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.

Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor for the Standard is out today – topline figures with changes from last month are CON 41%(+5), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 7%(-3), UKIP 7%(-5), GRN 4%(+1). The big drop in UKIP support is probably nothing, last month’s poll had them jumping up five points, this month has them dropping the same amount, both the up and the down are likely normal sample variation.

The rest of the poll included some interesting questions on spending and the deficit ahead of next week’s autumn statement. During the last Parliament the government’s cuts were often unpopular, but the public consistently regarded them as being necessary. MORI’s poll suggests potential trouble for the government there – two-thirds of people still think the cuts in the last Parliament were necessary, but support for further cuts is far lower. 34% think that it is still necessary to make more cuts, 32% think cuts in the last Parliament were necessary, but it’s not necessary any more, 27% think cuts were never necessary in the first place.

Asked where any cuts should and shouldn’t fall international aid, as usual, comes top on the things people would like to see cut (59%), followed by benefit payments (36%), then defence (19%). On things they’d like to see protected from cuts the NHS, as usual, comes top (73%), followed by schools (39%) and care for the elderly (28%). Full tabs for the MORI poll are here.

ComRes also have new polling for the Daily Mail today (full tabs here). Support for British airstrikes against ISIS in Syria was similar to YouGov’s poll yesterday (60% support, 24% opposition), support for intervention on the ground was higher than YouGov’s poll – in a generic question people supported British troops getting involved in a ground war against ISIS by 50% to 31%, when asked if they’d support British grounds getting involved alongside the US or France support rose to 59%.


YouGov have some polling for the Times on attitudes to terrorism and Syria following the attack on Paris. The full results are here, and the Times’s write up is here.

There are two important findings in there. One is attitudes towards Syrian refugees. Back in September YouGov found 36% thought we should accept more Syrian refugees, 24% keep the numbers about the same, 27% that we should admit fewer or none. That support has dropped sharply, now only 20% think Britain should accept more (down 16), 24% the same number (no change), 49% fewer or none (up 22).

It would be wrong to assume this is necessarily connected to the attack upon Paris. The previous poll was conducted at the start of September, a week after the photos of the body of Aylan Kurdi washed up on the beach and amid sympathetic media coverage of refugees trudging across Hungary seeking a route to Germany. At the time there was evidence that the public had become more favourable towards the idea of accepting more Syrian refugees. However time has passed, the media coverage of sinking boats and desperate refugees has faded away again, and I expect a significant chunk of the change in public opinion is because of that – some heartbreaking photos and coverage did provoke a temporary change in opinion, but it was only temporary.

The other interesting finding is on sending British and US troops back into Iraq to fight Islamic State/ISIS. 43% of people now support sending in ground troops, 37% of people are opposed. The change since the last time YouGov asked is barely significant, but it’s part of a longer and much more clearer trend. Back in August 2014 when YouGov started asking this question the British public were strongly opposed to sending troops back into Iraq, but since then opinion has steadily moved in favour of intervention. We are now at the point where there are significantly more people in favour than opposed.


On other matters, the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian came out yesterday, with topline voting intention figures of CON 39%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 12%, GRN 3% (tabs here. Their weekly EU referendum poll has figures of REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 38%. Survation have also put out some new figures, voting intentions are CON 37%, LAB 30%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 16%, GRN 3% and EU referendum intentions are REMAIN 42%, LEAVE 40% (tabs here.

We have two new voting intention polls today. First is a telephone poll from ComRes for the Daily Mail – topline figures are CON 38%(-1), LAB 33%(+3), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 10%(-2), GRN 3%(-1). Since introducing their new turnout model based on socio-economic factors ComRes have tended to show the biggest leads for the Conservative party, typically around twelve points, so while this poll is pretty similar to the sort of Conservative leads that MORI, ICM, YouGov and Opinium have recorded over the last month, compared to previous ComRes polls it represents a narrowing of the Conservative lead. Full tabs are here.

The second new poll is from BMG research, a company that conducted a couple of voting intention polls just before the general election for the May2015 website, but hasn’t released any voting intention figures since then. Their topline figures are CON 37%, LAB 31%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%. BMG have also adopted a methodology including socio-economic factors – specifically, people who don’t give a firm voting intention but who say they are leaning towards voting for a party (a “squeeze question”) or who do say how they voted last time are included in the final figures, but weighted according to age, with younger people being weighted harshly downwards. Full tabs are here.

BMG also asked voting intention in the European refrendum, with headline figures of Remain 52%, Leave 48%. ICM also released their regular EU referedum tracker earlier in the week, which had toplines of Remain 54%, Leave 46%. A third EU referendum poll from YouGov found it 50%-50% – though note that poll did not use the actual referendum question (YouGov conduct a monthly poll across all seven European countries they have panels in, asking the same questions to all seven countries and including a generic question on whether people would like their own country to remain in the EU – this is that question, rather than a specific British EU referendum poll, where YouGov do use the referendum question).

YouGov have some polling out on attitudes towards the government’s tax credit changes – full tabs are here. They suggest that the policy is seen as unfair, and seen as likely to have a negative financial effect upon most recipients… but people are evely divided on whether it should go ahead.

Overall the changes are seen as unfair by 46% of people, fair by 28% of people. YouGov then asked about the combined effect of the tax credit changes, the minimum wage increase and the increased tax allowances and whether it will leave different groups better or worse off. By 45% to 1% people think they will leave those out of work worse off, by 57% to 13% they will those on the minimum wage will be worse off, by 53% to 7% they think those in work and earning low wages (but above the minimum wage) will be worse off. Whatever the actual facts of whether people will be better or worse off, the government have clearly failed to convince the public that the combined effect of the policies will leave people better off.

While it was seen as unfair and bad for most of the less well off, when YouGov asked it if it should go ahead people were evenly divided. People didn’t like the principle of the changes – 53% thought they were a bad thing, only 21% a good thing. However, within that 53% of people who disapproved, 16% thought they should go ahead regardless given the state of the public finances, 37% thought they should be stopped and the money found elsewhere. Adding up those who like the changes and those who dislike them but reluctantly think they should happen brings us to 37% wanting the changes to go ahead, 37% wanting them stopped.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily answer the real question on the extent to which the policy damages the Conservative party, and George Osborne in particular. Currently we are still talking about a political row within Westminster that most people will pay relatively little attention to (the survey found 15% of people saying they were playing close attention to the story… and it’s likely polls over-represent those who pay attention to politics anyway). If the changes go through though the political impact will be on the number of people who actually see their income fall… assuming, of course, that they are still sore about it in four years time and it hasn’t been dulled by the passage of time. There is a good reason why politicians implement the unpleasant and unpopular decisions they want to make early in the Parliamentary term.

On other matters, Ipsos MORI have their monthly political monitor in today’s Evening Standard. Topline voting intentions are CON 36%(-3), LAB 32%(-2), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 12%(+5), GRN 3%(-1). Labour and the Tories are both down, with UKIP popping up to the sort of level that we’re used to seeing in other polls, but which is unusually high from MORI this year. Full tabs are here.