The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 32%(+4), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 9%(-2), UKIP 11%(-1). Changes are from ComRes’s previous phone poll (as opposed to their parallel online polls for the Sunday Indy) conducted at the end of last month.

Meanwhile today’s twice-weekly Populus poll also recorded a five point lead for Labour, in their case the topline figures were CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 7%. Populus tabs are here.

Also out are the tables for a recent YouGov poll on immigration (it was published in the Times on Saturday, but tabs went up this morning here). Note firstly that while immigration has actually fallen over the last couple of years, the vast majority of people (73%) think that it is continuing to rise, only 7% think it has dropped over the last couple of years – a reminder that official statistics on the news are often not noticed or not believed. There is an equal lack of awareness of what government policy is on immigration. 37% of people say they have a good idea or a fairly good idea of what government policy on immigration is, but even then people are rather overestimating their knowledge – only 19% could actual pick out David Cameron’s stated aim of reducing net immigration to the tens out thousands.

Also interesting to note is people’s differing attitudes towards different groups of immigrants. 72% of people think the country should allow fewer (or no) unskilled immigrants, but people are actually far more welcoming about other groups. 63% are either happy with current levels or would like to see more skilled immigration, 68% are happy with the current or higher numbers of foreign students coming here. People are even split over asylum seekers (though we deliberately avoided using the actual phrase!) – 48% would be happy with more or the current levels of people fleeing persecution, 38% think there should be fewer or none at all.

393 Responses to “Latest Comres & Populus VI, YouGov on immigration”

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  1. leftylampton


    I’d t
    Have thought the point was blindingly obvious. Should the ability to vote on an epochal issue be decided by residency? Should someone who moved 3 hours down the train line but who considers himself “Scottish” be disenfranchised in the single most important decision on the future if his country?

    Absolutely.. Honest I don’t have any sympathy for your hypothesis.

    Don’t I get a vote on the police commissioners in England being English myself? I mean that election really set the heather on fire and I got no ticket.

  2. NICKP

    “Fortunately for the majority, polling evidence about both the Scottish Independence referendum and the next UK general Election shows that both those things are not going to happen for a good while yet”

    You are correct of course, one will be in 10 months and the other will be around 18 or so months away.

  3. ALEC

    Thanks for that balanced post.

    I wouldn’t disagree. Presenting a utopian future as the consequence of one political decision is an impossible task (if anyone tried to do that).

    Similarly, presenting the consequences of that decision as unrelenting doom, gloom and risk is also a message unlikely to be believed.

    Undecided voters (at least on the STV focus group discussions) have shown a healthy willingness to have doubts on both stances that expressed certainty.

  4. If there is a split, it will be mutually agreed.

    I accept what Alec says about the likelihood of the SNP having to breach current red-lines, particularly on the status of Faslane. But I truthfully believe that if the Scots call it a day on Union that the Coalition will be constructive and magnanimous in negotiating their exit. I think that all of the current hints to the contrary are simply political campaigning to prevent a “Yes” vote in the first place.

    If I was a Scot who genuinely felt my country would be a happier, better place outside the Union, I wouldn’t be particularly troubled by a degree of uncertainty over international issues. I would assume (like the SNP) that they will be worked out.

    As it happens, I am an English Briton, who feels that Scotland, Wales and Ireland are part of “my” country – and who feels the same stirrings of sentiment at tales of French soldiers surrendering to Welsh housewives and the sound of Lord Lovat’s piper striding across Normandy as I do about Alan Turing’s tireless codebreaking or the deeds of the Glorious Glosters.

    That’s what’s not being communicated. The sense of shared identity. Of what we have in common, and how that trumps what divides us.

  5. There’s a strong sense in which I feel it’s not the place of us English to care. This has to be a Scottish decision, and good luck to them, whatever choice they make.

    It involves the rest of the UK when they say things like they wish to keep the pound, however, simply because that can have consequences for the rest of the UK and it’s not a choice the Scots can make in a one-sided way. Yet again, we have to butt out on the oil front. It’s Scottish. If they choose independence, that’s no more the UK’s than Saudi oil.

    Get off their backs, I say. Let them choose, pressurised only by each other – and yes, the logic of that implies we should allow Cornwall to be independent as well, and so on, and so on.

    The case for large political conglomerates, like Europe, has not been made, in my opinion. The USA has a constitution that makes such an arrangement acceptable to its citizens, but Europe’s economic but not political ‘airfix’ is by no means satisfying to all Europeans.

  6. Latest YouGov for Sun:

    CON 32
    LAB 39
    LD 10
    UKIP 12

  7. NEIL A

    The history of Whitehall dealing with its former territories, tends to support your assessment of mutual agreement for a sensible transition.

    I have a lot of sympathy with your emotional [that’s not meant in any derogatory sense] stance about being an “English Briton”, and the loss you might feel.

    Mind you, do you feel any less affectionate about the Duke of Wellington because he was British at the time – but would now be Irish?

    Shared history doesn’t disappear.

  8. @NeilA

    What about the Auld Alliance of France and Scotland against the English?

  9. @OldNat,

    It’s not the loss of shared history I would mourn, but the loss of future shared endeavours. I want the next Bill Millin to be my countryman, not just the last.

  10. NEIL A

    I feel British and have no issue on supporting the Tories at UK level. Something I have stated on this site before.

    On Scottish issues I trust and voted for the SNP and up until a few months ago I was undecided on the independence issue.

    I feel British part Scots and I’m English (Scottish father though so all is not lost). If it’s a YES vote then none of what I feel will change except the fact I will be living in an independent country making decisions that matter to the people living in Scotland.

    I mean we had people saying they thought the SNP would bring out all the flags etc, crickey some on here are brining out old cheap dusty bunting bought from Poundland to beef up their Britishness.

  11. @RogerH,

    And what of the struggle against the Pagan Saxons. Or Boudicca’s resistance against the oppressive Romans?

  12. mrnameless

    Latest YouGov for Sun:

    CON 32
    LAB 39
    LD 10
    UKIP 12

    That set of results is almost as disappointing as the Celtic score tonight.

  13. NEIL A

    Oddly (for some on here) I had a discussion with some fellow Yes supporters a while back. We were all agreed that the UK could have been made to work, if it hadn’t become so London-centric in the 2nd half of the 20th century.

    Had Labour stuck to its Home Rule policies (at least those espoused by it in Scotland) and actually implemented them, this discussion may never have taken place.

  14. @Oldnat

    As you probably know I’m a UK-federalist. I’ve never bought the argument that you can’t have an equal-status federation between unequal-population components.

    What I am hoping for is a “No” vote next year, followed by a gradual inching towards federalism and an English parliament in time for the next referendum which will I will hopefully get to see when I’m a pensioner.

  15. Also if it’s a YES vote then as Salmond said the assets will be shared so I would expect at least 2 of the Queens Corgis to be shuffled north and reside at Hollyrood.

    Holly and Willow will become Tartan and Bunnet.

  16. Do they not have holly bushes and willow trees in Scotland?

  17. NEIL A

    I’m trying to be serious on this issue if you don’t mind. ;-)

  18. @ Carfrew, Old Nat

    But the current fave, is that when asked how things will turn out with currency, Nato, EU etc., all you can say is that… wait for it… The voters will decide!!
    No, they won’t. And that is the problem which the Yes campaign has. The voters in Scotland get a vote on Yes or No. Thereafter they do not get to decide.


    It’s also quite conceivable in the event of a YES vote and after the first elections to a new Scottish parliament the country might ditch NATO, the EU and set up their own currency.

  20. NEIL A

    In harsh political terms, what motivation would there be for Westminster to implement any “gradual inching towards federalism”, if Scotland votes No?

    The current Barnett Formula (totally unfair for genuine Brits) and the devolved Parliament itself only happened because of the “threat” (as Westminster saw it) of Scottish independence.

    Go further back in history to the 19th century, and you see Scottish politicians (like the very Unionist Walter Scott) playing that same card to avoid incorporation into the Westminster system.

    If Scots vote No to independence next September they will have given up their ace card in levering more autonomy from Westminster.

    Indeed, there would be no political leverage to prevent Westminster from reducing Scottish autonomy within the UK, and/or reducing the funding that Scotland has levered out of the UK Exchequer with the threat of “separation”.


    “No, they won’t. And that is the problem which the Yes campaign has. The voters in Scotland get a vote on Yes or No. Thereafter they do not get to decide.”


    Yes, you have a point. I was going easy on him though…

  22. AMBER

    In a representative democracy, I’m not sure that I see an alternative to voters choosing the Government which they trust most (or distrust least) to take decisions on their behalf.

    Personally, I’m intrigued by the concept of some form of consultative democracy on a number of issues. There are obvious potential problems, but also potntial solutions.

    Maybe we should vote Yes and create a forum for the people to determine their own constitution – as Iceland did.

    Sovereignty residing in the “Queen in Parliament” is SO 18th century.

  23. A new series of marginal polls is being undertaken, first one here:

    “We are publishing this poll now .. as part of a series of voting intention constituency polls to be published in December looking at Labour / Conservative marginals where UKIP may be a factor in the 2015 general election.”

    South Thanet
    Labour 35%
    Con 28%
    LD 5%
    UKIP 30%

    Seat was conservative by 48% vs 31% Labour in 2010.


    Thanks for that lnk. How fascinating. Do we know how many other seats in England (I presume) they have polled?


    2010 Full results (change from 2010 in brackets)

    Thanet South – Con 48% (-20%) : Lab 31.4% (- 4%) : LD 15.1% (-10%) : UKIP 5.5%(+25%)

  26. @Oldnat

    According to this Guardian article there will be 8 in all

    “The poll in a key Labour-Tory marginal is one of eight constituency surveys being conducted by Survation for Ukip donors……… In total more than 5,000 people will have been polled in the exercise. In Thanet, 515 people were questioned between 19 and 25 November.

  27. This site also has a good background on South Thanet’s electoral history, and an analysis of the local election results in each ward by party


    Ta. What’s the moe on a sample of around 500? (I should know the answer after years on here! :-) )


    Presumably UKIP have identified their “best” 8 Lab-Con marginals. Will sufficient Tories/LDs in such seats be influenced by these polls to shift their vote to UKIP to keep Labour out?

  30. @Oldnat

    Sorry, no idea…remember I am still a beginner at this polling stuff! I’ll let an expert reply.

    What I did notice from the tables:

    There are more undecided(123) than there are people saying they would vote for the leading party Labour (110). 65 of those undecided voters say they are 10/10 likely to vote. 60 of those undecided voters voted in 2010, mostly for Conservative or Labour.

    Labour and UKIP voters are more likely to have not voted in 2010 vs Conservative voters. So they are either picking up people who stayed at home in 2010 who now see a reason to vote, or they are picking up the new voters as part of generational churn.

  31. The MoE for a sample of 515 is approx +/- 4.3%
    (at the usual 95% confidence)


    ” I am still a beginner at this polling stuff”

    I know how you feel! Sometimes I try to cheer myself up by imagining that MARTYN or ROGER MEXICO, who could give an instant answer to the moe question, couldn’t recite all of Buddy Holly’s lyrics. Then i get depressed again, because they probably can, :-(

    Your more detailed analysis is pretty neat, though!



  34. Not an expert but I think the moe is ±4.5%.

    The chance that these polls will influence tactical voting in 2015 is slim, especially if you’re suggesting voting UKIP to keep Labour out. Currently-Ex-Tory voters will get cold feet about switching to UKIP nearer the time. The regular non-voters who now say they will vote UKIP will probably remain regular non-voters. These constituencies will be battered by Tory , LD and Labour campainging. What difference will a poll 2 years before make?

  35. If you want to calculate it yourself in future, it’s roughly the reciprocal of the square root of the sample size.

    So, take the square root of the sample size…
    Then divide the number 1, by this square root.

    So, the square root of 515 is about… 22.69

    Then it is…
    1 ÷ 22.69 = MoE

  36. Or… 1/22.69
    (the division sign ÷ looks rather like the “plus” sign on my tablet…)


    For English elections, I ask questions rather than make suggestions, The UKIP effect is not something I have experience of.

    I understand the idea that at a GE, voters might revert to choosing between Ed or Dave as the preferable PM – – but that relies on thinking that there is sufficient difference between them for that to be a concern.

    I’m not wholly convinced that that would result in their necessarily not voting for the 3rd party candidate (LDs being 4th) in order to pressure whichever Government resulted from the election.

    I sometimes get the impression that, in England, some political geeks can’t envisage a disengagement by the voters from the dominant image of an epic Lab/Con struggle for control of the known world.

    Outsiders, however, can fail to notice nuances that are obvious to those within a political system.

  38. Thanks to all those that replied regarding my questions. I do some freelance work alongside my proper job and a right beaut has landed in my lap, so freetime is perforce limited. Consequently, I cannot answer you all individually. I will however expand further when I can get a free b****y moment….:-(

  39. @OldNat

    Having lived through the SDP insurgency in the 80s I’ve come to the conclusion that moulds are hard to break. Having said that, there was a moment (in 1983) when a breakthrough for Clawwet Jenkins & Co. looked possible. UKIPs position now doesn’t look anywhere near as strong.

    The Euro-elections may boost UKIP a bit, but overall I think the result in your referendum will have a greater impact on the 2015 vote.

  40. Seems I have a post in mod for some reason?

  41. One of the most important findings of the poll is the statement below:

    “Again this question suggests that the line, “vote UKIP get Miliband” is at best ineffective here in South Thanet (where UKIP topped the polls in May) and possibly counterproductive for the Conservatives. In addition, as shown in the previous question, almost as many UKIP voters would vote Labour as Conservative if UKIP were removed from the equation, implying that these UKIP voters here might actually prefer Ed Miliband to become Prime Minister than Cameron”

    If this was replicated elsewhere it would be a nightmare for the Conservative Party and open a whole new can of not so nice tings..

  42. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 26th November – Con 32%, Lab 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%; APP -27

    Five poll rolling average:

    Con 32.2
    Lab 39.6
    LD 9.6
    UKIP 11.8

    Lab Lead 7.4

  43. @OldNat

    “I understand the idea that at a GE, voters might revert to choosing between Ed or Dave as the preferable PM – – but that relies on thinking that there is sufficient difference between them for that to be a concern.”

    No, it doesn’t. Many people vote for illogical reasons. The rational man no more applies in elections than it does in economics. There will be many people who vote Tory because they think Ed Miliband is the next Chairman Mao, and many who vote Labour because they think David Cameron is the next Franco. Neither is ‘correct’. The joys of representative democracy are that a dumb vote counts just as equally as an intelligent vote. Some people will even vote LibDem.

    “In a representative democracy I’m not sure I see the alternative…” (1225) Um you do know that you’re having a referendum on independence? (Smiley)

  44. Shall post later, but two pointers.

    1) Remember what I’ve previously said about how people should be *extremely* sceptical of polls commissioned by political parties or their proxies.

    2) Compare the methodology here, with what Survation have previously done in constituency polling. Note the difference.

    3) Note how the poll would have looked without that difference.

  45. Red Rag – the interpretation there is rubbish too. About a quarter of current UKIP voters said they’d vote Conservative instead to stop Miliband, the rest did not.

    Obviously you can’t judge from a single question that a message would suddenly make 25% of a party’s support switch to a different party – such hypothetical questions are of little worth – but say such a message DID do that, it would not be a bad thing for the Conservatives.

  46. @Richard

    Thanks for drawing our attention the Survation poll, and to Bob for telling us about Laura Sandys’ announcement yesterday.

    Sandys is one of that increasingly rare breed, a pro-EU Tory. Kent MPs are in the main eurosceptic, including a couple of prominent Better Off Outers.

    Sandys’ announcement has nothing to do with any behind-the-scenes planning for a ConUKIP pact/understanding, however, her departure could prove convenient were South Thanet to feature in any arrangement.

  47. It is very likely that the UK government in 2015 will be decided by the Scots, who have their own parliament, and to a lesser extent the Welsh.

    This is the inevitable result of devolution in the context of a narrowing gap between the two main parties and the decline of the Conservatives in Scotland.

    It leaves the English with less choice and less ability to hold ‘their’ government to account than the rest of the UK.

    Independence for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is necessary for English democracy; the only fair and sensible alternative is an end to devolution.

  48. @Oldnat,

    I think you are mistaken to see devolution as a tussle between freedom-loving Celts and imperialist Ango-Saxons, which will tilt in the favour of the Saxons if the vote is lost.

    Most of the English have no issue at all with devolution these days, other than that a lot of us quite fancy a parliament of our own. Taken together with the maturing democracy in Northern Ireland, the push from the Welsh Assembly for more powers, the unfinished business of constitutional reform for the UK and the entrenched nature of devolution in Scotland (and I have to say the rather good track record and example given by Holyrood) I see all the ingredients for inching toward federalism.

    Besides which, I think it is the one outcome that pretty much everyone could probably live with.

  49. The point of the poll from the UKIP side is to dispel the media narrative of this being all about Cons switching to UKIP and that UKIP is a party for disaffected Cons. They badly want to become the opposition to Lab in areas where the Con brand is toxic.

    A 12.5 swing Con->Lab is this in line with Ashcroft?

    I do not detect any SDP like surge and reckon UKIP will be lucky to win even one seat at the GE.

  50. @Neil A (& @Oldnat) – “If there is a split, it will be mutually agreed.”

    I think that’s pretty obvious, but there really is a huge amount riding on what we mean by ‘agreed’.

    I personally don’t think Faslane will be such a big issue, as my suspicion is that many Scots aren’t overly bothered. However, should the SNP have their way, it could genuinely be difficult for them to join Nato – and this would bother many Scots I suspect.

    The currency is the really big one though. It really does define the limits of economic sovereignty, and in large part helps to identify nationality in many ways. There is no question that a split will be mutually agreed, but I can see no circumstances where such a split would provide the SNP their stated aim of using the pound, unless they accept budget limits set in London.

    The fact they have switched policy from the Euro to sterling shows how inept their thinking has been on the currency issue all along, but my principle point on this is that there will be a mutual agreement if there is a yes vote, but the terms of the agreement won’t be on the basis of the SNP’s publication.

    This is why I have always favoured a two stage vote. I simply cannot understand how Scotland can be asked to vote on a settlement that hasn’t been settled. It is, in any logical sense, completely incomprehensible.

    There should be a vote to mandate negotiations for separation, enabling the Scottish government to negotiate terms. Then there should be a vote of the terms negotiated, with all sides agreeing the changes, costs and timetables.

    If I were a Scots elector, I would be steaming with rage that I’m being asked to vote on constitutional settlement that could last for centuries that hasn’t even been agreed.

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