After the wild moves in Ipsos MORI’s last two polls, which showed the Tory lead tightening to 6 points and then spiking back to 17, we’ve almost the mirror image from ComRes. Their last poll showed a 17 point, and tomorrow they have a new poll in the Independent that shows a sharp reduction. The topline figures, with changes from their poll just over a week ago, are CON 38%(-3), LAB 29%(+5), LDEM 19%(-2).

Whereas the big movements with MORI were down to the lack of political weighting allowing a sample with a very perculiar amount of 2005 Labour voters, with ComRes my guess it is the rather more mundane explanation of a rogue poll – in hindsight the 17 point Tory lead in their last poll looks wholly anomolous, the only other pollster showing such a low Labour share of the vote was Angus Reid, who seem to consistently show a lower level of Labour support for methodological reasons. If we put ComRes’s previous poll to one side and look at the one prior to that, the shifts are far smaller, with the Conservatives up, Labour up 2 and the Lib Dems down 1 – no significant movement in itself, but chiming with the recent slight strengthening for Labour.

So, as we head to the end of the year (YouGov/Telegraph is still outstanding in theory, but I’m not sure when it will arrive), we still have quite a broad range of polling figures, with leads between 9 and 17 points – from a hung Parliament to a Tory landslide. The Conservatives are in the range 38%-43%, but of the 12 polls in December 9 have put them at 40% or 41% – that’s a noticable difference from November when 7 out of 10 polls had them below 40%. Lib Dem support ranges between 16% and 21%, but mostly between 18% and 20%. The real variation is in the level of support pollsters are finding in Labour’s support, from 23% to 31%. However, the lower figures there are either AngusReid or that single ComRes that appears to have been a rogue, and other figures are in the tighter range of 26% to 31%. That leaves us with an average lead of around 11 points or so – on a UNS right on the cusp of a hung Parliament, though in practice it would probably result in a Conservative majority.

(As an aside, if you are following the polls in the glorious rumourmill of Twitter then the 3 point Tory lead in MORI on Sunday has been followed by CON 40%, LAB 31% in this poll. Boy, are polls in the general election are going to be fun there!)

164 Responses to “New ComRes poll shows 38/29/19”

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  1. I think how labour rewards the underclass and bankers for being useless and wreckless has a lot to do with voting intention as well as how many teachers are assaulted by pupils

  2. @ Bert, AFAIK there’s only 1 expert here, most of the rest of us know as little as you.

    Those interested in trying to work out what unemployment ‘should’ be….difficult considering changing cultures of, e.g. the critically endangered housewife…may want to have a poke around here

  3. @ Cap’n Scooby

    I agree on employment figures importance in shoring up Labour figures and would add moderate growth (2-6% annual) in house prices as another factor that will assist that process. Both (if positive) will narrow the 8-13% Conservative lead we currently see between now and the election.

    But Ireland ???!!!

    Ireland will have absolutely zero impact on this UK general election- either people (the vast majority) are utterly disinterested in what goes on over there or- if knowledgeable- implicitly understand that to try and compare Ireland and UK is ‘nonsense on stilts’ !

    Compare Ireland with Iceland or Latvia. Have an acceptable comparative methodology.

    The nature of our economy and our tax system and our society is totally different from Ireland. Their version of arthur daley tax haven construction flotsam based “Celtic tiger boom” does not have the industrial, financial sector (having been saved by the public sector) foundation that we have nor the entrepreneurial infrastructure nor status as (i.e. London) world-global city no matter how hard Dublin tried for the last 20 years.

    The Irish HAVE to cut drastically- in large part because their boom times largesse significantly outstrips in its irresponsibility what has happened in the UK- but mainly because they are a tiny country/ economy locked into the Eurozone and with very little alternative functioning economic base to replace the capacity destroyed in last 3 years. If they don’t they’ll do a Greece, Latvia or Iceland.

    UK is so important to global financial system that credit down-ratings/ refusal to fund sovereign debt etc etc will not happen to UK despite the loud public politicking of certain ‘businessmen’ and journalists (archetype being Jeff Randall and his chums).

  4. Anthony,

    Might it be possible to bring the tables up to date with the last 3, possibly 4 polls, prior to Christmas.

  5. Paul: There’s a lot I could say about that comment, but I’ll settle for pointing out that it’s hard to call bankers ‘wreckless’. They wrecked the economy pretty well, after all…

  6. Jamie – I think there’s a typo in the database that has buggered up the calculations. I’m trying to correct it, but I can’t access it properly from work so it may have to wait for tonight (edit – nope, can’t get onto it now, so I’ll correct it later).

    Barry P – it is a knock-on effect from the error Jamie noticed. It should sort itself out when I fix the database problem.

  7. In my opinion Paul you should stop talking twaddle & concentrate on the polls rather than air your prejudices in the way you do. It’s totally subjective & you should show some respect for other points of view as most others here do.

  8. Jamie/Barry – Hurrah, managed it. All should be sweetness and light once again.

  9. @ Anthony Wells.

    Unless I am getting a false screen view here, the polls of YouGov and Mori prior to ComRes are not showing.

  10. Anthony.

    Solved it. Cache memory needed deleting, things fine now. Must have been playing at silly beggars.

  11. My formula for forecasting the most likely general election result is to see what YouGov were saying at this stage of the previous Parliament (December 2004), how the figures compared with the subsequent general election, and add the differences on to what YouGov are saying now.
    I choose YouGov as they were the most accurate (except NOP which doesn’t seem to do regular polling anymore).

    Therefore my current prediction is;

    C 41, Lab 29, LD 18, Oth 11

    C 346
    Lab 232
    LD 42
    Oth 11
    C overall majority: 42

    That would be based on a uniform swing, so I it’s probable the overall majority will be rather higher. I know it’s not a perfect formula but I am open to better suggestions.

  12. My LibDem percentage should have been 19.

  13. Andrew

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that uniform swing has had its day (except as far as Scotland in GB is concerned), but it does seem, currently, to be misleading.

    The change in the English Midlands does seem to have been around for some time now, and may well be significant. The differential performance of the LDs in their traditional strongholds as against LDs in commuter belts may well be influential as well. Unfortunately, the polls don’t give sufficient data to remodel your predictions!

  14. I still think there has been a recovery in the labour poll ratings in the last few months, but I believe that there is still some suspension of judgement on the goverment – and only when the recession is declared over will there be any permanent movement. It seems like the polls are there for labour to narrow rather than the tories to extend. I think the tories have definitely peaked in thier popularity.

  15. I agree with Philip Williams. I think people have got thoroughly fed up with the constant mud slinging directed towards Brown & Darling, much of it totally unjustified. I think the turning point was the Sun’s scurrilous attack on Brown for the letter to Mrs Janes. The government is beginning to attract support for their doggedness in the face of this continuous abuse.

    The economy is almost certainly recovering, and it would appear that Brown & Darling have been doing the right thing all along.

  16. @ Philip Williams

    “I still think there has been a recovery in the labour poll ratings in the last few months,……”

    Can you please explain over what period you base this ‘recovery’.

  17. Martin Williams

    ‘The economy is almost certainly recovering, and it would appear that Brown & Darling have been doing the right thing all along’.

    I would be surprised if many voters would agree with that, seeing that UK is slowest to recover, although darling can hardly be blamed. He arrived after the horses had bolted.

    I always reckoned that the biblical Joseph was using plain common sense when he advised that one should save in the time of plenty ready for the downturn. It is strange that GB with his background
    was so caught out.

    I agree that negative campaigning is wrong, and if the Sun continues ‘nasty’ campaigning then the Tories will suffer.

    The media is odd at the moment, with the Sun saying they support the Tories and then damaging them, the Mail attacking David Cameron at every opportunity, and the Guardian almost seeming to prefer DC over GB. Only the Mirror remains true to its roots.

  18. @ Rob Sheffield

    Re Ireland – Actually, I raised the point. Cap’n Scooby was simply responding to me.

    I think Ireland’s progress will matter. If its economy begins to show improvement, I believe the Conservatives will use it to say that public sector cuts work & vice versa for Lab.

    When it’s used in that way, I believe it will influence people’s perceptions re whether to slash public spending or simply freeze it at current level & allow increasing income to reduce the deficit.

    COMRES asked a question about the economy, cuts etc in their latest poll. This showed Con & Lab with the same rating; each will keenly be seeking evidence to support their strategy.

    Some voters will know that UK & Ireland are comparing apples & oranges; but as our closest neighbour, I think they’ll be considered a valid comparison point for ‘ordinary’ voters.

  19. One question in this poll seems to have gone unnoticed. 55% of voters agree that ‘the threshold for paying inheritance tax should be raised to £1 million’, against 38% who disagree.

    A point I made on my (new) blog is that this is pretty low when you think Labour is trying to use the IHT pledge as a dividing line. And yes, this is a shameless plug and advert :)

  20. @ bert

    there’s nothing more entertaining that reading all of the “experts” here back- tracking and flip-flopping when polls with different readings come out.

    All the reasoning done here is in hindsight.



    Showing some ignorance there.

    All Sciences work in this fashion.

    Theories are proposed. Evidence gathered. Theories modified.

    All of the posters on this blog – regardless of their political persuasion – are acting in that fashion. And correctly so.

    If you don’t like people talking about polls and extrapolating information from them, you need to go elsewhere.

  21. David in France,

    I thoroughly agree. If you can’t modify your opinion based on new information then you will end up stuck in the past.

  22. David in France

    I wouldn’t go so far as to dignify our necromantic endeavours as a “science”, but I agree with your sentiments.

  23. Actually, Science is about observing something, then *making a prediction* you can test, and testing that prediction.

  24. Jay Blanc

    Science is a little more than that. It’s not just making a prediction, but explaining the hypothesis underlying that prediction – and that means testing the validity of the hypothesis by repeated experiments, under controlled conditions.

    The conditions in our area of study can’t be controlled, and circumstances never repeat exactly.

  25. @Amber: What’s idiotic is that these polls have a 5% margin of error on the CLead, and an even higher margin of error on any of the breakdowns. That a ComRes poll moves from a CLead of 17% to 9% does not necessarily tell us anything about the underlying shift of opinion, it could all be down to sampling error.

    And the statements about the sub-samples are even more prone to error. The paper talks about the opinions of the AB and DE social groups but there are only c250 in each sample so the MoE will be roughly 10%.

  26. In response to Barry B;

    I think after the party conferences, where Labour seemed to come out of it better than most expected and the tories didnt manage to create the ‘government in waiting’ impression they were hoping for. Also the tory proposal to effectively give a pay to cut to the majority of public sector workers and the age of austerity talk. The class war tactics coupled with the inheritance tax cut ‘benefitting the few not the many’ argument seems to have re-energised the core labour vote eating into an opposition poll lead which very rarely stays above 40.

  27. @ NBeale

    Thanks for the response.

    @ All readers

    Would anybody dispute that conclusions drawn from a sample of 250 will be unreliable to the tune of

  28. @ Philip Williams

    “I still think there has been a recovery in the labour poll ratings in the last few months…”

    “I think after the party conferences, where Labour seemed to come out of it better than most ….”

    Party conferences ended on the 8th October. So, taking all polls from the 8th October a straight line trend of labour support is downward, albeit minimal, but, it is downward.

    Having said that, so it Tory support

  29. @ all members

    I have only particiapted in this blog for a few weeks but, I have found in that short time it stimulating and thought provoking. Doubdtful after this morning if I will be able tofollow threads over the Christmas period so, an early thanks to everybody of all political allegiances and hope you all have a Happy Christmas and Propserous New Year


  30. Barry

    Perhaps party conferences are a turn-off. Politicians are like 14 year olds. Ok on their own but unpleasant in gangs.

    I agree with you it’s a fascinating site. Presented with identical information, apparentlyy educated people can draw diametrically opposed opinions. And get quite hot under the collar too!

    Happy Christmas to you too!

  31. @ BARRY P
    “Can you please explain over what period you base this ‘recovery’.”

    If you stand back a little it is pretty obvious.

    I use Anthony’s post 2005 graph more & more as a guide. The recent wide variations in the Polls are incomprehensible to me-as is much of the so called explanation of them.

    The Graph filters out all the short term stuff & allows you to see the wood for the trees.

    My take on the trend prtrayed is :-

    After a steady decline post 2005GE, Brown’s leadership produced the first of three reversals in that long term Labour downward trend.It put the Tory long term climb post 2005 into reverse….but it had all disappeared by end 2007.

    Labour reversed the long term trends of Con gain/Lab fall for the second time towards the end of 2008.
    For the second time it was not sustained & had disappeared within the first few months of 2009.

    The summer collapse in support for both parties following the Expenses disclosures was followed by recovery for both parties:- For the Tories to a narrow oscillation about a mid point of 40%-for Labour a steady gain of 10 %points . narrowing the Tory lead.

    The big question now for Labour is whether this third major reversal of the long term post 2005GE decline will sustain-or collapse like it’s two predecessors.

    The Tories seem to have waved goodby to the heady days of 45% and settled into a steady 40% mid point.

    Are the TV debates going to give Cameron the means with which to retrieve 45% -or will something happen to chip away at 40% just when Labour are clawing their way back?

    The thing about making derisory remarks regarding the Conservative Party and their 40 % is that it is far more solid than Labour’s chance of hitting 30%.
    These assertions about “the Tory vote peaking” is just opinion and biased opinion at that. Its all very well hateing the the Tory Party but either you wish to keep abreast of the polling situation, or you just want to pretend Labour are actually winning.
    At the present time that is not happening.

  33. I’d rather be peaking at 40% than struggling to get 30%.

    Of course I’d much rather be on 100%

  34. Well to get 100% you’d have to kill me first. :)

  35. For those who wish to discuss Irish politics, its a free country.
    However, it will have zero impact on the UK GE. Mr Gladstone
    spent far to long worrying about the Irish Question when he should have concerned himself with Britains decline and Germany and the US riseing in the world. We have plenty of worries of our own once again.

  36. Although in Gladstone’s defence, Ireland was a full part of the union and her choice of MPs was very relevant to him at the time…….. /pedant off

  37. @ Colin.

    I can’t understand what all your coments are about. Philip Williams said, and I quote “….in the last few months…” So, what has 2005 got to do with this argument?

    “….towards the end of 2008”. What has this got to do with the last few months.

    “…first few months of 2009” See as above.

    If you feel obliged to pass comment on one of my questions to another member, please try to ensure you are at least commenting on the question in hand not, a broad spectrum of over 4 years, but a ‘few’ months as in my question.

    If I wanted to know the ‘swings and roundabouts’ of the last 5 years of this government, that is the question I would have asked.

  38. @ Barry-“If you feel obliged to pass comment on one of my questions to another member,”

    I will certainly try to curb the desire in future Barry.

    Happy Christmas.

  39. In response to Roland Haines;

    I certainly dont think the comments I made about the Conservative party were ‘derisory.’ I think any informed political observer will be aware that for a swing necessary to assure a even a tiny Tory majority they need to be consistently polling in the 40s. Taking into account the bias of the electoral system in Labours favour I think my comment was an entirely fair and objective one to make.

  40. And Happy Christmas and New Year Wishes to you Colin.

    Here’s hoping the run up to the GE is as interesting as it suggests it could be.


  41. In response to Barry P,

    I think it all comes down to how you interpret the polling data. It is true that after the conferences there wasnt some very noticable gain in the labour vote, but i think as the dust has settled people are scrutinizing the tory proposals more. The electorate are more aware of the Tory proposals and the conferences would have been part of the process of bringing the issues to their minds. I also think that the conferences served to informally in a way start the firing gun for the GE a trend which is obviously going to continue, and voters are thinking more objectively about who they want to form the next goverment as opposed to merely indicating a protest vote. Having said that it may be the case that the majority find favour in tory proposals, but at this stage, with an average lead or around 11 points – there hasnt been a full endorsement of the Tories yet.

  42. I would be surprised if it was not a tory landslide. Why is this blog not representive of the polls it seems you just have desprate Labour voters on here.

  43. Twaddle i have two degrees and I also know that there is no such thing as a representitive 1000 people in 40million or so people. It’s common sense verses mathematical assumptions which do not relate to reality.

  44. Paul B

    I’m always suspicious of those who claim that having the same number of degrees as me (though I’ll raise you a couple of diplomas! :-) ) means that they know anything at all. I’ve done far more learning on this site from those who have fewer, less or more degrees than me.

  45. No Paul. You read the threads on the constituencies and you’ll find no shortage of Tories there.
    As for me, I am a Labour voter but don’t describe nyself as desperate!

  46. Partisan comment is deplored here but partisan over-optimisim is also a problem on this site. I’d like to hear from pessimists/realists. Perhaps there are very few because they don’t join parties or are unwelcome.

    Its entirely possible that the election result will disappoint every party.

  47. “partisan over-optimisim”

    I have observed three schools of thought:

    a) I am so perceptive that I know exactly where public opinion lies, and the polls support my perceptiveness.

    b) I am so perceptive that I know exactly where public opinion lies, and the polls are plainly wrong.

    c) I know all polls are rubbish yet I am peculiarly drawn to post on a polls discussion forum.

    Thank you Anthony for your fascinating site, and happy holidays everyone!

    Shop rents are due tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if any big names bite the dust.

  48. Been an interesting year. I look forward to the freneticism of the New Year, when we’ll have polling materials and “big moments” coming out our ears.

    A Merry Christmas/ Happy Chanukah/ Joyful Eid el-Mubarak/ Fertile Feast of Mithras, and a peaceful Midwinter Festival to all our readers.

  49. Paul B

    What a odd comment – taking into account this web site is about discussing facts in an unpartisan way, and not what we want to happen.

    I’d be amazed if it was a land slide, based on polls. Labour seem to have a core support that would avoid that.

    Partisan over-optimism I feel. If anything, for me, the polls are too generous to the tories.

  50. The 9-17 Labour range to me is a bit worrying for the tories.

    It probably reflects an electorate that is still in “protest” mode. As in, wanting to vote someone out, rather than really wanting the opposition in.

    In my opinion, in my experience, a big chunk of that tory “support” could well vanish on polling day.

    I’d say that the 9-10 lead we’ve seen over the last month or so is probably more reflective than the 13-16.

    Just on the basis that I don’t think mistrust in a government is enough unless the opposition do a good job as well

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