ComRes have their monthly online poll for the Independent on Sunday & Sunday Mirror out tonight. Topline figures are CON 42%(nc), LAB 27%(-2), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 15(+2), GRN 3%(nc). You have to go all the way back to 2010 to find a lower Labour score than 27%.

It is important to note that ComRes’s post-election polls are significantly worse for the Labour party than polls from other companies: since the general election ComRes have shown Labour with an average of 29% and a Conservative lead of 11 points; other companies have on average had Labour on 32% and an average Conservative lead of 6 points. Suffice to say, while this is a bad poll for Labour even by ComRes’s standards, it’s not some great slump in Labour support. The reason the Tory lead is bigger than in recent polls giving them a lead of only six or seven points is down to ComRes having a different methodology, not a sudden fracturing of support.

If you are interested in the specifics of this, the reason for the gap is probably ComRes’s new turnout model. Rather than weighting people based on how likely they claim they are to vote, ComRes estimate people’s likelihood to vote based on demographic factors like age and class. In practice, it means weighting down young people and working class people who are more likely to support Labour.

At the moment polling companies’ methods are in a state of flux. Some companies like ComRes have made substantial changes to address the errors of the general election; other companies have made only modest interim changes while they await the results of the polling review. Even those who have made changes say they may well make further changes once the review reports. It means we have some quite varied results from different companies at the moment. Once the review is done and dusted and everyone has made all the changes they are going to make it may be that results are once again quite similar to each other… or it may be that we won’t be able to tell who has taken the correct approach until we see the results of the 2020 general election.

Anyway, looking at the rest of the ComRes poll they repeated their favourability questions about party leaders, finding a drop in Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings since September. 22% now have a favourable perception of Corbyn (down 2), 50% have an unfavourable perception (up 8). In comparison 38% of people have a favourable impression of David Cameron (up 3), 42% have an unfavourable perception of Cameron (no change).

Of course if Jeremy Corbyn does make it to general election he won’t be facing David Cameron. So while there may be a large gap between perceptions of Cameron and Corbyn, the gap between perceptions of Corbyn and Osborne is significantly smaller. Only 25% of people have a favourable perception of Osborne, 44% an unfavourable perception. Osborne’s perceived rival for the leadership, Boris Johnson, has much better ratings – 44% have a favourable perception, 27% an unfavourable perception. Boris Johnson though seems to be judged on a whole different basis to other politicians, but perhaps that’s a topic for another day.


184 Responses to “ComRes/Indy on Sunday – CON 42, LAB 27, LD 7, UKIP 15, GRN 3”

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  1. Omni
    “Just look at the Tories, you’ve got your Ken Clarkes all the way through to your John Redwoods. There are yawning chasms between views on Europe, social liberalism, and a whole load of stuff.
    Yet people still vote for the Tories and they also have a message”

    Is this because the Tories are essentially a pragmatic party, whereas left-wing parties tend to be idealists?

    Idealists tend to clash with each other even if their positions are similar. Look at the plethora of tiny parties on the left in particular, and of course the famous Monty Python sketch about the People’s Front of Judaea!

    Labour and Liberals have both split more than once since 1900 but I don’t think the Tories have.

  2. There is too much emphasis on what Corbyn does & does not believe. This is understandable given the u turns he seems all to easily pushed into-but for the Labour Party the issue is his Leadership qualities.

    Caroline Flint was very blunt about it on SP today. She said that -OK he has this mandate from LP members-now he has to take his beliefs & his mandate & LEAD the LP to victory at a GE with them. That is his purpose in life.

    I think Flint puts it very succinctly. And in doing so knows what is all too evident-that he does not believe in Leadership; he believes in endless discussion. How many reports of PLP meetings have there been featuring tough questions for JC-with a silent response from him?

    This is a man who has never had to convince anyone. He has spent his life preaching to small bands of the converted.

    Flint said on tv this morning that the LP is not a “protest Party”-it is a Party aspiring to govern the country.

    She clearly meant that Corbyn needs to stop being a one man protest movement & become a Leader.

    I doubt he knows how to do this-and I got the impression that Flint does too.

  3. @pete b

    I think there’s something in that but it really depends on the leadership. New Labour were quite pragmatic after all, to put together their winning coalition. Historically the Tories have been pragmatic in order to last this long, the latest example of a good pragmatic decision by the Conservatives is the leadership’s embrace of social liberalism. I don’t know if you’ve had time to read Matt Singh’s analysis of where the polls went wrong, but he has discovered that 2015 Tory voters were a lot more socially liberal than previously thought, and the ability to attract these people almost certainly accounts for why we now have a Tory majority instead of another coalition.

    From where I’m sitting there is plenty of idealism in the Tory party, regarding the size of the State and Europe in particular. However the party has been able to hold itself together and the historical record proves you at least partly right.

    Maybe the success of the Tories is also down to their ruthless attitude to the leadership, where the Parliamentary party will not hesitate to dethrone a leader when they feel it’s necessary. For example what happened with Thatcher.

  4. Just about every time the UK has had a change of government since the Heath administration has been following a major economic crisis.

    Feb 1974 election: 3 day week/oil shock
    1979: Winter of discontent
    1997: Black Wednesday
    2010: Great Recession

    I anticipate serious economic problems before 2020, although such a crisis would not be a sufficient condition for the Tories to lose.

    I would not be surprised if the Tories failed to gain a majority in 2020 – my money would go on another hung parliament, even with the various boundary-related fiddles.

  5. Omni
    “New Labour were quite pragmatic after all, to put together their winning coalition”

    Do you mean a winning coalition within the Labour party?

  6. To edit the above remove the “just about”.

  7. Interesting comparison.

    The equivalent ComRes poll at this stage of the last parliament had Labour with a 1% lead over the Tories.

    I wonder how much of the difference is methodology.

  8. Hawthorn
    “Just about every time the UK has had a change of government since the Heath administration has been following a major economic crisis.”

    As there seems to be one of those about every 5 years it’s not too surprising!

  9. @pete b

    I meant a winning coalition of voters, appealing to their base in addition to so-called “middle England”. To do that, the leadership had to dispense with some of the socialism and park some tanks on the lawn of capitalism. Cameron has done something a bit similar with the Tory party, regarding liberalism.

    I suppose there was also a coalition of sorts in the party because you had the likes of Prescot supporting Blair, and Brownites/Blairites working together (at first) but I don’t know enough about the Labour party to comment on how deep that was.

  10. If there is a hung parliament in 2020, and if Labour have by then become a fully Corbynist party, I wonder which way the LDs might swing (assuming they have enough seats for it to matter). One might assume that they’d never get into bed with the Tories again after the last time, but sticking with Labour might pull them further to the left than they’re comfortable with.

  11. It’s worth noting that, when it comes to “the Tories are pragmatic/disciplined and Labour are ideological/divided”, the exact reverse seemed to be true in the years that I got interested in politics.

    Possibly, long periods in power tend to increase politicians’ willingness to push for what they want, and long periods out of power increase their willingness to compromise with each other. New Labour in particular was born out of a long, long trauma for the Labour party from 1979-1997 (and especially 1983-1993).

  12. Bill P
    Interesting point.

  13. @Bill P,

    It seems Labour didn’t get the memo. Either that, or 6 years out of power doesn’t count as a “long period”.

  14. Neil A,

    Historically, it’s not. The shortest period Labour’s ever had out of government was four years, 1970-74.

    1924-29
    1931-45
    1951-64
    1970-74
    1979-97
    2010-?

    Those Labour governments which returned to power quickly (MacDonald’s and Wilson’s) tended to have a hell of a time of it – but that might just be that periods of chaos and instability produce rapid changes in politics, rather than the other way around.

  15. @Bill Patrick
    ‘ New Labour in particular was born out of a long, long trauma for the Labour party from 1979-1997 (and especially 1983-1993).’

    I would argue,however, that the Labour Leadership under Blair drew false conclusions from the 1992 election and failed to understand that the views of the electorate can change over time . I have little doubt that Labour would have won comfortably enough in 1997 with a repeat of its 1992 manifesto – albeit not the 179 majority achieved by Blair.

  16. Labour under Corbyn is necessarily and unavoidably playing a very long game. It’s going to take 4+ years to neutralise the orchestrated right-wing propaganda assault on Corbyn – so taking any notice at all of superficial ‘beauty-contest’ opinion polls at the moment is essentially meaningless, and is merely for commentariat nerds. Make no mistake the more people get to know Corbyn, the more they like, appreciate and respect him. He can undoubtedly beat an Osborne-led Tory party that has messed up the economy and alienated millions of voters in 2020.

  17. Graham,

    That’s changing the subject, and not in an exciting way, as well as probably not ultimately non-partisan direction.

    However chaotic Labour seems right now, I suspect that part of the story is that both the right and the left of the party are sure that they’re going to be back in power sooner or later. Maybe they’re right; maybe they’re not.

  18. Mr Nameless,

    I agree that it’s hard to be sure (and one would want to look at things internationally as well) but I would note that 1945-1951 was a very unstable period in a lot of respects, yet Labour retained their discipline, and even as charismatic a rebel as Bevan couldn’t bring down the mainstream of the party.

  19. BILL
    ‘1945-1951 was a very unstable period in a lot of respects” – not surprisingly, since it was a period of response to the end of war, and the reconswtruction of Brityish society and its international allegiances, and of the separation of Europe in the cold war.
    It was however surely one of the most stable and constructive periods of British political and social history, with the creation of the NHS and the Welfare State, and the strengthening of rights at work and the consoliation of women’s position in the work place and politics.
    It could be argued that every government since has had to work within the framework of a social market created by Labour reforms at that period, and that Conservative successes then and now are based more on responding to global economic movements and alliance with right wing and capitalist financing and industrial forces with allies in the media, rather than in any change or advance in the social advance, notably in failing to provide the support for the eradication of deep divides in wealth and social situation which have continued or deepened in recent decades.

  20. in the social advance – read: in the social situation

  21. @DR RICHARD HOUSE
    The ones who REALLY know mr corbyn are his parliamentary colleagues, and they have never been impressed. This counts. If you imagine parliament as a school (not too difficult to do), then the students know who the bullies are, who’s ‘thick’, who’s disruptive etc. etc.

    The PLP committed a grave betrayal by dishonestly cobbling together the nomination of someone who they knew was not up to the job (and if anyone should be ‘expelled’ it should be those who nominated him but didn’t vote for him – for failing in their a duty of care to put forward colleagues who they believe to be capable.)

  22. John Pilgrim

    John, I think you will find that the wealth gap between the rich and the poor has reduced in the last few years, it is only the super-rich who have widened the gap.

  23. To say inequality has fallen in the UK is untrue. Five mins on Google and thousands at foodbanks say so.

  24. MARK W

    I don’t regard food banks as any meaningful measure of inequality.

    I would also have to say that I have nothing against inequality, those who work hard and are skilled or have good ideas that they develop are rightly better off than those who do not..

    I was responding very specifically to John Pilgrim’s comment on the wealth gap.

  25. John Pilgrim,

    I wasn’t making any sort of comment, positive or negative, on the Attlee years. The point was simply that there was a lot of instability, especially in the economy, and yet Labour stayed united, even when they had a very big majority. A plausible explanation would be that Labour’s history up until that point had always been as a minority government or in opposition, and Labour MPs (and the party more widely) were willing to compromise to stay in that position.

  26. The need for food banks is as much an indication of poor money management as of absolute poverty. Of course those on the lowest incomes are the most vulnerable but people who spend all of their income, have substantial future commitments and make no provision for a rainy day, are very vulnerable to a change in circumstances, even if that is only temporary. That is not to say we should not help them. In a civilized country no-one should starve.

    Unfortunately, simply increasing the income, either in relative or absolute terms, of those we consider to be poor, is no guarantee that some won’t need help from food banks. I feel that in some shape or form, they are here to stay.

  27. RMJ1

    Very fair comment, I think that sums it up very well except i would add that there are those who will find a way of getting freebies when offered. I’m not suggestion that this latter group is very significant.

  28. @ DR RICHARD HOUSE

    Great comment – I very much agree with your analysis.

    @DAVID COLBY

    Part of the Blair project was to exert control over the selection of prospective parliamentary candidates, and to parachute like-minded candidates (like Tristam Hunt) into safe Labour seats. Hence, the Corbyn-supporting MPs are either ‘old’ or ‘young’ (adopted either pre or post Blair) – the ‘middle-aged’ MPs are demonstrably New Labour and whilst they may like Corbyn, their politics are at variance with his.

    In these circumstances, it is unfair to suggest that the PLP’s assessment of Jeremy Corbyn’s capacity to lead the LP or the country is significant. In fact, their lack of enthusiasm is only to be expected.

  29. @ Neil A

    “It seems Labour didn’t get the memo. Either that, or 6 years out of power doesn’t count as a “long period”. ”

    Could it be that as the Conservatives didn’t get a majority in 2010 they didn’t really feel like they had lost, and so avoided the necessary discussions/arguments as to why they weren’t elected?

    Maybe too much emphasis was put on Gordon Browns unpopularity, and the idea that a new leader was all that was required to get back into power became the easy option.

  30. Putting aside the ComRes Independent polls -which have appeared consistently well out of line with other pollsters in the same way that Angus Reid did prior to the 2010 election – the Tory lead seems to be much where it was in May – ie 6 or 7%. That is a clear lead, but it is far from being massive and is barely half the 12 to 15% lead the Tories were enjoying at the end of 1987 six months following Thatcher’s third election victory – indeed the Tories remained pretty consistently ahead in that Parliament until early 1989. Going back further to the 1959 Parliament , in the Spring of 1960 Labour was further adrift of the Tories than at the previous election – and had lost the Brighouse & Spenborough by election to them – a very rare Government gain from the Opposition. So whilst things look far from bright for Labour at present , they have been worse,and the public mood can quickly change – particularly if the view gains ground that Osborne & Cameron conned their way to re-election

  31. “I would also have to say that I have nothing against inequality, those who work hard and are skilled or have good ideas that they develop are rightly better off than those who do not.”

    ———–

    Sounds good, but unfortunately reality is such that a skilled paramedic saving lives may earn a lot less than a banker taking down the economy. Much of the beef with inequality is the undeserved disparities, and economic inefficiency that consequently results. Dunno if we have any polling on whether peeps feel rewards are fairly divvied up, be interesting to see…

  32. GRAHAM

    I think you are falling into the trap of ignoring ComRes because it is out of line with the rest. ComRes has changed its methodology quite significantly and may well be more correct than all the others, we just don’t know. Bearing in mind the current state of the Labour party I think all the other pollsters underestimate the Tories or overestimate Labour or both.

    A I posted at the beginning of this thread, if there were to be a GE tomorrow I would expect the Tories to have at least a 10 point lead over Labour.

  33. CARFREW

    Your piece also sounds good, but of course the banker may have created enough financial wealth for the country via his own and his companies taxes, that it pays for thousands of para-medics.

  34. @Syzygy

    it’s all too easy to dismiss the assessment of Corbyn’s peers in that way.

    Corbyn’s record is abundantly clear. He’s one of the small band of eccentric MPs who could be relied upon to support a certain kind of rather fringe EDM and so give a voice to certain groups of citizens who don’t always get one. You only have to look at some of the exciting things Corbyn has put his name to – my personal favourite is the Tony Banks special where he *actually calls on the earth to be destroyed by an asteroid* because the Allies used pigeons in WWII.

    Corbyn was therefore respected as one of the Commons Odd Squad. However, making him leader of the Labour Party is of an entirely different order. He is perceived by many as a crank, and he’s earnt that perception.

    He is not, as many keep trying to claim, in the Labour mainstream. He is probably the most fringe Labour MP in the party – and that’s not his politics (which are, however, very left wing), but because he has a penchant for odd causes.

    It would be like the Tory members suddenly deciding that Philip Davies or Phillip Hollobone ought to be leader.

    Imagine you worked in a large company. Imagine you had a co-worker who was good at his job, but who kept promoting a range of view you considered odd – some in keeping with the company’s policy, but many not – who mixed only with a small section of the rest of the workforce who shared some of his view and basically never spoke to the rest (Corbyn is famously unclubbable and many MPs spoke of essentially not having spoken to him in years), who kept loudly proclaiming that some if not all of the company’s policies and products were wrong and who complained about management *all the time*.

    Imagine then that the company has a hard time. You, personally, have done a decent job and met your targets, but the company hasn’t done as well as it should. The MD resigns.

    Then imagine that the owners decide that the new MD should be the co-worker I mention, and you all have to like it. I’d imagine you’d be at least rather sceptical.

  35. TOH

    No -I am looking at the overall picture which at this point is surely the most sensible approach. Moreover, the other pollsters have made some adjustments to their methodologies – indeed some commentators think they may have gone too far!

  36. Graham

    We disagree, I am aware that other pollsters have made some adjustments, but since we don’t know if any are correct, my views are at least as sensible an approach as yours. Do you disagree with my view of what would happen if we had a GE tomorrow? Don’t forget polls are just a snapshot.

  37. DR. RICHARD HOUSE

    @” the orchestrated right-wing propaganda assault on Corbyn ”

    From where I stand , the criticism is coming from left field. Which just goes to show that political geography is a comparative entity & depends as much on the position of the viewer as the viewed.

    For anyone in UK politics with Bennite opinions, criticism is always going to be coming from the right isn’t it?
    And merely ascribing a point in the political landscape to a criticism doesn’t address it-it merely confirms the narrow spectrum of the view being defended.

    The way to see off criticism is to persuade others of the merits of key features of your point of view.

    I am not convinced that “the more people get to know Corbyn, the more they like, appreciate and respect him.” . Indeed I have a feeling that the opposite may be true, There is none so critical as the disillusioned idealist-and Corbyn’s “mandate” was full of young idealists.

  38. I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned just how little of a team player Jeremy was before becoming Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. He basically used his position as an MP to campaign for the causes he really cared about, even if no-one else cared about them (eg his anti-monarchism and support for a unified Ireland); in many respects not dissimilar from George Galloway.

    It’s funny you should mention Phillips Davies and Hollobone; the Tory MP I had mentally compared JC to was Jacob Rees-Mogg, who likewise puts a lot of work into causes that nobody else cares about (he seemed so upset about Parliament’s scrapping of vellum, for example).But, I now realise, there is one way in which JRM is very different – for all his particular views he’s actually quite pluralistic and quick to praise political opponents. Jeremy Corbyn on the other hand filled his Shadow Cabinet with moderates and is now seeking to undermine them because they haven’t fallen in line with everything he says – which raises the question, “Why didn’t he just promote a bunch of left-wingers?”

  39. TOH

    I really have no idea as to what would happen in an immediate General Election – it is so hypothetical at this stage and there are simply so many unknowns.
    All I would say is that compared with last May the glint has begun to come off Osborne re- economic competence – signs of economic slowdown – the worst October Borrowing figures since 2009 – the markets beginning to pay more attention to our big Balance of Payments problem. On that score I suspect fewer people would now be inclined to give the Tories the benefit of the doubt. But there are factors which point the other way – Corbyn’s standing and related Labour divisions etc. I also tend to the view that the Paris effect – like the London bombings in July 2005 – will probably be quite shortlived. Overall I would be surprised to see the Tories poll better than last May – more uncertain re – how Labour would perform. Could well be back to a Hung Parliament with the Tories short of a majority.

  40. @Polltroll

    “Why didn’t he just promote a bunch of left-wingers?”

    He simply hasn’t made that many political friends in 30+ years as an MP.

    Galloway is actually one of them, and it’s never been very clear why Corbyn didn’t join Respect when, in many ways, they much more accurately reflect his views and Galloway is a friend and political ally.

    I’ve seen it unkindly muttered that Corbyn’s principles were inviolate as long as they didn’t interfere with his drawing a salary as the Labour MP for a very safe seat, but I am sure that there is more to it than that.

  41. Corbynites constantly emphasise their Party Mandate.

    Labour MPs ( like the one on DP today) emphasise their Consituency Elector Mandate.

    Its the battle of the Mandates-but which stands up to real scrutiny & testing?

    The MP’s mandate from Constituents will be tested in 2020.

    JC’s mandate , at the moment, has no test in prospect which can be credibly measured. But there is no reason to suppose that Corbyn recruits to the LP won’t be assessing the performance of their choice.

    So what will their attitude be when , on an important issue like military intervention overseas, on which they believe that Corbyn will “deliver” their policy preference, they see him abandon “leadership” and concede a Free Vote , which goes against him?

    Will they blame Corbyn or the MPs?-and what ( if anything) will they do about it?

  42. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    “Your piece also sounds good, but of course the banker may have created enough financial wealth for the country via his own and his companies taxes, that it pays for thousands of para-medics.”

    ————–

    Sure. It’s the lack of inevitability of this outcome that is the problem. They can equally get rewarded for taking down the economy. Or even if they create value, locking up markets to inhibit the creation of even more value by others etc.

    Also, rewards do not necessarily favour ability or contribution, but good fortune regarding scaling and mass production. Thus, one cannot reproduce and broadcast a paramedic’s skills in quite the way one might broadcast Jonathon Ross into millions of homes.

    Ross can earn loads because of the efforts of others in cresting mass media technologies. Otherwise in times gone by he might be earning rather less in a music hall. But if in an accident, one might well prefer the paramedic to Ross.

    (Similarly, if the banker happens to profit from the scaling technologies of others…)

    But the more important thing is how many buy the line that rewards inevitably are deserved?

  43. Has anyone went back to the pre-GE polls and applied adjustments to weighting to get the exit poll result?

    This could yield a decent turnout and weighting model

  44. RMJ1

    @” I feel that in some shape or form, they are here to stay.”

    The German experience is interesting. It seems to have elements of supply side expansion generating demand rise.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-food-banks-and-soup-kitchens-struggle-with-demand-a-941661.html

  45. GRAHAM

    What evidence I have seen from the polls shows the Tories still well above Labour on economic competence, and leadership. Since last week you can add Labours poor showing on security, which I don’t think will go away while Corbyn is leader. his pacifist views are just too long established. So my view of the most likely outcome of the next election at this stage is a Tory majority, probably somewhat higher than it is now. However it really is much too soon to speculate as there is so long to go.

    Carfrew

    I know where you are coming from, and in the case of bankers who fail and put their companies in peril, they should lose their jobs, and not get generous handouts. People like Footballers and certain entertainers who also earn huge mounts also seem unfairly rewarded but that just reflects the market place, and of course markets are a reflection of capitalism which continues to be the prevailing economic system of the World.

  46. I’m pretty sure that if set up “Free Money Cash Machines” that gave out £20 to anyone that wanted it, we’d discover a massive hitherto unrecognized demand.

    There have been examples, it should be said, of people helping themselves to a couple of bags of groceries at food banks, and promptly selling them for a few quid to buy heroin.

    That’s not to say that times are not tough for many people. We all know that the incomes of the poorest have been squeezed, mostly by the increases in housing costs. But we don’t need to use food banks as a proxy measure of this, as the actual statistical measures exist and are more accurate.

    I have yet to meet anyone who couldn’t afford sufficient calories for themselves and their family in the UK, other than failed asylum seekers and drug addicts.

  47. @ToH

    “and of course markets are a reflection of capitalism which continues to be the prevailing economic system of the World.”

    ——–

    Ah, well, that’s a bit of a straw man: free markets and Capitalism do not necessarily go hand in hand, given Capital’s propensity to try and control markets. But anyway, one can make things a bit fairer without ditching Capital…

  48. Neil A

    “I have yet to meet anyone who couldn’t afford sufficient calories for themselves and their family in the UK, other than failed asylum seekers and drug addicts.”

    Totally agree.

  49. CHRIS RILEY
    Thank you for successfully saying what I was trying to say.
    SYZYGY
    I take your point.
    I was trying to make a distinction though, between a candidate’s politics (which we get to hear about from the candidate) and his or her qualities and abilities (which we can only guess at). When MPs craft a short list of candidates, they are effectively saying to the members, ‘trust us on this, whether you agree with their policies or not, every person we have nominated has what it takes, we know, we work with them and the party would be safe in their hands. Now it’s up to you to listen and decide’.
    When an MP nominates someone and then doesn’t even vote for them, they have undermined the only good reason for having them nominate the candidates in the first place.

  50. @COLIN

    Most people would be totally unaware that food banks exist in any other western country, let alone Germany. Most countries have some sort of free food distribution network. It is not something that we should be ashamed of. As I have already said, nobody should be allowed to starve in a civilized country, although it has to be said that in many cases, the cost of their mobile phone subscription would feed them for a month easily.

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