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ComRes poll: Alex Salmond’s week

John Rentoul

Labour maintain a narrow lead in the first ComRes poll after the main party conferences, for tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror:

Conservative       37% (-1)

Labour                   39% (+1)

Lib Dem                 10% (-1)

Others                    14% (+1)

Change since the last ComRes online poll in September. Despite much commentary recently, and David Cameron’s promotions of Justine Greening and Chloe Smith, the gender gap is not significant: the Labour lead is 39% to 36% among women (see below).

alex salmond 655982t ComRes poll: Alex Salmonds weekOf our other results, the most striking, as the Scottish National Party prepares for its annual conference this week, is the rise in support for Scottish independence, now backed by majorities in both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Scotland should be an independent country

Agree: 39% (+6 points since May 2011)

Disagree: 38% (-4)

In Scotland:*

Agree 49% (+11)

Disagree 37% (-9)

Women (29%) are more likely than men (18%) to say that they don’t know if Scotland should be independent or not. Social group DE are most likely to say that they agree (44%).

In other questions, Labour have made no progress on the economy, despite bad news on growth and unemployment.

I trust David Cameron and George Osborne to make the right decisions about the economy

Agree: 30% (-1 since August)

Disagree: 49% (-1)

Men are more likely than women to agree – 34% of men compared to 26% of women. There is a trend by age – just 21% of 18-24 year olds agree that Cameron and Osborne can be trusted, compared to more than two in five people aged 65 or over (43%).

I trust Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to make the right decisions about the economy

Agree: 18% (nc)

Disagree: 55% (+1)

Not much change in our leader rating questions, but Nick Clegg is recovering a little:

David Cameron is turning out to be a good prime minister

__________________Dec      Jan       Apr      May      June     July      August  September          October

Agree:                         38%      38%      37%      39%     37%      33%      34%     33%     34%

Disagree:                      41%      43%      46%    43%      44%     45%      48%     46%      47%

Men (38%) are more likely than women (30%) to agree.

Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader of the Labour Party

__________________Dec      Jan       Apr      May      June     July      August  September        October

Agree:                         17%      22%      24%      22%     18%      27%     24%      20%     22%

Disagree:                      32%      35%      38%    39%      45%     41%      44%     44%      50%

Half of all people disagree that Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader – this has been slowly increasing since December 2010. Fewer than half of Labour voters (48%) agree that Ed Miliband is turnout out to be a good leader of the party.

Nick Clegg is turning out to be a good leader of the Liberal Democrats

__________________Dec      Jan       Apr      May      June     July      August   September         October

Agree:                         26%      28%      24%      21%     20%      22%      22%     20%     24%

Disagree:                      49%      49%      55%    56%      57%     53%      55%     53%      55%

Nick Clegg’s approval rating continues to be fairly stable, slightly increasing since August: 57% of Lib Dem voters think that Nick Clegg is turning out to be a good leader – a quarter (26%) disagree.

We also sought to investigate whether Cameron does have a problem with women voters:

The Labour Party has the right policies for childcare

Agree: 23%

Disagree: 30%

Women’s views are not much different from men’s (agree 22%, disagree 28%). Notably, around half of all people from all groups don’t know.

The Government has the right policies for childcare

Agree: 18%

Disagree: 39%

People are less likely to agree that the Government has the right policies for childcare than the Labour Party – this is true of people of all ages, and all social groups. However, women disagree by 41% to 17%, a much bigger gap than for the Labour Party’s policies.

Women are bearing the brunt of the Government’s policies to close the deficit

Agree: 33%

Disagree: 39%

There is a significant gender and class difference: just 20% of men agree, compared to 45% of women, and people in social group DE are more likely to agree that women are bearing the brunt.

David Cameron’s attitude to women is sexist

Agree: 24% (27% of women and 20% of men)

Disagree: 43%  agree

It is wrong that the pensions age is being raised faster for women than men

Agree: 51%

Disagree: 34%

Again, there is a gender divide – a third of men (34%) agree compared to two thirds of women (67%).

Finally, we asked about gay marriage:

Same-sex marriage should be legal in the UK

Agree: 51%

Disagree: 34%

Don’t know: 16%

Women (57%) are more likely to agree than men (44%). Younger people are more likely than older people to think that same-sex marriage should be legal in the UK – 63% of 18-24 year olds compared to just 34% of people aged 65 or over. Agreement is greatest in Scotland (55%)* where there is a consultation currently running on this issue.

Methodology note: ComRes surveyed 2,004 GB adults online 12-13 October 2011. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of the population and by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at ComRes.

*The sub-samples in Scotland are small: n=176; May 2011 n=183.

Photograph: Rex

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  • Alba_Lee

    Keith, you miss the point, whether we are able to afford some things over others is not a real issue. If, say, Labout were to be in power over the next election all these things would be cut in the first instance.

    The real issue is can Scotland be an independent nation in it’s own right and decide for itself how the revenues raised in Scotland are spent.

    Some of us, in fact a growing number of us, believe we can be self determined and run Scottish affairs better than Westminster.

    As for the European union, Scotland won’t automatically join the European union. If a clause is not raised or motioned that Scotland remain part of the European union on the same terms as the UK, then again, a further referendum would be put to the Scottish people about joining.

    I think you’ll find the BofE does not give a toss about the UK as a whole when setting interest rates!

  • Alba_Lee

    Yea you’re right, if they’d polled more the result would be closer to 70%.

  • storrier88

    “Scotland does not have to pay for welfare, armed forces, embassies, or EU membership which amounts to billions”

    What planet have you been living on?  All these things you have mentioned are paid for by UK taxpayers.  Believe it or not, people in Scotland pay taxes, actually according to GERS reports we pay more taxes than we receive in return from the UK exchequer.  

    You do not see how Scotland will be better off, because you obviously have no knowledge of basic economics.  And as for the Oil & Gas you talk about, with it Scotland has regularly been running a budget surplus should it not have been part of the United Kingdom.  Unfortunately, it is, as a result we have a budget deficit larger than any other G8 nation.

  • stonedwolf

    You can say you want it to collapse but you do not really account for the impact of that, job-losses throughout Scotland, savings losses throughout Scotland, and of course the macro-economic impact (we’re still in THIS mess having bailed them out, without it the likes of state rationing become urgent).

    You say “the debt was accrued in England”. Can you explain that fully? Almost branch of RBS is within Scotland, the HQ is in Edinburgh, and was headed by a Scotsman whose policies directly caused its collapse. What, was he some kind of “no true Scotsman” or something? (It was Goodwin’s policy of buying up American sub-prime mortgages, trying to buy up company on the market (worldwide, not English), trying to buy up ABN AMRO (Dutch, not English).

    I don’t doubt Scotland is ready for independence, I’m somewhat more doubtful that you are.

  • storrier88

    Scotland will always have free tuition under the SNP.  Independent or not.  Many countries around the world offer free education, Scotland was the birthplace of it.  Scottish enlightenment anyone?  As a result our educated people changed the world, i.e. the discovery of penicillin.  

    You also said the welfare bill is £12 billion, I wonder where you got that figure from, secondly, you stated the north sea oil and gas wouldn’t cover that?  I think you’ll find the Treasury received £13.4 billion in revenue this year alone, and expect a further £62 billion by 2016.  

    Also the SNP have agreed to referendums for Scots, on matters such as currency, unlike the UK, we will actually be able to have a say and shape our country.

  • storrier88

    You talk about RBS, if you look at the example of Belgium based bank Dexia, you would find it was bailed out by three countries, France, Belgium & Luxembourg due to Dexia’s exposure.  The same rule could be applied to RBS, Scotland would never of had to bail out RBS alone, particularly when a large part of the bank, NatWest, is based in England and if that went down it would have been a massive disaster for England too.  The bank may be based in Scotland but the implications of collapse would have been catastrophic globally.  Secondly, if you look at the cash injection into RBS it was between £60 and £70 billion, I don’t recall the precise figure.  There is no reason to presume an independent Scotland wouldn’t have been able to bail it out, we might have had a large sovereign wealth fund similar to Norway had we been independent.  You may cite the wider interventions into the financial services industry, but this would not have fell on Scotland anyway, London is the largest financial centre in Europe, those interventions were for the benefit of London and the dominant hold it has on the UK economy, particularly England.

  • storrier88

    Stonedwolf, do you realise that the RBS group was within the last ten years the largest bank in the world by balance sheet, at £3 trillion, it was 3 x the UK GDP.  RBS is a major player in America, Ireland {Ulster Bank}, England {Natwest}.  If anything you’ll find that the Royal Bank of Scotland aspect of the bank, is probably one it’s smaller operations.  And played no part in it’s downfall.  Subprime & the purchase of ABN AMRO are factors in the downfall, but I fail to see how the decisions by a few executives in one company represent anything about an independent Scotland.  RBS was also not unique in it’s exposure to US subprime.  ABN AMRO was the only thing I would really fault them on, they paid over the odds for it, depleting their capital reserves, and Santander took the more profitable Latin American divisions of the bank, leaving RBS with exposure to the so called PIIGS, particularly Greece.

  • Harrbrian

    Poll might reflect a growing understanding that Westminster is no longer fit for purpose.

    Its longterm incompetence is measurable, verifiable, and clearer the further you go in any direction from London.
    Compare almost any economic measure (e.g. GPD per capita, percentage industrialisation,balance of payments history, debt levels) and all the North European countries except France outperform the UK.
    For most social indicators, (e.g life expectancy, obesity, cocaine usage, teenage pregnancy, Gini index, percentage of women in positions of power, % GDP spent on Health, etc) the UK is at or near the bottom.
    The same is true for less obvious indicators (e.g. social mobility, Pisa education results,percentage of youth in training, liveable cities, renewable energy capacity, etc).

    The economic failure versus Northern European rivals* is being achieved despite reduced union bargaining power, significant privatisation, and it being made easier to sack staff than in any of them, and also despite repeated devaluations (a factor of 5 compared with German currencies of the last 40 years). The UK has also combined North Sea oil with a consistent 30 year trade deficit. Genius.

    Add to this the Iraq war, the MPs’ expenses and News International scandals, the behaviour of the UK banks, pay differentials (greater than in rival countries), the way private pensions are badly regulated (unlike rival countries), and hilariously inconsequential public inquiries, to get “Carry on, Westminster”.

    It is impossible for an Independent Holyrood to do worse.

    * In or out of the EU, this is about competence.

  • RolftheGanger

    “The bank of England takes into account every part of the United Kingdom when changing interest rates, taxes and what not”

    Because you say, or ven think so, does not make it fact.
    They may consider al areas of the UK, and then do the usual, shrug and choose policies that suit the SE and no one else.
    Any student of British regional economics knows that there is a problem of policies for the SE being applied uniformly to areas that need the exact opposite.

  • tartanarse

    Scottish based banks would not have necessarily been using the rules employed by Westminster that allowed the collapse to happen. Scottish regulations may have been tighter and better placed to be able to deal with such an event as the crisis.

    A free Scotland would create an instantly wealthy new player to the European and world markets. Europe, who I imagine would love to have us, would be decided upon by the people. I imagine we would have no real need to join the Euro. Perhaps some sort of defence deal could be struck, but I imagine our neighbours in the south would like any bother in their northern border.

    I am amused by Keiths wee doomsday Scotland scenario. I imagine that Scotland would be in a better position to offer good business terms and encourage investors, more so that they are able to do now in the Union.

    Request for this to happen within the UK have been falling on deaf ears for years now. Westminster doesn’t want the SNP to prove that it can deliver

    Some people just believe everything that Mary Ann Seighart writes.


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