Tonight we have the first voting intentions since the General election. ComRes in the Independent on Sunday/Sunday Mirror have voting intentions of CON 38%, LAB 34%, LDEM 21%. From the general election the Liberal Democrats are down and Labour up, presumably a direct defection of Liberal Democrat voters who are more inclined to Labour and opposed to the party joing the Conservatives in coalition.

41% of respondents thought that the Liberal Democrats had sold out their principles, with 47% disagreeing. This included 34% of Liberal Democrat votes. 35% of respondents agreed with the statement that Nick Clegg should have opted for a coalition with Labour rather than one with the Conservatives, that includes 33% of Liberal Democrats (presumably 33% of remaining Liberal Democrats, as opposed to 33% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010).

ICM in the Sunday Telegraph have voting intention figures of CON 38%, LAB 33%, LDEM 21%. The figures there are almost identical to ComRes, and show the same pattern – a 3 point or so shift of support from the Lib Dems towards Labour.

ICM’s other questions found 64% of respondents backing the coalition as the right way forward. Asked about specific policies, 75% backed keeping inheritance tax and increasing capital gains tax in order to increase the personal tax allowance, 63% supported fixed term Parliaments, 56% backed a change to AV. ICM also asked about the Labour leadership – 32% backed David Miliband, 11% Harriet Harman, 9% Ed Miliband, 8% Ed Balls and Burnham and Cruddas were both on 2%. Bear in mind, however, that leadership questions like this reflect recognition to a great degree – most people will have little or no idea who Andy Burnham or Jon Cruddas are. If you go back to questions on the Tory leadership straight after the 2005 election Ken Clarke tended to be the winner, with Cameron around 2%-4%.

960 Responses to “New ComRes and ICM polls”

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  1. @Xiby

    Certainly the post-election polls are positive for Labour. But I don’t think that comparing with past elections is very enlightening (“people like to be associated with winners”) simply because in this election there was no winner.

    It’ll be very interesting to see how the recall figures pan out in the moinths to come, with voters from all parties in denial about who they voted for!

  2. I would be interested in seeing some polls that assume AV is in place. A big assumption, I know, but would be very useful if/when the referendum comes along.

    I’m not sure that polls based on the current FPTP system can simply be used in conjunction with a 2nd choice. Unlike FPTP, AV voters have the luxury to be honest / frivolous with their first preference.

    For example, a left leaning voter who would normally vote Labour in London, or LibDem in the South West, can safely vote Green in London, or Labour in the South West. as long as he puts Tory at the bottom of his preferences. Likewise, Tories in Scotland, can vote Con 1 UKIP 2 LibDem 3 SNP 4, etc instead of either wasting their vote or voting tactically or negatively.

    We could see a lot more 1st preferences going to smaller parties, and strong independent candidates.

    If AV becomes a reality, it might become very difficult to make accurate seat predictions. This would be impacted further if the 10% seat reduction goes ahead.

    I wonder if we will see the major parties producing “how to vote” leaflets giving each party’s 1-2-3 preferences in each seat. Will the current coalition partners support each other in this process? Cons telling their supporters to put LibDem 2nd, and vice versa. Evidence from Australia shows that many voters tend to follow the “how to vote” instructions of their favoured party to the letter.

    It will interesting to see how polling companies face the challenges ahead.

  3. @ Roger Mexico

    Keynes actually had more “interesting” ideas. He at one point suggested abolishing interest rates (well, interests all together) and if you follow through the logic of diminishing profit expectations, then the only outcome is that the equilibrium position when the government raises all investment demands (Y=C+G)… But it’s only curiosity.

    The government share in GDP has fluctuated, but it seems to be fairly stable since the second world war(fluctuation around 40% with a 5% amplitude with a few outlayer years, like this year), thus I’m not sure about the per capita tax increase…

  4. Tony E – Big chat about this last night and Ash posted the figures

  5. Thanks Sue. In this thread? I’ve only read up to page 6 or 7, and then the last few pages.

  6. @ Laszlo

    Stop with the brilliant posts – I really do have work to do!!!

    I know you saw my earlier comments about QE & government investing our own money directly, i.e. by-passing the need to pay interest to the money markets.

    Once again, the fundamental principle I out-lined was correct. Whether such a course of action would be desirable is entirely a matter of ideology.

  7. The only real question here (which I believe is paramount) is what form of investment is needed? and whether present investment is creating a false economy (the Greece issue)? or whether they are sustaining the fundamentals of our economy (which unfortunately is heavily dependent o financial services thus exposing us to some high risks)? The investment we make must go to the areas that will truly stimulate growth.

    For example, in our case an investment in housing infrastructure would be worth the deficit. Similarly the reduction in primary costs for the most fundamental resource – the human resource. Thus an investment in re-training and apprenticeships, or effective health care, or in science education, and the provision of a versatile education to provide for work mobility, and any other such investments by Gov, are the key atm. On the other hand raising taxes is also not the best of ideas, especially VAT (which I believe will not be raised in the June budget btw) would also be the wrong road to take. Its vital that as much money remains in people’s hands so as to push up spending again (with a small caveat that this spending should not emanate from credit and borrowing at the same levels we had in this country as that too to an extent is a form of false economy, as one day that debt will have to be repaid from somewhere).

    On the basis of the last caveat, I can already see many here telling me that that is the point with the Gov deficit. Well not quite. As I said our Gov can sustain such high debts and borrowing for sometime yet, and still be in a position to pay it off later. People are not. If this was not the case, the markets would have already been in free fall, before anyone of us would have even realized that was a hint of a problem.

    As most economists will tell you crisis, are actually good for economies. If we react properly towards them, actually we would come out stronger at the end of the tunnel. (Small partisan caveat – GB had the correct formula for this crisis, thats why Sarkozy and many other leaders both political and economical called him “My Hero”).

  8. @Leslie

    Agreed. I too am taking these polls for what they are. An instant reaction with no digestion.

    Seeing how we into analogies today. These polls are like the first taste of a rich chocolate bar – all nice and positive. But you still don’t know if it will later upset your stomach and thus come to hate eating it. So yes people will need to digest the results properly and wait for all the pieces to fall into place. Thus wait for the autumn polls.

  9. @ Amber Star

    Thank you.

    Luckily my work is very varied and largely dependent on face-to-face conversations and the opinions of the posters here stimulate my thoughts and I keep on learning a lot.

    I think it would be a perfectly reasonable model what you outlined (there would be ideological, but not theoretical arguments against it) – with one condition: democratic control on the government’s priorities (or even better, the priorities are somehow determined, negotiated by the citizens). Otherwise the whole thing has a chance of ending up in tears and pain. So, this is my reservation against the model: until I see the political process behind it, it is not defensible.

  10. Guys
    I leave company with conventional wisdom on this and agree with Blanchflower.

    The Deficit problem is not spending but Revenue.

    government’s job is to produce circumstances that allow the private sector to recover/grow thereby producing additional revenue thereby reducing deficit.

    I’m sorry both Labour and from what has been in evidence to date and from the new Government is a limited amount of economic literacy to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

    You can’t spend and you can’t cut your way through to a vibrant economy. But what you can use is to use all the levers of the Treasury and the BoE that create conditions to take people off state dependency (Tax Threshold) and release credit flow and investment incentives into the economy again from the bottom up rather than top down (SME initiatives with the banks). Both broad measure are reflationary and actually self financing through the VAT, PAYE and Corporation Tax produced.

    The tricky bit is rebalancing the economy and as I opined earlier today its called printing money and having a competitive exchange rate and a little inflation in the short and medium term.

    Net result no structural defiicit inside this Parliament and the cumulative debt paid off over the next 20 years. A thriving rebalanced modern economy.

  11. @ Jack Jackson

    I strongly agree with a good half of what you wrote and strongly disagree with less than a half of it.

    Now I wonder what a pollster would make of it :-)

  12. Office of Budgetary Responsibility ?

    An Orwellian sounding title. Is it a department tucked away somewhere within the Ministry of Plenty ?

  13. I would agree with a Common’s Budget Office, which would assess the true nature of Gov finance and of the financial implications of any Bill before the House (similar to Congress’ Budget Office) but an Office of Budgetary Responsibility ? Now what is that? What shall it do and what will its purview be? And please do not tell me its independent if its the Chancellor that appoints the people to this Office. It should be appointed by the Commons and answerable to the Commons, ie any MP from any side of the House can call upon its intervention.

  14. Laszlo

    As you know I have a constant battle with my former comrades that are affiliated to Labour on this site.

    I get confused with being a Lib Dem and don’t buy into the laisez faire of the market place.

    If there is a role for government, which there is, it is to create conditions (govern) including regulation for the market place to support a homogenous society for us all to thrive.

  15. @ Xiby @ 2:50

    I would subscribe to most of what you said, but I’m quite sure (but could be wrong of course) it’s not convincing for those who have not subscribed – even if they agreed with you on each of the points.

    While I have a problem with some of Jack Jackson’s points, it is clear that the business model that UK companies followed is in trouble (his point about 21st century economy) and the problem of the government financing is a reflection of it. While the government made numerous mistakes during the years, the current problem is actually a private sector crisis. The government, because of legitimacy reasons, because of conviction, provided a constant increase in demand, otherwise British business would have suffered enormously. It had no other way to do it, because its predecessors used up other resources and because Labour is associated with “anti-business”.

    The real question is: what is the task of the government to develop procedures, institutions, etc. in order that new business models could develop in the UK based on new or reformed competitive capabilities (I’m not too interested in ownership of these – private or public). This then could create a frame in which new and effective vocational education plus meaningful university education, infrastructure investment, social security, government spending and revenue, industrial relations could be interpreted. This would require quite a bit of upheaval in government, financial system (in the UK there is no bank landing to investment except for government supported schemes), employment policies, welfare system, etc.

    I think it is feasible – but parties would do it only if they must, if the alternative is too dangerous.

    This is why the whole argument about budget and debt, while it is urgent, not important.

  16. @ Jack Jackson

    Perhaps I answered, to a degree, in my reflection to Xiby’s post.

    I have never associated you with laisse fair. What I did not agree with was: “allowing the private sector to grow”. I think the private sector has to be “forced”. I don’t think there is a real interest in the private sector in growth. Forcing, well it’s not a government job, but it’s a government responsibility.

  17. @Laszlo

    There is no doubt, that out of this mess we where in a thorough review of regulations has to be made. I will venture to say that more robust regulation has become imperative and essentially.

    If I can fault Labs economic governance (ie GB) it is on the laxness in regulation they sustained. I am very impressed with Obama’s work in this regard so I could be a bit biased already.

  18. @ Xiby

    Honestly, there is no need for a new body to assess public finance in the sense that is suggested so far about OBR. If the government wants to hide something it can, irrespective of the number of auditors (in 1995 when the Russian current account was audited, a well known US company said that it was off by two billion dollars, but could not say if it was on the credit or the debit side) – you have a number of extrabudgetary funds, there are overlapping spending commitments, there are benefits that are not taken up, there are investments without accounting for working capital in the future and there are planned working capital expenditures for investment that have never happened. So, if an auditor starts straight after his qualification, his great grandson would probably finish it before retirement.

    There is a need for control, however, I agree with you. I have to think about your arguments in the contexts that we have a coalition government now.

  19. BTW I do hope that Vince is allowed to work on the break up of the Banks which I think is needed. Plus I hope we get the Banks we bailed to be forced to lend once certain conditions have been met.

  20. Laszlo

    Little separating us other than the nuances.

    Labour somehow post 2001 managed to earn back the “anti-business” tag. I don’t know why.


    I agree with you OBR should be independent of government or its meaningless. Unfortunately the economy needs to be viewed as a whole relative to the Budget. So this could be a flawed concept.

    We should have an interesting trend line of polls through to October to muse over.

    Did you read Cruddas in today’s Guardian. Reads as though he wants to build policy and party organisation rather than to lead and execute

    Its looking like a rather sterile Leadership campaign.

  21. Back to polls.

    I think one of the most important polls in the near-ish future is the London Mayor election. If Lab manage to win that back it would be a massive win for the party and could potentially have dire consequences on the coalition if it does survive till then (which I think it will).

    It is being touted that Alan Johnson will run for Lab. Now that would be an interesting contest ;) Johnson v. Johnson ;) ;)

  22. @Jack Jackson

    I agree the number of contestants at the moment is troubling. If its just the Milibands its going to be a waisted 4 months, even though i think that either would be good at the job, though I might prefer David, simply for more presentability (sad I know but these things do matter – see GB v TB).

    I would have preferred if Cruddas did contest, even though he never really stood a chance, simply to help form the discussion that Lab needs to have. He could have also curved up an important place for himself within the party if he did contest and yet failed to be elected. I think he made a bad decision, but I guess that’s a personal choice.

  23. The Millibands have a problem which was already highlighted last night by Paxman when interviewuing Dave,
    paxman…would your brother make a good leader?
    Dave….I’m not going to criticize anyone in this campaign.

    future questions to come along the lines of….
    The problem is can you seriously win a contest if your own brother won’t vote you ?

    Also Dave will never get over the banana pic,
    and why isn’t Alan Johnson (the housewifes choice) standing….does he know that its a dead duck this time and will be ready to take over at the next.?

  24. @ Xiby

    Yes, the London Mayoral elections will be highly indicative, but I think, from the point of view of the coalition the Scottish/Welsh elections and the next council elections can be decisive in the short term.

  25. @Cliff

    I don’t think thats a problem at all, as both have contested. It would have been disasterous if for example Ed supported Alan Johnson and not his brother David.

    The bigger problem however will be for Lab if no one else enters the fray. If its just the brothers, then we do not need a discussion at all, and we will not have one in the end. So fingers crossed for at least 3-4 others to enter the contest ;)

  26. Xiby

    I understand more than most Cruddas’ decision, as disppointing as it is. It would appear that the left is without standard bearer which explains Ed’s jockeying.

    I agree the London Mayoral contest will be significant test. Boris is closest to the liberal conservatism or what I call “patrician” we are getting from Downing St. Its going to be interesting especially with immigration how this plays as he is in favour of unconditional amnesty of illegals Maybe I’ll stand on a libertarian platform just to confuse everyone a little further Jackson, Johnson, Johnson. I’m often called Mr Jack Johnson! Sarah Teather would make it a very competitive contest.

  27. @Laszlo

    Maybe the Welsh assembly. But I would not take much inferences from the Scottish one. Those Scots simply do not follow the mainland ;)

    Scotland if anything will tell us if the LibDem vote will hold. But again if it doesn’t it does not mean that they can be written off. It would however indicate that the Dems would be getting their support from more soft blue voters. If that happens expect the party to start changing slowly and shifting more to an off right center one. How Kennedy would react in such circumstance will enforce the narrative either way.

  28. ‘@XIBY

    The problem isn’t for them or the labour party within this contest, but it will be a problem for LAB in the country.

    The country never seems to like it when a party is looking inward, so two brothers at it will make it worse.

    On the point of other candidates, as its going to be a long fight there is plenty of others who could stand, but no one person springs to mind, and I don’t think the LAB rules will allow a newcomer llke DC to win on the blindside.

    This couldn’t be the Labour Party’s version of the ID-S CON leadership contest could it…..and in two years time with the coalition high in the polls after the economy turns round, ……?

  29. @ Xiby

    Yes, I understand it. However, my point, not shared by many, is that the LibDems are unusually dependent on local activitists and on local finance.

    But from the polls’ point of view, the London Mayoral will be crucial.

  30. @ Cliff

    I will say this in the blunts way possible. Lab should not give a toss about the country till it is comfortable and well settled with a new leader in place.

    That is the plus side of a fixed term parliament. So from now to September Lab should be selfish and think only about itself and its needs. It will then have 4 years and a half to think about the country.

    Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean they should not provide a strong opposition to ConDem (sorry I will always call it that). But actually the emergency budget and the political reform if any is brought to parliament before a leader is chosen, should be great testing grounds for prospective leaders and will help Lab make a more informed choice.

  31. @ Laszlo

    I agree and understand your statement that the Libs are
    “unusually dependent on local activitists and on local finance.”.

    However if they lose Scottish support it would not imply that they are not gaining strength elsewhere, especially if a realignment is occurring.

  32. @ Xiby

    Very true :-) :-)

  33. Good, Ed Balls will be contesting. He is expected to announce tomorrow.

    He doesn’t have much of a chance but at least will help in the discussion.

  34. Slight deviation…

    assuming that the coalition can’t do a Brown and “abolish boom and bust”, what are people’s predictions for when the next recession will hit the UK?

  35. @ Neil A

    It depends on too many factors (among them the eurozone). And we don’t know the exact plans of the budget. But if it’s around 30 billion expenditure reduction (I’m speaking about real reduction, not number game) for 18 months, then from the last two months of the year we can expect a dip (Christmas was not too bad last year, so it could amplify the effect) or the first quarter of next year (one of the factors that very few looks at and there is no proper data, only confidence polls, although it would be extremely important, is the degree of devaluation of assets. I am not sure if the current FTSE is justified).

    If there is a more considerate cut, then anything between 2015-18 (however, if investment (including inventories) remains sluggish, it could be a couple of years later). 2001 was a close shave…

  36. Xiby:
    Fixed term parliament is not the same as fixed term government. There is still a possibility that Labour could therefore be involved in some way with an alternative coalition should ConDem fail.

  37. XIBY
    “Any Gov which runs a budget surplus for a prolonged period of time is simply mental”

    Yes-I didn’t advocate it.

    “A BALANCED budget is ideal,”

    Possibly-it depends.

    The point is this-our DEBT will rise through this parliament. In five years time, under Labour, we would be borrowing an additional £80BN pa ( the half not removed) & adding it to the then DEBT of £1400BN.

    BY then growth-we all fervently hope-will be increasing tax revenues again.

    But the new Government :-
    a) has to reduce the DEFICIT by a further £80BN pa—and THEN get the DEBT ( which will be north of 100% of GDP) back down to the 40% to 50% levels which were considered sustainable, and which do not present the risk of debt servicing costs outrunning growth potential.

    How will this be done?-by running Budget surpluses-once the “structural” debt is removed, this is the only way-one cannot go on cutting expenditure forever. At some point the economy must provide the government with the tax revenues to run a Budget surplus, and run the DEBT back down,

    Ihope you can seen why I am keen to see Budget surpluses emerge-and I am sure you can see how many years yet it will be before UK can relax with a Balanced Budget.


    “”No one is arguing that no cuts should be made”

    Actually I am getting the distinct impression that some on your side do argue that. At least one poster here has seriously (presumably?) proposed that the Deficit & the Debt can be “left to growth”.

  38. @Pam F

    Granted. But lets face it, I doubt much will happen over the summer World Cup and the days that the beach lapping up the sun (sic!) ;)

    So we should be cool till September ;)

  39. @ Colin

    Once again its not a matter of if, but when. I do believe that now is not the time. If we can sustain growth we can get a better return and thus achieve the same deficit control result with less cuts, as the economy would have grown and the present level of taxation would already be giving us a better return. That I believe was the basic argument of GB throughout this recession and I agree with him.

    Plus a debt equivalent to 60/70% of GDP is nowadays adequately sustainable. No need to hit the 40-50% mark.

  40. I think we need some more polls. This discussion is all speculation – or wishful thinking.

  41. Laszlo

    Sorry to be slow to reply to your point about Keynes. All I was trying to suggest (perhaps over-concisely) was that he was someone who never became a prisoner of theories (not even his own) and was always willing to try new ideas or a mixture of old ones – as your example of the interest rates thought-experiment beautifully demonstrated.

    This contrasts horribly with our current political elite who come from a smaller and smaller segment of society. (I thought the Lib Dem contest between two old boys of the same school was bad enough – but two brothers?) They tend to have not much experience of the world outside and a complete reliance on conventional wisdom, especially in regard to economics.

    As I discussed this is partly a matter of treating policy as a game of theory and rhetoric; rather than finding solutions that will actually work – and will still always some bad consequences. But conventional wisdom also keeps certain ideas from even being examined.

    For example we are always told that whatever people say in opinion polls they will never vote for personal income tax rises to pay for maintaining services. As a result the constant reduction of the standard and higher rates has been a sort of virility symbol for thirty years – at the expense of lowered thresholds and rises in NI which fall disproportionately on the less well paid.
    However I think this underestimates the subtlety of people’s hypocrisy. They may not vote for it but they will accept it and the comparative lack of fuss over the new 50% rate backs this up.

    It think another dangerous piece of “wisdom” is the 40% state sector. There is no reason why this magic figure should not change with for example a different demographic profile. What you can get otherwise is the “privatised state”, where functions normally government run and usually at least part state-funded are operated commercially. This isn’t for greater efficiency or better results but to keep the costs, capital and manpower off the books.

    Of course eventually the chickens come home to roost (to find the hen-house sold off to an offshore hedge fund) and things have to be paid for. That’s why we need modern day Keyneses to look at things from outside the mindset of the ever more and more reinforced conventional wisdom.

  42. @ Colin and Xiby

    Talking about debt and deficit in isolation from other factors is just theoretically wrong. Hence the level of these too.

    The reason I do not quite object to cuts is that the savings ratios are extremely low too, plus we have a devaluation of productive assets (well, we are in a recession afterall). Consequently somebody has to cut their borrowing, spending. Businesses cannot be really squeezed more (but I think that the 1% was correct), direct squeeze on the general public is politically impossible, thus we are left with the government spending. My second reason is that I don’t see buouyant private sector (and since there is no crowding out effect, removing government interference is unlikely to solve the problem), thus I think growth can help only to a small degree here and now.

    My problem with the cut in expenditure: 1) the scale of it. It should be directed by managing the lenders’ expectations, but it does not seem to be the case. And this needs to be mediated by the need of avoiding the second dip; 2) the government (this or the previous one) is not bothered to find out what to cut and spins the cuts in a rather unpleasant way.

    My view of the solution is heretic, but shared by many practitioners: inflation. A deliberate and managed one.

  43. Am I the only one that misses the daily dose of opinion polls we have pre-election?

    Its like going cold-turkey – 2 measly polls in 10 days :-(

  44. @MRSB & GARY
    Agreed. No polls = withdrawal symptons? Worse still when you are not one of the inner circle and you feel you are posting to yourself sometimes ?

  45. @ Roger Mexico

    I agree with everything you said here. You made the point of lack of learning, interdependencies and also about voters’ behaviour excellently, I wish I had done that :-). I also agree with the complication of C&C and M&M. I sincereley hope Labour will get to its senses.

    The only thing I’m not quite sure is about experience. There are things one does not learn by experience and there are things that one cannot learn by theories. But nevertheless, I take your point.

    I’m sorry if I appeared to jump on something. It’s difficult to deal with such issues in posts (in my job I normally refuse to discuss anything more than meeting dates and alike in an e-mail for this reason, which annoys people no end, but I can afford it…). So I apologise.

  46. @ MRSB

    I agree, but maybe it’s not all wasted (being an offender, I would say it, wouldn’t I). It’s all background, contexts for the polls – or at least I hope. Also helps communication channels for dealing with much harder issues – when numbers of polls come out. But perhaps I fell it only because I’m quite new here…

  47. Cozmo, perhaps we should form our own club – I too am getting tired of rarely getting responses to a carefully-crafted posting.

    Or maybe I just need to be more provocative .. or interesting …

  48. @ Cozmo

    Worse still when you are not one of the inner circle and you feel you are posting to yourself sometimes ?
    Do I count as inner circle? If yes, then I apologise if I have made anybody feel excluded :-(

    If no, then I have probably been posting to myself & am too daft to realise it ;-)

  49. @Leslie
    Good point. Let’s at least support each other ? I am not on as often as I used to be but I will look out for your posts and always reply. IMO best to just be yourself and tell it as you see it. Most of the provocative can be such a waste of energy and partisan battles usually lead nowhere.

  50. Neil A – About a week after the emergency budget ;)

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