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child benefit and/or pensioners winter fuel allowance should be means tested – 53% agreed that child benefit should be “withdrawn from better-off familes”, only 39% agreed winter fuel allowance should be “withdrawn from better-off elderly people”.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. John Fletcher – You have to be kidding me??? If we stop spending now, recession can only follow??

  2. @Sue,

    “How on earth can power hungry dictators not be idealogue??? Surely dictators are the most ideological of all”

    True, but a power-hungry leader would not make decisions that put an extreme risk of putting him (and his party) out of power for a generation. It would not be rational.

    Sane dictators only display ideological convictions in areas that are not likely to meet large-scale public opposition. Otherwise, they need a large army of men (and brute force).

  3. @matt and John Fletcher – I think we can agree on much, but still disagree on basic ideology.

    There is general agreement here that tax avoidance and evasion is scandalous. I also agree with JF regarding things like IVF treatments. As I see it, these issues should be part of a big review over what the state does.

    However, for me, the issue is that this debate has been focused on cutting service provision, rather than spending. I don’t consider pension subsidies for the super rich a ‘service’ but it’s clearly a payment. Similarly welfare payments for those whose earnings should mean they should be able to look after themselves.

    On other issues I probably break ranks with left of centre colleagues. I would argue that there should be time limited unemployment benefits – say an individual could only claim 5 years of benefits in any 10 or 15 year period. After this they need to find a job (any job) or live off food stamps. It’s harsh, but along with other reforms to make work pay I think this kind of enforced individual discipline would break benefits dependancy.

    I would also suggest that any criminal convicted of a crime for financial gain should be stripped of any assets that they couldn’t positvely prove were bought by legitimate means. I would go as far as the clothes off their backs. This would eliminate any benefit from crime and net the state billions in criminal assets.

    In reality there are loads of ways we could close the deficit without laying off public sector workers. We won’t, because Labour is too shortsighted and timid and the Tories are too ideological. I’ve no idea what the Lib Dems are any more, but whatever it is they’re not up to it either.

  4. @Alec,

    I think your suggestions are very sensible.

  5. “True, but a power-hungry leader would not make decisions that put an extreme risk of putting him (and his party) out of power for a generation. It would not be rational.”

    Hmmmm, one would think, wouldn’t one?

  6. @ Alec,

    A very well thought out and written post if I might say so.

    I suspect that much of what you suggest may well come to pass over the next few years.

  7. @Sue,

    In other words, dictators are generally very good at playing on people’s fears. That was why Hitler, for example, was so successful in gaining public support. In contrast, making massive spending cuts/tax rises is never likely to gain a increase a leader’s popularity. Quite the reverse (i.e. you’d say the chances of a leader being re-elected is greatly reduced).

    Of course, the other type of dictator uses brute force, usually through an army of followers. Since this is unlikely to happen with DC (or the Tories), I think we can rule this out.

    BTW, this doesn’t mean that I disagree with you regarding the change to the constitution. I am still strongly opposed to it. My position is that our politicians – including DC – are not so much ideologues (or dictators), as power-hungry populists.

  8. @Sue,

    If anything else, DC is politically savvy. He’s a populist, which is why he has moved the Tories over to the centre ground.

  9. @Sue Marsh

    If we stop spending now, recession can only follow??
    __________________________________________

    What long term benefit for the economy is there in someone buying an expensive flat screen TV made in China instead of investing the money in the economy by saving, which will create new productive jobs.

    Constant spending on imported luxuries we cannot afford is madness. IMO.

  10. Yeah, not for the first time, Alec has posted a lot of sense. I applaud you for that – and your sensible opinions. If only our politicians were as sensible!

  11. @ Matt
    And yet you claimed he would do anything to hold onto power because of his ‘dictatorial’ ways?
    ———————————————————
    I don’t believe I have ever said that Cameron is ‘dictatorial’ or similar. 8-)

  12. @Amber,

    I seem to remember that many Labourites, post-election, that DC was desperate to hang onto power and gain the keys to number 10, and that his behaviour was ‘dictatorial’. I believe such opinions were expressed after the constitutional changes were announced, and when DC moved into Downing street. I completely understood these sentiments, even if I didn’t agree totally with them.

    My point is that DC is a very politically savvy career-politician – make no mistake. That is why his party have now moved over to the centre. Like most people, I think that his willingness to cling onto power as PM is greater than any personal convictions. 8-)

  13. Without trying to sound like a cynic here, I think there are very few politicians in the UK who would choose to make very unpopular (and very likely power-changing) decisions at the start of their PMship just out of ‘personal convictions’. Most UK politicians are more concerned with seizing (and staying in) power – be they blues, red, or yellows IMO.

    IMO DC is a totally rational (and savvy) politician, who really wants to be re-elected in the next GE.

  14. So, to summarise the theme etc of some comments on this thread…the envisaged range, timing and scale of cuts in expenditure will go beyond that necessary to address the structural deficit?

    I don’t recall this being mentioned by DC in the GE campaign. I don’t recall NC embracing it, too.

  15. @Mike N,

    I don’t remember comprehensive spending (cut) plans being released by any of the main parties. They all lacked clear substance, not to mention basic honesty IMO. And they wonder why the public is so cynical by politics.!

  16. @Mike N,

    “So, that makes whatever the coalition gov do and say
    ok?”

    No, it doesn’t.

    To be fair though, there would have been no chance of any of the main parties being elected if they had been totally honest about the impending spending cuts. The public want honesty, but at the same time punish it if it is something that they don’t want to hear.

    The way I see it, politics is a mere game. I’m not so blinkered by my political allegiance (the Tories), that I don’t see their flaws. I know they are just as corrupt as Labour, and the Libs. I already find myself disagreeing with the Tories on a quite a few issues. I guess am the kind of voter who votes for the ‘least worse alternative’. I would personally much rather the Tories win than Labour or the Libs, even if I don’t agree with everything they do or stand for.

  17. Excuse my typos.

  18. I need to lie down – it’s the first time for a long time I’ve been lauded by conservative posters.

    @Matt and Sue – re the debate about whether DC is rational/dictatorial/savvy/principled etc.

    I think the issue here is that, right or wrong, Tory high command is privately saying that they feel they have won the argument that the cuts are essential. They believe the electorate will see these as ‘Labour Cuts’ and at the next GE the Tories will benefit from this. This is the reason why they are talking openly about the cuts agenda and still think it will be an electoral asset for them.

    My feeling is that this confidence is what is behind the fact that they increasingly seem to be letting go and talking in more ideological tones rather than economic necessity. This is a key polling issue.

    In this, I think they have misjudged things. I posted previously that while spending decisions are greeted with no interest or a simple accepting shrug, cuts will be forensically analysed regardless of their scale or relevance. For example, the Forgemasters loan and free swimming with a tiny total cost were barely mentioned when announced by Labour but have been front page stories when cut.

    This can only get worse, and the Tories have gone off too soon on the ‘roll back the state’ talk. Politically I am convinced it would have been much better for the Tories if GO had accepted some good news from the OBR report and talked a positive (but still tough) message, and perhaps offered some greater credit to his predecessor to help prove this is a new politics.

    Instead he (and Clegg, bless him) have resorted to the rather childish name calling. When the wheels fall off in terms of public support I will have little sympathy for them.

    We’ll need to await the budget as I’m sure there will be some surprises. I am half expecting it to be much less severe than they are briefing, in order to create the relief factor, but somehow I don’t think so.

  19. @matt – refreshingly honest last post. Nice to see.

  20. When I said ‘politics is a mere game’, I didn’t mean it should be. It affects far too many people’s lives to be treated as such. However, since this is the current state of affairs in the UK, I am rather reluctantly willing to accept the Tory’s own imperfections, as I believe they are the best current alternative. It doesn’t mean I feel unflinching support for them, just that I think they are the best of a rather bad (and corrupt/incompetent) bunch.

  21. @Alec,

    Thanks.

  22. Anthony
    My comment at 1.51pm is in moderation.

    Here is revised text that I hope is acceptable.

    Matt “I don’t remember comprehensive spending (cut) plans being released by any of the main parties. They all lacked clear substance, not to mention basic honesty IMO. And they wonder why the public is so cynical by politics.!”

    So, that makes whatever the coalition gov do and say
    ok?

    What appals me (and I think others) is the likes of Edwina Curry getting all excited by the scale of cuts.

  23. @ Mike N

    What appals me (and I think others) is the likes of Edwina Curry getting all excited by the scale of cuts.

    _________________________________________

    For many right wing supporters both tory and Ukip spending cuts and smaller government are what they have been waiting for for years.

    It is inevitable that they will be excited by this once in a generation opportunity to roll back the state and put it back in its box where it belongs. IMO.

  24. @ Matt

    My point is that DC is a very politically savvy career-politician – make no mistake.
    ————————————————–
    Fact Matt: DC dropped from a 20 point lead to just scraping most seats in a hung parliament.

    The budget is tomorrow. We shall know soon enough therefore no need to pre-empt it. We will have a better idea of how savvy DC & GO are by this time next week. 8-)

  25. @ Anthony

    I reworded it; sorry if that isn’t good enough. 8-)

  26. @Alec,

    “I need to lie down – it’s the first time for a long time I’ve been lauded by conservative posters.”

    That’s because your common sense views and intelligent posts are liked by reds and blues, alike.

    Personally, I like anyone who posts intelligently and politely, even if I strongly disagree with that person’s views. That’s why even though I, Sue and Amber, for instance, don’t always see eye-to-eye politically, I deeply respect them.

  27. @John Fletcher “…to roll back the state and put it back in its box where it belongs”

    Not sure what “in its box” means, but hey ho let’s move past it.

  28. Real issue will be whether tory cuts work; that is, if we get a double dip recession then the cuts will be seen as the return of Thatcher (slash and burn) and so probably mean Tories lose the following election and many after that. If we avoid recession the cuts will be judged as needed and evaluated on how fairly they hit everyone or not.

  29. @matt – “That’s because your common sense views and intelligent posts are liked by reds and blues, alike. ”

    In the old days that would have made me a Liberal, but hey ho….

    @Jack – “Real issue will be whether tory cuts work..”

    I agree. In isolation the scale of cuts in the UK would have been painful but could have balanced out with low interest rates and weak pound to help exports expand.

    Personally I am worried about the collective impact of global cuts, rather than the UK internal machinations. It’s too early to cut in synch and the markets have got it wrong – after a significant divergence earlier in the crisis it’s a return to a very similar pattern of response to the 1930s which was a disaster. That too was led by calls from the financial markets who claimed to be the only ones who knew what they were takling about.

    In terms of UK politics, the other factor is timing. DC is completely reliant on a 5 year program – hence the 55% rule. There are significant grumblings in Lib Dem ranks which is one reason I don’t think he’ll get his dissolution majority rule change passed, and if the cuts are working but the pressure on the coalition is too great in the meantime we have an early election.

    A Labour win in such circumstances means that while they inherit the pain, it’s Tory/Lib Dem pain. If the medicine is working it’s much easier to craft a route towards electoral success in such circumstances, and DC could find he did the dirty work for Labour to inherit.

    My twin suspicions are that the cuts won’t lead in themselves to a double dip – that will be more influenced by global factors, and that Labour should be careful in playing this card. Don’t cry wolf too often.
    I also suspect that if the coalition collapses it will happen unexpectedly and quickly and take many by surprise. Thursday, anyone?

  30. Jack – “Real issue will be whether tory cuts work; that is, if we get a double dip recession then the cuts will be seen as the return of Thatcher (slash and burn) and so probably mean Tories lose the following election and many after that. If we avoid recession the cuts will be judged as needed and evaluated on how fairly they hit everyone or not.”

    Totally agree, which is why I’ve said all day it’s a pointless argument now really. What’s done is done and we’ll see who was right in the long run.

  31. Alec – Yet more brilliance.

    The cuts won’t cause double dip alone, but if Spain follows Greece as rumoured, and Ireland follows Spain….

    Take this with the economic tightening of Germany and George Soros, Danny Blanchflower and Joseph Stiglitz could well be proved right, never mind the UK Labour Party.

    Now that the election is over, and politics could have been put aside, you are right to say that if GO had accepted some of the measures taken by AD and GB, he would have left himself much more wriggle room.

  32. @Sue Marsh – I’m very impressed with Darling’s recent role as Labour’s de facto leader. He is making all the right interventions at the right time.

    For example, he demanded his apology just before the OBR confirmed the deficit was better than expected while DC and GO were trying to claim things were much worse. Today he’s written of the impact of the budget on growth.

    The cabinet signed off the budget on Friday and it was then given to the OBR who will comment on it tomorrow. I’m not sure whether Osborne realised how this might work, but if the OBR consludes that the budget will slow growth Darling has set up his attack nicely and will use the OBR as his weapon of choice.

    On another tack, I gather Gove has been asked whether private schools can rebrand themselves as ‘free’ schools and trouser lots of taxpayer cash. It sounds like he couldn’t answer the question.

    In a linked development, the New Schools Network (an advisory body run by – sigh – a former Tory adviser)has been given a grant of £500,000. Does this mean we have another quango?

  33. This report on the deficit reduction from the IPPR is worth a read in advance of the emergency budget,

    http://www.ippr.org.uk/publicationsandreports/publication.asp?id=758

  34. Just listened to Gove & Cameron in the HoC.

    Gove demolished Ball’s criticisms & carping. Gove is clearly on a crusade . He believes that Free School status ( for existing & new schools) will transform the educational opportunities & outcomes across the social spectrum.He is positively messianic. It is going to be an interesting policy to watch in action. The response from individual teachers & schools so far seems very positive .

    DC, reporting back from the EU summit , put Labour in a strange context ( for them) -totally out of step with the Council statement on the urgency of reducing State borrowing.
    “isolated in Europe ” used to be the accusation from Labour of the Conservatives.! ;-)

    Labour need to be very careful about a blanket opposition to ANY reduction in State spending . It is not a sustainable position. It is one the TUC have moved to-they demand that Tax rises should be the only element in a fiscal consolidation.

    If public sector unions strike to isolate their members from the pain being felt by their counterparts in the private sector-and the official opposition -explicitly, or implicitly-fall in behind them, a very divisive atmosphere will be engendered.

    I cannot see political gain for Labour in such a position.

  35. Colin “He is positively messianic.”

    I’m not sure of the sense in which you use ‘messianic’, but I sincerely hope you’re wrong.

    IMO, such ndividuals who think they are absolutely right tend not to consider other arguments/views. Their fall from power can be sudden.

  36. Colin – You are as blue tinted as I am red.

  37. @Colin – “I cannot see political gain for Labour in such a position.”

    I agree – there is a progressive case for reduced spending, if not necessarily service cuts that Labour could exploit well, along with some tax raising. Blanket opposition is not helpful.

    On Gove – I didn’t hear the exchanges but saw some twitters about it, which is why I didn’t definitively comment, but you are right – he is messianic, and this is what worries me!

  38. Hopefully AD has an alternative budget proposal showing how Labour could have made these cuts more fairly, and with much less risk to the economy.

  39. @Sue Marsh – a thought did strike me that it would have been really interesting for GO to have allowed the OBR to report on the likely impact of opposition proposals.

    I generally like the idea of the OBR and think it has been a good move, but this would have really opened up the economic debate.

  40. I agree with alec’s idea for limiting welfare to so many months but I would add the proviso that if the economy is in such a parlous state that it is generating no jobs for a particular month, then that month does not count or counts half against the total allowed. Maybe this particular wrinkle needs sorting once the current mess is sorted out. While it put responsibility for finding a job onto the individual, it also puts responsibility onto the government to ensure that the economy stays stable and capable of creating jobs.

    It’s just that trying to force people off benefit into work is going to be easier if there are jobs available.

    As above, Labour need to be wary not to get themselves on the wrong side of this argument. People rely on reliable public services – it would be useful if they could be made cheaper but the things done usually still have to be done by someone.

  41. I’ve just taken part in YouGov survey – questions included my opinions on how the coalition is dealing with explaining cuts and also whether the coalition is exaggerating the state of the finances to justify cuts.

  42. That was down to 3 principle reasons:-

    1) The 20 point lead came from mid-term polls. Mid-term polls are usually very favourable towards the opposition (and negative for the incumbent government).

    2) The 20 point Tory lead was recorded as the economic recession first became apparent (in 2008). Many people feared that the recession would even be much worse than it has since turned out. The general public, rightly or wrongly, too their anger out on the Labour party, it destroyed their image of ‘economic competence’ in many people’s eyes, and they feared for their own futures.

    3) The lead from this high to the GE resulted in the lead shrinking by around 12 points. This can be mainly explained in light of the above, but I will also concede that the Tories fought a pretty poor election campaign. It was uninspiring IMO. Nothing to do with DC though, who I thought was very professional.

    They will go with massive cuts – no one suspects otherwise. The cuts (and tax rises) will also be very unpopular. This doesn’t equal unsavvy – it just reflects the current political and financial reality IMO.

  43. SUE

    “Colin – You are as blue tinted as I am red.”

    I am very happy to accept that without reservation.

    I like the word “tinted”-I think it accurately describes both you & I.

    It is much more sensible and acceptable than “immersed” or “dyed”-which some posters here seem to revel in.

    If one is immersed or dyed, it must be difficult to retain all round vision. ;-)

  44. @Sue,

    Reading all your posts over recent months, I think you and I both have more in common politically than it may, at first, seem. We both want the vulnerable to receive greater protection from the state, we both want a well-run economy, good public services etc. I think we just have want similar political outcomes, it’s just how to get there that we have some political differences on. I think that’s what a lot of blues, reds and yellows all have in common.

  45. Oops, forget to mention that my post of 5.52 pm was addressed to Amber. Excuse the numerous typos in my last post too. Apologies.

  46. @Alec
    If the OBR was to report on the opposition proposals then they would have had to use the OBR growth rates and not the Treasury’s and ,I think,therein lies the problem for AD.

  47. Sue,

    In answer to your earlier double dip concern, I think it would be beneficial if as many European (and Non-European) countries agreed to stagger their debt reduction plans as possible, so that they do not all implement their debt reduction plans at the same time.

  48. Gruniad is offering all ICM polls since 1984. freebies.
    You can download it in various formats. h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/oct/21/icm-poll-data-labour-conservatives

  49. *sigh* Matt, you’re so nice I find it hard to disagree with you.

    I actually have butterflies.

    I wish for flair, genius and compassion tomorrow.

  50. One cannot help thinking, having read certain posts, that the previous government was led by Gordon McClipboard, with Alistair Sweetheart as chancellor. Their party being the Social Union of Democrats or some such. Because the views of the British Labour Party are being touted as an alternative to the Con/Lib alliance as if they had no background whatsoever regarding the issues which face the nation. Let us therefore, gird our loins for the deliberate cruelty about to engulf our nation for the sake of stupidity and right wing dogma. Never forgeting the Labour party is blameless.

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