Tonight’s monthly ComRes phone poll for the Indy has topine figures of CON 35%(nc), LAB 38%(-4), LDEM 15%(+3), Others 12%(+1). Changes are from ComRes’s last telephone poll a month ago. The three point lead is the lowest any poll has shown since April, and the lowest ComRes has shown since March. Leaving aside ICM, who consistently show higher support for the Lib Dems anyway, it is the highest level of Lib Dem support in any poll for over a year.

I will give my normal caveats about being careful about polls showing sharp movements – sure, they could reflect a genuine change in public support, but they could equally be normal sample error. The poll does, however, come after a YouGov/Sunday Times poll showing Labour’s lead dropping and it would not be particularly surprising to see the Liberal Democrats enjoy some degree of a boost from their conference. Even if other polls do show the same don’t get too excited about it – there is every chance Labour will have their own boost in the polls later this week and the Conservatives in a week’s time. Conference season is often a rollercoaster of polls going up and down as each party gets its own shot of positive publicity, wait and see what it looks like when the season is over.

The rest of the ComRes poll had trust in the economy questions (Cameron & Osborne were trusted by 30%, Miliband & Balls by 24%) and a question on whether Miliband and Cameron has what it took to be a good PM. 22% of people thought Miliband had what it took, 39% thought Cameron did.

268 Responses to “ComRes/Indy – CON 35, LAB 38, LDEM 15”

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  1. @ Chasglas

    “You can’t possibly say turnout wiil increase because of a coaltion .”

    Statgeek can say whatever he wants, it depends on the arguments and ultimately on evidence (but evidence can also be subject to argument, by the way). What is your argument/evidence.

    “GE turnout is falling as is voter registration .”

    Compared to what? And meaning to what? Tendencies? Spot takes?

    “Our votes don’t matter unless we live in marginal seats”

    In what way? What does make a seat marginal? Were all those seats that the Conservatives lost in 1997 marginal? How do you define marginal?

  2. @Chasglas

    You’re right in so far as relatively few will be watching at length, but even so the speeches matter in all sorts of ways.

    One way in which they matter is in setting the tone for all of the background reporting by those political commentators who nowadays much prefer to tell us what to think by giving their take on the comments and actions of politicians rather than report those commentsand actions first hand. Miliband impressed many of them today, both in terms of substance and style. That will go some way to at least put a check on the common critical narrative on his leadership that had developed in recent weeks. Those who make a living out of disdain and cheap points will continue to carp, but those who try to look at matters more objectively will now rein back. In that sense, I consider that by impressing that audience Miliband succeeded with his speech, in marked contrast to Clegg last week.

  3. Sorry , you said hung parliament . Ipso facto the same thing in current politics

  4. @Greg

    The lefties that seen their more prominent counterparts purged from the party? Or the lefties that just gave up with supporting a Thatcherite consensus? Which are you talking about? As far as I’m concerned, the very last thing leftists owe the modern Labour party is support. Are you trying to argue that Ed Miliband’s “our man”? Or a victory for Labour can be seen in anyway as a victory for socialism? Completely baffled.


    I remember it now! (RIP Grampian ;-( )

    Don’t get me started on ministers of religion as well as ministers peddling nonsense! :-)

  6. @ Old Nat

    Davidson is a ‘character’. ;-)

    I have it on good authority that Mrs Lamont only vaguely referenced her ‘numpty’ speech at the conference; she had the good sense not to repeat it in full.

  7. Colin

    Remember the guffaws from the Right when young Master Ed discussed responsible capitalism?

    Does it dawn on you that once again, Miliband is setting the pace in the underpinning philosophical debate? He’s calling the mood just right. The One Nation issue is perfectly pitched. It sets up the Tories as the party that lost its soul and ushered in an era in which inequality between the very rich and Joe Public went off the scale. And the party who, when back in power, prioritised a tax cut for the same very rich.

    Miliband is tapping into a mood that it is time to re-order society so that such inequalities are no longer accepted. He’s pointing out that the Tories also used to believe in that. But now they don’t.

    That’s not a partisan comment by the way. You are free to pull the argument apart. It is an assessment of where Miliband is positioning the Labour party. As I’ve said times many, he is the reincarnation of Maggie in his ability to sniff the wind and gently push the debate to a position where an epochal change is seen as the natural response to a 30-odd year old philosophy that has run out of steam and ideas.

    Tories can snipe all they want. But they are in danger of being utterly out manoeuvred on ideas if they are not careful.

  8. @ Statgeek
    “I see the BBC are reporting the economy grew in the 3rd quarter:

    To be precise: BBC is reporting that the BCCC thinks that the economy grew in the third quarter.

    May well be… What does it tell us? What does it tell the voters? Anybody old enough to remember the 1970s would have memories of such interesting fluctuations of the GDP.

    But the point is: it is the BCCC that thinks for whatever reason. If it grew by 0.1% or 0.3% or whatever, is it good or is it bad? In what way? What is the narrative?

  9. Amber

    Afraid I blanked Curran’s speech when she came out with the “engine room of the Empire” bit in the 3rd sentence.

  10. @Old Nat

    Thanks – IMO, a rather dire defence of her foot-in-mouth speech. How depressing! :-(

  11. @Lefty L
    “he is the reincarnation of Maggie in his ability to sniff the wind and gently push the debate to a position where an epochal change is seen as the natural response….”

    Fair point, in the terms in which you made the parallel. Thatcher was able to successfully appeal to the centre ground from a perspective firmly on the righ, in tune with the mood of the times. In so doing she shifted that centre ground for a generation. Miliband seems to me to be trying the same trick in reverse – appeal to the same centre ground from a perspective of the left with the intention of effecting a similar shift in his direction, again trying to ride a popular mood.

  12. @ Lazlo .

    That is precisely my point . No one can predict that a hung parliament or coalition will ipso facto change turnout .

    We don’t have a democracy in this country that involves the people en masse and General Elections are decided in 100 or so Westminster seats , thus routinely , the result is 60 % of voters aprrox are not represented in the outcome .

    The most recent obscenity in our so called democracy of this was the last Blair / Bown regime ” elected ” !!! with 36 % of those bothering to vote !

  13. @Laszlo

    I suppose the narrative is that GDP didn’t contract again.

  14. @ Old Nat

    I missed the start of Margaret Curran’s speech so didn’t know about the ‘engine of empire’ bit.. I thought it was actually quite good but the lead in which you highlighted is certainly an unenlightened way to describe the enlightenment & other Scottish achievements!

  15. Amber

    (Firmly pressing my partisan cap into my pocket)

    What on earth possessed her to do that section on “the cap disnae fit”?

    She’s an intelligent woman, obviously has a lot of political skill to get where she has (and beat Ken).

    It comes across (though I may be completely wrong!!!) as her saying lines that she has been given to say.

  16. @ Chasglas

    Yes, these are true. But it also means that you cannot predict most of the things that you mentioned. So, sometimes such opinions are purely individual ones and sometimes they are social ones. The resultant of the individual decisions does not change the existence of the individual decisions. Obviously, the resultant is the one that comes out at the end. However, without the individual decisions that resultant cannot exist.

    One of the tricky things in this whole issue of opinion polls is the ability of a party or organisation to change the individual decisions and not the resultant.

  17. Oldnat

    ” 40+ repetitions of the same phrase can’t be funny!”

    You didn’t see the clegg “I’m sorry” vid???

  18. Amber

    Re Curran’s speech – so between us we saw it all! :-)


    Good point!

    I’ll look forward to seeing the “auto-tune”(?) version of it after the referendum! :-)

  20. @ Old Nat

    That’s some bi-partisan team work in action! Edinburgh Council would be proud of us. :-)

  21. @ Statgeek

    The GDP story hasn’t been the narrative once we had one quarter dip in the GDP. Labour very carefully, I don’t know how consciously, changed the story to growth.

    There is no permanent crisis and people more or less know it. However, there is the feeling of the permanent no growth.

    One of the characteristics of the current crisis is the relatively light punishment of the real economy (whatever the statistics say): businesses can survive. But with the seemingly no end of the no-growth creates a different behaviour.

    I see business closing up not because they cannot exist, but because they don’t want to carry on. They are not bankrupt or insolvent. Simply they had enough of the struggle for little reward.

  22. I’ve not heard the Margaret Curran Engine of Empire stuff .

    It sounds hilarious , especially in the week when her leader in Scotland refers to the SNP as Tartan Tories , whilst she advocates withdrawing free prescriptions , personal care and tuition fees ( Labour introduced them ! ) and free travel for the elderly and disabled .

  23. Amber

    Better Together? :-)

  24. Maybe it’s a resultant lol


    To be absolutely fair (much though it hurts me!) there is a sensible debate to be had on how high levels of taxation should be, which areas of tax should rise/fall, the proportion of public revenue that should go to pay for defence/aggression/WMD, public infrastructure, social welfare.

    Also over universalism – do we want a society which uses progressive taxation, or a Victorian model of charity to the poor – and in which services do we want the resultant policy to apply?

    Of course, that debate can only sensibly be held in a political system that controls all those decisions.

  26. Of course there is a debate to be had , especially about benefits for the affluent .

    You will remember that at Constituency level at the the last General Election we were bombarded with Labour leaflets exhorting us to vote Labour to defend universal benefits of all kinds .

    Scottish Labour has conveniently forgotten this under Lamont . Is UK Labour following suit and who do they regard as affluent to ensure this policy raises revenue ?

  27. Probably the 40% folk, given that the average wage in Scotland is less than further South. Or perhaps the 2 x 40% to a household?

    Personally I don’t have a problem with the affluent getting benefits if they have paid their taxes. I have more of a problem with politicians encouraging people to see benefits as a right, as opposed to a benefit.


    “Of course there is a debate to be had, especially about benefits for the affluent ”

    I’m trying to keep this non -partisan! “The benefits for the affluent meme” = non universality = means (or other barriers) testing.

    I’m sure there must be polling to suggest that the public holds both positions – that the rich (those better off than me) should get nothing and also that Means-testing is bad.


    47% is a much more useful figure – as Obama well knows! :-)

    You do, however, raise an interesting linguistic point. Is “benefit” an appropriate term anyway?

    In terms of policing, for example, is my expectation, that the police will try to protect me and mine, a right/entitlement because I am a member of society and we have collectively agreed to have that service available to all., or a “benefit” because someone (me/others/all of us) has paid for it, and I should be grateful for the charity, if I was too poor to contribute to the cost?

  30. Non Partisanship has been ignored on this site for many a moon !

    The weekend polling about wealth taxes is revealing but the consensus that taxing income is satisfactory is troubling .

    What is a high or rich income ? It is very easy to reduce income via accountants , avoid stamp duty or VAT etc.

    The result is that the inventive or criminal rich can hide income very easily and avoid tax .

    We could start with continuing to raise the tax allowance , enforce Vat , stamp duty and inheritance tax without exceptions

  31. @Craig, thanks for the reply , sorry to baffle you. Truth is I don’t know who Ed is or what he can become. I do know the left was purged for being “off message”, and I also believe many have given up too, perhaps justifiably. I guess I’m asking isn’t it time (post new labour) to try again rather than accept the Thatcherite concensus, couldn’t you be “the message” ? isn’t it your time? Apologies if this is really tedious!


    “Non Partisanship has been ignored on this site for many a moon !”

    Regrettably true! :-)

    “the consensus that taxing income is satisfactory is troubling .”

    The SNP and LD ideas that property taxes should be replaced by further income tax were always seriously flawed. Especially in a globalised world, you need to be able to tax wealth that can’t be moved to another jurisdiction.

    Hence my support for the Scottish Green’s Land Value Tax and the SNP’s supermarket tax (despite the flaws in the latter)

  33. @Craig

    Your extremely effective (though endearing) belittling of my generational view is just what I think is required by the way!

  34. Off to bed, but spotted this on the West Coast Rail route

    “Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin described the mistakes made by his department as “deeply regrettable and completely unacceptable”.

    Omnishambles? – though in this part of the world we would have a more “basic” description! :-)

  35. I’m not familiar with either but unfortunately the existing situation needs radical change .

    Big spending departments like police , fire , education and social work need to be taken over by central government who have the revenues and right to alter tax rates to raise income accordingly to cover necessary services.

  36. well ?

  37. @Greg

    I think your not knowing who Ed Miliband is partly the point; posters on here can pontificate on what they think he is and what he’s trying to achieve, but it’s all hot air in the end, and you’re just meant to trust him. It’s just as likely (I’d argue much moreso) the vagueness is there to hide a Thatcherite platform than it is to covertly move the UK leftwards. You wouldn’t need to sell the Labour party to the disaffected left if it were possible, as that’s basically the only vehicle on offer in our FPTP system. The truth is the internal democracy isn’t there to allow a Left to build up and influence the Labour party, it’s more likely to be left funding and supporting a party that ignores it (like the unions position). Ed has shown no reason to believe he wishes to democratise the party, and in fact going the opposite way. You only need to look at the conference to see an example of the futility involved. Gone are the days of meaningful debate and votes which would directly influence the parties policies, replaced by a stage-managed affair that ultimately was frivolous beyond Our Dear Leaders speech.

  38. Coalition to renationalise West Coast Rail Line??? Temporarily, one assumes.

    Labour will make hay with this. There will be a renewal of the omnishambles narrative, I expect.

  39. @ Old Nat

    Snap! :-)

  40. @ Old Nat

    “Politicians are almost always really crap when they try to use history.”

    I want to disagree with you, I really do. But I think I must acknowledge you as correct in most cases.

    @ Billy Bob

    “I’ve taken a bit of time to look at Allen West, such as the speech to CPAC where he hauled a seargent on stage to salute him as “The Colonel” [retired following Article 15 proceedings].

    There was comments about him how “he would make the best president ever”, which makes me wonder whether he might privately fantasize about himself as being a kind of El Caudillo figure one day.

    He is a bit of a darling for Fox News, and during one interview he quoted Alexis de Tocqueville about democracies always failing and being replaced by dictatorships… he did so a little too approvingly, and with a little too much relish for my taste.”

    Well see here’s the thing, Michelle Bachmann is someone who reminds me of Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem (something I never knew about till very recently actually). It’s disgraceful yet also highly entertaining at the same time and it comes with the knowledge that at least she was enjoying herself.

    So for the most part, Bachmann is harmless (well in this country). No one takes her seriously. No one thinks she’s actually intelligent. But watching her get up on stage at various events and dance wildly with her clearly closeted husband or take policy positions in Presidential debates based on “what someone in the audience told her” or whatever else….well she’s having a grand old time. And maybe we are too…..laughing at the spectacle.

    I feel like every party has a loveable idiot. In the UK, you can tell who it is usually during PMQs because their party’s front bench is usually rolling their eyes or giggling with that look on their face that says “I hope only Americans and the Japanese are watching this) when that member gets up to ask a question. Michelle Bachmann could be that loveable idiot but she’s dangerous because she pushes for an Iran style Christian Fundamentalism.

    But West is different. He’s psychotic and he’s probably well armed. And he’s not just saying stuff to get a rise out of people, he actually believes it. And clearly he’s capable of impacting policy and being a presence in politics given his ability to win his District.

    As a matter of protocol, do you refer to former military people by their military rank if they’ve been kicked out of the military? I respect and admire military servicepeople immensely but that admiration and respect goes out the window when they torture people and otherwise commit war crimes.

    @ Richard in Norway

    “Warren buffet, the billionaire invested says we are in a class war, but he says “it my class that is making war on the poor and we are winning” maybe we are all marxists now??”

    I love Warren Buffet (he’s been very good to his investors). I don’t think he’s a Marxist. Although it is remarkable when you see this small public cabal of billionaires who loathe Obama (for seemingly no reason at all), Buffet looks like one. Frankly, I think he’s just a realist and understands that ultimately, the sort of economic policies that benefit him personally will fail and harm everyone else. I think that may also lead him to the conclusion that what is benefitting him in the short term will ultimately harm him longterm.

  41. @ Greg

    :) Apologies for that, I must say your argument that it was our duty to support Miliband was just too effective in riling me!

  42. Good Morning All.
    YG Poll is in the same range as yesterday.

    I think that if Labour does move into the centre, it will harm the LD’s more than the Cons, who I think will win at least 40% of the vote next time.

  43. YouGov
    Con 34, Lab 42, Lib 9
    Not much else to report.

    I suspect you’re right about the west cost main line story – it reinforces the narrative that Ed always ‘calls it’ long before the change of policy.

    And from a few pages back (not Amber) –
    “10% Labour leads are NOT enough at this stage.”
    According to what evidence? And to do what?

    I’m getting really tired of ‘Labour aren’t doing well enough!’ without giving any sort of qualification for what – aren’t doing well enough to deny the Tories a majority, to gain a substantial amount of voters needed for victory in 2020, to go in to coalition, to have a majority, to gain a landslide victory?

    Based on comparisons with what?
    The leads that other leaders have had (before 1992 when pollsters called it wrong, or post?), the gain in popularity since the election compared to what other parties have gained by ‘this point’, compared to where other parties were after they were turfed out?

    Are you factoring in the Lib>Lab swing and the potential reunification of the left, following the split prior to ’83?
    Are you assuming leadership changes or that the current three will lead the way?

    Have you taken your prediction for the potential fall (compared historically to how other oppositions have fell) and run it through a seat calculator to work out roughly what the seat arithmetic says?

    If the argument is based on ‘It’s the economy, stupid’, have you compared other government/opposition gains/losses vs some sort of economic measure? GDP growth, average inflation-adjusted or ‘misery index’?
    Are you taking an average over the course of the parliament or some sort of time frame before the election?

    etc, etc

  44. “average inflation-adjusted”
    Should have read “average inflation-adjusted wage growth”.

    And here’s an article from Nate Silver, in the nation where ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ was born.
    He suggests economic figures account for about half of presidential voting, the other half being ‘everything else’.

    Good Morning.

    My view is that in order to win a majority of a reasonable size; 20 seats or more, Labour would need to be higher than 8% to 10% in the lead.

    The Tories are normally quite good at clawing back leads.

    I noticed there were no attacks on Lib Dems in the speech; maybe strategists have seen the possibilities that there will be another ‘hung’ or ‘balanced’ parliament in 2015, now that boundaries look to be unchanged.

    The Callaghan-Steel pact was quite a success.

  46. “My view is that in order to win a majority of a reasonable size; 20 seats or more, Labour would need to be higher than 8% to 10% in the lead.”
    In the lead right now, or in the lead in the actual election?

    10% lead, Con 32, Lab 42, Lib 16 (as an example) –
    Lab majority 106 seats.
    8% lead, Con 34, Lab 40, Lib 16
    Lab majority 72 seats.

    So let’s squeeze the lead further –
    37/37/16 – Lab short 8..
    36/38/16 – Lab maj of 16..

    So Labour need to be roughly 2% ahead to have that sort of small majority.

    If your prediction is ‘for now’, then congratulations – Labour have it.

  47. Very rough “opposition comparison”, “by this point” –
    I’m picking the September, MORI, two years in.
    I realise that elections haven’t always been in May, but I don’t have the time to do anything but a rough estimate.
    Note: I know pollsters changed methodology post-1992, this is only for a rough example.

    1976, only have April, so closest fit –
    Lab lead of 7% – 1977 has a Con lead of 7%.
    Election result – Con lead of 7%
    So opposition gain +14% (1977, on the ball)

    Sep 1981 –
    Highest Lab lead of 14% (1982 down to Con lead of 12%)
    Election result – Con lead of 16%
    Opposition loss of 30% (4% loss)

    Sep 1985 –
    Lab lead of 3% (1986, up to 4%)
    Election result – Con lead of 11%
    Opposition loss of 14%, (15% loss)

    Sep 1989 –
    Lab lead of 5% (1990, up to 7%)
    Election result – Con lead of 8%
    Opposition loss of 13% (15% loss)

    Sep 1994 –
    Lab lead of 29% (1995 23%)
    Election result – Con lead of 13%
    Opposition loss of 16% (10% loss)

    Sep 1999 –
    Lab lead of 27% (2000 7%)
    Election result – Lab lead of 9%
    Opposition gain of 18% (2% loss)

    Sep 2003 –
    Lab lead of 9% (2004 Con lead 1%)
    Election result – Lab lead of 3%
    Opposition gain of 6% (4% loss)

    Sep 2007 –
    Lab lead of 13% (2008 Con lead 28%)
    Election result – Con lead 7%
    Opposition gain 20% (15% loss)

    So what previous elections, ‘at this point’, tell us Labour need a lead of somewhere between 13% behind and 29% ahead in order to win the next general election.

    Perhaps the shape of electoral performance, rather than arbitrary figure, is also important?
    It’d be like comparing a V shaped recession and an L shaped one and saying ‘We should be at X by now!’.

  48. @Chris1945

    I’m sure St Margaret blessed the pact every day when she was able.

  49. I’m puzzled by the Rail franchise thing. What has gone wrong? Civil Servants not being able to add up, political interference, corruption or too rushed leading to process not being followed?

    Watch the Minister blame the Civil Servants and the previous Government…but are they actually to blame this time?

    It would be ironic if on this occasion the blame them approach fails when has some merit because they have used it so often in the past when it had less!

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