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. I would just like to thank Anthony Wells for highlighting the absurdity of the BBC poll on the strikes and their misrepresentation of the results to suit their own agenda.

    My personal standpoint – working in the public sector myself – is that I support their right to strike, and I understand why they are striking (essentially a change to their Ts & Cs being forced on them), but I do not support the strikes as I believe the changes are necessary.

    Had I been asked “Do you think the strikes are JUSTIFIED?” I would therefore have to have answered “yes”. However, had I been asked “Do you SUPPORT the strikes?” I would have answered “no” – understanding *why* the public sector workers (of which I am one) are going on strike, is tacitly different to *supporting* the strikes.

    Sadly this is not an isolated example of the BBC saying one thing out of an extrapolation of something else. They really ought to get some data analysts on board (I’m willing to apply if necessary…!).

  2. Listening to the phone-in after Any Questions? at the weekend, a lady was complaining how Gordon Brown “[email protected]” her pension. This type of tabloid distortion has been fact checked by Channel 4, but the Beeb lets it go unquestioned.

    Hargreaves Lansdown are saying that a double whammy of falling stock markets and historically low interest rates mean that pensions in the private sector are now worth 16.7 per cent less than a year ago.

    Jack made the point about how Osborne’s raiding of public sector pensions at this point in the economic cycle may well lead to wage pressure in the future.


    JUst a follow up on the TPS.

    THe reason the additional contributions aren’t being paid in to the “scheme” is that there is nothing to pay then in to.

    There is no Teachers Pension Fund.

    As I have already indicated TPS is a hand to mouth-cash based scheme.

    Contributions from E’er & E’ee effectively go to the Treasury & the Treasury find the money for pensions in payment. There is a big gap between the latter & the former-ie the contribution rates are inadequate.

    For your interest , if TPS had been set up as a fully funded scheme , with contributions invested to pay for pensions it would need assets of £224bn to fund the pension promises to past & current members– six times the size of the schools budget.

    And of course-the contributions would need to be high enough to fund those liabilities.

    In 2009/10, the total cost of paying teachers’ pensions was £7bn. But in just four years that is forecast to rise to £10bn-an increase of 42%

    I’m surprised that the Teaching Union people turning up on TV to complain that the additional contributions won’t “go into the scheme” don’t understand all this.

  4. Billybob
    ‘Jack made the point about how Osborne’s raiding of public sector pensions at this point in the economic cycle may well lead to wage pressure in the future’

    There is a enormous difference between the what you have described as a public sector ‘raid’, which did not hurt the poorest, nor did it hurt those retiring over the next few years and GB’s £6 billion a year that helped, along with many years of poor share markets to end final salary pensions for the private sector.

    Whether directly affected or not, many in the private sector felt that the Labour Govt greatly favoured the public sector and this probably is reflected in the current polls on the strike.

  5. Billy bob

    And it could get worse if as. Many believe the stock markets go lower, all the way to 2000 then many pension company’s are wiped out, in any case any hope of keeping pace with inflation has gone out the window unless the funds have bought gold which I don’t think they are allowed to cos its a risky asset! That why I think the infrastructure funded by pension money is or will be a bailout mechanism because the last thing any govt wants to admit is that private pensions are inherently dangerous

  6. Jason Harcourt
    ‘I would just like to thank Anthony Wells for highlighting the absurdity of the BBC poll on the strikes and their misrepresentation of the results to suit their own agenda.’

    This point you are Anthony have raised, is disappointing.

    I was really beginning to feel that on News and political programmes, at least, that the BBC was now showing considerable balance.

  7. @Colin

    It is your choice to focus on the gap between what contributions are paid into the teachers’ pension scheme and what is paid out in a single year. It’s not a meaningful comparison, because pensions have to be assessed over the life cycle of the contributors, in both past and future years.

    To perhaps head off such comparisons, the teaching unions quite reasonably point out that since its inception in 1923, £46bn more has diappeared into Treasury coffers in teacher and employer contributions than has been paid out. So, to date, the scheme is in credit, even if that surplus is now beginning to be drawn down. Here’s the link to the technical calculation, the key quote from which is:
    “The income received by Government during the early and middle years of the scheme – when money was being taken in and little paid out – easily outweighs, when revalued appropriately, the payments it has been making more recently.”—tps-contribs-versus-payments-out.doc

    I accept that this is not more a proper actuarial valuation of the TPS, but it has no less meaning than your own chosen comparison.

    The real test is for there be to a proper valuation of the TPS, to establish the degree to which it is solvent, or not. What staggers me is that for some time the unions have quite reasonably negotiated on the basis that the usual quadrennial valuation of the TPS should be undertaken, yet the Government inexplicably have turned this down. Isn’t a valuation common sense, when a case has to be made for the major cuts now on the table? The union position is that the major changes agreed in 2007, combined with the cuts in benefits arising from CPI indexing, would be very likely to confirm that the TPS scheme remains solvent over the full life cycle. The Government’s refusal can only suggest to me that they have something to hide.

  8. A gentleman no one will ever of heard of called Peter Kellner, has written a short piece about the current party positions of Labour and Tory, in the Huffington Post.
    Now, I understand that said Mr Kellner is a socialist or at least a social democrat. In case no one had noticed, I am a Tory. And yet, he and I agree to the virtual letter, about the current state of play. I absolutely recommend people of all parties give him a read, I suppose I am excited about it because his not inconsequential knowledge of polling, brings him to the same conclusions as myself.

  9. RinN
    ‘That why I think the infrastructure funded by pension money is or will be a bailout mechanism because the last thing any govt wants to admit is that private pensions are inherently dangerous.’

    Some good points on what to me is a really important issue. The good news from my point of view is that the fund for my pension can now cover 96% of its liabilities and has agreed arrangements with the Company to raise this to 100% within the next few years. This of course is no comfort to those who have joined the Company within the last few years and who are not provided with a final or average salary pension.

  10. HENRY
    Regarding the BBC, they have recently had their bum smacked for the very one sided coverage of the Essex “traveller” matter. The news and the programme for the retarded, the One Show, were specifically mentioned as biased. One wonders how great liberal thinkers like Gloria Hunniford, would react if 300 Gypsies pitched up at the end of her drive, a little less liberal, I should think.

  11. @Chouenlai

    Last year, Peter Kellner came up with an election post mortem that observed that Labour was now drawing almost as much support from ABC1 social classes as from C2DE classes, in marked contrast to two and three decades ago. In other words, that Labour’s lead in support from what used to be termed the “working class” had almost collapsed, due to a combination of shifts in allegiance and disengagement from voting.

    But his interpretation of that fact was that a Labour “core vote” strategy would be pointless, given that its support is now evenly spread. I’d draw the the opposite conclusion – namely that the greatest potential to regain support is clearly from amongst people in social groups which have deserted Labour after feeling let down.

    So while I respect Peter Kellner’s knowledge of polling, his ability to draw appropriate judgements from what the data says seems in question.

  12. GO just announced that the pay-freeze on public sector pay will not end with nominal pay rises just under inflation, but much lower than inflation rises… And goes on to berate the strikers…

  13. Phil — I guess what you are saying is analogus to those who say that Camerons strategy of wooing over lost middle class voters was the correct one.

    Seems we are doing a US and the tories are becoming the party of the working and rural classes and lab the middle classes, 2010 being something of a transition point

  14. Thankfully, GO has been convinced not to tamper with the automatic stabilisers, and out-of-work benefits will not see a real-terms cut. Doing so would have been both horrible for those directly affected, but also a drastic cut to economic growth by dampening the function of their stabilising effect. A real-term cut in unemployment benefits would certainly have put many tight margin high street stores out of business, and the knock on from that would have been widespread.

  15. On top of the capital project financing, there’s a rise on the bankers levy, stimulus to the building sector by a ‘buy and build’ version of right to buy, loan incentives, finance-partnerships…

    Doesn’t sound a whole lot like this is just ‘minor tweaks’ to Plan A, this sounds a lot like a first revision of Plan B.

  16. Seems clear to me that they want to go to war with the Public Sector.

    1% increases after the freeze despite pension contribution increases of more than that.


  17. Allan Christie

    “SNP 4% lead!!

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

    SNP need a 6% lead over Lab to capure the FTPT bonus and create panic in UK labour.


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

    If these people havn’t understood what this has cost them in Scotland, they are incapable of learning from experience and unfit to run a political party far less a government.

  18. Nick p

    Don’t you think a war with public service unions is a good strategy. Times are tough and getting tougher, in such times people want tough leaders, what better way to prove that they are tough enough for the challenges ahead?

    It’s wrong but its good tactics, particualy for the blues

  19. It’s pretty clear now that there was never any intention to reach agreement with the Unions about pensions.

  20. ‘ namely that the greatest potential to regain support is clearly from amongst people in social groups which have deserted Labour after feeling let down.’

    Silly idea; core supporthave been disappearing for decades. Look at the drop in all political party members numbers as an example.

  21. @RiN

    It might be politically good… But it’ll cause knock on economic damage, and create a influx into the Core Labour vote from union members who had shied away during the later Blair years.

    This isn’t a war on unions. It’s a skirmish that wastes their political capital on gaining a self-immolation victory.

  22. IMO it’s not (nor was it ever) a war on the public sector, but a war on the public spending. A war on bureaucratic waste.

  23. @Statgeek

    Er… How exactly is a continuation of the real-terms pay-cut across every member of the public sector a war on bureaucratic waste? That’s on top of any ‘efficiency’ savings *and* ‘pension reform’.

  24. Just watched the Autumn Statement and the following coverage and the Chancellor is getting pasted from all sides.

    For missing his debt targets, for putting another 300 000 public service employees on the dole queue, for having no strategy for growth, for being in a worse position than it was forecast that the Labour Plan would have put us into etc. etc. etc. Particularly the OBR has been scathing about his earlier budget.

    It will be really interesting if there is any significant shift in VI after this weekend’s coverage of it all … this will give a sense of whether the public are beginning to blame the Cons more for the current mess (rather than the inherited mess) and whether people are beginning to be more open to the alternative (albeit minor alternative) proposals from the Labour party on the economy.

    I always feel days like this should be game-changers, when in reality most people do not pay very close attention and things don’t shift very much (also think Eurozone fear shields the Tories from a lot of criticism). I think the real pinch of cuts, higher unemployment will make more of a difference. However I think an actual double-dip recession would change everything as that would be the ultimate nail in the Tory Economic plan.

  25. Also, OBR have revised their estimate of Public Sector jobs to be lost in the coming year… From 400,000 to 710,000.

    I expect we are in for a new winter of discontent.


    That part is the war on public spending. I thought that was obvious.

  27. Jay

    That is a shocker, that’s getting on for a million, at least that’s what flashes up in my head when I see that number, if I was labour I would be out there with billboards with just that number on it

  28. If the Government drops the pension contribution increases then the 1% caps are bearable pain. Everybody else is taking a hit on pay.

    It’s really up to them If there is a big strike tomorrow then failure to make any concessions more or less guarantees more strikes next year.

    There is some normally moderate people where I work growling just about now.

  29. statgeek

    I’m feeling a wee bit hot under the collar right now, so I won’t respond to your prodding.

  30. Has the “we’re all in it together” slogan been dropped? The groups being singled out for pain are the 20% working in the public sector (again), low paid workers relying on tax credits, and anyone under 52 who’ll now have to work a year longer.

    Mustn’t grumble. It’s all the fault of the Eurozone.

  31. In June 2010, Richard Murphy predicted 700K public service jobs would go if GO carried out his cuts.. RM also predicted 4m total unemployment and that was before the EZ implosion.

  32. SoCalLiberal

    I agree with you about the *definition” of a profession. That was the point I was trying to make in my post.

    1968 was when the professional body governing Scottish teachers was set up, and unqualified teachers could no longer be employed in Scottish schools.

    The sacking of teachers was a different matter, since it was governed by archaic 19th century legislation. That wasn;t brought up to date until devolution allowed Scotland the legislative time to deal with many matters that had not been dealt with by Westminster.

  33. Just downloaded the full OBR report but its a 198 page monster. But one thing that caught my eye was the signatures of the three men who head the OBR, initial amateur handwriting analysis reveals that all three men are optimistic by nature with large amounts of imagination and some lack of emotional depth. Make of this what you will

  34. Phil

    I feel you never understood that slogan, its full wording was……

    “we are all in it together against you”

    Hope that helps

    Regards RiN

  35. I just read the report on the Autumn Statement.

    Without commenting on the detail (which looks pretty awful), I was struck by the range of areas on which he was making announcements. Some things apply to the whole UK, some to England only (though with Barnett consequentials, no doubt), and the UK Government concerns itself with the fares in London Transport as well!

  36. One important political and polling issue from this is that it is now entirely off the cards that standards of living will be rising again in 2015. This entirely derails the assumption many here were making that current polling doesn’t matter because there would be an economic upturn and give away budget in 2014.

  37. I always thought the full slogan was:

    “We’re all in it together: the Tories, the Lib Dems, the Banks, Murdoch, The Met and the Press, the BBC and Uncle Tom Cobley and all”

  38. @Adrian B

    I suspect last night’s polls, if indeed they signal anything meaningful at all that is, might have picked up the impact of some very clever news management by Messrs Oliver and Hilton over the last few days. We got some ritualistic union bashing (always helpful for right wing parties when in a hole!) and then some choreographed and cherry-picked leaking of growth stimulation measures ahead of today’s Autumn Statement. It’s possible that this may have tempted some recent waverers home, albeit temporarily, and they may still feel that Osborne, despite gathering economic evidence to the contrary, is a nurse worth clinging to for a while longer yet.

    My hunch has been for some time that, be they 2% or 9% blip-type Labour poll leads, we’re still in stalemate country until Labour start making the political weather. Whether today’s dire economic news enables them to start to do so, remains to be seen, but if Balls, Reeves, Byrne, Burnham, Miliband et al can’t make some headway with the veritable smorgasbord of political goodies that Mr Osborne has presented to them today, then they never will.

  39. @ Crossbat

    I think you are right – I think the many awful stats from today, and the criticism from OBR and the OECD stats give so much ammunition. Ed Balls can actually start saying, “I was right – the Tory Plan A has led to exactly what I said would have happened and officially we’d have been better off with the Labour Plan” (conveniently ignoring the fact that the Lab Plan was never tested).

    BUT I wonder whether the problem is that Ed Balls is so tainted by association with Gordon Brown that no-one is listening to what he says (no-one listened to anything the Tories said between 1997 and 2005).

    Although he wasn’t much good with the numbers the attacks would probably have more resonance from Alan Johnson or even David Milliband than from EM and EB.

  40. I agree, crossbatti

    If the polling figures don’t move away from the Tories now, then they probably won’t at all.

  41. @Adrian B

    Gordon Brown simply didn’t have long enough in the spotlight, when compared to Thatcher, to become as big a weight on Labour as she became. Particularly if Gordon Brown starts being rehabilitated, by dint of people becoming suspicious of the current Government’s denouncements of him.

  42. OBR just shot a hole in GO’s political statements, by identifying the main cause of economic stagnation to be inflation *not* the EZ crisis. The VAT rise was a grave mistake.

  43. Nick p

    This is a great day to bury economic news, the blues will be up by two points tomorrow if they play the Iran thing right. I don’t know about incompetent but maybe labour should dump ed because he’s not lucky. Just when he should have been high profile bashing the blues along comes a hostage crisis. What are the odds?

  44. One of the reasons the CON vote is holding up is that the media do not ask the tough questions they do of Labour governments…I mean the chancellor is borrowing 100 billion more than he planned to…is this some sort of joke?Will Labour politicians be treated with such reverence if they had come up with this result?I think not

  45. @RiN

    No hostages taken, and apparently no continuing threat after the crowds were cleared. Not sure what options DC has for sabre rattling over this that wouldn’t be a very very bad idea. We could fly non-essential staff home, or close outlying buildings, but that’s hardly something that appeals to jingoism. We could expel some of Iran’s diplomats, but that’s not really going to over-ride the depth of the economic news, and would really just be posturing to insult Iran.

  46. Jay

    Thanks for the update, it looks like the two eds have caught a break. Not to mention the embassy staff

  47. @SMUKESH
    And I thought you were a fair and sensible bloke.
    I am sure that Colin, Statgeek, Ken and myself take a totally contrary view. Taking sides regarding the BBC’s attitudes is the first step to moderation, unless one has the backing of the broadcasting regulator, as per my earlier post.

  48. I haven`t mentioned the BBC at all,though one would start questioning the supposed economic superiority of the Tory party after this report.The term `Penny wise and Pound foolish` comes to mind

  49. The OBR is forecasting one Q of negative growth with a Sharp rebound in the next Q but I can’t find their justification for this the graph looks wrong, dip rebound flat, dip rebound less rebound I could understand but this looks weird

  50. Across here in my parallel Universe, I am quietly impressed with the Chancellor’s statement………it was pragmatic and honest, always reflecting the real world problems we are all faced with, he is firmly in control of the rudder but sailing in heavier than expected seas. Of course, the inherited leaky boat doesn’t help, but nevertheless, IMO, we aren’t anywhere near sinking, ( unless of course you take notice of the publicly salaried, millionaire, economic commentators of the BBC ). There is no doubt that certain parts of our community are going to struggle, but then again nobody ever said life was fair, it seems that the same people generally take the pain, and like the infantry, take the casualties.In the great scheme of things though, there aren’t that many of them, and of course they don’t usually vote Tory, I think it’s fair to say that the Labour / Union, constituency is in the firing line.
    Plenty of good news in my neck of the woods, and no noticeable impact from the recession here, also, from the reaction of the business community GO has hit the target.
    I wasn’t surprised at the reaction from the opposition, EB just doesn’t strike me as a threat to GO, same old stuff, no credibility.
    Just a thought on the London Mayoral poll last night, an 8 point lead for Boris, the people that make this City buzz, love him…..he is the face of London, in contrast, Ken L is a grumpy old man.
    The overall impact of today’s event will, IMO, be a little bit more Blue showing in the polls. :-)

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