Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 39%, LD 9%, Others 14%. After a nine point lead for Labour yesterday, we have an outlier in the other direction today, strongly suggesting the underlying Labour lead remains at around 5 points.

Meanwhile the monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent also shows a two point Labour lead (in fact, it’s almost identical to YouGov). Topline figures there with changes from ComRes’s last telephone poll a month ago are CON 37%(+3), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 10%(-4), Others 14%. The sharp drop in Lib Dem support is probably just a reversion to the mean, after an usually high figure a month ago.

There is also a second ComRes poll for the News at Ten, which asked about support for the strikes on Wednesday. 38% of people thought public sector workers were right to strike, 47% disagreed (close to the YouGov/Sunday Times questions on whether people supported or opposed the strike, suggesting the contrasting findings in the ComRes/BBC poll were indeed down to asking whether strikes were “justified”, rather than whether people supported or opposed them)


248 Responses to “YouGov and ComRes show 2 point Labour leads”

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  1. Why should the public reaction be different this time ?

    Because, a majority believe that the European fiasco is having a marked negative effect on the UK economy, which no chancellor could brush aside.

    Because, a majority believe the major pole axing the economy received in 08 was Labour’s fault.

  2. Smukesh.

    Didn’t stop Healy and Howe taking a kicking from the polls.

  3. Here’s a poll that suggests it won’t be all plain sailing as far as “blame” as things go wrong.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/now-even-tory-voters-tell-osborne-to-ease-up-on-spending-cuts-6269255.html

    “Asked whether the Government should slow the pace of the cuts so that it can try to boost growth, 69 per cent agree and 24 per cent disagree. Even 54 per cent of Conservative supporters want to delay the cuts, as do 71 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters and 86 per cent of Labour voters.”

  4. Chou. Whereas in 09, a majority believed that we were unique in the world in having had a banking crisis?

  5. Chou. Whereas in 09, a majority believed that we were unique in the world in having had a banking crisis?

    Maybe the Electorate is always considered and thoughtful under the Tories but narrow minded and uninterested in detail under Labour?

  6. LeftyLampton
    ‘Why are we do frequently exhorted to judge policies by the reaction of small businesses?’

    One reason from my point of view is that many of them appear optimistic, as most of the time I try to be. They are also individual and independent which appeals to me.

    In addition generally, although there are many exceptions among the millions of sbs, positive towards what the Coalition is trying to do.

    The particular speaker on Tourism was interesting as I feel we have failed to maximise our tourist potential for many years. Govt has been dragging its feet on one of Europe’s top tourists attractions, Stone Henge, for some time.

    Boosting Tourism now would benefit not only the private sector but would also preserve if not increase jobs on the public sector.

    You are not being inconsistent in doubting my trust in enterprise and the small business, as IMO GB demonstrated a distrust in small business, appearing more comfortable with the state sector, and even global orgaisations.

  7. @leftylampton
    Well you must be patient. By the coming weekend you will have a pretty good idea as to whether this statement is going to help or hinder the Tories.

  8. LEFTYLAMPTON…………I don’t think Ed would appreciate a kicking from the polls…….Balls kicked by the polls….aaaarrrrgghh ! :-)

  9. NICKP

    ‘Asked whether the Government should slow the pace of the cuts so that it can try to boost growth, 69 per cent agree and 24 per cent disagree.’

    Hardly a fair question. Of course everyone wants to boost growth, which is precisely what the Coalition Government is trying to deliver; they can invest in small business, the young and training because they have reduced wasteful spending on things such as ID cards, national NHS systems that do not work, and waste at the MOD (although they have not succeeded in stopping them losing 100s more PC (so sloppy).

    They can afford to borrow more as they pay one of the smallest interest rates on debt in Europe. In fact interest on our debt is much smaller than expected.

  10. The Conservatives’s attempts to spin this as entirely the fault of the EZ crisis was already sunk by the OBR saying upfront in their presentation that the primary cause of stagnant growth was inflation.

  11. This economic crisis is a slow burn politically….I don’t think anyone truly how this will end…save…that if anyone is to save George’s curious calculations…it will be his dear friend Chancellor Merkel…who has her own political problems and seems unlikely to put this coalition’s salvation before her own….

    That said…we wait upon the slow motion catastrophe of the credit crunch in Europe to work through before we can really understand where the politics of this will lead…

    Had I been either Ed…I think I might have begun by saying…Plan B or not Plan B that is the question…which for the moment the Chancellor hopes is the one question he’ll never have to answer.

    And his gamble may well come off…either that or the wheels of the British economy….it may as they be a dam close run thing….

  12. @John Murphy

    The Euro will survive as the political benefits of this outcome outweigh the disadvantages. Germany will not allow the Euro to fail, and will agree to the Eurobond option if necessary.

    A two speed Eurozone is likely with the inner core being close to a fiscal union.

  13. JAYBLANC…………….Far be it from me to imply that the British public haven’t got a grip of the minutiae of the OBR report, but, having just returned from a business trip to Copenhagen, where people really do impress at all levels, and everyone, but everyone, speaks at least 3 languages, and re-aquainted myself with their wonderful British equivalents, I suspect that our version of humanity sees only the headline. The headline? ‘ Europe in crisis ‘……… move to page 3.

  14. Henry.

    For the record, I run a small business myself, employing 12 people. And an optimistic one at that. I wasn’t questioning the importance of small businesses. I was asking why we should judge the quality of a Budget on their opinions which are naturally self-interested and not necessarily highly informed on non-immediate matters.

  15. PHIL

    THanks for your interesting response on TPS.

    Where there is no fund I don’t quite understand the concept of testing what you describe as “the solvency” of TPS.

    My post suggested the size of fund required-but it doesn’t exist-Teachers Pensions have been dealt with on a pay as you go basis.

    In the absence of an invested fundwith an income stream & actuarially assessed liabilities & contribution rates-I can’t see any other means of assessing TPS’s “viability” than comparing the “contributions” with pensions in payment. AS you know, there is a gap & the taxpayer fiills it.

  16. ““Asked whether the Government should slow the pace of the cuts so that it can try to boost growth, 69 per cent agree and 24 per cent disagree. Even 54 per cent of Conservative supporters want to delay the cuts, as do 71 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters and 86 per cent of Labour voters.””

    Today was a repeat of 1981:back then Thatcher went against pubic opinion and the views of industry and commentators and academics. She deflated at the height of her own created slump.

    As Marr pointed out (refreshingly honestly) in his ‘history of modern Britain’ she was saved (economically) by north sea oil which bankrolled the massive increase in welfare expenditure (3.5 million unemployed on official statistics) and massive concomitant decline in tax receipts.

    Politically Michael Foot (and Labours left lurch) along with General Galtieri bankrolled her. Then once past the 1983 hurdle selling off super macs family silver bankrolled all those tax reductions and deregulations from her second and third terms.

    Today public opinion and- from my reading of media and press today- considered opinion was arguing (hoping for) in the main at least a pause (if not a reverse) in the demand choking expenditure cuts.

    But George has announced a further round of swinging cuts instead….Clear blue water is beginning now to open up even between AD’s budget (which will be replaced by next summer by EdB;s own detailed strategy) and the Dave and George policy platform.

    Only this time there is no family silver to privatise, much less north sea oil and as much as I wish he were not the leader EdM is no Foot and the Labour platform is not a trot-fest: and *won’t be* at the next GE for anyone crossing their fingers (right or left).

    On balance I’d say things are looking a little worse for Dave, Danny, Nick and George tonight than 24 hours ago.

    Buy most of it is already priced in to OP’s and voter intention has hardened much earlier than we have been accustomed to in the post Thatcher era.

    No big clawback is coming IMHO for the main governing party unless something completely unpredictable happens.

    Similarly no big lead for the main opposition party is coming IMHO unless something completely unpredictable happens

    Anyone want to quote super mac again ?!

  17. JAYBLANC

    @”I do wonder now what happened over the talked about real-term cuts to out-of-work benefits. ”

    REported in certain quarters as down to the LDs

    @”Also, OBR have revised their estimate of Public Sector jobs to be lost in the coming year… From 400,000 to 710,000.”

    THe latter forecast is over two years longer than the former-ie the first two years of the new parliament.

  18. Colin

    It seems that what is happening, going by what Lefty is saying and by what you are saying, is

    That way back in the mists of time a previous govt or govts stole the teachers pension money, presumably to fill a hole in the public finances. And now today’s teachers have to replace the stolen money which they didn’t steal. Odd sence of mortality

  19. ROB SHEFFIELD………If today’s announcement does resonate with the thinking public, I expect it will serve to reinforce the perception that we are in deep doodoo. This being the case, GO’s straight from the shoulder, tell it like it is, approach should impress, the natural corollary of this, is to,’ leave it with me, I understand and have the situation under control’. In my view, the natural instinct of the public will be to give him a chance, because the others are simply throwing stones from their glass house.

  20. Peston just tweeted

    “Fitch’s warning that UK’s AAA is in last-chance saloon has big political & econ ramifications, in that Osborne set such store by keeping it”

    Notion is that Credit rating not just a function of the current level of debt (and deficit reduction ‘plans’) but the *overall* fiscal outlook i.e. GROWTH is as important.

    Like I said above- the battle of the economy is well and truly on as we have increasingly differing narratives now (full labour narrative to come in early new year).

    Is it growth via massive public sector hollowing out, increased consumption taxes and introduction of payments for existing public services along with pubic expenditure slashing?

    Or growth via…..Plan B.

  21. Oh dear

    Look what the rating agency fitch said about the UK today

    “the capacity of UK public finances to absorb adverse economic and financial shocks that would result in yet higher public debt while retaining its ‘AAA’ status has largely been exhausted”

  22. Rob

    You rotter I should be first with the bad news

  23. @Rob S

    “We are in new times- not just the first non national government peacetime coalition for 90 years, but the most divisive political context since 1980-1982 with a country split largely down the middle whose voter opinion has been setting in stone far earlier in the electoral cycle than we have been accustomed to over recent decades.”

    I tend to agree, although I would add another wobbler into the “it’ll be alright on the night” thinking that is tending to tuck coalition supporters warmly and safely into their beds each night. The OBR forecasts, accepted in their entirety by Osborne with the proviso that they could be even worse in the event of a Eurozone slump, rule out the prospect of any sort of an domestic recovery by General Election time and with it the predicted buoyant economy, circa May 2015, that will sweep the incumbents home. It just aint going to happen, the recovery that is, and the incumbents are going to have to try and win when many economic indicators and key feelgood factors will be flashing deep red.

    Then throw in the other new electoral factor of Cameron being the first PM to surrender his power to choose the timing of an election, and I’d say to the insouciant coalitionists; sleep less soundly in those warm beds after today’s announcements, if I were you!

  24. Ken

    “In my view, the natural instinct of the public will be to give him a chance, because the others are simply throwing stones from their glass house”

    I agree on the stone throwing- but that was always going to change by next summer. if (IF) the about Treasury team are on-the-ball they will bring that forward to early in the new year by working their socks off on it over the coming two/three months.

    Once Labour has an thought through detailed alternative sponsored by various industrialists, business people and the great and good- and you know its always possible to get an endorsement (…unless you are Gordon Brown)- that is a whole new ball game: though I know you don’t think it will be.

    On the ‘give the guy a chance’.

    Well that part of the electorate that did already give George et al a chance for 19 months are going to be having deep qualms this evening given the severity of the numbers today and the downbeat nature of the announcement in the commons.

    But I agree they will continue to give the government the benefit of the doubt for another year.

    But that other significant group- those that voted for Labour or voted for the Lib Dems to stop the Tories or as leftist Lib Dems- these are the people who right from the off never felt that George had a mandate in the first place to enact the original Emergency Budget and CSR: let alone this fresh excoriation.

    The above two groups are why we are so split roughly down the middle in terms of VI and why for 12 months now (since the tuition fees debacle) there has been effectively no movement in the polls.

    VI has hardened much quicker than it has have done in the period since the late 1980’s.

  25. “if (IF) the about Treasury team”

    er that should be If (IF) the Labour Treasury team

  26. RAF

    @”The Euro will survive as the political benefits of this outcome outweigh the disadvantages. Germany will not allow the Euro to fail, and will agree to the Eurobond option if necessary.

    A two speed Eurozone is likely with the inner core being close to a fiscal union.”

    Very interesting comments which, together with today’s statement begin to sketch out a very difference 2015 GE campaign to the one I think some of us might have been anticipating

    The OBR central forecasts are based ( as I read them) on the assumption that the EZ sorts itself out & survives. So if your assumption is incorrect, we can put a blue line through this OBR report and await something Much Much worse.

    THe peak Debt in these forecasts is now OVER £1.5 Trillion-in the last year assesed-16/17.

    Just writing that frightens the shyte out of me-the thought that an EZ collapse would make it worse is truly scary-I mean lets assume that the medium term aim will be to return Debt/GDP to say 40%. To get £1.5 Trillion to 40% of GDP, you need a GDP of £3.8trillion ( !!!)-or an awful long period of significant budget surpluses…..and then supposing our gilt yields start to rise…..on that level of debt.
    Anyway -I’m getting the shakes again & I digress.

    GO has lost two years of his original plan & slipped £113 bn of total debt at end parliament.
    It will be touch and go if he can really claim that he has achieved falling Debt/GDP% at the next GE.
    He has now pencilled in austerity measures for the first two years of the NEXT parliament in order to meet his debt committments.

    So the “job done”/ giveaway budget GE campaign is dead in the water for DC.

    It is -presumably- replaced by ” Stick with us to finish the job” etc. Quite how the long road to Debt reduction ( as % GDP) is presented I can’t imagine. THat will be a problem for Labour too of course.

    THen coming back to your second asertion-which I agree with-what does that do to Cons’ Eurostance in 2015?.
    Might it just be -EU governance has changed irrevocably- The EZ caucus is running the show now & we have no influence on it-the Single Market concept is now subsumed into the Single Fiscal & Monetary Entity-and we’re not part of that………so-lets have that referendum on IN or OUT …..and when you all say OUT-Cons pick up a large chunk of the UKIP vote.

  27. Richard in Norway

    ““the capacity of UK public finances to absorb adverse economic and financial shocks that would result in yet higher public debt while retaining its ‘AAA’ status has largely been exhausted”

    That is what frightens me to death.

    I think they are spot on.

  28. Regarding the BBC extrapolating ‘support’ from ‘justified’. I think the real tragedy is that many people can think that something is ‘justified’ and not support it.

    My Shorter Oxford gives the following definition:

    Justified
    Just, right, righteous, warranted; having good cause or reason, correct; supported by evidence

    So people believe something is ‘just’ or ‘right’ – but they don’t support it? Isn’t that a much sadder issue than the BBC conflating the two?

  29. Damian

    I feel that you would be justified in shooting an intruder in your house, but I would not support such an action

  30. The ratings agencies don’t operate in a vacuum, they issue warnings having sent out a few feelers first, Fitch are simply covering their backs in the light of today’s announcement. Were there a serious risk of a downgrade it would be on the Canary Wharf grapevine by now, their office there is leaky as a sieve.
    Also, I don’t trust the independence of the agencies, there is a certain incestuousness about them, thus their neighbours on the Isle of Dogs would be likely to reign ’em in a bit, until they had their own situations recalibrated.
    Of course, I could be completely wrong, and these beacons of propriety could be the match of any of Caesar’s wives. :-)

  31. Full Fitch statement:

    h ttp://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/press_releases/detail.cfm?pr_id=734788&origin=home

    Basically, as long as there’s no major crisis from the EZ, we should be able to tread water.

  32. richard in norway

    Damian

    I feel that you would be justified in shooting an intruder in your house, but I would not support such an action

    Quite. If the burglar was not standing in your house, threatening you, or your family. That is the root of my sadness.

  33. Faisal Islam (C4 Economics editor and second only IMHO to the great Paul Mason of Newsnight) has just tweeted

    “No OBR one-on-one interviews either.. when Darling presented similar set of awful fiscal figures in 08, he did a full media round.”

    Telling.

  34. Joke circulating the City……………Standard and Poor’s has merged with Moody’s to form an agency fit for Europe……..it’s called……..Moody and Poor. :-)

  35. Ken- worthy of an ‘early woody film’ !

  36. Damian

    We did have an intruder in our house once, I rushed down the stairs and there was a woman standing in my hallway, I gave her quite a shock, I didn’t realise at first why she was so reluctant to look at me and why the nervous giggle. But as it turned out, in my haste to apprehend the intruder I had neglected to put on any clothes.

    I should say that the poor woman was merely drunk and had mistaken my door for her friends house.

  37. Nobody is predicting the outcome which I am now confident enough in my own analysis to put in writing.

    The EZ issues will be resolved; the EZ will begin to show much improved growth whilst the Uk is still flat-lining.
    8-)

  38. Richard in Norway

    @”That way back in the mists of time a previous govt or govts stole the teachers pension money, presumably to fill a hole in the public finances. ”

    It is criminal financial negligence to be funding these public sector salary related schemes on a pay as you go basis.

  39. I am not even going to entertain the thought of the Uk’s AAA status being marked down; that would be the ball-game for Osborne because he has set such store by it. He will go to almost any lengths to keep it.
    8-)

  40. KEN

    :-)

  41. Here is an idea

    Instead of striking the public workers could go to work naked. It could have a symbolic value

  42. nickp
    Here’s a poll that suggests it won’t be all plain sailing as far as “blame” as things go wrong.

    “Asked whether the Government should slow the pace of the cuts so that it can try to boost growth, 69 per cent agree and 24 per cent disagree. Even 54 per cent of Conservative supporters want to delay the cuts, as do 71 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters and 86 per cent of Labour voters.”

    I think this is another example of how you ask questions and in what context giving you different results. There is a similar question in the YouGov trackers that appeared last night

    Thinking about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government’s deficit, do you think this is … being done too quickly, too slowly, or at about the right pace? Here only 46% say “Too quickly” and only 15% of Conservatives.

    If you compare the wording there is clearly a difference, not just in the questions, but in the potential replies. ComRes offer Anthony’s hated Agree/Disagree/DK, while YouGov have Too quickly/Too slowly/About the right pace/Don’t know. Anthony has already made powerful arguments against ComRes’s options, but there are problems with YouGov’s too – it may be influenced by the ‘Goldilocks effect’ (going for the middle ‘about right’ option as that seems to be a reasonable thing to do).

    But there may also be influences from question placing. The YouGov question comes late in a number of questions about the government’s cuts. So Tory and Lib Dem loyalists might feel more obliged to say that the coalition’s policy is right, Labour supporters may feel more obliged to oppose. In contrast if you look at the ComRes data:

    http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/Independent_Political_Poll_29_Nov_2011.pdf

    the question you quoted comes right after one that asks is you Agree or Disagree with The current low growth rate of the British economy is mainly due to the crisis in the Eurozone countries. So the cuts question is in the context of recent events and less partisan, which may explain the big difference in Conservative response.

    Adding to this confusion you also have the different ways that people may react to telephone polls (as this ComRes was) and online polls – not to mention inevitable differences between the two groups being sampled due to the different methods.

    So it’s always difficult divining what the public thinks. Though probably a bit more scientific than using chickens.

    Incidentally the question I quoted above about the “low growth rate of the British economy” had some interesting results which bear upon discussions some people were having earlier. The general result was that people agreed that it was “mainly due to the crisis in the Eurozone countries” by 50% to 39% (but remember Anthony’s stricture that some people will always agree to anything). However that doesn’t go the way you would expect politically. 52% of Tories blame Europe, but so do 53% of Labourites and 65% of the Europhile Lib Dems.

  43. LeftyLampton
    ‘For the record, I run a small business myself, employing 12 people. And an optimistic one at that. I wasn’t questioning the importance of small businesses. I was asking why we should judge the quality of a Budget on their opinions which are naturally self-interested and not necessarily highly informed on non-immediate matters’

    Although of a different political persuasion to me, I always enjoy your posts and take them seriously; however, following your comment above, I shall pay particular heed to your views in future, as I value small businesses highly,

  44. Richar in Norway

    “Damian

    We did have an intruder in our house once, I rushed down the stairs and there was a woman standing in my hallway, I gave her quite a shock, I didn’t realise at first why she was so reluctant to look at me and why the nervous giggle. But as it turned out, in my haste to apprehend the intruder I had neglected to put on any clothes.

    I should say that the poor woman was merely drunk and had mistaken my door for her friends house.”

    Bit of a straw man! Clearly you were making your analogy to draw a distinction between ‘justified’ and ‘support’ . I would not be ‘justified’ in shooting a drunken person who had stumbled into my house, and neither would you support me. The emotive analogy and logical fallacy are not helpful:

    Ff you consider that X is ‘justified’ then surely ‘x’ warrants your support – however passive that support might be?

  45. As the person who raised the crucial differences between “justified” and “support” in this context, I’m somewhat amused at the analogy being bandied about re: intruders.

    I stated in my post about why I feel public sector workers could consider themselves “justified” in going on strike – having new Ts & Cs of employment thrusted on them, having to work longer, lower final pension. Etc. etc. etc.

    However, while I can see the “justification” for the strikes based on the above premises, I do not “support” the strikes as I feel the changes are necessary to prevent strangulation of the public purse to fund a pension that most in the private sector could only dream of.

    This was my beef with the BBC on this point – “justification” does not necessarily equal “support”, and to claim otherwise as they did in their reports is disingenuous – the result in favour of strikes where the consensus of the polls asking directly about “support” shows results against the strikes would bear this out.

  46. “Thrusted” – eek, I need a refresher course in basic English.

  47. Jason Harcourt

    ‘As the person who raised the crucial differences between “justified” and “support” in this context, I’m somewhat amused at the analogy being bandied about re: intruders.

    I stated in my post about why I feel public sector workers could consider themselves “justified” in going on strike – having new Ts & Cs of employment thrusted on them, having to work longer, lower final pension. Etc. etc. etc.

    However, while I can see the “justification” for the strikes based on the above premises, I do not “support” the strikes as I feel the changes are necessary to prevent strangulation of the public purse to fund a pension that most in the private sector could only dream of.

    This was my beef with the BBC on this point – “justification” does not necessarily equal “support”, and to claim otherwise as they did in their reports is disingenuous – the result in favour of strikes where the consensus of the polls asking directly about “support” shows results against the strikes would bear this out.’

    So you are unjust. OK. Good to be clear.

  48. How am I unjust?

    How is understanding the rationale behind a strike but not supporting it “unjust”?

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