This month’s online ComRes poll for the Sunday Indy and Sunday Mirror has topline figures of CON 33%(-2), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 9%(+1). Changes are from the last online ComRes poll which was conducted in late September, just before the Lib Dem conference. It’s a shift towards Labour, but it is very much a reversion to the mean following an usually tight poll last month. On average, since Labour’s lead grew after the budget ComRes’s online polls have been showing an 8 point Labour lead, so this is bang on average.

As with YouGov’s leader ratings for the Sunday Times, ComRes’s leader approval ratings show improvements for both Cameron and Miliband following their conferences, but with Miliband enjoying a larger boost. Cameron’s net approval rating is up 6 to minus 21, Miliband’s net approval up 9 to minus 11.

UPDATE: Tonight there is also the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer. Their topline figures are CON 31%(+1), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 10%(-1). Changes are all well within normal margin of error and everything remains in the normal range of nine to ten point leads. As with YouGov and ComRes, David Cameron has only a minor improvement to his ratings from conference season – up to minus 17 from minus 21 before the Conservative conference (in contrast, Opinium had Ed Miliband’s net rating up seven points following his party conference, a boost he has mostly held onto).

Ipsos MORI have published their quarterly Scottish political monitor for the Times, full results are here.

Voting intention for the Holyrood constituency vote stands at CON 13%(+1), LAB 35%(+3), LDEM 8%(+2), SNP 40%(-5). Alex Salmond also continues to have a positive approval rating as First Minister, with 50% satisfied with the way he is doing his job and 40% disatisfied (in comparing Salmond with the other party leaders in Scotland the most notable thing is the different levels of don’t knows – only 9% had no opinion on Salmond, the next lowest was Johann Lamont who 34% of people had no opinion on. It’s not a surprise – Salmond has been a major figure in Scottish politics for decades while Lamont, Rennie and Davidson have all been in office for less than 18 months – but striking none-the-less).

On the Scottish referendum question amongst those certain to vote in a referendum YES is on 30%, NO is on 58%. In the three waves of the MORI Scottish monitor since the new question was announced there has been a clear movement towards NO – from an 11 point NO lead in January, to 20 points in June, to 28 points now.


This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 7%. YouGov’s polls do seem to be settling back into their pre-conference range of 9-10 point Labour leads.

There is also a new TNS BMRB poll out with topline figures of CON 29%(-2), LAB 42%(-2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 10%(+2), Others 11%(+2). Changes are from their previous poll a week ago.

Despite the Liberal Democrats saying they intend to vote against its implementation the boundary commissions are still legally obliged to continue with the boundary review process and tonight the English boundary commission release their revised proposals. Given the unlikelihood of them coming to pass they may end up being more of academic interest than anything else, but they are available for perusal on the BCE’s website here.

Unlike the Scottish Commission, whose revised proposals had mostly very minor changes, the English Commission have made some substantial changes from their original proposals. Some of the oddities in the provisional recommendations have been altered. For example, Sutton Coldfield is now in a single seat, Leigh now remains in Leigh, Salford and Eccles has been resurrected, the ludicrous Mersey Banks seat is confined to just one of the banks of the Mersey, Henley no longer has the inaccessible Radley ward added onto it (actually, it does!), the proposed Gloucester seat does now include Gloucester City centre.

The English Boundary Commission has accepted the use of split wards… but only in Gloucester (in order to get around the problem of Gloucester City centre). Most observers had expected the most likely split wards to be in Cheshire, where the cumbersome ward boundaries the Commission was sticking to have actually already been abolished. In the event the Commission stuck with them.

Looking at some other interesting changes, the strange pairing of Edmonton & Chingford in North-East London has been abandoned, although Iain Duncan Smith’s seat still gets carved up, and the new Chingford would still be a marginal. Instead of crossing the Lea Valley the new proposals join Bethnal Green with Shoreditch and Tottenham Hale with Edmonton.

In the South East Eastleigh returns, as does a Romsey seat. Brighton Pavilion is back, but is notionally Labour on the new boundaries, and Lewes is resurrected as Lewes and Uckfield, although the new seat would be notionally Conservative.

North Yorkshire, where all the existing seats are within quota and could have been left alone, is now left alone. David Davis’s seat is still abolished, being divided between Goole and Hull West. Grimsby is now split between two seats – Grimsby North and Barton and Grimsby South and Cleethorpes. Both would be notionally Conservative.

The name of Nadine Dorries’s Mid-Bedfordshire seat returns, but the seat doesn’t really – the proposed Mid-Bedfordshire and Harpenden seat is mostly made up of the old Hitchen and Harpenden. George Osborne’s Tatton hadn’t really gone anywhere either, but is once again called Tatton. Malcolm Rifkind’s Kensington seat is back. The new Hampton seat is actually mostly made up of Vince Cable’s Twickenham seat, and will have a solid notional Lib Dem majority, so he would have somewhere to go too. There are plenty of other substantial changes across the country.

The overall partisan effect of the revisions is to make the proposed boundaries slightly better for the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives than those originally proposed. The Liberal Democrats would have notionally won 4 more seats in 2010 than on the original proposals, the Conservatives 3 more seats, Labour 7 fewer. I will put up full notional figures in the next couple of days once I’ve been through and checked them all. Essentially though, depending on what the Welsh commission produce next week it looks likely that these boundaries would have delivered a Conservative majority at the 2010 election.

The boundaries now go out for another round of public consultation, after which the boundary commissions will make further changes or confirm them as their final recommendations. They are due to report by October 2013 at the latest, though given their progress so far they may well be done sooner. After that they submit their reports to the Secretary of the State (ironically enough, Nick Clegg in this instance) who must lay them before the House of Commons and then put a draft Order in Council before the House to implement them… at which point it looks likely that the Commons will vote them down, and the next election will be fought on the old boundaries.

The Liberal Democrats are adamant that they will vote against the boundaries. The Conservatives continue to say they believe that some sort of deal may be possible. We shall see. What we do know is that unless primary legislation is passed to prevent it, the Parliamentary vote on the boundaries is unavoidable.

UPDATE: I have put the notional figures online as a Google spreadsheet here. This is a first draft, so I can’t vouch for it being perfect yet – let me know if there is anything that looks downright wrong!

UPDATE2: Made a few corrections to the notionals for Basingstoke, North West Hampshire and Ludlow and Leominster. These are still draft figures, so if anyone else spots anything odd please let me know.

This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are now up here. Voting intention is CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 6%. As ever, it is wrong to judge by a single poll, but this one is very much back to the normal holding position. We had a couple of 14 point leads after Labour conference and a couple of 7 points straight after Tory conference, but if other polls this week are like this they have all cancelled each other out and we are back to normal.

The leader approval ratings are minus 24 for Cameron (from minus 20 last week), minus 14 for Miliband (from minus 9 last week) and minus 58 for Clegg. Miliband’s boost from his party conference last week has started to unwind, while Cameron has only a small boost from his own conference – far less than the one Miliband enjoyed.

On economic policy 34% of people said the government should stick to its current course (up from 29% last time YouGov asked), 38% said it should change strategy to concentrate on growth (down from 42%). This is the smallest lead for changing course since back in April.

While Cameron has a slight increase in his ratings and in support for the government’s economic policy, public perceptions of the conference are that it made very little difference – 59% say it made no difference to their views of David Cameron (10% more positive, 12% more negative), 46% say it made no difference to the Conservative’s chances of winning the next election (11% more likely, 13% less likely). Of the three main party leaders Ed Miliband is perceived as having had the most successful conference – 32% think his was the most successful, 22% David Cameron, 3% Nick Clegg.

On the details of the Conservative conference, people think Cameron’s “aspiration nation” is the right vision for Britain by 49% to 27%, and he leads Ed Miliband by 35% to 27% as the leader people would most trust to help Britain to swim rather than sink.

People are evenly split on the principle of cutting an extra £10 billion off the welfare bill (43% support, 43% oppose) but they support the specific ideas floated at the party conference – 51% support stopping housing benefit for most under 25s and 67% support stopping unemployed parents from receiving extra benefits when they have another child. They would, however, have been even more supportive of the mansion tax that George Osborne ruled out – 73% say they are in favour of a new tax on homes worth over £2 million.

Finally in the conference questions, people think that Boris would be a better leader than Cameron by 36% to 34%. Amongst the Conservative party’s own voters Cameron has a large lead – ahead of Boris by 58% by 29%. Looking at the hypothetical voting intention questions, the control question with the current leaders has the parties at CON 33%, LAB 42%, LD 10%. Asking how people would vote if Boris replaced Dave the figures switch to CON 38%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10% – so the figures still suggest Boris would win over more voters than Dave.

60% of people said they think there should be a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU (although to add the usual caveat, people support a referendum on almost anything you ask them about, given it is the equivalent of asking whether people would like to have a say on something or let politicians do it!). 32% of people say they would vote to remain a member of the EU, 48% say they would vote to leave (pretty typical YouGov’s recent results for this question).

UPDATE: It doesn’t look as though there was an Opinium poll in the Observer today – when they announced the link up they said they would move to fortnightly polls following conference season, so presumably this is the “off-week”. There is, however, a “Vision Critical” poll in the Sunday Express. Vision Critical are the parent company of Angus Reid, so I am assuming this is just a differently branded Angus Reid poll – topline figures there, with changes from the last Angus Reid poll back in August, are CON 31%(+1), LAB 43%(+2), LD 8%(-3), UKIP 8%.