© 2016 American Physical Society. We use the class of commuting quantum computations known as IQP (instantaneous quantum polynomial time) to strengthen the conjecture that quantum computers are hard to simulate classically. We show that, if either of two plausible average-case hardness conjectures holds, then IQP computations are hard to simulate classically up to constant additive error. One conjecture relates to the hardness of estimating the complex-temperature partition function for random instances of the Ising model; the other concerns approximating the number of zeroes of random low-degree polynomials. We observe that both conjectures can be shown to be valid in the setting of worst-case complexity. We arrive at these conjectures by deriving spin-based generalizations of the boson sampling problem that avoid the so-called permanent anticoncentration conjecture. 2016 UK.