ComRes has a new poll in tomorrow’s Independent, presumably their final call for the AV referendum. Topline referendum voting intention taking into account likelihood to vote and excluding don’t knows and won’t votes stands at YES 34%, NO 66%. 32 points is by far the largest lead we’ve seen for the NO campaign, up from 20 points in the last ComRes poll a week ago.

Standard voting intention figures meanwhile were CON 34%(-1), LAB 37%(-4), LDEM 15%(+2), Others 14%. Changes are from the previous ComRes telephone poll a month ago. This is the lowest Labour lead ComRes have shown in their telephone polls since last year, and the highest Lib Dem score any pollster except ICM have shown since last year.

The poll was conducted between Thursday and Sunday over the long bank holiday weekend – on that basis, I’d better add the same caveat I did to the TNS poll about being cautious about polls conducted over long bank holiday weekends that show unusual results. Wait and see if other polls show the same towering lead for AV – I expect we’ll have more to chew over tomorrow night.

Meanwhile we also have the daily YouGov figures (not conducted quite so much over the bank holiday weekend -fieldwork was yesterday afternoon to this afternoon!). Topline figures there are CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%.


148 Responses to “ComRes show landslide lead for NO2AV”

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  1. And the big thing is that this NO lead isn’t due to undersampling/low-recording of the Lib Dem share. If anything 15% LD is pretty strong. It must be a shift by Labour voters of significant degree.

    Bodes badly for the YES campaign – winning back Labour voters and tilting it off the back of higher Welsh and Scottish turnout was their best chance.

  2. So the verdict on the weather, the Royal Wedding and everything else is….. no effect…

  3. I think the shrinking enthusiasm for Yes2Av is symptomatic of the fact that its failing. Also a potential band wagon effect with no. Both culminate in exaggerating no lead. On that basis, I would not dismiss this ComR poll..

  4. “Bodes badly for the YES campaign”

    Masterful understatement.

    If AV is lost by anything close to that amount it will be a hand grenade into the Lib Dem leadership and the any future smooth running of the coalition.

    Even with better than expected polling and council results for the Lib Dems a big loss on AV would have big consequences.

  5. A 32 point lead.

    It is all over.

  6. YouGov 37/42/10 – pretty stable, so a disagreement with Comres. Doesn’t look good for Yes though.

  7. I wonder if Nick Clegg listens to Yes. Owner of a Lonely Heart perhaps.

  8. @Colin – from the Welsh thread, I would have to agree with you that my use of the term ‘off a cliff’ was a bit over the top, if I can use the term. I was short of time when I was writing the post and didn’t recheck what I had written.

    In partial defence, we did see the largest ever recorded fall in retail spending of 3.5% during the quarter, but other numbers, while generally poor, were less dramatic.

    In terms of most of the economy growing by 0.8% in Q1, the point I was trying to get across was that there was a clear bounce back for the first few weeks of the year, but then it has all gone into reverse. Manufacturing is now only growing through exports, and they are slowing down. The element based on advanced orders of the manufacturing data is the weakest, which spells bad news for the coming months. I strongly suspect that if January was stripped out of the figures, that 0.8% might look very shaky.

    When people like Howard Archer (Global Insight ex CBI) say the recovery is in real doubt, it’s clear something has changed.

  9. The British public do not like unnecessary elections. There is no interest in the public for changing the electoral system. It was forced upon the public as a sweetner to the LD’s to join the coalition.

    Huhne has been a embarrassment for the Yes vote. The LD’s have not been in power for 80 years. They join the big boys and then complain when the big boys play dirty. Huhne has to be sacked at re-shuffle.

  10. The funny thing is that under the current poll numbers Labour would win an outright majority with FPTP.. even though it’s the Tories campaigning for a Yes

  11. Following on from Mick Park’s comment (two threads back), and bearing in mind Peter Bell’s assertion that positioning on the NHS will be a more significant factor for LDs than the AV referendum result…

    One source of frustration for LDs in recent years vis a vis the Labour party has been that its leadership has talked reform but done nothing, however, the lesson may be that to push for a change in the voting system without laying the groundwork/choosing the right time to carry the public with you on this subject is ultimately self destructive.

    To have such a central policy plank (at times it has seemed to be the raison d’etre) of the party decisively rejected would be massively demoralising.

  12. 32% is a huge lead, and I wonder what the Lib Dem approach to Clegg will be if that is the result? I suspect there might be questions over whether he should have insisted on a referendum on PR rather than AV. This would not have guaranteed a win by any means, but would have immediately switched the fairness argument from the No to the Yes campaign – how can you argue a system that gives seats based on the proportion of votes isn’t fair? Nos would have had to rely entirely on practical points to make their case, although these still could have been enough.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but looking back I’m sure Clegg now wishes he told Cameron the deal was a vote on PR.

    Perhaps the referendum could have had FPTP, AV and PR, with voters having to rank the options in order of preference…….

  13. Alec

    “Perhaps the referendum could have had FPTP, AV and PR, with voters having to rank the options in order of preference…….”

    Are you mad????

    You are only allowed to do that if you live in a country where they all have to wear magnetic boots to stop them falling off the earth!!! – never believed that round world nonsense. :-)

  14. @Alec

    I am sure Nick Clegg did push for PR – it’s no secret that AV is by no means a first choice for LibDems. But AV was the only thing realistically on offer. I am quite sure that any type of voting reform is now off the agenda for the forseeable future.

  15. Looks like the BBC has got Cameron back for his interview on AM today – the BBC1 Tory PPB got stuck half way through apparently.

  16. @Tim – I think the criticism might be that he should have refused and held out for PR. What other option would Cameron have had? Don’t forget Cameron’s reaction to the news that Brown was talking to the Lib Dems – it was pure panic at Tory HQ that day.

  17. All the time AV referendum polls are predicting 90%+ turnout I’m taking them with an enormous pinch of salt.

    Remove the 60% of people who won’t go to the polling booth, and then what will happen?

  18. I don’t buy this lead, though obviously an uphill task for reformers and the last Yougov (10 pts) seen a swing back the other way. PR would have been easier to sell in many ways but the Conservatives made it clear in the negotiations they weren’t prepared to go any further and despite some reports unlikely Labour would have either though suppose you never know in the future.

  19. I’m not at all convinced that PR would have fared any better than AV in the referendum campaign. The British are instinctively reactionary. The real lesson for the LDs is that they need to persuade one of the Big Parties to adopt PR as a manifesto commitment if they are to ensure it is brought in without a referendum after the subequent election. That will take a very long time to achieve, and probably only Labour would ever succumb to the temptation.

    I suppose at least a Yes to PR referendum campaign would have exuded some sort of self-belief and enthusiasm.

  20. I don’t think Cameron could have offered PR even if he’d wanted to. Nor do I think the LibDem attacks on their Cabinet colleagues (by Clegg and Cable as well as Huhne) will have done them any harm. Maybe it’s what’s boosted their position in the ComRes poll!

  21. Mulling over the Labour decline in Scotland and the AV polls…something has struck me that hasn’t before maybe because I’m so slow these days…but if the SNP get anything like this result I assume we’ll have a Scottish referendum on Independence…. which could make life very difficult for the UK government…

    And like in UK in 1992 could this turn out to be an election Labour will be glad to lose…. in so far as from this point forward the SNP has no alibi for what’s to come in the way of cuts or tax rises in Scotland?

    None of this minimises the lessons and warnings for Labour and salient issue of Leadership but is merely a comment over and above that given….

    In the AV referendum a very bad result might make life much more difficult for Clegg than a narrow loss…as, in a sense, argued above for Scotland…

    Perhaps I’m being fanciful….but these might turn out to be very worrying election results for all three major parties….with the caveat ….not for the first time but perhaps…never quite in this conjunction…. of timings for subsequent elections given the changes caused by the 5 year parliamentary term…assuming the coalition last the full 5 years….

  22. The link to the ComRes tables is already up and here.

    http://www.comres.co.uk/independentavreferendumpollmay11.aspx

    On AV, they’ve found that Lab voters are now 60/40 for No, and Con voters are now even more solidly against than LDs are for, but only counting those 100% certain to vote (otherwise the gap is 20%). Interestingly they use a different weighted turnout filter for the GE voting intention, even though the sample of 1003 is the same.

    Some scepticism is still due over the ComRes poll on Westminster voting, I feel. How reliable is a poll conducted over a long bank holiday during which many weren’t at home and feelgood royal wedding celebrations dominated the entire news agenda?

    More generally, can anyone remember any point during which real politics (as opposed to AV) was actually prominent in the news over the past few weeks? I remember last Wednesday standing out, when the NHS and the GDP figures briefly intruded on the back of PMQs, but only because of the contrast with what went before (and since). The substantive policies pursued by Cameron and his ally Clegg over past months have virtually disappeared from the news agendas. Any poll on GE voting intentions conducted in this sort of context has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

  23. @Alec “what other option would Cameron have had?”

    He could have governed as a minority for a few months then gone back to the country for a second election which only the Tories would have had the funds to fight. The strength of Clegg’s position has been way overstated by many.

  24. I think a Yes to PR vote would be much closer. There are many diehard supporters – myself included – of all parties who cannot deny the logic and fairness of PR.

    AV simply fails on its merits – people aren’t stupid. So I do not think the failure of AV ought to close the door to PR by any means.

  25. BTW how does Anthony arrrive at a polling average of 34-38-14?

  26. It’s a sad time for democracy.

    The No Campaign has been everything we need to change about British politics- a ‘yah boo sucks’ sack of untruths with made up numbers and dying babies.

    Pretty depressing. It seems the Lib Dems have been stitched up. I am sure they will prevail one day; the Tories are a desperate lot without a large enough power base. This won’t change.

  27. “and bearing in mind Peter Bell’s assertion that positioning on the NHS will be a more significant factor for LDs than the AV referendum result…”

    Something I also ascribe to.
    The NHS reforms are colossal in every way. Politically, logistically and in their consequences.
    But how the Lib Dems approach them and their stance with their coalition partners on what to do about them will be seen through the lens of the AV result.

  28. The internals should be interesting. Somewhere around three-fifths, if not more, of Labour voters must surely be in the No camp.

  29. If you include the Don’t Knows there’s not that much of a change from the last ComRes poll on 26 April:

    26/4: 33/45/22 (Y/N/DK)

    28/4-1/5: 31/46/22

    Margin of error (according to ComRes): 3.05%

  30. I know I’m the one who kinda expresses some disbelief at the effect of the Royal Wedding but would the wedding over the weekend affect the polls if there were simply more Tories at home watching the royal wedding on tv (and there to pick up the phone) as opposed to the other parties who might be taking advantage of a vacation day?

    The thing is, these poll numbers aren’t really reflecting a major change from the beginning of the campaign. The yes vote has been where it’s been since the beginning of the poll. What’s simply happenned is that at the end of the campaign, the “don’t knows” have simply become no’s.

    @ Neil A

    “I’m not at all convinced that PR would have fared any better than AV in the referendum campaign. The British are instinctively reactionary. The real lesson for the LDs is that they need to persuade one of the Big Parties to adopt PR as a manifesto commitment if they are to ensure it is brought in without a referendum after the subequent election. That will take a very long time to achieve, and probably only Labour would ever succumb to the temptation.”

    I tend to agree. If there’s one thing I know about Brits, Brits like tradition and you guys don’t embrace change for the sake of change.

  31. The “no-ers” have quite a disparate “coalition of the unwilling”: traditionalists, those who like PR but dislike AV, those of the public who’ve heard the arguments and think it’s a daft system that nobody uses, those who wish to kick the incumbent, Nick Clegg or both.
    That’s quite a hefty chunk of votes all together.

    Against them the “yes” camp doesn’t have that much natural support. Whatever is left of LD support and whatever it can scrape together from people fed up with the old system. It does not seem anywhere enough at this point.

  32. Oh, regarding my previous comment, I meant the Labour voters who have decided one way or the another.

    I stick by my belief that the average Yes supporter is more likely to vote than the average No supporter. No will win, but by nowhere near as much as most of the polls are suggesting. 54%-46% is my prediction.

  33. Fascinating thought from Michael White in the Guardian today. While the Tories are desperate to retain FPTP and would see AV as a disaster for them, they haven’t actually won a decent working majority under FPTP since 1987 (Major in 92 lost the 11 seats that made his majority and needed Unionist support).

  34. @ Bobby501

    Ironically the Labour support for NO, combined with the boundary changes and the rise of the SNP gives David Cameron probably his best chance of getting a future parliamentary majority on as small a percentage of the vote as Labour needed to “win” in 2005.

  35. It hasn’t helped that the ‘Yes’ campaign has been so useless and the ‘No’ campaign so dishonest. Nor that it’s at a time when the LibDems are probably less popular than they have been for 40 years.

  36. Apologies for reposting this link (leaked note on scaling back of plans for outsourcing public services), but will a renewed focus on the deficit agenda/domestic policy (when it comes) lead to a perception of chaos, pragmatism, or the coalition muddling through?

    h
    ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13273932

  37. Clegg is the biggest problem for the Yes to AV campaign, followed by the Lib Dems themselves. During the start of this ConDem coalition the liberals have said a lot of stuff that have upset or offended Labour members and voters.

    It also doesn’t help that they are gerrymandering the electoral system, u-turned on a number of issues and are cutting everything to the bare bones.

  38. Alec — you’re quite right that FPTP isn’t much cop for the Tories either, it’s just that AV’s even worse.

    As Labour are plainly the prime beneficiaries of FPTP (a 60 seat majority with 35% – FFS – of the vote springs to mind) I think the Tories should grow the balls to introduce PR. What neutralises Labour will help the Tories in the long term.

  39. I think the main problem has been Labour politicians like Blunkett, Reid and Beckett. It’s always been the Labour voters that would decide the result.

  40. Half have voted already by post.
    I don’t see at this late stage wheeling out Eddie Gizzard and Victor Meldrew will help in anyway?
    It appears Chris Hulne is the new Victor Meldrew?

  41. @ Alec

    It is striking, as you flag up, that Tories not won big majority since ’87. But their campaigns have been pretty bad: including 2010 when their “great idea” was the “Big Society”. People have never stopped laughing.
    But the idea that Cameron could have sold a Referendum on PR to his party makes no sense.
    Lib-Dem tactics on AV equally inept. They need Labour support & so spend 12 months rubbishing Labour & alienating Labour voters. Amazing. & now Clegg & co call for progressive alliance: how could I vote Yes with this amount of provocation. .

  42. If you had any sense you’d keep Eddie Izzard, and those peculiar looking students and clapped out “celebs” in the cupboard,
    but I suspect they’ll come collapsing out of it and smash all the furniture.

  43. @Neil A
    “The real lesson for the LDs is that they need to persuade one of the Big Parties to adopt PR as a manifesto commitment if they are to ensure it is brought in without a referendum after the subequent election. That will take a very long time to achieve, and probably only Labour would ever succumb to the temptation.”

    Yes, that’s definitely a key lesson. But if Labour supporters are to won around to PR, the LDs have first got to be seen as likely allies rather than as being firmly in the opposing camp. For anything to happen before the next GE, a prerequisite would surely be that the LDs pull out of the coalition (i.e. minority Con government) and replace Clegg with someone other than from the Orange Book faction, who is seen as signalling a new direction. If so Miliband might well be willing to open negotiations.

    The sort of PR that might be attractive from a Labour perspective is one that made it likely that the LDs eventually split into left-leaning and right-leaning parties, to avoid the likelihood of a unified single centre party dictating terms to competing larger parties as part of its price in post election coalition negotiations (the spectre of a repeat of May 2010). I think the reformed Italian system is worth a look – it forces pre-election coalitions and rewards the winning coalition with top up seats additional to an initial proportional allocation. So you get stable government combined with a large dose of proportionality, with electors choosing between clearly predefined left or right leaning coalitions when they vote. It would be possible to do a deal along these lines IMO.

  44. @Billy Bob – interesting link. I had the impression when Cameron was in opposition that he was more the opportunist than the political visionary. To be fair, all oppositions are (and have to be, to a degree) opportunistic, but Cameron went beyond this. He didn’t, in my view, have any clearly definable political beliefs and broad policy thoughts that lasted for any significant length of time.

    Pre election he claimed that his would be the ‘best prepared government ever’, but as with ‘the greenest government ever’, it was good PR with not quite so much to back it up.

    This story appears to show a significant change to the procurement policy ideas after these were formed in government. This can’t be blamed on the coalition, as they are changing policies announced after the coalition was formed. I really think this government doesn’t actually know what it’s doing half the time and hasn’t yet learned to open the door before trying to walk into the room.

  45. I’m hoping for a “Yes” win, not simply because that’s how I intend to vote but because I love it when the polls are totally and utterly wrong! On this occasion, I think that Socalliberal has a definite point. I think that across all parties, traditionalists were more likely to watch the Royal Wedding and they are also more likely to vote “No”. Some other poll showed a 10% “No” lead the other day and I don’t think that opinion could change that quickly.

    I suspect that normal weighting by intention to vote won’t work this time. I think that in each election many people intend to vote but don’t and I think that phenomenon will be at its extreme in the referendum. I suspect that there will be a huge differential in turnout between those who favour “yes” and those who favour “no”. I still think that the result will be absurdly close. Of course, my opinion is only a gut feeling that doesn’t actually have any evidence to back it. We’ll just have to see what happens but my pre-count assessment of the Canadian election was quite good, I think.

  46. @RobbieAlive
    “Lib-Dem tactics on AV equally inept. They need Labour support & so spend 12 months rubbishing Labour & alienating Labour voters. Amazing. & now Clegg & co call for progressive alliance: how could I vote Yes with this amount of provocation.”

    Well said.

  47. @Robbiealive – “Lib-Dem tactics on AV equally inept. They need Labour support & so spend 12 months rubbishing Labour & alienating Labour voters. Amazing. & now Clegg & co call for progressive alliance: how could I vote Yes with this amount of provocation. .”

    First thing I would say is that we should all vote on the merits of the system, not on the basis of who is promoting which side.
    But essentially I agree with you. Clegg has learned a hard lesson (one that was pretty obvious to every poster here, and makes me question the value of a Westminster and Oxford education) namely, that he won’t get any favours from the Tories, in or out of coalition.

    Had the Lib Dems presented themselves as much more independent minded over the last twelve months, as opposed to the last three weeks as the AV polls moved against them, the calls for a progressive alliance would have sounded much more realistic.

    Since last May every single Lib Dem spokesperson has consistently parroted the Tory line that Labour very nearly caused the ultimate destruction of the entire known universe and there was nothing at all positive that happened between 1997 and 2010. No surprise that Labour voters just want to shaft them.

    Being cynical, politics is all about keeping options open. Especially for a small centre party.

  48. “If you had any sense you’d keep Eddie Izzard, and those peculiar looking students and clapped out “celebs” in the cupboard”

    You’re probably right. Apart from anything else they were targeting the wrong people. It’s the 60+ age group that is both most conservative and most likely to vote. They should have used someone like Martin Bell and kept the party politicians in the cupboard with Eddie Izzard.

  49. @Alec – “… hasn’t yet learned to open the door before trying to walk into the room.”

    Doh! ;)

    I’m guessing the attention on Gadhafi/Michael WinnerAbbottobad/AV/the locals/regionals etc is swirling around a fairly sizeable vacuum atm.

    “Flying by the seat of his pants” was and continues to be my uncharitable impression.

  50. Interesting that ComRes released a VI tonight also.. I had not noticed it at first..

    A 3% lead for reds with ComR
    A 0% lead for reds with MORI
    A 2% lead for reds with ICM
    An 11% lead for reds with MORI
    A 5% lead for reds with YG
    A 4% lead for reds with Populus
    A 3% lead for reds with Opinium

    It appears that on the 1 year anniversary of the Coalition Government that Labour will have a poll of polls lead of 4%.

    Auld Angus have blues on 31%, some have blues on 37%

    The red range runs from 37% – 42%:

    The 37% for Labour with ComR is their lowest with ComR in 2011. This might concern reds but hopefully when Sottish polling is out of the way, their share of the vote in Scotland will pick up again

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