there are only three regions where a party could conceivably win a seat on less than 10% of votes cast. (Indeed, the LDs may well suffer from this and lose several of their 12 seats)

    (3) The proliferation of minor parties actually means that the impact of protest voting will be diluted. This will especially hit UKIP, who were able to soak up a large part of the “anti-EU” vote in 2004.

    UKIP may hold on to 3, or even 4 seats – or they could be wiped out. The Greens will be lucky to hold onto either of their two seats, and certainly won’t be winning any more. While there is a chance the BNP may poll above 10% in some areas, they will be hard pressed to do so consistently acros a large region such as NW or SE. Their best prospect may be in London, but remember they only just scraped 1 seat for the GLA last year, and the bar will be higher in June.

    (*) Analysis excludes N.I., Scotland and Wales, where regional factors will ensure local parties are elected (but not “fringe” parties such as BNP, Green or UKIP).


    Beaufort Research/Plaid Cymru

    In an Assembly election, which will next take place in May 2011, Labour would get 35% of the votes (it got 32% in the 2007 election), Plaid Cymru 27% (22%), Conservatives 16% (22%), Liberal Democrats 12% (15%), Green 4% (-), UKIP 1% (8%) and Others 5% (-).

    In a general election, which must take place before June 2010, Labour would get 41% of the vote (43% in the 2005 election), Conservatives 22% (21%), Plaid Cymru 17% (13%), Liberal Democrats 13% (18%), Green 2% (-), UKIP 1% (5%) and Others 4% (-).

    If the figures were replicated in a general election, Labour could expect to lose three seats to the Conservatives – Cardiff North, Vale of Glamorgan and Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South. But they would hold on to other seats vulnerable to a bigger swing.

  4. Morus, of writes:

    “I just spoke to a very nice chap at Beaufort Research in Cardiff.

    In answer to the questions:

    – The data tables etc are owned by the client, Plaid Cymru, and I have been given contact details to request them. They are unlikely to be available this week, because of Plaid’s Spring Conference. I’ll keep trying

    – The ‘poll’ was a general omnibus, rather than an formal opinion poll (the newspaper didn’t make this distinction). Beaufort do conduct the occasional opinion poll as well, but not often enough (and only in Wales) for them to consider joining the British Polling Council.

    – The questions were asked of adults 16+, but weighted only to demographic profile of Welsh adults 18+ (thus 972 responses, rather than over 1000). There was no past-vote, newspaper, party ID, or other political weighting applied.

    – There was no likelihood-to-vote filter applied.

    With those caveats (no political weighting, no likelihood to vote filter) this poll is meaningless for our purposes. Labour support will fall away in its heartlands because of abstention, rather than people suddenly voting Conservative.

    Similarly, for the paper/PC press release to extrapolate results of certain seats (Llanelli, Aberconwy) is completely misleading. I might put in a call to the Western Mail, once I’m done with Plaid.”

  5. It’ll be interesting to see if the outcome of the G20 summit has any immediate impact on voting intentions. It looks as though the bear-trap of meaningless communiques has at least been avoided (it was clear for a couple of days that something concrete would be announced). But the actual deliverables – mainly increases in funding and SDRs for the IMF – are fairly arcane for most people.

    I’d expect a small boost for Brown given the wall-to-wall coverage he’s been getting with superstars such as Obama, but I doubt it will last unless the economic indicators also start improving. Nationwide report increased house prices in March but they also did in October last year and that was short-lived and probably will be again.

    Anyone know if any opinion polls are due this weekend?

  6. Leslie,

    Well about 80% of the G20 communique was meaningless twaddle. The only substantive parts relate to enabling the IMF to undertake global QE. But as that depends on contributions from stakeholders, don’t expect anything soon.

    I agree that the mechanics of IMF support and QE in SDRs is pretty arcane – and will probably be skipped in many media reports in favour of the headline grabbing garbage about capping bankers pay and clamping down on tax havens.

    More importantly, most of the benefit from the IMF package will be felt in emerging markets which have been struggling most in the current crisis (not that you would notice from the media). This is sound global economics and laudable stuff – so credit where credit is due, but it won’t be felt on the high street here.

    Will that give Brown a boost in the polls ? Probably not for two reasons:
    (a) nothing in this package will have any impact on the UK economy in the short term
    (b) it will be Easter next week. By the time people return to normal work after the school holidays we will all be waiting for the udget, and the G20 will be history.

    Note – any polls released this weekend will have had their fieldwork completed by today at the latest, so could not include any reaction to the G20 communique.

  7. I used to like this site!

  8. Paul – a lot of the money is coming from China, but that’s by the by.
    What’s interesting from the political survival of Brown is that there is no reason to call this a final nail in his coffin.

    If the communique had not delivered the steps on tax havens, help for the poorest countries, and a resounding speech from Obama, then Brown would have been finished.

    The time it takes for confidence to return might be all the time that is needed for a Brown resurgence to occur.

    It only takes one set of growth figures to say zero or plus to enable him to say “we pulled us out of recession”, and although it’s a tad optimistic, the sheer steepness of the downturn in the last six months, might just make the figures this time next year very interesting on that score.

    Cameron seems to have been trumped – he’s been citing Sarkozy’s opposition to fiscal stimulus, looking like his ally, and yet now has to deal with the fallout from not opposing the resultant clampdown (which is what Sarkozy really wanted all along)

  9. Keir – quote of the day for me came from the delegarte who said of the agreement ” I don’t know how he (Brown) did it…it wasn’t charm”

  10. John tt

    “Cameron seems to have been trumped”

    News to me.

    Three months ago I predicted the outcome of the G20 summit and that despite no fresh financial stimulus and a positive effort to get lending going again by dealing with toxic debt it would be spun as a triumph for Mr Brown and gain him a modest bounce in the polls. Gordon saves the world part three not having the same resonance as part one. But as Peter Riddell says in the Times the Prime Minister will shortly discover the difference between grandstanding on the world stage and the reality of domestic concerns.
    Like the Treasury forecasts last autumn and the ever optimistic but never correct Anatole Keletsky also in the Times hopes are now being expressed that growth will be resumed either in late 2009 or 2010. I honestly have no idea myself but since this group of people have been so spectacularily wrong to date I am inclined to favour the oppposite view.
    John tt suggests -or I think he is suggesting-that if the figures show that we are technically out of recession this time next year-then the voters will respond positively. Really? Even if that happens the time lag will still mean that unemployment by then over 3 million will be relentlessly rising and the country faced with the huge problem of resolving the appalling public finanances without pushing the economy back into recession. Official stats won’t impresss the voters -jobs on the ground will.God help David Cameron in trying to deal with this mess. He is now only 13 months from taking over. Gordon Brown should hire the removal van now.

  11. John TT

    I agree that the sharpness of the decline at the end of last year means that we may reach bottom sooner so that some economic data can level out, or or even show a recovery (as house price figure did this week). We may even get the odd month on month improvement.

    However, the output figures used for defining growth vs recession are quarter on quarter, so we would either need to have one strong month or two weak months of actual growth to be able to officially declare the recession ended. There is then also a risk of that turning into a double-dip if one quarter at +0.1% is followed by another at -0.1%. Psychologically that could be more damaging then two succesive quarters at 0.0% even if the net impact is the same.

    We can expect the rate of qq decline to slow later this year, and Q4 could well be +/- 0.0%, but remember that unemployment is a lagging indicator, so even when growth overall has resumed, it will be some time before unemployment starts to decline in any meaningful way.

    Also, figures are only posted qtr by qtr, and some weeks after the end of the quarter. While a (small) positive figure for Q1 of 2010 is possible, it will not be officially confirmed until early May – too late for a GE unless Brown really waits for the very last possible date (10 June 2010).

    There is another joker in the pack to take into account. The VAT cut expires on 31/12/09. Will that cause a surge of spending for Christmas which pushes Q4 09 into positive territory ? Conversely, will it also lead to a slump in spending in Q1 of 2010, tripping a double-dip ?

    Then there is the spectre of inflation – by no means dead. The VAT rise scheduled for 01.01.10 will immediately feed into (monthly) RPI/CPI from Feb 2010, so by May there will have been several months of rising prices before there is clear evidence of resumption in output.

    Nobody can be sure how these numbers will turn out, but it is a reckless policy to plan election timing on the hope that economic indicators will give the government a boost.

    Didn’t understand your last paragraph. Both Cameron and Sarkozy were arguing against a fiscal stimulus. The G20 communique contained no fiscal stimulus.

    The “clampdown” on tax havens, hedge funds, bonuses etc is a collection of words with no real material effect. This is typical summit communique stuff, long on intentions, short on action.

    As I said last night, the real meat to come out of the G20 is the support for IMF / IFC which will help trade in emerging markets. That is a truly valuable contribution to the global economy, but the benefits will mainly be felt in Asia, CEE and Latin America, not in Western Europe or America.

    Brown deserves credit for that part of the package, but he could undermine his own success if he tries to present it as “real help now” for people facing unemployment in the UK.

  12. @Paul H-J

    “The “clampdown” on tax havens, hedge funds, bonuses etc is a collection of words with no real material effect. This is typical summit communique stuff, long on intentions, short on action. ”

    One example of how the spin exceeds the substance is the decision on bankers’ pay. To read the papers and listen to the media, you’d think that bankers pay was going to be cut, or at least a ceiling placed on it. In fact, the Financial Stability Board is only going to require that bankers’ bonuses are risk-adjusted i.e. that they will not only depend on outcomes but also on the degree of exposure taken. There appears to be no powers at all to limit the size of payments and it will be interesting to see the public reaction a year from now when 2008 remuneration packages are disclosed in company accounts.

  13. Sorry, that should have read “2009 remuneration packages”

  14. Leslie,

    A prime example of what happens when rhetoric meets reality.

    As a majority shareholder, the Govt could choose to get closely involved in pay & remuneration structures for staff at RBS and LBG, not to mention Northern Rock. To their credit they have not (yet) done so at Northern Rock. But the fiasco over Sir Fred Goodwin’s severance shows that the treasury have a lot to learn about employment law.

    For any other bank they are in danger of creating expectations which they could never hope to fufill without draconian changes to employment legislation and gross interference in the affairs of private companies. [Would you want the remuneration terms of your employment contract being dictated from Whitehall ?] This would probably have the effect of killing the UK financial services sector – and pretty much any other international businesses too.

    As for risk-adjusted bonus structures – the snag here is that all too often the true risks – and thus losses – do not become apparent until long after the deal has been done and the bonus paid – or worse still, the culprit has moved on. One could address the problem by accruing / paying bonuses over several years – but that risks stultifying labour mobility. An alternative would be to make bonuses payable in stock – but there are lots of practical issues around that too – not least the accounting rules introduced under IFRS which killed off the old options-based remuneration programmes which companies did have. There is also the question of private companies and UK subsidiaries of foreign owned groups where payment in shares may not be possible.

    Will 2009 and 2010 bonus pots be smaller than in previous years ? Almost certainly, for the simple reason that bank and corporate profits will be lower.

    Will any new regulations stop bonuses altogether ?
    Will any new regulations make bonuses “fairer” ?
    Will any new regulations on bonuses stop banks taking excessive risks ?

    I suspect that the answer to all of the above will be “no”.

    BTW – in case anyone suspects my personal position – I should declare an interest as an employee of a (foregin owned) bank.

1 2