Yesterday I wrote about how manifesto policies don’t really have much effect on voting intentions. Today’s ComRes poll for the Daily Mirror neatly illustrates it.

The poll asked about the individual policies in Labour’s leaked manifesto and found strong support for almost all of them. Banning zero hours contracts, renationalising railways, building more council homes, keeping the pension age at 66, increasing tax on those earning over £80,000, bringing back train conductors were all backed by a majority of respondents (and most of the other policies they asked about received more support than opposition).

After all those questions on Labour’s policies ComRes went onto ask which party people thought had more realistic and well-thought through policies. After having approved of nearly all of Labour’s policies, respondents went onto say that the Tories had the more realistic and thought through, by 51% to Labour’s 31%. Asked if they would be more or less likely to vote Labour having heard about all these new policies 34% said more likely, 47% said less likely. Asked who was running the better election campaign, 42% said the Conservatives compared to 20% for Labour.

One can perhaps rationalise this as people liking Labour’s policies but not thinking they are realistic or thought-through (supporting something is, after all, not necessarily the same as thinking it’s realistic), but it does underline that what makes a party attractive or not to voters is about an awful lot more than a shopping list of policies that meet with public approval.

ComRes also asked the “like the party/like the leader” question (getting people to say if they like both the party and its leader, just one or the other, or neither). While the results don’t come as a great surprise, it nicely illustrates exactly why the Conservative campaign is focusing on their leader rather than their party and the Labour campaign really isn’t: 49% of people said they liked Theresa May, 11 points ahead of the Conservative party on 38%. In contrast only 27% of people said they liked Jeremy Corbyn compared to 46% who like Labour, a nineteen point deficit compared to his party.

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300 Responses to “ComRes poll on the leaked Labour manifesto”

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  1. The problem with this sort of poll is that it is of little or no interest what the Tory and Labour core vote think, or even what those who have made up their minds think. What is of interest is what potentially floating voters think. Unless the poll identified them, and unless there are an appreciable number of them, we’re not going to learn much.

  2. More UKIP info and example of where it makes a difference:
    looks like they are standing in Kingston and Surbiton making it a much closer CON/LDEM contest.
    At 41.5% Remain and sitting on edge of London hard to predict but UKIP’s 3-4% (7.3% 2015 divided by 2 to factor in general UKIP demise) is right on the tipping point in my seat prediction.

    Roughly I had that as 35% chance with no UKIP, 65% with UKIP. I’m assuming UKIP vote with no UKIP option goes 70% CON, 20% abstain, 10% LAB based on rough info we’ve seen on VI v 2015 from polls.

    Betting markets have it slightly more likely to go LDEM

  3. @ Robin

    Here! Here! Robin!

    I get thoroughly bored with these meaningless polls. As you say they tell us absolutely nothing about how these attitudes affect electors who are moveable. 80% of the answers in a poll like this is as useful as asking “Is the pope a catholic?”
    Why oh why do the polling companies waste money like this. A poll published showing that Floating Voters and DKs who will decide the election think X could be dynamite news!
    AW – why do polling companies miss this trick of making their results more eye catching?

  4. @ ROBIN – I disagree. A CON voter who is happy with their leader will turn up and vote. A LAB voter who is not happy with their leader is more likely to abstain.

    I wrote at length about this on last comments so won’t bore people further.

  5. Anthony, so does the Comres poll show Con VI as 38% (as in ” the Conservative party on 38%”)?

    Is this VI not newsworthy?

  6. Mike N –

    No, it doesn’t. If you look at the crossbreaks it would have CON 47%, LAB 31% (if people are bandying around 38% it means they’ve left in the don’t knows and won’t votes), but the sample won’t have had the likelihood to vote weights that ComRes normally apply, so even that couldn’t be taken as a proper ComRes voting intention figure.

  7. “49% of people said they liked Theresa May, 11 points ahead of the Conservative party on 38%. In contrast only 27% of people said they liked Jeremy Corbyn compared to 46% who like Labour, a nineteen point deficit compared to his party.”

    The above is surely the most significant point? If a leader is a lag on a party that is ahead on being liked then what is their purpose?

    Also, “liked” doesn’t equate to “will vote for” anyway. In this election I think that, perversely, a lot of people who don’t like the Tories will vote for them and a lot of people who DO like Labour will abstain.

    But even then, will the penny drop for Corbyn’s supporters? “It shouldn’t be like this” doesn’t alter the fact that it bloody well is.

  8. Thanks, Anthony

  9. @Catmanjeff – I left a question on the previous thread re: SNP-Con.

    @AW – Thanks for the link. I’m sure you don’t like to criticise other pollsters, but would it be fair to say that the Q5 in the tabs (relating to the policies/leadership and whether people would be more/less likely to vote Labour), are leading questions, the results of which are both unsurprising and fairly meaningless? The option between “Jeremy Corbyn should be given a far chance at leading the country” vs “Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster as Prime Minister” is somewhat unlikely to produce a meaningful result. BTW, I imagine there are a few people out there who would agree with both! Also, who are the 13 people in this survey who think that Corbyn is far-right?

  10. Memories of 2105 polls which were wrong and this might well be the case again. Jeremy Corbyn is gaining ground but is far from reaching the level needed to even come close to winning.

  11. “After having approved of nearly all of Labour’s policies, respondents went onto say that the Tories had the more realistic and thought through”

    That’s because on the two elephants in the room – Brexit and migration – the Tories have the number and Labour are all at sea.

    The Labour manifesto is a great one for 2022. The one for 2017 – including a non-racist immigration policy determined by parliament and parliament alone – appears to have gone AWOL

  12. @ AW – lots of hidden gems in the ComRes poll:

    Modest confirmation of the “move to the right” ageing bias
    (with mid of 5, the youngest demographic have a mean of 4.17 (0.5sdev) on the “left wing” side and the grey vote have a mean of 5.87 (0.4sdev) on the “right wing” side).
    This is picked up in the general polls but nice to see it shown on a left-right scale. It’s not a huge bias (Sdev’s quite high) but it is there.

    Also the Party-Leader line-up and position from “average” person is interesting.
    CON and LAB parties are almost exactly symmetric around the average voter but when you look at the leaders then May is v.close to her party but a smidge closer to the centre where as Corbyn is further left than his party (and hence even further from the centre).
    Again this is probably captured in the polls and as you have described before the CON election machine are working hard to make Corbyn (and hence Labour) appear further to the left. It is all about perception and it is hard to move perception of the average person dramatically but pushing LAB further left and CON coming in a little from the right all adds up to closer matching, more “area under the normal distribution curve” and hence more votes!!

  13. Lib Dems to legalise cannabis, cannot see it being a vote winner.

  14. The Tories are running a pretty decent campaign so far, especially considering TM isn’t the strongest in front of a camera. Avoiding TV debates was wise.

    In comparison Labour seem clueless. Perhaps all the talented PR stuck with the New Labour PLP. But then when you see the Lib Dems, you realise it could be worse. They had an opportunity to recover many of their SW seats, and it looks like they’re going to fail totally.

  15. As even Polly Toynbee conceded today on The Daily Politics, everything comes from the leader. If the public don’t believe the leader could be a credible alternative PM, then no policy platform will overturn that. It never has and it never will.

    As for these Labour manifesto pledges being popular, let’s see if that still holds water after the IFS and the OBR have got their teeth into the figures.

    Call me Nostradamus, but I predict ‘No’.

  16. @SSSimon

    I agree about the Lib Dems. Their campaign is a complete mystery to me. They used to be so good at it. I suspect they are missing key personnel from the past in their strategic thinking. Whatever one thinks of Lord Rennard’s personal life, he was a quite outstanding campaign advisor and administrator. Without his wise counsel they are all over the place. I think the SW is now a write-off for the LDs and their only hopes are in SW London.

  17. @ TONY DEAN

    I have come to wonder how much entire election campaigns actually rely on the strength of the duo: one insightful strategist and one decent leader. The Lib Dems under Rennard and Kennedy, the Tories with Crosby and Cameron, New Labour with Mandelson and Blair. It’s both surprising and impressive how so much success can be attributed to so few people.

  18. @ Trevor Warne

    I posted an answer to your question on leadership / voter motivation on the previous thread.

  19. Someone’s bet £10k on Corbyn to win maybe Richard Branson Hedging? lol

  20. The Lib Dems seem likely to even lose more seats then they gain. When UKIP does not stand in a constituency, does that help the Tories a lot?

  21. That 10k is most likely lost unless May spectacularly messes up.

  22. That’s and awful bet, he took odd of 12/1 and 20/1, would only look attractive at 50/1, unless he has 200k on May of course.

  23. @Blue Bob

    Yes, seems likely to be part of a spread of bets where he/she has judged there is money to be made by arbitrage.

  24. The defeat of the ultra Nationalists in France though welcome was still a worrying sight. 30% of the vote in some voting systems could see Nationalists win, and in all countries in the West, Nationalism is on the march and gaining support.

    In France only a united anti-Fascist vote averted disaster. In Scotland the Nationalist rule on an anti-English agenda, here the Tories will sweep all on an anti-EU agenda – what next?

    The centre cannot hold?

  25. Croy – Greens have withdrawn in Tim Farron’s seat and Labour are running a non-campaign which encourages tactical voting; my sister reckons as things stand she will probably vote for Farron


    I am not at all sure the OBR should be costing Labours or any other parties plans. Perfectly OK for the IFS to do so of course.

  27. @ NickP
    Yeats: The second coming

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    I worry

  28. @ EXILEINYORKS – thank you for your detailed answer on previous thread. Can you shed any light on why people now think CON polling is overstating their lead?

    @ CMJ – the difference in our models is based on whether you do the UKIP “switch” before making other changes are just include it in the overall changes in the polls and then do a quick after change.

    If you assume most UKIP voters denied the option to vote UKIP switch to CON and then assume some further LAB have switched to CON you should get a different result. The UKIP 2015 vote in the North/Midlands was 15-25% in many seats. If 70% of that goes to CON before you do any other changes then that means a 10-20%ish add to the CON number

    If I get a chance later I send an example. I did one a while back for Mansfield but didn’t save it and can’t find it. The BBC had just done an article on Mansfield and it is a good example. It looks like UKIP are standing in that seat so its not the best example now. I could bore you with “compromise effect” and why UKIP actually posting a candidate might make CON seem like an easier cognitive shift for a LAB-leave voter to move to CON but I’m not too sure I really belief that myself.

  29. NICKP

    Nice to see you posting again even if we have often disagreed. For once I broadly agree with your view, nationalism does seem on the march, at least in Europe (inc UK if you view that the Brexit vote was a vote to recover lost freedom ).

  30. @Trevor Warne

    I came the same conclusions broadly, and I’m not sure which approach has most merit.

    I’m won’t be expending much effort on that conundrum however. I’ve made a assumption and will stick to that. for now.

  31. @ Trevor Warne @ CMJ

    Most voters take little interest in politics and many UKIP voters may well assume that there will be a candidate if there was the last time they voted.
    I am curious if there has been any research on reactive voting i.e. where the voter having made a firm decision is suddenly confronted with a ballot paper without their preferred option: is there a knee jerk spoiling, does the voter stop to consider the options or do most people have a second preference in mind? Whilst interesting in itself, at this election it may be a factor in particular constituencies.

  32. NickP:

    That`s a very sweeping and wrong statement “the Nationalists rule on anti-English agenda”

    As a Lancastrian long resident in Kincardineshire, I have never experienced such treatment, although I`m sure there have been some such incidents truly reported.

    The SNP leadership have done well to make clear that their wish for independence is a positive aspiration, not a negative reaction.

    They also had middle-of-the-road of the road policies for governing Scotland, but have now moved to favouring the Central Belt to pick up the greater number of seats and votes there. Which has resulted in anger outwith the CB due to the decline in services.

    What are trivial events have resonated badly for the SNP, like the shifting of police control south. E.g. the police taking 8 hours to attend a burglary in Great Western Road Aberdeen because they had been sent to Great Western Road Glasgow.

    The loss of SNP support in the NE does not mean a recent improved opinion of the Tory leadership, May cf Cameron, but an acceptance that independence is not viable with gas and oil prices so low.

  33. WB
    That’s an interesting question. My view is that as UKIP are only a few years old as a major force in UK elections, most people would revert to their previous choice even if this was DNV.

  34. @NickP

    I shouldn’t worry too much. Le Pen tacked towards the mainstream in an effort to win, and even then couldn’t top the first round.

    Oldnat assures us that any residual anti-English sentiment in the SNP is marginal and that their outlook is entirely liberal and internationalist these days.

    And the Brexit “coalition” whilst it certainly included some unsavoury elements, and attracted the votes of some nauseating people, is mostly comprised of internationalists who aren’t particularly hostile to foreigners per se.

    I think “peak nasty” is probably Trump, but so far it looks like the populist experiment in the US may not stick.

    I remain reasonably optimistic for the near and medium term future of the planet.

  35. @ SSSimon

    Yes, I think you are spot on with your observation that it takes a “dynamic duo” of the right leader and the right strategist to be in place at the same time to see the brilliance bloom in a campaign.

  36. neil a

    I hope you are right – but history says otherwise. WB’s quote very apt indeed – and what I was alluding to.

    I am hoping Corbyn can pull May & Co back to the centre – we’ll see.

  37. @ WB – no idea if any research on it. CMJ and I have bounced it around a little. I think the cognitive leap from UKIP to CON (for your typical UKIP voter) is minimal. Even the UKIP leadership are saying it’s “lending” them your vote. Hence I expect faced with no UKIP box, we’ll see roughly the same kind of switch as we’ve been seeing (ie mostly CON). The few that have gone to LAB get washed out by the smallest of LAB->CON switchers. Some will abstain/spoil paper. Here’s a worked example:

    Bishop Auckland (2015, UKIP change, 2017). Only change made is assumption that 80% of 2015 UKIP move to CON and 20% abstain:

    LAB 16,307 (41%,43%)
    CON 12,799 (32%) + 5,612 from UKIP = 18,411 (48%)
    UKIP 7,015 (18%) -7,015 of whom 80% go to CON, 20% abstain (0%)
    Other 3,268 (8.3%, 8.6%)

    CON gain purely due to receiving 80% of UKIP vote
    Also note due to the lower turnout (20% of UKIP abstain), the LAB % has actually gone up – so Corbyn will be happy!!

    NB CON have also gained some switchers from LAB so that means the number of “safe” LAB seats they convert is bigger than just assuming 80% of UKIP have moved to CON

    LAB could lose 80 or so seats and just about stay above 30% giving Corbyn reason to stay on??

  38. NICKP

    @”I am hoping Corbyn can pull May & Co back to the centre”

    :-) :-) :-)

    Nice to see your humorous posts here again Nick.

  39. @ WB – UKIP switcher article:

    If you read the excellent piece by Martin Baxter in the Guardian:

    He’s taken a hypothetical 100 Leave voters and used the polling info to show where they have switched to (note the polling info he used is now a little old but the rationale still holds)

    you’ll see where he has shown 7 purple people moving to blue but 17 purple people still intending to vote UKIP.

    With no UKIP to vote for what do those 17 purple people do?

    On the +ve side for LAB I think we might see some of their switch vote to LDEM come back – the polls will show us that in the VI versus 2015 vote crossbreaks. The polls won’t however pick up the full impact of UKIP pulled candidates. I expect polling companies will make note of that and the better ones adjust predictions accordingly once we have the full UKIP candidate list.

  40. At the risk of sounding obsessive, the link CMJ posted earlier has been updated to show latest info on pulled UKIP candidates:

    Bad news for Vince Cable in Twickers…

  41. @nickp

    “In Scotland the Nationalist rule on an anti-English agenda…..”

    As an Englishman living in Scotland I can assure you this is complete tosh!

  42. TW

    Did you say on an earlier thred that you are going to model the effect of UKIP standing aside. This may be very good news for TM, just when it seems that the Tories are starting to go on the attack ( ahead of the structured release of the Tory manifesto next week)

  43. Blue Bob,

    “Lib Dems to legalise cannabis, cannot see it being a vote winner.”

    It might be for some people……but they won’t remember to vote!


  44. There seems to have been a drought of VI polls in the last couple of days. anyone know when he next ones are due?

  45. I am in England this week and at this point there is little doubt of a conservative landslide – with Tories possibly reaching 400 seats

    GE VI / EuRef Vote

    Con\Leavers – ‘Go May’
    Con\Remainers – ‘May was a Remainer, but the country voted leave and she has to make this work, she gets my support’
    Lab\Leavers – ‘Go May’
    Lab\Remainers – ?? ” We can’t have Corbyn as PM”
    UKIPers – ‘Go May’

    LibDems are being seen as a annoyance ‘we are leaving, we need to get on with it they are making things more difficult’

    Better than a Lord Ashcroft focus group.

  46. @ ANDY T – modelled the UKIP “stand down” a while back. Others disagree with the impact. It works better for CON if people do not expect the landslide to be too big.

    Got to dash today, good chatting with you today. Maybe speak again soon.

    Check 2015 Scottish results… SNP took 50% of the vote but 56/59 (of the seats)…

    The good news for LAB is the collapse of LDEM. Instead of being bled from both sides it looks like LDEM stealing the Remain vote is not going to happen.

  47. Really all this shows is that the electorate are moronic turkeys voting for a Conservative Christmas. But that was already clear from Brexit.

  48. Crazy.

    Vote for the polices you like. Not the haircut.

    Whether CON, SNP, LD or LAB.

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