The state is too big, voters say

Majority support Tory plans to scale back 'big government', poll shows

Two-thirds of voters back David Cameron’s call for the size of the state to be slimmed down, a ComRes survey for The Independent discloses today.

The poll also shows that the Conservatives remain on course for a comfortable victory at the general election, despite a small drop in their lead over Labour. The ComRes poll puts the Tories on 40 per cent (up two points since last month), Labour on 27 per cent (up four), the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent (down five) with other parties on 15 per cent (down one).

There is no sign that the British National Party has achieved an electoral bounce since Nick Griffin’s controversial appearance on BBC1’s Question Time: its support is stuck at just two per cent.

The Tory leadership will be relieved that it has emerged from the party conference season with its lead almost intact at 13 per cent, a fall of two points. It had feared that the party’s gloomy warnings of the need for swingeing cuts in public spending would hit its support.

A large majority of voters said they supported Mr Cameron’s central message to his conference that “big government” needed to be scaled back.

Sixty-seven per cent said they agreed with the Tory leader that “the Government has grown too big and needs a major overhaul to make it smaller”. Just 28 per cent disagreed, with his call for a smaller state supported across the social spectrum.

Andrew Hawkins, the chief executive of ComRes, said: “The Conservatives are on to a winner with this campaign line.”

Today’s survey does, however, carry a new warning to the Tories – and a crumb of comfort to Labour – that the Conservative poll rating is relatively “soft”.

Nearly half of voters (45 per cent) say they agree David Cameron “seems likeable, but I am not sure I am ready to see a Conservative government”, with 49 per cent disagreeing.

Even 38 per cent of Tory supporters agree with the statement, underlining the problem party strategists continue to face in converting hostility to the Brown government into positive support for the Conservatives.

Thirty-six per cent of non-Labour voters also said they would consider backing a party they did not support “just to try to keep Labour out of government”.

The ComRes survey suggests the last conference season before the general election has made little difference to the balance of political support in Britain.

Labour had targeted its gathering in Brighton for the start of a concerted fightback against the Tories and Mr Brown won largely positive reviews for his conference speech.

Although a poll rating of 27 per cent marks a modest recovery from the low-20s over the summer, a 13-point lead for the Tories would be enough to give Mr Cameron a majority of 66 in a general election.

The Liberal Democrats will be disappointed to have fallen back into the high-teens although their 23 per cent rating last month probably reflected the fact that polling was conducted just days after the end of their conference.

Support for other parties remains at an historic high, reflecting the continuing disillusionment with mainstream parties. The Green Party, who are targeting the constituency of Brighton Pavilion for an electoral breakthrough at the election, have five per cent support, with the UK Independence Party on three per cent and the BNP on two per cent.

ComRes telephoned 1004 GB adults between 23rd and 25th October 2009. Data were weighted by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
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

Graduate Pricing Analyst - 6 months / 1 year analytical experience

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Year 2 Teachers needed for day to day supply

£110 - £130 per day + Competitve rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Yea...

Year 4 Teachers needed for day to day supply across the region

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Nursery Teachers needed for supply roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Nu...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits