The monthly online ComRes poll for the Indy on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out and has topline figures of CON 28%(-3), LAB 39%(-4), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 14%(+6). The poll shows a big increase in UKIP support since ComRes’s last online poll which was prior to the Rotherham fostering row and by-elections that gave UKIP a publicity boost last month.

Looking at the tables there appears to have been a slight methodology change. ComRes used to weight turnout differently for minor parties than than for the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats – for the big three they included everyone who said they were 5/10 likely to vote or more (weighted proportionally), for other parties they included only those who said they were 10/10 likely to vote. At first glance it looks like they are now treating all parties the same, which would have boosted UKIP support, though it certainly wouldn’t account for all of a six point increase!

The poll also included a question on government’s policy of increasing benefits by 1%, under the rate of inflation, for the next three years. There was some comment on this earlier this week because YouGov and MORI polls on the subject were showing contrasting results –

YouGov asked if Osborne was right or wrong to raise benefits by 1%, lower than the rate of inflation. 33% thought it was right, 35% thought it was wrong and they should have been increased by inflation or more, 19% thought they should not have been increased at all.

MORI asked a similar question, but didn’t mention it was for three years and gave three examples of benefits affected: jobseekers, income support and child benefit. They found 11% thinking they shouldn’t rise at all, 16% that they should rise by less than inflation, 59% that they should rise in line with inflation and 10% that they should rise by more.

The reason for the big difference is perplexing. I’ve seen and I can think of various possibilities, none that stands out above others. It could be that YouGov mentioned it was for the next three years, while the MORI question didn’t so people thought more about the general principle than what should happen now. Another possibility is that it was down to MORI giving the example of child benefit, which affects many more people, and resulted in a different answer. I’ve also seen suggestions that public opinion moved drastically in the small gap between the two polls fieldwork, which given it was all of two days seems particularly unlikely.

Anyway, today’s ComRes poll asked their own question and found more people in support of the government’s policy than opposed, though not by a big gap. ComRes asked if people agreed or disagreed that “The Chancellor, George Osborne, is right to cut most state benefits by 1% a year for the next three years, in real terms (taking inflation into account)” 42% agreed, 36% disagreed.

The wording is interesting because YouGov and MORI have both presented the change as an increase, but below inflation. ComRes presented it as a real terms cut. The terms mean exactly the same of course, but not everyone will realise that, and simply in terms of language “cash increase” will always sound better than “real terms cut”!

It doesn’t appear to have made a vast difference anyway, since ComRes also asked about it in a poll for ITV News earlier this week, which phrased it in terms of an increase and didn’t even mention inflation “George Osborne was right in his Autumn Statement to limit increases in most welfare benefits to 1%”. One might have thought the wording of this statement was far more positive for George Osborne than the version ComRes used for their Indy/Mirror poll, but the results weren’t that different – 44% agreed, 33% disagreed.

UPDATE: The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is also out and has topline figures of CON 29%(nc), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 14%(+1). There is no significant change from their last poll, which had already shown a boost for UKIP.

89 Responses to “ComRes/Indy on Sunday – CON 28, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 14”

1 2
  1. Steve

    Aspirin is also good for you, so next time you need some, why not take the whole pack?

  2. The poll result isn’t surprising. “We have to make cuts because we don’t have enough money!” has been promoted, and the ground work on making benefit claims automatically suspect has been well entrenched. (Other people’s that is, middle class benefit claims are of course perfectly rational…)

    But of course the impact of slashing the automatic stabilisers is going to hurt the economy. This is even going against the direct advice of the IMF, and is one of the reasons the credit rating is being down graded on the assumption of what will happen to domestic demand with a huge swath of the population suddenly unable to buy as much as they once could.

    The current popularity of this decision won’t make the economic consequences of it go away. We should all expect a few more high street names to go into receivership this spring.

    And of course, it’s hard to explain why unemployment benefits are an “automatic stabiliser” economic stimulus, without an economics lecture. So I expect that people may well still support the cuts, at the same time as blaming Osborne for the economic troubles they cause.

  3. Steve Coberman

    Rather than finding a wasp to pander to populist ignorance, would it not be better to explain coolly, rationally, and clearly why immigration is, and always has been, beneficial to BOTH immigrant and host populations in both economic

    Well the trouble is that it isn’t “always” beneficial to both populations – which is why every country in the world has immigration restrictions. The only people who always in favour of completely open labour markets are those employers who seek to increase profits mainly by reducing labour costs, slum landlords, etc. Of course it would also mean that you could say goodbye to even the most rudimentary social services (even to prevent starvation) and any free healthcare etc.

  4. Looking at some of the posts,perhaps AW could do a post about party supporters `being in denial`.

  5. Incidentally the first guess at which high street name will go under is HMV or Blockbuster. They’re already in trouble, having depended to a great extent on trade from people who do not buy or rent their entertainment online. Now that the poorest are likely to be almost eliminating entertainment from their budgets, I expect one or the other, and perhaps both, to sink below realistic rescue.

    And the collapse of a national chain such as HMV and Blockbuster will put enough people out of work, not just in the stores but in their logistics and suppliers, that Osborne’s ‘savings’ will be wiped out…

  6. Is blockbusters still going?

  7. Still struggling on. But not much life left in them.

  8. Anthony

    […]The best example I’ve seen was after the tsunami in 2004. Populus asked people how much money, if any, they personally had given to the appeal. If you worked out how much money people claimed to have given, it was actually twice as much as was raised in the UK for the appeal – that’s social desirability bias.

    Yes, but if the people who donated were also twice as likely to answer an opinion poll (where after all they are donating their time) it would be accurate with no social desirability bias at all. [forbidden smiley thing]


    I thought Blockbusters UK was doing well with the US arm in trouble.

  10. MiM

    Congratulations on the job.

  11. Good Evening OLD NAT.

    Interesting census news about the 48% of Northern Ireland being protestant and 45% being catholic, but only 25% ‘self identifying as Irish only.

  12. @Turk
    “the truth is firstly the increase in UKIP support is coming from both the main parties not just the Tories”

    Not so – just look at any set of YouGov tables or the link to the ComRes table within AW’s thread.

  13. @Smukesh

    They are being propped up by second hand dvd/bluray sales and video game sales. But a sudden steep loss of walk-in trade for rentals, and less demand for second hand stock is going to hit them hard. And that’s going to happen after the benefits cut.

  14. The support is coming from both parties, just not equally.

    I’m sure there are a few Mrs Duffy’s in the Labour party who are concerned about immigration.

  15. CHRISLANE1945

    Haven’t had much time to look at the detail of the NI census yet, but what seemed most interesting was the emergence of “Northern Irish only” as a large group.

    British only 39.9% : Irish only 25.3% : Northern Irish only 20.9%

    Inded, when multiple identities are included, Northern Irish moves to 2nd place

    British 48.4% : Northern Irish 29.4% : Irish 28.4%

  16. @MitM
    “The support is coming from both parties, just not equally.”

    But that comment is pretty well meaningless – it would be true even if just 1 Labour and 1 LD had joined 100 Cons defecting to UKIP. As it happens, the ComRes tables tell you that of 208 UKIP “voters” polled, at the last GE 101 voted Con, 11 Lab and 27 LD. i.e. Nothing significant yet from previous Labour voters.

    By adopting positions to the right of the Conservative party on a whole host of issues, and thus branding themselves as a party on the hard (but not extreme) right, UKIP seem to be doing their level best to put off those on the left who might otherwise be attracted to their stance on the specifics of the EU and immigration.

  17. @Phil Haines

    Yes, a YouGov with UKIP on 9% shows the following defections since 2010: Con 13%, Lab 3%, LD 7%.

    For Comres with UKIP on 14% the figures are Con 19%, Lab 3%, LD 9%. That is in a sample of 531 who say they voted Con in 2010, a staggering 101 now say UKIP (414/11 for Lab, 297/27 for Lib Dem).

  18. @CB11

    “By the way, we’ve had endless prompted discussions on UKPR on why Labour aren’t doing better, why the Lib Dem vote has collapsed, what’s behind UKIP’s rise, what will happen in Scotland, etc etc. When are we going to start to discuss the causes and implications of what appears to be the early, tentative signs of a meltdown in the Tory vote?”

    Their objectives in my opinion are:

    1. Neutralise UKIP, either by offering that which UKIP offer (referendum for example), or by offering them some form of alliance to thwart a Labour 2015 certain victory (assuming the polls then are as they are now).

    2. Turn the economy round. If they do this, they may take plenty of UKIP votes back. Some Labour voters might go to Lib Dem, if they were Lib Dem before and feel the LDs can take some of the credit for the economic what not.

    3. Achieve one single massive thing. Obviously HS2 is too far off. Perhaps 99% broadband…perhaps 10K tax allowance. They need something that the voters can agree that they achieved in their five year term (other than the economy).

    I think all are do-able, with the economy being the most uncertain. Whether it will be worth that 14% of UKIP remains to be seen. We can guess at perhaps half (7%) of UKIP voters moving to Con at a General Election, but that’s probably shoddy guesswork at best. We’re finding that UKIP are not necessarily ex-Con voters.

  19. A whole lotta outliers goin’ on.

  20. Statgeek

    Your implication that Con needs to do better is somewhat pushing an open door. Number 2 on your list would seem to be essential.

    I rabbited on about immigration on the last thread. None of that will matter (I don’t think it will anyway under FPTP) but your number 3 will.

  21. Number 2 in last para, sorry.

  22. Whilst the 14 is likely an outlier it would hard to argue that UKIP polling is not improving.

  23. CHRISLANE1945

    Interesting data from the English and Welsh census on national identity as well (Classification 2 allowing multiple identities)

    England – English 70.1% : British 29.35 : Other 11%
    Wales – Welsh 65.9% : English 13.8% : British 26.3% : Other 4.3%.

  24. What a downbeat ending to The Killing. Must be ‘cos its always dark in Denmark.


    “its always dark in Denmark”

    I gather geography wasn’t part of your education.

  26. I heard Denmark was just a rubbish Sweden, but Sweden denied it and claimed it was a rubbish Denmark. Finland wanted nothing to do with them and there only friend is Iceland as Iceland knows the pain of being left out of the club and no one really caring about you.

  27. MiM

    Pity that since the UK labelled Icelanders as terrorists, they have repaid most of their debt to bank depositors, have been praised by the IMF for adopting a strategy that has returned the country to strong growth, and has avoided the austerity imposed on the sad wee citizens of the UK.

  28. Crossbat

    “Crikey, these polls are getting grimmer and grimmer for the Tories, aren’t they? ”

    Yes, but that’s not the way to look at it. What is constant is the deterioration in their position not their VI at any given point.

    The direction is down. Not down a bit, then up a bit. That suggest to me that a dramatic change of direction is unlikely, they havn’t levelled out and they are not yet moving up.

    We havn’t heard for a while the “week is a long time etc” nonsence. The cons are in trouble and the chance of being in goverment is less every week that passes UNLESS THERE IS A SIGN OF AN UPTURN.

    There is a point when even if it happens that there is an improvement (however weak) it is to late as the hill they have to climb gets bigger, and the time less.

    They are going in the wrong direction inexorably, if slowly.

    Surely the game is up already for an OM?

    A realisation that it is so, needs to be countered by something dramatic to steady the troops.


    Fear not!

    There always needs to be a centre right party pursuing the neo-liberal agenda.

    As the Tories demonstrate their incompetence in that area, Labour will valiantly reposition themselves to fill that gap – as they have done before.

  30. Oldnat

    Only if they get the money

  31. @ Statgeek

    Their objectives in my opinion are:

    1. Neutralise UKIP, either by offering that which UKIP offer (referendum for example), or by offering them some form of alliance to thwart a Labour 2015 certain victory (assuming the polls then are as they are now).
    Labour can offer an in/out referendum on the EU AND say that they will back staying in but it will be up to the voters to decide. Cake & eat it; delicious for Labour.
    If that option was a political possibility for the Tories, they’d be doing it already, don’t you think? To get ahead of Labour on this, the Tories would have to have a referendum in this parliament; methinks it’s too late now to get it done.
    2. Turn the economy round. If they do this, they may take plenty of UKIP votes back. Some Labour voters might go to Lib Dem, if they were Lib Dem before and feel the LDs can take some of the credit for the economic what not.
    Sure, that’d be nice but it doesn’t seem likely does it? The Tories are now working to Darling’s 2018 timetable so isn’t it a bit much to expect a return of the feel-good factor by 2015? IMO, the economic battle will be fought on a ‘least worst’ scenario. How depressing is that for all concerned?
    3. Achieve one single massive thing. Obviously HS2 is too far off. Perhaps 99% broadband…perhaps 10K tax allowance. They need something that the voters can agree that they achieved in their five year term (other than the economy).
    Yep, the key battleground demographic of ‘strivers’ will be really excited about HS2 & 99% broadband (I think not!); the £10k tax allowance doesn’t compensate for the loss of tax credits for most ‘strivers’.

    Trumping Labour’s Living Wage strategy is their best hope of doing something really big & effective for ‘strivers’. To beat Labour on this, the Tories would need to make it the new minimum wage (Labour have refused to commit to that!). The Living Wage, not gay marriage, is the Tory’s ‘Clause IV’ moment. Will they step up & hit it out of the park or will they let it sail on by?

  32. @ Billy Bob (from the previous thread)

    “How reliable is opinion polling on gun control?

    It seems there has been a collapse in support for more more legislation to control gun ownership… many states have ‘liberalised’ laws in recent years.


    Pew has been tracking this for a while and they draw comparisons with other divisive issues like marriage/abortion etc… same dividing lines… might the rural, white, conservative, Republican demographic be being overrepresented again?


    Here’s the deal. There are plenty on the left who don’t support or are extremely lukewarm towards gun control (including yours truly). And not being extremely supportive of gun control doesn’t make one a gun nut either.

    A lot of the laws that “liberalize” guns seem to be promoted by ALEC and the NRA and other powerful lobbying groups of crazies.

    The bigger oddity is to ask rank and file NRA members and also just regular gun owners who aren’t NRA nuts about support for certain gun restrictions and find out that they by and large support them. Yet the NRA lobbies against them. And Republicans in elected office oppose them.

  33. YouGov
    Con 33 Lab 45 LD 9 UKIP 8

    No sign of a LD revival, or of a UKP surge here.

  34. Now speaking of gun control, this story is scary.,0,3525149.story

    Glad no one was killed or injured.

    I guess the only difference between me and the other slightly deranged, mentally disturbed, young men of America is that I have UKPR to keep me away from guns and thoughts of violence towards others. Why collect guns and ammunition when I can collect baseball trading cards of all of Britain’s leading political figures?

    (Actually, that doesn’t exist but that would be pretty cool if it did, wouldn’t it?)

  35. YouGov
    Net Approval:
    Cameron -17 (+2)
    Miliband -23 (-2)
    Clegg -56 (nc)

  36. @ John B Dick (from the previous thread)

    “Indeed. Unfortunately we have now lost nearly all those who had the judgement to see that the Scottish Parliament was a better place to be than the other parliaments they had been in. You should see the opening speech of PO George Reid in the debae about breast feeding on women’s day 2007(?)welcoming the gender balance.

    Further evidence that the Westminster culure is the source of too many problems.

    In this matter Donald Gorrie is perhaps the greatest loss. Malcolm Chisholm is marginalised. Otherwise, only AS remains.”

    Well there is some parallel I can see in the U.S. where Senators decide to run for Governor and give up thier Senate seats to do so. Or Congressmembers giving up their seats to run for local Mayoral office. Haven’t seen any members of Congress run for state legislative offices….well except for once in California (but the man had already been defeated and was out of office). It seems to me that in some parts of CA, it’s easier to win and hold onto a Congressional seat because the local and state elected officials who normally would look for those seats elsewhere are too happy in CA to ever leave the state. LA City Councilmembers actually have a higher annual salary than Congressmembers do (though they don’t get all the perks members of Congress do…..they can’t accept free dinners and free tickets to awards shows for example).

    I think others in the future will rise to AS’s level. You just have to give it some time. I still say JM will be the future Prime Minister if Labour gets smart and Scotland doesn’t secede before such an event can happen.

    I was curious about this. What would happen to a sitting Scottish Prime Minister if Scotland voted to secede? When Quebec nearly seceded from Canada, they had a French Canadian as Prime Minister. I wonder what would have happenned had the close vote gone the other way.

  37. Yougov seems to be out of step with the other two polls, with UKIP scoring lower and the two main parties higher.

  38. This is the great welfare question :

    The public think they support welfare cuts because they are constantly told that this is what’s needed. However, they are rarely as keen when the cut becomes specific because their basic human kindness comes into play.

    So cutting sickness benefits for instance sounds great, but seeing a cancer patient lose support does not. cutting benefits for lone parents sounds sensible, seeing children go hungry does not. They’re the same, it’s just the framing.

    This is a case where the public actually do hold conflicting opinions at the same time and so welfare polls remain erratic and unfathomable.

  39. I meant to say that I’m hoping to commission a poll with one of the large charities on just this soon. Obviously I’ll post link here if it comes off. (IPSOS Mori I think, but you can make a pitch for YouGov if you like Anthony ;)

1 2