ComRes’s monthly online poll for the Indy on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 19%, GRN 3%. Tabs are here.

On the face of it there is very little change from a month ago, the Conservatives are down one, Lib Dems up one. However, there is actually an important methodological change. As regular readers will remember, last month ComRes did a split sample experiment in their online poll, with half the sample being asked voting intention with UKIP in the main prompt, half not. This apparently made 5 points difference to UKIP, with the prompted half of the sample showing UKIP up on 24%. ComRes have now switched over to prompting for UKIP all the time in their online and telephone polls, but it obviously didn’t have the same dramatic effect in this month’s poll. I suppose comparing prompted-poll to prompted-poll UKIP are down 5 points since last month, but perhaps last month’s was an anomoly and the impact of prompting is just less than the split-sample experiment suggested.

ComRes’s press release suggests they have also tweaked their weightings this month. I’ll update with details once they are confirmed, but looking through the tables nothing jumps out at me so it is probably relatively minor.


148 Responses to “ComRes/Sunday Indy – CON 30, LAB 34, LD 8, UKIP 19, GRN 3”

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  1. Floating Voter: I think the ‘poorer’ groups you identify have a very good idea of how the ‘richer’ group lives – that is (partly) why they are so pessimistic about their own prospects as they see inequality growing.

    Someone up thread identified the primary benefit of Miliband naming and shaming SD on ZHCs – making it newsworthy for the rightwing press, who normally ignore his policy announcements. I imagine Lab were hoping that SD would come out fighting and therefore give the story wings, rather like the energy companies did when EM proposed the price freeze – the hugely negative coverage in the press seemed to help Labour.

  2. The answers to those , “Imagine that at the next election the party leaders were….. How would you vote?” , questions are interesting.

    I suppose an expert will now explain that they are meaningless because voters find it difficult to imagine, and don’t know who any of these people are anyway.

    We should change the name of the General Election to National Lottery.

  3. @Colin

    The questions are not meaningless but they are nonetheless misleading.

    They give special emphasis to a selected weak point and strong point of the respective parties.

    You should interpret the answers in the same way as you might interpret other polls focusing on selected strong and weak points in asking about GE voting intention, for example:
    “Imagine that at the next election the parties took the following positions on the NHS….. How would you vote?”

  4. And regarding this morning’s YouGov, the choice of supplementary questions very much serve as a reminder that the Sunday Times is part of the Murdoch stable and will be using them as a means to try and generate headlines consistent with the agenda required of the paper.

  5. The thing that still makes me scratch my head about prompting for the likes of UKIP – and the Lib Dems even before the coalition for that matter – is that there are statistically significant proportions of the electorate who would vote Labour or Conservative until hell freezes over. Even taking into account that the Lib Dems will most likely get in the high single figures in May, and UKIP will most likely outpoll them, neither can say that there are a million or more specific people who always will vote for their party, even if both can say that their floor going forward is above a million votes.

    What interests me with prompting and non-prompting is the ratio between (Lab+Con) and everyone else. And I include the Lib Dems in this discussion, because for me the only certainty about those who have no intention of voting Lib Dem in 2015 is that they won’t vote Lib Dem. What I’m more dubious about is the extent to which they lean towards Labour as a result of three party prompting, when in reality they’re far less certain whether to vote Labour, Green, another party or not at all.

    On that point, while the decline in Labour and Miliband’s popularity in the past two years is beyond question, and that there has been a direct transfer of VI from Labour to UKIP, I think the collapse of the Lib Dems has amplified the extent of Labour’s decline in the polls in the past couple of years.

    Had there been a general election in May 2012 there would undoubtedly have been a Labour landslide, but on the other hand it was inevitable that the longer the parliament lasted, the more the Lib switchers would think about who they did want to vote for, rather than who they didn’t; while many would decide to stick with their initial response, many would re-evaluate and do something else. That hasn’t resulted in the swingback to the Lib Dems that I expected (I thought they’d end up on about 13%, not the most auspicious choice of number I admit), but has resulted in the initial LD–>Lab transfer dispersing more widely to other parties as well as DK/WNV.

  6. Miliband is taking on the wrong people if he starts naming specific businesses. They will bite back and [the press] will portray him as anti-business and that Labour’s regulations will hamper the recovery.

  7. @Fareham Grecian

    I was more thinking of one of our finest prime ministers, the Conservative, Benjamin Disraeli and his novel Sybil

    “Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets”

  8. Pressman: [when the press] tried that approach after EM’s announcement of the energy price freeze, it backfired and increased his and Labour’s popularity […]

  9. Pressman – ‘Miliband is taking on the wrong people if he starts naming specific businesses. They will bite back and we will portray him as anti-business and that Labour’s regulations will hamper the recovery.’

    To which Labour could quite easily respond: ‘We’re anti-business!? The other main party seems intent on ending single market ties with your biggest market!!!’

  10. Sports direct is in many ways a remarkable company. The relatively small number of staff on permanent contracts are hugely well rewarded through their bonus scheme and this makes all management focus on the bottom line. It also ensures loyalty in this core group of staff because they couldn’t earn that sort of money anywhere else. The rest of the staff are treated as expendable and interchangeable. This model has proved to be hugely successful and is perfectly legal. I would guess that if forced to change, Ashley would shrink the company and concentrate on online sales rather than take the risk of having 30,000 permanent staff.

  11. Good Morning All.

    FLOATING VOTER: Disraeli preferred the word ‘Tory’ to Conservative.
    Martin Pugh in his magisterial Labour History book describes ‘Tory Socialism’ as being the key theme behind Labour’s rise.

  12. NFR

    That is not what leaving Europe will be about; as I’m sure you know. It will be about the removal of nanny state regulation and protectionism. We need to compete with the emerging far Eastern economies and we will never do that while tied to Europe.

  13. @RMJ1

    This is the model I studied aeons ago,as predicted by Charles Handy.

    Rewards and security for the few – insecurity and a bread line existence for the many.

  14. NEWFORESTRADICAL

    There is little evidence that leaving the EU will have any adverse effect on UK business, quite the reverse, we would be able to eliminate much of the EU red tape which is stopping growth in the EU as a whole, and adversely affecting us in the UK as Pressman has already pointed out.

    IMO the sooner we leave the better. The EU would then still trade with us and we would with them, but we would have a greater ability to become more competitive with the st of the World.

  15. Morning Chris

    i didn’t know that.

    i can see the teacher in you coming through again

    never miss a learning opportunity – a sign of a good teacher

  16. should have said rest of World. Sorry, in a hurry, going out for a nice long walk with my dear wife.

  17. PHIL HAINES

    Thought so :-)

  18. Colin

    Is Phil doubting the 3% lead the Tories have in the question re the election withe the three current leaders?

    :-)

    IMO It seems a perfectly sensible question to be asking six months from the election.

  19. @ Crossbat

    “If Milband wants to really popularise his case, however, all he has to do is to get as many photographs of Mike Ashley, in his tight fitting Newcastle United shirt, blinged up to eyeballs, into the public domain. The North East would be in the bag for Labour then, and maybe quite a bit of the rest of the country too!”

    Mike Ashley is as popular in Newcastle as a reoccurring dose of herpes! If Ed stood with him in a photo shoot ,i am sure the North East would turn Blue with Tory voters.

    I am a Newcastle man and Labour voter,we don’t burn Guy Fawkes up here we burn Mike Ashley’s .

  20. TOH

    Yes -as I understand it Howard.

    Because, as he has explained, it gives “give special emphasis to a selected weak point”.

    I presume he refers to Ed Miliband.

    What seems odd to me is that the same group of people are in charge of the parties , in respect of which the Headline Voting question is asked.

    So I suppose Phil means that if you ask “which party would you vote for today” , respondents do not think about the leaders.

    But if you ask about the leaders, they do-at least they give a different answer on parties. But then they are being asked to consider their actions in the future, which is another variable.

    Pollsters & their acolytes seem a bit like Solicitors to me Howard-“one the one hand…….on the other hand……”

    Anyway-I think the two sets of answers are interesting ( in a pointless sort of way)-for everywhere except The North & Scotland, Phil’s “selected weak point” seems quite significant.

  21. @ Shaun

    If Ed stood with him in a photo shoot ,i am sure the North East would turn Blue with Tory voters.
    ————
    At no point did Crossbat 11 suggest that Ed should be in the picture with Ashley or most of this board would be saying the same as you. :-)

  22. @Amber star
    We will probably always disagree on this but I have always considered almost any job to be better than no job. Also it is easier to find a better job when you are already in a job – my experience.
    Ashley ‘s model works in times of reasonably high unemployment with a pool of people willing to take work without guarantees of permanence. This all started and developed under Labour but that is not meant to be a criticism. It is simply a fact that relatively high unemployment and job insecurity have been with us for some time. As unemployment falls this business model, in theory, becomes less sustainable because of the competition for labour but immigration now probably fills the gap. Should we ban zero hours contracts? I’m not at all sure.

  23. @Colin

    So I suppose Phil means that if you ask “which party would you vote for today” , respondents do not think about the leaders.

    It should be blindingly obvious from the above that that is not what I think.

    What I think is that if you ask So I suppose Phil means that if you ask “which party would you vote for today” , respondents think about a lot of things, and not exclusively about the leaders.

    I also think that electors will focus more on the local candidates, the more the local campaigns kick in and parties get an opportunity to promote the persons that electors are actually being asked to vote for.

    That will be the case with Labour around here, although the Conservatives face a dilemma because their MP in this marginal seat is not exactly held in the highest esteem. Mailshots from Labour to individuals will be from the widely respected local candidate, while I suspect that those from the Conservatives will continue to be from Cameron.

  24. @Colin (typo free version, hopefully)

    “So I suppose Phil means that if you ask “which party would you vote for today” , respondents do not think about the leaders.
    It should be blindingly obvious from the above that that is not what I think.”
    _______

    What I think is that if you ask means that if you ask “which party would you vote for today” , respondents think about a lot of things, and not exclusively about the leaders.

    I also think that electors will focus more on the local candidates, the more the local campaigns kick in and parties get an opportunity to promote the persons that electors are actually being asked to vote for.
    That will be the case with Labour around here, although the Conservatives face a dilemma because their MP in this marginal seat is not exactly held in the highest esteem. Mailshots from Labour to individuals will be from the widely respected local candidate, while I suspect that those from the Conservatives will continue to be from Cameron.

  25. @Colin (3rd try)
    “So I suppose Phil means that if you ask “which party would you vote for today” , respondents do not think about the leaders.”
    _____

    It should be blindingly obvious from the above that that is not what I think.”

    What I think is that if you ask means that if you ask “which party would you vote for today” , respondents think about a lot of things, and not exclusively about the leaders.

    I also think that electors will focus more on the local candidates, the more the local campaigns kick in and parties get an opportunity to promote the persons that electors are actually being asked to vote for.
    That will be the case with Labour around here, although the Conservatives face a dilemma because their MP in this marginal seat is not exactly held in the highest esteem. Mailshots from Labour to individuals will be from the widely respected local candidate, while I suspect that those from the Conservatives will continue to be from Cameron.

  26. @RMJ1

    As a society, we decided long ago that “any job is better than no job” is false. Jobs below minimum wage are worse than no job. Jobs that don’t have health and safety protections are worse than having no job. Jobs exploit children are particularly worse than no jobs for children…

    If we decide that “compulsory and exclusive zero-hour-contracts” are worse than not having a job, and to be frank that’s a pretty easy argument to make, then yes it’s better that those jobs stop. And again, it’s a really easy argument to make that “compulsory and exclusive zero-hour-contracts” of the kind Sports Direct use are socially and economically destructive.

  27. I’m glad Ed is attacking poor zero hours practice. I believe they do have a sensible place in society but not when being used like SD.

    And rmj1 you used the term willing, not a term that should be used unless you know each story as I’d bet many are working there through desperation. Your right Labour did start it and under the coalition its taken to another level.

  28. PHIL

    Thanks for that !!

    If the rUK voters are confused-pity the poor Scots.

    Nicola Sturgeon has told Labour Scots to vote SNP, so that her party can support Labour’s rUK MPs in their next term of opposition.

    I just heard Pat McFadden on radio saying to Scots-look SNP lost the Referendum. -so vote Labour.

    Sort that one out.

    Only joking Phil-don’t want your posting finger to explode :-)

  29. @RMJ1 etc

    There’s a world of difference between the use of ZHC for occasional requirements (one-off events for example) and their use for normal employment.

    Developments of the last 30/40 years have changed the nature of the labour market from one where there was balanced power (some said too much power with the workforce) to one where the vast majority of employees have very little power – though it’s a different story for the elite – investment bank traders, top footballers, experts in SAP implementation.

    There was a quite striking change around the turn of the century, where at my (then) large employer we previously had a culture where a manager was expected to apply a (say) 3% pay rise budget pretty much flat across the workforce and was strongly grilled over any special case to pay say a >5% increase.
    By the mid- noughties I was being instructed to apply the same 3% overall increase by giving large rises to not more than 10% of the team with 90% getting zero increase.

    The growth of ZHC for ‘normal’ employment is part of the same trend, which (as the statistics demonstrate) impoverishes the majority of citizens for the ‘benefit’ of the elite. IMO this is – to put it politely – unsustainable, and EM is quite right to be challenging it.

  30. Also, it’s really easy to identify the “Supply teachers” from the “Sports Direct shelf stackers”.

    The distinction is between “zero-hour contracts” and “compulsory and exclusive zero-hour contracts”. One is a contract that allows people to take up casual work if they want to, that fits their schedule. The other is “you must be available for us on demand, you can not take up any other work” and where if they don’t meet those demands they are considered to have voluntarily made themselves unemployed, so wouldn’t be able to claim jobseekers.

    “Compulsory and exclusive zero-hour contracts” are unequivocally horrible terms of employment.

  31. @ RMJ1

    Also it is easier to find a better job when you are already in a job – my experience.
    ———-
    I’m not sure that generally applies. Have you seen any polls, surveys or research which reaches this conclusion with regard to people on zero hours contracts in the current economic circumstances? Some might say that telling a future employer that you’re currently working on a zero hours, minimum wage basis might not be a good negotiating tactic for getting something better.
    ———-
    Ashley ‘s model works in times of reasonably high unemployment with a pool of people willing to take work without guarantees of permanence. This all started and developed under Labour but that is not meant to be a criticism.
    ———-
    I didn’t take it as criticism because I don’t speak for the Labour Party on this forum. But I will point out that during most of Labour’s 13 years of government, there was not a high pool of unemployed people so the ‘zero hours’ model wasn’t the problem which it now is.
    ———-
    Should we ban zero hours contracts? I’m not at all sure.
    ———-
    Labour’s point is that they are unsustainable. Their proliferation relies on the state plugging the income gap & doing so without the businesses contributing. It is a huge subsidy for major employers.
    I don’t know whether the voters will agree with Labour; it’s early days for this policy & neither the sportswear company nor the other Parties have really responded yet.

  32. JAYBLANC

    @”“Compulsory and exclusive zero-hour contracts” are unequivocally horrible terms of employment.”

    They are illegal aren’t they ?

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-crackdown-on-zero-hours-contract-abusers

  33. Sigh, as ever, this is not a venue for debating if government or opposition policies are good or wise or whatever. Stop it please.

  34. @Anthony

    Sorry, I was typing my reply to Colin before you posted that.

  35. @THE OTHER HOWARD, @PRESSMAN

    Forgive me if I deal with your points together, instead of individually.

    “…There is little evidence that leaving the EU will have any adverse effect on UK business…”

    The CBI disagree with you. It’s difficult to equate that with “little evidence”

    “…It will be about the removal of nanny state regulation and protectionism….”
    “…we would be able to eliminate much of the EU red tape…”

    Really? Why? You’re assuming that said regulations were a) imposed against the consent of the UK government, and b) do not enjoy majority support within the UK. What happens if a) they were imposed by the wish of the UK government, and b) are actually popular in the UK?

    It’s a bit like the famous “bonfire of the quangos” (the proposed elimination of said bodies en masse). You can stigmatise a concept using a slur (“quango” “red tape”) and propose its destruction in opposition, but when you get into office you discover that some of the things they do need to be done, and the way that they do them are cheap and popular. To their credit the Conservative part of the Coalition have managed to reduce some of the pre-2010 quangos, but to suggest they’ll get rid of all (or even most) is a fever dream.

    “…we would be able to eliminate much of the EU red tape which is stopping growth in the EU as a whole…”

    You made two elisions here. You conflated “slowed down growth” with “stopped growth” (didn’t the EU as a whole, and the EU-ex-UK, and the Eurozone grow in absolute terms last period?) and you conflated “the EU as a whole” with “the Eurozone”: nobody doubts that the EZ regs are slowing growth in the EZ and sending it into reverse in many parts, but the EU is not the EZ.

    “…We need to compete with the emerging far Eastern economies and we will never do that while tied to Europe…”
    “…we would have a greater ability to become more competitive with the [re]st of the World…”

    Why? The argument you refer to proposes that the UK would negotiate better trade deals with countries on its own, instead of as part of the EU. I disbelieve this (because generally speaking bigger armies win wars) but even if it’s true, that wouldn’t make the UK more competitive per se: “competitiveness” is a function of investment, skills, training, and derring-do. By leaving the EU you’d have thrown investment off a cliff and become more insular…which will reduce competitiveness, not enhance it.

  36. JAYBLANC

    THanks-best I don’t respond :-)

  37. Interesting question in today’s Yougov

    Which of the following best reflects your view? (page 9)

    The Conservative party would appeal to me more if it was MORE like UKIP
    The Conservative party would appeal to me more if it was LESS like UKIP

    32% of Conservative voters say MORE. 17% say LESS

    21% of 2010 Lib Dems say LESS, 13% say MORE.

    So I think that goes some way towards answering my question from last night – with the move towards UKIP policies by Cameron recently, up to 17% of the current Tory vote is not happy about that. The Lib Dems should be looking to exploit that in my view.

  38. Anthony,

    Spoil Sport!

    Still in the spirit of your request, although my point was that a consumer economy can’t work if people aren’t payed enough to buy things, I’ll annoy lots of people by looking at the Scottish Cross breaks……..

    The LibDems are Sixth, Just behind UKIP, who are two behind the Green who are themselves only three behind the Tories on 10%.

    For 3 points without checking the tables;

    “What are the Greens, UKIP and LibDems on?”

    Peter.

  39. @Anthony

    I typed out my post before you posted yours. Please feel free to delete mine if you wish*1

    *1: although as you (by definition) don’t need my permission, this may be thought otiose…:-)

  40. Martyn

    Needless to say I disagree totally with every point you make but I will not bother to say why in detail as we will never agree. Quoting the CBI made me laugh though since their main reason for supporting the EU is the flood of cheap labour, not that they would admit that. It has always surprised me that Labour support an influx of cheap labour although again not admitting that..

  41. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    “…Martyn. Needless to say I disagree totally with every point you make but I will not bother to say why in detail as we will never agree…”

    Fair enough.

  42. @Martyn
    It’s a real pleasure to read such a clear, cogent and detailed rebuttal of a non-evidence-based assertion.

    The only point on which I might disagree is your apparent acceptance that excessive regulation is behind low EZ growth. I think it’s much more to do with dogmatic pursuit of deficit reduction through excessive spending cuts – which appears to be just the sort of action ToH prescribes for this country!

  43. PETER CAIRNS (SNP) I thought yours was a quality post.

  44. NEWFORESTRADICAL

    You like some others have not learnt lessons from the Scot. Referendum namely that the threat of ‘EU exit’ from our 28 neighbours would have many UK markets in turmoil not least sterling, bonds and shares.

    Nor would those with pension pots be too pleased either as they feared falls in shares. Moreover the worries about business, inward investment, the city’s European status, job loss and threats form other companies like Toyota to re-locate elsewhere + the loss of a 500 million consumer market- all this would be economic suicide and explains why all our major parties the EU as well as the vast majority of our economists.

  45. JOHNKAY

    Absolutely right we do need [to stop debating each others political views here, and stick to the comments policy – AW]

  46. @Phil Haines – thanks for updating me on Ed Miliband’s speech and also alerting me to the lack of press interest in the other labour speakers. As a matter of interest did they follow up his themes? Whatever .. I accept that my implicit criticism was unfair and the problem may be how to get the others noticed rather than how to get them singing from a communal hymn sheet. And I also agree that it was clever to pick out Sports Direct because they are clearly rather a flagrant case and their response which didn’t seem to me particularly effective attracted further publicity.

    Apparently (and according to the Observer which is not necessarily an unbiased reporter of these things) there is a report out tomorrow which could add fuel to these flames. It seems some academics are suggesting that the Coalition benefit and fiscal policies have penalised the poor and rewarded the rich and that the changes have been neutral in relation to the deficit.

    At the same time (again as per the observer) a think tank is apparently suggesting that the public have a nuanced attitude to immigration wishing to maintain its benefits but minimise its downsides. And hence they don’t want simplistic targets which no one is going to meet anyway.So it seems to me that Labour is not necessarily on the wrong side of that one either if only it can play its cards right and get its message across. To do which is clearly not at all easy,

  47. This poll gives the Greens a notably low percentage.

    Did Comres prompt people in the main prompt as to whether they were going to vote Green? Have they tried prompting have the sample if they are going to vote Green, and if so how much difference did it make as to the Green percentage.

    The low percentage of people saying that they would vote Green when prompted with UKIP but not Green suugests to me that prompting for UKIP but not the Greens DID have a substantial effect on Green voting intentions.

    If specifically prompting people to say if they are voting UKIP but not Green has an effect of this size, it does suggest to me that the UKIP/Green vote (as once also LIbDem) is largely a protest by people no longer prepared to vote either Conservative or Labour. People seem prepared to treat the Greens and UKIP fiarly interchangeably even though their policies and general political stances are very different.

  48. Please can you also include UKIP (and maybe the Greens too) in your ‘poll of polls’ averages?

    I’m actually a Lib Dem supporter but it’s really useful to see a quick snapshot of the average for them both too, usual caveats notwithstanding.

    Thanks

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