We have new polls from ComRes and YouGov tonight. The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Indy has topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 40%(+2), LDEM 13%(-1), Others 10%. Meanwhile the first of this week’s daily YouGov polls for the Sun has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, Others 13%. Both are consistent with the picture we’ve been seeing lately of a very small Labour lead.

153 Responses to “New YouGov and ComRes polls”

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  1. Roger Mexico @12.10am

    It seems that parts of the LD party are now (at last) waking up to the prospect of changes to electoral boundaries etc that could well lead to Conservative hegemony, consigning the UK to control of the Con dominated SE of England.

    As has been said numerous times on here, NC’s failure to insist on PR as a condition for coalition was a disastrous failure. Even his own party are seeing this now..

    NC’s latest ploy about belated changes to the NHS Bill only serves to underline the man’s utter incompetence and desire to remain in office rather than do the right thing and kill the bill stonedead.

    Whilst it is possibel to see this as an attempt to ‘buy-off’ LD party members I actually think it will not work.

    This Bill could be catalyst for destroying the LD party.

  2. “Whilst it is possibel to see this as an attempt to ‘buy-off’ LD party members I actually think it will not work.”
    If anyone can make any sense of NC’s latest utterances, and/or the joint letter with SW, I would appreciate some enlightenment. Seems like waffle to me, unless I am missing something.

  3. Appears Greece may have already defaulted.


    The EU bailout money will only keep them afloat for a while. What happens when Portugal or Italy needs help as well.

    I can see the Euro collapsing within the 2 years and would be surprised if countries are not make preparations to issue their own currencies again. This could have massive consequences on the UK economy running up to the GE. Not sure whether people would blame the coalition parties for economic problems beyond their control and whether they would think that Labour were able to take over in very difficult times.

  4. @ Mike N

    “As has been said numerous times on here, NC’s failure to insist on PR as a condition for coalition was a disastrous failure.”

    And you think that the Tories would EVER have conceded PR for one single moment?

    That is frankly ridiculous hindsight and you know it. Of course the Lib Dems would have bargained hard for PR along with all the other things in their manifesto. But with 8% of the MPs versus the Tories’ 47%, what did you expect them to be able to do?

    Your point is frankly preposterous.

    As for “killing the NHS billl stone dead”, what repercussions do you think that would have? It would end the Coalition, which is not going to happen.

    “This Bill could be catalyst for destroying the LD party.”

    More hostile wishful thinking from a Labourite. No, the Liberal Democrats will continue to exist, they are not going to self destruct just because you want them to. They are going to carry on and see it out to 2015.

  5. Its becoming obvious that the Libdem Party is slowly and surely detaching itself from its leadership, (Mary Riddell’s DT is worth reading) all it now needs is someone to cry, ‘enough is enough’ and we’ll be heading for an early GE probably in October.

  6. Tingedfringe – ICM updated their methods around about 1993-1994, so figures from before that shouldn’t really be compared to ones afterwards.

  7. @David,

    Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

  8. Robert C
    There is no point in going over all this again, but NC and the LDs should not have agreed to the reduction in MPs without insisting on PR (or at least AV). There did’nt need hindsight, just foresight – something which is in short supply amongst LDs I suggest.

    “It would end the Coalition, which is not going to happen.”

    So, the destruction of the NHS will/may occur simply because the LDs have to stay in the coalition? And you don’t think joe public will wreak revenge on your party?

    “They are going to carry on and see it out to 2015.”

    Your party can still split … yet enough LD MPs remain in the coalition until 2015.

  9. @SoCalLiberal – they call it a “spill.”

    From what I can work out, the meaning comes from the cascade effect when a top political job becomes vacant. As each post is filled, another vacancy is created further down.

    Due to the thee year electoral cycle for the AUS House of Representatives, we will only have to wait another year before we can test the consequences of this latest “spill”.

  10. @Mike N
    A piece in the Grauniad backs up your points about LD meltdown :-

    “Party members to press ahead with emergency motion at spring conference despite changes advanced by Clegg and Williams”

    Charles West, one of the organisers of the NHS rebellion, said:

    ”It is nowhere near what we could support. It is too little too late.”


  11. My feeling on this is that there is already blood in the water for the LibDem conference, we just don’t know if the remaining active LibDem membership are sheep or sharks.

  12. Also, I think we should put the phrase “Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas” to bed, since the Lib Dem support for seat reduction looks a lot like that to me.

  13. Jayblanc
    NC avoided problems at last year’s LD conference by the “pause to listen” on the NHS reforms,

    He has no way to avoid conference motions this time. He could well and truly be in the ensuing sh*t.

  14. @Anthony Wells
    “ICM updated their methods around about 1993-1994, so figures from before that shouldn’t really be compared to ones afterwards”

    Likewise, I suggest that ComRes have updated their methods in Feb 2012, so figures from before that shouldn’t really be compared to ones afterwards. But if comparisons have to be made, by my reckoning, the effect of the new methodology has reduced the Lab lead by 1.5% in Feb, compared to the result if the old methodology used in the Jan polls were still being applied.

  15. If the Libdem conference votes for a motion to strip the NHS Bill of section 3 or even votes against the Bill in its entirety, they will change politics for the foreseeable future.

    It would demonstrate that members of the LD have real power to shape the big issues facing the country. IMO, people would flock to sign up & donations would flow in; this is what keeps the SNP coffers full: The belief that they are going to do something significant rather than just keep driving along the same old track.

    There is huge disaffection with politics & both major Parties (as Roger Meixo pointed out, losses to the Tories are not turning into support for Labour). And that usually means the LibDems do well; but not now, because they are seen as being unable to leverage the power of having the casting votes in a Coalition.

    Robert C mounts a spirited defence of the LDs as political eunchs because they have far fewer MPs than the Tories. But, he is being disingenuous, I think. Because we all know that it’s holding the balance of power which is important.

    Clegg & co. appear to be on a mission to show that in coalitions, the tail doesn’t wag the dog. But it can & it should on this issue. If the leadership (Clegg & Williams) are satisfied with merely writing letters & getting little, watered down amendments, they are missing an opportunity to really change politics & place the LibDems at the forefront of a powerful new wave of grassroots activism & public engagement with politics.

    Labour would lose a ton of support to the LibDems, if their conference has the guts & ability to kill the NHS bill. If they don’t, if they are deflected by the posturing of Clegg & Williams, Labour will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to leech a huge amount of support from the LibDems over the next 2 years.

    Kill the bill, block the boundary changes = have at least a hundred LD MPs in 2015. Let it through & then adopt the boundary changes; it will be ‘taxi’ for the LibDems, sure enough.

  16. Just watched an excellent dicussion on DP about Women in Government worth a view on BBci.

    I like Keith P’s ‘the Tiny Labour lead becomeing a small Labour lead’

    Most accurate; let’s hope it becomes modest, then decent, then significant followed by substantial and eventually unassailable but I doubt it, decent would be good enoug for me :-)

  17. Oldnat

    “However, you raise an interesting point. If you were right, that would add a fair number of percentage points to that side of the constitutional question which would lead to that no longer being relevant to those of us in Macbeth’s country [1].

    [1] How’s that for convoluted phraseology to get round the ban?”

    Don’t know about that but “a fair number of percentage points” scores pretty highly for the understatement of the year. It would be decisive.

  18. I have a feeling that the NHS and Coulsongate are going to bring down this Government, possibly within the year.

    Cameron is defending the indefensible with Lansley’s reforms, and sooner or later he’sgoing to get sucked back into explaining his relationship with Coulson and Brooks.

    I find some of the evidence to Levenson quite moving. News International has made lots of people’s lives miserable for no good reason and it is getting aired.

  19. Amberstar

    What do you think will happen to SLD MP’s who vote for the bill if their constituents find out that they voted to destroy the NHS in England, and there is uncertainty about Roger’s point?

  20. Phil – No, I wouldn’t go that far. Polling companies tweak their methodology fairly often and it normally makes fairly small differences that don’t need to be treated as breaks in the data trend.

    I’d only treat drastic changes in approach as necessitating that – ICM in 1993/1994 is probably one, MORI in 2003? (when they started filtering by likelihood to vote) and perhaps 2008 (the shift from f2f to phone).


    I checked on Roger’s point. I’m told that European rules apply to markets – not to the whole of a member state, unless it has a single market.

  22. Astounding accusations against Brookes and News International at today’s Leveson hearing… News of the World were both paying a ‘Private Detective’ who was a suspect in a murder case, and they were also conducting surveillance against the investigating officers into that murder. *And* that sources inside the Met had passed on information about the investigating officers to them.

  23. @ John B

    The SLDs will be gone, if they vote for the Bill & it has anegative effect on Scotland.

    Keep in mind, the SNP has MPs in Westminster who, I believe, usually sit out such votes. They had better quickly reconsider their approach. If the Bill could have a knock-on effect for Scotland they need to get off the fence & vote against it, don’t you think?

    Or perhaps a specific challenge to the Bill by the devolved nations should be mounted & legal clarity – not bland assurances – sought as a matter of urgency.

    There is no political capital for them in ignoring it & pretending they can make it go away, ‘after independence’. It is a Europe issue & the SNP platform is independence within Europe. They need to act now, or Labour in Scotland will be handed a big issue to campaign with, if this Bill passes without the SNP voting or taking action against it.

  24. @AmberStar
    I doubt that the LD’s fortunes would recover at all from their current near-nadir if Clegg and the Orange Bookers were dragged, kicking and screaming by the wider party membership, to withdraw support for the NHS Bill against their better judgement. Clegg will be judged by his nailing his colours to the mast of Lansley’s Bill, not what others force him to do against his better judgement.

    The only version of your scenario where I could see a limited recovery would be if, on the back of such a defeat, Clegg were ousted from the leadership and a new leadership marked a break from the past by moving initially to confidence and supply. Whether that might happen is entirely another matter, however rational a course it might be.

  25. NICKP

    @”News International has made lots of people’s lives miserable”

    ….not forgetting the list of “public servants” who willingly took Rupert’s Silver to provided tittle & tattle about innocents to who’s lives they had privileged , & lucrative access.

    Sue Akers’ evidence mentions a “network” of corrupt officials including from the NHS, the Prison Service & the POlice.

    I have just heard on the radio that at today’s proceedings, the loan of a horse from the Met to Brookes was disclosed.

    All the politicians who prostituted themselves to the NI paymasters , were no better than the corrupt civil servants for whom they were responsible.

    But the blame game will not be restricted to DC-oh no-it goes back to the days of Blair & Blair , a duo who presided over much of this disgrace.

  26. NBeale – how depressing. More often journalists at least know they’ve over egged it a bit, but the’ve got a job to do to hang a story on stuff. Very sad that they don’t even acknowledge the problem.

    I feel another letter to the readers editor coming on. Last time I didn’t even get a reply!

  27. @ Old Nat

    I’m told that European rules apply to markets – not to the whole of a member state, unless it has a single market.
    Bland assurances?

  28. NBeale – … and of course, the answer is “Because Observer readers should be able to trust stories they read in the paper to be fair, honest and accurate as they stand, in both strict fact and the implication and impression they create.

    They should not have to carefully read the metaphorical small print to discover the story is, in fact, tripe”

    “Keep in mind, the SNP has MPs in Westminster who, I believe, usually sit out such votes.”

    Hosie Stewart, Angus MacNeil, Mike Weir, Eilidh Whiteford and Pete Wishart all voted with Labour to have the report of the NHS Risk Register released.

  30. @ Colin

    I have just heard on the radio that at today’s proceedings, the loan of a horse from the Met to Brookes was disclosed.
    Anybody can foster a retiring police animal; horses are unusual because not many folks have the facilities needed.

    It’s much more common with police dogs. My family had an alsation which was retired due to ‘medical’ issues after a fairly short career.

    The media are getting in a lather about nothing, on this horse thing. The press’s willingness to go galloping up a blind alley in the middle of hugely important events, never ceases to amaze me.

  31. “Widespread competition was introduced to the NHS by Labour’s 2006 National Health Service Act, but without the public debate that is now taking place. The 2006 Act opened up the NHS to the risk of EU competition law being applied in a way that leaves commissioners unable to choose the best way of delivering services. Labour’s legislation meant private providers were favoured over NHS hospitals and paid millions for work which they never did. Very simply, Labour’s 2006 Act does not put patients first.

    In the Lords, myself and colleagues are working hard to plug the loopholes left in Labour’s 2006 Health Act, namely that:

    *out of hours work was handed over to the private sector
    *Labour rigged the market in favour of the private sector. For instance, Independent Sector Treatment Centres were paid around 11% more than the NHS price
    *There was no overall cap at all on private income for Foundation Trusts
    *There was no provision in the legislation to say all private income profit must be reinvested in NHS services
    *Labour deliberately went out of their way to encourage the involvement of the private sector. Labour’s PFI contracts for the NHS have left the Government a total liability of £65 billion.

    To address the above issues Liberal Democrats have ensured that where competition is introduced it should be on quality not price.
    In addition to this, following the listening exercise the Bill changed so that the health care regulator Monitor will now have a core duty to protect and promote patients’ interests and will no longer be required to promote competition as if it were an end in itself. We have also ruled out competition on price for all tariffed services and will also require commissioners to follow ‘best value’ principles when tendering for non-tariff services, rather than simply choosing the lowest price. This means that providers cannot ‘cherry-pick’ the profitable easy clinical cases.

    Further to this, we will be trying to plug Labour’s loopholes at Report Stage of the Bill by pressing amendments:

    to cut out Competition Commission involvement in reviewing Monitor and the effectiveness of competition in the NHS
    to retain the regulation of Foundation Trusts beyond 2016
    and ensure that under EU law NHS activities are where possible excluded from the rigour of EU competitition law, so that patients come first.

    At the end of the day we want to see competition based on quality where there is evidence that it works in the best interests of patients, but we wish to keep Foundation Trusts firmly within the NHS because that will ensure NHS patients receive the best care possible.”

    Lord Clement Jones
    Feb 2012

  32. @ Liz H,

    Thank you; I did not know that & I’m very glad to hear it. It indicates to me, that the SNP may well vote against the bill itself.

  33. colin

    Fully accepted that (New) Labour were in bed with Murdoch too. Doesn’t excuse any of them.

    I would like to see some long sentences and it would be nice to hear some mea culpa from Cameron, Osborne and Blair (and to some extent Campbell and maybe Brown too).

    But I don’t think we’ll get a peep out of any of them. The two Millibands were embroiled too but David more than Ed as far as I can tell. Gove looks completely in their pocket.

    The Sun and News of The World under Brooks and Coulson seem to have been criminal organisatiosn, near as dammit. Hugh Grant compared them to the Krays hobnobbing with the MPs and I think it fits.

  34. @ Colin

    Smoke & mirrors. If that were an accurate interpretation of the existing legislation, what would be the point of Lansley’s bill?

    “It indicates to me, that the SNP may well vote against the bill itself.”

    Lets hope so. Just for your information these are the Westminster MPs who have voted against or abstained on Labour’s motion re releasing the NHS Risk Register http://mpswhobetrayedthenhs.wordpress.com/

  36. I agree with amber about the horse. In fact, it looks like a deliberate smokescreen. A straw man that Brooks can keep knocking down instead of explaining why, for instance, she was spying on a police officer and his wife in an attempt to help a (suspected) murderer get off.

  37. @Anthony Wells
    Fair enough, I agree that it’s a matter of degree.

    What’s irking me about this ComRes change is that they’ve tried to sneak it in under the counter. We’re left with the certainty that ComRes are now doing something beyond the weighting for turnout applied to both initial and squeeze responses in January, but we have no idea what. Their polling methodology statement appears to be unchanged. It’s difficult to accept published polls at face value when you know that the methodology black box isn’t working as described.

    Bear in mind also that ComRes overstated the Con lead (at Con 37 v Lab 28) in their final 2010 GE poll, so I’m surprised that they’re making changes which would appear to widen the direction of that error by some 1.5%, at least without properly explaining their reasoning.

  38. OldNat

    Thanks for that reply on the marketisation of the NHS. Of course it all depends how the EU define a ‘market’. You can certainly see the big health companies, once happily settled in England, casting their eyes outside its borders and looking for fresh meat. They could well try to use EU law to force their way into those markets.

    Incidentally I’m always amused by denunciations of NHS bureaucracy by those who want the market to rule. Do they have any idea what they are letting themselves in for? What you end up with is two enormous bureaucracies – one public, one private, both paid for by the taxpayer – keeping an eye on each other. Of course, the growth in administration dates back before the current government (or its predecessor) mainly due to various previous attempts to introduce the magical market into the system.

  39. Can I just say that I have no faith in either the market or competition to bring any more value into any public service whatsoever.

    Why do you think we invented the NHS and took the railways and coal and the rest into public ownership? Because if we hadn’t we just ended up with monopolies, a few rich people and very poor service or none at all for people with little resources.

  40. Phil – as far as I know they are doing some extra turnout modelling, but are experimenting with some different approaches so their methodology is “in flux” as it were. Andrew Hawkins has promised me a full update once they nail things down.

    The BPC requirements are for companies to publish tables, and for them to answer any reasonable questions about their methodology from people who contact them.

    While ICM always have an updated methodology statement at the start of each set of tables, and at YouGov we always try to put out an article giving a full explanation for methodology changes (as have Populus and MORI in the past) it’s really not a BPC requirement. I’d merely suggest it was good practice.

  41. NickP,

    “Because if we hadn’t we just ended up with monopolies”

    I am always amazed by the threat of the possibility of a monopoly as an argument for introducing the certainty of a monopoly.

    It’s possible that if I don’t cut your head off you will die of cancer. Therefore, I will cut your head off.

  42. If you are going to have one provider, let it be non profit making 9or rather, the profits get shared by everyone).

    Look at Camelot. Why on earth should that not be done by a non-profit making organisation?

  43. @Anthony


  44. Anthony,
    I hope that once Coms Res have decided on which if any changes to stick with the recalculate the results of polls during the flux period so that they are all on the same basis.
    Not cos Lab may benefit (they may not and it is irrelevant to snapshot narratives) but so we and others can judge their poll trends accurately.
    I am sure Andrew will do this for you if you ask nicely but you would think his clients would require it as newspapers like things to be accurate….don’t they?

  45. Just hopping back briefly to the conversation about whether the Lib Dems should have demanded PR, as an ex-Lib Dem but now Labour (and I could quite easily be persuaded back), I think it was a poor strategy move to go into the Coalition without a definite carrot.

    It’s a historical fact that the junior partner in the coalition does worse. Almost every example in British history proves this, as does the global scale (as I’m sure Virgilio will back me up on). Off the top of my head, I can’t actually think of an example where the junior partner of a non-wartime administration goes on to improve upon its share of the vote.

    Given this, going into the coalition, the Lib Dems should have known it was going to be a set-back in terms of popularity. There are two ways the Lib Dems are going to have any serious power in the British system, and that’s by either replacing Labour or the Conservatives as the Opposition, and thus being seen as a viable vote, or by altering the voting system so that their vote is viable right away.

    Going into the coalition dramatically reduces their popularity, and so negatively impacts the first way. That means, for a coalition to have a net gain, voting system change is necessary. That doesn’t have to be PR, but something like AV shouldn’t have been referendum material, it should have been an absolute requirement.

    If the Liberal Democrats hadn’t gone into coalition, they wouldn’t have lost votes because people wouldn’t see them as a realistic government party, because people simply don’t see them as a realistic government party anyway. So, if the Tories were absolutely and totally unwilling to offer surefire electoral reform, the Liberal Democrats should have simply allowed them to form a minority government, and then focus on becoming the Opposition at the next election. This probably wouldn’t have been too difficult. Cleggmania would still exist, and the Labour Party was (and is) a shambles, which people are drawn to as the only leftish party they feel they can “trust”.

    But yeah, that’s my two cents.

  46. NickP,

    “If you are going to have one provider, let it be non profit making 9or rather, the profits get shared by everyone).”

    And the losses get shared by everyone. So if a nationalised industry is doing badly, then the public picks up the tab regardless of whether they want to or not.

    Furthermore, monopoly status isn’t a once-and-for-all thing. Railways were natural monopolies in the 19th century; they are not today because of technological developments. Coal and steel have never been natural monopolies. Telephones were natural monopolies, but mobile phones have changed that.

    However, when a former monopoly gets exposed to competition (like mail, though that’s obviously never been a natural monopoly) it can either be forced to compete if it’s a private industry or it will be buttressed by the state, either through laws banning competition or through subsidy (the postal monopoly has benefitted from a mix of both). This is the accountability difference: private business is answerable to the people in a way that the state is not.

    If people really disliked monopoly (rather than profit-making) then there would be mass support for free trade and measures to create a more dynamic, innovative private sector to break monopolies through technological developments. Instead, monopolies survive through a mix of dislike of profit-making, mythology, or just plain inertia.

    Incidentally, why is there only one Monopolies and Mergers Commission?

    (We’d have even more monopolies if we didn’t have central banks. Governments can now finance themselves through creating money, whereas back in Elizabethean/Stewart times they would sell off monopolies- sometimes by auction- as a supplement to the ancient financing trick of coin debasement.)

  47. Amber

    More than a bland assurance. I was referred to “EU competition law and health policy” by Lear, Mossialos & Karl, for further detail.

  48. I am not sure your argument about sharing the losses bears examination.

    First, a service has to be delivered (keeping roads and rail open for instance). If transport is subsidised by the taxpayer, the taxpayer gets cheaper transport. Which helps trade.

    And don’t talk to me about the privately owned banks. They KEEP any profits, even though we pay off the losses. They even take profit based bonuses while they owe us trillions. They are a cartel and effectively a monopoly by sharing the risk amongst themselves they ensure they cannot go bust without taking us all down with them.

  49. Donations pouring in to 38 Degrees to put up billboards across London next week to ask Cameron to stop the damaging NHS reforms. At the moment 7269 people have donated £99362 and more is coming in by the minute.

  50. Comments regarding LDs and PR are interesting. The Tories said at the time they would simply not go into coalition if PR was a condition. They only offered a referendum on AV because they thought talks with Labour were going better than they were.

    It is simple. Had the LDs demanded STV, there would have been no coalition. The choice was coaltition with and AV referendum or Conservative minority government.

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