The monthly ComRes poll for the Independent is out tonight. Topline figures are CON 34%(+4), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 12%(-2). The three point Labour lead is the lowest ComRes have shown since last September, and the 34% for the Conservatives the highest since last November.

The drop in the Labour lead and the fading of UKIP support is very much in line with the pattern we’ve seen in the daily YouGov polls, in ICM’s poll this month and in line with the sort of figures Populus are now showing… though it’s worth noting that MORI and some of the new online companies aren’t yet picking up the same pattern.

As to why the polls are narrowing, the harsh truth is that we really can’t tell. There is always a temptation that I see people falling into to reach for the issue you personally care about and ascribing changes in the polls to that (or “why the change in the polls shows that politicians should do the thing I like”) the reality is we can’t tell*, all we can do is look for rough correlations in timing. Personally my best guess is that’s its the result of the ongoing improvement in economic optimism we have seen over the past few months, a rather more controlled Conservative message and the decreased level of publicity UKIP have been receiving.

(*Whenever I make a point like this someone makes the suggestion of asking people. Oh were it so easy! Firstly, if you ask people who gave a different answer 3 or 4 months ago if they’ve changed their mind many won’t realise they have. If you ask why to those who have consciously changed their mind you get lots of don’t knows, general grumbles and some reasons that may be genuine causes, or may be post-hoc rationalisations for complex decisions we probably don’t even understand ourselves.)


424 Responses to “ComRes/Indy – CON 34, LAB 37, LD 10, UKIP 12”

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  1. @Steve,

    I said ‘there are infinitely more low-paid private sector workers getting the sack than public sector workers like teachers’, but I accept it’s a very easy mistake to make.

    I sincerely apologise for assuming that you were biased against private sector workers. I guess it’s a matter that’s very close to me….my dad did manual work in a factory as I was growing up, and he worked really long hours (5am to 10pm some days, and often weekends)…in very poor conditions and for low pay. One of our neighbours (who was really nice to be fair) was a teacher and he once told him ‘well, we are ‘the’ workers’, which understandably riled him. I guess I absolutely loather the private v public sector debate, as for me both sectors are exceptionally important and many of the workers in both get a very rough deal and work very hard.

    Anyway, I apologise for my wrongful assumption.

  2. @ Colin

    Why vent on a comments board about such children? Do something, if you really care so much. You can volunteer to be a supporter for a family in crisis. There are certainly agencies in Scotland who are keen to take on & train more volunteers. There are probably some in your area too; do join one – you may be able to save some children from becoming ‘statistics’.

  3. Anthony:

    I may nick this – it’s brilliant.

    “I think we can be fairly certain that we, with our healthy combination of perfect hindsight and total pig ignorance of the specifics, don’t have much to lend to the inquiry.”

    I do think there have been some very thoughtful posts on the subject though.

  4. amber… I thought the same but then thought it is possible Colin already does so.

  5. @Paul,

    I agree….particularly by Neil.

  6. The best thing about UKPR is that sometimes a post comes along that changes my perceptions or views on a given topic.

  7. “The best thing about UKPR is that sometimes a post comes along that changes my perceptions or views on a given topic.”

    You’re a rare individual then ambi………..

    Actually I feel the same: there are often people who know more or whose varying perspectives can be very helpful. The opposite is also true – some posts/posters strengthen my beliefs and viewpoint.

  8. There’s been some interesting and enlightening things said about the problems of dealing with abused children. I just add one other little thing. Often the cases that hit the headlines (which themselves may be unrepresentative) are where those in charge of the child have been particularly obstructive or devious or unreliable.

    It is simply more time-consuming to deal with such people and time is the one thing these professionals don’t have. They don’t know in advance which of the cases reported to them will go wrong, which are those where there is nothing substantial wrong and which are the ones where the parents will benefit from some form of minor intervention. So they will tend not to make the extra effort where they meet resistance and they know it will mean ignoring cases where they can make a difference.

    The trouble is that while some of these ‘difficult’ parents will be those who are really abusing their children, others will just be hyper-defensive and prepared to make a lot of fuss. So you can’t even treat it as symptom that there is something to hide.

  9. @ Paul

    You could be right – I’m sure that Colin will be good enough let us know so that anybody else in his area who wishes to volunteer can sign up.

    I mentioned Scotland so that anybody in my area who’d like more information can let me know they’re interested & I will post the details.

  10. A dreadful crime but some very balanced and wise reaction to it,at least here.

    George Mudie has been muddying the waters for Labour.I agree with much of
    What he says but wonder why his opinions could have not been voiced privately rather than on the BBC.

  11. @Roger,

    Very true. It also links in with my comment about the best kind of personality for a social worker.

    Some people, when confronted with angry and critical individuals, get their noses put out of joint and make a point of standing their ground. Those sort of people tend to gravitate towards jobs like the police.

    Other people, when confronted with angry and critical individuals, try to consider their points of view, start to question their own judgement, worry about the consequences of being wrong and backtrack. Those sort of people tend to gravitate towards jobs like social work.

    Neither trait is ideal, but if you’ve got an abusive parent shouting in your face and spreading a trail of distractions, the first trait is what you want. Of course, Ms Cavendish probably feels the opposite way…..

  12. Neal A

    I read your comments re the doctor, however for balance the young childs teachers reported seeing the child with bruising, searching for food in the bins, stealing his class mates food and even eating play dough and reported he seemed to be shrinking in his clothes. (From Jerry Vine show today)

    So maybe that doctor was blind.

    Nickp

    If you put aside your own prejudices you would see I wasn’t

  13. @Neil and Roger

    What I have never understood is why the situation is structured in such a way that these issues of personality etc matter. It is surely often the case that it is very difficult to know whether a child is being abused or if so who by but it is reasonably clear that all is not well. For example, a child is failing to put on weight or has broken bones but could have brittle bones or whatever. Why in such cases is there not a kind of ‘production order’ such that the child has to be examined at regular intervals by a medical professional in a situation where it is possible to ascertain what was going on. In getting this order it would not be necessary to provide evidence of wrongdoing but only of reasons for concern. Failure to ensure that the child was examined in this way would be a legal matter as it is if a parent does not send a child to school. My feeling is that a framework of this sort would actually deter wrong doing and would also be something within which social workers would find it easier to operate.

  14. Society starts from the point that the parents know best & that a child is the property of their parents. Every doctor, teacher, social worker, police officer & court official seems to know this well. And I’d think that the vast majority of people want to continue this way – although there hasn’t been any polling about it, which I can find.

    Unfortunately, by extending such rights to parents it leaves a small minority of children in danger. That is the price we pay to protect the rights of the majority – & I just want to extend my thanks to everybody here who works/ has worked to fill the inevitable gaps which this approach results in.

  15. @Charles,

    Such orders exist. You could get a Supervision Order, a Care Order (but with the child still living at home), a Specific Steps Order or a Prohibited Issue Order.

    Any and all of them involve showing on the balance of probability that the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.

    In reality what happens first is a Child Protection Plan, which may well spell out certain things that need to happen but has no legal force.

    And of course, the Children Act requires that before orders can be granted Children’s Social Care have to seek cooperation from the family for these things to be done by consent.

    It’s a well trodden path. Many children go down it every year, rightly or wrongly. Very few end up dead.

    Daniel’s case is actually quite a good example, as there was a previous incident (the broken arm) that was investigated and closed because the medical evidence was consistent with the (false) account of the mother, stepfather and sibling. It just goes to show how inexact a science all of this really is.

  16. @Turk,

    Most of those incidents were reported after the doctor’s examination. One of them was actually on the day he was assaulted. Probably the school should have made a new referral to Children’s Social Care but there are a lot of hungry children in our schools. I expect the recent “clean bill of health” from the doctor may have weighed in their thinking.

    The CCTV footage showing Daniel running across the playground on the day he was assaulted shows, to my eyes at least, that comparisons to “concentration camp victims” etc are a bit overblown. There weren’t many people in Belsen who could have run the length of a playground the day before they died.

  17. This week is shaping up to be another interesting week of polls. Of particular note today is that while the Con VI is 33%, the UKIP VI is 14%.

    Comparing yesterday’s poll to today’s poll:

    30th: Lab + Lib – 51% : Con + UKIP – 44%
    31st: Lab + Lib – 48% : Con + UKIP – 47%

    Probably MoE, but still interesting.

    @Amber

    “I mentioned Scotland so that anybody in my area who’d like more information can let me know they’re interested & I will post the details.”

    No fear. I’m not sharing my toys with anyone else. :)

  18. “& I just want to extend my thanks to everybody here who works/ has worked to fill the inevitable gaps which this approach results in.”

    Likewise.

  19. Just to lighten the tone

    Members of Uruguay’s House of Representatives have passed a bill to legalise marijuana.

    If it goes on to be approved by the Senate, Uruguay will become the first country to regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana.
    Seems a sensible move to me.

    I think if faced with the choice of whom to meet in a dark alley, a bunch of drunks looking for a fight or a bunch of stoners looking for biscuits, it’s an easy choice to make.

  20. A different sort of poll:

    http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5960-poll-results-how-important-is-broadband-to-people.html

    “Over three quarters of people taking part in the poll elected to state that broadband availability and speed was an important factor, and once you combine those who said it was ‘somewhat important’ you have a whopping 94%. The poll results are based on a sample size of 1,150 responses.”

    Caveat: Many of the respondents will be broadband enthusiasts, and regulars of the site hosting the poll. Akin to asking UKPR folk if polls are important when considering a political bet.

    Anyway, it’s of interest to me. :-)

  21. @Neil Thanks for that clarification. I agree that what I was suggesting was in effect part of a ‘child protection plan’. However it would be legally enforceable and one would not need to show even on the balance of probability that the child is going to be harmed by somebody, only that the child is not doing well for reasons that are not understood. Am I right in thinking that plans of this sort are very rare? And if so, is that a matter of practice or because of some legal reason?

  22. Was there a YouGov poll for the Zimbabwean elections? It would have been quite easy to do: ZANU-PF 100% MDC 0%.

  23. @ Paul Croft

    In the Eastern Orthodox church today is the commemoration of St Nicholas the Enlightener of Japan. I went to an Orthodox service in Japan a few years ago (accidentally; I just wanted to see the church and they happened to be in action), with a Russian priest and an entirely Japanese choir/congregation. It was only slightly less bizarre than the German Sausage Museum round the corner.

  24. Charles

    The problem with such a plan is once you have taken the child from the parents what do you do with them afterwards, adoption is of course the best option but there aren’t that many folk willing to adopt and those that do will generally be looking for the “nicer” child, and these children are likely to be seriously disturbed, not an easy task at all, then there are children’s homes which have a whole other set of problems, I have to say that most of the folk that I have met that have been in children’s homes were pretty messed up, the stats for young adults that were in children’s homes are not pleasant reading. All things considered I’m glad the social services didn’t take me out of my family but at the time I thought they were fcuking stupid

  25. @RiN – Thanks – you will know your own situation and are obviously the one to judge whether what was done was wise or not. Whatever it was, it has clearly not impaired your brain or critical faculties!

    On the general point, I was not suggesting that one should necessarily increase the number of children who go into care, only that it was important to think of ways of making life safer for those who remain at home when something (no one knows quite what) is clearly wrong.

    Obviously I agree that the outcomes of the care system are not good. However, the evidence as I understand it is that children who, for example, go home from care tend to do ‘worse’ than apparently similar children who remain there. On the whole the later a child comes into care the worse they do. These facts could have various explanations, but do suggest that much of the ‘damage’ is done before they get there.

    Which does not, of course, mean that the care system itself could not be better than it is. I am pretty sure that it could be. For a start, arrangements for those who leave at 16/17/18 could be a lot better than they are.

    And obviously I agree that it would be better if more children were adopted, got special guardianship orders, residence orders or whatever and that there are reasons that make this very difficult.

  26. Was there a YouGov poll for the Zimbabwean elections? It would have been quite easy to do: ZANU-PF 100% MDC 0%.

    -Surely at least 110%

  27. @ Neil A

    “I field telephone calls every single day of my working life from teachers and social workers about child protection concerns. A couple of times a week I go out and visit a child with a bump or bruise, or who has made some odd comment about an adult.”

    I, along with many others on here today I suspect, have read your posts avidly and they are much appreciated. I only get my information 2nd or 3rd hand so it has been helpful to read your comments.

    I just wondered from your above quote if you could give some idea of what criteria is used to escalate (or ignore) further action. By your comment it sounded like the majority of cases you have to deal with are probably just logged with insufficient evidence (or insufficiently serious) to warrant additional investigative time and maybe used to escalate if you are seeing a number of referrals from different sources.

    Is this something you are happy about? Usually when my wife is referring she regards it as serious enough to need follow up (ie never done just to tick a box simply to get the school off the hook if something happens)- anything else will be dealt with between the school/learning mentor and the parents and not involve social workers.

  28. Statgeek

    Interesting comparison the only issue is that only 3 out of 4 of these parties are likely to win any seats.

    So I think the LD’s choice if there is a choice to make and No out right victory would be to support the party with the most seats and or the most votes if it’s Labour with the most seats as seems probable but not the most votes which is a very remote possibility this might cause a little bit of difficulty otherwise if by some fluke the Tories get the most seats they will almost certainly have the most votes too.

    I suspect it’s a bit academic as a Labour outright win with a small majority is still the bookies choice.
    I suppose they might still want to look at a coalition with the LD’s if the margin is very small.

    Disgruntled Tories can then go off and join UKIP
    while bemoaning the fact that there are actually voters in the Frozen wastelands of the North.

  29. @Steve

    Just for your info, based on recent polling, 1 in 4 voters in the North are Conservative, as are 1 in 5 in Scotland.

    1 in 4 Lab in RoS for that matter. Far more than folk perceive, I imagine.

  30. Neil A

    I dont remember the words concentration camp being used on vines show certainly I never mentioned it.

    I have no idea why you mentioned Belsen it seems a rather silly comment about a very serious subject.

  31. Well whoever is leader of the dems at the next election is going to have a difficult time of it fielding questions about which party they will back in govt. The sort of vague replies that Clegg got away with last time won’t be enough and of course s/he will be asked who they would prefer to be in govt with. For once I think that the usual lib dem election bounce won’t happen, the Tories and Labour will both be trying hard to squeeze the lib dem vote with don’t let the other lot in by default arguments, I wouldn’t be surprised if the lib dem VI goes down during the campaign

  32. TURK

    @” have no idea why you mentioned Belsen it seems a rather silly comment about a very serious subject.”

    I think we both know why.

    Appreciate your posts.

    Hot enough on the Farm today?

  33. kitsune

    @ Paul Croft

    In the Eastern Orthodox church today is the commemoration of St Nicholas the Enlightener”

    I don’t see why ole Vlad the Impaler isn’t commemorated. There’s a man who made his mark in the word and all he gets is criticism.

    pAul

    ps sausage factory????

  34. Statgeek
    I am aware that people live in the North of England it is Conservative Peers who are a bit woolly on this subject.

    Of course until the 1950’s I in Every 2 Voters in Scotland voted Conservative and Only 1 in 33 SNP

  35. Does anyone have any idea whether Clegg will stay on? It seems it would be prudent to step down next year and let someone else fight the election, but I don’t know who would replace him.

    As for with whom they would do a deal, I suspect they’ll hesitantly commit to Labour if there’s a new leader and they’re pushed. At least it won’t be like 1987 where each party leader was saying a different thing.

  36. @Paul

    Like Genghis Khan (and indeed Richard III), Vlad has got a very bad press for political reasons (although he seems to have genuinely been pretty spectacularly nasty).

    When Japan was opened to the “West” in the 19th century, there was an influx of Russians from Siberia, especially in Hokkaido, but also lots of Germans. One of them set up a sausage-making enterprise in Hakodate, which is now a museum-cum-sausage shop. I decided the entry fee was too steep and did not go in. The former British Consulate is also a museum/tea-shop.

    All rather irrelevant, but I’m glad you seem to have appreciated it!

  37. In a recent poll of LD members 55% want Mr. Clegg to lead them in 2015 GE…

    I cannot see a coalition between Labour and the LDs, possibly S&D relationship but even that I am not really sure would happen… just reading through fairly recent comments on LDV explains why with obvious conclusions.

  38. @Norbold

    My sources tell me that Zanu-PF would have won anyway. Thimgs are improving in Zim and Tsvangarai is seen as a busted flush and the MDC as being no different.to ZANU, particularly after joining the government.

  39. !COLIN

    TURK

    @” have no idea why you mentioned Belsen it seems a rather silly comment about a very serious subject.”

    I think we both know why.

    ……………………………………………………………………………….

    OK. Why?

  40. @RAF

    “My sources tell me that Zanu-PF would have won anyway.”

    What do you mean “anyway”?

  41. In terms of the public sector and job losses, then leaving for one moment that any job loss is a potential tragedy for a family, I don’t think we can say losing 100k (for example) jobs is wrong/disgraceful etc, as by the same token you might as well say why not add 100k jobs. Surely it’s about ensuring we have the right size Govt in terms of efficiency of delivering services.

    We have actually seen some public sector areas, such as The Police, deliver excellent improvements in performance, whilst also having a reduction in staff.

    I think sometimes there is the crude assumption that more staff in the public sector equals better performance. This isn’t always the case!

  42. “I think sometimes there is the crude assumption that more staff in the public sector equals better performance. This isn’t always the case”

    “The Police, deliver excellent improvements in performance, whilst also having a reduction in staff. ”

    I think we should eradicate crime altogether by sackin’ the lot of ’em Rich.

    pAul

  43. @Colin

    I’m not quite sure what I’ve done to attract your opprobrium, but if you check the reporting in The Sun, The Mail, The Mirror, The Independent, The Coventry Telegraph, BBC News, Sky News and Channel 5 News you will find that his state of emaciation was compared to a concentration camp victim. Personally, having seen the footage of him at his school on the day he was assaulted, I think that comparison is hyperbole. I picked the word “Belsen” out of the air, purely because it made for a shorter and better sentence than using “concentration camp” again. One paper actually describes him as being “starved to death” on their front page, which is patently incorrect. He was starved, yes. But he was beaten to death. Anything for a headline, though.

  44. (Sorry, last comment was aimed mainly at Turk, but also at Colin).

  45. @Shevii,

    Our general rule of thumb is this;

    Child alleges they were hit, but there is no significant injury and no history of abuse = Social worker deals with it alone + police don’t do anything apart from sharing information about the family’s police background (if any).

    Child has a significant injury that could be non-accidental, but hasn’t made an allegation = Social worker arranges for the child to attend the hospital for a paediatric examination. Police either attend as well, or more likely wait for an update and only attend if the doctor isn’t happy with the explanation given. If medical advice is that it is definitely non-accidental, criminal investigation begins.

    Child says they’ve been hit but there’s no significant injury, but there is a history of abuse = Police officer goes to visit child with social worker and digs a little deeper. Probably looking towards an “informal” outcome (a warning, basically) but possibly the perpetrator might be given a Caution or even charged.

    Child says they’ve been hit and there is a significant injury = police and social worker attend hospital with child, and also arrange for any siblings to attend for medicals as well. Criminal investigation begins.

    Neglect is a bit more difficult to categorise. In general if I received a referral that a child seemed to be overly thin and hungry, I would check the background. If it was a new concern I’d probably leave it to the social worker to do an assessment. If there was a history of neglect of any kind then I would probably do an urgent joint visit to assess the state of the home, contents of the cupboards and fridge etc.

    The problem is that our schools are full of children who are thin, dirty, smelly and are covered in bumps and scrapes. Some of that is evidence of severe neglect, some of it is evidence of poverty. Some of it is just evidence of children who like to climb trees a lot and hate baths.

  46. NEILA

    I think I will take AW’s sound advice & wait for the results of the inevitable enquiry.

    That way I don’t need to respond to your diagnoses, or your language.

  47. You’re missing the point again Paul. As a tax payer, I expect value for money, and so should you. I havnt seen any research that the increases in numbers of public sector staff and quangos under Labour delivered better value for money for us that paid for them. Going by your logic we might as well boost numbers by a few million, after all it’s employment, and it will only increase the debt by a few billion more….

  48. Alec must be on holiday , otherwise he would surely have mentioned one of his favourite economic indicators-PMI.

    So will stand in for him & refer to :-

    “The monthly purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector, compiled by data firm Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, rose to 54.6 in July. That the highest level since March 2011 and compares with June’s 52.9.”

    marketwatch.com

  49. @Colin.

    lol!

    I saw that too. Pretty promising.

  50. Rich

    Yes-and with Lloyds share price 20% above break even for the taxpayer, another encouraging day -at least on the economic front.

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