ComRes’s monthly poll for the Independent is out, and shows topline figures of CON 45%(+5), LAB 26%(-2), LDEM 17%(-1). Changes are from the last ComRes poll, carried out at the end of March.

The figures are almost the same as yesterday’s YouGov poll in the Sunday People. We haven’t had any post-budget figures from ICM, Populus or MORI yet, but so far it is looking as if, between the rows over MPs expenses, “smeargate” and the budget, we have seen a further shift against Labour and we are back into Tory landslide territory. Obviously there is a long way to go until a 2010 election, but the June local and European elections aren’t looking pretty for Labour.

355 Responses to “ComRes show 19 point Tory lead”

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  1. @ Colin

    The first port of call is Eurostat, their website is fairly user-friendly, and gives compatible figures across the EU. The OECD wesite has more information, but it is not as user friendly. You’ve got to be practised to get the best out of it.

    The two best Eurostat tables for “official” government debt” are General government debt (tsieb090) & General government deficit and surplus (teina200). If you want to quote “official” numbers, use these.

    Unfortunately, although both give “better” figures than ONS, they doesn’t tell the whole story

    Every government “hides” it’s obligations by dubious tactics. (e.g. the Germans had dubious accounting for unification, Brown for PFI, PPP and Agencies, the US for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, etc) The underlying question has to be something of the form “Will the government cough up?” This is one of the places where professional economists earn their money. (I’m a system designer, but I’ve designed systems for a central bank, a financial regulator, and a number of banks and fund managers. I know people who do this as a job)

    The next step is to adjust for these off-balance sheet items. Since they are national fiddles, there are no simple rules. In the UK for example, there were 659 government agencies, the last time I had to look it up. Some show up in ONS figures, some don’t. Some have government guaranteed debt, some don’t. For example, on 1 April 2006, the statistics for Government assets and debts changed – because the “Identity and Passport service” became an Executive Agency. Did the underlying situation change? Of course not!

    There are a number of think tanks, universities, etc., who attempt to resolve this, and publicise their figures but they disagree on the details. Economists disagree. I am not qualified to make the decision on whether to include a particular quango’s debt, but I know British, German and Swedish economists that I do trust. You just have to be aware of the problem and understand the principles they are trying to apply.

    Below, I repeat one of many ONS disclaimers that you notice when you look below the headline figure that the Government quotes In my personal opinion, this disclaimer is the ONS saying “We’re being ordered to lie”, but this is only an opinion.

    “The data on government deficit and debt under the Maastricht Treaty are calculated according to the ONS’s interpretation of the 1995 European System of Accounts (ESA95) and a United Nations Statistical Commission decision on the treatment of government receipts for use of the electro-magnetic spectrum. ONS also publishes a separate deficit figure consistent with a Eurostat decision which treats these receipts differently. The recording of some public sector interventions in the financial sector is still under international discussion; more information is included in the Government Deficit and Debt First Release.”


    It may not have been with any malice intended, but I would appreciate it if you didn’t lump the SNP, who I support, and PC in with BNP. The first two are parties that believe in the concept of civic nationalism, rather than nationalism based on race, and are pro-immigration (I am an SNP supporter who was born elsewhere, and of Scottish, English and N Irish extraction myself). The the third party you mention is downright racist IMHO.

    To those of us who believe in Scotland’s independence, those who describe themselves as “Unionist” are British nationalists, and I don’t mean that as an insult i.e. they just believe in the concept of Britain being a nation state, while we Scottish Nationalists believe in a Scottish state as the best model of governance for our people and economy.

    The “BNP” as they now call themselves are, after all, effectively the National Front of old and we in the SNP have nothing to do with them whatsoever (the SNP is 75 years old and the BNP is a much more recent) and we find them truly repugnant.

    Anyway, I would be personally grateful if you could make that distinction in future. Thanks in advance!

  3. The real danger for Labour isn’t the next GE – the polls might still swing but the game is basically up for Gordon. The big danger is a re-run of 1980, with the NewLab Right splitting off and joining the Lib Dems (finishing the work of the Gang of Four), and leaving an unelectable rump under a hard-left leader. I suspect that’s the real worry of Mandy, Clarke et al..

    Gordon should be ditched by end summer, Alan Johnson installed by Oct – he’s liked by many current NON-Labour voters, myself included. Labour could reasonably take 4 months for things to settle down ‘in these difficult times’. GE Feb 2009. That’s as good as it gets for Labour.

  4. …I meant GE Feb 2010 of course…

  5. Simon,

    Yes, the game is up for Gordon, but I doubt that there will be a smooth / clean handover to anyone – but if threre were, it won’t be Alan Johnson – for two reasons:

    1 – While he may be popular in the party, he neither has official “Deputy” status (Harriet Harman), nor is he an “elder statesmen” to act as caretaker (Jack Straw), so he could not presume to take it unchallenged.

    2 – I believe that Johnson has credible long-term ambitions as leader. Why would he accept a posioned chalice now which would leave him in a difficult position post GE ?

    Even if Brown were to resign the leadership voluntarily (most unlikely), it makes no sense for Labour to select anyone as leader who is not obviously a caretaker to steer them through the next 12-15 months until they have had a proper debate about the party’s future.

    But it ain’t gonna happen because Brown will still be sitting in Downing street next May waiting for the final declaration in case Chelsea returns a Lab MP to leave Cameron without a “working majority”. Even then, he will wait for the Palace to send the bailiffs rather than accept defeat gracefully.

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