There is a new new ComRes poll in tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday, topline voting intention figures stand at CON 36%(-1), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 23%(+2). Changes are from ComRes’s last voting intention poll at the start of the month, and show a slight widening of the Conservative lead but nothing significant once one takes into account the margin of error. Note the contrast in Lib Dem support between this and the Harris’s poll in the Metro a week and a half ago, which both show very little change from the general election, and the drop we’ve seen in Lib Dem support from YouGov and to a lesser extent ICM. That will be something to look at in more detail if it persists and once the pollsters post-election methodologies have settled down (presently ComRes seem to be weighted recalled vote to the actual shares of the vote from 2010, which I expect will not be their long term position).

On other questions, ComRes asked if people agreed that child benefit and/or pensioners winter fuel allowance should be means tested – 53% agreed that child benefit should be “withdrawn from better-off familes”, only 39% agreed winter fuel allowance should be “withdrawn from better-off elderly people”. It provides an interesting contrast – I can think of possible explanations (for example, people may think that elderly people who are in need are more likely than families to be detered by a means-test) – but of course, the polling questions themselves don’t tell us people’s reasons.

The other questions, 38% agreed with the statement “The coalition government is deliberately exaggerating the financial problems to justify cuts to the public sector” and 48% agreed with the statement “I would be prepared to pay more income tax rather than see public services cut”.

UPDATE: Hmm. The Indy on Sunday have the Conservatives as being up one point (or at least, they do at the moment) – changes are quoted as being from the ComRes poll on the 2nd June, which is here and definitely has them on 37%. Presumably just a typo.

232 Responses to “New ComRes poll – 36/30/23”

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    Please get a move on and remove me from moderation – the link is to the IPPR report on deficit reduction and I know a lot of people on this site will be interested in reading this in advance of the emergency budget.

  2. Amber Stars critisism of Cameron vis a vis going from a 20 point lead to “scrapeing home” is indesputable on one level. On another, Cameron gained more for the Tories than any leader for 50 odd years. I think turning the spotlight on election performances is a bit old hat and adds even more disrepute on the party Amber supports.

  3. Memorable phrases:
    i) Strong and stable government
    ii) Road to ruin

    Interesting to reread an article by Denis McShane from before the election warning that Obama had BP in his sights. He is reportedly none too happy with a too aggressive stance on deficit reduction in Europe.
    Most commentators see this last EU summit as the calm before the storm for Cameron (October will be crunch time).

  4. @ Billy Bob

    Europe has let the US down on the economy. There was agreement amongst the G8 that all would take a Keynsian approach. They have hung Obama out to dry – particularly us Brits by electing The Cutter Coalition.

    Now BP have added to Obama’s problems & Afghanistan is another bone of contention (our Special Envoy just resigned).

  5. ***POLL NOTE****

    There’s a new ICM poll in the Guardian if anybody is interested. 8-)

  6. Given the cuts and pain tomorrow could we have a poll please asking if anyone thinks the £20 billion wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan on pointless, immoral and questionably legal wars have served any purpose?

    I’m old enough to remember Vietnam and the silly domino theory put forward then and being put forward now (the only reason we are targets is because we have invaded another country) and it’s certainly not to support democracy …That unelected President…

  7. “Given the cuts and pain tomorrow could we have a poll please asking if anyone thinks the £20 billion wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan on pointless, immoral and questionably legal wars have served any purpose?”

    I think you’d get an overwhelming no.

  8. “Nearly three quarters of voters – including most Labour voters – say that the government’s priority should be to cut spending rather than increase taxes, according to a Guardian/ICM poll on the eve of George Osborne’s emergency budget.”

    Taken from the Guardian. Also, Tories on 39% (n/c), Labour 31% (-1%), Libs 21 (n/c), Others 8% (n/c).

  9. @KeithP -“I agree with alec’s idea for limiting welfare to so many months…”

    That wasn’t actually what I said. I suggested a limit (in years) in the time one could claim benefits within any defined period – ie you can claim up to 5 years benefit in every 10, so you would have to find work for at least 5 years before qualifying for benefits again.

    This would enable people plenty of time to ride out recessions if jobs were hard to come by but there would always be a ticking clock reminding them of the imperitive to find a job.

    I don’t think it’s an ideal solution, but I would also want to make benefits much more flexible. Why can’t an unemployed person choose to draw some of their time on benefits while undergoing full time retraining for example? Anything like this would have unpleasant and painful consequences and cases I would find very hard to justify. However, looking at the current system I find so many painful cases that are equally unjustifiable.

  10. Not much change in party support on previous polls then. Labour down 1%, but well within the Margin of error.

  11. ICM 39/31/21
    IPSOS/MORI 39/31/19

  12. @Alec,

    “This would enable people plenty of time to ride out recessions if jobs were hard to come by but there would always be a ticking clock reminding them of the imperitive to find a job.”

    That is why your idea is very workable and sensible IMO. More importantly, it’s fair to everyone.

  13. “Only 22% agree with the statement that “people like me” should pay more in tax while 73% disagree.”

    Not surprising really.

  14. @Matt – thanks. I’m not so sure as I’m not an expert in this area, but it’s clear something is required to break the dependency culture and my thinking is driven by the idea of a process that allows people time to adjust and adapt to change. If after five years they haven’t, we have to ask whether they deserve further public support.

    This still leaves the incapacity benefit issue, which is a real minefield, and I would also like to see moves that allowed a graduated draw down of benefits once people got back to work to avoid the crippling marginal rates that serve as a discouragement to work. This could mean people coming off the dole into work effectively get paid more benefits than those being made redundant, but variable benefit entitlement depending on which way through the system you are travelling might be another carrot to balance the stick.

    I don’t know if these are the right answers – these are just ideas, but I think they should at least be considered. Personally I feel uncomfortable with them – I count myself as a fairly rampant left winger (republican, with an almost revolutionary attitude to global finance and issues of ownership). I just feel that too many people are content to live off the backs of their compatriots. To me, that’s an assault on the working people that needs to be tackled with as much vigour as the iniquities of massive wealth and the sponging middle classes.

    [If there are any social groups out there I haven’t alienated could someone let me know and I’ll see what I can do next time?]

  15. @ Alec

    Sorry to throw some tin tacs on the path to fairness but in your scenario, what about people who have children? Does their money stop if they can’t find work within 5 years? How will they feed their child, pay the rent, heat their home?

    How will having zero income, being homeless, unwashed, down-at-heel, no money for travel to job center, interviews etc. increase their prospects of employment?

    Just asking…..

  16. @Amber – these are exactly my areas of concern. There needs to be a mechanism to keep people fed, once we talk about housing it gets back to housing benefit, and then there is always the issues of help in the basics of getting back into employment. Why should children suffer because of idle parents? But then again, why should other children be deprived to support those of parents who can’t be bother to work to look after them?

    I would like to think that if able bodied people had five years notice they would be able to find some work at some stage. Like I say, I would be far more lenient on part time earnings and benefits cut offs along with reforms to taxation on low pay. But having said that, how do we get people who have never worked back in the saddle again?

  17. @Alec – I have posted before that I believe there is an unexplored relationship between ‘benefit culture’ and changing work practices in the last 20 – 30 years.

    The rise in agency staff/fixed term contracts vs job security for starters. Increased hours, pressurised/bullying working environments etc. Reduction in allied benefits/recreation at work/pastoral support from a unionised workforce. I could go on.

    Incidently, I worked at one establishment for a short while where there was a rolling time and motion review… every two weeks ‘experts’ with clipboards and stopwatches would lay down new times for each task… they did not use seconds but 1/100ths of a minute!

    There is a social darwinism operating here, and frankly you can have full employment *or* high productivity/profit margins.

  18. @Alec and Amber,

    I guess that’s why it can never be implemented. People who refuse to work who have children would be able to avoid their benefits being cut/stopped because it would be deemed unfair to punish their children for their own laziness/unwillingness to work. Likewise, singling out childless people as punishable just because they don’t have children/dependants would be unfair, as it would be treating them differently on the basis of their own individual circumstances. There has to be the same rule for everyone IMO.

    In many ways, I can’t really blame some lowly paid people from refusing work. If they can get away with it, they will. Problem is, I can’t really see how any present or future government can deal properly with this problem because of the above situation.

  19. I mean, take a youngster who has no real career prospects, no qualifications and very little chance of earning a reasonably decent wage. I don’t personally blame them if they live off the state when they have no real chance to support their family, or have a good job. Why would they work their but off, have rubbish hours/pay etc? No wonder we have a rapidly aging workforce in some poorly paid and menial jobs.

    Even as a well-qualified graduate, I am finding a job impossible to get. I am now resigned to a life of mediocre pay, rubbish job prospects etc. Many are in my situation. It’s terribly frustrating.

  20. @ Alec

    I think the problem is that you’re looking at the British benefits system as if it were an insurance system like many in mainland Europe. In reality and despite its nominal historical roots, it’s a minimum maintenance system – which is why levels of benefits are usually much lower in the UK.

    As Billy Bob points out there’s a real hypocrisy implicit in the attitudes towards those on benefits. Much of British “efficiency” and “flexible working practices” depends on the benefit system to subsidise it; both directly through tax credits and indirectly through allowing rapid layoffs etc. Of course the same employers whinge theatrically when it is suggested they pay their whack towards the system – then it’s a tax on jobs.

    Of course the lax attitude towards economic immigration – in practice if not rhetoric – also increases the benefits bill without cost to employers.

    Of course a lot could be done to improve the benefit system. But as Billy Bob says, we have to realise how it interacts with and subsidises employment culture. Until we use benefits to support good rather than bad working practices, the taxpayers will always end up paying for private profit.

  21. I don’t personally like to judge people on the basis of their class/gender/race etc. I hate it when people prejudge people on benefits/toffs or posh people. Everyone is different, and whilst some people will fit the stereotype, more won’t.

  22. @ Matt

    Even as a well-qualified graduate, I am finding a job impossible to get. I am now resigned to a life of mediocre pay, rubbish job prospects etc. Many are in my situation. It’s terribly frustrating.
    I am genuinely sorry to hear this. Andy Burnham is desperate to implement policies that would open up internships, apprenticeships & starting positions to every graduate – not just those with connections.

    I know you do voluntary work & you don’t just sit around hoping the job fairy will wave her wand; I truly hope that those in power do something that creates real opportunities for young people like you. 8-)

  23. However, I do think there is a problem with work ethic in the UK, especially amongst my generation. This goes for working, middle class and upper class young people.

    My best friend is Chinese, and all of his friends who were also Chinese, generally had a much better work ethic than the British students – including myself lol. I think it’s because China still has real poverty, and a strong work ethic is still the only way out of it in many cases. In Britain, this work ethic has been eroded over just a few generations IMO.

  24. @Amber,

    “I know you do voluntary work & you don’t just sit around hoping the job fairy will wave her wand; I truly hope that those in power do something that creates real opportunities for young people like you. 8-)”

    Thank you very much. I am still trying desperately hard to find work. I’m sure I’ll find something eventually.

    Your words of support are appreciated.

  25. I guess a weakening work ethic is just a symptom of increasing wealth (and progress) though. People like to ‘live it up’ and have fun.

  26. @Amber,

    Your post reminds me – I’ll have to read up on Andy Burnham a bit more. I’ll google and youtube him, and let you know what I think of his leadership potential. He was quite good in an TV interview I saw a while back.

  27. @ Matt

    Anthony has a new thread up, BTW.

    I think you’d quite like Andy Burnham’s policies. He is quite traditional Labour i.e. working should be rewarded, people should have opportunities, businesses should be encouraged for their social values & providing services, goods & employment – not because they make a few individuals filthy rich.

    He sounds like an older version of you, actually. Except he’s Never Voted Conservative ;-)

  28. @Roger Mexico & Billy Bob – agree with much of what you say. Changes to benefits need to be accompanied by steps to make work better and more rewarding, both in terms of income and general personal development. Ed Balls (I think) has also talked of the idea of allowing countries to suspend the EU free movement of people directive at times to avoid problems associated with mass imports of cheap labour.

    Any moves towards the kind of ideas I talked of by the state have to be accompanied by an acceptance in business that they have a responsibility to society that goes beyond demanding cheap labour.

    @Matt – “Even as a well-qualified graduate, I am finding a job impossible to get. I am now resigned to a life of mediocre pay, rubbish job prospects etc”

    Don’t be, and don’t give up hope. I graduated in the early 80s when employment prospects were much worse than now. I was offered a job as a supermarket trainee manager but couldn’t face a life like that so got a menial job with a charity. Did it for 24 years and loved it, my final pay rate being about £17K pa, but I had so much opportunity to find out about life, other people and explore my local environment in intimate detail.

    While there I met my wife, been happily married for two decades, became interested in the environment and got a second degree with the OU while my partner got hers. Now she’s doing a science PhD at a top UK university and three years ago I set up my own company and I’m now earning good money, buying a house, employing people and carrying on enjoying life. The wheels might fall off at some stage, but I’ve got a pair of good walking boots, the hills will always be there and there’s plenty of odd jobs now and then to earn myself a pint of two.

    Its really important that you don’t define who you are and what your life represents through work, and there are many ways to work hard that benefit society and the individual that are not related to employment. Essentially, follow your interests and maintain an open and enquiring mind. Most jobs today anyway are as dull as sh*t – all my freinds thought I had a great lifestyle despite earning half wat they were on, and I thought the same thing.

  29. Re: Benefits

    I believe that those who suffer from a genuine disability and are precluded from work should be paid a MUCH higher level of benefits.

    It is a scandal that the most vulnerable, the most unlucky in the lottery of life are made to struggle by on what amounts to a poverty level existence.

    Just think for a moment. You live every day in terrible pain, you will die young. You put up with daily humiliation and misery from your symptoms. You cannot integrate in a way others can, you often face discrimination, every day is a struggle just to get safely to bedtime, the nights are no relief.

    Yet you are expected to beg for every penny, you must face humiliating tests and interviews to prove that you have the illness/disability that you so obviously have. You have to fill in 40 page forms and write an essay on each page. Often you cannot make a successful claim without the help of a lawyer. You constantly see reports that you are a “cheat” or a “drain on the economy”

    We add a life of penury to a life of pain.

    Doctors know who the cheats are. We should pursue the cheats with confidence and commitment, reduce the number of claimants by taking benefits away from all those who doctors KNOW should really be on jobseekers and triple the amount we pay to genuine claimants. We should make their lives comfortable in any way we can.

    I’ve seen people with late stage parkinsons, quadraplegics, the terminally ill and amputees waiting in soulless government bunkers waiting with resignation to be “assessed”. It is a sickening indictment of our society where we punish the weak to make sure life is even more comfortable for the strong.

  30. @Sue Marsh – I couldn’t agree more with that. As I said earlier, the unwarranted scroungers are in effect stealing from the very needy by degrading everyone’s experience. –

  31. Sue and Alec,

    I couldn’t agree more with both of you.


    Thanks. Great words of wisdom IMO.

  32. @ Sue Marsh… I wish I could trust doctors assessing incapacity benefit applicants. There is plenty of evidence of the privatised assessing companies – largely run by US medical insurance companies like UNUMProvident – have quotas which are the real reason why so many claimants are refused… hence, 50% of appeals are successful. In fact there is a good case for saying that UNUMProvident were brought in by the DWP for the express purpose of reducing the numbers on IB. UNUM were described as “criminally fraudulent” by a Californian judge in a class action on behalf of claimants. The 250K UK sufferers of ME/CFS in this country have reason to be worried about the standard of assessing doctors.

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