There is a new ComRes poll out tonight for the Independent. Topline voting intention figures, with changes from their previous poll a week and a half ago, are CON 40%(+4), LAB 31%(+1), LDEM 18%(-5). As with ICM and YouGov, that represents a sharp drop in Liberal Democrat support, though ComRes are showing a rather lower level of Labour support than other companies.

487 Responses to “ComRes/Indy – 40/31/18”

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  1. @Johnty – “I don’t recall anybody in the Labour Party coming up with such a suggestion at the time.”

    My reading is that Labour were being used merely as a bargaining chip by Lib Dems in their negotiations with the Tories. The only way they would side with Labour was in return for PR legislation (no referrendum).
    Tories for their part were surprised that LDs were offering to be part of a full coalition, rather than the looser ‘business and supply’ support for a minority government.

  2. I do find it quite ironic that the Libs are losing support at a time when they have gained some power for the first time in several generations. They are probably actually better off in the long term by shedding those voters who just used them as an anti-tory tool. The supporters they have left are presumably those who believe in their principles, rather than opportunists.

  3. @ Valerie & Sue

    Not all the Labour candidates are certain they will back AV. Below is from a Guardian article:

    Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary and Labour leadership contender, told the Guardian that voting reform was “a peripheral issue” and added: “It is not my party’s job to prop up the Liberal Democrats by helping them win a referendum that is important to them.”

    Burnham, a long-time sceptic about voting reform, said he was leaning towards reform, but the party could not officially take sides. He said: “The party nationally couldn’t campaign for any one position – you know, it really couldn’t. Those who are calling for retention of first past the post are making an incredibly important and legitimate argument.”

    He added: “Let’s not get obsessed by this issue, because it really is irrelevant. It’s a kind of fringe pursuit for Guardian-reading classes.”

    8-) The ‘fringe issue for Guardian-reading classes’ made me LOL :-) Although, IMO, he is being very fair in saying both sides should have the opportunity to make their case before people decide. 8-)

  4. @Sue Marsh
    I am so sorry about your nephew. Terribly sad.

    Re AV there is an article in the Grauniad claiming that Andy Burnham is not so keen, and he told them – “It is not my party’s job to prop up the Liberal Democrats by helping them win a referendum that is important to them.”

    I was leaning towards one of the Millbands but I don’t want AV as it makes coalitions & ConDem pacts more likely. So it’s back to the drawing board for me. If Andy declares more firmly against AV then he gets my vote.

  5. @Aleksander – the point I tried to make about housing benefit was that unless recipients have some interest in reducing rents, either through curbing the level of payment or rewarding tenants for negotiating lower rents, it actually serves to inflate the housing market to no one’s long term benefit.

    We’ve tolerated rampant inflation in the housing market for far too long while being told that every other source of inflation is wrong. It’s one of the main reasons we now have such a wealth divide.

    We need to do everything we can to control and gently ease house inflation and prevent bubbles in the future. Changing housing benefit to exert some downward pressure on rental returns should be part of that process, but I’d like to see it done as part of a coherent housing package, not just as a knee jerk deficit reduction measure.

  6. @Amber I think Andy Burnham is spot on with ‘its not my party’s job to prop up Lib Dems’
    And so to bed :-)

  7. @Cosmo
    “but I don’t want AV as it makes coalitions & ConDem pacts more likely”
    Can you explain why? I think I’ve understand how it works from a voters point of view, but why would it make a particular type of outcome more likely? I think I’ve seen elsewhere that it is likely to reinforce the two-party system, but I never saw that theory explained either.

  8. @Pete B
    Perhaps the question to ask is “why do LibDems want AV ?”. I doubt they want it ‘ because it is likely to reinforce the two-party system.’

  9. Pete B,

    It is not like me to make a case for the Libs but here goes…

    A chunk of their vote (a fair chunk) just like ot be different. they dont like adversial politics… they are open minded hip cool outward looking whatever you want to call it…

    Being on the inside, the establishment, the bad guys – it does not come naturally to them… they like to be liked generally because they are normally liked in their everyday lives…

    they are nice people is a bad world – but that is politics…

    The choices politicians have to make are far too serious to be left to nice people…

    thus, to their credit Vince clegg and co. deserve a wee bit of credit for daring to be disliked…

    I wonder how long their voters will stick being disliked?

  10. Question Time (Health Warning)

    I have just had a horrible experience, nearly scared the daylights out of me!

    Did anyone see question time tonight ?
    I switched over to watch it in mid stream… On the panel was Simon Heffer, some nutty proffessor woman, who had more grey hair than father christmas, an african woman with what looked like a pair of multicoloured curtains and a bowl of fruit on her head. Heffer looked like a mad axeman…. and finally Alan “Silver Tongue” Johnson.

    The next time the programme decides to have the entire cast of aliens from doctor who, they should afford us a “health warning”

  11. @ Alec – “rewarding tenants for negotiating lower rents”

    Entered into a conversation with someone in the Library, who showed me a phone picture of the broken electicity switch (live) for the cooker, in a kitchen with a leaking roof.

    A lot of tenants (on HB), sometimes jusifiably, feel intimidated by landlords, and this is compounded by a fear of homelessness. However, many will ‘chose’ homelessness rather than risk ‘confrontation’.
    Speak to Shelter for instance and you will probably find many cases of people coming for help and advice *after* they have ‘voluntarily’ given up their legal rights.

    “curbing the level of payment”

    Many landlords will find a way to preserve their income even if that is to the detriment of current tenants.

    (New laws on rent agreements in early 1990s took away a number of tenants rights)

  12. @ Billy Bob

    “Are you being kind to us sensitive souls by not spelling it out in layperson’s language?”

    Point taken with an apology…

  13. @ Wayne

    Re – Question Time

    You forget to comment on IDS… :-)

    But yes, it was a weird experience.

  14. @Alec
    The old HB system was based on individual cases and became very complex. In many cases payment was direct to the landlord. Once the claim was submitted the tenant had little further interest in the subject.
    The new simpler LHA sysytem pays a sum direct to the tenant who deals with the landlord. This was an attempt to involve the tenant in the process. The payment is based on the median rent in a broad area for specific types of accommodation. Originally the tenant could keep £15pw tax-free if they got a cheaper rent but that was stopped to save money.
    The broad areas used to determine the rate were too large. Expensive and cheap places were put together and the median was found. By including expensive areas the median was artificially high for its purpose. Benefit tenants could only afford the lower half of this sample but receiving the median put upward pressure on the cheaper rents. The median didn’t change but the mean did. GO announced that the median would be replaced by the 30 percentile in autumn 2011. This will lower payments by 5-10% depending on local distribution. This will reduce the upward pressure but would also push tenants towards the cheapest properties.
    The LHA website shows the rates applicable for each area. The housing benefit limits only affect central/inner London. If you haven’t ,check out Kensington and Chelsea for some eye-watering amounts.
    I agree that the tenant must be given an incentive to do the best deal so removing the £15 incentive may be self-defeating. However the biggest problem is the disincentive to work caused by our tax and benefit sysytems being separate.
    The asset bubble has been buoyed up by QE and it is as dangerous now as it was two years ago.


    Another excellent & informative post.Thank you.

    I agree very much with you penultimate sentence.

  16. @Laszlo

    By no means a crticism :) more a plea for further explication. Your posts stretch the thinking of us laypeople in a good way (cf Richard in Norway at 10.01 pm: “wow”).

  17. @Colin


    One point that I missed on housing benefit is that 70% of claimants are tenants of social landlords. Most comment has concentrated on the effect on private landlords and their tenants. Changes will certainly affect newer housing assoc projects.

  18. IMHO the resistance movements are getting their act together to defend their interests. Police leaders warn of increased risk of terrorist attacks if policing budgets are reduced. Teachers unions warn of reduced teaching standards and “unqualified” staff replacing ‘real’ teachers. Last week Housing Minister Grant Shapps announced that a quango ‘is toast’ when he announced that the Tenant Services Authority is to close ( good decision I think) . But Housing chiefs then warned that this would undermine the credit-worthiness y of housing associations, and their ability to raise funds. The TSA closure was promptly over-ruled by the Cabinet Office. The Establishment appears to be closing ranks and balancing the books may be harder than DC and his LD reserve team imagined.

  19. @ Billy Bob

    “more a plea for further explication”

    It’s probably not right to try to put these things in a post – especially as statistics is important here to supply evidence.

    But I will try to spell it out briefly and I apologise for the long post. I hope it will put some of my other posts into contexts.

    So, apologies to everyone if such a long post is an offence their patience.


    The behaviour of the economy since the very end of 2007 strongly reminds me to the second half of the 1970s. Then the words were mainly about the oil crisis – today is mainly about the financial crisis. But well before 1973, it was clear that something was structurally wrong in the economy, especially in manufacturing (the US recession at the end of the 1960s). In our era, recession in the US started before the financial meltdown and the other main advanced economies were weak too.

    After the 1974-75 recession in US, UK, France, Japan, Germany the growth was relatively quick, but then slowed down and already after half a year in Germany and the UK it became negative. Then again a pick up in growth, but by the second half of 1977 in all of them (except for the US) growth fell. Then picking up again (some quarterly figures were very strong), then drop flattening out and it some cases drop.

    So, business was not able to maintain the recovery, the recovery was not a springboard jump, but a little hop. It is often explained by, among other factors, inflation. But it is deeper: the inflationary economic policy was one of the secrets of the sustained economic growth after WWII (even in the US there were target figures in main economic indicators). Inflation in the 70s allowed businesses to avoid the sharp devaluation of their asset base to maintain rate of returns, but it was insufficient to sustain investment, growth, etc. It also held up innovation. Inflation also helped the banks because their balance sheets were also awful.

    If we compare it to the current situation, the massive scale of state intervention allowed the relatively low devaluation of assets and avoiding a catastrophic collapse of industry and services. However, it also obstructs the recovery of the rate of return, and hence the recovery weakens very quickly and figures are confusing.

    The ending of the 1970s’ recession required a radical change in government policies (as the economy ceased to respond to the previous one) and with this forcing businesses to abandon the business model of the post-war period with the notable exception of France (until 1983). It took quite a few years and in some cases it was rather badly managed, but in all cases business were directly and indirectly quite heavily subsidized to carry out the structural changes (even though the policy target was inflation and not structural changes, but it got there). While some of the countries echoed ideologies and helped to sustain the changes, it was not an ideological, but an economic question.

    I think the sudden change in government policies (with the exception of the US and to some degree France) this year is rather similar. Ideologies are echoed and they may help to sustain the cuts, but it is an economic question. As a result of government interventions the economies avoided the meltdown, but it does not respond to the measures as expected: not only the banks, but the rest of the economy was also based on the business model of financialisation and growing government expenditure in the last 20 years. The policy target of public debt and expenditure reduction, but I think its real economic meaning will be the forcing of businesses to change their business model.

    Governments also have legitimacy targets – although there is public approval of some of the measures – it is far from the scale that is probably needed, but if the economy gets into the 1970s pattern, it could grow, so the general public would accept to pay for the burden of business model changes and asset devaluation (because in my view this is the economic meaning of the cuts). On the other hand, nobody knows what is the real size of the burden and if it’s bearable in a 5 year period. But it equally possible that the 1970s pattern triggers rejection of the “new” policies and then I think we will see easing of the measures and quantitative easing and with this quite serious inflation (as the only recourse of both governments and businesses) or a completely innovative, new thinking in governments (I don’t see signs of this).

    It is also possible that business will be strong enough to pull itself out from the current problem – but in the last two major recessions (1928-1936 and 1974-1981) it was unable to do so.

  20. The referendum will be a fascinating spectacle for the chattering classes – which must include all of us on here.
    As far as I recall this is only the second time we have had a UK wide referendum. The last one saw most of the political establishment line up on the yes side. I wonder how they will split this time. It will be particularly interesting to see which cabinet members take a prominent role in the No campaign – David Cameron will not do so – although he will have to declare that he is voting no.

  21. @Laszlo
    Interesting post. Seems to me that the main drivers of global demand before the crash were US and to a lesser extent UK consumers. Both sets of consumers were prepared to borrow large amounts of money – often against the rising values of their houses. That has now changed. The job market in the US remains week, and it looks as if a cultural change may be taking taking place. Marxists incidentally would point out that real wages in the US have not increased since the 1970’s – a break from the decade on decade increases that took place from the 1840’s to 1960’s. As one put it – the bosses have been lending money to the workers instead of paying them wages – or something like that.
    So, as Obama has said recently, the world cannot look to the US to lead it out of recession, so where is demand going to come from – Germany, China? I think not.

  22. I think we have postulated on this before but does not the Coaltion Government have one unavoidable stimlus package in the offing that will out-weigh the effect of the cuts. I refer to baby boomers like me (6.5.45) and more so the baby boomers like my wife (21.12.46) who will swell the state pension payments (and private too of course) immensely. As most of us will have paid our mortgage, surely this will be a big spend, spend, spend, period in the next few years, also elsewhere in the western world, so that we could expect growth through demand accordingly. One imagines that this has been fed in to this OBR calculation and may also extend the honeymoon for Dc and NC??

  23. @ JohnT

    “Both sets of consumers were prepared to borrow large amounts of money – often against the rising values of their houses”

    Yes, very much so, plus the massive increase in liquidity in the stock markets. It created artificial asset value – against which borrowing was possible (pensions play a role here too) and paying dividends from profits that did not exist. Plus the securitisation of all lending forms.

    “Marxists incidentally would point out that real wages in the US have not increased since the 1970’s ”

    It is also true and in the last decade it was true for Germany too.

    I don’t think consumer spending is a feasible solution either. If anything, we will see a reduction in aggregated demand or a flat one. Investment seems to me to be the real factor.

    The 1920s saw the easing of consumer credits to middle classes, the post-war period saw inflationary policies and credit cards to the middle classes, the 1990s and 2000s saw the extension of all kinds of credits to all the population. Every one of these ended up in serious crises (there were intermediary recessions, but their characteristics were very different).

    Export may help, but in the 1930s, 1960s, 1990s it was built on government and private lending to the importing countries… Not a very promising one.

  24. Just seen the news about clegg getting a AV referendum next May. “Yes” does not seem very likely methinks, although it might change.

  25. @ Howard

    Very interesting. Yes, it can help to maintain demand. And I can see how dangerous inflation could become to this rather large proportion of the population.

  26. @ Howard

    At the other end of the scale there is a steady decline in the numbers of children at each age group from 18 to 8 before it rises again to newborns. This would mean less pressure on secondary and higher education but more on primary education over the next five years. However it would also reduce the pressure on the employment market as there will be less entrants from this source.

  27. @Eoin
    You may be interested to read this obituary of Ken Coates, who you may recall from your time in the Notts. area. No fan of NuLab, and would no doubt be dismayed with many things in modern politics:-
    h ttp://

  28. @ Valerie ‘The Tories could have gone for a snap election, but there is no guarantee they would have profited by it.’

    So many people keep saying this , but I don’t think it is true!The Queen would only grant a dissolution if there was no prospect of an alternative Government being formed from the existing House of Commons. If the Tories tried to call a snap election the LibDems could simply join up with Labour to provide that alternative!

  29. @ Graham “If the Tories tried to call a snap election the LibDems could simply join up with Labour to provide that alternative!”

    Although the willingness of both parties to form this alternative is highly questionable – most of the Labour front benches having been acting like a jealous spurned lover towards the Lib-Dems since the start of the coalition (and would probably be fancying their chances to do better post-Brown if there were a new election).

  30. Aleksandar

    But fewer children means less child benefit to pay out. But then again, as was the case at the time with my wife, what will the ladies use to fill up the second car tank with?

  31. Cozmo,

    Thanks for Ken C, very nice article thankyou. And yes, I recall a visit he made to the school I taught at. he was very popular among the teachers, which in my youth I took as a good sign. :)

    Appreciated… I am sure he would want us all smiling such was the character of him.

  32. @TonyOtim

    Have you forgotten the pre-election LibDem’s anti-Conservative rhetoric so quickly?

  33. Aleksander
    Great info on HB Thanks Do we think IDS etc knew this?
    Interesting on entry to pensions
    Will though people be too nervous of their retirement future to spend?

  34. How does Andy Burnham sell his ‘No AV’ policy? Does anyone know how he voted when it sailed through the Commons before the Election?

    I also never heard a word against it from left colleagues prior to the Election except some thought we should have an even fairer system. Is everyone pretending that the past did not happen all of a sudden?

  35. @Howard:

    The most important personal question many MPs will ask about AV is… Screw the party, will this mean *I* lose my seat?

  36. Jay
    How true.

    Only we who have sold our soul and prostituted ouselves (as one must) to get elected know the bitter truth of your words.

  37. Howard – Surely the problem is the past has been quite considerable changed by the current reality?
    We are getting a dose of a “fairer system” just now and it is hardly surprising if Lab don’t find it very “fair” all of a sudden.

    Not sure what could have put them off, but perhaps the way the coalition came about has made them question whether, if the future’s orange, the future is really so bright at all?

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