Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 39%, LD 9%, Others 14%. After a nine point lead for Labour yesterday, we have an outlier in the other direction today, strongly suggesting the underlying Labour lead remains at around 5 points.

Meanwhile the monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent also shows a two point Labour lead (in fact, it’s almost identical to YouGov). Topline figures there with changes from ComRes’s last telephone poll a month ago are CON 37%(+3), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 10%(-4), Others 14%. The sharp drop in Lib Dem support is probably just a reversion to the mean, after an usually high figure a month ago.

There is also a second ComRes poll for the News at Ten, which asked about support for the strikes on Wednesday. 38% of people thought public sector workers were right to strike, 47% disagreed (close to the YouGov/Sunday Times questions on whether people supported or opposed the strike, suggesting the contrasting findings in the ComRes/BBC poll were indeed down to asking whether strikes were “justified”, rather than whether people supported or opposed them)

248 Responses to “YouGov and ComRes show 2 point Labour leads”

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  1. It all appears highly volatile.

  2. It does Nick.

    But is it just MOE ?

    Very confusing.

  3. At last, the public are showing a bit of common sense, no pain no gain, and of course, Ed M has shown his face. :-)

  4. WeII I am quite disgusted with EM tonight.What he has
    done is basically to support Cameron and Clegg.Goodness knows what the strikers will make of him and the labour party.I think that he will have lost a lot of votes tonight.

  5. re the strikes

    Only one of my team in the NHS is in the union, and everyone will be working. A small and unrepresentative sample, but it does suggest that there may be fewer than expected actually going on strike.

    The main problem is likely to be the head teachers. I have been told that deputy heads won’t be able to keep schools open. I can only guess that this might be because they are on strike as well. I don’t see how teachers expect to be considered to be a profession when they are so heavily unionised. Doctors, lawyers and accountants don’t strike.

  6. All looking very worrying. I can’t see how strikes can be justified with the economy on a knife edge. It will be very interesting to see how the Labour front bench team react and answer questions on this, and then in turn how it affects their vote share in polling. It looks like a bit of opportunism from the Unions to try to do as much damage whilst the economy is struggling. Public opinion coulde back fire!

  7. The sample seems reasonable enough. Might be a genuine movement in response to the weekend economic goodies pre-announced by Osborne, which were hard to disagree with at face value. (The Labour response was implicitly that they didn’t go far enough.) The test will be the reaction when the full package of the Autumn Statement is revealed, I suggest about a week from now when the bits the Government would prefer to hide have been exposed. (Robert Chope used to be quite good at that – whatever happened to him?) I’m in two minds about whether the rumours of tax credits being cut for those in employment are likely to be true or just a straw man designed to lead the opposition up the garden path.

  8. So 1723 were canvassed and 534 voted Con in 2010, 399 voted Lab and 424 voted LD.

    That’s 31% Con, 23% Lab and 25% LD.

    When weighted we get 31% Con, 25% Lab and 23% LD.

    Actual vote share in 2010 was 37%, 30% and 24%. So why wasn’t it weighted to match that?

  9. Pete B,Doctors,lawyers and accountants do not need to
    srike.They are extremely well paid by anyones standards.

  10. YouGov details:

    Con 37
    Lab 39
    Lib Dem 9
    UKIP 6
    SNP / PCY 4
    Green 2
    BNP 1
    Respect 0
    Other 1

    Approval 30 – 54 = -24

    The big change in this (from -31) is an indicator that the sample is a bit pro-Conservative

    Non-voters 23%

    Tables are here:

    As you would expect from what is clearly a slightly pro-Tory sample, the trackers on the spending cuts all shift slightly in the governments favour.

  11. I think it is safe to say that by any objective criteria the Tory Plan A on the economy has failed.

    The whole strategy of the policy was that the deficit had to be cut, but that you could cut sharply without killing the recovery because the private sector would take up the slack. Getting borrowing down was the priority and the structural deficit would be gone by the end of the parliament.

    By every single benchmark this has failed – growth has slipped back and is stagnant (significantly down on May 2010), borrowing is now higher than what it would have been under Labour, and the structural deficit will now not be gone at the end of the parliament (it may even end up being the half that Labour had promised over four years). They are now talking about more quantitive easing (“the last desperate policy of a failed government that has run out of ideas” G Osborne 2009) and credit easing (admitting that they have failed to get banks lending) and bringing forward investment on infrastructure projects (sounds like a stimulus to me!). Plan B is being quietly adopted as everyone admits Plan A has failed.

    BUT of course, this is not to say the Labour plan would have worked any better. Perhaps their determination to cut more slowly, to allow higher spending for longer, would have led to market fright, downgrading of credit ratings, and increased debt costs. Maybe the UK would have become like Spain. Would there have been more growth around if there hadn’t be a headlong collective dash for austerity? Would the Euro collapse have happened whichever way we would have gone??? Maybe the Labour Plan A would have left us in a worse position than we would have been … but we will never know.

    What we can say is that the Tory Plan A has failed … maybe it was out of their hands (although I think GB claimed this about the 2010 financial crisis), but a great many people predicted this would happen …

  12. Phil,
    I’m guessing that there will be a few unleaked goodies. Otherwise what is the point of making the statement at all? They may as well govern by leaks to bloggers.

  13. @ Adrian B,

    I am strongly coming round to the view that both the Labour & Conservative Plan ‘A’s are no use!

    i.e; the Labour Gordon Brown plan of heavy public sector spending and general Keynesian economic policy has basically failed across all of continental Europe and the UK…

    In turn, the Conservative plan, whilst stabilising the markets and lowering the cost of borrowing, does now seem to be fueling a jobs recession.

    Makes you wonder which way the country can turn.

    I still think personally the Brown approach is marginally the worse of the two, as it’s more likely to give false hope in the short term, where as the Conservative approach sort of lays its cards on the table straight away, but I agree neither seem to have/are worked/working.

    Very worrying…….

  14. Nick P

    Remember that YouGov weight to Party ID not to past vote. You really need to look at the weighting data to see how that works – and the differences between that and past vote can sometimes be interesting.

  15. Adrian B
    “borrowing is now higher than what it would have been under Labour”

    “Maybe the Labour Plan A would have left us in a worse position than we would have been … but we will never know.”

    Aren’t these statements a bit contradictory?

  16. Tories doing well and Ed and Ed not doing well. Hence the small labour lead, which as Rob Sheffield showed me last week on here are always clawed back (almost always) by Tory incumbents.

    Sorry Nick P: I just cant let Tone go. He won.

    PETE B.
    You may have forgotten teaching is not a profession. We do not charge fees for our work. We do not control enrtry into the ‘profession’. Therefore we can’t stop colleagues being employed on less than £10 an hour to be in charge of children when we are on courses etc.

    I will not be on strike on Wednesday. My Union was useless when I needed help in a bullying case which destroyed my career. Thank God I did get back into the classroom in new places, but the career went.
    And the strike will do my Party no good at all.

  17. @ Ann in Wales “Doctors,lawyers and accountants do not need to strike.They are extremely well paid by anyone’s standards”

    Completely right Ann … well said!

    Certainly teachers add a huge amount of social capital to our economy by educating our children and do one of the most valuable jobs in our country. The same can not be said about lawyers ….

  18. @pete B

    “I’m guessing that there will be a few unleaked goodies. Otherwise what is the point of making the statement at all? They may as well govern by leaks to bloggers.”

    Or conversely it is the as yet unannounced ‘baddies’ that get their first airing tomorrow…

    …such as how they pay for their modest stimulus on the one hand;

    and what extra spending cuts and tax increases they announce to compensate for their higher borrowing requirements due to the collapse in growth way below what they (rather naively) predicted 12 months ago.

  19. @ NickP

    The answer to your question lies in the fact that the shares were 37%, 30% and 23%, plus 34% who didn’t vote. When a poll is conducted, the pollster cannot avoid people who didn’t vote last time or won’t vote next time. Also, some people won’t answer how they voted last time or will remember wrongly.

  20. @Pete B.
    I’m sure there will be a few unleaked goodies. But they’ll also be a lot of baddies which (at best) will be only alluded to in the main speech and revealed only by a detailed reading of Paragraph 4.31 of accompanying Treasury Press Release F(2). I suggest reserving your copy of next weekend’s Sunday papers now.

  21. KEN

    @” Ed M has shown his face.”

    Looks like a split over the strike ,at the top of Labour then?

    I had the impression that Balls is supportive

  22. Plan ‘A’ won’t change, what we are seeing is a change of tactics in the light of circumstances, Keynes would be proud of GO. :-)

  23. By the way…does this description of an upcoming recession as “modest” sound like blatant politicking by the OECD.

  24. @ Pete B

    ““borrowing is now higher than what it would have been under Labour”
    “Maybe the Labour Plan A would have left us in a worse position than we would have been … but we will never know.”
    Aren’t these statements a bit contradictory?”

    No these statements are not contradictory. Actual borrowing is now going to be higher than what the OBR, in 2010, predicted the borrowing would have been under the Labour plan. So Tory Plan A has faired worse than potential Lab Plan A.

    BUT of course, Lab Plan A could have gone wrong, not yielded the results that it was hoping. We have an actual plan that was tried and has yielded worse results that the predicted results of an untried plan.

    @ Richard O,

    You have a point, but in America, where they have definitely leaned more to the Keynesian way of doing things, they are actually growing, albeit slowly. But maybe only an economy the size of the US with the dollar could do this (and it could still all go pear shaped there).

  25. ChrisLane1945
    “PETE B.
    You may have forgotten teaching is not a profession”

    That was exactly my point. Every time a representative appears they talk about ‘the teaching profession’, but it ain’t.

    I suspect that there will be a tax cut tomorrow. Possibly a bigger-than-expected rise in the tax allowance next April? That’s what I’d do, but what do I know?


    @”My Union was useless when I needed help in a bullying case which destroyed my career. Thank God I did get back into the classroom in new places, but the career went.”

    Very sorry to hear that . Credit to you for making it through-you always sound so committed to educational outcomes, rather than dogma & politics.

  27. The deficit needs to be cut, through spending cuts, and probably faster than we are doing.

    Opponents of the government
    (over represented on these opinion poll threads over the last year –
    if rarely so when the economy was so mis-managed until 2010)
    will always assume that budget deficits, however massive, will disappear without cuts,
    but any “objective criteria” shows the current deficit (and hence a large part of the debt) is structural.

    The polls are moving around, whether this is a margin of error we don’t quite know yet.
    I think people are still looking to the government to steer us through this,
    rather than the opposition policies.

  28. chrislane1845

    ” the small labour lead, which as Rob Sheffield showed me last week on here are always clawed back (almost always) by Tory incumbents”

    I said the opposite

    “Tories doing well and Ed and Ed not doing well”

    I’d read well what @Anthony says about outliers: oh but then you find it totally impossible to read the runes don’t you!

    Adrian B

    “I think it is safe to say that by any objective criteria the Tory Plan A on the economy has failed.”

    Too early to say that: we need to see what happens once the EZ calms down; plus what thins look like this time next year.

    We also need to see what happens once (if) the Labour treasury team start knocking the ball into the various open goals that Dave, George, Vince , Danny and Nick have been offering up for several months now. Because they have not scored as yet.

    Nonetheless Labour VI holding up well within my prediction of where it will stay all the way till the next GE.

    But it is not looking good for the government to be frank. Newsnight currently absolutely dire for them.

  29. Like Neil Kinnock in 1984, Ed Miliband is finding out that being Labour leader during a big strike is a lose-lose situation. The question is: does he have the skill to make it a minor loss? He clearly seems to be banking that the Labour left will stay with him and the Purple Labour project, on the assumption that they have nowhere else to go; they just have to put up with it, stay loyal and be grateful.

  30. ADRIAN B

    @”BUT of course, Lab Plan A could have gone wrong, not yielded the results that it was hoping.”

    Make that “would have”-AD’s 2009 Budget growth assumptions were higher than GO’s 2010 Budget growth assumptions.

  31. @ Rob

    “Newsnight dire for them”

    It’s such a shame no-one watches it …

    I think that the Tories are getting a round kicking in much of the economic world and also for politically playing a very poor hand extremely poorly (all that rhetoric of “Labour’s bankrupted Britain” suddenly seemed to frighten markets and then make investors wary of investing, surprisingly!).

    But I think as long as the sovereign debt crisis is hanging over Europe and the Eurozone is in meltdown it gives the Tories a useful scapegoat for their failure and scares people into thinking there is no alternative to Plan A (and also they still largely blame Labour for the inherited mess).

    This may all change if the Conservatives have their very own recession to be guilty of.

  32. NICKP
    @”By the way…does this description of an upcoming recession as “modest” sound like blatant politicking by the OECD.”

    Don’t think they do politicking.

    Modest=one or two quarters.

    This is their UK summary:-

    “Weak international demand, continued retrenchment among households and needed fiscal consolidation has halted the recovery. Growth will start to pick up during 2012 as exports and household consumption recover, with further strengthening in 2013. Unemployment is rising and will reach 9% in 2013, while inflation is presently peaking as anticipated and is expected to fall below the 2% target in 2013 as temporary effects from VAT hikes and commodity prices wane. Monetary policy is supportive, with the Bank rate at 0.5% and quantitative easing being resumed. Further expansions of quantitative measures are warranted. The ambitious fiscal consolidation has bolstered credibility and helped maintain low bond yields, leaving room for automatic stabilisers to work fully to cushion the slowdown.”

  33. SNP 4% lead!!

    Now before OLNAT chastises me I know it’s only a sub lol. :) but never the less….

  34. @Colin

    Note “automatic stabilisers”.

    If Osborne does indeed announce that unemployment will face a real-terms cut rather than maintain the inflation link, then this last sentence is moot because the automatic stabilisers will have been reduced and the OECD prediction will be invalidated.

  35. COLIN………..The Labour message is unremittingly negative, Ed Balls is the chief culprit, followed by Ed M, unfortunately for them, people want to hear positives, such as GO addressing the tangible challenges faced by the government. As with people in the workplace constantly criticising the boss, the constant and predictable criticism, and undermining of the Coalition’s actions gets on people’s nerves, it sends the wrong message about the personality of the perpetrators, they are in rut of their own making. As we all know, the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth, Labour have to be careful.


    It wouldn’t alter their forecasts would it?

    It would certainly mean the automatic stabiliser cushion would be less soft though.

  37. @Phil – “Robert Chope used to be quite good at that – whatever happened to him?”

    It’s Chote I think, and he runs the OBR. I suspect he will still be the one to deliver the killer blows tomorrow though.

    Osborne is now in an extraordinarily difficult place now. Of course, as the Eurozone burns it is daft to try to blame all the economies ills on him – as daft as it was to claim everything preceding this was all Labour’s fault – but when the music stops, whoever is holding the parcel…..

    The trouble for Osborne is that he told us he had got us out of the danger zone, while Labour’s soundbite attacks have proved highly prescient. Ball’s told us it was too far and too fast, while Milliband spoke up for the squeezed middle. Of course we can shoot through both notions with all kinds of holes, but tonights BBC bulletins have been absolutely dire for the government – in effect, all the figures say Labour was right.

    I don’t expect the general voter to read through the finance pages and gain an in depth appreciation of global markets and national economic indicators. What I do expect is that they will feel very unhappy and many of them will remember who said it was too far and too fast.
    What I’m less sure about is whether this is enough to overcome the existing distaste for labour among many.

    One factor that won’t now help Osborne – I think most people felt he wanted a 4 year target to allow scope for a pre election tax cut or two. Seeing borrowing rise by £50b in election according to the latest figures will be terminal for this strategy.

  38. @Chris Neville Smith (FPT)
    “I believe HS1 was delivered on time and on budget. Why should HS2 have more in common with the Edinburgh trams that the existing HS line (or any HS line on the continent, for that matter)?”
    The default model for all big prestige public works projects in this country seems to be that the acknowledged call on public funds is kept to an absolute minimum when the initial commitment/approval is being sought, and then gradually ratcheted up when various points of no return have been reached and the key decision makers have invested too much of their personal political capital to sanction an about face. After £2.8bn for the Olympics turned into £10bn in a jiffy, it might pay to be a bit wary.

    HS1 (the need for which I have never taken issue with incidentally) was an integral part of the business case for the Channel Tunnel yet only finally delivered 13 years after its opening, after numerous financial difficulties with the project and several major engineering rethinks after unforeseen difficulties emerged with successive planned routes.

  39. Adrian

    There has been a lot of talk about US stimulus and in reality that’s all it is, at the federal level there has been small amounts of stimulus spending but at the state level there has been cutbacks which are getting worse as the states tax revenues diminish and their ability to borrow disappears, as for growth its very debatable because the key inflation figure that they use to calculate real GDP does not include food and energy, socal will be along presently to tell me I am wrong and that everything is swell in the land of the free because of Obama, however………

  40. KEN


    GO has a job to do tomorrow though which transcends numbers.

    I read a comment today somewhere-the public need a Chancellor-not a politician on Tuesday.

    I think he can strike the right note-whilst Balls is in place Labour stand no chance of ever striking the right note-he is as tribal as GB-it pervades his every utterance.

    I am very thankful that AD isn’t still in that post.

  41. Economists have one set of facts and draw a hundred conclusions……….watching the almost desperate efforts of BBC economic editors to wrestle a conclusion for yet another broadcasting deadline is quite uncomfortable, I feel sorry for them, however, they have all power, to influence, but no responsibility to deliver. must be frustrating for them to come up with something credible, hour by hour, another day, another angle………ratings driven economics.

  42. @Colin

    I’m pretty sure that yes, making real-term cuts to the automatic stabilisers would shot giant holes in the OECD’s predictions. If they’re not rising with inflation any more, that’s a big part of the whole ‘automatic’ function lost.

  43. Colin

    Quite correct they don’t do politicking, but only cos they ain’t got the brains for it

    Off they get a prediction right its only cos of dumb luck, even a stopped clock………

  44. COLIN
    I am very thankful that AD isn’t still in that post
    I,infact feel the opposite…AD was a useless politican and one of the reasons GO is under such pressure is because of Balls picking holes in GO`s arguments…Balls` flatlining gesture in the commons is enough to send GO and DC frothing at the mouth

  45. @SoCal
    “Do you think the results would be different if you had a non-partisan race?”
    No – to a unusual degree for the UK we already have, as both Johnson and Livingstone have made an art form of being at arms length from their respective parties’ unpopularity. Bear in mind that Livingstone ran as an independent when first elected, having been disowned by Labour.

    “FYI, he’s (Paddick) far more qualified to be U.S. President than she (Bachmann) is…”
    Agree. It would be hard not to be. Is wing nut the technical term over your side of the pond?

  46. KEN


    But they never ever mention Total Debt.

    If they did it would frighten the shYt out of everyone.

  47. One thing that worries me is that I’m still getting a sense of complacency from policymakers. The OECD and OBR have been very wrong in their UK forecasts – far too optimistic. Now the OECD is predicting a mild double dip but feels that as the Euro problems get sorted out in 2012 we will return to growth and have only a ‘technical recession’. [Got an image of boss addressing worker telling him not to worry – he’s only going to be technically redundant].

    Given that 2012 is the big year for debt rollover within the EZ and we are already seeing a rapid shrinkage in the money supply as banks deleverage in a largely uncontrolled and panic driven manner, I just can’t see why this recession will be mild and have no idea why they seem to think the Eurozone problems will be sorted out next year – next year is the really bad year for them.


    @”Balls` flatlining gesture in the commons is enough to send GO and DC frothing at the mouth”

    Yeah-right :-)

  49. COLIN……….I am obviously an admirer of GO, he has grown into the job, as has his boss. Over the next three and a half years, by following his original strategy, and with tactical flexibility, he will steer the country out of danger. I couldn’t agree more about AD, I met him when he was Transport Minister, he came across as very grounded and clear sighted, unaffected by tribalism.

  50. Ken

    “The Labour message is unremittingly negative/ Labour have to be careful. ”

    I fear you are right on this you old scoundrel and this was partly what I meant about missing open goals.

    The drastic change in the UKs economic circumstances has come 6-9 months earlier than Labours leadership were preparing for and hence they have an empty policy cabinet as the policy review won’t be complete till next summer (‘events dear boy events’ supermac proved correct YET again).

    So out come the negative platitudes repetitively. To begin with this fires up the base and can be convincing to swing voters. But it does get grating when- as has been the case over the last few weeks- it seems to be stated every single day.

    The empty policy cabinet/ incomplete policy review means interviewers keep digging up ADs last budget as the focal point for Labour: which should be ridiculous as its older than Osborne’s now incorrect first budget (and his even more out of kilter emergency budget), but of course is justifiable because there is no new detailed Labour plan yet to replace it.

    You can see Ed B slightly grimace when TV reporters/ interviewers bring it up. You can’t score into the open goal if you don’t have a ball to kick.

    The battle of the economy is well and truly on now and it could go either way. I would suspect by the autumn statement next year we will know who is likely going to prevail

    Labour will have their new economic policy (and such significant times require detail not the usual lite approach as has been the popular opposition strategy since Major was PM); and George’s Plan A+/ Plan B ‘ish (whatever moniker takes your fancy) will have had a full year to run; plus the EZ crisis will (probably?) have been decided one way or the other.

    Though- whoever does look like they are wining the battle of the economy next November- I don’t think that will have as decisive an impact on the next election as has been the case since the late 1970’s.

    We are in new times- not just the first non national government peacetime coalition for 90 years, but the most divisive political context since 1980-1982 with a country split largely down the middle whose voter opinion has been setting in stone far earlier in the electoral cycle than we have been accustomed to over recent decades.

    IMHO the most likely result in 2013- 2015 is an hung parliament again.

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