Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tories Receive NHS Poll Boost

ComRes have a poll out in tomorrow's Independent on Sunday which shows a virtually unchanged Tory lead of 17'%. That's not very interesting. However, this is.

When people were asked whether they agreed or disagreed that "The NHS would be safer under Labour than the Conservatives", only 39% agreed and 47% disagreed.

Andrew Hawkins, ComRes chief exec, commented: "This is a killer for Labour – they have lost their advantage on one of the biggest electoral drivers."

Among people who refuse to say how they will vote, or don’t know, 28% agree with this statement compared with 41% who disagree. So for all their banging on about how much they love the NHS and how the Tories would privatise it on day one, it seems they might as well have saved their breath.

Going back to the voting intention part of the poll, the Conservatives are comfortably ahead among every age group and even among social groups C2 and DE.
  • At 16%, others remain high but only 1% are ‘other others’.
  • Only 50% of people who voted Labour in 2005 are ‘absolutely certain’ to vote now compared with 75% of 2005 Tory voters
  • Only 66% of 2005 Labour voters intend to vote for that party now, and only 70% of 2005 Lib Dem voters intend to vote for that party
  • By contrast 90% of 2005 Tory voters intend to vote for that party now

So, overall, good news for David Cameron, I think it is fair to say.


Paddy Briggs said...


One thing that will help the NHS whichever Party runs it is if the welcome trend of the reduction in smoking continues. Which is why it is an affront to see your grubby little ad for the bozos who want to "Amend the Smoking Ban" so prominently displayed. I suppose Big Tobacco funds the ad via their well-paid scyophants at Forest. But I'd like to see you turn down this tainted shilling... By the way CAMRA, which is a genuine supporter of Pubs with no vested interests, supports the smoking ban as it is at present. And so of course do I.

Ean Craigie said...

Dont care Dave will turn into a liability, Dump Dave Draft Hague.

James Higham said...

I'd prefer a poll - will Labour lose, next May, by the largest margin in British history?

Pogo said...

Briggs... Who the hell do you think you are, telling other adults what they may or may not ingest? It's a simple fact that smokers contribute more in tax than they "cost" the NHS, so what's your justification - other than "oooh... they mke my hair smell nasty..."? And don't bother with spouting any cr*p over "pasive smoking" - there's absolutely no proper scientific or statistical evidence for its existance.

Oh, BTW, I'm a life-long non-smoker - I just dislike bansturbating, self-righteous control-freaks more than the smell of tobacco smoke.

Anonymous said...

Smoking costs the NHS around £5 bn a year.

It brings in £9 bn.

Seems to me smoking is a net gain...

Einy Shah said...

I was right to trust the British public not being fooled by Labour's feeble attempt to blame all the worlds ills on Hannan's gaffe. However, it was hilarious to see how Labour stretched out this debate and it was the literally the only thing they were going on. I believe there might be a second wave of this as news broke out of Mandy's hospitilation.

Null said...

Iain, dare I say that jumping on the #welovethenhs bandwagon has backfired?

To try to co-opt all of those twitters (who cold not possibly all be Labour supporters), is very much old politics and came across a pretty crass. Coupled with Burnham's claim of "Labour's NHS", I think they turned an opportunity into yet more bad press.

This further re-enforces my belief that Labour are finished, dead, buried and gone. There is no way back when every media opportunity turns to dust...

Eduardo de Aston said...

Of course the real position is that it is only the "Boy" Cameron who supports the NHS in it's current form.

The rest of his shadow cabinet and his backbenchers would privatise it tomorrow.

Given that Cameron has a very short "sell by" date that doesn't exactly lead to the NHS being "safe" with the Tories.

I think all of this will become much clearer closer to the election.

It's just a question of who blinks first. Someone is bound to do a "Duncan".

I wonder what the gorgeous cross dressing George really thinks?

Quietzapple said...

Tis totally Bogus, isn't it, Iain?

Those who don't think that the NHS will be better off under Labour include those who think it makes no difference.

Sir Shamus O"Blogger, have you considered the probity of August polls before?

Anonymous said...

Biggest majority in history don't believe it. A hung parliament to a 25 seat Tory majority. The lead always narrows nearer an election and as for the NHS, well, I can only shake my head with amazement!

David Boothroyd said...

If someone had been polled by ComRes and thought that the NHS was just as safe under Labour and the Conservatives, they would have had to disagree with the statement - but that wouldn't be a statement of support for the Conservatives.

And if we accept that all those that ComRes said intended to vote Labour probably answered Yes to the health question, there's still a very large section of the public out there not currently committed to vote for Labour but who do think that only Labour will keep the NHS safe. So it's hardly a mistake for Labour to continue on this line.

True Belle said...

How very interesting to see that the opposition who were the party of very long hospital waiting lists are now the fresh blood bank in waiting!-- This will give a different meaning to Red Toryism!

I expect all their theorising and excitement will catch the Tories out, they are in danger of falling in love with their own reflection , plunging deeply and drowning in a puddle of ideologies.

I am listening keenly!

Old Codger said...

Well Dave doesn't sound a lot different does he? Spend, spend, spend on the NHS, even if he hasn't got the money.

Paul said...

Paddy Briggs, the total smoking ban in pubs was the nastiest, most illiberal piece of legislation since the dark ages.

It has brought about the closure of thousands of pubs and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, as well as ruining the social life of millions of people.

There is no reason why pubs should not be allowed to set aside a well ventilated room for smokers, staff-free if necessary.

The ban has already done incalculable damage for no real gain - yet you want to extend it.

YOU are the one who should be forced out into the cattle pens they call smoking shelters.

Neil A said...

David Boothroyd has a very good point. Banging on about the NHS will probably do the Labour party no harm. I think he's missing the real point though, which is that the NHS is supposed to be Labour's No.1 vote-winner. When the political agenda moves on to the question of NHS funding, that OUGHT to be a massive boon to Labour. These days it seems that only Labour's core supporters, and perhaps half of all PC/SNP/LibDem supporters, prefer their position to the Tories'. In other words it has ceased to be a differential issue for Labour. With such a big deficit to make up that absolutely need to find an issue that HAS a big differential. I suspect that we have now reached the point that whatever ground the next election is fought on, the Tories will have the edge.

Joe from Melbourne said...

David - as an expat I am not personally involved in the debate, but I am watching the outcome with interest. I therefore do not really have an axe to grind.

But ... I can't for the life of me see how you can spin what seems to be a PR disaster into a positive for the Labour Party. I am sorry but even I can see that this seems to be a disaster in waiting

Johnny Norfolk said...

Not just good news for DC. its great news for the country.

Anonymous said...

re NHS - the polls are reflecting the obvious. The tories are not going to abolish the NHS.

re is Britain a reliable ally ...
I understand the USA are twittering like mad. #ihatethehaggiseatingsurrentdermonkeys

Purveyors of the worlds finest malts will not be happy with the SNP.

PS - yours truly loves haggis.

"By the way CAMRA, which is a genuine supporter of Pubs with no vested interests, supports the smoking ban as it is at present. "
Hmmm... there is a huge amount of discussion within CAMRA about the smoking ban.
This post points out CAMRAS position at the time of the ban
"CAMRA's preferred way forward, to allow smoking in separate rooms without bar counters, was not debated."

'Home bars' are springing up (with people smoking like made presumably)
"There's also news that the 2,000 Pub closures across the Country have been 'balanced' by private individuals (previous alienated Pub goers) are setting up 'Home Bars' in their houses and back gardens. People (primarily smokers) driven from Pubs by Govt law are springing up and home deliveries of Kegs/barrels of beer have soared."
Interestingly as a result ...
"the Health & Safety Gistapo can't apply their 22,000 rules of trivia and State 'compliance'."

"The Campaign For Real Ale (Camra) has reported that over 50 pubs close every month, with one of the main reasons being the smoking ban.

The secretary of the Licensed Victuallers' Association in Wales was reported as saying that in six months there would hardly be a pub left in the valleys."
"60 bingo halls have shut in the last 15 months,"

PS BTW - I don't smoke.

No Mr Boothroyd ... believing that the NHS is a safe under the Conservatives as under Labour is not per se supporting the Conservatives, but it does debunk Labour's lying mode of attack. The plain fact of the poll is that 47% of the public are not fearful of the Conservatives running the NHS. And the bottom line is I do not "accept that all those that ComRes said intended to vote Labour probably answered Yes".

I wonder how many trust labour with our armed forces?

Paddy Briggs said...

Pogo, Paul and others. If there was even a scintilla of truth in what you say don’t you think that CAMRA, one of Britain’s great campaigners of modern times, would be on your side? CAMRA fights tooth and nail to protect Beer and Pubs. And they support the total ban on smoking as it is currently on the statute books. The grubby little campaign that Iain seems to support by prominently displaying their ads is just the Tobacco industry at its cynical, selfish worst. And those who support it combine ignorance with arrogance to an exceptional degree

Pogo said...

Mr Briggs... CAMRA's "support" for the present smoking ban appears to be a pragmatic position based upon the somewhat limited choice, given in an earlier draft of the legislation, between continuing the status quo for "members' clubs" whilst banning smoking in pubs and the present illiberal law, with no other option. This would have almost certainly resulted in even more pubs closing as smokers (and their more resilient friends) decamped en masse to clubs.

As to "ignorance and arrogance"... That's the preserve of the bansturbationistas. "Passive smoking" - which was the justification for the ban - has no genuine scientific backing, just the hysterical barkings of the "we don't like it" brigade, bolstered by the control-freakery of the government-financed fake-charity ASH.

Notts Al said...

Iain, There are 2 audiences for all the messages relating to the NHS, those who work in it, and those who work outside it. The workers are an extremely important electoral subset for both parties, because of their a) vested interest in it's future and b)their historical preponderance to vote labour.

This is a 1.3M block vote which Cameron is desperate to win, and Brown terrified of losing. No wonder Nulabs spin machine is so busy on the subject, although it is so patronizing that its success must be questionable.

The country at large knows very well that the NHS in its current form is unsustainable going forward in the new millenium- that despite modest improvements, disproportionate to its massive additional budgets, it continues to underperform against comparables on the continent and does not in fact deliver value for money nor World class service. They also know that the NHS does not at all do what they continually tell us they do and what it was they were set up to do which is provide patient care free at the point of delivery. Look at the cost of prescriptions, dental care, visual care: any other remedy labeled "wellbeing" is not even on the radar.

My view is that the man in the street is now far more ambivalent about development of the NHS and private care and would welcome a real debate. So the whole NHS issue plays far smaller in voting intentions generally than is perceived, except for NHS workers.

Sadly we will not have that debate while the battleground continues to be for NHS workers votes, and the monolith will continue to grow with increasing inefficiency.

I do think Cameron's position is difficult. Ideally, he would be able to persuade the NHS worker that some different approaches would generate many additional opportunities and better standards of patient care. But any suspicion of a realistic view of the sacred cow would indeed frighten the horses, and anyway not enough time before the next election so I understand his line. Although it is at odds with tory and despite Ivan, probably his own instincts. That generates unease in the party.

I am in no doubt that procurement in the NHS is as hopeless as in defense so hopefully we can have that debate after the election. In the meantime the shouting match on subject will generate lots of heat but little change in voting patterns.

I think the economy/unemployment and the war in Afghanistan will be more cogent issues come the day.

Anonymous said...

"And if we accept that all those that ComRes said intended to vote Labour probably answered Yes to the health question, there's still a very large section of the public out there not currently committed to vote for Labour but who do think that only Labour will keep the NHS safe."

David Boothroyd, maths is evidently not your forte. If we assume what you assume for argument's sake, the remainder of the population must be MASSIVELY favourable to the Tories over Labour for the overall figures to add up.

David Boothroyd said...

Anonymous @1:45, you're wrong. The question on the NHS was whether respondents thought it was only safe under Labour. Disagreeing with that statement is not an indication of supporting the Conservative Party specifically.

Anonymous said...

Mr Boothroyd is right, I think you show a basic understanding of the question and its result Iain. Any half conscious individual can see that. If your going to spin find something better to spin with, we weren't all born yesterday. That aside, keep up your general good work. A joy to read your blog most days.

David, Maidenhead said...

Iain - As you will know, there were 2 polls out on Sunday and the difference between them is striking. Comres, pretty much in line with other recent polls - Tories above 40, Labour languishing in the 20's and the Libs below 20. The surprise is BPIX who are totally out of kilter with the other major polling organisations. Can you, or anyone else offer a rational explanation for this, or would it be wise simply to dismiss the Mail on this occasion?

Dimoto said...

I see that today's ICM poll for the Guardian validates the Comres poll.
So all the Labourite trolls can now get to work contorting logic, spinning and generally barking at the moon, to try to pretend this poll didn't happen either.
It will keep them out of mischief.

Anonymous said...

I love the NHS, I love that as a society we found the will to decide that if we pooled our money then everyone could enjoy a level of healthcare unimagineable in the days before the NHS existed. Those days are long ago and sadly people like Daniel Hannan just don't get it. David Cameron will have to find a courage that he hasn't so far displayed, if he is to back the NHS as he claims he will. He seems to be a tutti fritti politician. Vote blue go green, or red, or yellow or whatever colour you like. Come on Dave be a patriot and help us keep the health care we deserve.

Alex said...

David Boothroyd said...
"Anonymous @1:45, you're wrong. The question on the NHS was whether respondents thought it was only safe under Labour. Disagreeing with that statement is not an indication of supporting the Conservative Party specifically."

Which misses the point. The Labour Party has made services such as the NHS their raison d'etre. If a sizeable majority think they will not make any difference then they are likely to persuaded by other Conservative policies such as greater efficiencies in services, a balance budget, deregulation etc.

Chris Paul said...

About 1 and a half people per constituency and in mid August with a pretty slack news agenda?

1. The sample and the weighting will still nominally be representative but there's always a stretch in market research of any form at this time of year.

2. Without looking at the small print I'd expect quite a lot of DKs in this particular study.

3. I'm aware of some fieldwork for a ComRes rival carried out about when this was done. Hard work to fill quotas and very interesting answers, partly interesting in how counter-intuitive some of the answers were ... at this time of year when respondents are relatively scarce.

Have a good holiday. There'll be many a twist and turn these next 9 months, particularly re NHS.