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. Anthony,

    Interesting Poll. How are the seat calculations affected by the relatively high figure for Others. I see Mike Smithson on Political Betting has been talking about it. What is your view?


  2. Obviously a trend seems to be developing with Labour improving and the Tories going down.The factors that have affected this can only be guessed at but Brown has had a better month and Cameron has made mistakes.Today he had to apologise in parliament. Problems with Zac Goldsmith and Non Dom status is a recent bombshell.It will be interesting to see what happens next month.

  3. Another poll that shows Labour’s position improving, certainly repeats the impression that we have seen on the doorsteps.

    Suprised that the Lib Dem vote has risen so much, but enough polling evidence to show that Labour’s recovery is real (for now at least) and that will give a big boost as the phoney war ends and the campaign proper starts.

    Still a 10 point lead is a fairly healthy one, and I have no doubt that Anthony is right and that any lead over 6 % for the Tories would result in an overall majority.

    The most interesting factor is what impact this will have on the so far predominantly hidden divisions in the Tory Party. I remember in the run up to the election that never was how many of his own party turned on Cameron and to an even greater extent Osbourne.

    I dont think the reduction in the lead is great enough yet to really give the Tories the wobbles, but if it gets closer than this the house of cartds could really come crashing down.

    So many Tories seem to have taken victory for granted for so long that any sense that it might not be in the bag will really send the shock waves through them.

    As I believe I may have mentioned previously… it’s GAME ON!

  4. Parties that win elections don’t talk about budgets, and they don’t talk about tax cuts for business. They also don’t encourage their ignorant youth to make fun of solid party activists.

  5. Shocking results, can’t see what the voters could gain in switching their allegencies back to Labour.

    If they want 5 more years of hell, who’s to criticise, but it would be a real shame.

  6. The high others should warn us though. The labour result remains low which points looks as though we could have a repeat of the local elections: in England anyway. Where the conservatives are winning just the right amount of seats. In Scotland I expect that Labour will lose some, a couple of seats but they will remain stable. The real battle in this coming election will be in england but I also think what Wales does will be significant. It will be interesting to see whether the other vote is split equally or more in the UKIP direction. If so I think it is quite possible nearer the elction we could see a revised Tory European Policy.

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

    Is the feeling that the Tories are still in hoc to their Thatcherite Right doing them damage?

    I think ordinary Voters are more worried about keeping their jobs than they are about abstract ideas of closing deficits. A public sector worker would be mad to vote Conservative given the noises the Party have been giving off these last 8 weeks. Their livlihoods are literally on the line.

    Interesting times ahead.

  8. 4 out of the last 5 polls have shown the Lib Dems to be on 19 or above. This seems to be at the expense of the Tories.

  9. It is all about Lisbon not a Labour surge. Pre Lisbon announcement tories were in the low to mid forties. One poll had them at 44 and now at 37 from pre to post lisbon announcement.

    Hopefully the iraq war minutes from the cabinet that show Brown gung ho about the iraq war can be leaked out. Jack Straw and the cabinet vetoed the release of those iraq war minutes. The cabinet for the first time ever vetoed a freedom of information request. Too bad that the electorate will never see those cabinet minutes and be able to hold their leaders responsible in an election. I guess cover up works.

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

    Or electors really want to be left alone and have politicians wasting their time in parliament and not making more pointless laws / pointless targets / pointless micro-management form filling in / pointless excessive health and safety waste of time … so a hung parliament is great. Just ask Belgium; how long did they last without a parliament?

  11. ‘JAMES
    It is all about Lisbon not a Labour surge. Pre Lisbon announcement tories were in the low to mid forties. One poll had them at 44 and now at 37 from pre to post lisbon announcement.’

    Get real; go down to the pub and ask if anyone cared. The answer is no bar for the chattering classes here. And for those who did care slightly the grown ups understand that it has happened and moved on; the whingers still think it matters. But the whingers also believe the empire still lives, but that”s why England is an historic theme park and little more…

  12. I should think Margaret Thatcher would be just what the Tory membership want right now. By the way I should think the fact that LibDems have increased their share of the vote may have something to do with Clegg stating he’ll support the Tories if they are the largest party.

  13. Political betting also have an interesting article showing that Tories led by 1 point on Nov 30 2008 and then bounced back in January, so perhaps it will happen again.

    Philip JW you are right the Lib Dems are doing well. But I wonder if the tory vote has gone to them or whether the old tory right has joined the sinister ‘others’, because of Lisbon and young female PPC indiscretions.

  14. Well if you don’t like it JACK you could always leave…

  15. WMA is 39:27:19 – this poll is under-estimating the CLead by about 2 points (1.6 if you want precision). There is a 30% of this happening (the historic StD of ComRes is 2.9) and there was about a 20% chance of the YouGov poll being out by the amount it seems. 6% events happen quite often – so I’d expect the next poll to show a CLead of 12% or more.

  16. For me its fairly simple – noone wants the Golden Age of Austerity promised by Cameron and Osborne. the polls are unclear about the public’s attitude to cuts – some polls show it supported, others not. You have to understand how polls work – people are happy to support cuts in the services of others, to support tax rises for others.

    Now its becoming a choice of government not a hypothetical question. People realise its THEIR jobs, THEIR services and THEIR taxes – voting Conservative will directly and negatively impact THEM, not other people. And for what? People couldn’t give a toss about the national debt as long as they can stay in work pay their bills and buy things to fill their homes. The idea that they need to make a huge sacrifice to reduce the debt from here to there is simply untenable – especially when they look and see that the bankers are back raking it in.

    So, its a question of voting reality. if you think turkeys will vote for Christmas, expect the Tory vote to recover. If you think people are generally self-centered and worry about their family before notional debt, then expect the gap to get ever narrower.

    Some Tories appear to be in la la land that people are ready for medicine to clear up the nasty cold Labour have inflicted on the economy. They’re not. they want a return to prosperity and big screen TVs, not unemployment for the national good.

  17. Anthony, whats yours analysis of whats going on?

  18. Iain B

    Some good points.

    Today the Lib-Dems announced their tax plans. Taking 3-4 million out of tax by increasing the allowance to 10k sounds like a vote winner. My guess is that the Conservatives will drop a few points still, and we’re not even into the GE as yet!

  19. During all of the last 50 years, if an opposition party polled – as the Tories are – in the very low 40’s or high 30’s it meant that they were heading for defeat at the GE. Not the government.

    Clearly the Conservatives are not going to win this election. Labour are going to lose it.

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

    I think what we have here is a damning indictment of both main parties.

  20. This poll indicates a swing from Lab to C of about 6.5% and from LD to C of about 3.5%. That would give the Tories about 94 gains from Labour and around 13 gains from the LDs, for a total of 107 gains. They need 116 for a majority. Those figures assume no gains from the SNP or Kidderminster/Taylor.

  21. Davey,

    Looking more closely at the recent polls it is difficult to say where Lib Dems increased support has come from. Just this Comres one really suggests it.

    Importantly for them is that it provides the first piece of solid evidence that they could achieve a score that is not far short of the 2005 GE. At the end of November 2004 the Lib Dems were averaging 21 then went in the course of the campaign to increase their score to get 23.68 in the the 2005 GE.

  22. We’ve still got to see what ICM have to say in their next poll, but you have to go back to June and the height of the expenses story for the Tories to be consistently polling at this level, but at that time Labour was in the low 20’s so it didn’t trouble anyone. Labour aren’t performing wonderfully in the polls by any means, but they have the momentum and Brown has performed much better on Afghanistan of late. Overall though I think this slide in Tory fortunes commenced with their conference – I said at the time they had a poor week and didn’t inspire confidence as the incoming government. Since then there have been further little errors that haven’t helped.

    I was somewhat ridiculed by a few people at the start of the month when I wondered aloud if the first poll with a 10 point lead might have been accurate, but now three of the last four polls show a sub 10% lead and the northern marginals poll also suggests the healthy lead in those seats is also shrinking. I suspect the LD moves today on tax might help them, especially in Tory/LD battle grounds. It’s still not particularly close, but at least it’s hotting up a bit. I have said on many occasions I expected the lead to shrink before the GE for a number of reasons, but I didn’t think it would start happening quite yet. I think there is someway to go on this yet.

  23. The small swing of 3.5% from LD to C indicated by this poll is arguably what is preventing the Tories from reaching 326 seats in the seat calculators, because these LD seats are in the LD to C swing range of 3.5% to 6%:

    Richmond Park, Cheadle, Portsmouth S, Truro, Southport, Leeds NW, Brecon, Camborne, Newton Abbot, Devon N, Cornwall SE.

    These additional seats would put the Tories over 326 seats given a Lab to C swing of 6.5%.

  24. @Ian Bailey

    I’m inclined to agree, and as the economic optimism increases (as Comres show it is), I would expect people’s desire for an age of austerity to be even lower. I think the Tories have twigged this already – there is less talk of austerity and more focus on economic growth (which was essentially Labour’s message).

    @David in France.

    Also good points. It does feel like no party has the mood of the electorate at present (if they ever did).

    @Phillip JW.

    The other solid evidence for Lib Dems holding their current position comes from the PH marginals poll.


    Labour average for November 2007 was 33%
    Labour average for May 2008 was 26%

    Labour average for November 2008 was 33%
    Labour average for May 2009 was 23%

    Labour average for November 2009 (excluding Angus polls) is 28%
    If same degree of drop occurs as in previous two years then Labour would get between 18 to 21%

  26. I never believed Labour would go through the floor anyway,
    to the irritation of the Lib Dem supporters on this seat who keep perpetuating the myth that they could replace Labour, or the complacent Tories who think a majority of 140 is guaranteed without doing anything.

    I think in the event they will claw back above 40% and win though – by 25 to 35.

  27. I make this a Conservative majority no more than 20.
    Oddly similar to John Major’s majority. Goodness me, I hope we’re not going to get a repeat of that parliament.

  28. @Philip JW – “If same degree of drop occurs as in previous two years then Labour would get between 18 to 21%” – why would it? Voters aren’t like plants, that sprout or shed leaves according to the seasons. Labour’s support dropped in those periods for specific reasons. There may be reasons why this happens again, but just to assume it will because it’s November is silly.

  29. This shows that the IMORI poll was not as much of an outlier as some thought. As as been said, all we need now is ICM to complete this round of polls. Leaving Angus Reid as the most suspect.

  30. This is not a prediction. But I think it is plausible. For it seems to me that a lot of these drops in supports have been Labour’s own doing e.g. abolishing the 10p starting rate thereby increasing the tax paid specifically by the lowest earners and then abusing expenses for profit for MPs who earn three times the average wage and more.

    Labour have shown themselves to be both corrupt and incompetent. It may be just a matter of time before the electorate get some more forceful reminders of this.

  31. Given the recent Scottish polls suggesting a very significant drop in the LD vote here, this poll suggests that the English LD vote may be increasing by more than +3.

    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. The positioning of Tavish Scott over the Scottish constitutional question might be accelerating that process.

    Is it the case that in England, a rise in support for the LDs and “others” is a sign of disaffection with both their main parties?

  32. Keith:

    One would expect Tory MPs to behave rather differently in a first term compared to a fourth. Anyway the main issue on which Tory MPs like to rebel – Europe – shouldn’t be much of an issue, with the Tories doing things like pulling out of the main centre-right coalition in the European Parliament. That should satisfy the Eurosceptics for a few years I would think.

  33. Alec,

    Just lost 15 mins of working giving a fuller reponse due to problems with the captcha code.

    But, yes, you are right there is always a cause. But the fundamental cause for their own unpopularity has been their own failings.

    These statistics do raise the question whether Labour can go 6 months without commiting more serious blunders or past blunders being exposed to the public.

  34. Paul B

    I fully agree with your sentiments. It is the reason I began to take a keen interest in these polls a few years ago.

  35. Andy’s Election General Election Forecast: End Nov 2009

    Well can’t believe it has already been a month! Before we know where we are the General Election will be here.

    Here is the latest of my forecasts for next year’s GE using past data. I have collated opinion poll data for the 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections (courtesy of this site) and am looking at the variance of the Conservative lead in the polls to their actual lead at the election and also the Lib Dem share of the vote compared to the actual result.

    Every month from now until the election I will publish my forecast and then we can see how accurate it is come next May.

    The following data is from the previous elections. For each year the first number is the variance of the Tory poll lead (or defecit) versus their actual result. A positive number means that they did better in the election than in the poll and vice versa.
    The second figure is the difference between the LD result and their poll result – again a positive figure means they did better in the election than in the poll.
    For each month I have taken the last 6 polls.

    So the results for end Oct are as follows:
    Base Data: 1992 +9.00/+3.80; 1997 +9.67/+4.13; 2001 +2.00/+2.63; 2005 +2.67/+0.43

    Average: +3.83/+2.75

    Note that the first figure is a weighted average (50% 2005, 30% 2001, 15% 1997 and 5% 1992)

    Most recent 6 polls show a Tory lead averaging 11.67 points and a LD poll rating of 19.0%

    The average Tory lead has gone down by 2 points since last month.

    Based on this assumption my prediction for the GE is a Tory Lead of 15 points and an LD poll rating of 21%.
    Assuming that the three main parties poll 90% between them would give the following split between the main parties:

    Conservative 42% : Labour 27% : Liberal Democrat 21%

    Giving a Tory majority of 78 seats.

    Forecasts to date
    July-09 Con 43%: Lab 26%: LD 21% Con Maj 120 seats
    Aug-09 Con 45%: Lab 25%: LD 21% Con Maj 174 seats
    Sep-09 Con 40%: Lab 28%: LD 22% Con Maj 34 seats
    Sep-09 (revised) Con 42%: Lab 29%: LD 19% Con Maj 70 seats
    Oct-09 Con 43%: Lab 27%: LD 20% Con Maj 104 seats
    Nov-09 Con 42%: Lab 27%: LD 21% Con Maj 78 seats
    Average to date Con 42%: Lab 27%: LD 21%

  36. OLD NAT

    Tiny sample and all that but I note that the SNP are back ion the lead in the Scottish sample of the poll.

    It shows SNP 30 LAB 28 TORY 17 LIB 17

    A small straw in the wind but interesting nonetheless.

  37. This ComRes poll shows Labour support among women at just 25%, with men at 30%, so Labour’s advantage among women at the last election (for the first time ever) may be coming to an end after one election. Labour still have a 10% lead among 25-34 year olds, which is their best age-group.

    Andrew Myers:

    You seem to be assuming the large others vote will pretty much fall away, which is plausible but not certain at this stage in my view.

  38. So are we supposed to take seriously this ComRes poll where the unweighted base for the UK is 669 responses?

    If so then I would be hugely boosted by the Scottish sub-sample of 64 responses showing a 30% support for the SNP as opposed to only 28% for Labour.

    Strangely, I am not enthused! :-)

  39. James,

    Its that kind of ranting which shows how in your own bubble you Tories are. The UK was NOT the first into recession! America beat us to it by 6 months. If you can’t get basic facts right you utterly devalue the arguments in your rant.

  40. ComRes Scottish split:

    (+/- change from UK GE 2005)

    SNP 30% (+12)
    Lab 28% (-11)
    Con 17% (+1)
    LD 17% (-6)
    UKIP 5% (+5)
    Grn 1% (n/c)
    BNP 0
    oth 2%

  41. Point of information: the Scottish sample size was 95 respondents (not 64).

  42. Brown is keeping a very low profile compared to a year ago – no doubt under strict instructions from Lord Unelected of Ermineshire. Less Brown seems to result in more Labour voters. I notice too that BBC presenters seem to have been ordered to smile warmly when mentioning Our Great Leader’s name … Downside for Labour – when the campaigning starts in earnest, Brown will have to come out of hiding.

  43. James, when asking “Unemployment and the Tories?” above, has a point.

    If Unemployment does peak in the next two months, then Labour can claim to have halted it at a psychologically significant 2.7 to 2.7 million whereas the Tories would have allowed it to go back up to 3 million plus again.

    That would be a very powerful, possibly winning pre Election message.

  44. @ PAUL B:-

    “I hope people are not stupid enough to vote Labour again”

    If that is what “people” are going to do, it is the job of Conservative politicians to find out why.

    Simply calling people stupid becauseof the way they intend to vote is pointless-and politically counterproductive.

    Labour know this-it produced the BNP vote surge.

  45. @ ALEC

    Yes you seem to be right about the narrowing lead.
    Happy to acknowledge that you saw it coming.

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

  46. So it’ll be interesting in coming days, isn’t it?

    Everyone is looking at the development.

  47. Perhaps as a lesson in poll watching, those who assumed the Ipsos Mori lead of 6% was a rogue might be a little more cautious next time a poll comes out they don’t like. The Tory score was identical to this, although there is still some variation in the Labour and LD levels. The thing with polls is that they are retrospective – a ‘rogue’ could just as well be the start of a trend, which seems to be the case here.

  48. Whether or not we are best by rogues, Jackson hits the mark with that last line. Better polling results for Labour are beginning to make the news, which might well have an effect on those who like to go with the flow. It’s all about momentum. A quick return to 12+ leads would squash it.

    Govt’s haven’t in the past benefitted in the polls from economic recovery (or at kleast The Major Govt didn’t). Perhaps the reason for that was the fact that his Govt had not been interventionist in its approach to recession, and so couldn’t really benefit from the idea that it had pulled us out.

    In contrast, this Govt has been highly interventionist, and its fiscal stimulus (opposed all the way by Cameron) may well yet be hailed as a vote-winner.

    Philip JW, you would save time by copying your text before hitting the submit button. That would allopw you to paste it back in if the captcha code failures to “captcha” it properly.

  49. Beset by rogues, sorry

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