It was supposed to be embargoed till 10 o’clock, but Andrew Grice’s sneak preview of the poll gives it all away anyway! The topline figures with changes from ComRes’s last poll are CON 37%(-2), LAB 27%(+2), LDEM 20%(+3). Others are at 16%, high compared to some other companies, but down three points from the rather anomalous 19% in ComRes’s last poll.

The small swing from the Conservatives to Labour is in line with YouGov in the Telegraph at the weekend, and the general trend in recent polls of showing a movement back towards Labour. This is the third recent poll to show figures that on a uniform swing would leave the Conservatives narrowly short of an overall majority.

As I said at the weekend, I expect in practice a 10 point lead would produce a Conservative lead, there is some evidence to suggest they are performing slightly better in marginals and it would be surprising if a ten point Tory lead did not produce a different pattern of tactical voting than when they were behind. All the same, it is a much less comfortable position for the Tories.

71 Responses to “ComRes too show Tory lead down to 10 points”

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  1. So much talk of ‘rogue’ I feel I am in an X-Men remake..

    I believe ‘BENM’ made the most pertinent point on this blog for a long while:

    ‘Is it just possible that voters want a change of givernment but not necessarily a fundamenal change in direction?’

    Prime Minister Brown suffers badly in the image stakes as we all know. There has also been a shocking lack of support from other Cabinet members, and Labour do have the baggage of 13 years of government around their necks.

    But I sense no upwelling of feeling for the Conservatives as there was in the pre-1997 days. Cameron and his ‘new’ Conservatives cannot be help being in the lead by looking half-competent and shiny-faced. Hell, an incontinent gibbon would probably be leading Labour in the polls at this stage.

    But people in this country have seen the benefit that investment gives to schools, hospital and public services albeit with fat too much target-chasing and bureaucracy in the mix. I think people are actually content with the broad political consensus that the New Labour project tried to embed. They would be happy to have a change of faces, and style, but are getting worried that the Conservatives’ talk of neo-Thatcherite reforms will jeopardise the progress that has been made .

  2. But whilst there has been progress in some areas, Captain, there has also been an explosion of the surveillence state, ridiculous non-sensical situations (for example teachers being fired after the most far-fetched complaints by unruly pupils), armies of public-sector stasi trying to control everything we do, that we pay for and a justice system which is completely geared to protecting the criminals’ rights.

    Quite what state the country will be in if we have another 5 years of this is anyone’s guess.

    I do however think a return to Thatcherism would be a disaster for the UK.

    What I am looking for from the Tories is a return to some sosrt of common sense and plentiful, wise but not reckless public spending.

  3. I’d like to draw attention to the fact that the polling landscape has now returned to normal i.e. a drop in one big party’s support is matching by a rise in another big party’s support.

    This is in contrast to the situation since about May 2009 (when the expenses scandal broke) which has seen big party support mirroring each other.

    Could this be an indication that the impact of the expenses revelations is finally fading in the face of the big choices to be made in 2010?

  4. Andrew, I think the good cap’n covered your main objection with albeit with “fat too much target-chasing and bureaucracy in the mix”.

    Whoever wins has to remove most of those layers that don’t really do anything apart from measure things. I don’t think anyone who voted Labour in 1997 wanted them to spend money on measuring and targetting.

    However, to stick to the subject, I wonder whether Cameron’s next move is further to the centre (consolisating his recent shift from Austerity to Growth), or a bolder move to the right (involving more privatisation in Health & Education foir instance).

    Or will he just see this as a blip?

  5. Ian Bailey – I couldn’t agree more.
    The Tories were never winning it, Labour were losing it. Cameron just kept quiet and let him hang himself.
    I also think the high Others/LibDem numbers hide a “protest” against Labour that may not be as firm as it seems and this is why we are seeing a change of trend.
    Daniel Harley? Shocking? Why? What policies should make voters swing to the Tories?

  6. Colin,

    “I think there is only one game changer now-the GE Campaign.”

    Have to disagree. Three, possibly four, known unknowns could still shift sentiment in either direction.

    1: PBR – if deficit is as bad as some expect then it highlights that Brown has adopted a scorched earth strategy to public finances for past year. Good news would requrie almost a miracle, but a less bad outcome could be spun positively for Labour. We will see next week – later than usual and close to Christmas – the omens to date are not good.

    2: GDP figures. Expectation is that Q4 2009 will show a recovery – but that is higly dependant on Christmas shopping and accelerated consumption ahead of VAT rise. If this figure is low – or even negative, then that will knock Brown back considerably. There is a real risk that Q1 2010 figures will be negative again – not helped by VAT rise – and these will be published just before GE (unless it is held before Easter).

    3: Budget. Firstly – will there be one before GE ? If the figures are looking impossible, Brown could opt to cut and run in March. In any event, I suspect that Budget will get delayed until end of March, then Parliament dissolved before detailed scrutiny of the Finance Bill. This would require emergency bill to carry forward existing Finance Act into 2010-11 fiscal year, but that is normal practice in such cases. If we do have a budget announcement before GE, the key question will be how credible it appears.

    4: Foreign Affairs – Chilcot enquiry is already lifting the lid on various Iraq issues. The extent of damage to Labour is unpredictable, but it is unlikely there will be any damage to Cons. LDs could benefit at Lab expense. Afghanistan depends on how the war goes on the ground. Withdrawal may appeal to some, but what are the psychological impacts of this ? If perceived as a “defeat”, this will be the first war (apart from independance movements in the colonies) Britain has lost in centuries.

    5: Unknown unknowns – or as Supermac said – “Events, dear boy, events”.
    For example, fall-out from Dubai debt crisis is unknown (and would not have been predicted even two weeks ago) but this will dampen economic expectations for Q1 globally.

  7. ‘@JOHN TT
    For what it is worth Cameron has said for months that he expects a “significant” Labour lift before the GE. Obviously he knows he will have to squash it. I personally doubt the situation is significant enough at present. Also of course he will be guided by what the “back room boys” tell him is the reason for the change of fortunes.

  8. I think the most interesting trend is that the Tories are now polling consistently below 40%

    however it won’t start to get really interesting until Labour can get themselves above 30% on an equally consistent basis

    Shocking is the very polite word Dan Harley chose to use.
    If you cannot see why a further 5 years of this mob led by this man is anything other than “shocking” (excluding bad language,)
    I cannot be bothered to explain.

  10. KH I’m grateful to you, especially for the last bit :)

  11. King Harold,

    even if you are a Conservative voter , I wouldn’t be all that shocked or indeed worried about the ComRes poll. Labour are polling consistently below 30% which is a dire state of affairs. The Tories are still sitting on a fairly comfortable lead despite the questions and challenges they are facing.

  12. @Cap’n Scooby
    Yes I agree Cap’n, but thanks for the reassurance. I was going to ask you, the Comres excludes the Ulster vote, how much support can the Tories expect from unionists there?

  13. Not that much KH.

    The Conservatives are now officially united with the old Ulster Unionist Party under the catchy new title of Ulster Unionist and Conservatives New Force (the acronym is UCUNF which is deeply unfortunate but there you go…)

    The Ulster Unionists retained only one constituency in 2005 – North Down. However, the sitting MP is Lady Sylvia Hermon who is very much not happy with the UCUNF tie-up. So much so, that if re-elected she will not sit on Conservative benches.

    UCUNF may have a chance of winning back seats such as Upper Bann from the DUP, especially if the TUV spoiler vote is big enough. I’d suggest visiting Slugger O’Toole for a fuller exploration of Northern Irish politics and its impact on the next parliament.

  14. The key decider for the Tories is how much UKIP support will come back on GE day.

    If most UKIP supporters vote strategically rather than with their hearts then the Tories could get 3-4 points back, enough to take them to about 42% which will be enough if Labour stay under 30.

    Whilst I agree with your thinking, I have never been able to understand this kind of behaviour.
    An individual hates Europe so much that they waste their vote on a small one trick pony. In so doing, they risk allowing Labour to win, knowing Labour will slavishly obey Europes every whim for the next 5 years. It has the rationality of Bedlam.

  16. Andrew Myers,

    If Cons recover 3-4% from UKIP, that will leave UKIP on 0-1%. Is that realistic ? Far more likely that Cons will recover to c42% as a result of a few from here there and everywhere

    Sadly, it will inevitably be the case that there will be a handful of seats where the UKIP vote is larger than the Lab (or even LD) majority over Cons. (I think there were about a dozen such seats in 2005 – but more in 1997 if one looked at Referndum and UKIP combined). But equally, there will undoubtedly be an even larger number of seats where the Con maj over Lab (or LD) is smaller than the votes cast for Greens, BNP, or sundry minor left-wing parties. That is one of the vagaries of FPTP.

  17. @Cap’n Scooby
    Thanks Cap’n, not much hope there then.

  18. King Harold,

    The clue is in the name. It is dozy thinking.

    As I frequently remind people, paraphrasing MacLeod’s comment on Liberals and Labour:

    UKIP if you want to, we Tories need to keep awake to the dangers.

  19. @PAUL & ANDREW
    Indeed Paul, I very much hope any UKIP voter who keeps a Tory out and allows Labour or Lib Dem in is satisfied with their days work.

  20. David In France

    ‘As for them – Labour – to poll, consistently, below 30% is abysmal’

    Exactly – still averaging less than they got in 1983

    Need to do far more than reach the dizzy heights of 27 before they can stop a Tory win – especially as the marginals will possibly swing more against them

  21. OLDNAT

    “My suspicion is that in Scotland we may be seeing the old Liberal section moving to the SNP while the former Social Democrats might be returning to their former home in Labour.”

    Quite possibly, but I think the incumbency factor is likely to have a greater effect nearer polling day when choices in the constituencies are more in peoples minds than party positioning and media stories.

    That could bring a small late recovery to the LibDems as some have perceived to be usual.

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