Two polls tonight –

YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun continues to show the two main parties neck and neck, with CON 40%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%.

Meanwhile a ComRes telephone poll for the Independent has topline figures of CON 36%(+1), LAB 40%(+3), LDEM 12%(-4). Changes are from ComRes’s previous telephone poll a month ago, rather than their online poll a week or so ago (these figures suggest there isn’t a vast difference between the two – last week their online poll was 37/38/13 – but I’ll wait for 6 months parallel data at the very least before treating them as a single series). I believe this is the lowest Lib Dem score since the election from a telephone survey.

155 Responses to “New YouGov and ComRes polls”

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  1. Odd really. Yesterday seems to be a complete outlier on approval but right down the middle on vote shares. Wierd.

  2. Does anyone have tonight’s government approval figure?

  3. Anthony

    You may have explained this earlier. Sorry if I missed it.

    Why should telephone polls show higher LD than online polls?

  4. Stephanie Flanders (from t’News) and Miranda Hart (from “Miranda”) are voice-twins. Close your eyes and listen to them both talking, it’s…weird.

    Regards, Martyn

  5. @IanFL,

    Latest government approval: minus 6 (Approve 39%, Disapprove 45%)

    Regards, Martyn

  6. @Martyn,

    No red-blooded male could close his eyes when Ms Flanders is on TV. I’ll have to try and catch her talking on R4…

  7. The FT had an interesting article today about the obr and immigration. The ft had earlier questioned whether the immigration cap would impact on the obr’s earlier predictions because they were predicated on very high levels of immigration. Part of today’s calculations was a response to those questions confirming (I am too immodest to deny I said so) that in the opinion of the OBR, the policies on immigration would have no impact on the immigration figures whatsoever.

  8. So far as I can tell, the current immigration policy seems to be to reduce the number of visas from 50,000 to 43,000 but to exempt wealthy corporate employees (which presumably number in the thousands). ie a policy without a policy.

  9. Oldnat – there is not a definitive reason, just that they appear to have been doing so since the election.

    It could be an effect from the fact that online pollsters use panels, so don’t have to worry about levels of false recall changing. Or it could be pure co-incidence, and that online pollsters just happen to have other methodological features that produce lower Lib Dems figures (or that telephone polls have methodological features producing higher ones).

    It had initially looked like ComRes’s parallel online and telephone polls were showing lower Lib Dems when conducted online, but this poll argues against that, so maybe the whole difference is a mirage, and it’s just YouGov lower.

  10. Anthony


    I think I’ll stick with my perceptions of the LDs in Scotland from talking to former LD voters. Barney is nearer their heartlands than me, and his ideas seem similar.

    I can see why, in England, moderate right wingers might see voting LD as an effective way of keeping the extreme right in check, but that seems unlikely here.

    Barney/Amber/John Dick?

  11. Whatever the differences in method, the difference is huge.

    One (YG) gives a hung-ish parliament (but not after reorganisation of seats), the other (ComRes) a very comfortable Lab maj.

    Neil A must tell me why he personally thinks it is better we did not join the Euro. I have big EU involvement, apart from ethnicity I know of nothing that gives him financial involvement.

    My point is that these matters are subjective, if all had my euro adventure behind them, there would be no discussion.

  12. One of my researchers has been offered a job with a local business who have secured over £1 Million worth of orders thanks to his work. Guess what he has been refused a Visa, so all that research and income could now be lost to the UK. The reason is that Engineering is treated so badly in this country the salaries fall below the threshold to secure a Tier 1 Visa, and Tier 2 Visas are now rationed. The Coalition’s migration policy will in due course damage British Competitiveness. I guess that must be part of the reason that the OBR have reduced their growth estimates

    The other will be the VAT impact, and the drop in demand due to the hike in unemployment levels. Amazing that anyone can claim the OBR figures are ‘good news’

  13. YouGov, as always, pretty consistent and just bobbing about within MOE, as it has for the last two months, although a point of interest may be that quite big differences in day to day Government approval ratings appear to have no effect on voting intentions. A bit bizarre that, in my view.

    ComRes appears to be more in line with other polling organisations that are conducting less regular opinion polls than YouGov. These polls (ICM, Harris, Angus Reed, Populus, BPIX, Ipsos/Mori) seem to be falling into line with narrow Labour leads and the Tories somewhere in the mid to late 30s, with the LDs a good 3-5% better than YouGov has them. YouGov may be the only band member marching in tune, and none of us will know until real votes are cast in meaningful elections, but am I the only one on here starting to feel a little bit sceptical about what YouGov might be telling us?

    I make this point not as a partisan who only assigns credibility to those polls that favour their party of preference, but as someone who can spot a statistical pattern forming and is able, I hope, to detect a point in time where there may be an obvious divergence forming.

  14. Often with the other pollsters, you get their marginally higher Lib Dem figure, with the qualifier “the lowest Lib Dem score recorded ever/since…” so it’s not as if Yougov are showing a remarkably different pattern, they just don’t bother to reallocate the Don’t Knows.

  15. Am I mistaken or is this the first time post GE that Labour have hit 40% in a non YouGov poll?

    Miliband should take heart from this and stick to his approach so far. It seems to be to try to appeal simultaneously to both core Labour support (50% taxation rate, “I am a socialist”, emphasis on core values etc) as well as the “squeezed” middle ground. It’s quite possible that the media lather over the definition of the latter may have been beneficial – because I doubt the public is much interested in the precise definition while the fuss serves only to reinforce the general gist and intent.

  16. @Eric G
    Maybe concerns over immigration will in time start to be exceeded by concerns over net emigration of talent?
    I was struck by comments from my Year 10 class last week who asked how much it would cost them to go to university abroad, by comparison with £9k here. If they go, they sure won’t come back.

  17. Old Nat
    Lib Dems?
    The figures tell you they are in a terrible state and I know the students are going to keep up the pressure. I spoke at a demonstration in Aberdeen on Saturday and Clegg was target number 1 (not from me!).
    I have in the past suggested that Lib Dem Aberdeenshire MPs and MSPs are slightly protected because they project as Conservatives without local accents. but I am not so sure even of Rumbles now. My hunch is that Tories will vote Tory and if they do the Lib Dems are toast. Another factor will be SNP priorities. If they concentrate on trying to defend those seats they won from Labour they risk losing nevertheless and failing to pick low hanging Lib Dem fruit.
    I believe they are ruthless and will go for the Lib Dems.
    Taking myself out of the equation, the current figures may suggest a nakedly split Scotland with Labour winning almost everything in a broad Central Belt but the SNP winning new rural seats in the north. I will be trying to ensure that is not the case but at present LIb Dems may be third or even fourth in seats the now hold which will mean that next time more and more of those seats will be fought between SNP and Labour.

  18. Barney

    “next time more and more of those seats will be fought between SNP and Labour.”

    I think you are right.

    You will recall the history of the inter-war years when the centre of politics was deserted as it was polarised between Communism and Fascism (I’m not suggesting that either of our parties equates to them!)

    The failure of the LDs seriously to push for fiscal autonomy (and to leave that as the fall back position for the SNP) creates that polarisation in Scottish politics that Labour and SNP wanted – a face-off between the Union and Independence.

    While my personal preference is for Independence, as a democrat I would have preferred Scots to have a wider choice than the polarities. However, that’s the position that the Czechoslovaks (Brits) created between the Czechs (English) and Slovaks (Scots) – an over-simplification, I know.

    With due respect (yeah, you know what that means :-) ) I continue to disrespect representatives of political parties because they disrespect the people.

  19. The Comres has brought back our wee red rose :-)

  20. Amber

    Whaur’s the wee red thistle?

  21. @ Old Nat


    I’d really like Labour to form a Coalition with the SNP & let Alex Salmond stay leader – in exchange for AS politely asking SNP voters to support Labour in the Westminster elections (which he’s not really so fussed about).

    Barney will not like me for that suggestion, given he’s hoping to be an MSP. 8-)

  22. It seems that Labour are heading into the lead slightly sooner than I expected – perhaps the VAT increase is looming larger with christmas shopping helping to drive up awareness of what’s coming. Also Ed Miliband’s sandpapering strategy seems to be working. Perhaps steady wearing them down is better than sudden strikes?

    I don’t really think they are 4% ahead at this point, probably half that at best. Too many ties for it to be more. Enough to deny the Conservatives an overall majority if nothing else.

  23. OldNat/Barney

    My only insight into the LibDem vote is that the lacklustre LinDem Argyll and Bute MP, Alan Reid inherited the least rural, least highland LibDem incumbency and despite the noted inertia in these seats has seen his majority decline and his MSP colleague narrowly beaten by the SNP.

    At the GE, before coalition LibDem blues, he suffered significant losses evenly to the benefit of SNP and Labour while the second place Con was hardly affected.

    This was despite the low key Labour campaign and uninspiring candidate, so I attribute Labour relative success to fear of the bogeyman and a reluctance to send an SNP member to a parliament he doesn’t want to be a part of.

    The SNP should target the seatsof retiring LibDem MSP’s

    The SNP are now the best buy for the ABT’s outwith Glasgow and surrounding areas, and the LibDems no longer appeal to what may well be the largest tranche of Scottish opinion.

    The Greens are due to get back most of what they lost on AS for FM, so as far as seats go, I think the SNP will lose as much to the Greens as they gain from the LibDems, but they will increase their vote again. While Labour may well have most seats and claim that they have won, they will have had no part in the transaction and may well have lost a few votes.

    The few ex-Socialist votes may go largely to the Greens and tip them over the threshhold and if not, to the SNP, certainly not to Labour. If Cons lose a constituency, they will get it back on the list and they cannot surely lose more than one list seat. The loyalty of the few remaining Conservatives is such that if the coalition proposed to halve old age penson they would still vote for it.

  24. oldnat @ Barney

    “next time more and more of those seats will be fought between SNP and Labour.”

    That assumes that LibDems don’t learn anything from a setback and Labour take rural issues seriously.

    Neither is likely.

    More of these seats will be marginal LibDem-SNP. Labour are not a rural party, LibDems and SNP are.

  25. Amber Star @ Old Nat

    “I’d really like ….SNP voters to support Labour in the Westminster elections.”

    They already do that, thousands of them. These are the people who dont want independence but vote SNP. They are the ABT’s, the biggest political group in Scotland maybe.

  26. @Howard,

    If, for argument’s sake, Blair had run a quickfire Euro referendum immediately after the 2005 election and had taken us in at the interest rates that applied at the time, we would have had interests rates around 2% lower than we did.

    So, at a time when our property market was booming out of control and Mervyn was trying to peg it back with modest rises in rates, we would have had instead to have dropped to rates lower than we had seen in decades.

    We would, I assert, have been about halfway between where we are now and where Ireland is now, in terms of up-the-creek-without-a-paddle-ness.

  27. @ Neil A

    We didn’t have cheap credit during New Labour’s time in office (unless you are comparing it to Lamont’s ridiculous rates). What we had – with the exception of housing – was cheap goods.

    People had never seen goods at such relatively low prices & paid ridiculous rates of interest on credit card & personal loan debt so that they could take advantage of the ‘bargains’ on offer.

    As for ‘cheap credit’ now, I had a Citibank credit card. When I got it, for company expenses, the rate was pretty high at 17%. It is now 29% despite base rates having tumbled in the intervening period.

    Suggesting that a point or two on/ off interest rates would’ve made the credit boom worse is a pretty thin argument against the Euro.

  28. @ Old Nat

    I would imagine that online polling might show lowered poll numbers for the Lib Dems than traditional telephone polling because traditional polls may be missing cell phone only households, which skew younger. Online polling apparently deals with the problem of cell phone only voters (apparently polling cell phones is extremely expensive). And it would make sense that this has occurred since the election. Younger voters who had moved over to the Lib Dems as a suitable alternative to the incumbent Labour government have been turned off by tuition fee increases and Clegg’s politial wheeling and dealing (after promising to be a new type of political leader).

    @ Amber Star

    You seem to be reality based when it comes to the economy (I try to be as well). I appreciate that. :)

    I find it useful to watch the debate in the UK over budget cuts, bailouts, the deficit, and the state of the economy. The arguments of the Tories are often similar to what right wing economists argue about the U.S. economy and California’s economy. Reality doesn’t always match talking points.

    At least when it comes to my state’s economy, I found an interesting article refuting right wing talking points:

  29. It is interesting to note that it is expected that the student protests are believed to increase in scope. The more publicity they get the more negative publicity for the Lib Dems changing their policy. The fact that 104 parliamentary candidates from the last election basically pleaded in an online letter with Nick Clegg etc to stop supporting the plan to raise fees etc shows that the Lib Dem grass roots think this is a bad plan (the reaction to this letter is yet to be shown in the plans). Added to this the increasing frequency with which nick Clegg is trying to argue that the fee changes are fair and one starts to think that the Lib Dems are starting to feel the heat. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lib Dem vote falls much lower towards 5%.

  30. @Amber,

    I talked about property, not consumer credit, although in fact consumer credit was also out of control and that is directly related to house price levels. People didn’t find tens of thousands of pounds of unsecured debt worrying when they had “loads of equity” in their house.

    Also I don’t see how the unit price of consumer goods in itself can affect the amount of debts people accumulate (beyond a situation where people can’t provide for their daily necessities). Of course cheap goods will make people more likely to buy them, but why should that mean they’re more likely to buy goods they can’t afford?

    Finally, if interest rates are basically irrelevant to the amount of money people spend, why are they considered such an important tool of policy?

  31. I will once again insist on how surprised I am with Labour scores. All over Europe the trend is against the governments in place, whatever their political color, but nowhere the main opposition party gets such a boost, especially after a major and recent defeat. In Italy, where Berlusconi’s PDL seems to loose more than 10% of its 2008 score, descending from 38 to just 24-27, the beneficiary is not the PD (in fact they also loose ground, from 33 to 23-26), but the minor center right (LN), center (FLI, the new party of G. FIni, polling 6-9) and center-left parties (IDV, from 4 to 6-7, Left and Freedom, from 0 to 5-6, Grillo movement, from 0 to 3-4). In recent Regional Election in Greece, the governing socialists descended from 44 (last GE) to 35, but the main opposition party (right-wing ND) also lose ground from their previous all-time law 34 (now on 32), and all parties to the left of the Socialists had gains (+3,5 for the communists, +2,5 for the Democratic Left, + 4,5 for Independent Socialists, +1 for the Greens, + 1,5 for the Far Left). In Germany, despite a slight recovery, the ruling Merkel coalition is still in very low figures (38-39, against 48 in 2009 GE), but the main beneficiary is not the SPD (moderate gains from 23 in 2009 to 24-28 now) but the Green Party (from 11 to 19-24), decisively contributing to the formation of a center-left administration in 2013. In contrast, minor parties in UK do not seem to seriously increase, and Labour gets all the dissatisfied voters, while at the same time the main ruling party is not doing so bad, especially after so many cuts. UK stability versus continental extreme fragmentation??

  32. @Virgilio,

    I think the UK electoral system has produced some overly broad churches in the big three parties, and most of the potential small party support clings to them for fear of wasting their votes elsewhere.

    I think the unusual pattern of the last six months is almost entirely a result of one of the Big Churches (LibDem) splintering into two pieces, with the largest piece moving straight across to Labour. The LibDem bluff has been called, and their supporters forced to choose between Left and Right.

    The question now is what happens from the new base levels of the three parties. The evidence, just, is that Labour is gaining support and is or will be in front of the Tories.

    ‘We didn’t have cheap credit during New Labour’s time in office (unless you are comparing it to Lamont’s ridiculous rates).

    As with many reds, you seem to have a very defective memory when it comes to the economic history.

    See this link:
    h ttp://

    From this you will see that the average ‘base’ rate between 1970 & 1991 was around 11%
    Following our exit from the ERM, rates fell steadily throughout the next 18 years and I guess the average has been around 4/5% since then, with ultra low base rates over the last 2 years.
    This adjustment to long term low rates was in my view the reason for the rise in house prices between 1997 & 2003. However, that is where it should have stopped and any rise since then should have only reflected rising pay levels. Therefore, the housing market will not return to normal until average house prices are back to 2003 levels in real terms. That obviously means falls and until people accept that, no one will venture onto the housing ladder. The other way out of the mess is of course, inflation, as happened in the 1970’s, when no one really noticed the recession of 1975/77. because inflation was +20%. and that may still happen.

  34. Robert in France

    The Winter of Discontent in 1979 was a delayed reaction to that. People don’t like their money being stolen.

  35. The ComRes poll, if replicated at a General Election, would give Labour a majority nearing to 50.

    And it would leave the Conservatives almost 100 seats behind Labour.

    Of course things will not be quite like that when the next GE does come around as the seat boundaries will have changed.

    But it’s still good news for the left and underpins what the right still fail to notice – a gradual but persistent move away from hard Conservative ideology caused by fundamental changes in the demographic.

    The Tea Party would do well to notice the same in the USA.

  36. @Chris Todd

    “…a gradual but persistent move away from hard Conservative ideology caused by fundamental changes in the demographic.”

    Perhaps this has bene noticed..and explains why the Cons (eg John Major, most recently) have put forward the idea of merger or permanent coalition with the LDs?

    It would be interesting to hear from LD posters here what they think of a merger or permanent coalition with the Cons.

  37. Next May will be make-or-break for the Coalition, if the Libdems get a real drubbing in the locals and AV is lost then Clegg’s position will be much weakened.

    If the polls are showing Labour at or around 40% now, what will they show then? Could we see the Coalition caught in a sandwich, Labour hitting the Libdem vote and Conservatives switching too UKIP? We live in interesting times.

  38. Yes Chris, I made that point last night, but our problem as poll watchers is who to believe.

    For the moment I will go along with Anthony’s average but I don’t have a confident feel about it. My polling FGF is low!

    Just a quick reply to Neil A and Amber. As the latter pointed out, neither house nor consumer booms can happen if banks don’t give credit.

    Tight banking controls (imposed if they need to be) together with low interest rates produced the economies that I knew and loved when I lived in ‘Saxon land’..

    I wager that if Scotland had its own control, we would have the same calvinistic banking discipline that I learned to love.

    Nothing from with the Euro, plenty wrong with some Europeans (PIIGS).

  39. @WOLF
    I think there was a little bit more to it than that. Callaghan, having been dumped on by Wilson (who foresaw likely events when he resigned) was trying to do the right thing to get the country back on track. Remember that the UK had to go grovelling to the IMF as all the money had been spent. Unfortunately, he was up against the Militant Tendency, both within his own party and in the unions, with lots of jumped up little ‘Bob Crows’ whipping up discontent, in the mistaken belief that the Unions ran the country. Without the likes of Scargill & Derek Hatton and the rest, Margaret Thatcher would probably never have won the 1979 GE and the Falklands would now belong to Argentina! Oh and Scargill would probably have replaced the Queen as President.!

  40. Nothing from with the Euro, plenty wrong with some Europeans (PIIGS).

    Should read ‘Nothing wrong……………..’

  41. R in F
    Good points about the history (was why i emigrated) but you got a bit exuberant at the end!

  42. virgilio

    “UK stability versus continental extreme fragmentation?”

    No. FPTP.

  43. @DAVID
    Are you David B with your B missing?
    The post is the usual one which David B produces for left wing Disney productions. Interesting Times you say, well interesting for you David in the world you inhabit. Perhaps it will get interesting for me when I defect to UKIP.
    Run this demographics thing past us. The old support the Tories and the old are growing in numbers faster than any other group.
    @MIKE N
    You are starting to pick this thing up. I was speaking of a more permanent “marriage” between LD and Tory 3 months ago.

    First pass the post. Indubitably, that’s what gives the appearance of stability and in my view that is not a bad thing. Virgillo’s stats do make some of these countries look like a political dogs dinner.

  45. Is it my imagination or are LD posters on here nervous about discussing the idea of a permanent merger or coalition of their party with the Cons?

    There have been several ministers (and recently JMajor) who have openly expressed that the Cons would welcome this. Clearly behind the scenes the idea must be gathering support in the Cons.

    What would the Cons and LDs get from a merger or a perm coalition?
    What would the effect on the LDs themselves if this were to occur?
    What effect would it have in constituencies eg on local activists?
    What effect might it have on the outcome of local and general elections?

  46. Just come in so will try to answer. On the face of it we now have a liberal government. DC has led his followers up the garden path and all you hear are a few rumbles from the right and only now and then.

    So we LDs welcome this volte face from Con under DC and you could not compare the present situation with a Michael Howard government.

    The cuts are unfortunate but not our fault nor the Tories’.

    The student fee issue, which has caused a little local difficulty, leaves LDs free to vote as they wish (and Tories by the way). It’s not in the Agreement.

    Merger, well they could merge with us if they wish. How do they think on EU exactly nowadays?

  47. Went to a LD branch AGM last night. No mention of any disquiet. Big joke about our cooperating with Con locally. I should explain that the anecdotes about the rivalry between the local Tory matron chairman and our own LD loyalist head cook and bottle washer read like Don Camillo. :-)

  48. Howard
    So, reading between the lines, a merger or permanent coalition of LDs and Cons would be ok with you?

  49. There is an interesting little piece on PB this AM. It concerns the treatment of those questioned in the ComRes poll, who did not vote at the last GE. Labour has twice as many of this category in comparison with either of the other two parties. According to Mr Smithson this category are less “trustworthy” as voters and should be weighted down accordingly. Mr S claims ComRes do not carry out any such weighting, as do certain other pollsters. This might explain the difference with You Gov’s results. These have most certainly moved towards Labour over the last month, but still only show level pegging day in day out.

  50. Opinion polls are generally accompanied with the qualification that the poll is within 3% either way of the truth 95% of the time. Given the frequency of YouGov polls and the neglegable movement from poll to poll, the accuracy could be improved by polling twice as many people at a time but half as often (other than the polls are done to customer order, of course). What would the margin or error shrink to with twice the sample size?

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