ComRes’s monthly poll for the Independent is out, and shows topline figures of CON 45%(+5), LAB 26%(-2), LDEM 17%(-1). Changes are from the last ComRes poll, carried out at the end of March.

The figures are almost the same as yesterday’s YouGov poll in the Sunday People. We haven’t had any post-budget figures from ICM, Populus or MORI yet, but so far it is looking as if, between the rows over MPs expenses, “smeargate” and the budget, we have seen a further shift against Labour and we are back into Tory landslide territory. Obviously there is a long way to go until a 2010 election, but the June local and European elections aren’t looking pretty for Labour.

355 Responses to “ComRes show 19 point Tory lead”

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  1. I agree with Mark M’s intention – to eliminate the welfare trap. It’s that that has produced targetting.

  2. ” Colin, in your example I suspect the parent is in a situation where, should both time and opportunity for more working hours arise, she would lose her WTC and end up worse off.”

    Yes MARK M-precisely.

  3. Very bad poll for us, however I still expect a recovery in the next couple of weeks once the dust settles – not totally suprising remember this was during a fortnight of terrible headlines over smear and the right-wing take on the budget so it could have been worse.

    I’ll be very concerned if we get consistent polls like last summer.

    The Cons must wondering what the hell they’ve done to deserve this, i’m certainly very confused.

  4. There’s quite a bit of talk of the last days of Major – could there also be valid comparisons with the 87-92 Tory government? (Change of visionary leader mid-term, going the full five years, gazing into the economic abyss, etc). I’m not trying to clutch at straws and I’ve read the brilliant article about bounce-/claw-backs (and Kinnock ain’t no Cameron) but I wonder if there is still the possibility of the Tories falling at the last fence?

    Personally, I think that this is probably the only real hope for Labour – a brilliantly choreographed election campaign and a Tory slip. Whaddya think?

  5. He should get a soapbox!

  6. Clearly with the comments of this morning you are all bored waiting for the next polls!
    Question – Any help by you mathematicians please?
    If in 2005 the election took place between Labour and Tory only and Labour scored 57.5% and Tory 42.5% what would be the result today based on the last poll if the Lib Dems also field a candidate.
    Answer not to account for local issues, strength of candidate etc etc. just on last poll?
    Many thanks

  7. Osbak,

    The key difference between 92 and 97 was that in 92 the Tories still had a reputation for economic competence and Labour didn’t. After Black Wednesday that all changed. You can’t compare what’s happening now with 92.

  8. OSBAK- I think it’s too late for choreography-the audience appear to want a different performance with a different cast.

    A Tory slip however-that is a distinct possibility.

  9. John TT – understand your point, but I wasn’t specifically saying lest have a £10K threshold. Its the idea of really tackling the benefits trap that everyone should be focussed on, not the issues of the richest 1%, who to be frank, haven’t covered themselves in glory recently.

    Another interesting idea was floated by the Green Party in 1983. They proposed a cash allowance paid to every UK adult, regardless of circumstances or earnings. I recall it equated to basic benefit levels. Tax at varying rates would start on every £ of earned income above this, but with a shift from income tax and NI to resource taxes to encourage environmental efficiency while promoting greater employment.

    It’s radical, would never happen, and I’ve no idea if it would work, but one of my abiding frustrations about UK politics is just how unimaginitive all main parties are. Not since 1047 have we had a government prepared to find totally new ways to organise society, and we’re the poorer for it.

  10. Haven’t read through all the comments, but seeing a large amount of obvious bias in them again.

    FYI The Brown resign poll is exaggerated, b/tards are fixing it in the same way they did here:

    Although people probably stopped taking those things literally after PM Clarkson.

    Looks like Labour are gonna get screwed at the locals, personally doubt it’ll be as bad for them in europe. Maybe comment more later if I have time.

  11. Er – sorry. That should have been 1947.

  12. Can I just point out that there is a difference between Labour and New Labour. Namely that New Labour, what is in power now, is virtually the same as the Conservatives.

    “If David Cameron is elected then he will be the first Conservative Prime Minister since Tony Blair.”

  13. JOHN TT – I am sure that the Oracle is well and monitoring the progress of his predictions. They seem to coming true ! A lot of the interesting contributors are no longer seen on here.

  14. John TT,

    The problem with “supertax” is that it is clearly motivated by envy and not economics. Envy – lest you forget – is one of the seven deadly sins alongside avarice and sloth.

    What on earth makes you think that someone earning £150k is a millionaire ? Or have you changed the definition ? Even if it were tax free and one had no living costs to pay, so could save every penny, it would still take at least six years to accumulate a million, and more than ten to make two million.

    The vast majority of Britain’s paper millionaires are living in the bulk of their estate, and have only acquired this distinction thanks to the ridiculous house price inflation of the past decade – itself a direct consequence of Brown’s lax monetary/fiscal policy combined with unrestrained immigration to force up housing demand.. The number of people who have accumulated £1m in disposable assets (i.e. assets other than their home) is relatively small, and many of these are actually asset rich / income poor. They do so in the hope of passing something on to their children – which is why IHT is iniquitous.

    Personally, I agree with Alec and Charles Stuart that we need a radical restructuring of the Tax and benefits system. It also needs to be tied in with a new approach to savings and pension provision. However, that is not something that can be achieved overnight (perhaps not even in a single Parliament).

    The best way to do this is to have extensive consultation and gain cross-party consensus on the basic structure, then to move towards phased implementation ovar an agreed period. Ideally, it should be done when the public fiannces are in good shape, and not from the depths of a debt fuelled recession. That way, the overall package could actually be revenue negative, with “losers” minimised, and presented as an overall tax cut as the country recovers.

    A mammoth task to be started in 2010 – but perhaps to be presented to the electorate for implementation in 2014.

  15. @Alec – I was very impressed that you researched all the way back to 1047 – you shouldn’t have corrected yourself ;-)

  16. My point was clearly about inflation, and the strange notion that the parties should pander to unrealistic aspirations. £150k salary would result in the accumulation of £1m very quickly – I’d say 10 years would be fair – you’d have to be quite a shopaholic for it not to in that short time, and the result of even a few more of us realising that aspiration would be inflation.

    Deciding policy on the basis of such unrealistic aspirations is strange.

    Sounds like a big lie to cover the reality that the few with the most are greedy.

    Like Lawson claiming reducing it to 40% would increase the yield. Of course it didn’t, but it eased the old conscience a little.

  17. “The vast majority of Britain’s paper millionaires are living in the bulk of their estate, and have only acquired this distinction thanks to the ridiculous house price inflation of the past decade”

    This is why I have previously suggested an asset tax, or wealth tax if you like. Much of the rise in fortunes for the wealthy is from unearned asset inflation and is moved around on paper to avoid tax. For example, replacing council tax with a fraction of a % on property values over a certain threshold would help close another tax that disproportionately hits the middle/lower earners.

    Its really important for the more right leaning posters to appreciate that many of the ideas being floated here aren’t based on envy. Many people of all political persuasions feel that we have simply got the balance of tax wrong, with the lowest 10% paying the highest proportion of their income in tax, middle earners also suffering, while the wealthiest have the least burden in % terms. Equating income levels with workrate simply doesn’t wash, as many very poorly off work very hard. We tried trickle down economics and it didn’t work. It’s time to have a major rethink of tax and benefits, linked to a radical overhaul of how government spends the cash.

  18. There is absolutely no way that someone on £150k could accumulate a sum of £1m in ten years. This would require saving 2/rds of one’s *gross* income each year, which given that more than 1/3rd goes in tax means it can’t be done even before you start spending money. Take a £3k a month mortgage into account, and even without lavish holidays or anything like that, you’d do very well to save £30k in a year.

    Not penury certainly, but hardly a millionaire lifestyle.

  19. Leslie – I was assuming annual increases, bonuses, asset appreciation, etc, but , to re-iterate my point, why on earth devise policies based on un-achievable aspirations? What proportion of the workforce are we realistically expecting to join the top 2%?

  20. @Leslie
    1/3 of 150 in tax leaving 100 (or around 90 I think taking everything into account) let’s assume they have it particularly bad tax wise leaving 80. You’d do very well to save 30 per year, so minimum to live on is 50 yearly.

    £50,000 is not a minimum, 50 grand is very very well off.

    Some of the comments on here I can only assume originate from very wealthy individuals….if so, good for you…but…and I don’t want to sound like some sorta class warrior when I say this… really, really, need to consider that your position is a long way from representative.
    Final income for 60% of households…and that’s households not individuals, is less than 25k pa…

    For the case in point, 150k pa wouldn’t automatically get a mil in 10 years, although it’s probably possible with good investments, but anyone with any financial nouse at all earning that much could end up a millionaire eventually if they save instead of spend. Of course….Brown probably doesn’t want them to save, bad for the economy…

  21. Alec,

    Although I agree in principle with taxing based on % of assets (property), the trouble with this one is that if you buy a property and it rises in value, where does the extra money come from? What about retired people living in £500,000 houses, who’ve had them for years, but don’t want to move? When times are good, can they go to the bank and borrow the tax? When time are bad (like now), does the tax go down? Does someone have to value the house each year? What is a fair value?

    This needs thinking through properly. I’m not saying you’re wrong, if it is implemented someone needs to think about this properly.

  22. @John T T – Sorry John, but as the Top 2% will always be 2%, it will always be 2% :-) – I think you need to qualify a value and not a percentage

  23. John TT and Wood,

    It’s not about whether £50 or 150 grand a year is “very very well off” or not. It’s about aspiration and ‘reward’ leading to a better world for us all on the backs of amazing minds.

    Sure I’m jealous/angry that some reality TV star or thick banker gets rich while I do not but to build tax policy on such envy is madness.

    If you want me to design and build rockets or conduct brain surgery or sell sand to Arabs then, after all the training i’ve undertaken, all the risks I’ve taken, all the long (in many careers very long) arduous hours of toil I’ve put in, I want a big house and a fancy car. End of.

    Not a slightly bigger house than the council paper shuffler next door who clocks on and off 9-5, 6 weeks hols and zero stress. A much, much bigger house.

    …and a maid…and a swimming pool …and so on.

    All of mankinds technological and social progress in the last millenia was down to the great minds and deeds of the few, not of the many.

    Fail to make those few feel sufficiently rewarded, hope that they will deliver purely out of the goodness of their hearts, and you will be dissappointed. The many will suffer in the end.

    Indeed,against their own immediate gut instincts, most people realise this and the recent Labour budget has gone down poorly among voters.

  24. Wood,

    The point, which I think John TT accepts, is that the accumulation of wealth is much easier if you have asset price inflation. But it is not a win-win situation since eventually we all pay through a devalued currency.

    The people who bought a three-bed semi in suburbia for £60k in the 1980s and are now sitting on £500k of equity were not financially astute, just lucky.

    Even after the benefit of a university education, their children – or grandchildren – will struggle to finance a one-bed flat.

    I don’t know which part of the country you live in, but I assure you down here in the smoke £50k does not feel well-off. It does not even get you into a starter home if you haven’t got parental support or can persuade a bank to give you a high-multiple mortgage – which is the root cause of the current financial problems.

  25. @Chris – “i’m certainly very confused.” – you’re in a diminishing group, I believe GB and AD are in it, so you’re keeping good company.

  26. Kier,

    “the Top 2% will always be 2%”

    Not in the wonderful world of new Labour it isn’t. We had a fascinating discussion with the audit commission at a recent council meeting where they tried to explain to me that because we only had 54% of our PIs above average we were in the bottom quartile since the majority of councils had more than a third in the top quartile.

    Seriously !

  27. Keir – of course the top two percent would expand as they were joined above £150k by those of us who aspire to join them, whether we do so through luck, geniuis, endeavour.

    Wealth accumulation, as Paul points out more succinctly than I, is easier if you already have some; you don’t have to work so hard once a chunk is in place;it works for you then; it becomes easier and easier to grow it without effort or genius as it accumulates,

    There’s nothing I object to in that (though I would tax it more as it’s inherited). What I object to is the idea that we’re all somehow going to swell the ranks of the extremely well off, and therefore have an interest in keeping that section’s tax low enough for us not to feel unfairly treated then.

    I’m not envious, just puzzled as to why we all seem to buy the idea that great wealth needs to be protected from tax, because it’s within our reach as well as in the (often hidden) accounts of the top 2%

  28. lol – yes the understanding of the word average and percentages is lost on some people. In many proposals I’ve seen, people use average as a measure of performance rather than acceptable. When challenged to define average of what they say words like best practice and industry standards without being able to refer to any data what so ever.

    PS I can’t wait until I earn £150k per year so that 70% of it is taken away :-) It will be like passing my driving test and finding out I can’t afford the car or the petrol to run it – so why did I bother in the first place.

  29. @John T T – no John you miss the point, the top 2% can’t expand unless we have a growth explosion. The people in the top 2% may change and the criteria may be different, but the top 2% will always be the top 2%

    In terms of taxation I just can’t see the point in over taxing a productive wedge of the community for such little returns. How much for example does Richard Branson and his empire add to the economy each year. Do we wish him to work only in other countires and not support industry here.

  30. Paul – I’m sure I could save 15k of a £50k salary over a couple of years in London. Flatshare Rents are £400 pcm in reasonable areas, and flats for purchase easily available around £180k. Check on Rightmove, it’s not as expensive in the smoke as is often portrayed

  31. **********QUESTION **********

    Does anyone know whether there are anymore polls due before the end of the month ? We normally get 2 ICM polls each month ?

  32. @ Alec – “For example, replacing council tax with a fraction of a % on property values over a certain threshold would help close another tax that disproportionately hits the middle/lower earners.”

    And would penalise people on low incomes who bought their homes decades ago in areas that subsequently became gentrified – eg half my neightbours.

  33. Kier,

    Agreed. But this was an audit report from the Audit Commission !

    No wonder the country is in a mess.

  34. the top 2% can’t expand unless we have a growth explosion

    That’s my point exactly, Keir. So why do we as a population buy the theory that it’s there for us all. It’s the “aspiration” aspect that is strange. We cannot all enjoy, not even a reasonable minority of us, the benefit of low tax at the top end.

    It’s OK to say leave them alone they deserve it, but to me, the argument seems to have been “leave them alone, we all aspire to join them”. And we can’t, for the reason you point out.

    Therefore, it would be reasonable to say, as a non-participitating 98%, “let them enjoy their rewards to a certain extent, BUT don’t leave them alone, because we need to take at least a proportion of their accumulating wealth that they are not really earning, in order to help us pay for the services that we all deserve”

  35. @John T T – “Paul – I’m sure I could save 15k of a £50k salary over a couple of years in London. Flatshare Rents are £400 pcm in reasonable areas, and flats for purchase easily available around £180k. Check on Rightmove, it’s not as expensive in the smoke as is often portrayed” – and where do I put my wife and 3 children or should I not have them if I can’t afford them? Sorry but that sounds a bit elitist for me.

  36. Back to the polls anyone? So do we think the current polling gap will be maintained until the local and European elections? If so what does these mean in terms of councils won/lost, MEGT (members of the European Gravy Train)?

  37. @David D, Onthejob & replies
    Assuming, Labour fail to recover between now and the Euros and Council elections, and the summer poll dips to the very low 20s of percent, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if John McDonnell re-emerges… he seems to be waiting in the wings:
    (Millbandleson’ll love that!)

    @James Ludlow, James TT etc..
    I can’t see Harriet Harman beating John McDonnell… her whole agenda is Equality of Outcomes; not Equality of Opportunity… the whole “E&D” agenda seems to be along the lines of Immanentising the Eschaton – making reality conform to an academic paper of how things “should” be.

    They seem to be frantically rushing these things in, because they sense the clock may be against them… there’s no clear economic sense in it – it’s just more pressure on time, money, and resources for small businesses when they least need it.

    I reckon the mood is not simply against Brown, but “for” a complete purge of the “New Labourists”, and a return to ideology (at least a a more moderated form of what used to be Labour’s ID).

    The tory vote’s gone up, but are these really going to be NewLabour voters switching; or just swapping places with abstaining Tory voters to become abstaining Labour voters?
    You’d expect the LibDems to gain from Labour’s woes, yet, if anything, they’re doing slightly worse (at least recently).

  38. @ CharlieJ – I’m not sure you’re right about engaging the BNP in debate. My suspicion is that engaging them in debate more often would increase the perception of them as just another party and thereby make it more acceptable to vote for them.

    It seems to me – and this is based on a number of polls I’ve seen over the last few years – that most people are comfortable with a slow, steady level of immigration but hostile to the sort of massive influx we’ve seen in the last 10 years. You may want more but most people don’t.

  39. James Ludlow

    I may be an idealist but I hope that a debate on immigration would give people vent to their anger over most (but not mine) view that we have had too many but also highlight the irrational comments and policies by the BNP. I have no issues with people holding opposing views to me but I do have issues with those people not being able to express them and debate them in public. My feeling is that this drives those with the most extreme views underground and abl eto target the most vunerable in society to use them.

  40. @CharlieJ – No I don’t think the lead will be maintained in the polls, but I do expect it to stay high. The polls would have to shift by a massive amount to make June anything more than a drubbing and political kicking for GB.

  41. CharlieJ – totally agree with you about airing views in public. There’s no place in a democracy for silencing anyone’s opinion, no matter how extreme it may be, provided it isn’t accompanied by criminal acts. But that doesn’t mean that mainstream politicians have to debate with the BNP – there are plenty of other places and occasions where views can be expressed.

    I’d prefer to see mainstream politicians engaging more with public opinion on immigration and acting upon it rather than filing it away under “wrong”. Immigration isn’t a conversation between the BNP and other parties. It should be a conversation between politicians and the public – with the politicians remembering who works for who.

  42. Keir
    I am sure this has been covered so sorry but what were the polls like around the comparable local and European elections last time?

  43. I’d go for:
    Con 36%
    Lab 19%
    Lib 17%
    UKIP 4%
    Green 6%
    BNP 7%
    SNP 5%
    PC 3%
    Libertas 1%

    UKIP will collapse in London, but hold onto their leader; Libertas look set to pick their pockets more than the BNP, who probably won’t get enough in London, but may make ground.
    Greens could pinch one off the LibDems in the South East (Brighton).
    SouthWest split between Tory and LibDem and keep one UKipper.
    East & East Mids might retain some kind of UKIP-esque presence.
    West Mids, North West, & Workshire (amusing typo!) looks likely to deliver a BNP one each.
    In fact Yorks: 3 tories, a lib, a labour, and a bnp is my guess as a native.

    In general I would expect to see a lot more blue, red-white-and-blue (of various flavours), a dollop of gold, dash of green, and a lot less red on the map!

  44. “Like Lawson claiming reducing it to 40% would increase the yield. Of course it didn’t, but it eased the old conscience a little.”

    Many papers quoted that example after Darling’s Budget-all of whom referenced IFS figures showing that Lawsons take from highest incomes did increase.

    Seems the sensible corollary of the obvious equation :-
    Penal tax rates on top slices of income = tax avoidance measures, failing which no desire to earn the extra & give most of it to the Treasury.

  45. CharlieJ

    Polls – they will wobble around in terms of “lead”, but expect it to remain in double digits from now until the GE whenever it may be.

    Local Elections –
    “Good” for Labour will be to keep losses below 100 seats – but that represents 20% of the seats they are defending. More than 150 losses is bad, over 200 and we are in meltdown territory.
    A more interetsing figure to watch is how well LDs do in retaining the seats they are defending against Con.
    In terms of County Councils, Labour have four left to lose – expect them all to fall – the question being whether they go straight across to Tories or become NOC.

    Euros – tricky due to combination of (a) awful results for both Lab and Con in 2004; (b) reduced turnout which means results may not be truly representative; and (c) reduction in seats means comparisons with 2004 are not like for like.
    Key figures to look for are whether Lab share nationally falls below 20%, and how high Con share rises from the 26.7% in 2004.

  46. Ivan –
    “All of mankinds technological and social progress in the last millenia was down to the great minds and deeds of the few, not of the many.”

    As a historian, I beg to differ. History is much more about conditions and circumstance rather than individuals. For example, societies with good education for all tend to produce greater outputs because the conditions are right. Those conditions are created by the many, but a few will stand out as being particularly successful. We tend to lionise a few individuals whose image remains in the collective memory, but every case of human achievement in any field involves many, many unsung heroes (and heroines) whose contribution is long forgotten.

    The cult of the individual is not a new phenomena, but hurts our understanding of society. For example, in your case the “council paper shuffler next door” might just have saved you or your childs life by approving a 20mph speed limit outside your house. Who knows? Their name will never be in the history books.

  47. CharlieJ,

    I asked the same question some weeks ago only to find there is a poll archive in the right-hand side bar.

    The answer is that if you look at either 1999 or 2004 the Euro election results bore no resemblance whatsoever to the national polls in either the months before or after those elections. In other words, no use as a guide to what might happen !

  48. @James Ludlow,

    …it’s a sure sign that you suspect the BNP might be saying something that people agree with if you want to exclude them – at least it makes it very easy for them to argue that.
    The debate is then deflected from the actual issue you think the BNP are wrong about, and turns into a debate about free speech, and “free” is a very emotive word, and especially so if one side can argue that the other is “opposed to freedom”.
    If, as I expect, the BNP get two or three MEPs, they’ll have to be engaged with – as will those who voted for them.

    The assumption you’re making is that the BNP wants to debate with the mainstream parties …what do the BNP gain from that? They surely gain more by being pariahs? …and the more hysterical the criticism of the BNP, the more they have to gain.

    You’re right that “remembering who works for who” is important here… to an extent the parties *have* to be where the voters are …the shift to this common ground, called “the centre” (the centre of what exactly?!), has left a lot of people where they were, and the BNP have filled the vacancy.
    The other thing to remember is that the BNP makes a good value protest vote… it’s *safe* to vote for them in the Euros to stick a finger up at the establishment (you’d get a lot of attention to your local area all of a sudden I imagine), without having to have them run anything… but that doesn’t mean you should be complacent. The BNP have been slowly gaining tiny amounts of council seats, and building their reputation that way.

    Essentially, it’s logically fallacious (slippery slope) to say that by including them you make people more likely to vote for them (like a “gateway drug” or something); it’s the issues they are addressing which is making people more likely to vote for them – they have more room to appeal to emotion that other parties do, and in the current climate, that should be taken seriously: ignoring them won’t make them go away.

  49. Promsan,

    You cannot seriously think that UKIP will drop to 4% nationally, do you?

    Also, I would think that turnout would have to be exceptionally low before the SNP took 5% or PC took 3%.

  50. UKIP should win 10% at least.

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