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. support for Scottish independence only 22% in latest ipsos-mori Scotland poll – this is pretty bad for Salmond – he said the SNP in Government would increase support for seperation. it has done the exact opposite. http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2706

  2. Sorry, too many typos…

    Just heard that VC has said he will abstain on the tuition fees vote. Quite astonishing and bizarre given that he heads the department that has responsibility for the proposals and of recommending them to the House.

    You couldn’t make it up!

  3. @virgilio “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.”

    I agree save I think it is too early to assess the impact of the cuts. Let’s come back to this question in six months and then twelve months’s time.

    If it is 1980/1 revisited then Tories could plumb the depths. If Labout moves into mid 40s it will be energised and could land some decent blows which it hasn’t so far.

  4. @Roland H
    Here’s what I posted earlier on the PB site in response to the thread you referred to:

    “Let’s turn it around. In 2001 and much more so in 2005 and 2010, turnout amongst Labour core supporters (especially C2DEs) plummeted as disillusion with the party set in. New Labour’s strategy was that these voters had no-one else to vote for as it played to the middle classes, but a significant number of former voters just stayed at home.

    Some of these non-voters may just be returning to the fold, prompted by the experience of Conservatives in government and Miliband’s efforts to move away from New Labour. If this is happening, you would expect something similar to the pattern highlighted on the thread.

    Put it another way. If ICM are routinely and heavily downweighting former non-voters in a uniform manner, might their published polls be missing a pick up in voting intention amongst Labour’s former core support?

    In practice, you have to form a judgement rather than assume that support amongst former non-voters won’t materialise. My judgement? I suspect it’s a bit of both. ComRes might still be overstating Labour support a bit, but ICM might well be understating it.”

  5. with typos corrected

    @virgilio “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.”

    I agree save I think it is too early to assess the impact of the cuts. Let’s come back to this question in six months and then twelve months’ time.

    If it is 1980/1 revisited then Tories could plumb the depths. If Labour moves into mid 40s it will be energised and could land some decent blows which it hasn’t so far.

  6. Mike N
    I don’t know why people feel a need to read between lines when they read my posts. If the Tories adopt all LD policies then i see no need for separate parties, as with CDU /CSU in Germany

    The point of separate parties is that there are separate policies (e.g. Student fees :-) ).

    Actually i didn’t know it was Tory policy to put them up. Any Tory here know? Clearly it’s Labour policy, otherwise I can’t see why it commissioned the Browne Report and did not delete that possibility from the terms of reference.

    I have wondered why there is no effect on Tory VI on the student fee issue and only on LD VI when many middle class Con voters cannot be very happy surely?

  7. Howard
    “The point of separate parties is that there are separate policies…”.

    Ok, but do you think then that if the LD leadership advocated to the membership either a merger or a permanent coalition this would be accepted?

    The reason for pursuing this is simply that there is apparently some part of the Cons that would welcome merger or coalition. Does this damage or improve support for the LDs, do you think?

  8. Mike N

    Excepting the circumstance that i just mentioned (or even most of the policies being the same perhaps) I imagine that from an anecdotal but expansive knowledge of my colleagues, that the said Leader would be told to go and get stuffed, in fact would become an ex-Leader.

    We shouild hold a poll!!

  9. @PHILL
    Good stuff and much appreciated.

  10. @IAN C
    I am aware that this will be seen as the rantings of a crazed right wing mentalist, because it dares to question your pro Labour thinking. But here goes, in 6 12 or 18 months, the majority of people will still know as they know now, why all these cuts. It is the majority view that the deficit needs to be reduced and it is the majority view that Labour caused the problem by spending money we did not have.

  11. Howard
    “…the said Leader would be told to go and get stuffed, in fact would become an ex-Leader”

    Ok, but if it became apparent that the LDs faced near extinction at the next GE, would this help to persuade the LD membership to accept merger/permanenet coalition with the Cons?

    And, if the LDs like yourself can accept a coalition now with the Cons on the grounds that the LDs are getting some parts of their policies implemented, then why wouldn’t you be willing to accept a permanent coalition with the Cons so that there is increased chance of more LD policies being implemented?

    You then said:
    “We shouild hold a poll!!”

    Would this be a poll of UKPR LDs? And what would be the question(s)?

  12. No i am only interested in polls, not voodoo polls Mike!

    I don’t rule out another / Con coalition if Con is the largest party (or we are, and they second :-) )

    There is a serious point here and that is the comparison of policies. Before the last election you could go to the Plymouth University web site to find out who was most in accord with your views. You could also discover whether what you thought were a certain party’s policies indeed were.

    Neil A has often teased us with his ‘process of elimination’ questions, which seek to uncover the very fibre of your prejudices (gives rise to Sue’s blog name, oh dear i shall get all emotional now).

    I think it emerges that there is a difference between what might be called party policy and what is termed ‘tribal loyalty’.

    I was convinced that Tories ate babies for breakfast but DC has not only turned around his party but worked on the rest of us as well. In the end the proof is in the pudding and there is a difference between GE outcomes and subsequent policy development.

    I really don’t think the majority of Labour voters in 1997 thought that the government would become a right wing one. Oddly enough, that made DC’s job easier. The only ‘right wing’ policy I can think of so far is the immigration one but that seems to be sinking in the west before it even got going (much more of what is reported earlier in this thread will see to that one)

  13. Doug Stanhope

    It’s pretty much no change since the Mori poll a year ago on this – except that 2% have shifted to independence from the enhanced powers position.

    What is most interesting is how the debate has changed over the last 10 years.

    Only 32% are content with the status quo, and only 1% have “some other view” (almost certainly those who wish to see the Scottish Parliament abolished completely).

    A year ago, Anthony assumed that the “further powers” meant Calman. Surveys have shown that 60% of Scots actually want control over taxation, the benefits system etc., so the “extra powers” position covers a wide range of opinion.

  14. i heard on the radio(norwegian) that today is st Andrews day, can i just say to the Scottish contingent

    have a very happy st Andrews day

    i shall sit here waving my little homemade Scottish flag for the rest of the evening

  15. Howard
    ” really don’t think the majority of Labour voters in 1997 thought that the government would become a right wing one”

    I don’t agree that the Lab gov became rightwing. But it depends on where each of us thinks is the ‘centre’, I suppose.

    “but DC has not only turned around his party but worked on the rest of us as well”

    He is a salesman. Behind DC however is the real Con party. Whether it will ever emerge again remains to be seen.

    “… think it emerges that there is a difference between what might be called party policy and what is termed ‘tribal loyalty’”

    Aye, which it makes it all the more interesting to see how the coalition shapes and remoulds the mindsets of everyone and in particular the LDs.

  16. MIKE N

    If the architect of the fees policy (the blessed Vince) abstains on his own policy he’ll be a laughiing stock and the LIb Dems reputation will fll even further.

    Thinking about your debate with Howard about whether the LIb Dems might merge with the Tories, there must be a chance of a split with some Cleggites joining theTories but the bulk of the partyy and its activists will fight tooth and nail to ensure a future for the party they love. There could come a point well before 2015 when the Lib Dems see a break with the coalition as the only way to ensure a future for their partyy.

  17. @ Howard

    I am not sure which measure you are using to declare this conservative government centrist, but if i look at the most important area, the economy, I see a very right wing government. Probably the most right wing since the war. Education policy ditto, approach to the NHS very right wing.

    I do agree with you’re definition of Blair’s as right wing though again using the measure of economic policy.

  18. DavidB
    “If the architect of the fees policy (the blessed Vince) abstains on his own policy he’ll be a laughiing stock and the LIb Dems reputation will fll even further”

    Aye. And how can DC or NC allow VC to do this? Surely, in any (other) government the PM would sack the Minsiter in question. If VC does this and gets away with it, what sign does it send to other Ministers whether Con or LD? DC has been criticised by some for allowin some Ministers too much scope and slack on polcit announcements.

    “There could come a point well before 2015 when the Lib Dems see a break with the coalition as the only way to ensure a future for their partyy.”

    I agree. But not sure that all LD MPs will desert the coalition.

  19. Oops

    “polcit” is not a word I know, Try “policy”

    Sorry

  20. RiN

    Thanks for that.

    St Andrews Day is a discretionary public holiday in Scotland, but few took it.

    St Andrew (also the patron saint of Russia) has taken revenge by sending blasts of Siberian air in our direction, so much of Scotland is off work by his command.

  21. GrahamBC
    Centrist or not?

    The best person to ask that is a Con supporter.

    He / she should be asked

    Do you want UK in the EU (probably even better to ask ‘England’).

    Do you think prisoners are treated too leniently and are punishments adequate?

    Are the police doing their job or just wasting our money, sitting in offices and swanning around in cars?

    Do we allow too many foreigners in?

    and so on….. (I didn’t mention scroungers because we all hate them at the moment)

    I suppose you could do a Plymouth Uni quiz on them and ask them if they agree with UKIP policies (without mentioning UKIP) and see what you get.. It’s not the tribal stuff of Neil A but I think I know where the answers would lie.

    Then ask yourself ‘what is the real effect of LD presence in the government’?

  22. @Amber

    You said “…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…”

    Er, we had enormously and unprecedently cheap and easy credit during New Labour’s time in office (if you want a Beeb source for this then Paul Mason is very readable and accessible, otherwise I’l have to go ONS and I don’t want to pile through graphs/spreadsheets) – it’s not just a function of the interest rates, but also a function of to whom the loans are made. The reason why the acronym “ninja loans” (no income, no job, no assets) was invented was because credit was extended to people who had no chance of paying them back, ever, ever, ever, the phrase “liar loans” entered the lexicon, and and we had Northern Rock giving people mortgages of 120%LTV. We can have a productive discussion on whether this was Labour’s fault (oh yes it was, but I assume you have a different POV) but saying it didn’t happen is like saying 1944-1945 was a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity in Berlin.

    @Colin Green

    You said “…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?…”

    Oh lord, now you’re asking…the answer is something like this:

    1) The margin of error at 95% is (according to Wikipedia) half the size of the confidence interval at 95%
    2) The size of the confidence interval at 95% is plus-or-minus 1.96 times the square root of the variance
    3) The variance is “blah” divided by the sample size(ish), where “blah” is…too complicated for this explanation
    4) So if the sample size doubles, the variance is approx half of its original size
    5) If the variance is approx half of its original size, then the size of the confidence interval at 95% is approx “the square root of half” of its original size, and the margin of error at 95% is also approx “the square root of half” of its original size.
    6) “The square root of half” is very approximately 0.7

    So if the margin of error before you doubled your sample was 3% either way, then the margin of error after doubling your sample would be very approximately 2.1% either way.

    This is why polling organisations try not to increase their sample size: it’s a lot of money for little benefit.

    (Disclaimer: this calculation is done on an ad-hoc basis, has not been checked, and I do not vouch for its accuracy)

    Regards, Martyn

  23. @HOWARD
    You made a point about further coalitions with the Tories “if they are the largest party”. This concept of supporting the party which obtain the most seats in Westminster, seems beyond Labour’s understanding.
    The LDs by definition are always going to hold the balance of power in a hung parliament, unless he/she has a bloody good reason, the LD leader must support the nearest thing to the “peoples choice”. On the occasion of the last GE, Labour supporters on this board were quite prepared to dismiss the additional 3 million Tory votes over and above Labour. Nick Clegg did the right thing, he could have refused to do business with anybody, but what would that have made the LDs look like ? The markets were going berserk as it was, what Clegg could not do, based on the results of the election, was deal with Labour.

  24. @MIKE N & DAVID B
    The Bob the Builder and the Red Flag video you have produced this afternoon is rather silly. When, after the Uni Fees vote, the coalition carries on as usual, will you both post the board and say you were wrong?

  25. @ Howard

    “it’s the Economy, stupid”

    Surely Clinton’s most true words, the Government economic policy is very right wing.

  26. @ Roland

    Do you think it was possible for the Lib Dems to agree to let the Tories run a minority government without joining it as a Coalition partner?

    I think that a Lib-Lab pact would not have worked very well because it was clear that the electorate wanted a break from Labour and Gordon Brown.

  27. @GrahamBC,

    By the standard I assuming you’re judging “right wing” (ie a diet of cuts, cuts and more cuts, with cuts for dessert) then a new Labour government in 2010 would also have been extremely right wing.

    Sometimes circumstances dictate the tenor of your policy agenda. After all, the Irish Green party probably doesn’t consider itself to be the party of swingeing public sector cutbacks.

  28. @ Amber much, much earlier

    Don’t worry, you are right about the interest rates. It was not the government policy – simply that was the way to pump up aggregated demand once the inflation was pushed down. The only other alternative would have been a budget deficit of the size of today without the recession. I’m afraid, this is what the US and the UK has been struggling with at least since the second world war. The US is ahead in the sense that they used the easy credit card access in the 1960s, the easy personal and consumer loan in the 1980s and they go to the easy mortgage in the second half of the 1990s in combination with securitisation. The UK is still about 10 years behind.

    The government knows, rightly, that without institutional changes somebody has to go into debt and it is proposing that the firms should do it right now (and hopes that Christmas spending would push the personal debt up again).

    It’s a simple and straightforward consequence of the type of capitalism that is built here and in the US (though there are differences). If you want something else, the changes required cannot be politically contemplated (a full scale downgrading of the City, complete retraining of the banking sector so they could make credit worthiness assessment, directing engineers and other middle manager level business people to banking, creating compulsory and binding agreements at sector level between firms and unions, with prohibitingly high penalties to those who don’t follow), renewing Peter M’s policies from the last 12 months, making redundancies impossible except for the case of reorganisation or shutting down, reducing wage differences within one sector to about 15%, etc.

    So this is not possible.

    Thus someone will have to go debt… Business complains that they don’t get loans (which is true, but they didn’t really get before either) and they don’t really want to borrow either. So – either the government (as somebody rightly commented earlier, there is a good chance that government debt will increase) or back to the consumers…

  29. Unless people can cough up some objective way of measuring it*, discussion of whether a party or government is left-wing, right-wing, etc is definitely outside the comments policy here.

    (*I rather like the Comparative Manifesto Project, but by definition it is more a measure of how left or right what parties say is, rather than how left or right what they do is.)

  30. Graham BC
    ‘It’s the economy stupid’.

    That’s not a policy, it;s a ‘given’ (as the same American would say – they do not know the difference between an adjective and a noun over there).

    If ‘right wing’ is juggling with the chance that reducing deficit will hasten a recession, then my only query is ‘what is not right wing then?’.

    It’s noticeable that the Labour front bench is almost silent on the issue since the election.

    I gave above, a group of right wing policies, none of which included grappling with fiscal issues. If you could instance a present government policy of transferring a public economic activity to private enterprise, I could, under intellectual duress, regard that as ‘right wing’, possibly..

    It’s bullying other people that’s the stuff of ‘right wing’. Ditto ‘left wing’. Trying to order others’ lives is the essence of the wings.

  31. Sorry AW if I went beyond but I re-rewad and i don’tr think it was too bad – it did try to examine the concepts.

  32. ExceptI I forgot to run the spellchecker!

  33. @SOCAL LIBERAL
    The two coalition members could have had a loser arrangement, but with hindsight, that would have given their detractors more to whinge about. This is a “kosher” partnership as it stands.

    As for your view re Lib/Lab, I could not agree more.
    I dont think Ed Balls destroyed it because he is a stupid bullying oaf. He is a clever guy and he did not want it.

  34. @ Roland

    While I think that Labour should have gone for it in May and make more out of it (of a failed set of negotiations), but there was no way LibDems would have not bargained beyond what was acceptable to Labour, I agree with you that Labour has been making sure since June that they make everything that could break the LibDem party or slice off what they could have from it.

    I also agree that in many ways two things are growing together who belong to each other in the coalition.

  35. I apologise to colleagues. My post crossed with Anthony’s.

  36. @LASZLO

    “I also agree that in many ways two things are growing together who belong to each other in the coalition.”

    This seems like an Anglicised version of an old Magyar
    proverb about love and marriage!

  37. Martyn,

    I use a sample size calculator to assist in my job (QA).

    You are correct about the effect of increasing the sample size and the effect on margin of error. To increase size of sample to half the margin error requires an exponentially larger and larger sample.

    I have one question for Anthony probably…

    When calculating MOE for a given sample size, what is the standard deviation value used? How is it obtained?

  38. Here is an online sample size calculator for anyone mad enough ;-)

    ht tp://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm

  39. “The two coalition members could have had a loser arrangement…”

    Some might observe that this is exactly what the arrangemnt is.

    ;-)

  40. @MIKE N
    Some might observe that if the coalition raised the average wage in Britain to £87,000-45p PA, built 289 new hospitals, 19,000 new schools and had 9 people registered unemployed, they still would not get support from certain persons.

  41. @ Roland,

    The two coalition members could have had a loser arrangement…
    ——————————————-
    They have, his name is Nick Clegg. ;-)

    I know you meant looser but I couldn’t resist making a lame joke about it. 8-)

  42. Yes but they didn’t ( a looser arrangement).

  43. @AMBER
    Mike N beat you to it, and Howard answered it, they didn’t. They consummated their love in the eyes of God, not some living together for a few months Labour arrangement. BTW Amber, I miss you when you are not around, the Labour contributions now are fantasising about Vince Cable joining UKIP and picking up typo’s.

  44. @ Martyn, Robert in France, Neil A.

    You all are comparing base interest rates – not the rates that people actually pay.

    You are comparing UK to UK year on year; as opposed to comparing what our economic equals/ competitors’ interest rates are.

    You are not considering what is know as “real rates of interest” – i.e. the gap between interest less inflation.

    Take the real rates that people & businesses were actually paying. You will find that credit was by no means ‘cheap’ during the New Labour years.

    What did change, IMO, is people’s ability & willingness to borrow for short-term goods with rolling credit (e.g. credit cards, over-drafts etc) that effectively became long-term debt.
    8-)

  45. @ Laszlo

    Don’t worry, you are right about the interest rates.
    ————————————————–
    Thank you :-) I was beginning to think I had fallen down a rabbit hole & folks would be calling me Alice.
    8-)

  46. I looked up the Tory policy on tuition fees and they have nothing to be coy about.. The actual policy is so coy (see Policy page under University and skills) that they could have done anything they liked with Browne. Incidentally, they do not have a heading ‘Education’.

    Labour policy is so vague it’s absent. They now have a page called ‘Campaign Engine Room’ (groan). There is no mention anywhere of a page called Policy (full marks to Con).

    LD has a policy page (‘what we stand for’) which hastily updates the reader on the abstention vote policy but to its credit includes the link to the page where it states it will abolish the fees.

    I invite colleagues to look at these pages and reach their own conclusions.

  47. Now here is a question to please Anthony by returning to polling.

    The last two yougov polls are virtually identical as far as voting intentions goes. The goverment approval rating varies wildly – and I genuinely can’t understand it.

    I would have guessed that there must be links between whether or not you approve of a government and whether or not you will vote for it. If the approval rating variance is down to one of the polls being an outlier then surely there would also be a big difference in voting intentions.

    I can feel a sharp intake of breath from the clever folk among you – please go easy on me, my interest in politics is not matched by a deep understanding of polling theory. Also I not too sure how to spell outlier!

  48. Amber you wrote:
    ‘What did change, IMO, is people’s ability & willingness to borrow for short-term goods with rolling credit (e.g. credit cards, over-drafts etc) that effectively became long-term debt.’

    That’s fact Amber not opinion (imo ;-) ).

    The clue lies in the inability of governments, since Lawson, to contemplate a credit squeeze. He was correctly described as a ‘one armed bandit’ by economists and his recession was a real one as even Lord Young would agree.

  49. Ian from L
    Breath of fresh air. I think the difference lies in personal gain aspiration and the general idea of what’s right. If you like greed vs charity.

  50. @ Neil A, Rober in France, Martyn

    So what changed to make property prices rise so high?

    Banks lending based on salary multiples increased.

    Women in Britain (& ROI) were catching up with men in the number who worked full-time & in their earnings level. Women will spend money to get the right house, in the right area. It is the most important material possesion in our lives. All those rising, ‘second’ salaries were poured into buying homes – & shoes, of course, lots of shoes. ;-)

    That, my friends, is what caused the housing boom. Interest rates had nothing to do with it.

    So why keep them low now then? Because people already have the high mortgages, putting interest rates up would mean there wouldn’t be enough money to pay the mortgage & buy shoes.

    If we don’t buy the shoes, the retail market faces shrinking sales & a potential downward spiral as retail & transport workers are laid off.

    If we buy the shoes & can’t pay the mortgage, the banks won’t be happy – remember, changes in the rate doesn’t affect them much; their spread (mark-up) is still the same – or even higher – despite the customer paying a bit less interest.

    This is the economy in the real world. Where social changes combine with economic changes to create new paradigms. Governments, of any colour, struggle to keep up as economic theory is based on “rational” not social behaviour. 8-)

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