I was rather disappointed that this morning’s ComRes poll didn’t seem to include voting intention figures, so I’m pleased to report they’ve actually just held them back a day. The topline figures, with changes from ComRes’s last poll a week and a half ago are CON 42%(+4), LAB 24%(+1), LDEM 18%(-4).

This is the first poll since the Norwich North by-election, and there’s a significant increase in Conservative support. This isn’t unusual, by-elections do often give the winning party a boost in national polls because of media coverage of them being “winners” – a “halo effect”.

79 Responses to “Tory “Norwich North boost” in new ComRes Poll”

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  1. Anthony. Should the Labour change read+1 not -1?

  2. It should, and now does. Was comparing to the wrong poll!

  3. however you look at it it is a big boost for the tories

  4. The previous Comres poll was out of sync with the other polls showing a suspiciously low score for the Cons and high for the Lib Dems.

    We will need a few more polls showing the Cons above 40% to be fully sure that they have received a boost. But it would be rather surprising if they didn’t. Although I imagine it will be a one point or at most two point boost.

    This poll does support the view I expressed weeks earlier that this by election would play a part in the stagnation of Labour’s support. I do expect Labour to be averaging 24% again soon.

  5. I predict that the next Yougov poll will probably be:

    Cons 41/42, Lab 23/24, Lib Dem 19/20

  6. This would give a Tory majority of 152 seats. My prediction of 53 seats (before I looked at the previous history) does appear to be a bit lower-end now.

    Assuming a Tory underestimate of 3 points we would be talking a majority as high as 210, possibly more.

    So unless there is a profound shift in opinion between now and May we could be talking a landslide of 1997 proportions but this time for the Tories.

  7. Assuming a Tory underestimate of 3 points we would be talking a majority as high as 210, possibly more.


    I wouldn’t put your mortgage on that.

    I think a majority much closer to 60/70 is indicated by the polls – going back over several months.

  8. Anthony,

    Have Comres sorted out their methodology yet? Remember they went through a dodgy spell in May and June?

  9. Tony Fisher,

    I’m no fan of the Conservative party nor of Cameron. But what has been coming across in the media and the various opinion polls do strongly suggest that the Conservatives have somewhat increased their support since he became leader. But due to the expenses scandel this improvement is, at least presently, very slight. However, due to the by-election win I’m expecting this improvement to improve :-)

    If one looks at the Norwich north by-election the Conservatives increased their share of the vote from 33.2 to 39.5. Their actual number of votes was down somewhat but the ‘others’ were much higher, and, of course, the turnout was much lower. It may very well be that in this particular seat the Conservative will gain a very similar amount of votes in the coming GE as they did in the last one.

    The really decisive thing is what has happened to Labour’s support. Since coming to power there has been a steady decline. But from the time Brown took over the over all picture has been of a decline that has been drastic.

    The Norwich North provides us with an example of Labour’s declining support that is truely breathtaking in its proportion. Labour’s share in the vote went from 44.9 to 18.2, a drop of 26.7 points!!!!!!!!!!! Even for a by-election that is really, really, really bad.

    This by-election showed a 60% drop in Labour’s share of the vote. In terms of real votes Labour fell by 200%!!!!!

    Labour’s share of the vote need only to drop 30% uniformally at the GE for the Conservatives to win a comfortable majority without gaining a single extra vote from what they gained last time.

    What you suggest in respect of the decline in Labour’s vote at Norwich North is mathematically impossible. If Labour’s vote had declined to zero from its 2005 level , it would still have only been a fall of 100%. By definition no fall can exceed 100%!

  11. Graham,

    The fact is Labour gained in the 2005 GE 21097. In the by-election they gained only 6243. And so Labour gained 200% more votes in the GE than they did in the by-election. Actually, its slightly more than 200% but I can’t be bother to use a calculator, and I’m not obsessed with technicalities.

    But what I do concede to after taking a closer look at the Cons target seats that with scenario mentioned it would require the Lib Dems gaining considerably less votes for the Cons to gain an overall majority. I’m not so confident that will be the case.

    But I am confident in my assessment that the Conservatives WILL win more votes where they will need to do, WILL gain more than 40% at the GE. We have just had what I think will be the first of many polls that will confirm this.

  12. Have there ever been or will there be any polls carried out which would show what would happen to voting intentions if labour had different leader.

  13. Politically this makes much more sense. But the WMA is 40:25:19 (This exactly agrees with Anthony’s estimate though his methodology is different) so it will take a few more polls like this before we can believe that there has been a real change in public opinion.

  14. I actually expected a 20% lead for the Conservatives but we are getting there.

    Anthony is right on the by-election bounce theory.

    I do not think the by-election result is the whole story however,Brown has had a bounce,it was so small it hardly registered,4-5 weeks ago the media on evidence from the NIESR reported the recession had already ended.

    I remember the News at 6 on the BBC proclaiming that Darling had been proved right on his economic forcasts.

    Oh dear! 2 weeks ago the NIESR came out and said the recession had not ended,the service sector has been worse than expected so they revised down the figures.

    It was then reported that the economy had shrunk .3% in the 2nd QTR.

    We now know that the NIESR was wrong again,the COE who then jumped on the bang-wagon after the initial NIESR report was wrong ,the GDP shrank .8% terrible by normal recession standards in its self.

    This economic data combined with the by-election is the reason we have this Tory lead as far as i am concerned.

    I do expect the Tory lead to creep toward 20% between now & Conference season,when i expect a small Brown bounce,27-28% in the polls(yes that constitutes a bounce for Brown now),this will soon evaporate after the Tory conference however we will go into the pre-budget with a solid 20% Tory lead.

  15. PHILIP JW,
    A fall in the Labour vote from 21000 to 6000 represents a decline of about 70% – not 200%!

  16. PhillipJW and Graham. You are arguing like the shopkeeper and the customer. Goods wholesale £5 retail £10. Customer 100% profit shopkeeper 50% profit.

  17. Graham

    Philip did not say it was a decline of 200%+ but that Labour receieved 200% more in the GE which is correct (21000 is more than 200% higher than 6000). Yes if you look at the fall is is over 70% (6000 is 70%+ less than 21000). The two statements are both correct.

    It is pretty basics maths to be honest.

  18. I think I suggested a Conservative majority of 60 seats last year*. I have now set-up my BetFair registration.

    Unfortunately things since last year have changed. I’d hesitate anything less then a 80-seat majority. If things go as they are a 160 majority is on the cards. But a lot could change.

    As for ComRes’ methodology, Mike Smithson has stated, at PB.com, that the corrected weightings have applied for the last few polls.

    * Do your own research!

  19. No change for Labour outwith any margin of error.

    Bad for the Liberals, good for the Cons – but this is ComRes; I’ll wait for YouGov thanks.

  20. Anthony,

    Are the Scottish figures up to date as I am sure there has been a westminster poll since May?


  21. Interestingly the Labour vote has not shifted very much for quite a while now. it has been hovering around 24-25 for quite a while. The swings, as such as they are, seem to have been between the Cons and LibDems share of the vote.

    This may not be at all statistically significant, but Labour do seem to be seriously becalmed just a shade below 25, particularly bad news for them, even if the Conservatives themselves are not winning overwhelming support.

    (Though before I get accused of being a “desperate Labourite” again I must say the Cons do definitely seem to be creeping back up above 40% again, even if it is at the moment due to a possibly short term halo effect. )

  22. Also, I do hope you are fully recovered from swine flu Anthony.

    And it is interesting to speculate, ignoring short term statistical fluke, whether the shift from the LibDems here in particular is anything to do with the Cons success against the LibDems failure in Norwich North. Especially considering that although Labour were expected to do badly the Libs considerably failed expectations which were giving them 24% of the vote or some such. Especially since the media were playing up the Libs (and greens) before hand considerably, but this has now shifted to reporting the big Conservative win.

  23. Well, I’m just surprised that Labour’s vote hasn’t declined by 400%!

    So there.

  24. The conservatives always wanted brown as PM,they knew they could beat him,they knew his economic chickens would come home to roost.

    Tony Blair left office still around 5 points ahead in the opinion polls.

    Brown has a-23% rating then as labour PM when compared to Blair,that by anyone’s standards is poor,especially as Blair was seen as unpopluar.

  25. CharlieJ

    It is basic maths, but it’s still crucial to get it correct, When you talk of a fall in %age terms you use difference / orignal figure, so the fall was 70%. The 200% fall is not really an applicable number.

    It’s now over 100 days since Labour last polled 30%. How much longer until we see those leadership questions again?

  26. Why aren’t my comments appearing? Am I being pre-moderated or something? If so, why?

  27. You’ve acquired a surprising new middle name James, the software thought you were a brand new poster who needed approving.

  28. Fluffy Thoughts (E.D.P.)

    What is the current betfiar spread on seats?

  29. Bit of Fun

    An English only GE.

    Conservative 48%
    Labour 18%
    Lib Dems 15%
    UKIP 9%
    BNP 8%
    Greens 2%

  30. Rich,

    Given that the SNP are polling over 30% in Scotland but only 3% in the UK then even taking out Wales as well I can’t see Labour dropping 7%.

    You could argue for 45% to 20% I suppose but even though the LibDems do have some Scottish seats I suspect that they would still do better than 15%.

    Equally the fact that the BNP and UKIP are also rans in Scotland probably means they wouldn’t do as well as you suppose.

    My Guess for England only;

    Tory 44%, Lab 22%, LibDem 18%, UKIP 7%, BNP 6%, Greens 3%.

    For Scotland (Probably under PR);

    Lab 30%, SNP 32%, Tory 16%, LibDem 14%, Green 6%, SSP 2%.

  31. The current WMA of Con 40% Lab 25% Lib Dem 19% giving a Con majority of 80 is not as strong as it initially appears. Certainly at one end of the margin of error this is good news for the Tories as it would give them an overall majority of 196, even bigger then Labour’s in 1997 as with Con 43% Lab 22% Lib Dem 16% the number of seats each party will have is: Con 423 Lab 168 and Lib Dem 30.

    The interesting point to note is what happens at the other end of the margin of error. Here with figures of Con 37% Lab 28% Lib Dem 22% the number of seats each party will have is: Con 305 Lab 255 Lib Dem 60 – Conservatives the largest party in a Hung Parliament but short of an overall majority by 21.

    By point is that the difference between a very big Conservative landslide where both Labour and the Liberal Democrats lose more then half their seats as the Tories surge and a relatively strong performance from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats enough to deny the Conservatives a majority is a relatively small one and will depend on how the parties are perceived to be performing in the remaining time left before the General Election.

    From this far out I think it could go either way and would love to know what other people think.

  32. Ah, thanks Anthony. I thought I’d inadvertantly offended somehow. And I’d forgotten about my surprising new middlename – a cider-fuelled moment, I fear.

  33. @Richard Whelan

    I think you have to be careful talking about margins of error when you’re talking about the WMA. The sheer number of polls involved and variety of methodologies used to compile the WMA reduces the scope for error. That doesn’t mean the figures couldn’t change, but they must be pretty reliable as a guide to recent opinion.

  34. Peter.

    Equally the fact that the BNP and UKIP are also rans in Scotland probably means they wouldn’t do as well as you suppose.

    Your missing the point,for arguments sake lets say all BNP & UKIP votes come form England,when you add the 16% of the UK voters that are not in England you automatically dilute the BNP & UKIP share of the vote.

    Labour got about 6% of the 16% available vote outside England in 2005,that would mean in England they only got 29% of the vote.

    The Tory share of the vote would have gone up without any more votes cast as they did well in England and terrible outside England,therefore without the 16% voting share outside the UK their vote share would increase with the same votes cast.

    You make the argument yourself,the SNP are big fish in Scotland polling around 30%,when the rest of the UK population is added however with no SNP votes the SNP shrinks on a UK level to about 3%.

  35. Sorry for my bad English & typo’s(slapped wrist)

  36. Rich : Labour got about 6% of the 16% available vote outside England in 2005,that would mean in England they only got 29% of the vote

    That would be 29% of the vote left for England ie (100%-16% = 84%) ie 34.5% of the English vote.

    (In fact they got 35.5% of the English vote, a tiny smidgeon behind the Tories, so a little has got lost in the roundings.)

  37. Neil A

    My point is that from where the WMA is at the moment there is as much likelihood of it moving further in the direction of the Conservatives giving them a landslide as there is of it moving towards Labour and the Liberal Democrats giving the Conservatives a very small majority or no majority at all.

    Remember the Tories need a net gain of 116 just to get a bare overall majority of 2. In 1979 for example Margaret Thatcher only needed a net gain of 41 to get her over the majority line. Similarly in 1997 Tony Blair only needed a net gain of 57 to get a majority of 1.

    It is a much bigger ask for David Cameron then for any of his recent predecessors as Leader of the Opposition who went into an election with a realistic chance of becoming Prime Minister.

    It all depends how the parties perform between now and the General Election as well as through the election campaign itself. Conservative support may begin to wane as more and more details about their programme for government become apparent.

    After all that is exactly what happened during the 1979 campaign. I have just seen a video clip of the beginning of the BBC’s coverage of Election Night from that year where David Dimbleby says that the Tories began that campaign with a 20 point lead only for that to be reduced considerably to single figures over the cause of the campaign. If that were to happen now there would be a Hung Parliament.

    Other factors that have to be taken account of are the strength of the Others and the effect greater media coverage with have on the Liberal Democrats over the course of the election campaign itself.

    All to play for I think and we should therefore not assume that the next election is a done deal as there is still many months left before the most likely date of the General Election and anything could happen.

    Anthony, what do you think of my analysis in my two posts?

  38. There’s some speculation that the next leader of the Labour Party will be Mandelson (presumably he’d have to win a seat first, though lack of elected office doesn’t seem to have stopped him from effectively running the country for the last few months). I’ll be very interested to see any polls gauging the likely public response to this thrilling prospect :D

  39. @ Richard Whelan

    Interesting analysis but I think the lower end margin is unlikely as it would mean Cons losing 3 points and both Lab and LD picking up 3 points.

    It also doesn’t take into account the historical under-reporting of the Tory vote.

    I would guess that the range based on polls at this stage would be between

    High Con 46%: Lab 24%: LD 20% (Con maj 222) and
    Low Con 40%: Lab 28%: LD 22% (Con maj 28)

    It is clear though that relatively small shifts in support can have an enormous effect on the result.

  40. It should imagine there’s a definite possibility at the GE that (in England) Labour could be reduced to a rump of seats in the North East, parts of South Yorkshire, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and inner London and precious little anywhere else.

    With the link between what’s left of the voting working class and the Labour now all but sundered and the Labour Party becoming more middle class and out of touch with there traditional support its also a possibility that there’ll never be a way back for them.

    I know similar things were said about the Tories in 1997 but unlike Labour there still remained a large body of people who thought the Tories had their interests at heart – IMO not so with the Labour Party there physically aren’t enough Guardian reading middle classes to win elections as they’ll eventually find out if they continue down that path at the expense of their traditional heartlands…

  41. Andrew Myers

    My reason for putting the Tories as low as 37% and as high as 43% is that I have assumed that Others will settle around 13% on the basis that there will be a significant proportion of the electorate who vote who will want to register dissatisfaction with all three mainstream parties by voting for a fringe party.

    You obviously assume that Others will fall back to within their normal levels of about 10%. Can you tell me why you think this?

  42. Lee Moore

    Yes you’re right,what i should have said was 29% as our part of the Labour voting pie in a UK wide context.not just in the England itself.

    However with Labour down 11% from its 35% GE win in 2005,it really is looking bleak for Labour which ever way you calculate it.

  43. @ Richard Whelan

    I base all my forecasts on the 2005 GE result where “others” came in at around 10%.

    I feel that their recent “bounce” was due to a combination of the exposure that they got during the European Elections and the expenses scandal.

    However I may well be wrong in assuming that they settle back at 10% next year. Who is to say what will happen!

  44. Cameron has bounced back into ‘landslide’ territory again. In fact, if you look carefully at your running total of polls then every fourth poll as you count back has the Tories in a similar position, seemingly regardless of political events as they happen week to week.
    The real interest is how the Liberals will perform at the GE. Clegg has vowed that it will take two terms to get into government, which means that next May he has to come in as the official opposition in order to achieve his goal – some hope!

  45. have just had a look at my trend patterns and they are saying that they predict that the tories will walk away with the next election with a 140-150 majority. the current voting number however point to a majority of 82 for the tories so i think we are looking at a margin of around 40 seats plus or minus at this point.



    CON 40.1% 366 SEATS
    LAB 24.9% 206 SEATS
    LD 19.4% 48 SEATS
    OTH 15.6% 30 SEATS


    CON 41.5% 398 SEATS
    LAB 22.7% 178 SEATS
    LD 18.8% 43 SEATS
    OTH 17.0% 31 SEATS

    the trend pattern and the current prediction are broardly in line with one another.

    i use a vote increese/ decreese devided by months since election times months between elections and add it to the vote of the previous genaral election giving the final predicted vote shere. all predictions based on an average of monthly polling data not poll of polls basis.



  48. hello to everyone :)

    as you can see by my name and will see by my questions, I’m not British, but a devote followers of this site. The reason is simple: the UK plays a key role in the euro-area (either inside or outside the EU) for democracy, and, as an Italian, I’m worried twice by the advent of fascism in my country (you can actually feel the complicity of the population) and in the entire world. I can’t help thinking to the many British who freed Italy when I walk near a war cemetery camp near my town. And I think this having a thought to the stupidity of the many people who easily forgot it in my country…

    The two questions:
    Why libdem thinking is not so appealing to people in the UK?
    Would it be possible in the UK parliament (not considering the Scotland autonomy), to have a left-wing coalition, let’s say libdem+labour?

    thank you

  49. @Florenzo

    Hello and welcome to this site! Given that the Italian election system is often mentioned here, I am sure we will welcome your knowledge and wisdom in our discussions.

    I can understand your concern about the increase in support for neo-fascist and extreme right-wing parties in some parts of the world. It seems that given enough time people will always forget the worst aspects of something and only remember “the good bits”. It is the nature of human memory perhaps. I often think the same about people who vote for old-fashioned Communist parties, when the whole world now knows the truth of how Communist regimes operated.

    Here is my opinion on your two questions;

    1) The main problem for LibDem politics is clearly our electoral system. Because their support is fairly evenly spread across Britain, and we do not have a proportional representation system, they win very few seats even when their vote isn’t much less than the other parties. Because of this, the voters in Britain do not generally think of them as a “party of Government”. A lot of voters, and also political activists, who might have supported the LibDems if they were contenders for government tend to go to Labour (and some to the Conservatives) in order to have a chance of “influencing policy”. The other problem for the LibDems is that, because they have to fight so hard to win seats, they tend to give out very different messages about what they stand for in different parts of the country. It is quite common for people to think that they can’t be trusted because “they don’t stand for anything”. I think that all of this would change if PR came in, but the problem for the LibDems is that they are the only party that supports PR so it is unlikely to happen.

    2) A Coalition between LibDems and Labour is perfectly possible, and in fact it has happened before in the 1970s (briefly). The British electoral system tends to give a majority in parliament to the party with the largest vote, but it is possible to get a “hung” parliament if the largest party doesn’t do very well. This would probably lead to a coalition government between the LibDems and one of the other parties. The most natural deal would be between LibDems and Labour because the LibDems are mostly on the left (as you say). The problem with that for the LibDems is that Labour are so unpopular that to keep them in power would probably turn the electorate against the LibDems. I think the LibDems would only agree to that if the coalition government agreed to change the voting system to PR. The LibDems do not like to talk about forming alliances with either the Labour Party or the Conservatives because they try to appeal to voters from both parties (see 1 above) and don’t want to upset anyone.

    If the UK were ever to change to PR (which I personally hope we don’t) then I think British politics would look very much like German federal politics. A right-wing party and a left-wing party both with 30-40% support who take it in turns to form coalitions with a centre party with 15-20% support and a Green party and far-left party with 5-10% support each who occasionally get into left-wing coalitions. I accept that the current German grand coalition doesn’t fit the pattern but I think that is an anomaly and it will change after the next General Election there.

  50. Hi Florenzo

    You’ll probably get 50 different answers to the first of your questions but, for what it’s worth, here’s mine:

    The Lib Dems aren’t more popular for two reasons. One is that we have a First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system, not proportional representation, which makes it difficult for a third party to make headway against the two bigger parties (Conservatives and Labour). The second is that a lot of people don’t really know what the Lib Dems stand for and tend to regard them as rather weak and vague. I’m not saying the Lib Dems actually are like that, but that’s the perception of a lot of voters.

    In answer to your second question – again, our FPTP system is a major factor. The winning party would only need to form a coalition in the event of a hung parliament and hung parliaments don’t happen very often. Usually the winning party has a big enough majority to form government by itself and it neither needs nor wants to share power.

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