There is a new ComRes poll in tomorrow’s Independent, with topline figures of CON 36%(-3), LAB 25%(+3), LDEM 19%(+1). Others are collectively on 20%.

The topline figures would appear to show a swing back towards Labour – the 11 point lead is still enough for the Conservatives to secure an overall majority, but is the lowest Conservative lead since the end of last month. However, it’s important to note that ComRes have made a substantial change to their methodology this month.

Regular readers will know that ComRes used to use a method of past vote weighting that was quite confusing, and which seemed to result in them weighting to different targets each month. That’s now gone, and they are now weighting recalled past vote to a target made up 75% of the last general election result, and 25% the average of ComRes’s last 12 polls. My expectation is that this should result in some more consistent, less volatile figures.

ComRes’s new past vote weighting should on paper be almost identical to ICM’s method. Note that this doesn’t mean ComRes’s methodology is entirely comparable to ICM’s – there are still important differences. ComRes use a “squeeze question” to coax intentions out of people who don’t give a voting intention, ICM don’t. Secondly, ICM then rellocate 50% of don’t knows to the party they voted for in 2005. ComRes reallocate don’t knows to the party they identify with (and, as far as I can tell, they re-allocate all of them).

Other questions in the poll included which party people trusted more to “decide where spending cuts should be made” – 31% said the Conservatives, 21% Labour and 14% the Lib Dems, so pretty much in line with voting intention.

UPDATE: Full tables are here.

97 Responses to “Tory lead down to 11 with ComRes”

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  1. Really fail to see how others can still be making 20% of the total vote. Also find it hard to see Con share down 3 as well. I suspect we will get very different results overs the next few weeks and look forward to the Norwich by election as better pointer. Should there not be poll taken somewhere on who thinks who is going to pay for the country’s debt. I’d be interested to know what people think on this

  2. This is quite at variance with YouGov where there was a slight swing to the Conservatives. I guess we need to see some more polling evidence before coming to a judgement on it.Have to sat that it doesn’t “feel” quite right.Does it take into account certainty to vote – to reallocate the don’t knows in the way they do would seem to skew it towards Labour as more voters on the basis of the last 3 elections would identify with them but may very wll decide just not to vote.

  3. I suppose it depends how you look at it. ComRes would argue that they are showing the true feelings of the country in terms of political preference. Really would need to see the figures without the Dont Know’s reallocated. The LibDem & Lab figures are matching up more with the other polls. It’s the Conservative vote that has moved a lot, which is what we have tended to see with ComRes. Until that figure settles down, I’m not sure these polls are going to be reliable in the sense that YouGov & ICM have been.

  4. Yougov’s 3 polls in May and the first in June 2008 showed Labour on 23, 25, 23, 25= average 24

    Labour did improve an average 2 points before the conference season.

    In will be a test of Labour’s potential if they can improve by a couple of points by September again.

  5. Peter –
    Re-allocated don’t knows have exactly the same likelihood to vote filter/weighting as other people, so people unlikely to vote are entirely excluded. Essentially the adjustment only applies to people who say they are certain to vote, but won’t say for who.

  6. Anthony,

    Why are you moderating my comments – yet you choose to let many partisan discussion’s take place amongst your regulars ?

  7. Am a Labour supporter but not excited by this as it is the same picture within moe. Pretty clear Tories just below 40, Labour below 25 and LDs just below 20.
    The 20 for others is unsustainable but it could well end up @ 12-15% at the GE rather than back to the usual 8-10%.

  8. Everything says (shouts!) that current opinion is about

    Con 38
    Lab 25
    LD 18

    If so, it could still be an interesting GE when it comes….

  9. What would be interesting would be the reaction if we had a couple more polls showing a slight slip in the Tory vote. Cameron has upset many backbenchers, and any hint that their dominance is slipping may open some wounds.

  10. LDs still floating around 18-19%. Unless they have a very good campaign period they look set to lose share of the vote even as their main rival bleeds support. I’d argue this is a once in a generation chance for them they are missing, they need to become the 2nd party in the UK, and the only one they can target is Labour. Labour support has never been lower, but they are achieving nothing.

  11. Interesting that the Greens are above UKIP in every measure of the poll. I should read those full tables more often.

  12. i think we will have to wait and see if comres are very similar to icm now that will mean that we have all or most of the pollers saying the same thing bar one or two pts. next month will be the telling one, as this month pre and post election plling has dominated this month when we get back to normal next month a clear picture will come out and i think a more settled one,

    july AVERAGE prediction

    CON 41 +3
    LAB 22 -1
    LD 20 +2
    OTH 17 -4

  13. @Alec

    What would be interesting would be the reaction if we had a couple more polls showing a slight slip in the Tory vote.


    To be fair, I think this poll has Tory support a little low.

    All the same, you’d expect them to be polling mid to high 40’s at this stage of the game. (As Blair did when faced with Major’s unpopular government in 1997).

    So, agreed, things could take a tougher turn for Cameron if the poll gaps do indeed tighten up.

  14. A 36 – 25 -19 result would mean a hung parliament and so often the party of government does improve as the GE approaches – still very interesting

  15. Quincel,

    I’ve been looking at a number of the full tables of the Yougov polls. The last 3 showed Ukip 8, 7, 6%, Greens 3, 4, 4%.

    Before the expenses scandal and Euro campaign both UKip and Greens were on around 2%.

    Regarding the Lib Dems if you click on the Yougov’s polls on this website you will see that from Feb 2009 and May 2009 they gone from around 15% to around 18.5%.

    I think there is a chance that over the coming weeks or months that the Lib Dem might pick up about 1.5 from the Greens.

    But I expect over the coming week before September the Cons will pick up at least a couple of points from Ukip.

    Lastly on the Coffee house spectator blog they are suggesting that the Norwich North by-election will take place on the 23rd July.

    A good win for the Cons should boost them into the low 40s and hinder any progress for Labour.

    I think there is a good chance that by the end of August we will see on average Cons 42, Lab 24, Lib Dems 20.

  16. My prediction for the Norwich North by-election:

    Cons 38
    Lab 29
    Lib Dems 17
    Green 6

  17. Here’s mine

    Con 34%
    Green 33%
    Lab 24%
    LD 9%
    Other 10%

  18. “stephen

    Really fail to see how others can still be making 20% of the total vote.”


    I fail to see why they aren’t making 40%!

    At least base it on something! I can’t understand why anyone would want to vote for either of the three main parties for reasons that should be fairly obvious.

    My suspicion is that the support of all three is steadily falling, and “none of the above” is moving into absolute majority status… i.e.: I’ll put money on turnout dropping by over 5% next election… 51% is my feeling; and I would expect “others” to do better than expected …people want change …and there’s no tribal loyalty to parties like there used to be …no dependency on organisations for information and organisation… I hope and expect “others” to be above 20% next election… and very variable on local conditions.

  19. I think these poll showing 20%+ for ‘others’ are all a bit ‘rogue’ actually. I bet my bottom dollar ‘others’ will poll nothing like that in a general election. The question will be n how that support breaks back to the main parties in a general election where it is obvious that there are just 2 (or 3) choices. We can probably assume most of the UKIP vot will go to the tories and most of the Green vote will go to Lab/ Lib Dems.

    I think both Con and Lab will rise 4 points from this come a general election.

  20. I terms of Polling companies, Comres and Mori are very erratic. Populus a bit better, with ICM and YouGove (esp) th best. I actually tend to ognore Comres and Mori polls- they are simply too erratic to be beliveable.

  21. Phillip, directionly I agree with you that underlying Cons support is just over 40 at the moment due to UKIP borrowed votes.
    It may be, though, that the Greens have increased their base – I expect them to be in 4th place UK wide vote wise at the GE – so 1.5% back to the LDs maybe high especially as some Green vote in the Euro poll came from disaffected ‘generally’ Labour supporters.
    Also end of August maybe a bit early for others to be down to 14% and we may have to wait for the conference season to be concluded but I agree it is a more likely aggregate at the GE.
    Those earlier up the thread who comment on the cons vulnerability are right of course, Cammo will not be quaking but will be slightly nervous.
    I expect the 36% will be at the bottom of the moe and the next polls will have them around 38-40 but if they appear to have slipped to 36/7 over July’s this nervousness will start to increase and a hung parliament becomes a real possibility.
    I normally avoid predictions but talk of LDs in 2nd place is highly unlikely as Quincel says with the Government so unpopular and (as per David in France) the cons hardly setting the world alight the LDs should be doing far better – circa 25%.
    I know they got second in council elections but a GE is different.

  22. “they are now weighting recalled past vote to a target made up 75% of the last general election result, and 25% the average of ComRes’s last 12 polls.”

    That still means the target will shift each month, though, doesn’t it?

  23. @ David in France – I think you are right, in that this is on the low side for the Tories, and ComRes does appear to have had problems with large variations recently.
    I do think though that the Tories are not as stable and settled as they at first appear. Although Labour have had their ructions, they do seem strangely able to quieten themselves down and await their fate. If the Tories were in Labour’s position we would be witnessing absolute pandemonium. I was struck by Tory nervousness during the first Brown bounce when suddenly there was a lot of talk about Cameron and the parties performance. Alongside this Cameron is making a number of enemies. I suspect they will win the election, probably with a reasonable majority but not a huge landslide, but they pretty quickly the rows will start.

  24. LondonStatto – yep (and so it should, given that recalled vote can also change), but the change should be insignficiant. This is very similar to the way ICM and Populus generate their target weights, and in practice their targets are nearly static.

  25. David In France – re your comment about Blair polling a lot better in 97 than Cameron is now; I think I read somewhere than polling methods have changed a lot since then so these enormous leads won’t be seen again.

    I’m also a little nervous about Comres’ method as it had the Tories down on 30% recently! They do seem to be all over the place.

    My prediction for the GE based on current evidence is a slight increase in Tory and Labour lead and a static LD performance with others losing ground as the voters drift back to the main parties from the likes of UKIP.

    My guess would be 41:27:23 giving a Conservative majority of 54 seats

  26. Is this the final installment of the BBC’s drip, drip, drip reporting of their ICM poll?

    Scots ‘want an independence vote’

    An opinion poll commissioned by BBC Scotland has shown a clear majority (58%) of Scots want a referendum on independence next year.

    The poll of 1,010 people, carried out between 22 and 24 June by ICM, found 58% of respondents were in favour of the idea of holding a referendum next year on whether Scotland should become independent, with only 37% against.

    … whether people agreed or disagreed that “the Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with the government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state” – the preferred wording of the Scottish Government for a future referendum.

    In this case, 42% agreed with the statement, with 50% opposed.

  27. Given the way the polls seem to bounce around, I do wonder if the polling methodologies used are fit for purpose in an era of fourth and fifth parties. How valid is an adjustment for previous GE recollection when so many people are expressing a preference for the Greens and UKIP, and the co-called core vote of the other three parties appears to be anything but?

    Maybe I’m just being ignorant but why does a straight question “Who would you vote for in a general election tomorrow?” need to have the answers adjusted at all, other than to ensure a stratified sample of the population (ignoring their prior preferences) and to reflect likelihood of voting?

  28. Stuart – your comments are always courteous & polite, but it does get a bit tiring when every time there’s a poll stating that the Tory lead is a bit narrower you (and sometimes others) predict that the real position is that the Tories are about 19% ahead. Polls with results giving a slight hope to Labour are quite frequent and this is just the latest, and they keep coming despite your predictions. Better to wait for a trend to develop rather than constantly say that the Tory lead is bound to grow at such and such a time. We simply don’t know that.

  29. Suprised to read that ICM automatically allocate 50% of don’t knows to the party previously voted before – is this pretty standard, just seems a rather brash assumption.

  30. Labour will regain some ground because of fears about spending cuts.
    Conservatives should regain some too from the “others”.
    The position of the economy is still uncertain – either way.

  31. Alec I note that you suspect the Tories “will win the election, probably with a reasonable majority but not a huge landslide, but they pretty quickly the rows will start”.
    If the Tories win with a reasonable majority then the composition of the Party in Parliament will be radically different from what it is now and many Tory MPs would be promoted into the Government. There is little evidence to suggest that morale would not be high and that there would be infighting.

  32. Still think when “Others” deflate and we get the election result we’ll finish up with final numbers of 42/30/19 and the Others down to 9%. I don’t UKIP voters in particular wasting their vote on a minor party and risk Labour staying on for another term.

  33. Leslie & Chris.

    Prior preferences are used as a weighting variable by most pollsters precisely to ensure a proper representative sample. To take it from first principles, an exactly representative sample would be 52% female, 48% male. About 9% of people would come from Scotland. About 54% would be from social classes ABC1, etc, etc.

    The demographics of the British population are well known from things like the census, so we can confidently weight to them. The results of the 2005 election are also fixed – however people’s minds or political preferences have shifted since, it’s too late for them to go back and change their vote. Hence, in our imaginary perfect sample, of those people who voted in 2005 33% would have voted Tory, 36% would have voted Labour and so on, and we could confidently weight recalled 2005 vote to those figures knowing they are correct and unchanging.

    Real life isn’t that simple because of false recall, so pollsters have to estimate how people would actually answer the question now, but that aside the principle the same. When it comes to weighting pollsters aren’t making any assumptions at all about how they’d vote now, only how they think a representative sample would say it had voted in 2005.

    That brings us to the topline adjustment – the re-allocation of people who say don’t know, based on either their past vote, or their party ID. This adjustment originated back in the 1990s and the “shy Tories” – all the polls got it wrong in 1992. ICM surmised that this might be because people who still supported the Tories might be embarrassed to admit it.

    When they looked at people who said “Don’t know” in the voting intention questions, they were disproportionately people who voted Conservative in 1992 – ICM theorised that some of those people probably genuinely didn’t know, but others were hidden Conservatives – so they made the assumption that many of these people would, in an actual election, go out and vote Tory. Thus was the adjustment born (sometimes I still see the assumption that it automatically helps the Tories – not true, for many years now it has tended to benefit Labour).

    Since then the adjustment has receieved support from post-election callback surveys – ICM and Populus have polled people before the election, phoned them back afterwards and discovered that (with some variation by party) about 50% of those don’t knows do indeed end up voting for the party they did previously.

    So, no – it isn’t arbitary, there is some good evidence to support it.

  34. @Steve G – the party in government does not always improve closer to an election, however the Tories have traditionally done better than the polls suggest.

    Happy to be proven wrong, but I believe the “facts” hold this statement up.

  35. Lots of predictions about how new governments will perform turn out to be rubbish.
    Watching the 1979 programs it was clear people thought it wouldn’t be a reforming government because there was no inkling from the result that Labour had lost power for that length of time – they still had a pretty good vote.

    Likewise some Tories hoped New Labour would disappear as quickly as it arrived like a punctured baloon.

    It could be that a new Tory government becomes very unpopular and even goes out again, or it could do well despite difficulties and win a second term.

  36. ComRes! as a Tory i have to be careful about calling it a rogue poll,they did however put the Tory’s a 30% for Westminster a couple of weeks ago.

    I am not saying it is a rogue,however if it isn’t then all the others pollsters polls are,i will leave it up to others to decide.

    I do think it is like looking at old economic news however,events have moved on,if this poll is correct or not.

    It astonishes me how the Brown re-launch is being perceived.

    Ask yourself if you were brown and you had one bullet left,would you fire it while the recession was still on-going & the public relations disaster that is the manifesto lie about giving the British people their say on the Lisbon Treaty is about to become news within the next couple of months with the Irish voting for a 2nd time.

    I don’t think the situation is being read for what it is,Brown must be in a critical position within his Party to do this now,afterall he could have waited until just before the pre-budget or just after when the recession was over & the Lisbon Treaty irish vote would be known.

    I believe Brown is in a far weaker position than even thought & we know it was bad.

    He could have even waited until Jan 2010 & still had 5-6 months to make his case.

    Mandy & Balls are behind this in my opinion,if Brown goes Mandy & Balls are probably out of Cabinet under a new Labour leader.

  37. Rich – procedurally, this I think was the “pre-Queen’s Speech” announcement. Not timed according to the latest whatever, but the normal announcements of what’s going to be in the Queen’s speech.

    It was introduced a few years ago and gives time between now and the Queen’s speech for details such as illegality (cf the local homes for local people policy) to be ironed out.

    In other words, he couldn’t really have waited, and it’s not technically a re-launch (although that’s how the media want to characterise it so who am I to argue with their primacy/majesty?)

    And furthermore, he might well have a few things up his sleeve to announce early next year.

  38. Like is say i am a Tory,i know this is supposed to be an un-bias forum.

    All i am pointing out is past events that we know as fact.

    A lie is something meant to deceive people from the truth,maybe it is just a coincidence that Blair did step down and Brown took over,but i think the facts do make my case.

    Also almost the entire mainstream media were being briefed by Browns people that Darling was history,and they all are saying the same thing,right-wing media to left-media.

    I hope i have not overstepped the boundries of the forum.

    If so i apoligise.

  39. Rich

    In case you have stepped over the mark with your comments, I’d like to make it plain that BOTH main parties (and the others as well, I expect) have told “lies”, do tell “lies”, and will always do so.

    As friendly advice, I’d like to add this: please do not think that Labour have some sort of monopoly on not-telling- the- truth. If you do think that you are likely to be sorely disappointed under the next Conservative administration.

  40. I really do find it hard to believe anyone is seriously thinking of returning to Labour after their Euro poll low, given everything, but especially unchecked immigration. And hostility over expenses is still raw.
    I am not sure UKIP voters will return to the Tories in the numbers expected either, except where it is clear a vote for UKIP would split right-wing support and let Labour back in.

  41. Rich. Although I agree that the Government is less stable than they would have us believe, Brown is not really firing his last bullet too soon. There’s only really nine and a half months absolute maximum until the GE campaign”officially” starts and without being partisan and I hope objective they are in desperate straights electorally. So they have to do something even to the extent of risking being perceived as deceitful and announcing spending plans and similar eye catching ploys.

  42. Nothing is happening here. The Weighted Moving Average remains 38:24:18 – Comres is 2.8 points out on the CLead and since they have a Std of over 3 points it means nothing.

  43. @Mike “There is little evidence to suggest that morale would not be high and that there would be infighting”

    John Redwood and Ken Clarke will still be there, to name but two. Just wait until Europe becomes an issue again. Cameron has already incensed many of his MEPs, and his ultra close relationhip with Osborne will also become a destabilising strain on a future Tory government.

  44. @ johntt:-

    “time between now and the Queen’s speech for details such as illegality (cf the local homes for local people policy) to be ironed out.”

    Love it john!!

    Actually DCLG say it’s not illegal.

    The “detail which has to be ironed out” is whether any of this stuff actually means anything

    This from BBC :-

    “A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “It is already the case that most local councils favour people who live in the area. They already award more points to local people.”

    One council that already operates a “local homes for local people” policy is Enfield.

    A spokeswoman said: “Under our current Allocations Policy we award “waiting time” points which means we give more priority to local people.

    Another council – Southampton – says it gives more housing points to applicants with a “proven link” to the city and existing city council tenants.

    The DCLG spokeswoman did not reply to requests to name any councils which do not already award extra points to applicants with a local connection, or who have been on the waiting list for a long time.

    Neither did she outline any specific changes to existing council guidance on prioritising local people. ”

    Face it -this is a dog whistle to ex Labour voters in BNP territory. But for the people who live in those areas unless this “initiative” actually addresses their concerns it will be totally counterproductive & leave smiles on the faces of BNP candidates.

  45. Rich – it isn’t the language, posts about whether Gordon Brown has lied about something is a partisan off-topic post anyway. However nicely it is worded, the only place the discussion is headed is lots of Conservative supporters saying he’s a liar and lots of Labour posters saying he isn’t. There are a million websites with people banging their heads against each other like that, but this isn’t one of them.

    The comments here aren’t for that sort of partisan argument – they are for discussing polling and public opinion. Here whether the public at large think Gordon Brown is a liar is on topic…but not whether they are right or not. It’s about politics, not a venue for politics.

  46. @ Alec

    This is the position statement of the new Conservative grouping at Brussels.


    There are ten Principles.

    This is No.1:-
    Free enterprise, free and fair trade and competition, minimal regulation, lower taxation, and small government as the ultimate catalysts for individual freedom and personal and national prosperity.

    This No.5 :-
    The sovereign integrity of the nation state, opposition to EU federalism and a renewed respect for true subsidiarity.

    Ken Clarke is still in the Shadow Cabinet so far as I am aware.

  47. @Colin – Micheal Meacher sat in cabinet with Peter Mandelson before the 97 election, and there are similar examples from all parties in all times. It’s when the polls go south when disparate people find their principles and their voice. Many senior Tories think Cameron was mad to move to a new block. There will be embarassments on this, (as there already is within the UK gay community) and I list this as another sign of poor strategic judgement on Cameron’s part.
    I don’t know, but I get the feeling a lot of senior Tories don’t like Cameron. That’s irrelevant while he’s winning, but the current poll average of 38% is enough to tell me that the Tories honeymoon will be short, and I’m not at all convinced they will behave under pressure.

  48. Several posters here assume the Conservatives will benefit from returning voters who are currently in the UKIP column … The detailed data from this Comres poll and recent ICM and Mori polls show that this is patently false . If those who have changed from the 3 major parties to UKIP and the Greens return to their former home The Conservatives would gain 10 voters Labour 14 and LibDems 17 voters and would have given figures in this poll of 37.5 , 27 , 21.5 . Looking at UKIP supporters alone the Conservatives would only gain 6 voters , Labour and LibDems 7 each .
    ICM and Mori give similar figures .It is simply a myth that UKIP voyers are mainly Conservative .

  49. I love the art of writing subheadings- ‘Tory lead down to 11’. In this case the word ‘down’ is not much of a ‘downer’; any party loves to lead in any polls and a poll again showing a 10+% lead is something not to be ‘down’ at. (And Europe isn’t an issue in the Uk Westminster elections; the tabloid press has won; look for any party which says EU is great (none); even the LD says ‘ok’. . There is no intelligent discussion on the issue. But one notes the CBI fully supports the EU. I would suggest the UKIP / BNP vote will only go up if they contest more seats; basically the right wing Conservative party will otherwise hold such votes.

    On a personal level I am quite happy with laws being made locally – say Scotland – for local issues, nationally for local issues (Westminster), regiuonally for regional issues (EU) and globally for global issues (UN).

    In a world of serious global issues – global warming, global terrorism, global banking failure etc. – to go back to nationalist only government is frankly laughable. (The Empire still rules…)

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