ComRes’s monthly online poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out and has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%.

The changes from last month are bit complex. As regular readers will know, there has been a bit of a back and forth in ComRes’s methodology. For most of last year ComRes treated likelihood to vote for minor parties differently to how they did it for the main parties – for the big three they included people who said they were 5/10 or more likely to vote (weighted proportionally), for minor parties they only included those who said they were 10/10 certain to vote. In their December online poll they experimented with treating all parties the same on turnout, producing a substantial jump in UKIP support. In January they used their old method, which dropped UKIP back down by 4 points. Unfortunately this wasn’t flagged up in media reporting of the polls, giving the impression of UKIP increasing in December and then dropping back down in January after Cameron’s EU referendum pledge, when actually much of the movement was due to methodological reasons.

Anyway, the back and forth seems to be behind us – ComRes have now shifted to treating all the parties the same when it comes to taking account of likelihood to vote:

“In recent months we have been exploring the best way to treat smaller parties when calculating voting intention. We have experimented with including smaller parties in voting intention scores only if respondents are certain to vote; this has been on the basis that, comparing polling against actual 2010 results, we were concerned that the traditional method was over-stating smaller parties. However, with UKIP the game has changed and we therefore propose that from now on supporters of smaller parties will be included if respondents are 5/10 or above in terms of likelihood to vote, as is the case with the major parties. We will however continue to review our methodology as the general election approaches”

The effect is simply to increase the reported level of support for minor parties, with the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all decreasing proportionally. Last month’s ComRes figures were CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 10%, so a naive comparison would suggest a significant increase for UKIP with everyone else suffering. However, ComRes have released changes on what last month’s figures would have been using the new method, implying that last month’s figures would have been CON 32%, LAB 37%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 13% and that today’s poll actually shows very little difference for the Conservatives, Labour or UKIP.

That is interesting in itself – last month’s ComRes poll was the height of the post-referendum boost for David Cameron. Polls since them for other companies have shown whatever benefit Cameron accrued from his referendum boost fading away again, but ComRes have him consolidating it. As ever, that could be a sign of a Conservative advance, but in the absence of other polls confirming it will probably turn out to be a blip.

UPDATE: Full tabs are here

35 Responses to “ComRes/IoS – CON 31, LAB 36, LD 8, UKIP 14”

  1. Wot no comments??

  2. They also asked people to rank the last 8 PMs with the following results

    1.Margaret Thatcher
    2.Harold Wilson
    3.Tony Blair
    4.Edward Heath
    =5.David Cameron
    =5.James Callaghan
    7.John Major
    8.Gordon Brown

  3. Good Evening All.

    Any news from Eastleigh polling? Maybe the Lib Dems will be doing better than they seem to be doing in national polls.

  4. So, the Tories are down 1% and UKIP are up 1% since the last ComRes poll, with the Labour lead remaining at 5%, and Anthony thinks this may be evidence of a “Conservative advance”.


  5. @Chrislane1945 – no Eastleigh polling news, but there does seem to have been a major gaff by the Tory candidate. She is reported as telling the Daily mail that it was impossible for her son to achieve his ambition to become a surgeon via the state school system.

    Apart from being downright wrong, a right royal sh!t storm has erupted. This is the stuff of which by elections are made of, and those (Tories, mainly) who raised questions over her choice as candidate may have their answer sooner than expected.

    Lab and Lib Dems going all out over this. The sentiments and manner in which they were expressed seem almost designed to demonstrate to the voters that Tories are different to the rest of us. It’s a gift that will delight non Tories and cause consternation in Tory HQ.

  6. CB11

    Read AW’s last paragraph again.

  7. ALEC

    Before your knees start to jerk too much :-

    Be sure that she wasn’t describing the difficulty of educating an autistic child.

    Check out NC’s thoughts on the education of his eldest son-and the habits of any number of other politicians in educating their children.

  8. @Colin

    “Read AW’s last paragraph again”

    I have; in fact I read it quite a few times before I posted. Surely you can’t speculate on the possibility of an “advance” based on the fact that a slight polling boost four weeks ago hasn’t unravelled quite as much in this poll as in others?

  9. @Alec

    “Lab and Lib Dems going all out over this. The sentiments and manner in which they were expressed seem almost designed to demonstrate to the voters that Tories are different to the rest of us. It’s a gift that will delight non Tories and cause consternation in Tory HQ.”

    I think the Eastleigh by election could prove to be a cathartic political experience for the Lib Dems. I sense that their distancing policy is gathering momentum and, having listened to Nick Harvey on Radio 4’s Question Time last night, when he resisted the usual Labour-bashing on the NHS and instead launched into a withering attack on Clarke’s 1991 internal market reforms, it would appear old antagonisms are resurfacing.

  10. If Labour are only on 36% in mid-term they will struggle to get more than 33% in the general election in my opinion.

  11. CB11

    I took him to mean something like-from the height of the post referendum boost, whereas other polls show a move back to Labour, ComRes remain “consolidated” at that level.

    One can quibble with his use of the word “advance”, but his meaning seems clear.

    And anyway-he says it is probably a “blip”-so he isn’t claiming anything which should upset you, unless you have had a particularly bad day.

  12. @Alec,

    She does seem to have a touch of the Sarah Palins about her.

    I wonder how long it will take the media to find a cardio surgeon who went to a local state school. Given the demographics of the area, not very long at all I’d say.

  13. @Colin

    “And anyway-he says it is probably a “blip”-so he isn’t claiming anything which should upset you, unless you have had a particularly bad day.”

    Au contraire, I’m having an extremely good day. Birmingham lost 4-0 at home and my local team alleviated their relegation fears with a fine 3-2 win at Chippenham Town.

    What could be better?

    As for Anthony’s comments, I’m just a stickler for terminological exactitude! lol

  14. Crossbat – my normal caveat. I don’t like to be so dismissive as saying this is obvious cack – there’s always a chance that its the start of a new trend.

    Given no other poll has show any continuing sign of a reduced Lab lead and there’s no reason to expect a new narrowing, it’s probably a blip though

  15. @Neil A

    “She does seem to have a touch of the Sarah Palins about her.”

    What are you trying to say; she’s going to be photographed, rifle in hand, standing proudly over the carcass of a recently shot stag?

    Maybe she understands the political situation in Scotland because, on a good day, she can see the country from her bedroom window!

  16. @ Andy JS

    If Labour are only on 36% in mid-term they will struggle to get more than 33% in the general election in my opinion.
    And if it were any other polling firm, Labour would need to be concerned but it’s Com – change my method – Res. So we’ll await the real polls before getting too excited.

  17. @Anthony

    “Given no other poll has show any continuing sign of a reduced Lab lead and there’s no reason to expect a new narrowing, it’s probably a blip though”

    I get your gist but, whilst not wanting to split hairs on this, this poll, on like for like methodology shows no narrowing either. 5% a month ago, 5% today, with bot Labour and the Tories down 1%. Are you basing the possibility of a Conservative advance on the fact that the Labour lead hasn’t widened?

  18. Crossbat – oh, I see what you mean. No, I meant ComRes still showing a narrower lead than December when everyone else had reverted to type, obviously there’s no change since Jan.

  19. Labour on 36% is their lowest score with a ComRes online poll since October 2010.

    ICM haven’t put Labour that low since before the budget omnishambles… ComRes seem to be challeging ICM for top spot in the lowest Labour lead house effect stakes.

  20. Anthony,

    A sort of technical question, well as technical as I get.

    Has anyone ever reallocated don’t knows on the basis of how likely that particular party as likely to vote, so that the Tories would in theory get more don’t knows than labour as Tories are generally more likely to vote.


  21. It occurs to me that if we want to know what don’t knows might do then we should ask them! At least ask them what possible parties they could vote for if they don’t know (also how regularly in the past have they voted which would probably be better than the how sure they are of voting).

    I was very sceptical about ICM reallocating don’t knows back to the Lib Dems given that there has been a big swing away from them and the factors of having seen how they perform in government. At the same time if a former Lib Dem voter still doesn’t yet know then maybe they are right to do this reallocation back to them. If the question I suggested above is asked then we would at least know if Lib Dem is still an option.

  22. Why no eastleigh polls? Because it’s looking like a Lib Dem win it appears the papers and polling orgs have lost interest. Guess it really doesn’t suit the wipe out narrative enough. Call me cynical!!

  23. I can believe UKIP are into double figures atm (ie 10-11%), but probably not regularly found to be at the
    14%, nor as it appears here at the expense of Labour.
    It looks a little odd.

    Even if Labour had a 3% swing back to Con it would be virtually neck-and-neck – which is still a Labour victory of some sort.

  24. I can’t believe the lib dems are going to win a by election after everything they’ve done and the Chris Huhne scandal, I thought lib dems would be too ashamed to show their face in the polling booth. Although I guess we must factor in opportunistic Labour voters switching to Lib to keep their old foes out.

  25. @Colin – the paper that ran the interview is apparently reporting that the son referred to by Maria H is not autistic, but that two other of her children do have issues.

    Either way, it’s probably a bit like plebgate. The actual facts are less important in terms of the impact than the impression – that’s pavement politics, and it can be grubby and bruising. Right now, many parents of state educated children in the constituency she wishes to represent will be reading some pretty poor headlines.

    Again like plebgate, these feed into existing opinions/prejudices about Tories, and even if the comments are found to be unintentional or related to specific circumstances, they were poorly thought out in terms of a hard fought election campaign.

  26. I think Eastleigh is something that might be called an “LD Hotspot”, for whatever reason: the local council has 40 LD’s out of 44. Thus we can reasonably assume that, even with a big swing against them, they are coming from a fairly high base of support thereabouts.

    Therefore, they might well survive the LD’s national polling difficulties: but only just, thanks to some determined nose-holding by Labour supporters voting tactically, and perhaps UKIP shaving a bit off the Conservative vote to help ease the way.

  27. @MiM

    See Rotherham (Denis MacShane), Oldham East & Saddleworth (Phil Woolas) for similarities.

    I did post, back on Feb 7th,

    “My guess is that the LD VI for Eastleigh will not suffer as much as other party supporters would hope.”

    What could possibly cause such a low lead? The dates of 13th-14th might suggest that Labour’s 10p tax announcement might be part of it, but I doubt it.

    Would people, disbelieving Ed Miliband on the 10p tax, shift to UKIP? I can’t see it somehow.

  28. A silly improbable question, but what happens if the libdems win big??

  29. How about including UKIP as a fourth party in the “LATEST VOTING INTENTION”?

  30. An interesting point Alec makes about attitudes towards private school.

    For a number of Labour voting friends of mine, it is perfectly acceptable to send one’s own children to private school and thus not to “politicise” the schooling of one’s own children. This is effectively what Diane Abbott and Nick Clegg have both said, so how can Labour and the Lib Dems now make an issue out of it without being labelled hypocrites?

  31. @ RiN

    A silly improbable question, but what happens if the libdems win big??
    Perhaps the Tories will realise that UKIP isn’t the threat, the LibDems are. ConHQ will try to have more influence over selection so that they choose a more liberal candidate.

  32. This is really odd, it seems that the horsemeat that was contaminated with dangerous drugs may have been exported from Britain and then reimported after being processed, if I’m reading it right.,

  33. New Thread

    Paul Croft

    Senior NT Monitor

  34. @RiN,

    Well sort of. It seems that we have exported contaminated horsemeat to the continent, and that the continent has exported processed meat containing horsemeat to us. There’s nothing to suggest it’s the same meat, but the point the article is making is that the EU is a single market for meat products, so any of it could have been sold anywhere.

    I’ve always known that we export a lot of horsemeat to the continent. Anyone who knows anything about the annual Dartmoor pony clearance knows that. Our cultural reluctance seems to extend only to not troughing on the the stuff. Raising them and killing them we don’t seem to object so quite so much.

  35. RiN
    SunTel 17 Feb
    “The FSA received three warnings, starting a year ago, that beef products in Europe contained horse, but decided that because the produce was not intended for Britain it need not to take any action.”
    “?A European Union directive in 2006 ordered “light touch” regulation, which led to the FSA cutting the number of meat inspectors.”
    I remember with some concern our Chief Vet. Inspector, who was head of the whole vet and meat inspection services, happily joshing around with EU and other Member States vet inspection service managers at Brussels, in I suppose 1992, during the hand over of the service’s authority and responsibilities to the EC, clearly loving being part of the big scene, and happy to oblige the Government in reducing our inspection and control serviices to “subsidiarity”. I hope his tummy was sufficiently tickled.
    I see absolutely no reason why a restoration of meat and vetrinary inspection levels should not be paid for by comsumers, or by tax payers if the national benefit demands it. Beef is, I believe, a fungible commodity, and any substitution by eating cheaper and reliable animal products, or vegetarian foods, would readily be absorbed by producers and the market.
    (Well done, ST investigative journalists, BTW)