The monthly ComRes online poll, conducted for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror, is out tonight and has topline voting intention figures of CON 29%(-1), LAB 35%(-3), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 19%(+4). Changes are from ComRes’s previous online poll in mid-April. The changes are in line with other polls we’ve seen since the local elections, a slight narrowing of the Labour lead over the Conservatives and growing support for UKIP. The 19% is the highest figure that UKIP have scored in any poll so far.

The other questions in the poll asked best Prime Minister (I think the first time ComRes have asked it recently, and a welcome break from their tyranny of agree/disagree statements) with Cameron on 32%, Miliband on 24%, Clegg on 6%.

There is also a question where 49% of people agreed that “If a party wants my support at the next general election, it is important to me that they offer a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU”. The question of whether people actually care about Europe and referendums and whether it will actually change votes is a key issue at at the moment. Unfortunately is it not as easy as this to actually answer it – but that it were!.

Regular readers will know that questions attempting to measure the salience of particular issues at election are a particular bug-bear of mine, one that I’ve written about in the past. There are multiple problems with questions like this. The first is that questions like this take an issue out of context and give it false prominence – that is, if you ask about an issue in isolation (and sometimes on the same page as a grid of other statements asking about the same issue!) people may think they are important, but come an actual election there are all sorts of other issues like the economy, crime, the NHS, pensions, taxes and so on that people may see as even more important. The second is that respondents to surveys are not stupid – they know that such poll questions are used by papers to show unhappiness with a policy and will use it to register their support or opposition to a policy regardless of whether it would actually change their vote. Thirdly, and most importantly, is that as people we are often not very good at actually understanding the drivers behind the decisions we make, normally rather overestimating how rational and calculating we are. Key driver analysis of British Election Study data tells us that things like party identification, perceptions of the leaders and perceived competence are the things that drive votes… not policies on individual issues.

The simplistic view of how policies affect voting intention – if people like a policy it wins votes, if they don’t like a policy it loses votes is just that – simplistic. Individual votes don’t win or lose votes. However, they presumably do play into wider perceptions of parties and leaders and how people rate them. So the issue of Europe may well have an impact in terms of whether parties and leaders are seen as caring about the same issues as the public do, being willing to listen to the people, whether they are strong or weak leaders with a vision or purpose, whether parties are united or competent. How it might affect people’s vote is not a question that can be easily answered, let alone with a single question.

UPDATE: There is also an ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph. They don’t have normal voting intention (instead having the ICM wisdom index thingy that asks people to predict the shares of the vote rather than ask how they themselves would vote – the figures this month are Conservative 29%, Labour 32%, Lib Dem 16%, UKIP 15%) but do have EU referendum voting intention, asked using the wording in the Conservative party’s draft Bill. 46% say they would vote NO (to leave), 30% would vote YES (to stay).

UPDATE2: The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer bucks the trend of a narrowing Labour lead, but does also have its own UKIP high. Topline figures are CON 27%(-1), LAB 37%(+2), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 20%(+3)

165 Responses to “ComRes/Sunday Indy – CON 29, LAB 35, LD 8, UKIP 19”

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  1. Tintedfringe: You mean as in “we don’t stand against one another in certain places?”

  2. Labour has been badly hit thus far since local elections by YKIP rise & to pretend otherwise would be silly.

    But it may be their drop is beginning to bottom out. The Farage business in Scotland may not help his cause with Labour voters in Labour areas.

    One poll shows UKIP on 205 – can this be sustained. Were I a Conservative strategist I would worry that all this carry on over last few days may produce a rogue poll that shows conservatives slipping below UKIP/. It won’t last but it might make another series of ugly Media stories and cause further jitters.

  3. Tinged

    You are really in the realms of fantasy now, if labour and the dems couldn’t cobble together a voting pact in the 80s and early 90s when they were both in opposition how will it happen when one of them is in govt

  4. Just a quick fly by note. The 26% given above by a poster on being enough to win a majority is sort of correct.

    But if you then consider that these constituencies could be won in 3 party races, then only 34% is needed in each, so we’re down a bit more, then throw in the fact that voter turnout is about 60%, and you could feasibly get a majority with around 10% of the eligible vote.

  5. I wish we had comparisons of the undecided voters from last year and the undecided voters this year by Party of general voting preference. It just isn’t clear to me how much of the UKIP surge comes from voters who are newly or renewly inspired and how much comes from changing loyalties.

  6. @ Carfrew,

    “anyway someone needs to tell Hodges that this is no longer the fifties where you need close to 50% of the vote”

    No, no, don’t tell him! I want to see him cry on election day.

    Re. democratic legitimacy:

    I think the Thatcher example is salient, as she proves you can get a mandate for your agenda after the fact even if you didn’t have one at the time, assuming you can correctly gauge the zeitgeist. FPTP lets you get into power with minority support, and power lets you alter the socio-political landscape. Who knows, in 30 years’ time we may have politicians running around saying “We’re all Milibandites now!” and Ed citing his Tory successor as his greatest political achievement.

    I’m for PR myself, but FPTP creates the potential for a radicalism that the European coalition-based systems exclude by design. It means that governments are more of a gamble, but there’s an argument to be made in favour of that experimental flexibility.

  7. Gray
    Effectively, yes – Libs stand down in Lab/Con seats, Lab in Lib/Con seats then they go all out in the three-ways.

    Two points – First, Labour (before it was clear they were going to win a majority in 1997) were happily, during the 90s, planning a Lib-Lab coalition.
    Secondly – if we are in that scenario (Cons heading for a majority on 41, the left-wing vote split between Lab & Lib), the LibDems will have a simple choice –
    Back to opposition potentially for a very long time or form a government with Labour.
    Given that they opted for choice A with the Conservatives (despite the preference of their then voters), I’m not sure they’ll snub Labour.
    And then Labour have the choice of coalition with the LibDems or potentially another decade in opposition.

    And given that Miliband’s allies (Peter Hain, etc) are vocally pro-coalition and it’s reported that Ed Miliband had to effectively manage a coalition between Blair and Brown (when he was the ‘Emissary from Planet SomethingOrOther’), I can’t see him turning down an opportunity to form a coalition.

  8. @ Spearmint

    “It means that governments are more of a gamble”

    Great, so we’re supposed to have a system of “gambling” rather than serious attempts to build support for coherent change? What a dreadful verdict on FPTP.

    If FPTP gives Labour another majority with 35% – or even less – of the vote, it will be virtual civil war

  9. Robert C

    To answer your question:

    It would have as much or as little democratic legitimacy as any government ever in the UK. Many of us doubt the legitimacy of this coalition but that hasn’t stopped it being a radical government in many respects.

    FPTP is the system. The people seem pretty happy with it, given the AV result.

    There is no perfect system.

    Labour has the most “efficient” vote and the Tories are only very slightly behind which made their bleating about Labour’s supposedly massive in-built advantage with current boundaries and numbers of MPs quite hard for some of us to take. I was delighted when the LDs voted that down.

    As for UKIP, our system mitigates against new parties, ones with shallow political foundations, we might say, and that, in my view, is a good thing.

  10. It could be argued that polling organisations that poll monthly appear to be struggling with gauging UKIP’s level of support, possibly because the,UKIP vote is so fluid at the moment.

    It is not surprising that the most regular pollster (YG) has the lowest (and most stable) level of UKIP support, despite a recent jump. The other pollsters are still trying to find how to factor in that jump.

  11. @rogermexico

    Sorry I should clarify; I had seen that graph already, was wondering if this was the first poll by any pollster showing others in front of tories (or even labour for that matter)?

  12. @Robert C

    “Virtual civil war”? Pah. Stop being so silly. People don’t care that much. They have got their lives to lead without thinking about the finer philosophical points of democratic legitimacy.

  13. New thread alert…

  14. @ian,

    As for UKIP, our system mitigates against new parties, ones with shallow political foundations, we might say, and that, in my view, is a good thing.


    The problem with this, is that it makes for something of a closed shop. Lets face it, if you take the Blair period in office, there is actually not a huge amount between the three main parties. This is why I am beginning to question FPTP, and also shouting down or abusing parties people don’t agree with like what we saw a taste of in Scotland last week for Farage. As an example, I disagree hugely with socialism, I think it suppresses individual ability and aspiration, but I do realise others have a different view, and I would never talk down the right for say a socialist party to exist. Again I wouldn’t vote UKIP, but if we are going to attack and suppress anything other than the centre or a fraction left or right of centre, doesnt that just give us a cosy consensus ad infinitum?

  15. @ ken
    “That’s not a prediction, it’s a hunch!”

    You’re right. All predictions are hunches. An astute observation for someone who thinks that watching 22 multi-millionaires running around a illuminated field is a suitable occupation for adults.

    But unfortunately, as you know, the probability that [before the cock crows] my hunch will be proved right is 99.999999999999%. .

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