By Matthew Barrett
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For tomorrow's Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror, ComRes has conducted polling of the public's current voting intentions. Since it's been a few weeks since the last ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday/Sunday Mirror, it seems an opportune moment to take stock of recent polling.
The headline voting intentions for tomorrow's papers are:
Con 35% / Lab 39% / LD 11% / Others 15%
This represents a 2% decrease in support for the Conservatives since the last ComRes poll for the two Sunday papers on 16th October. Labour remain in the same position as the last poll, and the Lib Dems and "others" each see a 1% increase.
Two ComRes polls taken in September and August show the Conservatives winning 38% of support – so this 35% result indicates a decline over the last few months. Labour, on the other hand, scored 40% in the August poll and 38% in the September poll – meaning their poll rating has stayed more or less the same. The Lib Dems were at 11% in both of those polls.
The Conservative figures are also in the same ballpark as recent YouGov results. YouGov has tended to show the Conservatives winning 35-36% of support in polls since the 16th October. Labour have most often polled at a slightly higher 40-41%, and the Lib Dems are usually at a slightly lower 8-9%.
Tomorrow's poll also asked some timely questions, with interesting results. Perhaps the most important is this:
"David Cameron is defending Britain's interests well in the crisis over the euro
Don’t know: 30%"
The key finding here is Conservative supporters' relative happiness with the Prime Minister's handling of European affairs:
"Of Conservative voters, 68% agree and 11% disagree that David Cameron is defending Britain’s interests well in the crisis over the euro. One in five Labour voters (18%), and 47% of Lib Dems, also give Mr Cameron credit in this area."
ComRes asked people whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement "A Labour government under Ed Miliband would be better at protecting people's jobs". 27% agreed, a decrease of 5% from April this year. Additionally, 42% disagreed with the statement, up 3% from April. Also, a third of Labour voters are either unsure (25%) or disagree (8%) that Ed Miliband could make a better fist of protecting jobs.
Another agree/disagree question on a related theme was: "I trust Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to make the right decisions about the economy". Only 21% agreed with the statement, and 50% disagreed – a hefty disparity between the two options. Meanwhile, the Cameron/Osborne team are trusted with the economy by 30% of those polled – a 9% credibility advantage over Labour.
Earlier this week YouGov asked (pdf) whether people would prefer an Ed Miliband-led Labour government or a David Cameron-led Conservative government after the next election. The Cameron option wins, with 40% desiring an all-blue government, and only 34% a Miliband administration. An interesting side-note: 98% of Conservative voters want a Conservative government, whereas only 88% of Labour voters want to see Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. 45% of Lib Dems want a Conservative government, and only 20% want a Labour government.
This does not mean Number 10 can be complacent: In a YouGov poll (pdf) conducted last week, only 31% thought the government is handling the economy well. 57% thought it was handling it badly – and this includes 17% of Conservatives and 41% of Lib Dems.
This result shows rising youth unemployment is not seen as a reason for the government to slow its deficit reduction programme:
"It is better to let Government borrowing go on rising than to allow more youth unemployment
Don’t know: 29%"
On the topic of public sector strikes, tomorrow's ComRes poll posed the question:
"In most cases I have sympathy for people going on strike against public spending cuts
Agree: 48% (51% July11) (48% May11)
Disagree: 38% (38% July11) (37% May11)
Don’t know: 14% (11% July11) (15% May11)"
"One fifth of Conservative (21%) and two fifths of Liberal Democrat voters (42%) say that in most cases they have sympathy for people going on strike again public spending cuts."
Finally, the results of this question will give heart to campaigners against the proposed HS2 scheme:
"The planned high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and the north would be expensive but worth it
Don’t know: 28%"
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people living in the South East are most supportive, but those least supportive are people in Scotland and the Midlands.