There is a ComRes poll out tonight. The full details are embargoed until ten o’clock, but Andrew Grice has already posted that the Conservative lead is down to seven points, from points in ComRes’s previous poll a week and a half ago.

I’ll update at ten, but certainly this poll appears to be echoing the trend we’ve seen in all the other polls since the country officially exited recession on Tuesday. So far Ipsos MORI, YouGov, BPIX and ComRes have all shown the Tory lead shrinking and heading into hung Parliament territory.

I think that Populus’s monthly poll may also have been conducted over the weekend – if it was, we should get that tonight or tomorrow as well.

UPDATE: The full figures are CON 38%(nc), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 19%(nc), so the narrowing of the lead is down to Labour increasing their support – like YouGov, BPIX and MORI, ComRes have Labour up above 30% and in the case of ComRes it is the first time for almost exactly a year.

37% of people agreed that Labour can take credit for getting Britain out of recession (a minority – 59% disagreed – but obviously 37% is more people than actually support Labour, so is probably not a bad finding). The other additional questions aren’t particularly enlightening. 40% said they trusted Brown more than Cameron to help the economy to recover (52% disagreed, but obviously we can’t automatically stick them in the Cameron column as they may be people who trust them both, or trust neither of them). The same applies to the 24% of people who believe the recession would have ended earlier if the Tories had been in power – the 69% of people who disagreed can’t be taken to be people who think the Tories would have done worse, some will think the two parties would have done equally well or badly.

Finally 82% said they agreed that Cameron should be clearer over what he would do about the economy. The Indy have put this as a subheading on their front page, but frankly it’s a fairly pointless question. A good sign of a decent question is whether anyone can really agree with the opposite – and how many normal people would say “I think David Cameron should be much vaguer and less clear about his plans for the economy”?


167 Responses to “ComRes show Tory lead down to 7 points”

1 2 3 4
  1. 4 or 5 polls is definitely a trend, we’re on the border of hung parliament territory, I hope these debates are good.

    By the way, why are the details embargoed? Is it so news programs and papers can’t steal the details or something?

  2. Quincel,

    Media embargoes are, I think, to encourage other media outlets to pick them up, but to make sure the commissioning newspaper still gets first dibs on actually reporting it.

    It means people like Mike Smithson and I get lots of time to write a piece about the new poll, rather than dash something out in 5 minutes when the figures appear – and hence ComRes get higher quality pieces written about their polls.

  3. I would have to agree with Quincel that this is a trend. However, I want to see the details. ComRes have had Labour on 29% in their last two polls, and unless we see this rise I don’t think there is much for Brown to get excited about. Realistically for Labour, while being only 7% behind would be preferable to 9 or 13%, unless they can persuade significantly more than 30% of voters to choose them they shouldn’t get their hopes too high.

  4. A trivial point, but but the map illustrating the constituency guide part of the site is out of date – looks like the 2001 election results to me

  5. I wonder if this run of polls will bring the GE forward?

  6. Clearly Labour will be satisfied regardless – but if they manage to creep up to 31 it could very well be a start of a new trend, 30 being the floor of their support rather then the ceiling of it,

    Like I said in the other thread, looking forward to your analysis.

  7. Surely […no one…] can dismiss this run of polls?

    They are now – at this moment in time – just about 8 points in front of Labour. And, so far this year, slipping closer all the time.

    Cameron has to up his game.

    It cannot be taken as read that there will be a Conservative victory.

  8. Unlikely, Neil. If the polls are rising, Labour won’t want to jump the gun. There’s clearly been a preference for May 6 for some time, and a seven point deficit isn’t reason enough to change that. Instead we’ll hope it keeps rising and that Cameron flubs the debates.

    Election spending began January 1, so there’s a limited amount of difference Ashcroft’s money can make now in key marginals, whereas Labour needs to squeeze every penny out of its donors now just to compete.

    Then there’s the need for high turnout. That means we need to hit hard little canvassed wards full of natural Labour but functionally non-voting voters. My CLP has the best contact rate in East Anglia (granted, not the most active region for Labour) and we’ve only been upping our doorknocking since December. We’ll have doorknocked everywhere in the constituency where it makes sense by mid-April, but not by mid-February. And once the election begins, we’ll concentrate on those people who’ve already said they support us or might do. So if we go early, we lose votes.

    Agree with Alec that the numbers matter. If it’s 37-30 then Cameron is in trouble but Labour isn’t benefiting. That either means that UKIP actually is going to start costing Dave 50 seats or (vastly more probably) that the Lib Dems are picking up that support. And whilst that might help them in the south-west, Labour doesn’t want a strong Clegg. It could have dealt with a strong Kennedy, but there’s no way they can work sustainably with Clegg.

    If, on the other hand, it’s 39-32 that might suggest Labour support is rising. If that’s the case, we may have somehow become detoxified a little. That would be encouraging.

    On the flip side, of course, it could just be an outlier. No way to tell, naturally.

  9. @David in France,

    I am certainly a Conservative supporter and I wouldn’t argue with most of what you’ve said, apart from perhaps the “slipping closer all the time”.

    I have never taken it as read that there with be a Tory victory. I always thought that it was the most likely outcome, and I still on balance think it is. It is clearly looking less likely than it was a couple of months ago however.

    It is worth noting (without wanting to seem like an apologist) that the major change has been in Labour’s levels of support rather than the Conservatives. It is not so much that the Tory vote is melting away, its that Labour are clawing back votes from Others whilst the LibDems are going nowhere.

    It is very much still to be seen whether Labour will keep adding percentage points between now and the GE. I am not ruling it out, but trends can stall or reverse quite easily.

  10. I would hesistate to suggest this is Labour clawing back support; maybe, as voters often punish the incumbent Government with low poll ratings to display disastisfaction and urge them to change direction, so this too may be voters urging Cameron to step up his game? Possibly even those on the right of his party turning to UKIP or ‘don’t know’ or swing voters telling him they’re not yet convinced.

  11. I don’t think for a moment there will be an election before early May, other than in the event that Labour are actually ahead in several consecutive polls.

    Just had ICM calling me up for an opinion poll. Surprisingly enough, I said I’d vote Labour.

  12. To answer my own question from the other thread, the last time the Tory lead was in single figures in 5 consecutive polls was just over a year ago – end of December ’08.

  13. My view would tend to be the same as Edward and Barnaby’s – unless it gets to the point where Labour have a solid lead or they have reason to think it might reverse, a narrowing poll gap would likely encourage them to hold on in the hope that it continues to narrow, rather than encourage them to go early.

  14. Anthony,

    I’m guessing we’ll all be back here after 10pm! Please have something for us :-)

    The numbers are becoming more important than the gap & I’m itching to see who’s switching.

  15. Or put another way, Ben…. there has been a 4% swing from Labour to Tory since December 2008..

    (Sorry, just illustrating the follies of picking arbitrary poll results from the past for comparison…Not aimed at you really!)

  16. As has been said the numbers are important.

    Slippage from 38 would be bad for Cons.

    The trend is becoming firmer though.

    This is what Brown waited for through all those difficult months for Labour.He must begin to feel vindicated.It’s all going according to plan.

    Cameron has thinking to do.

    I still think this is a phoney war-recessions over-collective sigh of relief-who will be least likely to cut my state reliant job?-no thinking required.

    No wonder GB is stringing out the GE date.
    At present it’s effortless

    Once he calls it , proper electioneering will be required-including Labour Policies-and those TV debates.
    .

  17. I hate to admit it, but on the subject of a hung Parliament, it’s beginning to look like Alex Salmond (consummate politician) was right and I (guy with a computer) was wrong. :-)

    I really didn’t see how the Tories could lose England to the extent that Scots and Welsh MPs might (as has rarely happened before) determine the government of England.

    If the polls continue to narrow, and are reflected in the actual election result, that is going to be “interesting” in a way that would not have been true in the 20th century.

  18. Without wanting to be partisan, I JUST DO NOT GET IT…How can these polls be narrowing? [To put it without the long rant, “When the economic recovery wasn’t that strong, the Iraq inquiry in the news and when you don’t think the government are doing very well” – AW]

    Possibly, it’s because cameron and his team are not being sure footed enough. Cameron has made more than a few blunders over the last few weeks. The Tories need a straightforward and coherent narrative. Don’t backtrack and dissemble on spending cuts because we know they are coming. The civil servants are already planning them irrespective of who will get into power.

    Like many Conservatives I split my vote. I will always vote UKIP at Euro elections to give the EU a bloody nose and infuriate the smug centre left commentators at the BBC. I could get into more of a habit of voting UKIP if the Conservatives don’t buck their ideas up and show some spine. Maybe just maybe some of the decline in Tory support over the last few weeks is meant as a gentle warning not to take thoseof us who are disposed towards voting for Cameron for granted.

  19. All to play for now.
    Gordon will come across much better in TV debates too.
    David, you better wake up

  20. Is it me or does there seem to be a ridiculous number of polls at the moment. My concern is that polsters will be looking to produce a poll that grabs headlines amongst the numerous number of polls

  21. @ Neil A,

    I know that, was just interested to see – I’m not sure which trend we should be looking at… 3 months? 6 months? 12?

    The current trend we saw developing in December has been sustained, against one or two predictions I may add!

  22. Hardpressed,

    I share your frustration, but not your confusion. Essentially Labour are the less painful solution, and as the “economic crisis” and “debt mountain” are slightly stale news, large parts of the electorate are moving back towards “what do I get out of it” politics.

    In fairness to Labour, whilst they (in my, partisan, view) did a lot to create the conditions that led to our problems, their handling of the credit crunch has been reasonably competent and they are probably benefitting from that.

  23. Is anyone following what is happening to undecideds? could it be that Tory vote is holding at an absolute figure, but former Labour, who were don’t know, are returning to the fold? I certainly get more people saying Dont Know but not Tory, than this time last year, when canvassing

  24. Ben,

    We are actually more or less back to where we were just after the conferences. After which the polls went back in the Tories’ favour, then back again. Albeit that all of these movements were (and still are) within a few percentage points.

    As for predictions, I don’t think they’re really worth the paper they’re (not) written on!

  25. While you wait, try playing on the Swingometer with the only number we have, the 7% Tory lead.

    Put in Con37, Lab 30, LibDem 23, Others 10, and the Tories are almost 40 seats short of a majority, but Labour and the Lib Dems could achieve one together.

    Now try Con 37, LibDem 30, Lab 23, Others 10, and Labour drop back so far that the Tories get a small majority [which a deal with the UUP and DUP would boost to over 30], whereas the Lib Dems barely reach half Labour’s seat numbers despite being 7% ahead of them.

    First past the post – bad, mad and dangerous to know, don’t you love it? Won’t you miss it when it’s gone?

  26. Much as it’s nice to see my post being echoed, there’s nothing to say that at any moment David Cameron won’t up his game and the lead won’t move back to 12 points or higher in a few weeks time. This is good news for Labour, but this election is far from being a hung parliament yet, about 3 months or so and a very unpredictable set of ones too.

  27. @Colin – a good analysis.

    Incidentally, Andrew Grice may have given away enough information to work out the numbers (if you know which election predictor he uses).

  28. 40:33:17:10 on the UK Polling Report swingometer would put the Tories 21 short of a majority, but that doesn’t mean these are the actuals – Grice has provided insufficent information to deduce them.

    We’ll know soon enough, anyway!

  29. Statto

    38/31/19 (if that’s what it is) doesn’t necessarily predict any particular outcome of course – unless you believe in UNS and Santa Claus.

  30. @ Quincel

    ‘there’s nothing to say that at any moment David Cameron won’t up his game and the lead won’t move back to 12 points or higher’

    Of course not, unless he’s playing with the wrong shape of ball, less able team mates, can’t work out what’s going wrong (if anything) etc….

  31. 38/31/19 it is.

  32. The recent polls are surprising. If I were the Tories I would not get to worried. The lead is still at least 7-10 points. Yes the Tories have had a bad January and certainly need to pick their game up. But this is the Phoney, Phoney War.

    Why is everbody surprised about the recent bump in the polls for Labour after the news the country no longer in an ” official” recession. It might not have been as good as predicted but it is the signal it sends.

    I still predict a sizeable majority for the Tories. Remember the Labour party will have a bad patch before election, these things go in cycles. With all the money they have to spend and the TV debates, where Cameron will come across well, they should be ok. The Liberals will get squeezed at election, people will want to vote for the winner. Expect the polls to change in a few weeks

  33. Re: election date. Just try booking your local Hall, (or whatever else holds the ballot boxes) for May 6th ;-)

  34. Anthony, it looks like Andrew Grice uses Baxter :-(

  35. Looks like the most interesting election for a long time this time. At this point I think the actual campaign (with debates) will make a difference.

    Fascinating – how low will the Conservative lead go?
    I reckon there’s a sweepstake there.

  36. As I have mentioned here before the gap is narrowing because now people are begining to think about what a conservative government would be like – as opposed to just not a labour one.

    Tories are not popular enough to win the election, Government may not be unpopular enough to completely lose it

  37. ““I think David Cameron should be much vaguer and less clear about his plans for the economy”?”

    Well it’d be fun to see him try if nothing else :)

    Interesting times at least, more fun than debating whether it’ll be 50 or 60 con majority.

  38. Anthony

    “and how many normal people would say “I think David Cameron should be much vaguer and less clear about his plans for the economy”?”

    You really must not post partisan comments!

    Obviously Labour would prefer Cameron to be even vaguer – and you are describing Labour as not being “normal” ! :-)

  39. I think that Labour have a lot to thank John Terry for, if polling took place over the weekend as implied. He got Blair’s lack of regret over the deaths in Iraq out of the headlines. Blair is still associated with Labour in peoples’ minds even if not in reality.

  40. I think what we can tell from the polling in january, is that there has only been a slight change throughout the month.

    The Tories have slipped down a bit from 40 but there seems to be little chance of them slipping bellow 38 at this time.

    The Labour vote has basically moved just over to the other side of 30 and although they are starting to gain back a bit of support, theres no sign of them narrowing the gap any further even considering that there have been a few slip ups by Cameron and the Cons last month.

    I think if the Cons get back on form, then they will prob get back up to where they were and I dont really see any significant signs that Labour are going to turn it around.

    Should be an interesting few months now

  41. No slippage on 38 is the good news-nothing lost to Labour.

    Brown breaking 30 with more & more regularity is the bad news.

    If Labour managed to get back in on a “feel good-no austerity” platform….when would the next GE be?

  42. In Scotland, labour on 50% and tories on 9%.
    Anyone think that this will happen?

  43. @OldNat – well done on the numbers. you clearly have too much time! (Actually that is obvious from the number of posts you make on PB :-))

    Alex Salmond may be right on the hung parliament – but he’ll be wrong on the SNP making any significant gains. He may not even be first minister by then!

  44. Well, I think this particular poll can go in the bin – as with many others.

    According to ComRes the “regional” shifts in a week are

    Party, SE, Midlands, NE, Wales/SW, Sco,
    Con, -3%, 2%, 5%, -3%, -11%
    Lab, 1%, 4%, 1%, -3%, 11%
    LD, 1%, -1%, -3%, -5%, 4%

    As Paul pointed out – this is unlikely. I would have uswed stronger terms! :-)

  45. “Well, I think this particular poll can go in the bin ”

    Phew-thank god for that.

    Off to bed.

  46. 5 in a row for at Labour 30 or above and Cons 40 or below, perhaps without Hoon/Hewitt it would have been learlier (except for AR).
    A realistic target for Labour is 33/34% enough to deny a Tory outright victory.
    These polls suggest that they have a chance at least.
    Re Iraq enquiry, unless GB himself is directly implicated as being central to the decisions it will have little effect.
    The damage to Labour was done many years ago.

  47. Oldnat/Paul – As ever, regional subsamples really aren’t worth the paper they are written on. They have tiny sample sizes and are not internally weighted.

    The sample size that voting intentions in the Scottish subbreak were based upon is only 63, so the margin of error is plus or minus 12 points. So Labour at 50% or a shift of 11 points from month-to-month in the Scottish sub-break aren’t reasons to be sceptical of the poll – they are entirely normal and to be expected.

    The moral of the story (which some never seem to get however often I nag about it) is to ignore the regional sub breaks in polls.

  48. The polls are now almost exactly what they were before the expenses scandal began last year. The noteable difference is that the Lib Dems are higher by 2 points at the expense of the Tories.

  49. @ PAUL

    “In Scotland, labour on 50% and tories on 9%.
    Anyone think that this will happen?”

    It seems unlikely unless we Scots are getting very worried about Cameron. There are some reasons why we might be:

    Financial sector & Public sector are both huge sources of employment in Scotland.

    CONS would likely change the Barnett formula – regardless of whether it’s fair or not (I don’t want to spark a debate about it).

    Scottish residents place a high value on NHS & no university fees. They think CONS would change things.

    ~ so 50% LAB & 9% CON is highly improbable; but not impossible.

  50. Unfortunately for poor old Oldnat, they hardly ever do Scotland-only polling so subbreaks are all we have. Its a bit like a man dying of thirst, who drinks the salty water even though he knows its bad for him….

1 2 3 4