The monthly ComRes poll for the Independent is out tonight. Topline figures are CON 34%(+4), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 12%(-2). The three point Labour lead is the lowest ComRes have shown since last September, and the 34% for the Conservatives the highest since last November.

The drop in the Labour lead and the fading of UKIP support is very much in line with the pattern we’ve seen in the daily YouGov polls, in ICM’s poll this month and in line with the sort of figures Populus are now showing… though it’s worth noting that MORI and some of the new online companies aren’t yet picking up the same pattern.

As to why the polls are narrowing, the harsh truth is that we really can’t tell. There is always a temptation that I see people falling into to reach for the issue you personally care about and ascribing changes in the polls to that (or “why the change in the polls shows that politicians should do the thing I like”) the reality is we can’t tell*, all we can do is look for rough correlations in timing. Personally my best guess is that’s its the result of the ongoing improvement in economic optimism we have seen over the past few months, a rather more controlled Conservative message and the decreased level of publicity UKIP have been receiving.

(*Whenever I make a point like this someone makes the suggestion of asking people. Oh were it so easy! Firstly, if you ask people who gave a different answer 3 or 4 months ago if they’ve changed their mind many won’t realise they have. If you ask why to those who have consciously changed their mind you get lots of don’t knows, general grumbles and some reasons that may be genuine causes, or may be post-hoc rationalisations for complex decisions we probably don’t even understand ourselves.)

424 Responses to “ComRes/Indy – CON 34, LAB 37, LD 10, UKIP 12”

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  1. Populus poll looks like a proper poll at last. About time.

  2. I think the Populus poll for this week proves my point regards the Conservative/UKIP problem and the barrier it puts in front of the Conservative Party to win a majority at the next election. With those figures in 2015(yes I know it is a long way off) Labour would possibly have a triple digit majority.

  3. Richard

    Well they should say

    Mae am gymaint siawns i mi ddod yn pab gan fod y PC ennill 10 sedd!

    But I was being nice!

  4. Lady Megan Lloyd George was Liberal MP for Anglesey 1929 – 1951 – so there is some hope for LibDems there!

  5. Always said Populus the only pollster to take seriously.

    I wonder if we get some examples for Anthony’s occasional bad reporting pieces; and again on Monday when Labour’s lead will be said to have over the weekend when it was not big really before hand.

    In reality another Lab 38-40 is normal but the Tory vote probably the outlier maybe even outside moe on Populus.

  6. Interesting from Populus – a basic summary is that the Labour poll is steady and Tories/Ukip trade swing voters. Clearly no one poll is right so its back to looking at the spreads and the trends. It seems pretty clear to me that the Labour position has softened a couple of percent towards 38.

    However, I read much glee from Tories who point to the narrower polls as proof that they’re winning. Not when you average out the 10/11 point Labour lead ones, and that chunky gap doesn’t seem to want to go away.

  7. oopps missed out fallen!!

    I wonder if we get some examples for Anthony’s occasional bad reporting pieces; and again on Monday when Labour’s lead will be said to have fallen over the weekend when it was not really 11% before hand.

  8. Populus

    Tories 29 LD 11 UKIP 12 and Labour 40
    Labour lead 53% to 23% in the 18-24 Cross break which makes a change from the implausible YouGov figures for this age group.

    Tories only ahead in the over 65’s (Their core membership?)

  9. An article by John Harris in the Guardian (June 26) picked out one YouGov x-break of Con 31%, Lab 27% for the 18-24 age group in support of his contention “Generation Y: why young voters are backing the Conservatives.”

    This followed an article by Shiv Malik (June 18) “Tories win over Generation Y while losing touch with older voters” sumarising IpsosMORI reseach which shows support for the Tories doubling over the decade to 2012 among generation Y voters (from 10% to 20%).

    More recently research by David Stuckler and Aaron Reeves goes some way to contradict the notion that “Generation Y is hard-hearted”… and discusses the effect of framing questions about social security/welfare, and the shifting of the general tone of the debate (including concerns about the impariality of BBC coverage) when it comes to reinforcing misconceptions about the prevalence of fraud in the system etc:


  10. Tories only ahead in the over 65?s ”

    Steve – and they’ve still got two years to survive to make a difference come the GE. Knife edge stuff and the Tories will be caught between saving money on the NHS or pouring it in for us right thinking older folk.

    Wotta dilemma.

  11. hyfda uyryl dffal cardiif yhly looky boyo to all my luvly luvly Welsh friends by the way.

    ]with apologies to AinW]

  12. I really would like to hear from Anthony the expert on these matters why on polls conducted on the same days the Conservatives can be respectively ahead by 2% and behind by 30% in the same age cross break.

    The rest of the figures and the overall support levels are all within MOE of each other but this does seem frankly odd and is something of a trend.

    It might explain why YouGov are consistently giving Conservative support above that of other pollsters.

  13. Steve: Perhaps YG’s under 24 are bonkers?

    Mind you I thought they all were.

  14. Of course the other question is what are all these derivatives for, the quantity is mind blowing, not just bigger than the world economy but many times over, and all of these are being traded. If the interest rate derivative market is 20 times bigger than the bond market then which market is it that is deciding interest rates? Oil derivatives, currency derivatives, credit derivatives, just about anything you can think of has a derivative and a few things you would never think of. Would it be fair to say that every time a bank creates an oil derivative, it’s printing oil because that “fake” oil trades just like oil, if so then what is being created when interest rate derivatives are written?

  15. You know most people are blissfully unaware of what goes on in the financial world, I wonder what they would think about derivatives being so much bigger than the real economy, unfortunately you can’t really honestly poll people about a subject which they have no of very little knowledge, bit it doesn’t usually stop the polling companies, lol

  16. Steve – I have nothing to add to what Roger said earlier, it’s a small volatile cross break. It **WILL** spit out ununusual and freakish looking results on a relatively frequent basis. There have been quite a few showing increased Tory support lately – it could be a sign that there is some movement there… or could equally well be pure chance.

    They should make little or no difference to the overall figures because the samples are politically weighted. If random chance gives too many Tories in the under 25s sample one day, then there will be too few somewhere else… as a whole the proportions will be the same as every other day.

  17. @RiN

    What is being traded in an interest rate derivative is simply exposure to a particular interest rate.

    As an example, the simplest form of IRD, an IR ‘swap’, swaps exposure to floating interest rates for exposure to a fixed interest rate.

    The simplest example I always start with when explaining this is a fixed rate mortgage:
    – I want to borrow my mortgage at a fixed rate (say 5%) so that I know for sure what the repayments are.
    – My building society wants to give me this mortgage; but it wants income that goes up and down with base rates, because what it pays its depositors also goes up and down with base rates.
    – So, the BS ‘swaps’ the 5% income stream from my fixed rate mortgage for a floating rate income stream from a bank of LIBOR + 2% – it trades an IR swap. The notional of the swap will be the same as the size of my mortgage.
    – the Bank now receives 5% fixed rate and pays floating rate of Libor + 2% to the BS; if interest rates rise it will lose money. So it buys an offsetting swap from another bank, normally one which has an equal and opposite risk taken from a third party who wants to receive fixed and pay floating (like an annuity provider).

    In this way my £100,000 mortgage can generate £400,000 or more in notional swaps, whereas the related GDP for the underlying economic activity is the 2% margin the BS makes on my mortgage, i.e. £2,000.

    Hence the relationship between IRD notional and GDP is meaningless. You have to look at the level of unhedged risk and the effectiveness of the collateralisation process in order to assess the real level of systemic risk.

    The risk of a sharp spike in interest rates is that these will cause the value of the bonds given in collateral to fall, resulting in cash calls against the banks that are giving that collateral that they may not be able to meet. These collateral calls should only be large if there is a bank out there running large open IR risk, which is unlikely given the pressure on all banks to drastically reduce their open exposures since 2008.

  18. I read the various posts on the present horror in Coventry with interest,particularly those from Neil A.
    I was a Teacher for nearly 30 years and spent the last three working for a private company who provided care and education for children with severe behavioural difficulties,these were children who needed to be educated individually and who required constant one to one supervision,the per child charge to their Education Authorities started at £300,000 per year.
    What struck me about the Child protection system within which we as an organisation functioned was how comparitively effective it was,ONCE A PROBLEM HAD BEEN IDENTIFIED . Up until that point any outrage could be perpetrated on some poor child somewhere in the country.The figure that is frequently quoted is 70 deaths per year of children killed by their carers.
    That’s a big problem , and one where the level of resources needed to do anything to change things is much more than our Society would be willing to countenance,for instance an education welfare officer in each infant and primary school would cost around £1-2 billion per annum,and you would still get cases such as the Coventry one occuring.

    Back to polling matters, l tend to agree with Roger Mexico that theUKIP will often fall victim to well organised and experienced campaigners from the 3 main parties,throwing the kitchen sink at particular by-elections. What will happen when theUKIP’s 10-14 % comes out to vote at a G.E. is probably more of a worry for the Tories than anybody else,hence their trimming to the right in order to reduce the UKIP vote as much as possible.

  19. Big Ron

    Ok I sort of understand but it seems strange to buy exposure to interest rate changes and then buy insurance against that exposure, but in the credit default swap market it is not necessary to own the debt that you are insuring against default, so Goldman sold a load of debt instruments and then brought credit default swaps on them enabling them to make money when they sold the debt and make money when it defaulted, I’m guessing that given the immense size of the interest swap market that the same kind of thing must be true, also their is half of the outstanding IRS which we don’t know who the counterparty is. Which is worrying! But to get back to my question, we know that credit default swap markets affect the interest rate markets, we could see that quite clearly with the piigs but does the interest swap market have an effect on interest rates and if so how much, also given that banks have been caught manipulating foreign exchange rates using forex derivatives could the same thing happen with interest rate swaps?

  20. TURK

    THanks-reprimand accepted !

  21. Has anyone noticed the Scottish cross-break? It’s a large one too (by its standards). The typical cross-break sample is 150-155, while today’s one is 213.

    Lab 41
    Con 21
    SNP 15
    Lib 14
    UKIP 6
    Green 2

    Do larger samples produce more reliable polls? SNP supporters would not agree in this case. The previous poll has a sample of 183, and the one before that a paltry 91. Add up the six most recent polls with a combined sample of 980:

    Lab 36.8
    Con 23.2
    SNP 21.7
    Lib 10.2
    UKIP 4.3
    Green 2.3

    I think that has been the source of some of the narrowing of the UK lead. Compare the MAD data for the 30 days including this most recent poll:

    Lab 40.1
    Con 21.0
    SNP 23.9
    Lib 7.6
    UKIP 3.5
    Green 1.9

    I think that Labour have been losing a little in Scotland. Where are they making up the difference though? London.

    In the first half of July, Labour dropped form low 40s to high 30s in London, but were higher elsewhere (similar, but smaller scale drop in RoS, which has a larger population). In the past two weeks, some of this has recovered, but in Scotland they have dropped from 41-42% to 37%. Something happened, that after the 22nd of July the polls drop. Something in the sampling? A politically influencing news story?

    To sum up, Labour’s lead is not solid at 39% or 40%. It is fluctuating a fair bit, but the regional changes are going unnoticed, as folk go “No change”. Let me paint you a picture of the Scottish seats:


    Lab 41
    Lib 11
    SNP 6
    Con 1

    22 polls up to 22nd of July:

    Lab 43 (+2)
    SNP 7 (+1)
    Lib 5 (-6)
    Con 4 (+3)

    Now we’ve generally seen a Lib Dem loss of six seats, and those gaining have fluctuated. However, see this:

    8 polls from 23rd July to today:

    Lab 41 (n/c)
    Lib 7 (-4)
    SNP 6 (n/c)
    Con 5 (+4)

    It’s almost as if Scotland is once again reverting to 2010 seats, with the LDs losing seats to Con. Bear in mind that the 2005 to 2010 changes were absolutely zero.

    The short, short version is, that until Labour drop below 35%, they will get about 40 seats, so while their VI has dropped, they have a good margin yet.

  22. @RiN
    The Credit Derivative market, of which CDS make up the largest component, are a totally different issue IMHO and I agree that they are really dangerous.

    They are really insurance policies against a credit event; insurance companies survive by knowing that the events they insure against are generally unrelated – i.e. people die of heart attacks or have car accidents in a relatively random manner – but if something happens in the wider world that affects a load of people (like a natural disaster) then insurance companies can be in big trouble. Hence insurance companies are strongly encouraged to spread their risk to any particular location or group.

    For some reason bankers and regulators ignored this systemic risk, plus there was no clear way to measure the risk on the ‘policy’ or agree how to value it.

    Credit Derivatives have a place, but they need to be heavily regulated IMHO…

  23. Big Ron

    Well an answer to my question has popped up somewhere else, I think they call that serendipity, weird, anyhow, what do you make of this

    “Recorded telephone calls and e-mails reviewed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show that traders at Wall Street banks instructed ICAP Plc brokers in Jersey City, New Jersey, to buy or sell as many interest-rate swaps as necessary to move the benchmark rate, known as ISDAfix, to a predetermined level, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.By rigging the measure, the banks stood to profit on separate derivatives trades they had with clients who were seeking to hedge against moves in interest rates. Banks sought to change the value of the swaps because the ISDAfix rate sets prices for the other derivatives, which are used by firms from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to Pacific Investment Management Co., said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public”

  24. @RiN
    Should be treated as criminal IMHO – same as theft.

    But the fact that some (many?) banks were rigging the interest rate market doesn’t mean they will fold if rates go up…

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