The monthly ComRes phone poll for the Indy is out tonight and shows almost no change from last month. Topline figures are CON 32%(nc), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 10%(-1). ComRes also asked people what was most important to them about the economy in the coming years. Top came ensuring economic growth on 41%, following by increasing wages above the rate prices rise (25%), keeping down inflation (17%) and cutting the deficit (12%).

Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 41%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%. It looks as if yesterday’s 2 point lead was indeed a blip, though today’s may be the same: the average in YouGov polls since the Autumn statement is a Labour lead of around about 5 points, so the two point lead and today’s eight point lead look like outliers in opposite directions.

With ComRes’s poll done, we’ve had all of the regular monthly polls from ComRes, MORI and ICM and we’re headed towards the Christmas break. YouGov don’t poll over Christmas, so will come to a halt this weekend. I’m not sure whether or not Populus or Opinium will continue over the holidays.


197 Responses to “ComRes/Indy – CON 32, LAB 37, LD 9, UKIP 10”

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  1. Err, 1992?

  2. Sorry that cryptic last message was for Phil Haines..

  3. ALEC

    @”nteresting household finance data from Market this week. Everything is still negative, with households reporting worsening finances in the last month.”

    The report I read says Dec showed a modest improvement-39.7 to 38.8.

    Still below the critical 50 which indicates households see improvement-but the trends are interesting.

    From a low of 33 in mid 2012. there has been a steady improvement-you also omitted to say that The Markit index measuring the outlook for family finances for the next 12 months – was at 47.8 –the hihest reading since January 2010.

  4. @Pups

    I assume that it means that he was the architect of the 2008 meltdown in the UK and wider world, and that our present predicament could have been avoided if only Osborne’s advice had been taken to:
    a) go even further down the path of financial market deregulation prior to 2008
    b) avoid the fiscal stimulus made with the aim of restoring robust growth by 2010.

  5. @ Marvo

    “Anyone seen the Sun front page today? ”
    £5 off when you spend £40 at Aldi?
    Seems reasonable to me.”

    Is there a 6 month residency test to use those Lidl vouchers?

    Reasonable but not outstanding given Sainsbury’s are giving £12 off £60 spends with nectar and Co-Op, as an apology for not getting any Divis, seem to be handing us vouchers every time for about 15-20% of what we spend for our next shop.

    Oops wrong site- I thought this was Martin Lewis’s- forgot it was Anthony’s!

  6. @Neil A

    Ah.

    Although, based on the precedent of 1992=2015, Cameron needed to have been booted out in November 2013.

  7. @Shevii

    Lidl is full of ironies.

    Any qualms about residency tests don’t appear to apply to their employment policies, judging by the local store here.

    Yet you can only buy the Mail, Express or Star there.

  8. If I may slightly off topic but non partisan

    Welcome fall in the Unemployment rate today

    Lower unemployment is to be welcomed however, if the majority of jobs created are paid at such a low rate that £30 Billion a Year in in work benefits are needed to make them up to liveable wages it isn’t doing a lot of good .

    When in Work benefits were introduced by a Conservative Government in the early 70’s the total cost was less than £100 million a Year (£500 Million adjusted).

    It was never conceived that they would be a means for employers to maximise profits and executive salaries while effectively having pay for shop floor workers subsidised by the state.

    What is needed now is some grown up thinking about pay and the distribution of income within organisations not simply trumpeting a fall in the headline figure.

  9. Interesting thoughts here – I hadn’t realised some of these extreme right parties have left wing economic policies

    http://labourlist.org/2013/12/the-political-centre-is-dead-but-the-establishment-wont-admit-it/

  10. @Colin

    “The Markit index measuring the outlook for family finances for the next 12 months – was at 47.8 –the hihest reading since January 2010.”

    Ah, January 2010, wasn’t that when those twin masters of disasters, Brown and Balls, were turning us into a North European version of Greece?

  11. @Rory

    15% or so poll leads – http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/scottish-voting-intention

    02/03/11 – 2 months prior to election. That’s a single poll though, but if we look at the trends 7 weeks prior (YouGov’s 18/03/11 poll), we see Labour leading SNP by 3% points in constituency, and by 7% points in list seats.

    Then the election has SNP winning by 14% and 16% respectively. Those are swings of 8.5% and 11.5% respectively. I think it’s pretty unheard of for there to be such a national swing in such a short time in modern UK politics, so we tend to believe that nothing can happen in the next ‘x’ months that can dent such a lead of 6%, 8%, 10%, 12%.

    The reality is that there might be any number of outstanding performances with all the right circumstances to elect any of the three parties in 2015. Equally there might be any number of political or media-based banana skins for them in the next 17 months.

    Without knowing what’s ahead, we can look to the economy as one measure, and we know that the Conservatives have to do well here to have any chance. Another might be foreign policy, but not always. The bottom line is that Lab supporters will talk up a Lab lead, and Con supporters will do the same for Con leads (or narrowing leads in the current polling trends).

    With all that in mind, I’d like to highlight that in today’s poll, London, RoS, Midlands and Scotland all have Approval Ratings that are more than 20% out-with recent norms. The approval ratings’ trends are sometimes a handy indicator of whether a VI shift is an outlier or not. The RoS VI data has Lab level-pegging with Con, and so on. As AW says, today and yesterday’s polls both “look like outliers in opposite directions’.

    CMJ said 8 + 2 = 5% average lead, and that seems to tie with the ComRes one quite nicely, and the YougGov five poll average lead is 5.2%.

    @All regarding the Sun front page:

    If you zoom in to the text box in the front page, it says:

    “If you can’t stop the flood PM, there’s every chance the country will vote to get out altogether at your referendum.”

    Nothing too surprising there. They are basically challenging Cameron to be more right wing (or is that authoritarian? :-p).

  12. CB11

    You might say that-I couldn’t possibly comment.

  13. @Crossbat

    Yep, as you say, in terms of the vote returning to the government, there’s the “Ed’s not PM material” argument, the economic improvement argument, and the related “don’t throw it all away now!!” argument.

    There are other often-cited factors that may work in the government’s favour: incumbency, the return of a protest vote, and the dangling of electoral freebies. Then you have the media…

    Which is quite a few potential things in favour. Trouble is, there are also a fair few things potentially against. Which makes things nicely tricky….

  14. @Colin – sorry, but I don’t really get the point of your last post – you have basically repeated precisely what I said, but appear to be criticising me for saying it?

    What is very interesting about the 38.8 headline index isn’t so much that it has shown a modest improvement on the month, nor a slow improvement since mid 2012. The really interesting point is that these improvements have been so tiny, and that the state of household finances are so far below the 50 mark.

    In context, we’ve seen an improvement of 5.8 in 18 months – an absolutely dire rate of uplift in anyone’s book I’d say. At this rate of uplift, we would expect to see household finances actually growing by November 2016 – three years from now.

    In addition, some commentators have been collectively wetting themselves over manufacturing headline PMI data of 58 or so – yet here we have household data much further away from break even on the downside, but from what you imply, as the trend is a tiny upward lift, that seems to be OK.

    You also said that I “…omitted to say that The Markit index measuring the outlook for family finances for the next 12 months – was at 47.8 –the hihest reading since January 2010” – but I did say that “..there was a large improvement in people’s views of the next 12 months, even though this was still below the 50 mark….”, so again, wondering exactly what the point of your comment was. [I also mentioned people reported a small rise in earnings, but you skipped that bit].

    Interestingly, this set of numbers fits with the idea I’ve been toying with for some time now – namely, that people’s views of the economy are potentially at odds (to some degree) with the actual situation.

    Households are reporting they are getting significantly worse off, but simultaneously saying they expect to get better off (or at least get less worse off).

    As I’ve said before, these findings are clearly not incompatible, as obviously one is a current and one a forward looking indicator. However, people believing they will get better off doesn’t actually mean they will, and unless earnings rise ahead of inflation, they clearly won’t.
    This mornings very good employment data have to be balanced against some very poor earning figures.

    We may well be seeing an economic recovery playing out in an interesting way. Unemployment has been a far less significant factor than expected, with stagnant and declining real earnings providing the safety valve. Socially, this is probably much better – spreading the pain more evenly, and keeping as many people economically active at some level.

    In political terms, this may be having equally significant impacts. Having rising employment, even if wages are suppressed, will mean that we are likely to see GDP headline growth, and probably some progress made on deficit reduction targets, which is welcome news.

    However, if households individually feel they remain worse off, then the reward for the macro economic improvements will be harder for the government to harvest come election time.

    I think this last point is politically significant. I thought Osborne was ill advised to try and claim in the budget statement that household earnings were rising, by using a partial and misleading measure. He was roundly condemned by analysts for trying this, but the storm and Mandela death helpfully buried the story and meant he avoided being roundly trashed for trying to tell people who know they are struggling that in fact, they are better off.

    Today’s figures from the ONS on earnings are pretty conclusive, and do not make happy reading for the chancellor. He needs to accept this fact and begin placing it into context, rather than try to use the Duncan-Smith playbook and stick his fingers in his ears and sing ‘la-la-la’ when inconvenient figures come along.

  15. I read Alec’s long post about the possible outcome in 2015 with great interest, as always he argues well but I see nothing which changes my mind that the most likely outcome in 2015 ia a small overall Tory majority.
    He seems to have failed to list one crucial point, that the electorate will be repeatedly reminded “who got us into the worst recession for a 100 years” and also “who got us out of the mess”. Not arguing the rights and wrongs of those statements just what will be put before the electorate and how i think the electorate will respond. These to me will be the crucial factors which will decide the next election.

  16. @Guymonde

    Similar to what I was saying the other night, the Nazis used several ‘left-wing’ economic policies. I think their general outlook was that making a buck was fine as long as the state and the ‘volk’ benefited from it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_Program#The_25-point_Program_of_the_NSDAP

    Points 11, 13, 14, 15, while points 16?,17, 20, 21 have also been advocated by left-wing parties or governments.

  17. @ T’Other Howard,

    The electorate were repeatedly reminded “who got us into the worst recession for a 100 years” at the last election, and while it might have seemed more salient at the time with those “responsible” actually incumbent, it nevertheless failed to secure a Conservative majority.

    You could argue that the economic argument was lost for Labour in the summer of 2010 after the election, or that the strength of the recovery has been sufficient to allay previous doubts about the Tories’ economic competence. (There is some polling evidence to support both these claims.) But you and the Tories do seem to be asking that soundbite to do a lot of heavy lifting.

    (Of course, they also seem to be running “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” and “Demon Eyes” again, so maybe sticking with the 2010 campaign isn’t such a bad idea…)

  18. @TOH – that is obviously a very plausible scenario in terms of how the election will be fought, but firstly, it depends on voters feeling that we are indeed out of the mess, and secondly the impact of the Lib Dem diaspora – clearly favouring Labour.

    We haven’t yet reached the halfway point of the spending cuts, and we equally don’t yet have any clear signals that economic growth is sustainable at the current rate. Indeed, there are plenty of signals from our biggest export market that the situation is deteriorating, and UK consumers appear to be running out of money as well, so I think to assume that 2015 will be fought against such a backdrop is a touch complacent.

    I remain of the view that fixed term parliaments was a misjudgment and that Cameron, more than anyone else, has been caught out by the unexpected uplift in UK consumer spending seen for the last 9 months or so. I suspect he will look back on Autumn 2013 and Spring 2014 in the same way that Gordon Brown rues missing Autumn 2008 and Sunny Jim the back end of 1978.

  19. Spearmint

    I could easily see the Tories rising five points and Labour dropping eight with Liberals on 14% especially if the benefits of recovery are being felt by then. That’s all that’s necessary to produce a small Tory majority.

  20. @TOH – to clarify, are you suggesting Lab will drop 8 from the UKPR average 38 or todays YG 41?

    If you really think that Lab will only get a tiny 1% increase on 2010, then I think you are dreaming.

  21. @Alec

    Well, he seems to be suggesting that not only will Labour only get a small improvement on 2010, but Tories will improve on 2010 also.

    Which is nicely balanced…

  22. (Though not so much for Libdems…)

  23. Alec

    If your right about the sustainability of the sustainability of the recovery then yes I agree that your right and Labour will win in 2015. However I would back my view of how the economic situation has panned out over the last few years over yours. I seem to recall you forecasting a triple dip at the same time that I said the double dip would be shown not to have happened, I could go on but and point out other errors you have made I wont bother……….We will see as events unfold.

  24. The unemployment fall is clearly welcome news. But the productivity problem continues.

    I must admit, I hadn’t realised just how shocking our productivity collapse has been since the crash.
    http://oi39.tinypic.com/s18047.jpg

    It’s not good enough to try to score political points by blaming unsustainable pre-crash policies. There has been a clear and more or less monotonically constant rise in productivity for 50-odd years. Until the last 4-5 years.

    That graph shows that what happened before and since 08 was clearly not a bubble followed by a reversion to trend. Something deeply worrying has set in to the UK economy and if we don’t prioritise this and sort it out, we all have a far less affluent future to look forward to. This is too important to be the domain of point scoring. We are REALLY all in it together if we don’t sort this out.

  25. Chris

    You have posted that before. If aimed at me then I will repeat belief not hope.

  26. leftylampton

    I totally agree with that second paragraph.

  27. @ TOH

    To be honest I think a Tory win can only be considered if you assume the Tories end up over 40%. Lab for 35% seems a certainty barring extreme events.

    Tory over 40% seems unlikely but not impossible as polls have had them that high this parliament and it means everything going in their favour- getting all the kippers back, stealing a lot of LD votes, a straight switch from Lab to Con and lots of movements in turnout and bothered to vote areas. At this stage I don’t see any of those things happening let alone all of them.

  28. ” YouGov don’t poll over Christmas”
    _____

    Well maybe not but Andrew Neil just called Labour MP Chris Bryant a numpty on the Daily Politics.

  29. @Lefty

    Well, not necessarily ALL in it together. If productivity failed to rise much and growth therefore stagnates, that can be quite handy for hoovering up assets cheaper, as indeed happens in recessions.

    Recently we had those reports of banks charging so much to businesses that they went under and banks could thus purloin their assets…

  30. shevii

    Fair enough your view, As it happens i do actually think the Tories will get around 40%.

  31. @ Colin @ Alec

    There was an article in the Guardian a few days ago which doesn’t seem accessible now which had average wages at 2.2% and average inflation at 2.4%. This could be seen as very close to a tipping point.

    Perhaps naughtily the Guardian said this had been influenced by late bankers bonus’s delayed for the reduction in top rate tax so not sure how much effect that had (in general obviously not just bankers).

    For me this is a key statistic but needs to be drilled down a lot more as to what ‘average’ actually means. Clearly a large proportion of the population are not getting any pay rises and certainly public service pay raises are minimal- I’m too lazy to look but if either of you fancy it then it would be interesting to know the percentages are of people below and above that average rise in wages. Also be interesting to know what the average inflation is on core essentials- housing, food, energy, football programmes and whether that is higher that the latest inflation on teccie stuff.

  32. Also, if productivity fails to rise, because unemployment keeps falling, that can become inflationary, and hence pressure to out interest rates up, which may not be fabulous for growth either.

    Government is in a bit of a pickle, if growth leads to falling unemployment rather than increased productivity, at a pace which required them to raise rates before the election. They’ll have to slow things down, and indeed have already begun to…

  33. @Allan Christie

    Perhaps its time to call out a few of these supposedly impartial presenters. A suitable response to Andrew Neil: “You say I’m a numpty. I say you’re a Tory.”

  34. Phil Haines

    “Perhaps its time to call out a few of these supposedly impartial presenters. A suitable response to Andrew Neil: “You say I’m a numpty. I say you’re a Tory.”
    __________

    Absolutely agree with you and in keeping with the festive spirit David Cameron just called Ed Balls a Turkey.

    I love the panto season..

  35. The Conservatives don’t need 40%.

    On UNS they need Con 37%, Lab 33%, LD 15% plus a willing Nick Clegg. That gives a coalition working majority of 12, plus a few more when factoring in SF absentees. The more that Lab supporters continue to vote LD in Con/LD contests, the more willing Clegg will be to go down that path.

    There are lots of factors that could complicate UNS, obviously, but if Lab are doing a bit better in the marginals at the moment that will only serve to cancel out the effect of newly elected Con incumbents once that is properly factored in. So UNS may not be a bad predictive model there.

    As far as Con/LD seats are concerned, the expectation of most is that the LDs will hold on to a few more seats than UNS will suggest. Maybe so, but such an outcome wouldn’t upset the arithmetic of a combined Con/LD coalition majority, while it would encourage Clegg to throw in his lot with the Conservatives (again).

    Given the rise of UKIP and the disadvantages of a split right wing electorate, Cameron might even be a bit more amenable to another shot at AV with a promise that this time he’d back it.

  36. @ Phil Haines

    ‘On UNS they need Con 37%, Lab 33%, LD 15% plus a willing Nick Clegg.’
    I disagree re-Nick Clegg. Next time many LibDems would simply refuse to go along with him- including within his parliamentary party. The leader cannot dictate – and his authority will have been greatly weakened by the loss of 20plus seats.

  37. @Shevii – I saw that, but refrained from commenting on it as it covered the year to end April 2013 – in other words, it was eight months out of date. From memory, removing bonuses, the overall wage rise was 1.9%, so there was a significant impact on the figures.

    @TOH – indeed, double and triple dips were eased away by recounts, but to be honest, whether GDP is up or down by an odd tenth of a percent doesn’t really trouble me. Trend growth is around 2.6%, meaning in effect we need something like 0.7% growth per quarter to stand still. Less than this and it will still feel like a recession, which is what actually matters.

    @Carfrew – I checked the ONS stats on productivity and they suggest that at the end of Q2 2013, productivity per hour and per job had been improving and were only just below the 2010 baseline. By the next release date (January) these are likely to be above 2010.

    The picture is different with regards unit wage costs. These have risen quite significantly above 2010 levels. I suppose this indicates workers are now producing just about as much as before, but are being paid more for doing so.

  38. @Phil Haines – I really can’t see DC backing AV after the torrid time they gave Clegg on this. I think both major parties have a complete blind spot on AV – look at Labour’s position throughout 18 years of opposition. I think both of them just assume that they rule the political landscape, each in turn, and seem oblivious to the need for any kind of change.

  39. @Allan Christie

    “I love the panto season..”

    And Boris Johnson has just called Nick Clegg a lapdog, apparently.

    We await Clegg’s response.

    Yaaboo, yaaboo………………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  40. @Graham

    I’d be more inclined to believe you if the whole LD party hadn’t so far been willing to go along with Clegg with barely a peep. In 2010 I was of the view that if Cameron and Osborne started to pursue any serious right wing policies then Clegg would face some real opposition from an increasingly fractured party, but look how it turned out in reality. Those opposed to that course have by and large left the LDs. The Orange Bookers as a group don’t show any signs of changing course and what opposition is left in the LDs seems increasingly marginalised.

    The LDs will sell their soul for electoral reform and that will be enough to carry the party. The only extra terms that I think the party would ask would be something that made the continuance or otherwise of coalition depend on its happening. i.e. if a new attempt at electoral reform failed a new coalition would automatically dissolve, which would force Cameron to buy into it.

  41. Phil Haines

    “Given the rise of UKIP and the disadvantages of a split right wing electorate, Cameron might even be a bit more amenable to another shot at AV with a promise that this time he’d back it”
    ___________

    I can’t see that ever happening and I’m all for reforms in our present Westminster voting system but under AV I’m sure I read it wouldn’t had made much difference to the political make up of the parties in parliament.

    If Clegg wants to get serious on political reforms then only PR will address his concerns but as we know both the main parties would boot that into the long grass.

    If at the next the election the arithmetic is roughly the same as it was in 2010 then I think Glegg will stick with the Tories under the banner (Continue as we are).

    However if the Lib/Dems take a battering at the polls and no party has a majority then I think they will sneak over to Labour.

  42. “Tory over 40% seems unlikely but not impossible as polls have had them that high this parliament…”

    Although when they did manage 40% (around this time two years ago) Labour was only one or two points behind so would most likely win more seats.

  43. @Alec

    If Cameron can backtrack on Heathrow, he can backtrack on AV with far less difficulty.

    Two years is a very long time in politics. We know that UKIP have changed the political landscape, and if they poll around 7%+ in 2015 there will be a lot of head scratching about how the right wing electorate can be reunited. We know also from polling that formal pacts with UKIP do little for the Conservatives, so they need a means of combining the right wing vote without one. AV provides it.

  44. CROSSBAT

    It wouldn’t be panto season without Boris.

    “The Lib Dems are not just empty. They are a void within a vacuum surrounded by a vast inanition”

  45. @ Phil Haines

    Obviously your figures are right (for a Tory win under 40%) but I am of a very strong opinion that the Labour ceiling (or floor rather) is 35% based on the motivations of the LD defectors to Lab as opposed to the normal changing of minds that affect an election.

  46. As was mentioned earlier, even when the Tories have done well it hasn’t been at Labour’s expense.

    Re. AV, Cameron couldn’t carry his party and he’d lose what little credibility he has with the electorate.

  47. @Martyn, Alec

    The Euro is now nearly out of it’s crisis, with Greek interest rates dropping down under 9%.

    For the long term, the Euro now has better monetary controls available. This is because after much trumpeting about inability to set up an EU Borrowing Bond to back the Euro, they very quietly set one up. Notationally the EU is still barred from “borrowing to pay for it’s operational budget”, but it has been gathering up all the fiscal operations, into one “EU Borrowing” pot that’s at €55.8 billion, and now functionally backs the Euro and can be used as a monetary lever by offering “financial aid programmes” as and when needed.

    EU Borrowing bonds are currently rated AAA across the board. Moody’s and S&P give it a notational ‘Outlook negative’ on the basis of member states credit ratings, but note that this may not and probably does not reflect EU Borrowing risk.

  48. ALEC

    @” indeed, double and triple dips were eased away by recounts, ”

    I love this one Alec-a classic.

    It’s a bit like saying-the patient’s recovery from an illness I forecast to be fatal, was eased away by a proper diagnosis of his health.

    Keep ’em coming Alec.

    I am really looking forward to 2014 Q4 GDP/Unemployment numbers, when I fully expect you to observe that-“the mini-boom I identified 18 months ago continues it’s unsustainable path” .

  49. @Phil Haines

    I share your surprise at how acquiescent the LibDems have been in relation to Tory policies – NHS reform particularly comes to mind. I can also see little merit in Labour voters in LD/Tory contests being encouraged to vote tactically.
    I do strongly suspect that many LIbDem MPs remain very uneasy with the Coalition and will be in no mood to renew it – still less to meekly accept the call of a leader whose authority will have been much diminished. I am thinking of people such as Kennedy, Sanders, George, Pugh, Farron and ,possibly, Hughes/Cable.. I can well imagine such people coming out on election night with comments making clear their opposition to another deal with the Tories. There might well be a demand for the issue to be handed to the membership in a ballot containing various options and MPs publicly expressing support for different options. Whatever happens, I find it unlikely that his party will simply hang around passively waiting to hear Clegg’s decision – as happened the morning after polling day in 2010. If he were to try it on many will invite him to ‘go forth and multiply’.

  50. @Alec

    Yes, accept your point about the improvements. The irony is that the situation may lead to inflation either way. Wage rises, or falling unemployment, can be inflationary. Wage rises because putting more money into circulation, unemployment falling because more demand for labour and gradually hitting the capacity buffer.

    And inflation puts pressure on interest rates. Thus the bind is, they may have to constrain growth to stop rate rises. But then there’s less chance of feeling the benefit from growth…

    Cost-of-living is the problem once again. If people weren’t suffering sluggish wages, cuts, tax rises, hefty mortgages and price hikes on essentials, putting rates up a bit wouldn’t be such a big deal…

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