The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 32% (nc), LAB 33%(-4), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 14%(+4). The one point Labour lead is the lowest ComRes have shown in their phone polls since January 2012, and its the lowest level of Labour support they’ve shown since the government’s honeymoon in the summer of 2010. Meanwhile the Sun politics team have tweeted the daily YouGov poll. That too shows the Labour lead down, in this case to two points: CON 35%, LAB 37%, LD 9%, UKIP 13%. That’s the lowest YouGov lead since December.

As ever, unusual results demand particular caution. Sure, it could be the sign of a narrowing of Labour’s lead, but just as likely it could the random variation that affects all polls. There is a temptation to assume that a movement in the polls after an event – in this case Labour’s 50p tax pledge – is a response to that effect. Labour announce a policy, the next few polls show their lead collapsing – cause and effect. I would urge restraint. At first glance this looks like an obvious and appealing narrative, but it’s a human weakness to look for patterns of this type even when they aren’t there.

Firstly, while ComRes and YouGov happened to both be published at 10pm and show a similar pattern, they aren’t the only polls published today. Populus’s Monday poll was also conducted after the 50p pledge, at roughly the same time as ComRes, and they show Labour’s lead still at seven points. Even without that, we know polls jump about from day to day, YouGov have already shown a couple of 3 point leads this month that turned out to just be normal sample variation.

Equally initial polling showed that the 50p pledge was popular. Now, the reality is rather more complicated than that – a popular policy may play to a party’s wider weaknesses, could risk making Labour look anti-business, or the consequential criticisms from business leaders could have damaged their support. Nevertheless, I’d be surprised if the announcement of a broadly popular policy had backfired that badly.

We’ll have more polls in the coming days – not least we’ll know if YouGov’s daily polls are really showing the lead dropping or if today’s is just a blip. Of course, it could be that other polling does echo these findings and we do conclude that the 50p pledge went horribly wrong, it could be these are just part of a more gentle decline in Labour’s lead that has no link to the 50p pledge at all, it could be that tomorrow’s polls show things back to normal and today was merely a couple of freak results. Wait a couple of days before making a fuss about what could just be a co-incidence.

350 Responses to “New YouGov and ComRes polls”

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    John B

    “You’re right most of the job creations are by small and medium sized companies but some of the people who run them may earn quite a lot more than the £150k you mentioned and I think this could hamper investment by them to create more jobs if they think they will be hit hard.”


    Allan, all they have to do is pay themselves less of a salary and plough the money into the business and they will avoid the tax. Which is what they are liable to do if they want to invest…

  2. carfrew

    @Allan Christie

    “Now now Colin I’m not on about the millionaires or billionaires nor am I attacking those who are less fortunate and on welfare.”
    But the point is, if one is concerned about the better off losing money, but not those worse off, it indicates a greater concern for the haves than the have-nots

    I’m sorry but I don’t agree with that rational. I have criticised IDS time after time over welfare reforms to the point of being moderated on several occasions on this forum yet no one said by doing so I was attacking those better off.

    I’m concerned for the poorest and concerned for people who have made a good living for themselves through hard work. I’m not on about your Chelsea owners or your Virgin media founder but the guy who employs 12 people in his local business.

  3. @RogerH

    The Boundary Commission’s work doesn’t normally produce huge changes, provided it’s allowed to get on with its work on a regular basis. The problem we have now is that the seats for the 2015 parliament will be based on the 2001 census returns and not the 2011 as would normally have been the case. When the next time comes for re-distribution the Tories will gain at least 25 seats, if not more, mostly, I think, at Labour’s expence.

    The insistence on equal population size no matter what is a major problem up here in Scotland, of course, where geographical factors make it utterly impossible for one mp to represent Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross – an area bigger than Wales (as was originally suggested, I think).

    But the real problem was the lack of a quid pro quo Lords reform and balanced constituency numbers. Until we know what the House of Lords real function is to be we cannot go forward in any satisfactory way.

  4. This furore over the 50p top tax rate is particularly specious.

    If it were so business/economy disastrous why isn’t there a massive furore that the 45p top rate should have been cut to 40p already, that it is anti business and disastrous to the economy not to have done so by the current government, and that jobs and investment have been leeching away over the time the 45p tax remains.

    They certainly haven’t decamped to other advanced nations because their top rate is higher (sometimes much higher) than 40% already like Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, USA…

    I’m guessing there has been no poll on it but people probably believe all those nations have lower top rates of tax than the UK, if so they would be completely wrong.

  5. Interesting Snippet
    Some 2.5 million tax returns have yet to be submitted to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), although the final deadline is this Friday.

    Those required to fill in the forms online by the end of 31 January are primarily the self-employed and people with more than one source of income.

    But higher-earning parents who claim child benefit may also need to do so.

    An estimated 103,000 parents who are in this situation and are liable for a tax charge have so far failed to register for self-assessment, HMRC said.

    The equivalent of The Working Age Population of Nottingham.

    If you are One of the above (I was in both categories) you need to get this in or it’s an Automatic £100 fine

    Anthony perhaps you might like to take my public service announcement out of Moderation before Saturday!

  6. Robin!!!!

    Utter rubbish. The smaller turnout in Labour seats is a quite different discussion. WE are talking about the total electorate in Labour and Tory seats, whether they vote or not.

    The fact is that, as people move out of urban areas into suburban areas, in general, Labour seats tend to lose population over time and amalgamate, whilst Tory seats tend to gain population and then become divided.

    The job of the Boundary Commissioners is to try and keep the electorate size more or less equal. the choice of a voter to turn out to vote or not is an entirely separate matter.

  7. @Allen Christie – “I will say it again, most people who would be hit by the 50p tax do not earn millions.”

    You’re absolutely right. They earn a minimum of £150,000 pa, which puts you, roughly speaking, in the highest earning 1% of the population.

    Clearly, these 1 Percenters need cosseting and caring for, as they are such fragile things, losing an extra 5p in the £ on earnings over £150,000 will break them.

    As a reasonably high earning businessman now, (not in the 1% I would add) I have to say that I can see absolutely no impact on jobs and investment whatsoever if this is reinstated – just as we saw no adverse effect when it was originally brought in.

  8. @Allan

    But the small business owner can avoid the tax by doing what you want and reinvesting. Tax is structured that way to encourage investment. So it’s possibly not the greatest concern…

  9. Allan & Carfrew

    Is the owner of a small business employing 12 people going to have a personal income of £150k+? I would hope not. If he/she is, then what are the workers getting paid? Minimum Wage?

    On the other hand, perhaps they are all on £100k+

    So much depends on the type of business.

    Ho hum….

    But is a 50p rate going to put off UK citizens from starting their own businesses? Is it going to make them go abroad? if so, where?

  10. Anthony

    In case you missed it I wanted to highlight what ALLAN CHRISTIE said about you.


    “Aye I’m beginning to think the moderator is Kim Jong-un-Wells. ”


    Surely time for that ban? You have a reputation to keep up now.

  11. Allan Christie

    You are going on about this as if the 50% was being put on all at once It,s 5% Allan, if they did not p** of when it was 45% they want go when its 50% You talk as if these are the only hard workers.

  12. ALEC

    “As a reasonably high earning businessman now, (not in the 1% I would add) I have to say that I can see absolutely no impact on jobs and investment whatsoever if this is reinstated – just as we saw no adverse effect when it was originally brought in”

    Well if Ed gets his way then we shall just have to hope you’re correct.


    “But the small business owner can avoid the tax by doing what you want and reinvesting. Tax is structured that way to encourage investment. So it’s possibly not the greatest concern”

    That looks good on paper but if small businesses feel they are being penalised then some might not want to invest. Yeah more investment more tax over all.

  13. JOHN B

    Maybe they will shuffle off to the IOM


    It’s called debate. If no one replies to you then fine but if someone takes the time to reply then the least one can do is reply back.

    And I don’t think hard workers are those on higher wages, that’s a stereotyping myth plucked out from the depths of something.

  14. @John B

    “Is it going to make them go abroad? if so, where?”


    Well precisely. If they are that bothered about just five percent, they would have left already. But many really don’t want to leave their friends, family, not to mention business networks, or to wrench their kids out of school, and if they live in London, leave one of the World’s major cities.

    This was a live issue when the tax went up to 50%, with bankers for example pointing out the downsides of leaving. Which is why they are so keen on the tax cut.

    This is before considering the role of taxes and the State in investing in making it a preferable place to live and do business…

  15. @Allan C

    “That looks good on paper but if small businesses feel they are being penalised then some might not want to invest. Yeah more investment more tax over all.”


    Looks good on paper, lol. This isn’t some theory Allan. This is how tax works!! Why would they feel penalised and nit want to invest, when if in fact they invest… they don’t get penalised??!!!

  16. I hope Mr Wells does not think I am being obsequious or a 3 bags full courtier, but I have no idea how the voting public’s minds work or how he and others like him make any sense of it. They, (the public) still give Labour a 70 seat majority, yet dislike the party leader even more than Cameron. They disapprove of taking in some of the worse of Syrians after those unfortunates ordeal, but voted Labour at 3 different GE’s to allow immigrants to come into the country in considerable numbers.

  17. In my experience, whilst high earners will moan about tax most are not quite as motivated by money as AC (etc) suggest.
    Bernie Ecclestone says he regards money as a way of keeping score (though he, of course, will make sure he is not affected!)
    The business people who will actually make a difference are much more motivated by other factors -success, winning, making a difference, showing the b**tards, having something to contribute to the community/pass on to their children – than they are by
    a minor difference in their take home pay.
    All the arguments against this tax change are actually laughable and do great discredit to those who make them.

  18. Labour have upgraded to a three line whip for the Immigration debate on Thursday. Is there the possibility of an ambush for the Government I wonder? There are plenty of complex fault lines on the issue,for both Tories and LDs which HM’s Loyal opposition could legitimately exploit.

  19. Allan Christie

    My argument is not to hit those who have worked hard and don’t earn millions

    This was your quote.

  20. @ALLAN CHRISTIE: “I think this could hamper investment by them to create more jobs if they think they will be hit hard”

    Who’s hitting them hard, though? 5% extra out of income above £150,000 isn’t remotely hard. Are you really saying that people will be put off investing because any potential profits received as income would be taxed at 50% rather than 45%? I think that’s just fantasy.

  21. Some polls of LabourList members.

    First, most don’t think Labour will win a majority in 2015 (only 40% do) although I’m not sure how much we can read into that – Labour members are serial pessimists after 1992. However, most do think they’ll get the largest number of seats at least.

    Second concerns Ed Miliband’s conduct in the weekly bellowing festival we’re not allowed to talk about. They seem to like a quieter approach, and we can only hope ConservativeHome members feel the same.

    Lastly, most of them support Rachel Reeves wanting a basic skills test for the unemployed, with training if necessary. Not sure if that’s genuine enthusiasm for the policy or wanting to back the leadership.

  22. “Labour have upgraded to a three line whip for the Immigration debate on Thursday.”

    It’s been suggested that the LibDems could support them. I imagine Labour want to be sure they don’t miss out on defeating the government because of not getting their own vote out in full.

  23. Such noble politics, yet again.

  24. IpsosMORI Issues Index (January):

    What do you see as the most important issues facing Britain today?

    Race Relations/Immigration: 41% (+4)
    Economy: 41% (+2)
    Unemployment: 32% (+3)
    NHS: 27% (+5)
    Poverty/Inequality: 16% (+2)
    Crime/Law and Order: 16% (+1)
    Pensions/Benefits: 16% (+6)
    Inflation/Prices: 15% (-2)
    Education/Schools: 15% (+3)
    Housing: 11% (-2)

    Some interesting moves here, and a mixed bag for both sides. Cons will be happy with Immigration and Benefits moving up voters’ lists of important issues. Labour’s strongest areas, the NHS, Education and Unemployment show strong growth.

    I forget who it was who said that the Tories shoot themselves in the foot having a good economy, because it turns voters’ concerns onto areas where Labour does best.

  25. “Cons will be happy with Immigration and Benefits moving up voters’ lists of important issues.”

    On benefits that would depend on what is making them an important issue. Not every respondent will have the same POV.

  26. Colin Davies

    The comments I posted ref your post to Allan Christie were from two ex Labour Government Ministers and the Institute of Fiscal Studies a well respected economic body. They were not mine.

    The point I was making is that even Labour is strongly divided on the issue and it is not as simple as it seems to you.

    “The £100 million pound/50p tax is just a gimmick to appeal to people who think by attacking hard working people at the top end will make everything in lala land perfect.”

    I suppose Thatcher’s top rate of income tax at 60% from 1979 – 1988 was a 9 year gimmick !

    Nobody was complaining about 60% back then though!

    Some will say if ‘the ones with the broadest shoulders’ in this country cannot prove that they are just as much ‘in it together’ with the rest of us and want to move their precious selves elsewhere to avoid being slightly less rich, then apparently there are people who will willingly help …….
    I believe there is a service offered if you want to leave called ‘’ ;-)

  28. It would appear that I provoked a bit of a debate about the electoral system by saying that I thought it was currently skewed to Labour’s advantage. While I still think, self-evidently that it is, I do accept some of the mitigating arguments about why it is and agree totally that the real iniquities are due to FPTP rather than current boundaries and constituency sizes. FPTP is hideously unfair to the smaller parties and it is both the Tories as well as Labour who are the beneficiaries. I’ve used the analogy before, but they’re both the equivalent of two burglars arguing over the share of the spoils from a robbery. The fact that I much prefer the Labour burglar shouldn’t lead me to defend the indefensible! Robbery is still robbery.

    Still, I come back to the advantage to Labour in May 2015 when it looks feasible that they could get an OM on a relatively small percentage share of the vote. It’s one of the several reasons why I think the election is eminently winnable for Labour. The game is the game and the rules are the rules.

  29. MrNameless

    Unemplyment is hardly likely to remain a Labour strongpoint if it contines to decline at the rate it did last week.

  30. Paul Bristol

    “Nobody was complaining about 60% back then though!”

    As somebody who was paying 60% at the time I was certainly complaining about it. Fortunately Mrs T agreed and it was cut to 40%, I think in 1986. Tax at that level was demotivating.

  31. Paul Bristol

    Apologies the cut was made in 1988 not 1986, my memory was at fault.

  32. @TOH:

    Yet the top rate was over 90% under Churchill, MacMillan, Eden and Douglas-Home. Heath reduced it only to 75% (+ another 15% for investment income).

  33. “Tax at that level was demotivating.”

    I understand it might make you grumpy, but I never met anyone who slackened off their efforts. Partly because 40% of something is a good deal more than 100% of nothing, but mainly because money is not the major motivator at that level (see my previous post).
    Perhaps at the margins a barrister or some other professional paid piecework might slacken off but business leaders and those in ‘normal’ paid employment would not.

  34. RogerH

    Appalling levels of taxation and one of the reasons Britain declined post war together with some poor management and over powerful trade unions IMO.

  35. NeilA
    “Such noble politics yet again”

    As Crossbat says (on another topic admittedly ) “the game is the game and the rules is the rules”.
    And as has just been reinforced by polling data Immigration is high on the list of the Electorate’s concerns, so why is it ignoble?

  36. The Other Howard

    As somebody who was paying 60% at the time I was certainly complaining about it.

    You did not p** off then.

  37. Guymonde

  38. As a Wigan Athletic fan, I’m delighted to see the economy growing so strongly, as it reminds me that my side are also winning more games than they have in years.

    And for much the same reason – we got so bad that it became almost impossible *not* to start winning more games.

    It doesn’t mean we’re actually as good as we used to be.

  39. Guymonde

    Sorry about that i was going to respond but decided it would be pointless.

  40. Rogerrebel

    No, I had two daughters in private school at the time and I was not in a finacial position to do so.

  41. Rogerrebel

    I also had faith in Mrs T and was right abot that.

  42. So, based on the growth figures today, and completely irrelevant to partisan views, the UK is the fastest growing economy in Europe. Fact.

  43. A wealthy businessman was once asked, by a TV interviewer, while on the golf course, if his tax rate was cut would he work any harder?
    The businessman thought about this for a moment.
    “You mean I would get more money for doing the same amount of work?”
    A pause.
    “Sure I’ll work harder!” and carried on with his game.

  44. Alan Christie
    “Who would get into bed with who?”

    Well if the Tories did lose in 2015 and the Tories ditched DC and in 2016 Labour lost all their mP’s north of the border to an independent Scotland, then Theresa may get into bed with Ed I suppose if she won the Tory leadership contest. But would they have the Balls is the question?

    Just been to see the film, 12 years a Slave. Very moving and I highly recommend it.

    “Tax at that level was demotivating.”
    This 50p rate though is taxed at that level starts only above £150,000 PA …. is that still demotivating?

    I did hear on Radio 5 one morning a little while back that personal satisfaction/ well-being of earning stops increasing at £50,000, as more comfort than this is surplus to requirement.

    What I would call demotivating is for ‘the hard working people’ of Britain who have taken a part-time job on a zero hours contract and take home not much more than what they would receive in benefits.

  46. Re: “rural” areas.

    A substantial number of ‘Rural’ conservative constituencies are actually dominated by large market towns, garden cities and the other ‘commuter dormitories’.

  47. Paul Bristol

    I have not actually expressed my own personal view on Ed Balls proposal but for what it’s worth IMO

    1. It was quite a good move by Gordon Brown originally as it provided a trap for the Tories to fall into and they did.
    2. I suspect that a rise from 45 to 50% in itself is not particularly demotivating. However, I am not so sure that the proposal is such a vote winner this time because of the levels of adverse publicity from amongst others, some Labour supporters. It is seen as the politics of envy by them and other critics. Labour seems to be split on the issue.
    2. I suspect it will not bring in much extra revenue and am content to go along with the view of the Institute of Fiscal Studies until their shown to be wrong.

  48. Paul Bristol

    “What I would call demotivating is for ‘the hard working people’ of Britain who have taken a part-time job on a zero hours contract and take home not much more than what they would receive in benefits.”

    I do not agree, if I was in that situation I would be strongly motivated by getting a job and I would do it to the very best of my ability. Hopefully that would lead to a better job and so on.

    You may not like this view but if you knew me and my motivation in life you would believe me. I would hate living on benefits as I.m sure most do.

  49. The Beatles, who were worth a few bob, were not entirely happy with the tax thing, and indeed George wrote a song about it. The opening track on Revolver…

    “Let me tell you how it will be
    It’s one for you, nineteen for me

    “Should five percent appear too small
    Be thankful I don’t take it all…”

    etc., and continues in much the same vein.

    Did this this dull their productivity? No, after doing Revolver, they went on to do Sgt. Pepper next.

    Did they flee the country? Nope. John did eventually leave for the States after the band split, where unfortunately they are a bit keener on the gun thing…

  50. Re: Ipsos Mori

    So the possible disintegration of the UK is not an issue?

    Life looks very different when you’re three hundred ,miles south of the Border!

    And why are pensions and benefits in the same category? Pensions will remain a major problem for the foreseeable future whatever happens to benefits. Who is going to have the guts to say that the retirement age must go up to 70 within the next ten years? Or, on the other hand, who will come up with the sensible policy that pensions will be allocated a certain % of the GNP and therefore the retirement age will vary from year to year, depending on the resources available?

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