Tomorrow’s ComRes poll for tomorrow has also surfaced – the topline figures are CON 38%(-4), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 19%(nc). There’s a sharp drop in Conservative support since ComRes’s last poll, but it actually reflects a straight reverse of the changes in ComRes’s previous poll. In their poll a week ago “others” dropped 4 and the Conservatives gained 4. This week its gone straight back in the other direction again!

UPDATE: ComRes also asked some questions on family policy. The public were pretty evenly divided on the Conservative proposal to give tax breaks to married couples but not cohabiting couples, 47% thought it was a good idea to 50% saying it was a bad idea.

182 Responses to “ComRes show polls narrowing again”

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  1. @ Rob Sheffield

    I appreciate your analysis. I think the media would likely savage LAB if they called an election before the Brown/ Blair part of the Chilcott Enquiry & the debates.

    On campaign spending, it’s been reported that the CONS are disappointed that the swing in the marginals is much the same as elsewhere (8%), despite heavy spending in these constituencies. Maybe LAB don’t have to be afraid of the CONS’ deep pockets.

  2. I suspect everyone has long since made up their mind on who they will vote for. Everyone knows that neither Brown or Cameron are as clever as they think they are.

  3. @Valerie,

    Because she is unemployed. So I save the state the cost of the following;

    Jobseekers Allowance,
    Housing Benefit,
    Free Prescriptions,
    Council Tax Benefit,
    The 25% Council Tax reduction I would get living alone,
    Plus various other things that are income-related (such as higher education for her children, school meals etc).

    Of course all things apply for cohabiting, marriage is not the issue there.

  4. Brownedov

    The Greens south of the border are an English and Welsh party – though they have a Welsh section, rather like the UK parties have in Scotland.

  5. oldnat

    Fair enough. I should have done my homework on the Welsh Greens, but it was more the lazy but routine England = Britain = UK association I felt the need to challenge.

    As you know, I’m no fan of UKIP but at least with them you get what it says on the tin, if that’s what you want.

  6. Is this an acceptable poll to poll experts? It’s very disparaging of Brown’s claim to international reputation, which he often claims as more important than, and a refutation of, his poor national standing.

    ‘The quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll of investors, traders and analysts in six continents was conducted Jan. 19 by Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm. It is based on interviews with a random sample of 873 Bloomberg subscribers, representing decision makers in markets, finance and economics. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points’

  7. Hatfield Girl and what point are you trying to make. There does not seem to be a subject in your comment.

  8. @ JACK
    “But when is politics about logic?”

    There is quite a bit of logic involved Jack-have you read it? :-

  9. hatfield girl & Lin Rees

    Presume the reference is to “U.K. Races to Bottom of Economies for Investors in Global Poll” at

    Not exactly agreement on the “saved the world” bit.

  10. @ Hatfield Girl

    Brown’s reported international standing is with world leaders not with investment bankers. He’s obviously not going to be loved by bankers when he’s:
    1. Putting a special tax on their bonuses
    2. Considering Obabma style bank regulation
    3. Keeping interest rates extremely low
    4. Talking seriously about a Tobin Tax

    And for all their talk of investors not wanting to invest in Britain, didn’t Kraft (US Company) just make a big offer for Cadbury (UK Company).

    When bankers talk about ‘investment’, the Kraft/ Cadbury leveraged buyout is the type of ‘investment’ they are referring to.

  11. Hatfield girl – not sure what you mean. Yes, it is possible to poll experts, and a representative sample of investors, traders and analysts would indeed tell you what investors, traders and analysts thought.

    How important it is what investors, traders and analysts think, is entirely a matter for the person reading the poll!

  12. Amber Star
    “Brown’s reported international standing is with world leaders not with investment bankers”

    Bloomberg says it’s a poll of “Global investors”, which would clearly include bankers.

    Are you suggesting it’s good news for the UK?

  13. @Hatfield Girl – “The quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll of investors, traders and analysts in six continents…”

    One thing we all should have learned over the last couple of years – we really shouldn’t take much notice of ‘investors, traders and analysts’. They almost unanimously got everything wildly wrong, and nearly took the world down with them. Markets are not gods – they are mechanisms, and they often break down. ‘The economy’ is us, and we ought to be in control a little more often. Heed not the siren voices.

  14. @Rob Sheffiled – I agree with you that Labour want a May 6th election and longer effective campaign period. If you are behind, you need things to change. the longer things run, the more likely a change. You’ve just got to hope the change is in your favour. As WOLF says, we often think politicians are smarter than they really are, and Labour will be hoping that what they see as a poor Tory performance in general for the last few months continues. For example, today we have had Tory leaders of Kent and Hampshire County Councils expressing big concerns over elements of Cameron’s education policy, and a potentially major row blow up over accusations of partisan involvement by the Tories in Northern Ireland with Sinn Fein objecting to Tory meetings with UUP and DUP representatives. I would say that’s a big misjudgement for a government in waiting on what is still one of the UK’s most difficult and dangerous political issues.
    While Labour will hope for more of the same, their big worry is economic. Tuesday’s figures are likely to provide a fillip for them I suspect, but it is quite possible that the next set of quarterly figures won’t be so good, just weeks before a may polling date.

    Incidentally, the formal Tory alliance with the UUP is the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force, or UCUNF for short. It’s very prone to a spelling mistake, so I do hope for their sakes they don’t get that one wrong.

  15. Colin

    I think offering people tax breaks on condition they marry could be described as ‘militating’ against individual freedom and responsibility.

    Neil A

    On that basis I could argue that by looking after my own childre I am saving the state ££££££s for fostercare, school uniforms etc

  16. @Valerie,

    Except that your children are your blood relatives.

    This country has a rule that (put crudely) amounts to “if you sleep with someone, you have to take care of them”.

    I would quite happily say no to tax breaks for marriage if every individual was treated as just that. Their own tax, their own allowances, their own entitlements to benefits. But the system doesn’t work like that. The system expects couples to finance one another, and offers them no benefit (in fact, in some circumstances penalises them) for doing so.

    I could just rent rooms to my partner and her children and let them claim benefits. We’d be better off by many, many thousands a year. Of course that’d be dishonest because the system makes a legal distinction between people who live in the same house and “do it” and people who live in the same house and “don’t do it”.

    A transferable tax allowance is designed specifically to help couples like ours, where one person isn’t working. It wouldn’t give any benefit to a couple who were both investment bankers for example. In my experience working in the inner cities I found that the most poverty-stricken of all families were couples with one moderate-wage supporting everyone. Single parents on benefits were comfortable by comparison.


    Am I suggesting that Bloomberg investors disliking Brown is good news for the UK?

    I’m saying that it depends on your political ideology whether you think it’s good or bad.

    Do I think that the Bloomberg poll, alluded to by Hatfield girl, will have a noticeable effect on UK polling? No, I don’t think it will.

  18. @ Neil A & Valerie

    I agree with you both. Every individual should be treated as just that – an individual. Marriage should be a spiritual commitment, not a way by which the state can turn two people into one.

  19. @ Valerie:-
    “I think offering people tax breaks on condition they marry could be described as ‘militating’ against individual freedom and responsibility.”

    As I have already said Valerie, none of this makes any sense unless you accept & believe the arguments & data put fprward by CSJ.

    If you do-and I do-then you will want to see marriage helped , not hindered.

    If you accept no connection between marriage, stable family life. and the care of children, then I suppose you wouldn’t t really care one way or the other & clearly we will never agree.

    I accept the evidence & the argument-what remains is the best way to address it. If you do accept the evidence & the argument. but have better ideas -I would be interested to hear them.

  20. Anthony Wells @ 10.27: Thank you for that. The validity of polls is a very technical area full of problems; I wanted to be sure this kind of poll doesn’t have well-known-to-the-knowledgeable reasons for being discounted.

    As you note, the political import is in the eye of the beholder.

  21. @ NEILA
    “the most poverty-stricken of all families were couples with one moderate-wage supporting everyone. Single parents on benefits were comfortable by comparison.”

    I am sure that is right NEIL.

    I constantly wonder whether this is an unintended consequence of GB’s Tax & Benefit regime-or whether it is a central objective within it.

    Either way, it represents a difference in political philosophy, which I wish DC would explain with greater clarity.
    He should get IDS to front this whole subject-he would certainly put the misleading concentration on marriage tax breaks into context.

  22. Amber Star: I wasn’t sure about the polling of specialised groups and the contribution of such polls to our grasp of likely electoral outcomes. Undoubtedly the Labour Leader has claimed high levels of economic and financial competence; and has argued that in such an unprecedented financial crisis we need to rely on his competence – ‘no time for a novice’.

    This poll disturbs that claim.

  23. @ Hatfield Girl

    “Amber Star: I wasn’t sure about the polling of specialised groups and the contribution of such polls to our grasp of likely electoral outcomes. Undoubtedly the Labour Leader has claimed high levels of economic and financial competence; and has argued that in such an unprecedented financial crisis we need to rely on his competence – ‘no time for a novice’.

    This poll disturbs that claim.”

    This is one poll and is a realignment of the previous comRES poll it doesnt really show that people feel the Tories would be incompetent at running the country. After all the Tories have brought us out of recessions before. The only difference is that it will be up to Cameron to do the dirty work left to us by an incompetent government. I wouldnt call the Tories novices. That is pure heresay.

  24. Amber Star
    “Do I think that the Bloomberg poll, alluded to by Hatfield girl, will have a noticeable effect on UK polling? No, I don’t think it will.”

    Interesting question, albeit a previously unasked one. The straight answer is probably not, since the BBC will do their utmost to ignore it unless Brown makes another “saved the world” gaffe or another party uses it in the anticipated UK general election campaign. If another broadcaster ran with it, it might just have legs.

    Probably just useful rebuttal material should the TV “leaders” debates take place.

    The poll in question was outwith the UK but nonetheless a political poll with potential impact on UK politics and thus hardly “off-topic” on UKPR.

    Yes it does somewhat disturb if not destroy the propaganda.
    If you dont like my posts dont read them. I am not going to change my veiws to suit you. The same applies to Rob Sheffield. And by the way, my only complaint about pro Labour posts is the perpetual straw clutching.

  26. hatfield girl
    “This poll disturbs that claim.”
    Quite so

    Mark Rose
    “This is one poll and is a realignment of the previous comRES poll”
    Unless I’m very much mistaken, you’re talking at cross-purposes.
    hatfield girl flagged and Amber Star disputed the relevance of the Bloomberg poll I link to above.

  27. Predictably, we are getting into the love, hearts, two spirits entwined as one which no Tory government can force or manufacture routine. So, what, assuming another 5 years of Labour does it propose in order to reduce the serious social consequences of unwanted, undisciplined, unloved ferral children in this country.
    1) More social workers?
    2) Bigger hand outs ?
    3) Nothing?

    If you think the conception of a child is a simple thing which is the result of a bit of fun, then you need to think harder.
    If you think the conception of a child is a commitment to support that child until it can support itself, and always be there to offer love and a home, listen to what Cameron is saying.

  28. Re the debate on married couples support, it’s worth looking at today’s FT editorial. It describes Cameron’s policy as ‘muddled’ and this is a direct quote – “Murder, violence, drug use and theft are uncommon and have been in decline for a decade and a half. In 2007 divorce hit a 31-year low. Teenage pregnancy is rising but is still rarer than in the 1970s or 1980s. The UK does have high poverty, welfare dependency, rising inequality and low social mobility. But these are not evidence of general social breakdown.”

    Apart from offering a different perspective, and slightly more balanced one that Cameron is peddling, it then goes on to point out the IFS’s view that marraige in itself probably isn’t the main factor behind social differences and takes a clear view that income tax relief would benefit the better off, rather than the lower earners where perhaps most help may be needed.

    It’s emerged that they employ a third class graduate to advise on maths, who they now say wouldn’t be good enough to be a teacher. Tory councils are rebelling against plans for parents schools. Ken Clarke is rocking the boat over spending cuts. This will not be a shoe in for the Tories.

  29. [email protected]:
    In a market capitalist economy like ours you would expect, even look for, international attitudes to the UK economy, and to those in government who bear responsibility for any governmental aspects of the financial and economic UK part of the system.

    There may not be an immediate or direct effect on UK polls of polls like the Bloomberg poll, but UK polls are reacting to claims and counterclaims about every aspect of policies over the last 13 years; That’s part of their point isn’t it – trying to dig beneath anecdotal claiming by partisan politicians and their supporters.

  30. @ALEC
    The FT may very well have such a veiw, I am sure if the readership could read long words the Mirror would have an even stronger one. Certainly the Daily Telegraph has run a number of stories which could hardly disagree with the FT more.
    The point is, for me and millions of others, Labour statistics are taken with a full packet of salt.

  31. @ALEC
    Oh come on Alec, I’m a bit dissapointed in you, with the Carol Vorderman thing. When I think of some of Labours luvie cronies
    being dragged on TV screens every touch and turn.

  32. hatfield girl

    Yes. I strongly suspect we want different outcomes when or if the UK general election occurs, but we’re not in dispute here, except possibly over the use that will be made of the results.

  33. “Roland – If you dont like my posts dont read them.”

    Actually, read the comments policy. That really isn’t in the *spirit* of non-partisan discussion. This is not a place to have political arguments with people with other views, it’s a place to discuss a shared interest in polling and politics without that sort of partisanship.

    Too often lately your posts are slipping into trying to provoke people with different views.

  34. It’s not just the FT that has taken against the Tories plans around marriage. The economist make the point that the Married Couples’ Allowance was cut by the last Tory government and killed off by Labour because it didn’t seem to have much impact on behaviour. The Tories proposals are going back to an old idea that didn’t work then!

    They also make the following point:

    “Though the policy has been billed as a way to “bring down the burden of tax on families”, most of the poorest families would not benefit. Couples in which both parties work would see no improvement, nor would those where both are unemployed.”

    Although I doubt the Economist has much of a sway over public opinion at large, perhaps the generally build up in the media against this flagship Tory policy is affecting their general position in the polls?

    Can a party that is promising deep and significant cuts really be triumphing a policy that will probably not work and will not even help the poorest in society?

  35. @Roland H – quite agree about Labour’s Luvvies. In this case though, there is a genuine embarrassment as she is not academically of a standard they have expressed as required for the task of teaching and also, for me, I had sincerely hoped politics could have moved on from the Blair ‘Shiny Happy Celebrity People’ attitude that have served us so poorly. It seems not to be the case, and this disappoints me.

    As a general point Roland, I would ask forgiveness that I apparently continually express concerns about the Tories. It’s just that they are comfortably in the lead and look likely to be the next government in one form or another, so I am looking at them in much greater detail. If Labour look like they might win, you’ll see more of my criticisms of them, and if my party ever take the lead in the polls (that would be a shock) I’ll have a few choice words to say about some of their (our) policies.

  36. Hatfield Girl – polling specialist groups.

    Polling of specialised groups does present particular problems – such as defining the universe you are representing, and often a consequential inability to weight to to any meaningful targets. They can just become availability samples – the first 500 GPs or health vistors or bankers or whatever that the pollster comes across.

    That said, they aren’t normally trying to find things that need percentage point precision, so unless the method of obtaining the interviews has an obvious risk of a skew (e.g. recruiting them through a magazine that caters to a particular subgroup in that profession, or pushes a certain line), it isn’t necessarily an overwhelming problem.

    Apologies to you Anthony.

  38. @ALEC
    I take your point, honest broker man. Whats all this “if my party ever take the lead in the polls”. Positive Mental Attitude man, I am sure the Primitive Buddists of Great Britain will have their day eventually.

  39. Alec – why stoop to criticising anyone at all?

    It’s perfectly OK to hazard guesses as to the polling consequences of various policies, but predicting the social/financial outcomes is by definition partisan and encourages others to cross over into the stuff Anthony says he abhors.

    The problem is, Anthony, unless you actually expunge the partisan comments your site sometimes looks more or less the same as all the other ones dedicated to knuckle-headed “banter” but with an occasional “apology” following a virtual slap-down from you.

    Nothing against the individuals who overstep the mark, I’d just rather spend the few mins I have to spare reading an edited version.

    It might make for a quicker read, and on this thread, a more interesting one as it would be reduced to comments about polling specialist groups, the optiimum length of campaign and general calls for clarity, the effect of poster campaigns, of keeping powder dry, and well researched fact-correcting. (to cite a few interesting posts from across the political spectrum)

    The Spectator may not be everymans bedtime read but is generally a very Tory supporting magazine. Therefore your point holds a lot of water.
    I can only come back to the fact that the whole point is to cement family life as it was 35 or 40 years ago. I am old enough to remember those days and very far from perfect they were.
    However for those who live in areas where theft, vandalism, intimidation ect is rife, all the FT and Guardian statistics quoting articles are no help at all. People who see this as some right wing crack pot idea (for all their left wing credentials and sympathies) never see what some (far to many) areas are like in 2010 Britain.

  41. Anthony [email protected]:

    Some of those caveats would apply to the Bloomberg poll: the universe that is being represented is that of a special sector of a market capitalist world; assessing how important that sector is becomes a task for the observer, then. Thank you.

    For some reason I decided you were quoting the Spectator Jack.
    That did make me think, I also wondered why I had missed the article. I have now “recovered” and see you are refering to the Economist. I now feel much happier as I would hardly expect any Tory policy to be supported by the Labour version of the Spectator.

  43. The key point here must be that the Tories will hold most if not all their seats. Looking at the marginals which they are way ahead in I think the polls are pointless nationally unless we see a dramatic switch to labour. The tories need 117 gains to win and with the way the marginal polls are going they will easily get that.

    I think we are heading for a comfortable Tory majority despite the obviously inaccurate national polls slightly narrowing. The sample is random and will not just focus in marginals but safe seats as well. I must say I would love for someone to call me and ask my opinion so I can influence the polls.

  44. John tt – if people re-offend I start moderating all their comments by hand. If they still don’t get the message, and I’m finding I am blocking most or all of their comments, I eventually block them completely (though I rarely if ever do that – I like to give everyone the chance to repent!)

    The “tellings off” are the bits everyone sees, the rest of moderating the comments here happens entirely off-stage.

  45. @Alec,

    Careful with journalists and statistics, the two don’t mix…

    Divorce rates (ie per married person) are indeed low, but is a 26 year low not a 31 year low. More importantly however, the total number of marriages has declined in that 26 years (1981-2007) from around 450,000 to around 280,000. This in the context of a large population increase (and one dominated by the growth of communities where marriage is more frequent, occurs earlier and is more stable than “indigenous” couples). As the debate is about marriage vs casual or cohabiting relationships, rather than about divorce, it suggests that the past few decades have indeed seen a huge decline in the institution, even if there has been a tiny improvement in the survival chances of those marriages that still take place (not surprising really, as the commitment threshold for marrying couples has presumably risen).

    As for crime statistics, they have indeed improved over the past decade or two, but I would argue the correlation is much more with the reforms of penal policies rather than any social policy. We can thank Michael Howard and Jack Straw for that rather than Child Tax Credits.

    Murder rates are an oddity in themselves. There is a steady decline in the murder rate in the UK, once you exclude blips like Dr Shipman. There are studies that suggest that part of this relates to improvements in medical technology however, as the murder rate has declined much faster than the rate of serious assaults.

    The truth is that we are very rarely comparing like-with-like when it comes to crime rates and other stastics that measure misery. Policies change, laws are introduced, modified or scrapped, targets are introduced (I read that 34,000 children were put on the Child Protection register last year – the same as the year before, and the year before that – anyone spot a target??) and kowtowed to.

    I am not one of the doommongers that thinks that the world has gone to hell and that it used to be so much better in the good old days, but I am also wary of statistics that “prove” the opposite.

  46. @CRAIG U
    “The key point here must be that the Tories will hold most if not all their seats. Looking at the marginals which they are way ahead in I think the polls are pointless nationally unless we see a dramatic switch to labour. The tories need 117 gains to win and with the way the marginal polls are going they will easily get that.”

    I dont know that I agree entirely with your point about national polls, however, in my tiny mind the sums say exactly the same thing to you as they do to me. I am aware the site is to discuss these matters but bickering about a%point here and there seems futile. There is a great deal of talk about marriage and posters but not much about Chilcot. All serious newspapers today run Chilcot stories, with the Guardian hardly considering Labours feelings. Interesting times.

  47. Unless Chilcott reveals a smoking gun (which it won’t – the government’s not that silly) then all that will happen is that the various characters will wriggle in their seats and stick to their prepared positions. Not very edifying, but not particularly dangerous politically either I’d have thought.

    The only real threat comes from the “reminder” effect. Pushing Iraq up the agenda just when people who defected from Labour to Respect or the LibDems over the issue might have been thinking of coming home. But its really the media that control the extent of that, not the politicians and not the enquiry team.

  48. (thanks for the clarification Anthony – it would be good to see that process set out in the comments policy)

    Roland – the Chilcot Effect if there is one will be to lift support for the LibDems (IF they seem to have been right to oppose the invasion) and the Tories (IF the lessons to be learned are perceived as “we must be more honest with the information than the Labour Govt were”)

    On the latter, the degree to which Cameron is trusted to tell the truth matters (I can’t re-call the polling data on that issue, but I suspect the degree of honesty level for Cameron isn’t much higher than any other politician)

    The marginals will make a big impact of course, but they are also where the campaign will be fought most keenly by all sides, so maybe the overall argument isn’t over just yet, as it may be in the less marginal seats.

  49. @JOHN TT
    Cameron is probably marginally more trusted than Brown in my veiw, but that is damning with faint praise. With regard to your final paragraph, I agree. It is another way of saying the point I made to Jack Cornish.

  50. @ Neil A

    The public’s response to Chilcott rests almost exclusively with Brown. Not what he says but, the public’s perception of how he performs when in a corner with no front or back benchers rallying to support him in the chamber. I am sure no dramatic revelations will be made other than what we already are privy to

    Anyone with doubts about his sincerity or ability to operate under pressure as both a party leader and PM will possibly have lots of ammuntion here. That ‘reminder’ will last for a long time and could well sway large numbers of voters.

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