Tag Archives: comres

Six months from 7th May 2015: how the polls are looking and what to look for

There are three key things about opinion polls.

The first is what matters are trends, not individual poll fluctuations.

The second is they’re snapshots, not forecasts. (A point made by Lord Ashcroft, to his credit, every time he publishes his latest poll finding.)

The third is the next general election won’t be decided by national party vote shares but by who wins in 650 individual seats. (A point often made by PoliticalBetting’s Mike Smithson.)

Here are the trends…

Here’s a graph which focuses solely on the first of these. It shows the result of every single opinion poll – courtesy Mark Pack’s invaluable spreadsheet – in the 12 months from October 2013 to September 2014 (incl.):

poll trends 2014

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10 Years on from The Orange Book: What should authentic liberalism look like?

Orange_Book“10 Years on from The Orange Book: what should authentic liberalism look like?” That was the title of a Lib Dem conference fringe meeting in Glasgow, organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), at which I was speaking alongside MPs Tim Farron and Jeremy Browne, Orange Book co-editor Paul Marshall, the IEA’s Ryan Bourne and ComRes pollster Tom Mludzinski. Here’s what I said…

I often describe myself as an Orange Booker. Like most labels it’s a short-hand. To me it simply means I’m a Lib Dem at ease with the role of a competitive market and who believes also in social justice. To many others in our party, though, Orange Booker is a term of abuse – Orange Bookers are thrusting, smart-suited, neoliberal Thatcherities, never happier than when mixing with red-blooded free-marketeers like the IEA.

What I want to do briefly is make a pitch for something that’s become quite unpopular among the party ranks: I’m going to make a pitch that the Lib Dems should be a party that’s unabashedly of the liberal centre.

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And the top book read by Lib Dem MPs this summer was…

capital pikettyPolling firm ComRes has published its annual list of the books MPs have been reading this year, based on a survey of 154 MPs weighted by party and region to be representative of the House of Commons.

Here’s what Lib Dem MPs have taken to the beach with them…

1. Capital in the 21st Century – Thomas Piketty
2. When Britain Burned the White House – Peter Snow

(And here’s what they took last year…

1. What Has Nature Ever Done For Us – Tony Juniper)

Piketty’s tome polled strongly with MPs of all three main parties; though Margaret Thatcher (who topped last year’s list) wasn’t far behind:

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Should we ban opinion polls from being published in the lead-up to election day?

One-third of MPs (including a third of Lib Dem MPs) say yes – but more are opposed. At least that’s the finding of a ComRes survey of 159 MPs in the wake of the Indian Election Commission banning exit polls in the five states holding elections this month, plus a ban on any opinion polls in the final 48 hours of campaigning.

    Would you support or oppose a ban on the publication of opinion polls for a defined period prior to General Elections?

    All 30%

    Con 25%
    Lab 35%
    LibD 32%

    All 45%

    Con 49%
    Lab 39%
    LibD 38%

    Don’t know
    All 25%

    Con 26%
    Lab 26%
    LibD 30%

Here’s what Andrew Hawkins, chairman …

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The Independent View: Voters support pro-wind energy candidates

Nine months ago Nick Clegg made his Leader’s speech to Conference in front of a backdrop featuring wind turbines. There followed months of speculation about the relationship between Lib Dem Energy Secretary Edward Davey and his junior Minister John Hayes, until the latter was moved. So were Clegg and Davey right to be so forthright in support? New polling numbers suggest so, despite what certain fossilised parts of the media would have us believe.

Over the last year there’s been a slew of opinion polls showing strong support for wind – as Davey said to the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy …

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Ukip set to win 22% this Thursday according to ComRes poll

UKIP logoMuch excitement this morning at an unusual event: a poll looking specifically at this Thursday’s local elections. And more than that, a poll showing Ukip on 22%! The full figures are:

    Conservatives 31%
    Labour on 24%
    UKIP 22%
    Lib Dems 12%

Important point: this poll was conducted only in the areas which will actually vote this week. That’s why the Tories are ahead and Labour’s behind. The equivalent vote shares compared to the last time these same seats were fought in 2009 is as follows (via the ever-excellent Anthony Wells):

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PollWatch: For which other parties would LibDem voters consider voting?

There’s an interesting poll conducted by ComRes and published today. There’s no surprise in its headline voting intention figures, below — they’re in line with other surveys and indeed with what ‘Super Thursday’s elections found:

    Conservative 31% (-2)
    Labour 43% (+2)
    Lib Dem 10% (0)
    UKIP 8% (-1)
    Others 8% (+1)

But what is new is that ComRes has asked the following question: ‘Which, if any, of these parties would you seriously consider voting for at a General Election if it were held tomorrow? Please indicate all that apply.’

Posted in Polls | 7 Comments

New poll gives a boost to Lib Dems – but will it last?

An interesting poll from ComRes in today’s Independent appears to show a post-conference boost for the Lib Dems at the expense of Labour:

As UKPollingReport’s Anthony Wells sensibly reminds us, this is just one poll: it might just as easily be a blip or a rogue as a sign of real recovery. BUT it is still interesting:

1) I’d expect the post-conference boost to fade away as the media focus …

Posted in Polls | 11 Comments

ComRes poll: Vince leadership would boost Lib Dem fortunes

It’s not often that polling companies ask how alternative Lib Dem leaders would impact the party’s popularity — in fact, I’m struggling to recall a single example — but ComRes has asked what difference Vince Cable leading the party would have on its fortunes. Here’s the result:

Two findings of note:

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What the public thinks of… Cameron & Clegg for ditching Lords reform & boundary changes & of the Lib Dems in Coalition

Here’s four intriguing findings from a ComRes poll for the Mirror and Independent released yesterday and conducted 15th-16 August…

By 34%-29% public thinks Cameron was WRONG to abandon House of Lords reform

Q: Do you agree or disagree that David Cameron was right to abandon the attempt to make changes to the House of Lords?

    Agree 29%
    Disagree 34%
    Don’t know 37%

Interestingly 21% of Conservative voters disagreed with their party leader’s decision. Also interesting: the views of Labour and Lib Dem voters on this question were near-identical, disagreeing with David Cameron’s decision …

Posted in Polls | 6 Comments

New poll finds 60% of public backs Lib Dem flagship policy of tax-cuts for low-paid funded by tax increases for wealthy

It’s a month since Nick Clegg made a fresh bid to put the Lib Dems’ flagship 2010 manifesto policy once again front-and-centre: further tax-cuts for the lowest-paid to be funded by higher taxes for the wealthiest.

And today came news of what the public thinks of the Lib Dem approach to fairer taxes, with the Independent reporting the following ComRes poll results:

A majority of people want George Osborne to raise taxes for the rich in next month’s Budget in order to take more low paid workers out of tax, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent. Some

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Is this the most biased opinion poll question ever asked?

The Coalition for Marriage was launched last week. And as many groups do to try and drum up some publicity announce themselves to the world, they commissioned an opinion poll of public attitudes to equal marriage.

Which is fair enough. But then, it appears, a thought struck them. The UK is, by and large, a tolerant nation, with the vast majority now accepting of gay and lesbian relationships being respected and recognised. So… how to pose an opinion poll question that could produce the result they wanted?

Thankfully, ComRes (a member of the British Polling Council) did them proud. You can read …

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More party I.D. figures

A quick follow-up to my post with YouGov’s party I.D. figures as I’ve now got ComRes’s equivalent figures, these taken from its penultimate election poll:

Party I.D.
Labour 32.5% (YouGov), 39% (ComRes)
Conservatives 28.5% (YouGov), 35% (ComRes)
Lib Dem 12% (YouGov), 17% (ComRes)

Measuring underlying party I.D, as opposed to current voting intention, is a notoriously difficult process as people’s general political views expressed to pollsters often move closely in step with their voting intention. Therefore the differences in numbers for each party between the two pollsters are not too surprising and it is more significant that the pattern is

Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged | 5 Comments

PollWatch: In which ComRes asks the slanted questions, and I ask them why.

I don’t pretend to understand a huge amount about the science of opinion polling – like any political geek, I dabble, but that’s it. However, I do understand a little more of the art of opinion polling, of manufacturing the response you want to deliver a story.

So I was pretty disappointed to read the latest ComRes poll, commissioned by The Independent, which asked a couple of deeply flawed questions. Here’s the worst of the bunch, asking the public to agree or disagree with the following statement:

The political horsetrading which followed the inconclusive General Election result showed that an outright win is much more desirable than a hung parliament.

Now it’s an interesting question to find out what the public did feel about Britain’s first taste of post-election bargaining in the full glare of rolling news – I’d love to see a genuine question putting it to the test.

But this question by ComRes is risible – a serious pollster would not use the loaded term ‘political horsetrading’ if they were genuinely interested in finding out the public’s views. Unsurprisingly the public reacted negatively to the notion of ‘horsetrading’, with 74% saying they preferred an outright win.

What, though, if the pollster had tested the public’s attitudes with a more neutral question, something like:

On 7th May no single party won an overall majority, so the three major parties opened discussions to see if they could reach agreement. Some people say that this is a good thing, resulting in a programme for government based on the most popular policies from each of the parties. Other people say it is a bad idea, and that it would be better if a single party had won an outright majority and could govern alone. What is your view?

Now I wonder what might have happened if ComRes had asked that question. I suspect they would have got a very different answer to the one they got. Which leaves one question hanging … Why did they ask a slanted question that they must have known would provoke a negative response?

Voting intentions:
For the record, ComRes found support for the parties as follows:

    Conservative 37% (-1), Labour 33% (-1), Lib Dems 21% (n/c)

This is consistent with most other polls – indeed, I think it’s the sixcth consecutive poll which has shown the Lib Dems at 21%. Okay, the balloon of ‘Cleggmania’ may have popped, but that’s a lot better than some of us would have dared hope in the immediate aftermath of the coalition deal being struck. But it’s very early days of course.

ComRes also tested post-coalition attitudes to the Lib Dems, using one of those “putting words in your mouth” questions beloved of newspapers but which brings political science into disrepute: “Now that they have joined a coalition with the Conservatives, it is difficult to know what the Liberal Democrats stand for” – 65% agreed, but 29% disagreed. Given it’s a statement which invites the public to offer a nod of cynical agreement, I was mildly encouraged that getting on for one-third of the public disputed it.

Electoral reform:
ComRes also asked a question about changing the voting system, testing the statement: The first-past-the-post system for elections to the House of Commons should be replaced by a system that reflects more accurately the proportion of votes cast for each party.

It’s welcome, though entirely unsurprising, to discover that 78% agree, with only 18% disagreeing. It would have been more interesting, though, to find out what the public thought of the Alternative Vote (a non-proportional system) compared with a genuine system of proportional representation (such as STV) or the status quo of First-Past-The-Post.

A propos almost of nothing, here’s a famous clip from Yes, Prime Minister which looks behind the opinion polls:

Posted in Polls | 11 Comments

Why didn’t the Liberal Democrat election result match the polls?

First thoughts from ComRes on why the Liberal Democrat vote share last week, although up for the third general election in a row, was much lower than the polls had been predicting:

We along with many others were surprised by the eventual Lib Dem figure; but that’s not the whole story….. our Conservative Party vote share was, in the words of the BBC’s analysis, ‘bang on the button’ while we understated Labour support to the tune of 1.14% (incidentally the first time the Labour vote share has been understated since 1983). Along with every other polling company we

Posted in Polls | 11 Comments

Are ITV the unluckiest commissioner of opinion polls?

In the run-up to the 2005 general election, there was some excitement as a rolling poll commissioned by ITV from Populus showed the Conservatives slipping to a result even worse than 1997. However, there was a sharp (5 point) recovery in the final pre-election day poll from Populus, which was a normal non-rolling poll.

Picking over the polling after the election, the explanation looked to be one aberrant sample on one day but which, due to the workings of a rolling poll, ‘infected’ the poll results over a longer period of time. It was only with the final pre-election poll, based …

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Sunday Mirror plunges to new low in poll “reporting”

So, you commission a poll from ComRes.

It shows a Conservative lead of 7%.

Just like the previous ComRes poll.

So what headline do you put on the story?

Why “Tory lead cut to just 7 points” of course.

Take a bow, Sunday Mirror who seems to be following in the footsteps of the Daily Mirror.

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YouGov and female voters: what happened in 2009?

Just over a year ago, I highlighted how YouGov consistently found the Conservatives relatively more popular amongst women than men compared to other pollsters:

YouGov, MORI and ComRes are the three of the main polling companies who also provide a gender breakdown of party levels of support using the same methodology as for their headline voting question…

Whilst YouGov consistently finds the Conservative party more popular amongst women than men, the other two consistently find the opposite. There is a similar difference amongst the pollsters when it comes to Labour support, though this time the gender pattern is reversed.

With more polling …

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Revealed: the three blogs Lib Dem MPs respect

Iain Dale has the results of a ComRes survey of 151 MPs (undertaken back in April-May this year) to find out which journalists and which bloggers they most respect. Here are the findings:

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Lib Dem, Labour, Tory voters all say: scrap Trident

The Independent has the story:

The public wants Britain to scrap the Trident nuclear missile system but believes spending on health and education should rise each year, according to a ComRes poll for The Independent. By a margin of 58 to 35 per cent, people believe that the £25bn renewal of the Trident programme should be abandoned because of the state of the public finances.

Nick Clegg announced back in June his intention to ask the party conference to rule out like-for-like Trident replacement, arguing that the recession made it unaffordable and the political situation made it unnecessary.

The Indy notes that supporters of all three main parties support scrapping Trident:

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What do councillors spend their time on?

ComRes has recently published the results of a survey it carried out earlier this year, asking over 500 councillors in England and Wales (but not Scotland) a wide range of questions.

One in particular which caught my eye was about how much time being a councillor took up, and where that time went:

Councillors spend the most hours per month attending council meetings and following this on committee work. On average, councillors spend about 19 hours a month attending council meetings. This is greatest among councillors serving in county councils who spend, on average, 24 hours a month attending council meetings. This

Posted in Local government and Polls | 1 Comment

Reasons to doubt that Darwin poll

Last week, an opinion poll supposedly showing relatively low levels of public belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution did the media rounds. Typical was this write-up from the Daily Telegraph:

Poll reveals public doubts over Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution
Belief in creationism is widespread in Britain, according to a new survey.

Having heard some more coverage of the poll this morning, I thought I’d take a look at what the poll actually said. It was conducted by ComRes, a reputable polling firm (and, regularly readers of my posts about BPIX will be glad to hear, a member of the British Polling …

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Another day, another survey showing Vince Cable to be the British Obama*

In fact, this one came yesterday and we at LDV missed it. But frankly it’s becoming almost passé to note that the Lib Dems’ shadow chancellor is more trusted than any other politician to sort out the current financial crisis. Still it’d be a shame not to record the moment, as measured by a ComRes survey of 220 business leaders for the Independent:

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, who predicted that the housing and personal debt bubble would burst, enjoys more trust in the business world than Mr Brown, David Cameron, the Chancellor Alistair Darling and his Tory

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