Two more polls from last night. ComRes has a new voting intention poll for the Mirror and GMTV. Topline figures are CON 39%(nc), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 15%(-1), so virtually no change from their poll in the Indy a week and a half ago, and still showing Labour somewhat lower than other companies.

YouGov’s daily tracker meanwhile showed figures of CON 42% LAB 37% LD 14%, with the Conservatives maintaining a lead of 4-5 points or so.

One thing I missed from the ICM poll last night, they asked an AV voting intention question and found the contest neck and neck. 45% supported AV, 45% opposed it. This is very much in line with the YouGov poll on Monday showing the No campaign just one point ahead.


448 Responses to “New YouGov and ComRes polls”

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  1. Roland,

    I quite agree. say what you want about Dev, Charlie haughey is our boy :)

  2. Colin,

    means testing is fair. I have no diffs with it. It is a pity we did not means test more often.

    one thing though- never underestimate the greed of a wealthy husband. child benefit into a mum’s bank account gives her a wee bit on independance. I have known married women to go penniless and still take a beating because the sirloin is not lean enough.

  3. Eoin

    “means testing is fair. I have no diffs with it”

    I know-I do not anticipate you being in the vanguard when the lefties on here scream blue murder about my winter fuel allowance going for a burton. You have more integrity than that.

    “never underestimate the greed of a wealthy husband. child benefit into a mum’s bank account gives her a wee bit on independance.”

    Sure-but to honest Eoin-she will have to put up with it. Neither of my children can really do without child benefit-but I fear one of them may have to-shouldn’t have given us so many lovely grandchildren ! ;-)

  4. @ Howard

    For the record, I wasn’t advocating an invasion of Iran. There are a range of options that lie in between doing absolutely nothing and a full scale invasion. Even in a military context an invasion of Iran could be catastrophic. It is not a failed state like Iraq or Afghanistan and the military causalities would probably dwarf those two conflicts.

    Specific strikes against their Nuclear facilities are far from fantasy if Iran continues on it’s current trajectory. I think there is every chance the government would support this, in word if not deed. That’s assuming Israel doesn’t take unilateral action.

    @ Eoin

    Agree on Pakistan and NK but the fact they are, respectively, a Nuclear Power and a vassal state of China lowers the feasibility of action dramatically. This is not the case with Iran.

  5. @ Roland 1:47

    There is certainly a great deal of complacency on the nuclear weapons issue. Last Sept ComRes had 58/35 in favour of scrapping trident. Worrying stuff, if the Labour and Tory leadership remain pro-Trident then hopefully the opposition will come to nothing, but who knows?

  6. Colin,

    An issue on the relativity of child poverty… It is not unknown for the wealthy kid in the class to be the most scruffily attired and vice versa. In fact, more and more that is how to spot them.. Trend setting haircuts, sneakers, ear piercings, labour hoddies and trackies- these are all the preserve of the labour aristocracy/under class…. Very often the supposed rich kid has not two beans to rub together. Either daddy has it tied up in assets or he is a misely aul fecker. For these kids, the day to day stigma or reproach from their peers is as tough in many ways as it is for an urchin such as myself. in which case child benefit is ameans whereby the mother can at least amek sure that her kid saves face from time to tiem with a new garment. It is a real probelm I kid you not. I do accpet it probably has more to do with overspend on the part of the cool kids parents than it does good old fashioned restraint on the part of the conscientious parent- determined not to spoil her kid… but the resultant race tothe bottom leaves the latter kid ina very poor place regarding esteem and progression through school.

    in light of this child benefit should not be tested on income alone… perhaps there is aonther way to test means in this case.

  7. We would certainly need a new UN resolution for air strikes on Iran.

    Will Russia and China allow such a resolution? I don’t know.

    The only nation that would dare strike without a resolution would be Israel, and I fully expect the US to sub-contract such an operation to them.

    The problem is that the targets are deeply buried, widely dispersed and well defended (care of Russia and China!). Consequently hey might be able to set the Iranians back a few months but very doubtful they could actually stop them in their tracks. Is that outcome worth the carnage that would be unleashed as a result?

    It seems to me that only an overthrow of the mullahs can really stop the Iranian nuclear programme. The US hoped that might happen after the Presidential election last year but it didn’t.

  8. Colin & Roland

    I tend to agree with you about the winter fuel allowance. Interestingly there was a lot of complaint about it here last winter about the wealthy benefiting as much as the poor and for some it was just another present.

    However what I would do would be, rather than throw the money back in the general pot, to earmark the money saved for home insulation etc for the elderly for at least a few years. The retired teachers would find it difficult to complain about that and it would be a good generator of employment etc.

    I think you’ve got to be careful about some universal benefits though. Child benefit isn’t useful just because it puts the money in the mother’s hands. It also recognises that it’s a noticeable extra expense to bring up children for all but the very richest. And the admin to take the money off them and note the others would cost more than you save.

    And I think there is a real case for some universal benefits as a form of social solidarity – sharing the benefits as well as sharing the load. I think bus passes come into this category. Most of the very wealthy wouldn’t use them and I suspect the admin to means test would again cost more than you save. All those retired teachers may be going on free journeys, but they’re probably spending quite a bit when they get there. And if it gets some of them off the roads …

  9. Michael V
    ‘Specific strikes against their Nuclear facilities are far from fantasy if Iran continues on it’s current trajectory’

    ‘We’ll let USA get on with it then’ I expect to be DC’s reaction (takes a leaf from Wilson’s book).

    I believe BTW that a review of Trident is now inevitable given that Osborne has made it clear that it’s up to the MOD to specify its priorities within its budget.

  10. Good afternoon.

    I have a different view on winter fuel (and bus pass) and it has nothing to do with the moral of it (on the one hand I think benefits are immoral, on the other that any means testing is immoral and have plenty of arguments for all of this – as usual with moral questions). The real question in it is politics and I think it is politically extremely dangerous for the coalition. I am pretty sure that it would be read by the general public (including the poor) that it is a prelude of a general assault on these benefits. It is OK for them to say whatever they are asked by good pollsters: “yes, I don’t have a problem with it”, once it is done, the question of the next slice of the salami will come up and also what else is there to be cut.

    My evidence is nil (anectodal, social psychology with all my reservations plus experiences with governments in three different countries).

  11. The danger of cutting “middle class” benefits is the broad nature of this demographic group. A family with an income of £100K + with 1 child is not going to miss these benefits, a family on £50K-60K with 3 children probably will. The problem is, to glean substantial cuts from this they’ll probably end up hitting families who will notice it.

  12. Laszlo,

    It is very good indeed to see you posting.

    i disagree substantially with your post. We cant defend benefits fro ‘them’ simply because ‘we’ might be next. This is especially the case for old people. if they have accumulated wealth of substantial proportion, i fail to see why we should give them a penny. That includes bus passes, TV licenses the who seebang. If they want it, let them pay for it.

  13. Roland
    I didn’t quite get your earlier reference to Belgium (I know they like chips in mayo), but it is generally agreed by historians that Low Country regiments took the brunt of Waterloo and saved the day until the arrival of Blucher.

    Also one might cite the efforts of Belgian regiments in more recent conflicts, notably WW1.

  14. @ Eoin

    It’s good to be back, but there are holidays with complete lack of intenet :-)

    I think yours is a moral argument and I don’t have a problem with it, as I can argue for and against.

    My point is how it is perceived by the public and the effects of this. If let’s say they take away these benefits from anybody with more than 50 th. a year – you need to monitor, all the family businesses are out of sight (hence the crazy figure by the tax office that with 60 th. one is among the top 5% tax payers), and people with 45 th. or even 40 will start to think if we are the next, etc.

  15. @ Michael V

    “The danger of cutting “middle class” benefits is the broad nature of this demographic group.”

    I agree and also because all the means testing affect only the wage earners. There is absolutely no reliable “official” figures (but there are extremely good estimates) on incomes of sole traders, family businesses, and SMEs (especially start ups).

  16. ROLAND HAINES

    We live in a democracy and we are all entitled to our views. We are also entitled to comment on other people’s views if we want to.

    The main difference between you and me is that I always use undramatic and reasonable language in my comments about you whilst you have called me a fool (most recently a narna) on countless occasions. I can only think that you have a rather limited command of the English language.

    The reason I suggested that you needed to visit a doctor, Roland, was that I was worried about you and I was wondering whether you ae suffering from a long term trauma as a result of your experiences in (what was it?) the Army Catring Corp.

  17. Roger

    On child benefit- I think there is a very serious question to be asked about the State paying people to have more children, given the effects on this planet of the exponential growth in the human population.
    However that is probably for another day ( aka never) .

    Meanwhile I disagree with you about the concept of “universal benefit” -and in respect of Child Benefit ( notwithstanding Eoin’s anecdotal evidence) I see no reason why very wealthy mothers should be as entitled to it as the less well off mother. As ever -what constitutes “well off” is a matter of political judgement.

    I am in two minds on free bus passes. We have never claimed them . We use the car-our village bus service is not great. But I am really surprised at the number of friends who have got them , and use them-and have ( & can afford to run) a car.
    Equally I look at buses which appear to be mostly empty as they cart these middle class folk around to the shops.
    I have an awful feeling this has got completely out of hand & needs a root & branch review. I hope that is what it gets.
    And I do hope that -when all the Spending Review stuff is history & clearer economic water appears, a Conservative Chancellor can try & get us back to leaving folk with as much of their own money as possible to decide how they want to spend it, commensurate with providing the State with funds for its public services, and welfare benefits for those who really need them.

  18. @Colin
    “I think there is a very serious question to be asked about the State paying people to have more children, given the effects on this planet of the exponential growth in the human population.”

    Yes, agreed, but the other side of this is lowering birth rates and shifting the demographics increasingly towards the elderly puts more strain on the finances with regard to pensions, etc… Somebody needs to be doing the work, paying the taxes. Do we therefore encourage more immigration or encourage our pensioners to all move abroad?

    Also, a half-full bus of middle class people going to the shops is much better environmentally than each individual driving their own car there, although that really does get away from the question of who should be paying for it.

  19. MICHAELV
    “The problem is, to glean substantial cuts from this they’ll probably end up hitting families who will notice it.”

    I think that may be the whole point.

    Everyone is going to “notice it”-all of it.

    The issue-politically-is can GO sustain his “all in this together” stance by ensuring that , whilst we all “notice it” ( acceptable) -he avoids impacting those who cannot possibly take it ( unacceptable)

    That is a very fine judgement, & there are bound to be cracks through which some will fall-and it is the opposition’s job to highlight them.

    But, thus far, GO-and indeed the coalition-show no signs of shrinking from trying to get that judgement right…..or acceptable which will be more to the point !!

  20. Colin,

    you make a good point about half empty buses. In Belfast we do not have this dilemma but I did live in Notts for two years so I understand that it is indeed a big problem… I found Notts bus services much more advanced and modern than anything I have seen before or since (they also have a tram system). Regarding rpice it was on a par with Berlin for its cost effectiveness. And yet some of the (b) services were empty. I gather notts transport made a profit recently, which baffles me.

    The solution to this must surely lie in car ownership. Village and country folk need them but i go through my daily routine of schools libraries gyms and pubs on foot and happily so. I do wonder why my city peers find them so indespensible. Get some youngstes using the transport that has to be the solution… Maybe the bejing system might work here… they only allow residents to use their car 3/7 days a week….

  21. @ Colin

    “the exponential growth in the human population”

    I know that we don’t agree on the population question, so I just respect your opinion about that without commenting on it.

    But there’s a factual problem: the Earth’s population growth has not been exponential in the last 30 years (I didn’t look at figures from before that) and as a matter of fact the coefficient will be soon lower than 1.

  22. TONYOTIM

    ” Somebody needs to be doing the work, paying the taxes”

    They do.

    So far as I can tell, the government intends to reverse the previous government’s strategy of allowing thousands of immigrants to do the work, whilst thousands of permanent residents draw welfare benefit of various kinds so they don’t have to work.

    That seems to me to be an eminently sensible objective. We would utilise the unused resource, reduce the cost of state support , reduce the strains on public services & infrastructure , and start to chip away at the ghettos of despair, unemployment , social disruption & fecklessness which have grown in this country.

    It will take some doing though!

  23. Colin/Laszlo,

    In 1951 Scotland’s population was less than 5.1mill. Today (60 years on) in it 5.2mill.

    In 1841 Ireland’s population was 8.5mill. today 160 years on it is 6.9mill.

    I think a legacy from the Irish and Scottish highland potato famine exists whereby we find it difficult not to celebrate a bit of population growth.

  24. @ Eion

    “Incidentally of all the yellows who have abandoned ship 30% have gone over to blue… 57% have switched to red… and a not altogether unimpressive 11% have gone green. (ICM Aug.)”

    Therefore, if you are to assume that everyone that voted Green has continued to do so, and that no one has moved to them from either of the Reds or the Blues then this would mean that they have more than doubled their support since the election from 1% to 2.1% – interesting

  25. Laszlo

    “I know that we don’t agree on the population question, ”

    Correct.

    The environmental damage has already been done Laszlo.

    And it isn’t stopping any time soon :-

    Format :-
    Year/Population Millions/Growth every 10 years Millions

    1800. 900
    1850 1171 54
    1900 1608 87
    1950 2550 188
    2000 6080 706
    2010 6700 620
    2050 9200 625 ( UN forecast)

  26. On welfare cuts, Laszlo’s comments do resonate. I remember the poll tax being spun to create the conditions for riots. The poll tax was crude in that it was not means tested, but it had an essentially fair goal. A family of 4 adults living in the same house as the next door neighbour who lives alone pay the same CT unless he is a pensioner. Then poll tax sought to rectify that unfairness. By the way, I see the same problems occurring with local income tax, although that would at least have means testing at its core.

    So if we get the same kind of spinning on the bus pass, or more likely child benefit, we shall witness a bad effect on Government. popularity and I think that is Laszlo’s point.

    Incidentally, amid all the speculation and kite flying, does anyone remember DC gulping deeply and saying he would not touch these things in the Debates?

  27. @ Colin

    Your figures show that it’s not exponential. The figures are estimated population of the year concerned.

    There is actually a plateauing (I doubt if this word is real) or at least a plateau is developing. Even with the 2050 figures – which is a simple extrapolation.

    But no doubt it is a challange.

  28. @ Howard

    “does anyone remember DC gulping deeply and saying he would not touch these things in the Debates”

    Yes, and it is a problem for him, because it will be, no doubt, recalled, replayed, etc. For this reason I think he will probably veto it.

    It is interesting, however, that there was a kite at around day 50 that people would be entitled to buss pass and winter fuel at a bit higher age, but it seems that it did not fly, because I haven’t heard of it again.

    And yes, that was my point – it’s really anecdotal, but some of my acquiatences do classify their retirement age as free bus pass age. Although it’s joking, I’m quite sure they would not take kindly to the suggestion that they won’t get it. Some would be above most means testing but would not take kindly to such benefits taken away from them (they would refer to income versus debt they accumulated for the children and similar excuses – this was the point about moral: there are as many arguments as many people). So, it would have a political load and it would be much bigger than simply the number of people who would loose entitlement.

  29. Eoin

    “The solution to this must surely lie in car ownership”

    You have a very good point Eoin.

    Re cars in villages & your school run-

    The mothers ( blond-4WD-shades ) of the children who attend our village school would put the Panzers to shame. The little dears ,deposited as near to the school gates as is possible without mowing down a local resident ( though it has been close on occasion) , climb down the shiny aluminium steps from their cockpits, and stagger up the school drive before their puny legs collapse under them.
    Mum then readjusts the goggles and ploughs back home on the wrong side of the road, cell phone in hand, flicking the wayward hair from blank & expressionless eyes.

    Village life !

  30. Laszlo

    “a plateau is developing”

    :-) :-) :-)

  31. @HOWARD
    I put modern Western Europeans in the same boat in a military sense, including the Germans. The performance of nations or indeed individual units 70 years ago has very little to do with today. As for Waterloo you might as well be talking about Hastings.
    Modern European armies with the exception of the Swiss and Finns would crumble. The performance in Afghanistan tells a lot, and as for the likes of the Dutch in the Balkans, they should be thoroughly ashamed.
    I exclude the British Army from these comments.

  32. @DAVID B
    You mention the catring corps. I assume you mean Catering Corps. Do I deduce you are the poster with the imaginary friend. What was his name? Alf of the SAS wasn’t it?

  33. @LASZLO
    I must say Laszlo you sound enormously intellectual &
    academic. However, the reason I consider the payment of £250 to every pensioner irrespective of their wealth, is nonsense, revolves around a matter of Britain being skint. It is policies like giving people with good pension incomes and signicant savings £250 each year which made us skint. Simples.

  34. @ Roland

    “As for Waterloo you might as well be talking about Hastings. Modern European armies with the exception of the Swiss and Finns would crumble. The performance in Afghanistan tells a lot”

    While I agreed with you on “past performance” and current likely performance, in your argument you mixed straight battles or operational art campaign (to use the Soviet terminology) and occupation skirmishes together.

    The Balkans are not indications anyway (for example, the troops of a particular leading NATO country were not allowed to report that it was the Albanians and not the Serbs… And were not allowed to retailate, but they were allowed to punish the Serbs for these).

    Afganistan is more interesting, although the political point or the lack of it (just as in the case of the Balkans) is quite clearly dominant to the military.

  35. @ Roland

    “However, the reason I consider the payment of £250 to every pensioner irrespective of their wealth, is nonsense, revolves around a matter of Britain being skint.”

    Maybe. I really don’t have a very solid opinion, because my own view depends on where I start the argument. So, I may even agree with you on this (or may not :-) ). My point is not if it’s right or not, my point is that the political payload is far too high. Not only that, but, because of the payload, it may even obstruct the implementation of other measures. And anyway, these are the typical easy pick cuts (easily identifiable). There are more to cut elsewhere, so why bother with these – all these from a political point of view.

  36. @LASZLO
    I know the background of the shameful behaviour of the Dutch Army in the Balkans. How weak and spineless was the Dutch government and how weak and spineless was the Dutch commander. There is absolutely no chance that those individuals military or political would defend their own country for more than 10 minuets. To go against my own earlier comment about past performance, pretty much like 1940.

  37. Roger Mexico – “there are three people in this marriage; and if Cameron’s old love Osborne does try too hard to get his way, we may well see Nick Clegg looking all weepy on Panorama.”

    Wonderful comment.

  38. @laszlo “…the Earth’s population growth has not been exponential in the last 30 years (I didn’t look at figures from before that) and as a matter of fact the coefficient will be soon lower than 1.”

    You’re right – growth hasn’t been exponential, but around 1950 the growth rate increased dramatically and if it continues at the same rate we will have 14B by 2100. It’s unlikely to do that, but the UN medium growth projection is for another 30% growth by 2050.

  39. An average of these three polls would leave the Tories just short of a majority, and the Lib Dems presence in the HoC halved. Do Labour need a strong Lib Dem showing to keep out Tories in seats where Labour are a distant third?

  40. @ Roland

    “I know the background of the shameful behaviour of the Dutch Army in the Balkans. How weak and spineless was the Dutch government and how weak and spineless was the Dutch commander.”

    Now I understand fully your point and I agree with this. I’m not sure if you could extend it to other countries, but within limits – certainly.

    It certainly did not help the French army in WW2 that many in the elite considered Hitler more attractive than the Popular Front.

  41. Well I know a few retired professional types – university profs, doctors and the like who are about your age Roland. Obviously they are all Labour voters but I think they are slightly embarrassed at being eligible for the winter fuel allowance, a free bus pass and free prescriptions. I suppose the age limit could be raised to 65 but would that be fair to less well-off people with a shorter life expectancy?

    I suppose means testing is the answer but that means more bureaucracy which Dave wants to get rid of. Also eligible people might be put off by the stigma. Maybe people on Job seekers’ allowance could administer the benefits ? As well as work experience they could get commission for everyone they signed up.

    I’m only half joking!
    :-)

  42. Having read a few comments on Tories and defence, I’ve said all along that Iran is the one.

    The sabres have been rattling for some time. Last week I read, that Israel are ready to bomb Iran’s Nuclear “Power Station” as soon as next month (with the tacit support of us and the US of course).
    Many months ago I posed the question “What would Libs do if this really happened?”

    THIS and other events like it, are why I would no more bet my mortgage on the coalition lasting than I would bet on it NOT lasting

  43. @ Alec

    ” but around 1950 the growth rate increased dramatically and if it continues at the same rate we will have 14B by 2100. It’s unlikely to do that, but the UN medium growth projection is for another 30% growth by 2050.”

    It is true, this is why I emphasised that in the last 30 years – there is a significant break in the trend especially if one adjusts it to the proportion of the fertile population (the trend of the 1950-80 period did not continue although the proportion of the fertile population (women really) increased.

    It is a task to deal with it, but no serious scientist argues that 9 billion could not be easily supported by the Earth. The problem comes that if there are no social changes then even the current population would cause extreme harm. The question of social change and not population or number of children.

  44. @ Sue

    “are ready to bomb Iran’s Nuclear “Power Station” as soon as next month”

    If Russia (or the Ukraine) has sold proper air defence systems to Iran then it won’t.

  45. I was surprised to discover that the winter fuel payments are available to everyone over 60 including employed males under the pension age. If this is the case then the desire to protect universality seems to have lost touch with the basic reason for this benefit i.e to help relieve fuel poverty for pensioners.
    I am not a fan of means testing on practical grounds but would support the taxation of this and other benefits. The state pension is a taxable benefit but those who live soley on it are below the tax threshold. Someone with huge investments is taxed at 40% on their state pension. Basic rate taxpayers could have the age related allowances adjusted so as to compensate them. This would be a start to integrating taxation and benefit payments.

  46. @ Aleksandar

    “but would support the taxation of this and other benefits”

    Sounds very sensible to me. Neat, simple and meaningful and overcomes most of the pros and cons.

  47. @ Roland

    “However, the reason I consider the payment of £250 to every pensioner irrespective of their wealth, is nonsense, revolves around a matter of Britain being skint.”

    But payment of £250 to pensioners doesn’t cost Britain anything because it is mainly just a transfer from some Brits to other Brits so the money stays in the country and doesn’t cost Britain anything (except for the payments to pensioners who live abroad).

    So it couldn’t contribute to Britain being skint even if Britain was skint (which it isn’t).

  48. @ Howard

    “does anyone remember DC gulping deeply and saying he would not touch these things in the Debates?”

    Yes -we all do.

    But now he may have to tweak this promise. Means test/freeze-but say- I didn’t scrap them.

    Labour will shout about withdrawing benefits from the middle class . Given their dismissive attitude to the middle class over years, you might think this amusing , as I do.

    The question is though , what will the electorate think ?

    Proposition:-
    In order to help fund IDS’s tapering of unemployment pay withdrawal, DC decides to push the age limit up for Winter fuel Allowance to 70 and/or means test it; Freeze Child Allowance for another year and/or means test it.; restrict free bus travell/TV licences to pensioners claiming certain other welfare benefits.

    Question for you Howard :-

    Will Lib Dems see this as “fair” and an acceptable tweak of pre GE commitments & support the coalition…..or “unfair” and an unacceptable reneging on pre GE commitments & support Labour?

  49. Individual taxation:

    VAT, Income Tx, NI and CT should all be rolled into one payment based on Income/affordability to pay…

    A tax of 37-40% seems fair…

    Only the minor taxes on lifestyle (smoking, drinking and flying) to remain…

    I would have one tax band with a threshold bang on the living annual salary.

    Think of the paperwork savings.

  50. Although in principle it is good, the problem with means testing is two fold in my opinion, firstly the cost and secondly its effectiveness. I think the solution is still to pay universal benefits but make them taxable, therefore clawing back a fair percentage of the outlay, this may save more money than means testing because of less bureaucracy.

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