The YouGov/Sunday Times poll this morning showed a four point Labour lead, interpreted in some quarters of the commentariat as showing an advance for Labour after the Paxman interviews. As ever, it was only one poll. Now we have a second post-Paxman poll, a ComRes telephone poll for the Daily Mail & ITV, and this one shows the complete opposite – CON 36%(+1), LAB 32%(-3), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 12%(+2), GRN 5%(-2) (tabs).

If the four point Labour lead in this morning’s YouGov poll equalled their best this year, this poll is the biggest Conservative lead ComRes have delivered since 2010. Where YouGov showed Miliband’s ratings improving, ComRes show Cameron widening his lead as best Prime Minister.

There is no great mystery here, I expect we’re just seeing normal sample variation. I said this morning we needed to wait for some more polling to have any idea whether the Paxman interviews had really had any effect, whether there was a consistent trend. With two polls now showing movement in opposition directions there certainly isn’t yet. It could still be that the rest of the week’s polls show a similar movement to YouGov and the ComRes poll was just a blip… or that the rest of the week’s polls show a similar movement to ComRes and the YouGov poll was a blip. I’ve a sneaky suspicion though that we’ve just happened to see two outliers in opposite directions, and we’re going to see lots of polls showing no clear movement. Time will tell.

442 Responses to “ComRes/Mail/ITV – CON 36, LAB 32, LD 9, UKIP 12, GRN 5”

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  1. 07052015

    I think Coalition made the Lib Dems look very “green” or naive.

    Made Labour seem rather resigned to losing.

    Made Tories seem very efficient and well organized.

    Made civil servants seem very pro Conservative.

  2. On tonight’s ComRes. It does seem to have the hallmarks of an outlier.

    That is unless the under 24s and women have suddenly become much keener on the Conservatives relative to Labour than has been the norm in most recent polling.

    I’m not sure if there were similar but Labour favouring anomalies in the ST YouGov that gave the opposition a lead last night. Perhaps an absence of tell tale discrepancies and the apparently confirmatory nature of the supplementary answers were what persuaded some that poll heralded a change in the political weather.

    The week ahead will reveal all.

  3. Mikey

    I’ve been waiting all day for someone to mention the debate so that I could use that one!

  4. @ Neil A

    Of course all this “what Crosby wants” / “what Crosby is planning” stuff is just silly. The man may be an excellent political advisor, but he’s no more actual control over where people put their “X” than anyone else in politics.

    Oh, but some people use their mobiles as alarm next to their sleeping head! And we know that the government infiltrated our SIM cards, so …. (and you wanted to suppress this!)

    I actually don’t think any of the parties want to plan crossover (you can develop the narrative that it would mobilise the other lot and make our lot complacent). I think the two dominant parties of E&W are just simply working hard to get their votes.

  5. Who votes by phone?

    Fact remains EM woke up a few people this week.


    The week ahead will reveal all.

    Agreed, There is an Ashcroft, YouGov, and Populus tomorrow, accompanied by a long promised Full Welsh. And on Tuesday an ICM.

  7. The Ashcroft tomorrow is national, right? When does the good Lord release constituency polls?

  8. @omnishambles

    The New Statesman election site said last week that Ashcroft would publish seat polls each week in the campaign. But I haven’t seen this confirmed by Lord A himself.

  9. Prof Howard

    I found the Ch 4 “Coalition” drama somewhat distasteful in its timing – as late as they could push it towards the start of the “official” campaign period.

    However, given that it was shown, it seems strange that Lab are seeking legal advice to try to maximise the confusion that will follow the election of a hung parliament.

    They could stress their commitment to “the interests of the UK” by saying that the current PM staying in post for an extra couple of weeks isn’t worth “a hill of beans”, or put together a potential C&S deal with possible partners for possible outcomes.

    Playing “silly bs” doesn’t seem very governmental.

  10. I’m not sure the good Lord involves himself in mundane affairs except to say “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”

  11. @profhoward

    Full Welsh should be on Roger Scully’s “Elections in Wales” blog in the morning.

  12. @Omnishambles

    Usually around 4pm.

    We’ll get Populus around 10-11am; Ashcroft (not sure if phone or online) at around 4pm, and YouGov at around 10.30pm.

  13. @james @raf


  14. @oldnat

    I suspect the Tory backbenchers would tell Cameron to bugger off long before it got to the stage of getting lawyers / civil service in, if it was obvious that the Tories didn’t have the numbers (even with LD and DUP support).

    Ted Heath comes to mind. IIRC he tried to do a Lib deal over a weekend, while assuming the NI unionists would take the Tory whip again. He made no progress and then resigned after getting some hostile calls from Tories.

  15. I see Ukip are up 2 on Comres.

    I put it down to all the talk about Edmania and Milimania.
    I mean, Romania was bad enough….

  16. @guymonde

    So bad it’s good

  17. @James
    “He [Ted Heath] made no progress and then resigned after getting some hostile calls from Tories.”

    And then sulked for 40 years

  18. @Guymonde

    Only Chelsea fans suffer from Romania.

  19. @Pete B
    “I’m not sure the good Lord involves himself in mundane affairs except to say “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s””.

    Lol….” Gimme my poll or else!”

  20. Indy doesnt saying getting legal advice it says labour is talking to constitutional and legal experts.

    .Presumably cameron and clegg know what they will do if the maths works out.They must have had discussions.So faced with that reality Ed should have worked out his strategy too,at least in his own mind.Labour was caught on the hop last time as they won more seats than they thought plus gordon brown would prob not have been approachable.

    As Coalition made clear the civil service want a prime minister during the negotiations so its clear someones in charge of the country plus they are desperate to avoid any suggestion that the queen has a view.

    Labour should be more relaxed.If the tories havent got the votes who cares.what they do for a few days.

  21. Lord High Commissioner of Polls: “Do you have the encrypted USB stick?”

    Polling company X: “Yes Sire!”

    Lord: “Have you double checked the tables this time. I don’t want any surprises…”

    Polling company X: “[Gulp] …Trrriple and Quadruple checked, Sire”.

    Lord: “Goooood. You may leave”.

  22. Thanks RAF interesting about ComRes phone polls.

    Lyton Crosby has no control over when (if) the polls would cross over, so he has no strategy to do it late. Any election campaigner will hope for a lead whenever.

    As to the cross over, most pollsters have been predicting a swing back for months based upon previous elections but it has not happened yet and I cannot see why it would happen late.

    The fact is this campaign and election will be very different to others and therefore unpredictable. The swings are no longer between the two main parties or the 3 E&W parties. Tactical voting could go in either of the main parties favour. Voter registration is lower than normal (normally hitting Labour). Core vote and activism getting vote out on the day.

    Making predictions on day to day movements in polls is fun but uncertain. It would help other readers if the reasoning behind a forecast is given as well.

  23. 07052015

    “Indy doesn’t saying getting legal advice it says labour is talking to constitutional and legal experts.”


    Labour may be giving legal advice to the experts. :-)

  24. @ProfHoward

    How xcan Lynton Crosby ‘postpone’ a poll crossover? It’s a prediction, not an actual thing he controls?

  25. @Old Nat, James

    There are plenty of wrinkles in the interpretation of the FTPA; the Labour PArty would be mad not to seek advice on it, and I assume that the Tories have explored every in and out of it with their experts also.

    I also find it unimaginable that the Conservative PArty would sabotage Cameron while there was still a possibility of him retaining power – the Anti-Cameroons would just grit their teeth and wait.

    On this subject AW made the point long ago that if a government lost a vote of confidence it would still be within their power to prorogue Parliament, so preventing the Opposition forming a government.

    So even if the Queens speech was voted down Cameron might have two extra weeks to play games. If he couldn’t make a suitable deal and get parliament open again in the 14 days the FTPA forces a new election for which the Tories are already well funded. Now on that manoeuvre any opposition party would want to have some serious constitutional and legal advice.

  26. OLDNAT

    The story in Indo sounds a bit suspicious. Where did it come from? Is it designed to give the impression to voters that you need the most seats to be sure of forming a govt?

  27. Mike Hancock to stand as an independent in Portsmouth South.

  28. @07052015

    Yes, I saw that earlier. Does he have a personal vote?

  29. PI

    “On this subject AW made the point long ago that if a government lost a vote of confidence it would still be within their power to prorogue Parliament, so preventing the Opposition forming a government.”

    I must have missed that – and I’m certainly not going to question AW! :-)

    Still, I’d quite like to see a link to the legal basis by which a PM in that position could use the Royal Prerogative to prorogue Parliament. I thought Brenda did that on the advice of the Privy Council.

  30. Hancock? Not more than a couple hundred votes, I should think, especially given he couldn’t hold his local council seat as an independent either.

  31. @PostageIncluded

    “…On this subject AW made the point long ago that if a government lost a vote of confidence it would still be within their power to prorogue Parliament…”

    Er, I think there’s a line in the FTPA that specifically excludes that (from memory, something along the lines of in no other way may Parliament be dissolved). I think the procedure since FTPA is on loss of confidence you have 14 days for anybody (including the exsting Government) to try and cobble together a majority: if nobody can, then we have a new General Election, but not before.

  32. @Oldnat

    See my reply to PostageIncluded above. I think the PM used to have that power to ask the queen for a dissolution but now he doesn’t without that 14-day period – i.e. you can’t circumvent the FTPA by forcing a premature dissolution


    “How can Lynton Crosby ‘postpone’ a poll crossover? It’s a prediction, not an actual thing he controls?”

    He is in control of Conservative strategy, so he sets the daily pace level and agenda in the Conservative campaign. He seems to have decided to have the cross-over late this time, and this is quite possibly to keep everyone in suspense, and make some people berate themselves for doubting him and his abilities, when it happens, after Easter.

  34. @ON

    She does do it on the advice of the Privy Council, but the quorum is 3 and the Cabinet are all Privy Counsellors, so that doesn’t really present a problem.

    Although there was some discussion during the passage of the FTPA (through the Lords?)about ending the Monarch’s prerogative for prorogation the Coalition faced it down (which given the radical departure that the FPTA was seems suspicious to me and I think you have no less of a suspicious mind than I do).

    The suggestion that some of the proposals in the FTPA were open to manipulation by a government intent on keeping power were pretty much pooh-poohed by Clegg, on the grounds that “any government that did such a thing would be punished at the polls”. Unfortunately there are some good examples (Germany was definitely one – can’t remember the others) of governments who played tricks like this and got away with it.


    “If there is anything worse than drawing conclusions from a single poll, it is drawing conclusions from the Scottish cross breaks of a single poll!”

    Indeed. A single poll is meaningless. A single cross break may well be less than meaningless which is a bit of a hat trick.

  36. @Martyn

    I’m not talking about dissolution, I’m talking about “prorogation”. Dissolution is definitely out of Brenda’s hands now. They deprived her of the right to end a government, but not to give it a holiday.

  37. @PostageIncluded

    Hmmm…would HMQ refuse a [correctly-formatted] request to prorogue if it was an attempt to circumvent the FTPA? Seems like the kind of request that reserve powers are designed to prevent. Governments really aren’t supposed to govern without confidence and supply, and if HMQ turned round and said “no”, she’d be within her rights.

  38. PI

    I’m not sure that Brenda would be willing to submit to a political fix whereby she connived with an existing PM – no matter how much she purred.

    On the other hand, it would seem possible that – should the parliamentary arithmetic be exceptionally tight – she and her advisers (not necessarily including the “squatter in No 10”) might decide that postponing the Queen’s Speech would allow sufficient time for the warring groups to sufficiently grease the wheels of the engines of Parliamentary war.

  39. @ON, Martyn

    I’m not sure about that either. Clearly she would want to avoid any hint of partisanship. But to decline prorogation on PC advice could itself be construed as a political action, and it would be fairly extraordinary in itself.

  40. About 99% of the readers commenting on the latest ComRes poll over on MailOnline appear to think the poll was rigged!

  41. @OLDNAT
    ‘I’m not sure that Brenda would be willing to submit to a political fix whereby she connived with an existing PM – no matter how much she purred.’

    Wasn’t this more or less what happened in the removal of Gough Whitlam in 1975 by the Queen’s Australian Governor General? I imagine that a lot may have changed in the intervening years, and most notably with FTPA. However, I would want to know the legal situation very precisely in Labour’s position.

  42. @PostageIncluded

    Um, hold on a minute. Are you suggesting using prorogation to remain in power after a no-confidence vote? Putting Parliament to sleep instead of dissolving it and remaining in Government, even tho’ Parliament has declared no confidence? Jeez, that’s about as unconstitutional as it gets: Cameron isn’t Cromwell…

  43. @Syzygy

    It’s more the *opposite* of what happened in Australia. In 1975, the Whitlam Government lost supply. The Crown (via the Governor-General) dismissed Whitlam as PM (correctly in my view).

    In the circumstance PostageIncluded outlines, the Crown (via the Queen) would *keep* a PM who had lost confidence/supply. In the Australian situation, the Crown (via the GG) would *dismiss* a PM who had lost confidence/supply.

  44. @martyn. It isn’t unprecedented though. In Canada, Harper prorogued parliament on two occasions, once to avoid a confidence vote and once to quash a report, without much public backlash. It is certainly doable. I think on a provincial level, parties have even done it to prevent a confidence vote from taking place while they elect a new party leader.

    Certainly options for both parties to take if necessary.

  45. @ Martyn

    Obviously, that is true. My point was that the Crown was prepared to intervene in a manner that was certainly more than contentious at the time. IIRC the loss of C&S was in the opinion of the GG rather than definitively so. However, I am no expert on either constitutional matters or Australian politics from 40y ago :)

  46. If Cameron gets into the position of obviously being unable to form a government, (Lab + SNP > 323) He resigns and suggests Milliband as his successor, does that start the 2 weeks ticking or does that change of hands avoid the need of a vote of confidence?

    Additionally: After a vote of no confidence; who is Prime Minister until the vote of confidence? Anyone who puts their hand up for the job? I thought there always had to be a Prime Minister so have no idea what happens “between Prime Ministers” as it were.

    Is there any difference in waiting for a vote of no confidence (I assume that can be made by anyone as an EDM still) and asking the queen to pick a new PM in terms of the timescale of forming a new government?

  47. Although the FTPA doesn’t affect the ability of the Monarch to prorogue Parliament (indeed it specifically leaves it unchanged), any attempt to do so just to grant a government a stay of execution will simply be refused. There’s no way in which the Palace would cause a constitutional crisis, especially not just to keep Cameron happy. It’s possible something would be arranged if a wider crisis intervened and there was opposition support, but in that case all that would happen would be that confidence would be voted through on the understanding that it was only for a short time – no royal intervention required.

    However it must be pointed out (again) that all this talk of voting down the Queen’s Speech is nonsense. The Speech will simply be not scheduled until the government has secure backing for itself and for the programme it is putting forward. By that stage there almost certainly will have a vote of confidence and/or no confidence survived.

    I can’t help noticing that in the last few months Cameron has managed to seriously alienate the two people he needs support of in a constitutional crisis: Her Maj by the leaks around the Scottish referendum (especially blabbing to Blomberg) and the Speaker by this failed attempt to set him for unseating[1]. In both cases the motivation seems to have no more than to make Dave look good in the eyes of a handful of people who wouldn’t have been that impressed even if he was successful[2]. As usual long term strategy is ignored for dubious short term tactics.

    [1] One little thing about this sorry episode that seems to have missed most commentators is the position of the Lib Dems. We were told that the two Parties had agreed the proposal for the secret ballot to rushed through, but few Lib Dems voted in favour and Hague’s own deputy, David Heath, actually made a speech telling him to withdraw it. You suspect that Clegg volunteered to send his troops over top yet again and they simply ignored him. Which doesn’t bode well for his authority even if he survives the attentions of MrN.

    [2] The secret vote thing is a particular mystery as it seems based on the idea that all Conservative and many Labour back-benchers hate Bercow and want to vote him out. Now the front benches hate him and the Press hate him and some MPs wanting to suck up to one of those hate him and a few loudmouths hate him because he inexplicably won’t let them speak whenever and for as long as they want. But I get the impression that most back-benchers think that he is pretty good at protecting their rights and a secret ballot makes them more likely to back him than not.

  48. @Syzygy

    I hod a view that does not enjoy vocal support in Australia: namely, that Kerr was correct in what he did (if not necessarily the sotto-voce way he did it: there was no need for him to skulk). Whitlam’s excoriation of Kerr was unjustified and arguably hounded a good man to a premature death.

    This crops up occasionally: a Government, spending beyond its means and denied funding, starts thinking about things like large loans from dodgy people or issuing IOUs. It really isn’t supposed to happen: it’s effectively an internal coup and (IMHO) is the kind of thing Crown reserve powers are used to prevent.

  49. Proroguing Parliament after a vote of no confidence would do no good at all. The 14 days would still pass and the election be called automatically. The only time when it would make a difference would be to prevent the formation of a government with a majority by preventing the vote of confidence. That’s not going to happen.

  50. @Roger Mexico

    If you say so then I am reassured….. somewhat : )

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