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. @mrnameless

    I remember reading an LibDemVoice thread, where some people were talking about ditching Clegg… one of the regulars linked to an obscure LD resolution passed soon after the formation of the coalition which appeared to make it impossible to depose Clegg before the next election. I have a life (sort of) and can’t be bothered to track it down or verify it, but in reality the coalition is Clegg and Cameron… it also serves to make their positions as party leader more secure.

    There was talk of a kind of plot at one time, give Nick a prestige job in Bruxelles, and ensure a Tory friendly successor (Ed Davey). I’m sure Clegg would prefer to hand over to either Laws, Davey or Lamb (all at 8/1), rather than Cable (5/2) or Farron (9/4).

    My guess is that Miriam was cool with the LD leader thing – but not the whole Deputy PM caboodle. Bruxelles would be fine by her. Sam was never keen on the Conservative Party, let alone Dave becoming leader… she’ll be well chuffed when things get back to normal. Labour majority would be a godsend.

    So if Nick did choose to go in 2014, it would either be Cable (stem the losses somewhat then hand over to Farron after the election) or Ed Davey (Dave might still need his 20+ MPs for another coalition).

  2. @Colin,
    I think it’s suddenly looking much better for the Conservatives. I still think the most likely election result right now is a narrow Labour win, but things have changed quite significantly since even just 3 months back. The lead was 10-11% then, and now it’s what, 4-5%? Imagine what it could be if the economy keeps improving. There is certainly hope now, which is the great thing. Plus we know from the polling on personal ratings that EM himself may cost Labour votes at an election, that’s another potential issue for Lab.

  3. @Shevii,

    Am I happy about it? Well, generally speaking I think the child protection system is adequate but not brilliant. If everyone involved does what they’re supposed to do and has decent judgement, we manage to process a huge amount of haystack and find most of the needles. Schools have a tendency to sit on concerns for too long, mainly because they know that making a CP referral will drive the parents (with whom they have to deal on a daily basis – unlike me) into a raging frenzy. We dread the last week of school terms, because lots of referrals tend to arrive with us from school staff who have been wondering whether to raise a balloon but have left it to the last minute before the dreaded “six weeks without professional contact” that is the Summer.

    Social workers generally seek police advice appropriately. Probably too much, in fact. Often we feel like we are getting involved not to do police work, but to supervise a nervous, inexperienced or overstressed social worker in doing social work. We are sometimes asked explicitly by social work managers to go on visits because they are worried their worker can’t do it on their own and they don’t have anyone else to send with them.

    Doctors are pretty good. Our two main bugbears are availability and clarity of opinion.

    In my area, child protection is done by whichever paediatric consultant is on ward duty – it is not uncommon to sit with a child for 5-6 hours waiting for their injury to be looked at, because the doctor is saying, “sorry, but I’m really busy with a lot of very sick children and I’ll get to you when I can”. In other areas I have worked in, CP examinations were mostly done in Community Clinics where this was less of an issue.

    Once a doctor has examined a child, it is very common for us to get opinions like “it might be a bruise”, “it’s a possible burn”, “it’s probably non-accidental”, “it’s unlikely to have been caused in the way described but I can’t rule it out”. I can completely understand why this is, science and medicine have limitations, and even the best doctor can’t always give a firm opinion. But as you can imagine, you can’t really accuse a parent of abuse on the basis that “your account might not be (but also might be) consistent with the injury” or “your child has what may be a bruise on his back”.

    As for the police. I am obviously biased, but I think we generally come out of things pretty well. The burden of proof we are looking for (Beyond Reasonable Doubt) is so arduous that it almost unsatisfiable in most cases. The ultimate outcome of most “successful” abuse investigations is not a conviction, but a care order (which can be obtained with the much lower Balance of Probabilities burden of proof). My biggest criticism of police child protection is the recording and sharing of information. We record information on half a dozen varied computer systems, each one designed for a slightly different purpose. It is a real craft, and quite time-consuming, to dissect the information held between these various systems into some sort of plain-English chronology that makes sense. And that’s assuming the information has even been recorded electronically at all, and is not languishing in some officer’s notebook where we will never find it. Other agencies really don’t understand how hard it is for us to answer their questions.

  4. RICH

    Pretty much agree with that.

    But a GE Campaign can have all sorts of twists & turns which may affect the final result.

  5. Neil obviously knows what he is talking about here,so I tthnk his posts should be treated with respect.When I was teaching there were only two occasions
    Where I had concerns about children I taught.In both cases they had already
    Been identified as potentially at risk.However it is not just teachers and social
    Workers who need to notice and then act on these tragic cases.What about
    Neighbours,mums at the school gates,dinner ladies,doctors,grandparents.In a way we all fail these children.


    Why is Alec’s constant use of PMI outcomes not the subject of reprimand from you-but mine is?

    I won’t respond to your assertions as to the precise impact of this manufacturing PMI on overall growth because :-

    a) I don’t know what it is
    b) I didn’t speculate on it-I just said it was “encouraging”.

  7. rich

    “You’re missing the point again Paul”

    Not really: it was just a joke. Oddly I don’t believe that nil police will reduce crime to zero.

    Apologies for not adding the obligatory – LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. The economy can have all kinds of twists and turns as well, it’s true that there is a lot of encouraging data about but there is also a lot of terrible data, but the talking heads in the media seem to concentrate on the good news even if it is conflicting with other data. A good example is the Chicago ism survey today which was stunning absolutely fantastic, only problem is that yesterday the pmi from the same area was a total and abject disaster. So who really knows WTF is going on?

  9. @Athhony Webb

    This site is supposed to be non partisan.

    As far as I can tell your last post was an entirely subjective criticism of Labour and Ed Miliband, not in the spirit of this site.

  10. @Neil your excellent posts suggest to me that in cases of potential abuse you pay particular attention to the existence of a) an allegation by the child b) a severe injury c) medical corroboration that an injury is non-accidental. Your posts and the reports of abuse inquiries also suggest that very often abused children do not make an allegation, may not suffer obviously traumatic abuse before being terribly abused or killed, and may not be identified by doctors as abused even though they have been, The latter is not necessarily the fault of the doctors – is it a medical matter to distinguish the effects of tree climbing from poverty or neglect? Whatever – things may go wrong if these conditions are not in place. So in the Climbie case the child spoke French and for this or other reasons did not make an allegation. Her injuries were not seen as non-accidental by the main consultants and were not sufficiently serious to be life threatening before the time she was finally killed. So may it not be that in theory we know what to do when your conditions apply but need to develop some new ways of dealing with things when they don’t?

  11. @ Neil A

    Thanks for all the replies. The police involvement has always been a really difficult thing as it closes down avenues of communication between school and parent or social worker and parent yet it is vital for a social worker to feel safe.

  12. @Charles,

    You have it about right. The system generally works as intended, but there are plenty of variables that can skew it. There is definitely value in trying to work out what can go wrong (in advance) and prepare for it. There is definitely value in trying to work out what did go wrong (after the fact) and learn from it. But we should never kid ourselves that we can “stop it from happening again”. That kind of thinking inherently assumes that it could have been stopped in the first place, if only someone hadn’t scr*wed up.

    Ultimately, there are probably several hundred thousand children in the UK who have been “abused” in one way or another. Much of that abuse is the sort of thing that would not result in the removal of the child, or even in strong action against the parents. We shouldn’t be surprised that in some cases of child homicide there is a pre-existing history of “abuse”. We should try to be objective about whether that pre-existing history was dealt with properly, putting hindsight to one side. The test is “given the same set of signs in a different case, should the child be removed immediately”. The question, although hard to answer, is often answered “No”.

  13. @Shevii,

    You’re welcome. I think there is a general lack of education about how child protection actually works. The NSPCC’s media campaigns don’t (in my opinion) help in the slightest.

  14. “Don’t underestimate the spin from No.10. over the last couple of years.”

    Ah, now I’m begining to see the full scale and cunning of the plan. Oxford English Dictionary are in on it too… nominating “omnishambles” word of the year for 2012.

  15. Off topic…

    Well done to Moscow for giving Snowden temporary asylum.

    Viva La Putin!!

  16. I’m a Fabian (paid-up member and everything) and I’m pretty sure I’ve got the British people right. They want secure jobs, enough affordable housing and for good quality public services.

  17. Did anyone see this?

    h ttp://

    It links to a piece of research from the LSE, polling data from You Gov, about next years Euro elections. The sample was 9,000 (MOE 1.03 %).

    These are key elections as the GE will come quickly afterwards. Whichever party does badly has little time to get their ducks in a row. If UKIP do really well, Conservative MPs will be very nervous of 2015. If Labour doesn’t show well, Ed will be under great pressure.

    The actual survey is quite complicated, and I personally found the conclusions a bit messy and rambling, but perhaps of some interest.

  18. [Allan Christie]

    It’s a bit ironic that Putin has given Snowden asylum on the same day that 17 thousand Russian bloggers go on strike, but I’m not sure if that’s about censorship or copyright law, I only caught the headline and chuckled

  19. I think the Police do a very good job in difficult circumstances. There isn’t the respect for them there once was, especially with young people. I remember growing up as a kid in the 80s and I had huge respect and fear even for just the village bobby! Nowadays kids would sooner give them a mouthful than say ‘hello officer’ like I used to. Also, look at how they are treated at demonstrations. It’s ok having protestors against whatever it may be, but the Police always get a hard time even when they are trying to do their job. It seems to be a no win situation a lot of the time. Look at that incident where a fire extinguisher was thrown off a building at those protests, could have easily killed a policeman or women.

  20. RIN

    It’s also ironic that on the day Putin offers asylum to Snowden new revelations come out about the scale of American snooping .

    Russia and America are hardly ambassadors for human rights but Putin has got it right on Snowden. I like the fact that not all countries Kowtow to America.

    As the old woman in Arkhangelsk said.. “When the bear roars the Eagle flaps”

  21. @Colin – not on holiday – just very busy. I also don’t see why @Lazslo should have pulled you up for quoting today’s PMI numbers. They look good, so why not say so?

    Pretty much all the elements look positive, so this seems good news for the manufacturing sector. The only caveat I would include is that there is something of a pattern to PMI data that tends to over estimate cyclical swings up and down. The PMI index seems to have a tendency to be more optimistic that the eventual ONS measure when things are improving, while also being more pessimistic in the slumps. This could be something to do with how the survey is gathered, but it’s worth noting that it’s very rare for the PMI data to move in completely the wrong direction.

  22. I didnt realise until watching newsnight tonight that Danny Finkelstein has been made a peer. That in my opinion is the best ever appointment in the history of peer appointments. Always worth listening too.

  23. There are three major obstacles for the Conservatives to win the next election:

    1 – First Past the Post – The Conservatives blew one of their big chances by shafting the Lib Dems over Lords reform. If they would have agreed to it, [the boundary review would have gone through] and would have made their election easier.To gain a majority the Consevatives need (depending who you listen to) anything from an 5% to 8% lead whilst Labour (again depending who you listen to only need a 2 to 4 % lead.

    2. The Lib Dem switchers once the coalition was formed. These have attached themselves limpet like to the Labour Party. I actually know quite a few of them and one is a close friend. He doesn’t particularly like politics and if he is sat amongst a group talking about it will go glossy eyed and sometimes drop the hint by yawning. That is until you mention two words “Nick” and “Clegg”, he will then more or less take over the conversation with an expletive filled rant about him and explain how he will never vote Lib Dem again and is voting Labour. He like many feels like they were personally lied to at the last election with Nick’s “new politics” and I could quite imagine they would vote Labour no matter who their leader was. It is no great endorsement of Ed Miliband but many of the switchers want revenge and cannot wait until 2015. You only have to look at the range of the Labour vote for the last few years. It doesn’t go below 36% (except the odd moe poll) or above 40%, whilst the Conservative votes has had higher peaks and troughs.

    3 – UKIP – The UKIP vote may be decreasing at the moment but the fact that as the UKIP percentage decreases the Conservative one rises, it kills the argument that UKIP were effecting both Labour and the Conservatives similarly. Also, UKIP percentages have risen as elections have come along, and there is no bigger oxygen for their party than next years Euro election (which they are still favourite at the bookies to win the popular vote) so will see their vote rise again, which will have a negative effect for the Conservative Party. Yes it may fall again afterwards, however, if it their percentage continues in the same form, it will rise again in 2015.

    The rise of UKIP has altered the whole spectrum for the Conservative Party. In years gone by they would move towards the centre to try and take some Lib Dem votes. Now they have had to move rightwards to win back the UKIP vote, which then alienates the non-orange book Lib Dems(who have up to now stuck with their party) who could then turn to Labour to prevent a right wing Tory government.

    So all in all, without even mentioning governing parties struggle to increase their percentage, the Conservative Party could not win a majority against a party that had been in for 13 years and they couldn’t beat a party with Gordon Brown at the helm, who was very unpopular, everything points towards the likelihood of there being a Conservative majority in 2015 very very slim indeed.


  24. Anthony – why the moderation?????

  25. Thanks Anthony for changing my wording on the boundary review :-)

    Your wording is better than mine.

  26. @Red rag

    The Tory counter is that Ed M isn’t very electable, economy will improve, and as Labour release policies they will come under fire. PLUS a bit of incumbency factor etc.

    The counter to this in turn, is economic recovery for who? And it didn’t save Major in ’97. Ed’s standing is already in part priced into VI and may, as some suggest, improve with more exposure. They may come up with some popular policies Tories may feel unable to copy, and things like incumbency are already somewhat priced into VI because of the weightings.

    It does depend therefore on variables like Labour policy, the spread of economic recovery and so on. But one might look at where new Tory votes are most likely to come from, and why…

  27. Carfrew, I think too many people are putting too much weight on the leaders ratings. Between, if memory serves me right, 77 and 80 (even after Thatcher had won the election) Callaghan had a far better figure at who would be best for PM. What not many people also fail to bring up is that two years after Cameron was made leader of the Conservative Party he had consistent figures of 19-22% compared to Browns 37 – 44% on thesame question of who would be better PM. However, as you have pointed out, may people have already valued the leadership of the Labour/Conservative Parties when considering who to vote for.

    I still think the Conservatives are now stuck in a corner, push to the right and alienate the centre vote, push to the centre and the UKIP percentage will rise.

  28. Churchill’s approval rating in May 1945 was 83%. He still lost…

    I think the bigger problem for the Conservatives is the difficulty of moving to the centre where the votes are. It’s quite difficult to suddenly become more centrist credibly after imposing the rigors of Austerity, and Labour do not appear to be giving them much room as they are not tacking leftwards that much, and don’t need to with the Lib Dems shot.

  29. Totally agree Carfrew, years gone by the Conservative Party right would sit on their hands when their party moved to the centre on the hope that it would win them an election and then try and force the party rightwards after it. Previously they were the only real party of choice for people with right wing views so could hoover up a large spectrum.They refuse to sit on their hands now because they are scared a move to the centre would see them lose a huge amount of votes to UKIP. The fact that we have the Euro election next year, a year before the GE, must scare the wits out of the Conservative Party strategists.

  30. @Red Rag

    I’m kinda suggesting the possibility of something a little different. Sure there is the problem that tack centrally and they may lose votes to Ukip (Though not altogether a given since polling shows quite a few Ukippers are not great fans of austerity and are even quite keen on renationalisation).

    The thing is that if there are more votes up for grabs in the centre, it may still be worth doing it anyway cos you gain more than you lose. That may be why Ashcroft cautioned against moving right, but I’m wondering if now that they have shifted right, it may be quite difficult to move back towards the centre quickly…

  31. Carfrew, I think the chances of the Conservative Party moving to the centre are minimal for two reason.

    1. I cannot see where they would get any more votes from in there. For many in the centre they have burned their bridges with the austerity and cuts.Usually they could rely on taking some Lib Dems, but their percentage figures are anorexic at the moment (they are 4th in most polls) and it would be like trying to pick meat off a carcass.

    2. At the Euro elections, when they could well lose quite a few MEP’s and UKIP will perform well, they will be urged by their own party to go further right to win back these voters.

    Time will tell, though the clock is ticking.

  32. @RED RAG
    “Totally agree Carfrew, years gone by the Conservative Party right would sit on their hands when their party moved to the centre on the hope that it would win them an election and then try and force the party rightwards after it.”


    On this particular point, as it points towards some matters of recent debate.

    In the days of the post war settlement, Tories didn’t so much tack to the centre for the election then tack right again after, so much as tack to the centre and stay there. In the days of MacMillan, Tories used to try and outdo Labour on housebuilding!!…

    Under Thatch, sure they tacked rightwards, but she had very special circumstances: North Sea, privatization receipts, and then World boom owing to the collapse in the price of oil.

    Crucially on top of this, the left wing vote was split. It’s easier to tack right with such favorable circumstances that do not pertain to others, eg MacMillan or Cameron.

    Alongside this, another point, the recent debate concerning the Tory demographic, and how their voters seem to be dying off. Thought I should point out two things: firstly that people may change and Labour voters now may become Tory when older. Secondly, that Tories can always change their policies to attract more voters, leftwards if necessary, as in the fifties.

    Question is, how quickly and credibly can one do this in time for this election. Because if not, they are rather relying on voters to suddenly “see the light” and change their mind…

  33. “The drop in the Labour lead”

    What drop? Com Res had them increasing by 1% from last time!

  34. Gracie, the lead has dropped, despite the fact the actual Labour percentage has increased.

  35. @RED RAG

    ” I cannot see where they would get any more votes from in there. For many in the centre they have burned their bridges with the austerity and cuts.”


    Well this is a major point at issue. For some this is no doubt true, but how many can be persuaded to change their mind on it? And how big a deal is austerity for the floating voter.

    This is interesting in marginals, because you may have more people affected by austerity than in a safe Tory seat in the South. And not just directly, but it’s more likely to affect if not them then people they care about, businesses and so forth. And some of these may not benefit so much from the upturn.

  36. @ Red Rag, yes I realise that, but support for labour hasn’t actually dropped that much, the Tories have picked up a bit, is what I was pointing out.

    Also someone needs to tell the local elections that Labour support has dropped because it is not filtering through to them here is one example.

    Tonight Labour in Thetford took a seat off UKIP in Norfolk CC By election. Labour up 10% on May result as Ukip fall back.

  37. @Red Rag

    I have another reply building on one of your points in auto-schmod…

  38. Decided to have a break from CIF over on the Guardian for a while. They angry up the blood.

    Re: Labour policies, they actually have quite a few, they’ve just been quietly slipping them out for a while, not helped of course by an uninterested media.

    Some of them are pretty populist too – I think it’ll be tough to find many opposed to finding jobs for young people out of work, and linking benefits to contribution (which was Beveridge’s principle after all).

  39. “Some of them are pretty populist too – I think it’ll be tough to find many opposed to finding jobs for young people out of work, and linking benefits to contribution (which was Beveridge’s principle after all).”


    Depends what we mean by populist, I suppose. Hard to see such measures frightening many horses, but dunno they’d capture the headlines and have lots of new converts running to the polls.

    In 1945, it was clear what people wanted. Housing, safety net, healthcare etc., and in ’97 people wanted better schools and hospitals. Bit trickier now for Labour. Build houses and annoy the propertied, for example…

  40. @Carfrew

    Major’s problems were the 18 years, the EU and the spin doctors of New Labour. Electorally speaking, he was still in 1992, looking for the soap box. And of course the Black ‘x’ day. The voters didn’t realise a recovery was well on the way.

  41. Gracie, I would have expected Labour to win that seat, though the actual wining majority was quite good, though they were helped by the fact that the UKIP winner in May had to resign for shoplifting at Poundland(stop sniggering at the back) had only won by a single vote.

  42. @statgeek

    Precisely my point. An economic recovery doesn’t by any means guarantee success. Other factors may loom larger (including being responsible for the economic problems in the first place…)

  43. A big one for them, which I will repeat Blair-like until it gets through to the parties, is utilities, utilities, utilities.

    Gas and Electricity prices are high for a lot of people, a promise from Labour to cap increases or renationalise those who refuse to play along would be welcome for a lot of people, I think.

    Same goes for railways, actually. Ed, to his credit, has been clear about this – Labour would keep East Coast public, and at least examine buying back the other rail services.

    Oh, one more, which he mentioned at the 2012 conference – splitting up consumer and investment banks.

  44. Gracie, got a post auto modded so will try again, the Labour gain in Thetford was helped by the fact the UKIP councillor who had won in may by one vote was caught stealing from Pound Land and resigned. Though the actual winning majority was quite impressive.

  45. I think the only strategy for the Cons is to sit tight and hope the economy keeps on getting better. It might just work well enough to get another coalition, perhaps even minority with Unionists helping them with confidence & supply.

    Can’t see UKIP doing worse than last time and/or not taking a single extra vote from the Cons, who I think will struggle to exceed their previous vote share. It was enough to beat Brown, not enough against a somewhat resurgent Labour vote. There’s still a decent chance of the LD’s having their vote collapse and still be in power after 2015, what irony.

    Maybe we are getting into the pre-election period where voters start thinking a little more seriously about the upcoming election. If we’re not in it now, it won’t be long.

  46. @MrNameless

    “Same goes for railways, actually. Ed, to his credit, has been clear about this – Labour would keep East Coast public, and at least examine buying back the other rail services.”

    When it comes to Ed or Dave (or Nick, Alex, Nigel etc), I’m increasingly inclined to ‘believe it when I see it’.


    “When it comes to Ed or Dave (or Nick, Alex, Nigel etc), I’m increasingly inclined to ‘believe it when I see it’.”


    Sure, parties will try and rubbish other parties’ proposed policies on that basis. “Don’t believe ’em!!”

    Whereupon it comes down to credibility. If Labour make privatization or cost-of-living generally an election issue, who are floaters liable to believe? If people conclude they trust Tories even less, they are more likely to give Labour a shot.

    We have to see if Labour do manage to make it an issue and what polling may show on the matter. But in the meantime Tories are vulnerable on such things for avidity on privatization and for VAT increases etc.

  48. @Carfrew

    “If people conclude they trust Tories even less, they are more likely to give Labour a shot.”

    [Snip] I’m referring to the ‘a plague on all your houses’, while you seem to think that people [will] vote Labour if they don’t like the Conservatives.

    I’m more for considering other options, such as the average Conservative leaning floating voter not being inclined to vote Labour ever, or not since 2005, or 2001 and so on.

    Ed: ” I’ll keep a railway line public”

    Voter: “Oh, well…I was going to vote Conservative, but that really changes things.”


  49. Good early morning to all.
    6 % lead, with 40% level for Labour again.
    A narrow but still a real lead.

    All to play for.

  50. Today’s YouGov is

    Con 34 Lab 40 LD 10 UKIP 11 SNP/PCY 3 Green 2 Others 0

    Approval -27

1 5 6 7 8 9