There is a new Angus Reid voting intention poll out, topline figures are CON 31%, LAB 42%, LDEM 11%, Others 16%. This is the lowest figure any company has shown for the Conservatives since the height of Cleggmania last year, but Angus Reid have been showing consistently lower levels of support for the Conservatives than other pollsters anyway. So far the only other companies to put the Conservatives below 35% are a single Opinium poll showing them at 34% at the end of March, and a couple of YouGov’s daily polls in early March when they briefly dropped to 33/34% before recovering.

The difference would appear to be connected to a higher score for “other” parties – this is something we also saw during the last Parliament, when newer online companies like Angus Reid, Opinium and Harris tended to show significantly higher levels of support for “other” parties. Harris aren’t conducting regular polls at the moment, but we are certainly seeing the same pattern reappearing with Angus Reid and Opinium (though it seem to have different knock on effects – Angus Reid are showing higher “others” and lower Conservatives. Opinium are showing higher “others” and lower Labour.) I’ve never been able to come up with an obvious explanation of why newer online companies would produce higher “other” scores than phone pollsters or YouGov.

The normal YouGov/Sun poll will be out later tonight at 10pm. We are also overdue the monthly Populus telephone poll for the Times, though perhaps their online AV poll earlier this month was instead rather than in addition too.

72 Responses to “Angus Reid – CON 31, LAB 42, LDEM 11”

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  1. jayblanc

    Isn’t that what all the award-winning nobel prize winning economists predicted would happen if you went for slash and burn?

    The only surprise is that it is happening so quickly. The cuts only really begin to kick in now. The only real influence so far has been fear and lack of confidence.

    We need a complete rethink and we need it quick.

    I think.

    Mind you, whatever policies we have adoptied or will adopt we would be in for a rough ride. Unless you are rich.

  2. It’s all very well this turning a supertanker around but what if the Captain has misread his compass and is heading straight for an iceberg?

  3. The others do seem a little high, but it would not surprise anyone if they were close to the actual figures, is this the disenchanted LDs now showing movement after holding on to see what, if anything, was going to happen inside the LDP…

    The next few polls will be interesting to see if people are taking any interest in the BRC reports (biggest sales drop in its history) or if they are being ignored, I think people are now becoming aware of their own family budget losses and the fragility of their own economy bubble in relation to the economy as a whole.

    I would expect to see at least a little more movement against the government as we get closer to LE.

  4. I seem to remember either last month’s or the month before’s inflation being a surprise (as in higher than expected) – perhaps this is just getting us back onto a longer term movement?

    Mind you I have seen several things in the last few weeks that suggest another downturn, certainly not steadily onwards and upwards.

  5. @Nick P

    I hope that GO realises the implications of a sudden drop in Inflation, and doesn’t just think “Oh good, we don’t have to put up interest rates yet”. But GO has a 2:1 in “Modern History”, which in Oxford terms means “anything between the 16th and 18th century”, so he didn’t study the Great Depression.

    It is hard to see him reversing his staked out position on the economy at this point, without direct intervention by DC or NC.

    Unfortunately, the overtures from economists, and even big business starting to get skittish, start to echo the attempts to get Hoover to veto the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.

  6. A double dip should be fatal for the chancellor. But DC can’t sack him…so fatal for the government?

    April 27th…the coalition’s black wednesday sandwiched between Easter and the grotesque flaunting of wealth and privilege that is the Royal Wedding.

  7. Like Jay, I would read the ‘good’ news on inflation as potentially a perverse confirmation of bad news. The news of the narrowing of the trade deficit could also fit this narrative if it is based on shrinking imports, although I haven’t checked the make up of the stats.

    The fall in inflation is being read as retailers reacting to the slump in retail spending. Alongside record factory gate and input cost prices, it looks very like the inflation fall is coming from squeezed margins, meaning lower profits, lower tax revenues and possibly lower employment and investment.

    It may be that Osborne was so effective in frightening people that when the cuts actually come confidence will bounce back to a degree, but I doubt it. The drop in real living standards has been the motor for the slump so far, and I think that cuts will only add to this.

    If falling confidence becomes a self reinforcing cycle we are in deep trouble.

  8. Let’s talk recovery.

    What we need is a plan that not only will improve things but most of all people will BELIEVE will work.

    A sort of New Deal.

    I don’t think it is a party political thing any more. Ideology on both sides will lead nowhere.

    It’s not a Plan B we need…it’s a Plan that people believe will lead to growth. At the moment noby believes things will improve partly because the cuts were justified by the repeated mantra that we are on the edge of an abyss.

    Problem is, we are edging towards the abyss not roaring away from it.

  9. TGB, such tales are a promotional dream for the bookmaking industry. Are you on commission? I certainly hope so! ;)

    Another tidbit from behind The Times’ paywall: Iain Gray interview where he backs new nuclear stations in Scotland. That’ll help the Green Group support his FM nom. Not.

  10. ALEC

    “The news of the narrowing of the trade deficit could also fit this narrative if it is based on shrinking imports,”

    Yep- U.K. total trade deficit narrowed to 2.44 billion pounds ($4 billion) in February from 3.86 billion pounds in January. The goods-trade gap shrank to 6.78 billion pounds from 7.79 billion pounds as exports rose 1.3 percent and imports fell 2.2 percent.

    Good news.

    Looks like the fall in inflation is , as you say, largely UK retailer margins reduction.

    With RPI at 5.3% the average family will say there is a long way to go yet before the inflationary squeeze on households is relaxed…particularly if you have electricity & gas bills …and who hasn’t ?

  11. Isn’t the reduction of the trade gap because nobody is buying anything except food and essentials?

    Such a big shrinkage seems likely to foreshadow shatteringly bad GDP figures for Q1.

  12. Question –
    This may seem like an incredibly stupid question, so humour me.

    Inflation is bad because it pushes up cost of living, which hurts demand of other products and services.
    Lower demand means lower growth.

    So wouldn’t price deflation lead to increased spending?

    I know, I’m an idiot, but please, humour me.

    Also – University of Sheffield to charge full £9000.
    Not looking good for Nick’s promise that £9000 would be the exception.
    Especially bad for Clegg, considering his seat’s in Sheffield.
    Could that see a slight drop in the 18-24 support for LibDems? (to make an actual polling comment)

  13. The trade gap fall is likely due to falling demand for consumer goods, which fits with the manufacturing data. Colin is right in saying this is good news, but only up to a point. The export data is good news pure and simple, but the fall in exports is necessary, but maybe just not yet. Right now, it’s more a symbol of the wider issues rather than a signal for a much needed rebalancing.

    Where I think big mistakes are being made is in the old fashioned monetarist assumption that reducing government spending will inevitably lead to faster business growth. We are already seeing upward wage pressure in certain sectors and the idea that there is piles of spare capacity in the economy looks questionable, certainly in the export areas we need to promote. Osborne has stripped out many capital investment tax breaks and cut research and R&D support in favour of CT rate reductions and tax breaks for multinational finance operations, with his changes affecting small businesses in particular. I think these are fundamental errors of strategy. He is actually hurting the productive economy while favouring chasing global capital, a move that has some limited revenue advantages but little impact on jobs and the real economy.

  14. Under deflation, spending falls. Why buy something today when it will be cheaper tomorrow? People horde cash and the economy collapses.

  15. The only sense in which the next lot of GDP figures will look good is in comparison to the last set. Although I am prepared to be surprised, and I don’t think it will be a pleasant one.

    Price deflation would increase spending a little. There has to be spare money to spend and confidence that the money won’t be desperately needed for something vital (like food, for instance) in the near future.

  16. Mick Park – “However the May elections will inevitably be used as the most solid metric to which all the recent polling will be held.”

    Not round here they won’t, we maintain some levels of intellectual integrity! While journalistic coverage of polling is not normally particularly good, they rarely make that mistake either (the only journalists who bother to write about the minutae of polls understand the difference).

    Roger – it shouldn’t be party ID/past vote – if it was we should see higher others with the phone pollsters, plus the YouGov party ID weights are still determined with reference to past vote. The party ID targets are set at levels that should produce roughly the correct recalled votes.

    The level of weighting that YouGov need to use is a canard – the unweighted figures purely represent the proportions of emails YouGov sends out, adjusted by the response rate. So a high downward weight on others tells us only one thing… we are sending too many emails to others.

    Panel quality may be a cause (if perhaps, newer, smaller panels are picking up to many erm, rather keen internet activists) but it’s not something that can really be tested or measured at all, so I’m reluctant to speculate about it.

  17. Tinged,

    there is no such thing as a stupid question :) And yours are certainly of a good standard.

    I’ll let one of UKPR’s financial whizzes answer it for you :)

  18. @ Tinged Fringe

    So wouldn’t price deflation lead to increased spending?
    No, the price deflation is due to falling disposable incomes.

    That’s the ’10 word answer’. I can elaborate, if you’d like me to.

  19. TINGED

    I think that there is a problem with taking any one indicator by itself. If there was price deflation you have to ask what was causing it before you can understand it’s impact.

    Take our current rate of inflation. Historically it’s pretty low, but when you combine it with recessionary pressures, low wage inflation, and rock bottom consumer confidence (amongst other things) it doesn’t look so good.

    On another note, I suspect GO is going to be saved from a double dip – only just, but I think there has been just about enough growth to avoid that second quarter of negativity. Of course it still feels like a recession…

  20. The economic picture is all very consistent. The trade gap is shrinking because we are buying fewer imported consumer goods and because our exports are rocketing – up 20% in the past year. Consumers have been hit because the artificial benign climate engineered by Brown to disguise the real economic situation has now worn off.

    In a simple Keynesian economic analysis, demand in the economy equals Consumer Spending + Govt Spending + Investment + (Exports – Imports). The economy has been unbalanced towards the first two, with not enough business investment and net exports. My guess is net exports are going to be a bigger driver than expected, simply because imports are tumbling.


    If inflation does come down, then yes, the real value of people’s wages goes up and they can buy a greater volume of goods. With wages growing 2.3% a year, clearly inflation will have to fall a long way before their real incomes start rising again and any kind of feelgood factor emerges. At the earliest this is likely to be the second half of 2012, depending on commodity/oil prices.

  21. @ Amberstar

    Price inflation/deflation can come both from the supply side and the demand side.

  22. @Amber Star

    “No, the price deflation is due to falling disposable incomes.”

    We have an interesting economic situation emerging which contains a lot of factors that are pulling in opposite directions, sometimes producing welcome developments, other times not. As Robert C has said there are supply and demand side contributors to inflation and while cost-push inflation is gathering strength, fuelled by factory gate and energy price rises (fuel, gas, electricity, transport, raw materials, VAT hike etc), demand-pull pressures are forcing some retail prices (food, clothing, white goods etc) downwards. This downward pressure has arisen from reduced purchasing power that has caused falling consumer demand. Retailers have reacted by squeezing their margins and slashing prices to maintain demand levels. Low interest rates have helped keep mortage repayments costs down and have also reduced the value of the pound, making imports more expensive (and less competitive) and exports cheaper (and more competitive). Assuming the manufacturing sector is vibrant enough to take advantage, this can only have a beneficial effect on the balance of payments. We export more, taking advantage of growing overseas economies, and we import less due to more expensive imported goods and reduced spending power in the domestic economy. A classic conjunction of micro and macro-economic theory, in effect. This is how capitalist economies tend to behave and the policy instruments that have generated the more benign economic consequences from amongst this mix (low interest rates, lower exchange rate, quantative easing, employment protection, hiring incentives etc) were in place, albeit with time lagging effects, before Osborne entered Number 11.

    Now, where is the good and bad news in all of this? Export growth, if maintained, is very good news for employment generation, corporate profitability, tax takes and real wealth generation. So far, so good. Lower imports reduce potential inflationary pressures that may arise from higher priced overseas goods entering our domestic market. Again so far, so good. Then it gets trickier. If a good deal of the counter inflationary effect that is now mitigating the gathering cost pull pressures is arising from a collapse in domestic consumer demand, then that is worrying. Squeezed margins means reduced profitability for retailers and threatens investment, long-term viability and employment. Do you see the vicious circle starting to tighten? Consumer confidence, based on reduced living standards, lower purchasing power and shrinking job security, continues to fall, thereby reducing spending and demand yet further. Unemployment continues to rise, company failures increase, government revenues fall and social security payments rise. Growth stalls and the deficit widens despite the public spending cuts that were designed to reduce it. That way lies a stagnation and the Japanese economy of the last 15 years offers sobering lessons.

    The dog that isn’t barking at present is wage-push inflation which, in past inflationary times, has been a major contributor to cost-push inflation. Prices rise, wages rise, prices rise etc etc. I wonder if it might become a factor though, although reduced trade union bargaining power and high unemployment may counter it’s likely reappearance. Where is Jack Jones when you need him??!!

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