There is also a new ComRes poll out today, commissioned by pressure group Theos. The topline voting intention figures, with changes from their previous poll a week ago are CON 38%(-2), LAB 30%(+1), LDEM 20%(-1).

These two polls were either side of Gordon Brown’s interview with Piers Morgan, so the natural inference is that it did indeed help Labour. However, ComRes’s previous poll was a bit of an unusual creature – it had shown the Conservatives increasing their lead in the face of a wider trend of a narrowing lead, so this is probably just a reversion of that. With the exception of Angus Reid, all the polls are now floating around a Tory lead of about 8 points – with some lower (like YouGov yesterday), and some higher (like YouGov on Wednesday or Populus last week). That’s a significant narrowing from the ten point lead that seemed to be the norm a couple of months back, or last summer’s mid-teen leads.

As might be expected from a Theos poll, the other questions dealt with the role of religion in public life. 27% said they had no religion, 33% that their religion was cultural and didn’t really affect their lives. 22% said their religion was important and had some impact on their lives, 16% that it was very important and had significant affect upon their lives.

ComRes then asked which party people thought had been the most friendly towards particular religions over recent years. 21% thought the Conservatives had been closest to Christians, 20% Labour, 9% the Lib Dems. 36% thought Labour had been friendliest to Muslims compared to 10% for Conservatives and 7% for the Lib Dems.

If you look at the answers amongst the groups themselves, amongst Christians whose faith is of great importance to them (a very small sample of 144, but the ones who this is presumably most likely to make a difference to), the Conservatives lead 28% to 18% for Labour. Amongst the 100 Muslims in the sample 49% thought Labour had been most friendly to the Muslim faith, followed by 9% for the Lib Dems and 6% for the Conservatives.

Finally ComRes asked if people agreed with a series of statements – 32% agreed that religious freedoms had been restricted in Britian in recent years (opinions on this had a sharp religious skew, only 26% of people with no religion agreed, 52% of those whose religion was of great importance to them did). 31% of people thought that the law should prevent people from expressing religious views in the workplace (surprisingly opinions on did’t have much of a religious view – 28% of people whose religion was of great importance to them still agreed). 64% of people agreed that religious leaders like the Pope had a responsibility to speak out on issues they were concerned about and, finally, 42% agreed that “in a democracy, extreme political parties should be banned”.


158 Responses to “ComRes/Theos poll has 8 point lead”

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  1. The average polling for Labour by Yougov from the beginning of the year is 31%

    The average polling for Labour by all other pollsters from the beginning of the year is 28%

    Since the Summer of last year Yougov have been polling very often slightly higher for Labour than the others, mostly at the cost of the Lib Dems.

  2. @ Brownedov re C of E numbers

    Sorry, I was talking about England, not the UK as a whole – yes I know what you are thinking!

    The fact that the head of the Bullying Helpline has been so annoyed by denials from No. 10 that she has gone public saying that they have taken calls from Brown’s office suggests that this story will run for a while yet, not so much because of the bullying as the further evidence of Mandelson and co. are again deliberately putting up a smokescreen (even if not lying outright).

  3. The average polling for the Lib Dems by Yougov from the beginning of this year is slightly less than 18. But collectively from the others it is slightly less than 20.

  4. In the last few weeks GB has – amazingly and unexpectedly – slowly begun to resemble teflon man. If, in addition, nothing even sticks to Labour from bullygate, and they take no hit in the polls, it will be worrying times ahead for the Tories, but the Tories are making it hard for themselves to exploit their best opportunities.

    It’s not just their overall campaign strategy, nor their regular sprinkling of bloopers, but tactical mistakes that should concern them and their supporters, eg GO going off on one today about bank shares for the masses at some indefinite future date. Whatever its merits, this proposal was bound to draw some of the focus away from GB precisely when that was what Labour most needed to happen.

    Why, for goodnes sake, why? What were the Tory leadership thinking of?

  5. @Wolf MacNeill

    You assume that there *is* a coherent and comprehensive Tory campaign strategy.

    Observation seems to suggest that Cameron and Osborne are simply not coordinating, and actually divided on how they think the campaign should be run. Osborne seems to have generated a ‘Palin Effect’, he’s the Shadow Chancellor because Cameron thinks he needs to shore up the right wing core of the party. But like Palin, he’s alienating the centre and left of centre, and actually making the Tory Right Wing more vitrolic and demanding on Cameron.

  6. In the GE I’m still expecting Labour to get between 22 to 28%, the Cons a minimum of 40% and the Lib Dems a minimum of 20%.

    With the complaints about Brown being a nasty bully, this is yet further confirmation of my negative assessment of the Labour leadership. I am amazed at the slowness of my fellow past Labour voters to see this. However, I think a third of those who voted Labour last time may well come to see this by the time of the big day.

  7. RICHARDW
    Sorry, I was talking about England, not the UK as a whole – yes I know what you are thinking!

    I rather thought you were but I’m not sure that you do!

    As someone unimpressed by religions, the last thing I want is for more clerics to be parachuted into the UK legislature, but fail to see why any should still sit there as of right. With two of the four nations of the UK having rightly disestablished their “state” churches, I do think it’s about time that Scotland removed the last vestiges of theirs and England removed the rather more substantial remains of theirs.

    On the bullying issue, the fact that the BBC is running with the story is clearly pretty significant. Haven’t had time to look at other news sources yet, but this could be very big with Brown having denied it yesterday and Mandelson only this morning.

  8. @Philip JW

    “The average polling for Labour by Yougov from the beginning of the year is 31%. The average polling for Labour by all other pollsters from the beginning of the year is 28%”

    Elaborating on your post…

    The average polling for Labour by Yougov from the beginning of the year is 31%. The average polling for Labour by all other pollsters (excluding AR) from the beginning of the year is 30%. The average polling for Labour from AR is 25%.

    YouGov have undoubtedly polled Labour higher than the others, but only by around 1%. AR badly skews the average.

  9. I think who ever prompted the ‘Anti Bullying Group’ to come out against ‘No.10’ (without mentioning Brown at all, but certainly implying it), doesn’t really understand the news cycle.

    Most people watch the news on a Sunday in the morning. Sunday afternoon to evening is lunch, checking the garden, pub, DIY, and flicking around on TV looking for a film to watch. The follow up pseudo-allegations couldn’t have been timed worse. Particularly when the conservatives party had put out a policy news story of their own. (Altho, the Policy was going down in flames pretty quickly, so perhaps a mixed blessing there.)

    They should have released this to a morning news show on Monday, where it would have restarted a new news cycle over most of the working week. As it, it’ll probably disappear from the news some time between Monday afternoon and late Tuesday.

  10. Sky are also running with the National Bullying Helpline story, which presumably means the Murdoch press will follow suit. We live in interesting times, it seems.

  11. @Andrew Myers

    I am not a Labour supporter but I did have respect for Tony Blair (certainly in the early days).

    For Gordon Brown I have none. He has not earned the position of PM….

    ———

    Brown is neither more nor less competent or fit for that office than the great majority of British prime ministers and it is partisan tosh to suggest otherwise.

    You may also care to glance at recent British history – Brown is just the latest in a long line of politicians to become British PM without first being elected to that position.

    In the last century ALL of the following have done just that:-

    Lloyd George (Liberal) became PM without being elected.

    Stanley Baldwin (Conservative) became PM without being elected.

    Neville Chamberlain (Conservative/National) became PM without being elected.

    Winston Churchill (Conservative/National) became PM without being elected.

    Harold MacMillan (Conservative) became PM without being elected.

    Sir Alec Home (Conservative) became PM without being elected.

    James Callaghan (Labour) became PM without being elected.

    John Major (Conservative) became PM without being elected.

  12. David in France

    All of those had been elected at the time that they became PM – except Lord Hume, who was in the HoL at the time.

    If you mean that they weren’t the leader of their party at the general election preceding their being asked by Brenda or her predecessors to form a Government is entirely a different matter.

  13. If Philip JW you really think Labour will get as little as 22% in the general election I think you’re living in cloud cuckoo land.

  14. @ Neil

    I completely hear what you’re saying but it’s issues like this (jobs going abroad etc.) that is driving people into the armsof the BNP in “white working class” communities blighted by worklessness.

  15. Brown’s bullying will make no difference to the polls.

    I’m sure that many Labour supportes would be happy for him to physically beat his staff if it meant he won the next election and kept borrowing to pay their salaries/benenfits/gold plated pensions (albeit a deluded dream irrespective of whomever wins the elsection).

    If 30% of the electorate still support him despite the damage he has caused to the economy by not saving anything to help the country weather a recession, then I doubt they will give a t*ss about him bullying a few members of staff.

  16. Rob Sheffield

    Isn’t that post just the teensiest weensiest bit partisan?

  17. With according to poster above (the one who spends his whole life in wishful thinking whether it be about Labour victory or whatever) belief heading towards “irrelevance” – it must really stick in his craw that well into the 21st century the percentage of atheists never rises much above around 20%.

  18. As a Christian myself I will find it hard to know who to vote for this time – I was always old Labour but many of the recent policies do seem far from sympathetic if not antipathetic to Christian principles.

    And as for the Tories – you only need one quote from The Bible (the one mentioning “camels” and “eyes of needles”) to know that their whole ethos from the now as always runs counter to that espoused by Jesus Christ.

  19. Anthony- as you have held me up for acusing others of being partisan I expect you to do the same with this post.

    oldnat

    Rob Sheffield

    Isn’t that post just the teensiest weensiest bit partisan?

  20. Rob Sheffield

    Accusing? Never!

    I asked you a question in the gentlest possible terms!

    :-)

  21. @Andrew Myers – “I wonder how the polls would change if everyone read Sir John Major’s article in the Daily Mail today.In my opinion, and apologies if this sounds partisan, but one of the most outstanding articles I have ever read in any newspaper – for its basic common sense rather than any party poolitical bias.”

    I’m afraid it was a typical former leaders article, glossing over his own calamitous career disasters, completely partisan and highly selective in the evidence used. At one point he says this – “And we never mortgaged the nation’s future to buy the nation’s votes.” he could have gone on to talk about selling council homes off too cheaply and without replacing social housing, leading to the homeless crisis of the 90’s we all remember so fondly. Or flogging off state assets well below market prices – and please don’t tell me this wasn’t for the purpose of buying votes.

    I think you need to recall the fact that the great Sir John led his party to its worst defeat since the 1820’s. There was a reason for this, and that reason was that they were awful, and much of the social infrastructure of the country needed rebuilding after decades of neglect.

  22. re bullying.

    Brown appeared on a self serving interview designed to show what a nice caring and big hearted softy he is.

    A book comes out pointing out the opposite. Ministers accuse the book of being lies – then someone who knows the truth points it out. Do not see how labour can complain. MoralLy it seems to me the head of the help-line had no option.

    I too think that labour will definitely get more than 22%; it would be devastating turn up for labour if they polled less than 30%.

  23. What is amazing is that the bullying helpline received 3 or 4 calls over 3 or 4 years (BBC figures); pretty small numbers to create such publicity.

  24. Ironic that the Labour response to allegations of bullying is………………………….bullying! The spin machine goes into action straight away to assassinate the character of anyone daring to challenge on any point at any level. Paranoia has all too often defined regimes throughout history as their power is eroded, and any means, however unhealthy, are used to hang on. Eventually this sort of behaviour is self-defeating since it brutalises the environment and embitters all parties, undermining morale overall.
    We are not all brutes, young men are being killed while politicians score points off each other, they have already shown that they have no respect for anyone other than than themselves, they have no spirit of public service and happily play cynical games with
    taxpayers money.
    It’s about time they got up out of the gutter and remembered their responsibilities.

  25. Trevorsden –
    I think it was quite brave of the helpline head to say what she did. I assume it is a government quango, and hence she was putting her own job at risk.

    Let’s not forget that Labour, despite being the largest party in the 2005 election, only polled just over 20% of the electorate (as opposed to votes cast); if they polled (say) 28% of a 65% turnout this would be less than 20% of the electorate. Whoever wins will probably only have something in the low 20s as a percentage of the electorate. This will be less than the 30-35% abstentions. Should this not be counted as a win for ‘abstain’, and a new government formed by random selection from the electoral roll?

  26. @Pete B

    “I think it was quite brave of the helpline head to say what she did. I assume it is a government quango, and hence she was putting her own job at risk.”

    WRONG

    It is a charity.

    On of its patrons- a certain Ann Widdicombe- has criticised this person for being unproffessional and publicising what are always – and always should remain so- confidential allegations.

    Quite brave of Ms Widdicombe as Tories everywhere will be furious with her for being so honest and high principled.

  27. @Alec,

    One aspect of the right-to-buy debate that I’ve never quite understood is how exactly changing the ownership of houses increases net homelessness? Granted, a small percentage may have ended up as holiday homes (but very few ex-council properties would appeal to that market), but in general the council house of 1979 will now be a owner-occupied or privately rented house of 2010. Still with the same number of people living in it.

    Surely the only things that can increase homeless are 1) Properties lying empty 2) Less people living in each property or 3) net increase in population?

  28. I think both major parties could do with presenting a more christian message.
    I think labour would be better of at trying to return to a more christian socialist message that was put forward by Clem Attlee with his talk of “Building a New Jerusalem”. This would stifle the tory argument of claiming socialists are just Stalinists.
    After all it can be argued Jesus was the first socialist with his talk of equality, not profiting from interest, and of his followers sharing their wealth to stop poverty, as was said in Acts 4:32-35.

    Meanwhile surely the conservatives would be better of at trying to be more of a European style christian conservative party. This would give them the excuse for a more of a European social justice message. And drive them, away from the more hard edged elitist monetary led ideology, that they are being seen to have had since Mrs Thatcher of not worrying about inequality or social injustice.

    Although we would have to avoid the American con trick of rich people stealing Christianity for their own means, claiming to be christian while voting only for tax cuts for the rich, and inequality

  29. Derek Pierson

    Thanks for the update

    Browndov
    “it’s about time that Scotland removed the last vestiges of theirs”

    The last vestiges are so small as to be invisible to me. Could you elaborate please?

  30. @DirtyEuro
    If we’re being all religious, her’s a verse from one of my favourite hymns:

    The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    He made them, high or lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

    Religion can be made to prove anything in politics. Jesus could be argued to be an arch capitalist – remember the parable of the workers in the vineyard?

  31. John B Dick

    The monarch must still, by law, be a practicing member of the CoS. I think, but don’t offhand recall the details, that the CoS has a few minor legal rights

  32. @Neil A

    “Right To Buy” resulted in lots of people without the means to pay them off getting mortgages to ‘buy’ their council houses. Then defaulting on those council houses. The council house then being boarded up because the bank repossessed it. Then the bank can’t sell it because it’s a boarded up house on a council estate.

    Repeat several hundred times, and you end up with vacant homes in run-down estates, while also having a housing crisis. Sometimes the process was helped along by the local council putting targets on selling council houses to cut their housing maintenance costs.

  33. So, where is this embargoed poll ? It was due Monday, 0000 hours.

  34. John B Dick

    It’s fairly subtle, but the details are in the Church of Scotland Act 1921.

    Essentially, the Act recognises the Kirk’s claim to be Scotland’s “national Kirk” with absolute independence from the state in all spiritual matters, while simultaneously guaranteeing the rights of all other kirks in Scotland.

    In other words, it allows an “honorary” status to the Kirk of Scotland to be the pre-eminent Scottish Kirk, but with none of the involvements with the State that would make it an established Kirk.

  35. @Neil A

    Many of the people who had the means to access Right To Buy would have eventually moved out to buy in the private sector, so freeing up council houses for future homeless.

    In areas with high house prices, like London, you’d often find that the best council stock was almost entirely privately owned. Councils were left with less houses, in less desirable locations, often in poorer condition (and therefore with higher maintenance costs).

  36. JAY BLANC

    Having looked at your posts on this and Political Betting sites over past few days I have to say you try hard to give the impression that you know a lot but seem to know little about UK politics and media management.

    Lets start with your comments this pm:-

    1. You suggest the lady from the Bullying Helpline got her timing wrong. Her attack was directed at Mandy and to make her point and get publicity for her Charity she had to move shortly after Mandy’s comments were made & while the Brown bullying story was live. If she had not done so it would probably have being too late on Monday as the media would have already moved on.

    2. You criticise the Tories for putting out the Bank share purchase story when the Brown bullying story was live but appear not to have researched this. The Tories gave the lead on the Bank share story to the Sunday Times several hours before the Brown bullying story broke. It was then too late for the Tories to withdraw the share story. What were the Tories supposed to do not support the proposals on TV ?
    Give the other parties a completely free ride to criticise them without highlighting the positives ?

    3. Your view on “Right to Buy ” also look suspect & perhaps you will provide statistical evidence to substantiate there were excessive defaults.

    4. Your views on AR polls seem pathetic and biased but lets leave that debate for another time..

  37. Browndov/OldNat

    As clear as mud.

    The Queen attends Crathie CoS when in Balmoral and not the SEP (in full communion with the CoE as they say). There are problems if she is or marries a Catholic. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton tried to change that for Scotland, but was told it was a reserved matter.

    CoS used to be called “The Church by law established” by the 1843-1929 Free church but many if not all the objections of the presbyterian churches which were voluntary (whether by conviction or circumstances) have been removed as have the benefits of establishment, limited as they were.

    There is no money in it, but if a public body or other entity needs a clergyman, perhaps for Remembrance Sunday, the CoS especially within the parish, is a slightly less controversial choice than any other.

    The Scottish parliament of course has its Time for Reflection addressed by Humanists, Unitarians, Quakers, Sikhs, Jews, Hindus to name but a few. I’m sure that they havn’t been through the whole Wikipedia set, and I must check what they do with the cults that are not classed as a religion in some countries,but you get the picture.

    The CoS administers the non-denominational Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office, funded by the SP which provides the best parliamentary digest on Scottish politics, but that’s a co-operative joint venture.

  38. Mike

    Do you have to be so rude to Jay?

    I think the site is very good

  39. John B Dick

    “As clear as mud.”

    A perfect description of the 1921 Act!

    It’s not that difficult.

    The Kirk of Scotland wanted the status of “the” Kirk without any of the trappings of linkage with the state. Hence the concept of a “national” as opposed to “established” Kirk. The state was happy to comply because “national” Kirk doesn’t actually mean anything.

    Brenda doesn’t have to have any connection with any Kirk in Scotland, but as a conventional wee wummin, when in Scotland, she attends services of the “national” Kirk.

    What could be simpler than that?

  40. @ JAY BLANC

    I like your site too :-)

  41. Hi Amber

    That’s nice – Jay has at least two fans ;-)

    It’ll all rebound on Pratt & co

  42. Work Place Bullying – some interesting statistics from a 2008 YouGov poll:

    The UMIST study was based on findings from a national sample of 5,300 respondents from 70 organisations.

    The second (2008) Press Release noted above reports on a Yougov poll for the TUC. 3.5m people (14 per cent of the workforce) say they have been bullied in their current job. 21 per cent say that bullying is an issue where they work.

    Bullying is more likely in the public sector where 19 per cent say they have been bullied compared to 12 per cent in the private sector and eight per cent in the voluntary sector. People in professional and associate professional jobs are the most likely to be bullied (16 per cent). It is not the low paid who are most likely to say they are bullied. Those earning less than £20,000 report much less bullying than those earning between £20,000 and £60,000. (17 per cent). But among those earning above £60,000 only seven per cent say they are bullied. Men are more likely to be bullied (16 per cent) than women (12 per cent). 45-54 year olds (19 per cent), followed by 35-44 year olds (17 per cent) are the age groups most likely to be bullied. 25-34 year olds are the least bullied (8 per cent).

  43. Amber there’s a news con by Mandelson at 10.45 – I’ve heard-how do you think it will go?

  44. @ AL J

    “Mrs Pratt said there had been “three or four” contacts with the helpline from Downing Street staff in recent years.
    But she said others had been received before Mr Brown took charge.”

    The above, from Sky News. Blogs are full of links about the her charity helpline being:
    1. A front for her consultancy business;
    2. Closely associated with CONS.

    Ann Widecombe, a patron, says Mrs Pratt has breached confidentiality.

    There is also speculation that Mrs Pratt could be one of Rawnsley’s 24 carat sources.

    I think this may have the makings of another ‘spelling error smear’ which left the Sun with egg on its face.

  45. Tomorrow’s Guardian/ICM poll may confirm others suggesting that the contest is narrowing.

    Julian Glover in his Guardian article, Monday 22nd

  46. maybe with the polls closing there will be more focus on whether you want Brown as PM until may 2015.

    The focus has been on the tories and cameron as the alternative. But with Labour polling better do voters really want five more years of Brown. Brown has been PM for about two and a half years. Do voters really want to give him five years when the two and a half years seems like a long time ago.

  47. I find the statistics on work place bullying surprising. That it is older, well paid men who are most likely to say they are being bullied at work seems strange to me.

    Nick Robinson, in his blog, comments that “bullying, like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder”.

    I wonder if some bullying is actually people feeling they are not being accorded the respect they deserve.
    That is not an ideal situation at work but I would question whether it constitutes bullying.

    If anybody shouts at me, I walk out of the room or hang up the phone. If anything was thrown in general, I’d leave the room. If thrown at me, I’d get my coat & then phone in a complaint (& consider involving the police if it actually hit me).

    I’m amazed that presumably intelligent staff in the PM’s office would put up with the alleged bullying. I actually don’t find it entirely credible.

  48. @ JASON

    I agree; the closer the polling, the more attacks we will see on Brown’s character.

    On an earlier thread, when the polls began to narrow, I forecast the CONS making this an anti-Brown campaign.

    I genuinely believe that Cameron’s team would like to make this a positive, issues based campaign. But that’s not how Coulson rolls, if past form is anything to go by.

  49. @Amber

    if only there could be a pact for no character attacks in return for no attacks on the tories because of what politicians did in the 80’s. Brown was attacking the tories this past weekend about how they were to blame because of what they did in the 80’s. A lot of voters weren’t even born then. This line of attack is getting very old but amazingly it still has some effect.

  50. A very interesting piece by Jackie Ashley in today’s Guardian.

    Amongst many key points made- the current Tory wobble; their lack of major inroads in the northern marginals that they thought they would; the current improved perormance of Clegg et al.

    The final peroration is class::

    “Anyone who’s interested in politics ought to be gripped by what’s ahead. The choices are big. The polls are ­narrow. That’s what to get excited about, not Brown’s titanic grumpiness. I don’t want to sound po-faced. A little tittle, a touch of tattle? Fine by me. But it’s time to move on.”

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