Tories come out of conference season ahead

John Rentoul

The ComRes poll for tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror dashes Labour’s pre-conference hopes of going into the lead:

Con        40% (+1)

Lab         34% (-2)

LibDem 14% (-1)

Others    12% (+2)

(Comparison is with last ComRes poll for The Independent published 2 October.)

 Tories come out of conference season aheadPutting your party allegiance aside, who do you trust more to steer Britain’s economy through the current downturn?

David Cameron and George Osborne  45%

Ed Miliband and Alan Johnson  23%

Don’t know  33%

It is not surprising that the new leader and new shadow chancellor prompt a large number of Don’t Knows, but the Cameron-Osborne advantage looks pretty solid going into the Comprehensive Spending Review. Next week it could all change, but the other questions we ask suggest that most people have low expectations of the Chancellor’s statement next week.

The Coalition Government understands the interests of the wealthy better than the interests of ordinary people

Agree 46%

Disagree 33%

Welfare benefit cuts will hit hardest the poorest, elderly and most vulnerable in society

Agree 56%

Disagree 28%

The loss of hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs is a price worth paying to reduce the deficit

Agree 30%

Disagree 47%

I expect that the public spending cuts to be announced next week will be fair

Agree 30%

Disagree 43%

Interestingly, there is strong support for a rise in the top rate of income tax (which recalls p116 of Tony Blair’s A Journey: “I knew if we put up the top rate of tax it would be seen as a signal, a declaration of instinct, an indicator whose impact would far outweigh its intrinsic weight. When Gordon suggested it prior to the election and I was given the usual opinion-poll guff showing 70-80 per cent in favour of it, I put in a complete nolle prosequi.* For me, it was a total red line. After time, Gordon backed off.”)

The top rate of income tax at 50p in the pound on earnings over £150,000 a year should be raised to 60p in the pound

Agree 54%

Disagree 29%

Finally, we asked about student finance, the starting point for my column in The Independent on Sunday tomorrow, wondering about Nick Clegg’s electoral strategy.

It is fair that students should pay more for their university education even though their parents’ generation didn’t

Agree 35%

Disagree 50%

ComRes interviewed 2,009 GB adults on line between 13 and 15 October. Full results at ComRes.

* “An entry made on the record, by which the prosecutor or plaintiff declares that he will proceed no further.”

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  • JohnJustice

    I think the answers to those other questions show that most people are remarkably more in line with Ed Miliband’s thinking on these keymatters which augurs well for many of the 33% of “don’t knows” coming over to him once they get used to him.

  • AlanGiles

    I am sure you are absolutely delighted with your little poll, Mr Rentoul. If only that nice David had won the Labour leadership.

    People have not yet seen the sheer brutality of the Tory cuts – just wait till they do – and worse – experience them first hand.

    One thing I think we can probably all agree on: the LibDEms under Clegg ought to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame because they will be slaughtered at the next election. Might as well vote Tory and cut out the middle men, or give Ed Miliband a chance – it’s going to be a Tory versus Labour fight next time. I reckon the LibDems will be down to single figures again

  • greggf

    “Others 12% (+2)”

    Who might they be?

  • Simon

    “For me, it was a total red line.”

    Blairism in a nutshell: we can’t implement policies which are popular with both the Labour party and the public at large, because… they might be spun unfavourably by the media.

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