There are two new polls tonight, both with good news for the Conservatives, though neither are particularly significant in themselves.

ComRes’s monthly telephone poll for the Independent has topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 12%(+1), Others 15%. The changes from the last ComRes telephone poll at the start of the month are not significant in themselves, but it’s the first time that ComRes have shown the Conservatives ahead since October last year.

Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll in the Sun has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 41%, LDEM 8%. In the last week YouGov’s daily poll has had a very steady six point lead for Labour, it’s been three weeks since it was as low as two points. I’ll urge my usual caution about polls showing movement – sure, it could be the start of a trend, but it could also just be normal sample error.

220 Responses to “New ComRes and YouGov polls”

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  1. Martyn

    Thanks for that.

  2. I’m surprised people are scrambling for US treasuries after the debt ceiling kurfuffle earlier in the year. Can’t put the genie back in the bottle and it’ll be a political battleground from now on. I think The Tea Party faction would force a default if they thought Obama would get all the blame.

  3. @Oldnat

    You’re welcome.

    Regards, Martyn


    “I’m surprised people are scrambling for US treasuries after the debt ceiling kurfuffle earlier in the year.”

    This does suggest that fund managers are actually as useless as the rest of us in deciding what to do. :-)

  5. The chances of a US default in the near future are so small as to be laughable. The Republicans know that it would kill their 2012 chances. Even the August “crisis” was a big game of chicken.

  6. Berious

    As long as the dollar is the reserve currency it’s a safe bet. They can’t default because they can just print up more of course the Chinese complain that printing is the same as default. Because the enormous amount of US debt they own becomes less valuable. I can really understand their point of veiw, the Chinese reserves were earned and represent billions of manhours of hard graft, any devaluation of the dollar means that some of those manhours disappear. Or to put it more bluntly the Chinese were busting a gut for nothing.

  7. Anthony,
    Previously you’ve said there’s no reinforcement effect of YouGov’s methodology.

    So can you offer an alternative reason for the divergence between the results produced by YouGov’s online daily polls and the monthly telephone polls by the other companies?

    If the divergence was margin for error or sampling error, how would this explain its persistence?

  8. I think the polls indicate that Labour’s support is very soft. I think if there is the sniff of an improvement in the economy Labour could be in deep trouble.
    Miliband needs to give an outstanding speech and clearly give his vision for the party, something he has singularly so far failed to do . If he fails the end could well be nigh, particularly in view of his awful personal figures, even from Labour supporters.
    Brother David is waiting in the wings, ready willing and certainly able.


    Others have suggested that YouGov’s use of newspaper readership as a weighting factor is an issue.

    Certainly. when they attempt to transfer that to Scotland (with a very different newspaper structure) it produces nonsense.

  10. @ Neil A (from two threads ago)

    “In fairness, if lay-offs can be made in a profitable business, leaving it still able to make the same profits, then the managers should be making those lay-offs. No company should be carrying additional staff it doesn’t “need”. The issue of outsourcing to India is in a sense a separate problem. On the one hand it seems unpatriotic, on the other opposing it seems racist.”

    Opposing outsourcing is not racist. I’m a little confounded as to how you could consider it to be racist. Wanting to do something about outsourcing is not about patriotism. It’s about combatting economic losses and protecting workers.

    I admit that I kinda conflated the two issues of downsizing and outsourcing. Both are separate issues and require separate solutions.

    When it comes to large companies, mass layoffs negatively impact the community and the economy. It’s understandable when companies are losing profits and forced to downsize. But when it’s done with companies that are making profits, it’s far more questionable. And when downsizing occurs that seemingly is done just to benefit the corporate leadership, it’s a bit galling.

    Obviously, we don’t want government micromanaging businesses and business decisions. But when companies lay off thousands of employees so that the CEO can give himself a bonus that’s tens of millions of dollars, that’s a problem.

  11. @ Bill Patrick

    “The chances of a US default in the near future are so small as to be laughable. The Republicans know that it would kill their 2012 chances. Even the August “crisis” was a big game of chicken.”

    A stupid one though. It hurt us even though it didn’t happen simply because of the instability that was caused.

    Frankly, I think there are many in the GOP who think it will help their 2012 chances. Their entire strategy thus far has been to throw a wrench in whatever Obama wants to do or plans to do with the aim of harming the economy just so they can have a better shot at winning.

  12. @ Neil A

    “Ha! I need to spend less time on UKPR.”

    Me too. But I really like it here. So it’s kinda hard to stay away. :)

  13. @ Old Nat

    “This does suggest that fund managers are actually as useless as the rest of us in deciding what to do.”


  14. This is the best explanation of the leveraged EFSF proposal I have read.

    The Headline-” A Fannie Mae for Europes Bonds” should be a dire warning ,

    ht tp://

  15. Midst the gloom, the Irish story is interesting :-

    2011 Q2 GDP-+1.6%

    2011 Q2 annualised export growth +24%

    2008 to 2011 Construction % GDP-7% down to 3%
    2008 to 2011 Industry % GDP 23% up to 29%

    Reasons :-
    Lower cost base from austerity measures .
    Retention of 12.5% CT rate & incoming multi-nationals.

    Price :-
    Unemployment 13.6%

  16. In summary:

    The Labour lead has increased … no, it’s decreased … no. it’s up … no, it’s down again, no, wait, umm …

  17. Colin

    You know what happened the last time conservatives started talking up Ireland, it might be that the Irish would prefer it if blues stayed quiet about Ireland this time in case you jinx them again.

  18. @Colin,

    Your figures are clearly wrong on Ireland.

    Everyone knows that an austerity programme destroys your economy, increases your deficit and is part of the problem not the solution. It’s basic common sense that for every Euro you cut from the country’s budget, national GDP drops 2%.

  19. Voodoo poll in Irish times business section

    Has the Irish economy turned the corner

    Yes 41%
    No 59%

    I think we should wait a bit before cracking open the champagne

  20. @RiN,

    Hardly surprising figures, given the strong chance that the entire globe may be about to fall off a financial cliff.

  21. There is one factor missing from Ireland’s economy, and that is the scale of the recession they’ve already had: a shrinkage of 13.3%. It has been utterly horrendous and makes the UK’s look like picnic – in fact, it only technically escapes counting as a depression because there was a quarter of 0% growth somewhere in the middle.

    The point is that when the economy has collapsed that hideously, there isn’t really any direction the economy can go except up again. But Ireland has still only regained a small proportion of its lost economy, and it’s still worse that the depths of the UK recession.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that for Ireland, austerity is now inevitable, and I’m relieved that it looks like this isn’t making their economy any worse. But comparing austerity in Ireland to austerity in the UK is like comparing apples with biros.

  22. It’s worth remembering why Ireland is in the situation it is, oh look an audit of Irish debt what a brilliant idea maybe we should have one everywhere

  23. Re the highly technical aspect of polling. Previously, if YG thought Labour was 6 points in front and everyone else thought Labour were 0 to 2 points in front, does it mean that the other pollsters will now find the Tories 4 points in the lead? It has taken years for me to learn these skills.

    I really don’t care if your husband was guest of honour at the Fleet gay and lesbian society, no one has yet answered my query about the Labour attitude to mass immigration and a proper deal for very superior military comrades.
    My son, currently serving with the Parachute Regt , transfers to the Royal Gurkha Rifles next January.

  24. @ IAN A JAMES
    My untidy Tory mind is still awaiting an answer regarding Michael White, Phil Woolas and Labours view regarding unchecked immigration and the attitude towards the Gurkhas.

  25. “Previously, if YG thought Labour was 6 points in front and everyone else thought Labour were 0 to 2 points in front, does it mean that the other pollsters will now find the Tories 4 points in the lead”

    It might, but on the several previous occasions this has happened the Labour lead in the YouGov polls went back up again. Don’t get excited just yet.

  26. Oldnat

    “….. But this is yet another poll where the Westminster VI of the Scots sample shows SNP in the lead (38%) over Lab (29%).”

    Apart from sample size, another caveat that makes any conclusion difficult or impossible is that we cannot be sure that the question is understood to be about Westminster VI. Bad questions (Angus Reid) further muddy the waters.

    The effect, as you yourslf have pointed out is that voters may be thinking of the most recent (ie SP) election, not the next one (UK). At some point before the polling booth this must flip over, but it is probably too soon.

    Also too soon to have any effect is any Murdo Fraser recovery. I am sure he has the right diagnosis and the right treatment as I have been saying on these threads for two or three years but it remains to be seen whether it isn’t just too late to save the patient.

    He hasn’t even been elected yet, far less got credit for changes he hasn’t yet been able to make. If all goes well for him I wouldn’t anticipate a polling effect till distinctive policies emerge.

  27. @chris neville smith
    Believe me Chris, I am not the slightest bit excited. I am often posting snide remarks at those who think a 2 point jump in their party’s fortunes, 3.5 years before a GE, daft behaviour.

  28. Replying in the same charming spirit as yourself Roland,I
    really do not care where your son is transferred to.However with the scale of cutbacks in the armed forces
    he will be very lucky to be transferred anywhere!

  29. @ NEILA

    “Everyone knows that an austerity programme destroys your economy, increases your deficit and is part of the problem not the solution. It’s basic common sense that for every Euro you cut from the country’s budget, national GDP drops 2%.”

    Those Irish eh-what do they know?

  30. Richard in Norway

    “I think we should wait a bit before cracking open the champagne”

    You’re fond of non-sequiturs.

    I’m not suggesting champagne-& I doubt too many Irish people are with that unemployment rate.

    But it is interesting & provides another view of things.

    Unless you just want one view of things that is-the one where controlling public expenditure is a wicked global conspiracy by Bankers to enslave workers by debt .

  31. “So what has Ireland done right? Growth in the second quarter was driven primarily by exports, which expanded by a whopping 23.9 percent between the second quarter of 2010 and 2011. The industrial (excluding construction) forestry, fishing and agriculture were the only sectors to see positive annual growth rates, but that is still not bad for an economy that just seven months before had to go cap in hand to the IMF and EU for a bailout loan.

    The recovery in the Irish economy can be traced back to, believe it or not, the Celtic Tiger. Although that period is renowned for Irish excess, gaudy McMansions and ultimately economic collapse, a low corporate tax rate helped to position the Irish economy towards exports, particularly in the IT sector, as major companies set up home on Irish shores. This is now paying dividends.

    Service exports, for example, rose by 1.35 billion euros in the year to June, mainly driven by computer services. That is thanks to, among others, Cisco, which is based in Oranmore in Galway, Intel Ireland, Microsoft Ireland and Facebook, which has its European and Middle East headquarters in Barrow Street in Dublin. Google has done the same and its large office complex has helped to regenerate the Ringsend area of the capital at the same time.

    And even more encouragingly, inward direct investment to Ireland amounted to nearly six billion euros in the second quarter, mainly due to reinvestment of earnings by non-financial companies. So, some of the world’s most recognised corporations have stayed in Ireland through the worst of its financial crisis, which has acted as a buffer while the public sector goes through a massive process of consolidation.

    Germany and France should take note. The low corporate tax rate may be irking Europe’s high command who think that it gives Ireland an unfair competitive advantage, but since these countries are major contributors to the bailout pot that Ireland had to tap, surely they should be happy that it is growing again as it increases the chances they will get their money back?

    But that doesn’t mean things are back to normal in Ireland, far from it. Consumer confidence remains shot to pieces and domestic demand fell by 2.2 percent between Q2 2010 and Q2 2011. House prices show no signs of rising any time soon, they fell by a further 12.5 percent across Ireland in the year to July. Although this is partly a much-needed readjustment of prices after the Celtic Tiger excess, it also means that a lot of people are sitting on negative equity, which should keep consumer confidence subdued for some time yet. It is thus no wonder the Irish press were cagy about being too optimistic, and even opportunistic politicians didn’t use the data to give themselves a pat on the back for their economic policies, instead taking a cautionary stance.”


  32. So if Con & Lab are neck and neck and LD are stuck at 10-11%…what’s that mean with the new boundaries?

    Small Labour lead in seats? Small majority or hung parliament?

  33. Home come the yougov poll consistently gives lower percentages to the liberal democrats than the other polls? Is this due to a different methodology?

  34. Looks like the “deserving” & undeserving” poor will feature in EM’s speech.

    No doubt it will be a balancing counterweight to his “undeserving” rich line-but it will presumably not go down well with the Left.

  35. It doesn’t go down well with me. He appears to have decided to compete with the Tories for the Tory vote.

    I think we need more radiacl soultions personally.

    It is a great honour for a young officer to be selected for the Para’s from Sandhurst, it is also a great honour to be selected for a switch into the Gurkha’s. The reason I mentioned it was to illustrate a personal concern and insight into the Brigade of Gurkha’s. I could equally have mentioned my own period of service with them in the late 60s in Sarawak. I served in the Royal Engineers. I feel my qualifications are somewhat more comprehensive than attending a dinner night.

    Regarding the military cutbacks, believe me when I say that they hurt me more than they do you. However, your comment is typically silly, young officers and men from crack infantry units are not at risk from the sack. That any service personnel are is to be depreciated, (apart from a few dozen generals, admirals and air marshalls), however the appalling waste, black holes and sheer incompetence, by the civil servants of the MOD under the previous administration, has caused the problem.
    Same old problem that effects so many areas.

  37. Colin

    Controlling public expenditure is very important, one way of controlling public expenditure is not subsidizing failed businesses for example British steel or British leyland, the problem in Ireland is that they did that with their banks so much so that fully 3/4 of their national debt is money which was borrowed to save the banks and their senior bondholders who remain anonymous

    What is your argument, if you have an argument it is shot though with massive inconsistencies. Are you really saying that extremely harsh austerity in Ireland was worth it because the very wealthy bondholders did not suffer losses.

    I hope that Ireland does get back on its feet, but it should never have been in trouble in the first place.

  38. @RiN

    ‘the very wealthy bondholders did not suffer losses’

    To me this has been the problem with all the ‘solutions’ to the debt crisis. Investment is about reward but also about risk and with risk comes the chance of failure. This IMHO is the best regulator of behaviour.

    All these bailouts actually move the risk away from the lenders to, ultimately, the taxpayer. Is it surprising that the vested interests seem to undermine any solution to the problem? They’re getting a subsidised lunch at the moment but have their eyes on a free lunch. In my version of the market some would be doing porridge.


    ‘All these bailouts actually move the risk away from the lenders to, ultimately, the taxpayer. Is it surprising that the vested interests seem to undermine any solution to the problem? They’re getting a subsidised lunch at the moment but have their eyes on a free lunch. In my version of the market some would be doing porridge.’

    That’s always the problem when the system creates moral hazard. It’s been a feature of the international financial system for some time – who can forget the bailout of the banks over Central and South America. But no politician will change this – as I the banks fail ultimately they will pass the pain on to their customers, which will then create a lot of angry voters.

    On another note, will be interesting to see if Ed M does touch a core with his play for populism over council house queue jumping for those who contribute to the community, and breaks for companies that invest in education and research etc. I still, like many, believe the wrong M is leading the party – only time will tell.

  40. Richard in Norway

    @”What is your argument,”

    I am not advancing one-just copying & pasting stuff.

    I just think its interesting.

    No doubt it will get more interesting.

    @” hope that Ireland does get back on its feet, but it should never have been in trouble in the first place.

    So do I.

    It shouldn’t -I agree.

    But there you go-cheap money-property development madness-building more houses & offices than can be filled-Banks growing balance sheets bigger than the country-The Anglo Irish Bank fiasco (*)-the utter disgrace of State regulatory authorities’ failure to see any of this happening………….what’s new?

    “On 16 January 2009, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen stated that is was “business as usual” at Anglo Irish Bank and that people should be reassured that the bank is solvent.. In a statement on 30 March 2010, a day before Anglo Irish Bank reported its financial results, the Minister Of Finance, Brian Lenihan announced an injection of €8.3 billion into the bank, noting that a further €10 billion may be required at a later stage to cover future losses and ensure an adequate capital base.

    Since the nationalization of Anglo Irish Bank a number of controversies have arisen over certain business practises & loans, including loans to directors, and loans to people associated with Brendan Murtagh, EMPG and the QUINN group.

    On 31 March 2010, Anglo Irish Bank reported results for the 15 months to December 2009.of €12.7 billion, It is the largest loss in Irish corporate history. Total assets declined to €85.2 billion at the end of 2009 from €101.3 billion in September 2008.”


  41. The reality is that vested interests in the banking and financial sectors have brought us all to this shambles. it is immoral and disgusting that we as taxpayers run up massive debts as a consequence of bailing them out whilst they carry on regardless. they then have the cheeek to blame spending on key services as the root of the problem that they created and bizarrely most of our policy makers and opinion formers are acquiescing in this. It now seems that the mass of the population will suffer virtrually endless reductions in living standards and collapsing public services to keep failed institutuins within a broken system intact. I genuinely believ we need to let the banks take the hit on sovereign debt and pick up the pieces – allow defaults. And don’t print money to give to the system but to offset the debt or even better to give to individuals to boost growth ( It is screwing over the Chinese but heyyy).

    Perhaps new Communism – we scrap all the money there is now and give everyone an equal share of the present resources – then go from there – could be fun!!! let’s see which communities go bankrupt first and how quickly we end up as unequal as where we are ( I would predict 50 – 100 years but it might be two weeks!!!)

  42. @ chouenlai

    In regard to the Armed Forces, yes I agree that the last administration made mistakes in employing far too many civilians in areas such a procurement. And there was considerable overspend in some areas, where money was not even accounted for to pay for contracts.

    BUT I do think that the top brass must also take some of the blame in terms of decisions that they have assisted with. It must be the case that ministers only take decisions based on expert advice, so if they are given the wrong advice, then bad choices will be made.

    Then there is the issue of a change in the sophistication of military equipment which comes at a cost. Due to the amount of money that needs to be spent on equipment and the use of projected power rather than boots on the ground, there will be a reduction in troop numbers. The last Labour government had spent a lot of money on various up to date Naval and Air assets, some of which are only just coming into service.

  43. @RedRich

    Obviously moral hazard needs a little help to re-balance risk/reward. The rewards for success need to be long-term and reversible in the light of developments and there need to be real sanctions for fiduciary irresponsibilty like confiscation of ill-gotten gains and criminal charges.

    I suspect that the council house queue jumping will prove popular but like the threat of eviction for recent looters will fail in the detail.

  44. Oranjepan –

    All sorts of different reasons, and it is not always possible to identify them or be certain of the impact.

    Likelihood to vote is one we can be certain of. YouGov does not filter or weight by likelihood to vote outside of election campaign. Other pollsters do, but to varying degrees – MORI, for example, have a much stricter likelihood to vote filter than other telephone pollsters. Generally speaking, filtering for likelihood to vote helps the Conservatives and hinders Labour, so on this measure, YoUGov’s approach is most friendly to Labour, MORI’s most friendly to the Conservatives (although there is a further complication in ICM’s approach, which also weights down people who didn’t vote last time, even if they say they are certain to vote – I suspect that also hurts Labour, and people who abstained last time but would now vote Labour carry less weight).

    Secondly, treatment of don’t knows is realatively easily quantified. YouGov only include people who give a voting intention, so exclude don’t knows entirely. Some other polling companies (MORI & ComRes, for example) use squeeze questions – that is, they ask people who say don’t know what party they are leaning towards and include that. ICM and Populus estimate how people who say don’t know would actually vote, based on how they voted at the previous election, but weighted down. This adjustment tends to favour parties that have lost support since the election – so it helps the Lib Dems and Conservatives at the moment… but in the last Parliament tended to help Labour.

    Those two are easily quantified because the published tables from pollsters show how much different weighting by turnout and reallocation of don’t knows makes. Less easy to quantify is the difference the different weighting targets companies choose make, or to add an extra level of complexity, when the data used for weighting was collected (e.g. two companies could both weight Lib Dem recalled vote to 24%… but if one was used data collected now, and one was using data collected in May 2010, the former would probably get a higher level of Lib Dem support).

    So, the difference between YouGov and Populus/MORI/ComRes will be likelihood to vote, treatment of don’t knows and perhaps the effect of weighting by party ID rather than recalled vote, or weighting by contemporous 2010 data rather than getting weighting data in the survey (YouGov’s samples tend to contain a *higher* proportion of 2010 Lib Dem voters than other companies, but they sometimes tend to be less loyal). I don’t have a good explanation for the even higher ICM Lib Dem scores – their methods are very close to Populus’s, and there is not an obvious reason for the discrepancy between ICM & Populus. It could possibly be question wording, but as I’ve said before, I’m sceptical.

  45. It will be interesting to see the polls after conference season is over.

    The Lib Dems had a surprisingly solid conference. By contrast, Labour’s has not looked good, especially for businesses, with announcements of wacko policies to raise corporation tax and categorise companies as “good” or “bad” for taxation purposes. I struggle to believe that the mainstream vote will take this seriously and Miliband is now looking quite shaky in polling.

    If Cons can put in a convincing performance at conference I would expect the polls to be no worse than neck and neck for the Cons by the end of next week.

  46. @Colin

    @”What is your argument,”

    I am not advancing one-just copying & pasting stuff.

    How doyou choose what to copy and paste?

    I’m just looking at some recipes for cakes that I find interesting.

  47. @R HUCKLE
    I agree with much of what you say, however, it was very clear from the Iraq war into Afghanistan that much of our tackle was in need of replacement. As much as parsimony on the part of Chancellor Brown (the one area he resented spending money on), the unfathomable waste and bad decisions made at MOD was a total scandal. This is not just a Tory view, remember John Reid’s remarks. How Brown ever thought that 3rd rate ministers and part time at that, could handle defence, I just don’t know. Even the look of the thing was so obviously an open goal for the Tories.

  48. Let me advance an arguement.

    The Indy poll shows that there is a significant difference between men and women regarding their support for the two main parties.

    “40% of women say they will vote for Mr Milliband’s party, compared with 33% of men.
    Downing St is drawing up plans to bolster the govt’s appeal to women ”

    So, it looks like Ed needs to appeal more to men, but how?

    Should he start going down the gym, going to football matches,be seen reading men’s mags?

  49. Valerie – gender differences bounce about from month to month, poll to poll. You need to look at more than one poll.

    (Not that I’m saying that Labour aren’t doing better amongst women! Just you need to look at more than one poll to draw conclusions).

  50. Valerie

    It must be because ed is so sexy. At least that’s what the female red posters have been claiming

    I fully expect a full monty style striptease instead of the usual leaders speech

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