There is a new Harris poll in this morning’s Metro, I think it’s their first since the general election. Voting intention stands at CON 36%, LAB 30%, LDEM 25%. Unlike all the other companies we’ve seen reporting post-election voting intentions (YouGov, ICM and ComRes), who are all showing the Lib Dems suffering from their decision to go into coalition, Harris have them above the level of support they got at the general election (in fact, they don’t have any significant change from the general election shares of the vote at all). 52% of people said they did not expect the coalition to last the full five years intended, much in line with similar findings in polls conducted at the time the coalition was announced.

It’ll be interesting to see which pollsters continue to produce regular political polls in the wake of the general election. Newspapers don’t tend to have much money to spending on polling after general elections, and it tends to be the time that contracts are not renewed. This time round there were several new entrants to the market, presumably polling in the run up to the election to get the publicity. We know that ICM, YouGov and ComRes are continuing to poll for their respective clients and I assume we will shortly see Populus polling for the Times again and that Ipsos MORI will soon resume their monthly political monitors. It looks like Harris will still be polling for the Metro, but only time will tell whether we continue to see regular voting intention polls from Angus Reid, Opinium and TNS BMRB.

There was also a new BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday yesterday, their first post-election effort. Topline voting intention figures were CON 39%, LAB 32%, LDEM 19%.

Finally, there is a YouGov poll for Migration Watch reported in the Telegraph here. Despite the Telegraph’s report the poll does not say that half of Labour and Lib Dem voters would have switched to the Conservatives if they had boasted a stronger policy on immigration, rather it says that amongst people who said the Conservatives were their second choice – which was under a fifth of Labour and Lib Dem voters – over half included a tougher stance on immigration amongst the things that would have made them switch. Of course, that would still be a notable amount (a couple of percent points would have given the Conservatives a majority), but I will voice my normal extreme caution over polls asking about things that would make you likely to vote for X or Y. It doesn’t mean people would actually change their vote, rather people tend to use questions like this merely to indicate which policies they like (or dislike) – and we know from almost all polling on the subject that the British public tend to support stricter limits on immigration.


277 Responses to “New Harris and BPIX polls”

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  1. Eoin “I am sure you have heard the old saying… throw enough mud and sooner or later some will stick?”

    Aye. But so long as the likes of the beeb carry news and stories setting out the facts this will inform much of the public. We’ll also see Lab MPs etc offering and justifying different views to counter the ConDem line.

    I imagine that there are Con and LD MPS who are nervous about making savage cuts. Indeed, the likes of VC must be wondering whether the LDs were too hasty in agreeing to a tranche of cuts this fiscal year. I may be wrong, but the scale and timing of the cuts and tax increases will deeply challenge the coalition particularly in light of the OBR report, the employment stats etc.

  2. Mike N,

    It will be interesting to see if the kind of anti-cut momentum gathers is the manner you forsee. i have been following Preston’s and Flanders’ blogs to ascertain their view on the OBR’s forecasts.

    Whilst I think they indication is that they privately side with your view, they are in fact uncommitted either way. This is probably a good thing since they are after all employees of the BBC. The likes of Blanchflower by now is not really listened too. Also it did not help that the IMF thought we should be more bolder with our cuts. in addition, French, Spanish and now German austerity packages certainly have put Europe in the mood for it…. Aside from the OBR’s findings I couldnot help but think that Germany and to some extent Osbourne have won the case for worldwide austerity. This is very sad because as you rightly suggest, they have clearly not won the argument.

    On balance therefore, i am much less hopeful than you that these cuts will be avoided. Yellow and blue MPs will do what red MPs did- precisely what they are told to do.

  3. Eoin,

    If the SNP were unable to find a candidate other than Salmond who could have held their own against the hardly intimidating line-up of Mundell, Murphy and Carmichael it indicates a real lack of any political talent in the party outside Salmond and his immediate cohorts. It will be interesting to see how the party react to Salmond after he loses the First Ministers office next year. They’ve already de-throned him once, will they do it again?

  4. Tony O,

    You make a goodpoint about political talent. I think a correct answer requires brutal honesty. the best oratorical talent goes into acting. A fair amount of it ends up in the pulpits. A portion of it seems to end up managing Enlgish soccer teams. Few go into poltiics. This is all the more the case in scotland. to be fair ot them- Northern Ireland is worse.

  5. Eoin

    There has to be cuts and tax increases. It is the scale, timing and targeting of them which I think will lead to C and LD MPs being nervous and questioning.

    I agree that C MPs will toe the line, but will all LD MPs…?

    Remember that we have already had NC saying that the cuts won’t be like those under PM Thatcher.

  6. Mike N,

    Good point. would you believe it if I told you I think they are planning this whole sheebang with about 90% cuts 10% tax rises and most of the latter will be itsy bitsy increases in VAT on some products. The aim will be to avoid a blanket/uniform/accross the board rise that would merit a headline

    eg ” coalition puts up VAt to 20%”
    eg ” income up by 1%”

    the whole emergency budget is beginning to loom large as one magnificent non-event where with one collective sigh we all go “phew” only to have departmental spending culled…..

  7. Eoin

    90:10? That will be very painful.

    In light of the OBR report’s findings, why do we need an Emergency Budget?

  8. I need my smiley blush here, but I’m thinking that I have got into a sloppy habit using the word pragmatic from time to time. Here it is being used by Paul Foot:
    “…lacking any coherent socialist theory, Harold Wilson began floundering around ‘pragmatically’. And for the leader of a party with socialist pretentions, ‘pragmatism’ can only end in disaster.”

    David Milliband, in his opening statement last night drew attention to the fact that he had attended a comprehensive school, and that the Labour figure he most admired was Tony Crossland (The Future of Socialism, 1956). This underlines a growing impression for me that for the first time since Michael Foot we have an opportunity to see a passionately intellectual leader, only this time from the right of the party.

    Has anyone read Crossland’s book? He too was from the right of the party, but looking at the policies he espoused, and the shift in centre of gravity of the party, that can not be an entirely accurate characterisation now.

  9. Mike N,

    Very good point. Of course, (Flanders’) there is the argument that the OBR validates the proposed pace at which reds were planning to get back to equilibrium was about right.

    We know two things

    1. The economy is at least growing.
    2. That deficit reduction is on the way.

    A half decent performance by blue will allow them to say “we entered with an emrgency 2010 but left you with 19% income tax 2015”. Psychologically 19% income tax would be massive. I think Georgie is gunning for it… maybe even by 2014.

    yellows will take a slice of that if they can get it.

    Due to the high expenditure in health and education in past years the services will not have deteriorated quickly enough for the voter to be overly concerned.

    There are three problems with it however

    1. inflation
    2. unemployment
    3. crime

    All three could be combined to create a narrative that we have something of a return to thatcherism….

    All in all, barring a popular foregin policy adventure or some unforseen event it will make for a reasonably close election but at this moment a 19% incoem and quiet gov. by DC will just about swing it for blues.

  10. Billy B,

    In light of that post, is Britain doomed?

  11. Eoin – Mili D is the one blues rightly fear.

  12. BillyB,

    If they do, that is quite disingenuous of them. election should be about policy.

  13. “…something of a return to thatcherism….”

    Oh dear.

    Basic rate of income tax of 19% won’t be enough IMO to swing it for the Cons.

  14. Mike N,

    Something on a brighter note…

    Has any post war party ever increased its share of the vote after serving as the gov?

    The last 8 elections suggest the answer is no.

    The Tory Party would have to overcome the unpopulairty, which naturally arises from office to secure an election victory…..

  15. Eoin – For the electorate to be given an honest choice policy must be given definition, and communicated with clarity and conviction.

    It may seem arbitary, but I have been using J Paxman as a yardstick, to judge the credibility of a politician. DM comes way ahead of DC and GO so far.

    Listening to DC today on Jereny Vine, It is just ‘difficult choices’ and ‘the right thing to do’ … very very sub Blair.

  16. BillyB,

    I think you being a global citizen moreso than your typical indigenous saxon, you probably warm to Milliband’s internationalis. Pro Europe etc… There is no doubt that Milliband was an immensely capable foreign secretary and in tune with the direction our globe is headed. It makes for a fine president.

    If truth be told I do not want a president. our education system particulalry at third level needs seriously overalled. We need a ten year pause of secondary education and hospital reforms. We need a robust solution of inner-city areas, that necessitates understanding not the french or the chinese but ordinary decent Brits. On the second paragraphs requirements, DM would be an unmitigated disaster. It pains me to say it but I would feel safer about public services (particularly the NHS) in DC?NC’s hands than DM’s.

  17. Jeremy Vine to DC today – Thatcher increased public spending by one percent each year… you are going to cut by 25%

  18. Eoin – Four weeks into the coalition and you’re calling the next election for Cameron? Are you sure you haven’t been a plant all along?

  19. Sue,

    An oak tree perhaps? Most things I view on a medium to long basis, if blues can get income tax to 19% thy will stand a chance- especially if they half the deficit.

    I did list three provisios mind you…

  20. TonyOtim

    “If the SNP were unable to find a candidate other than Salmond ….indicates a real lack of any political talent in the party outside Salmond and his immediate cohorts. ”

    Nobody was looking for talent, he is the party leader. He’s good, but he’s not the best they have. It would be a black day for the Scottish NHS if his deputy was ever promoted. With cabinet government, the top job is not the hardest, but cabinet government has ben eroded in England since Clem Atlee. I remember him, but ‘ll bet you don’t

    If you lived in Scotland you wouldn’t make such silly remarks. A lot of people don’t like AS because they think he is smug, but they do like basic competence in their ministers.

    The only alternative to an SNP led government is a Labou led one. Labour are on their fifth leader in twelve years, each one less effective than the previous one. The talent pool is depleted.

    AS is a strong debtater, but his lead over the others is more the consequence of the quality of the opposition.

    Many activists in the other parties recognise this.

    “It will be interesting to see how the party react to Salmond after he loses the First Ministers office next year. ”

    You must be assuming that the late Labour surge prompted by a presidential campaign and fear of a Con government will carry over to the SP.

    It won’t. The SNP may indeed lose, but it is far too soon to say, and if they do it will be for different reasons..

    “They’ve already de-throned him once, will they do it again?”

    They havn’ and they won’t.

  21. @ Duncan

    “The problem with that is that we will never see a politician stand as a LibCon Coalition candidate. This is never going to be an option that will actually be voted on. In 5 (or less) years time the Tories would be delighted to be in a straight majority, and would happily ditch the Libs. The Libs would love to increase the number of seats they hold at the expense of the Tories.”

    You make a very telling point here and one that goes to the heart of the coalition’s lack of legitimacy. If the Tories and Lib Dems had formed some sort of electoral alliance or pact before the election, a la the old SDP and Liberals arrangement in 1983, then the voters would have clearly understood the offer that was being made by the two respective parties. As it was, the Tories and Lib Dems actively opposed each other in the election, in some cases quite stridently, and having done so, now ask us to believe that, in effect, those seemingly deep political differences were, to all intents and purposes, synthetic. Post election coalitions, forced by parliamentary arithmetic and circumstance, stand on fairly weak and shifting ground, justified in retrospect and born from expediency. What tiny fraction of Tory or Lib Dem voters, do you think, had any idea or wish that their two parties would form a coalition after the election? Very very few, I suspect and, while I’m all for making the best of a bad job, our intelligence should not be mocked by arguing that some great principled coalition of ideas and compatible personalities, ushering in an era of new politics, has suddenly come into being. It’s a good old fashioned political stitch-up designed to get David Cameron into Downing Street. To that effect, I suppose, it could be called a success.

    It terms of what political entity has actually been born, I’m rather reminded of that old adage that says that a camel came into being when a committee was put together with the intention of designing a horse. The coalition camel rides again!

  22. @Eoin – “Due to the high expenditure in health and education in past years the services will not have deteriorated quickly enough for the voter to be overly concerned”

    I wouldn’t be so sure. A legacy of Labour’s obsession with targets is that there is something to compare. Waiting times for A&E and operations are very important to people, highly emotive and hard for a government to counter and the targets have been scrapped by DC.

    Any deterioration in these will risk the Tories revisiting the anti NHS times, whatever DC says.

    It’s far too early to start calling the next GE.

  23. Nick Hadley

    There has been LibCon candidates before (loosely but it has happened)

    google the coupon election………

  24. @miken
    why do we need an emergency budget….

    I assume you are joking? The GE afforded the govt some time, whichever party won, but the deficit demands more detail than “pledges” to reduce£40m here (lab), £50m there (cons) without any real detail. All parties were given leeway on the basis that specifics would have cost them all the election. Labour even managed to dodge a spending review, ‘mañana’ acceptable in the circs. ‘Emergency’ is a tabloid headline, but whichever party one, they would have had to deliver a more concrete deficit reduction plan, and that is what will happen next week.

    Have we become so inured to the scale of it all that £150 odd mill versus £160 odd mill makes people think “it’s all fine then”??

  25. Hooded Man
    I think you took my comment a little out of context. Although it was a tad provocative and made partly in jest, there was a serious note to it.

    I don’t see the EB setting out all the cuts and tax increases for fiscal years 2011/12-2014/15. There is a spending review due later to be completed this year and I would expect the autumn statement (pre Budget report) to contain a lot more detail.(Isn’t there also a consultation exercise in place still – or has that ended already?)

    I would be surprised if the EB made more than comparatively minor adjustments to the current fiscal year tax revenues and expenditure.

    And given that the UK seems to be performing better than forecast (e.g. higher tax revenues) it is arguable that only some fine tuning is needed for this year.

    But we’ll know more very soon.

  26. Mike,

    “I would be surprised if the EB made more than comparatively minor adjustments to the current fiscal year tax revenues and expenditure. ”

    Therein you answer your own question to why there is a budget next week. To make any in-year changes to the Finance Act requires a budget statement and a finance bill to amend the existing provisions.

    You are right that the real changes won’t happen next week. Those will come next year after the CSR – which was deferred by GB until after the GE so as to avoid having to face reality.

    The 2011 budegt will probably be one of the most radical for decades. But at this stage we can have no real idea as to what it will contain since we are a long way from knowing what the Government plans to spend, and hence how much tax it needs to raise.

    My guess is that many of the provisions will be phased – especially those relating to tax cuts.

    We still have a large structural deficit and a rising national debt – both in relative and absolute terms.
    Only when the budget forecasts show a current primary surplus can fiscal easing be resumed.

  27. Paul H-J
    “The 2011 budegt will probably be one of the most radical for decades. ”

    ‘Radical’ in what sense?

    “Only when the budget forecasts show a current primary surplus can fiscal easing be resumed.”

    Not sure what you mean by ‘primary surplus’.

    Otherwise, I agree with your comments.

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