Backlash begins as Labour pull ahead in poll


Labour has opened up an eight-point lead in the latest ComRes survey for The Independent as the Conservatives start to feel a backlash over spending cuts and the rise in VAT.

It shows Labour on 42 per cent, up three points since the most recent ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday three weeks ago, the Conservatives on 34 per cent (down three), the Liberal Democrats on 12 per cent (up one point) and other parties 12 per cent (down one).

This is the biggest Labour lead, and the Tories' lowest share of the vote, in any poll since last May's general election and the largest Labour lead since ComRes began polling for The Independent in 2006. The figures would give Labour an overall majority of 102 at the next election if it were fought in the current first-past-the-post system.

Until now, the Liberal Democrats and their leader Nick Clegg had appeared to be suffering the pain for unpopular decisions, such as the hike in university tuition fees, while the Tories maintained their poll ratings. But the Tories are now two points below the 36 per cent they won in last year's elections.

According to ComRes, the Tories trail Labour among voters in every age group below 55 and in every region of Britain except the Midlands. Labour enjoys a narrow one-point lead among the AB top social group.

After last week's rise in VAT to 20 per cent brought home the Government's deficit-reduction plans to many voters, people appear to be cooling towards the Coalition. Asked whether Britain is better off with a Coalition Government rather than a single party with an overall majority, 58 per cent disagree and 32 per cent agree. This contrasts with other surveys last year, including the Liberal Democrats' private polls.

Although Labour will see the latest findings as a sign that it is gaining momentum under Ed Miliband's leadership, they appear to stem mainly from negative feelings towards the Government.

Labour has not yet won the key battle on the economy. Only 36 per cent of people agree that Labour would manage the economy better than the Coalition Government, while 54 per cent disagree.

Only 36 per cent believe Mr Miliband is proving a good leader of the Labour Party, while 42 per cent do not and 22 per cent reply "don't know". One in four Labour supporters (25 per cent) do not regard him as a good leader, but 24 per cent of Tory supporters and 39 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters do.

More people have made up their mind about Mr Clegg. Some 37 per cent think that the Liberal Democrat leader is proving to be a good Deputy Prime Minister, while 52 per cent do not and 11 per cent don't know.

The survey provides more evidence of the Liberal Democrats' crumbling support. One-third (33 per cent) of those who voted for the party in last year's election would now vote Labour and only about half (49 per cent) would stick with the Liberal Democrats – another pointer to a Labour victory in Thursday's by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth, where Mr Clegg will campaign again today.

Meanwhile, fewer than half (46 per cent) of those who voted Liberal Democrat last year believe Mr Clegg is proving a good Deputy Prime Minister.

Yesterday, Mr Clegg admitted that the cuts would be "difficult" in what would be a "crucial year". He told the BBC there would be "some very challenging circumstances for millions of people in this country, but I hope the beginning of a real turnaround as we move forward and as we successfully implement the repair job on the economy."

Mr Miliband accused Mr Cameron of "deceit" for claiming that the current level of cuts was due to Labour's overspending rather than the global financial crisis. The Labour leader will admit that Gordon Brown's government took too long to acknowledge the need for cuts, while insisting that is a separate issue.

ComRes telephoned a random sample of 1,000 adults between 7 January and 9 January. Data were weighted to be representative of all adults and by past vote. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor