Have high taxes become a recipe for a Labour disaster?

Have high taxes become a recipe for a Labour disaster?

What do we think of ComRes’s tax and spend findings?

The main lead in the Independent this morning is based on the responses to what I believe is a novel form of polling from the latest ComRes survey in which the headline figures showed a Tory 5% lead.

For the pollster then went on to ask a series of questions of how respondents would vote in a number of different scenarios and then reported the findings applying the same weighting and turnout filters that were used in the headline figures.

The findings are quite dramatic and, if correct, suggest a massive change since the past two elections in the view of voters towards tax cuts and public spending.

For the Tory total increases sharply when respondents were asked how they would vote if Cameron’s party committed itself to a lower level of public spending than Labour and said that it would try not to raise taxes. The split on this question was CON 49%: LAB 32%: LD 11%.

To another question probing how they people would vote if Labour said it was for higher public spending than the Tories and acknowledged this was likely to mean an increase in some personal taxes the shares were: CON 48%: LAB 30%: LD 13%.

The reduced LD numbers here were down, surely, to Nick Clegg’s party not being specifically referred to in the questions. Also the pollster has to be very careful to ensure that the wording is not leading.

    I’d like to see these points tested by other pollsters in slightly different ways before coming to what seems the logical conclusion that the Tory strategies are much more voter friendly that the Labour ones.

Using the same technique ComRes also sought to test whether it will make any difference if there’s a general election during or after the recession. Asked how they would vote if the election were held “while the economy was in recession,” the response was CON 39%: LAB 38% LD 14%. If the recession was over and the economy growing again, respondents said they would vote as follows: CON 37%: LAB 37%: LD 16%.

The past vote weighting numbers in this latest ComRes survey were much closer to what we have seen in recent ICM and Populus polls than the previous poll from ComRes.

Mike Smithson

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