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child benefit and/or pensioners winter fuel allowance should be means tested – 53% agreed that child benefit should be “withdrawn from better-off familes”, only 39% agreed winter fuel allowance should be “withdrawn from better-off elderly people”.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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  1. The National Government must surely be pleased with a 29-point lead.

  2. Looking good for the Conservatives at the moment but bit worried about the emergency budget next week, expecting a big drop in Conservative and Lib Dem support going to Labour. I completely agree with the conservatives with the cuts and I believe they will sort out the mess we were left in by Labour, 15bn surplus in 1997, 2010=150bn deficit so I have my trust in the Conservatives. However the Conservatives wont loose my support but I can see Labour making gains in the Scottish and Welsh election next year and even Labour coming top of polls for a year or so, but as the public relises the cuts were good in the long run and we come out a beter country by the 2015 election, Conservatives will hang onto power again with a majority:)

  3. It’s good news for the coalition and I disagree with Richard saying that the emergency budget will result in a Tory/Lib Dem decline – the British people are no fools and will, by and large, realise that the cuts that are coming are Labour’s cuts.

  4. Not really connected with this poll, but just to note that Peter Riddell is taking voluntary redundancy from the Times. Journalists do not always cover polls well – hell, they sometimes cover them downright badly, severely overegging findings in order to twist them into a good headline. I get the impression that some papers and journalists don’t see polls as anything more than a hook to hang a story upon, very few indeed truly understand their value and make the effort to understand the ins and outs of them. Peter Riddell was an exception to that, and my opinion is that he is by far the best journalist when it comes to reporting and analysing polls (well, since Peter Kellner turned gamekeeper ;) ). I’m very sorry to see him go. Best wishes in whatever he goes on to do.

  5. It’s not cuts that are needed, but a fairer tax system. In recent decades the gap between rich and poor has continued to grow; doubtless it will continue under this Con-Dem alliance. I hope that the British people will reject wholesale cuts, that always impact the poor and needy, and look to claw back some of the excessive gains that the wealthy have enjoyed.

  6. Very weird swings in the breakdown. Obviously, ComRes knows what it’s doing.

    Particularly strange swing in Scotland from Labour to SNP (but also to LibDems), especially after the poll for Scotland discussed here less than two weeks ago.

  7. Any reason why Wales and South West should be so keen on means testing? On both questions on taking away benefits from the better off there seems to be a significant difference regionally.

    This is also the region, where the respondents seem to be convinced that there is no exaggeration in the problems with public finance.

    Any suggestion?

  8. @Antony Wells

    Journalism is a much maligned profession… good to see you draw some distinctions there. One or two academics were brought in during the election campaign, by BBC and others, to help explain the complexities. Few members of the gen public (unless they had visited UKPR!) understood such things as whether they were in a marginal constituency, or the very different (theoretical) percentage thresholds each party needed to achieve a majority in HoC.

  9. *Anthony* Wells

  10. I wonder if the answer would be the same if Child Benefit was still Child Tax Allowance that it replaced? i.e people have different attitudes to Tax and Benefits – in this instance they are the same thing

  11. @Richard – I think you’ll find we were still in deficit in 1997, but regardless, we had a shattered social infrastructure that needed expensive rebuilding, so I don’t think the situation is as clear cut as ‘Tory good, Labour bad’.

    Besides – Tories on 36% in the honeymoon period isn’t what many people would describe as ‘good’.

    @Jack – not sure if you are right. There’s already a head of steam building up following the £2b cuts announced already. As all parties found in the run up to election, the public doesn’t seem to want bad news. Given the scale of cuts GO has apparently opted for with his 80/20 cuts/tax rise ratio if this budget starts that process they will be very unpopular very quickly.

    I actually don’t think people have remotely begun to understand what this scale of cuts will look like. Thatcher increased spending year on year, and it felt really, really harsh. GO needs to cut budgets by 20 – 25%. Think about it.

    @Leon – posted about some tax illustrations on the last thread that back up your point entirely.

  12. Laszlo

    Re Scots figures

    If you look at the figures for recollected voting in May, they are wholly unrepresentative of what actually happened here. Consequently, the VI numbers are mince.

    Mind you, I’d like the SNP to be outpolling Labour by 10 points! :-)

  13. Another good post-GE poll for the Tories. It won’t last, but positive signs that the Tories are not going to slump pre-cuts, like many thought.

  14. If nothing else, it shows that this coalition hasn’t done anything to make it remotely unpopular thusfar. Call it a ‘honeymoon period’, or whatever you like, but it’s nevertheless very good news for the coalition (and particularly the Tories) going into the expected public spending cuts and tax rises.

    Labour will have to make enormous dents into the Tory lead within the next 2 years (i.e. be leading the Tories by at least 3-5%%, if it is to have any realistic chance of winning the next GE IMO).

  15. Scotland has the lowest % of Labour support of all the regions! LOL :-)

  16. @ Oldnat

    Thanks.

    The breakdown of the figures does bother me, because the breakdown sample sizes are on the one hand small enough to create big swings, on the other, they represent a sizeable chunk of the overall, so they easily influence the overall.

    When I see the headline figures, whether I like it or not, may make sense (not always, the LibDem figures before the elections did not). But when it comes to regions or occupation, they seem terribly suspect.

    Wish there was a more precise breakdown: male, 37, C2 living in that region would express this preference…

  17. @Alec
    There was a 15bn surplus during the 1997 election, however there was still debt. What ever you say a 156bn deficit is not acceptable and what ever idiot who let it get that big (blair, brown and the rest of the labour clowns) need to get real. Socialism doesn’t work, unrealistic. And anyway yeah I might be well off but I done all my exams in a normal state school, worked hard all my life for what I got why should I and anyone alse like my self pay for people who can work but dont! And the reason theres no jobs is alowd of rubbish, my mum just retired from the civil service in january at the age of 51, she got a job a week later and infact shes had 4jobs since january! Taxing people like my self more will not get rid of nothing but make things worse, if we get taxed more wel have less money to employ in our businesses and less money to invest in businesses, bad effect on our economy and the working class. Get Real Labour.

  18. Q.1 Thinking back to the general election last week, which party if any did you vote for?

    Did we have a GE last week? I missed it !!! 8-)

  19. Q.5 Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as…?

    LAB 26%
    CON 23%
    DEM 13%
    OTH 8%
    REF 11%
    DK 18%

    Labour then lose out because of the “likelihood to vote in a GE tomorrow” question. Given Labour don’t actually have a leader at the moment, it’s hardly surprising that a high % of Labour leaning supporters wouldn’t vote.

  20. “Socialism doesn’t work, unrealistic”
    ———————
    err – – – If my memory serves me right large majoriities of voters thought otherwise in three successive GEs.
    Working majoriities, not marriages of convenience between sworn enemies.

    Was there not a teenzy weenzy spot of local difficulty with Capitalism recently? Something about a worldwide banking collapse? ;)

  21. @Richard – do try to keep calm – as long term readers here will know, I am not a Labour supporter.

    You can’t look at the debt and deficit in isolation – it’s just one number in a complex financial and social system. It is without question that the UK social infrastructure needed massive spending in 1997 due to decades of neglect and decline (not just 18 years under the Tories). The fact we now have some excellent hospital and school buildings is a small part of the price we have paid for the deficit – it is not credible to blame out current woes solely on waste.

    In terms if taxation and the workshy, in a post yesterday on another thread I showed how it is quite easy for someone on £20K to pay a tax at a rate a third higher than someone on £80K if you make certain assumptions about pension contributions. Is this morally right and does it help encourage people into lower paid work? I don’t think so, personally.

    Yes, there are the workshy, but we waste £10b pa topping up the massive pensions of the highest 1% of earners and nearly half of all welfare payments (a cool £90b) go to households earning over £40K. Even your dear old Mum’s ‘gold plated public sector pension’ might be seen as part of the problem!

    Drawing straight lines between parties and refusing to see the complexities and historical perspectives doesn’t really get us anywhere.

  22. It seems slightly bizarre to lump the South West of England (Full of Tory/Lib Dem marginals) in with Wales where a bad result for Lab sees them still the largest party.

  23. @Richard – BTW, another reason to pause for thought. Today in the NOTW Fraser Nelson (no Socialist he) writes;

    “”From mortgages to tax revenues, things are getting better in recent weeks. VAT receipts are coming in 25 per cent higher, twice the rate expected. Corporation tax is way exceeding forecasts. No one is sure why, but the UK economy has transformed from a desert to a fruit machine.”

    The only bone of contention I have with what he has written is that this hasn’t happened in the last few weeks – I’ve been pointing out just such an outcome since last October, when Nelson was claiming all was doom. (Funny how the reading of figures changes when your party gets into power?).

    I’m assuming you will have the good grace to congratulate Alistair Darling for the fact that government revenues are performing much better than expected? I am confident that if handled correctly, the deficit is significantly less serious than at first feared, and for this we have a lot to thank Darling for.

  24. I am surprised at people’s response to our old friend ComRes.

    They have blues 4% lower than YG
    They have yellows 5% higher than some polls

    Reds are there or there abouts but this would indicate that either a) there is some flux between voters identifying themselves with one (or another) element of the coalition, or b) ComRes have some methodological issues. I realise that negative stories RE cuts could have some impact but then why the increase in yellows. Thus, I am inclined to think that Comres have some issues unresolved. I must go and find the tabulation……

  25. @ Eoin

    Yes, it is the LibDems that cause the discrepancy in the ComRes poll. In some demographic breakdown the difference between them and other recent polls is just staggering.

    So, either they got it right and others’ have quite a big problem or they have a weird sample or the dates for some reason captured something that I missed or their screening is suspect.

    Now, I listed 2 negative possibility and one odd one, but for the time being I cannot exclude the positive one for ComRes.

  26. Richard,
    ‘Socialism doesn’t work’

    I am not quite sure what that has to do with the last Labour government which was far more rightwing than all the Tory governments in office 1945 – 1979!

  27. grahambc
    It seems slightly bizarre to lump the South West of England (Full of Tory/Lib Dem marginals) in with Wales where a bad result for Lab sees them still the largest party.

    @ Grahambc

    I live in Wales in Cardiff North, changed back to Conservative hands last month along with many other consituencies.

    Do you think the result was good for labour in Wales? In Pontypridd once one of the strongest labour seats in the country it lost 16% of its votes to the lib dems and tories and is only got a 4% majority now and is on the verge of turning to the lib dems?in the 90s it had a 68% share of the vote there now its only in the 30s? Is that a good result for labour! And this is repeated all over Wales, Labour loosing over 10% of its vote in many places is disastrous!

  28. Richard,

    I think the point that Graham was making is that psephologically, culturally, and historically, theer is not a great deal of commonality / coherence is aggregating Wales and teh SW.

    Yes, Lab did have a bad election in Wales (worst result ever for Lab) but coming from a high base they were still in first place. In the SW it is a liong time since Lab came second, never mind first.

    However, unless pollsters are going to produce sub-samples for each of the UK regions, we will have to live with this kind of aggregation.

  29. I wish people on here wouldn’t talk as though ‘socialism’ is a set of rigid political principles, operating merely on a defined (and exclusively left-of centre) part of the British political spectrum. In practice, the vast majority of the UK population believing in ‘socialism’ to at least some degree, even those on the right. Most of us, after all, believe in a welfare system, NHS etc.

    Although I’m a Tory voter, I don’t reject all socialistic arrangements out of hand, as this form of ‘labelling’ would suggest. I accept that we need to help the old and infirm (much more than Labour, who have been appalling in this regard IMO). I also accept that some degree of wealth distribution is needed. That’s why we have a progressive tax system, which taxes the wealthiest at a much higher rate than those on more modest incomes.

    “Was there not a teenzy weenzy spot of local difficulty with Capitalism recently? Something about a worldwide banking collapse? ;)”

    The banking problem was caused by human greed. Since communism/extreme socialism has not been shown to eradicate immoral human behaviour (or greed), I think we can assume that such problems are part and parcel of the world we live in (unfortunately). We’d be much better advised to ensure that current banking regulations make such future occurences less probable.

  30. @matt – “That’s why we have a progressive tax system, which taxes the wealthiest at a much higher rate than those on more modest incomes.”

    This is where I take partial issue with you. As I said previously, depending on various factors like the proportion on income spent on VAT rated goods and the amount of pension contributions, it’s really very easy to see someone at the £80,000 – £100,000 income range taxed at a far lower % rate than someone working for £15,000 – £20,000.

    The tax an benefits system is a mess and there is little to justify the statement that we have a progressive system. NI is just one example, where marginal tax rates for minimum wages earners are 12 times those of multi millionaires.

  31. Alec,

    Officially the wealthiest 5% of taxpayers pay 60% of the UK’s total tax.

  32. @ Matt

    “That’s why we have a progressive tax system, which taxes the wealthiest at a much higher rate than those on more modest incomes.”

    Progressive taxing is a liberal and not a socialist policy (historically).

    “Since communism/extreme socialism has not been shown to eradicate immoral human behaviour (or greed), I think we can assume that such problems are part and parcel of the world we live in (unfortunately).”

    If it is eternal attribute of human nature, then on what ground are you saying that it’s “immoral”. You cannot have it both ways.

  33. Laszlo,

    I am glad we are in agreement :)

  34. @ Matt

    “Officially the wealthiest 5% of taxpayers pay 60% of the UK’s total tax.”

    Of income tax the top 5% taxpayers pay 45.8%.

    ht tp://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_tax/table2-4.pdf

  35. Here is an interesting thought. 40 years ago yesterday, Ted Heath became Prime Minister. I wonder what he would think about the Coallition espascaly how he failed to form one after the first 1974 election.

  36. Old nat

    No recollected voting for Scotland shows the Nats at around 20% – they got 20%.

    However this is only a sub sample.

    The debate in full swing on Political Betting is whether the SNP at 37% is a Salmond surge or a Motty move
    i.e.

    Is this the work of the Nats or the Englkand footy commentators?

  37. “If it is eternal attribute of human nature, then on what ground are you saying that it’s “immoral”. You cannot have it both ways.”

    I didn’t say it was an ‘eternal attribute of human nature’. I said ‘such problems are part and parcel of the world we live in (unfortunately).” Some humans are immoral, regardless of which system, since the same human imperfections still exist.

  38. @Lazslo,

    Not according to the economist. I’ll find the amounts and post them.

  39. Labour are going to win the Scottish elections. I just know it. The Tories and Whigs up there will be minority parties and the SNP will be reduced to a rump and Labour will get a majority. I am saying this because not many people in Scotland are too impressed with the SNP record. Labour is the natural party of Scotland. It would be interesting to see what people think of independence. Has there been any recent poll on that matter?

  40. To say that ““If it is eternal attribute of human nature” suggests that I am saying that all human beings suffer from the same imperfections. I am not. Just as I am not saying that all humans are immoral. The term ‘immoral’ arises because their behaviour is an ‘aberration’ from the norm.

  41. @ Matt

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. I understand what you say now. I don’t quite agree with it, but my comment was unjust.

  42. Correction:

    Have found said Economist stats. It says the ‘top 1% of all taxpayers pay 24.1% of all income tax revenues, with the top 5% paying 43% of the total.”

    Apologies for misquoting. I think it still emphasises how important the rich and wealthy are to this country though (and how much they disproportionally contribute). Not that I’m saying this is wrong.

  43. @Lazslo,

    No problem mate. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. XD

  44. @Lazslo,

    Apologies for getting the tax quote wrong. I will always check the stats first before posting in future.

  45. For many hundreds of thousands of years the economy consisted of using short jabbing spears to bring down large beasts such as mammoths. This did, however, entail a high degree of cooperative behavior on the part of our ancestors. We have come a long way, and there is further to go. Perhaps greed/hoarding was useful as a motivation in overcoming seasonal scarcity, whereas now scarcity could be described as a function of futile greed.

  46. @ Eoin

    I know. Comres is off its rocker. Getting just like Angus Reid in my opinion. I never liked Comres. Never fitted in with the proper polsters AND it is used by the Independent. Now that tells me that Comres is not to be trusted. But I still find their figures interesting and entertaining. :)

  47. @ Matt

    “how important the rich and wealthy are to this country though (and how much they disproportionally contribute). ”

    Yes, they do. Their share of the income is 25.5%.

    There is, however, a bit of a skew in these figures. The cut off point for the top 5% is about 62,000 – probably the majority of people from this to about 90,000 are wage earners, so their contribution is deducted through PAYE. A lot of SME and sole trade income disappears from the tax revenue through “pension provisions” and other methods (subject to CGT or tax avoidance) (it’s not a value statement) – which makes me doubtful if the top 5% cut off point is really so low (in relative terms) as 62,000.

  48. I think the human imperfection thing is really illustrated by the Greek word ‘utopia’, which was actually coined as meaning ‘”not” “place”‘. Our task, as human beings, is to create as perfect a society as possible, even if complete human perfection (or a perfect society) is impossible to achieve IMO.

    As a Christian, I also don’t believe that perfection is something that can be achieved by a human being. We should strive, but we will never reach the state of perfection. Unfortunately, greed and immorality (such as that displayed by some bankers) is more evident in some people than others.

  49. I think the reason the wealthy pay proportionally more than those on modest incomes is because a large proportion of their taxes are not discretionary (i.e. income tax/NI). I haven’t done the exact calculations, but I would imagine someone on over £150,000 already is taxed around 60-65% of their total income on income tax and NI contributions!!

  50. @Matt & Laszlo – what’s really interesting is the fact that we really don’t pay enough tax in the UK, contrary to popular belief.

    Far from being a high tax country, under both Tory and Labour administration the UK has consistently had a significantly smaller tax burden than other European countries. Meanwhile, economies like France and Germany don’t appear to have any long term disadvantage compared to the UK, and indeed at present with their lower debt levels would seem to be in a better position.

    Indeed, according to the IFS the average total annual tax take under Labour was 37.5%, substantially lower than the 40.2% achieved by the Tories from 79 – 97. Even now it is still only 38%.

    Rather than the commonly held view that Brown taxed us to death, the reverse is closer to the truth. The UK has consistently paid too little tax for the level of state services it wishes to have, and had the tax buden been 2% higher since 97 we would have ammased a substantial war chest to meet the current crisis. Indeed, as the structural deficit is forecast by the OBR to fall to just over 2% of GDP it would appear that this level of taxation would render many of the cuts as unrequired.

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