ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian had topline figures, with changes from their last poll for the Sunday Telegraph in mid-October, of CON 40%(-3), LAB 35%(-1), LDEM 18%(+4).

It appears to show a significant increase for the Lib Dems – ICM are the pollster who normally show the highest level of Liberal Democrat support, but even they had shown a very low level of support for the Lib Dems in their last poll – it now back at a reasonable level in ICM at least.

Interesting in contrast to ComRes’s poll yesterday, in this one it is the Conservatives who have declined as the Lib Dems recover, so we still don’t have any firm idea of who will suffer when (or if) the Liberal Democrats recover from their present doldrums.

53 Responses to “Lib Dems recovering in ICM/Guardian poll”

1 2
  1. the swingometer gives

    a heavily hung parliament, and a huge opportunity for the Lib Dems, despite there huge loss of seats

  2. This is much closer to the WMA which is 40.3:36.6:14.4 so a C lead of 3.7. ICM have a Std of 2.7 and overall they seem to be pretty accurate, although their last poll (for the Telegraph) over-estimated the C lead by about 5.

    In the last month there has been a 12pt swing in the WMA of which 4pts have happened in the last week. Anyone want to “bet” against reaching 43:33?

  3. Both recent polls show the Conservatives at 40+% and Labour below the 2005 result (

  4. I don’t think the COnservatives will get up to 43 . Labour may well go down to 33 more likely the LibDems will go up some more . What we have seen is the 10-12% of floating voters changing their minds rapidly going first to Labour then to the Conservatives . I believe the top 5% of the Conservative lead is soft and may well in the short term at least be attracted by the new LibDem leader whover it may be . It will then be the LibDem vote that becomes soft .

  5. What this means is that if there was an election this Thursday, no one would have told me…..


  6. Anthony. Is there any long term evidence that polls tend to favour the party of the organisation buying the poll?

  7. P.S.You need to put your clock back!

  8. I discovered “discrepencies” in the last three ICM polls, hitherto, this one:

    ICM, The Guardian reported LAB 38%; CON 38%; LDEM 16%; yet page 2 of its tabulated data reads: CON 40%; LAB 38%; LDEM 15%

    ICM, News of the World ‘marginals’ reported, if I recall correctly, CON 44%; LAB 38%; LDEM 11%; yet page 2 of its tabulated data reads: CON 45%; LAB 38%; LDEM 11%

    ICM, The Sunday Telegraph reported CON 43%; LAB 36%; LDEM 14%; yet page 2 of its tabulated data reads: CON 44%; LAB 35%; LDEM 13%

    Any idea as to why the tabulated figures weren’t reported?

  9. This poll is giving a slightly more realistic rating for the Lib Dems than 11% or 13%, I think.

  10. Dave – the figures in the tables are prior to ICM’s adjustment for the spiral of silence.

  11. Looking back, even during the Tory leads early in the year, they did not crack the 40% ‘consistently’. They have now done it for the last 7 polls. Still early days to note a true sea change but the next few will be interesting to see if they can maintain or build on this

  12. This is the Liberal pull back up the POLLS i predicted – where both main parties will lose ground slightly to them , particuarly as they get some media coverage up to Christmas .

    They will reach a maximum of about 18% then fall back to about 14% by mid January . Once again the beneficiaries of the loss again will be eually from the 2 main parties .

    While the 2 main parties vie for Liberal ground – the Liberals will continue to suffer right up to the next general election – unless they become more radical and come up with their own “Vision” so to speak (using someone else’s terminology)!

    As i predicted way back now and was proved correct (including there would be no election) – the Tories will now remain in the lead in the POLLS to varying degrees right up to the next election in 2010 – as we go through 2008 the lead in the POLLS will increase to a steady low to middle 40’s while the Labour % in the POLLS will drift down to the low 30’s and by the end of 2008 will be struggling in the high 20’s (T.JONES – you may start the ticking cock till January)for my first predictions .

  13. that should have read “clock” – whoops

  14. I don’t know why people are saying the LDs might go up with a new leader – they may go down or stay the same. It appears the squeeze by Labour and Conservatives actually has had more of an effect than leadership.

    The challenge for the Tories is to maintain the 40 or above figure, then try to go into the mid 40s.

  15. If 40% for the 7th time in a row is “taking a hit”, then it just goes to show how far we have come through, especially in comparison to that permanent ‘glass ceiling’ of 33%

    Looking at the past data the 43% Tory result does appear to be a bit of an outlier, all the others have basically been rather consistently 40/41, so 43 would have been within the margin of error and I don’t think another 40 result means anything special.

  16. We seem to be broadly back where we were before Brown entered number 10. But given the unpredictable events of the last 6 months it would be a brave man who forecast where we would be in 6 months time. It may be the case that we will by then have reached the ‘tipping point’ beyond which an unpopular government cannot recover but although the local council by elections are again swinging to the Tories there are no by elections in sight to test the temperature. The May 2008 local elections will tell us much.

  17. Dave – a more detailled response now it isn’t the middle of the night. ICM’s tables normally show four stages in the processing of the data if you look carefully. Taking the last poll thats up on their website (the previous one to this, just to make sure no one gets the wrong end of the stick):

    1) On the unweighted data they had 287 people voting Conservative, 259 voting Labour, 77 voting Lib Dem and 54 others – 42% CON, 38% LAB, 11% LDEM, 8% OTH.

    2) After being weighted by demographics and past vote this turned into 280 Conservative, 236 Labour, 96 Lib Dem and 47 Others – 42% CON, 36% LAB, 15% LDEM, 7% OTH.

    3) ICM then filter by likelihood to vote, taking only those who say they are 7/10 or more likely to vote. This leaves us with 250 Conservatives, 197 Labour, 73 Lib Dems and 44 others – 44% CON, 35% LAB, 13% LDEM, 8% OTH. This is what is shown in table 2.

    4) Finally ICM take those people who said they were 7+/10 likely to vote, but didn’t say for who, and reallocate 50% of them to the party they said they voted for last time. This final adjustment isn’t shown on table 2, but gives figures of – 43% CON, 36% LAB, 14% LDEM, 8% OTH.

  18. It’s interesting to think back to a time such as the 60s or 70s when poll results would have been given pretty much as raw figures, without any weighting for demographics or likelihood to vote.

  19. Thanks Anthony

  20. Anthony Wells and Peter Cairns

    It would be interesting to see your observations re Herald poll on Scottish independence


  21. The SNP’s chance will come only if the Conservatives gain power in Westminster and immediately try to tackle the west lothian question- while the current SNP administration still remains in Scotland. If Scotland feels strongly that they are being uled by a party the E

  22. ….English voted for and they did not, they may seek indeopendence as a resolution.

    (my post got cut in half then for some reason)

  23. I haven’t seen the full detail yet, the Scottish social ttitudes study is always an interesting piece of work, but the headline is somewhat misleading.

    Ten years ago we didn’t have devolution yet so where as now it’s status quo(devolution), a stronger parliament and Independence when it started it was one question less with Devoultion beating the status quo not Independence.

    To be fair it is 1,400 of a survey over 4 months and there have consistantly been polls, including more recent,putting it higher. My own feel is that it usually sits between 25% and 35%.

    The important thing for me and indeed the SP is to keep moving forward. So 20 years ago it was Union v Independence with Independence moving up, so we were offered devolution. Having got devloyion we now have more devolution out performing Independence, the status Quo or going back.

    With every party even the Tories backing more powers then we are pretty sure in the next few years to move to stage two, which is much more like a federal Uk than present.

    I am sure I’ll see Indepednece in my lifetime (I am 46) and I’d prefer it sooner than later, but as to how it comes a whimper is as good as a bang.

    I suppose it’s a bit like the Russian front after moscow, for all the dayly reports and the toos and fros on the battlefield you know the tide has turned and which way it’s flowing. We’ll have tough times and setbacks but it will come.

    What the survey does show in terms of sticking up for Scotland is that we may have a prolonged phase where the SNP is the prefered choice of Government for Holyrood as the party that sticks up for Scotland with Alex Salmond at it’s head.

    I suppose thats a bit like everybody liking Churchill and the way he lead the country but then voting labour in 1945.

    In an odd way that has implications that are positive for the ultimate future of the SNP. If it is seen as a strong party that governs well for all Scots then it may well have a post independence future as the “national ” party.

    A few years back talking with members a lot thought that independence would be the end of the party and that they’d leave politics or go to the LibDems or back to Labour.

    Now the mood is more , that it’s us who could take on the libDem mantel and swallow them to hold the middle ground with labour in it’s heartlands and the Tories on the right.

    Now that the SNP has been in government it’s seems less likely that post independence Scottish politics will just revert to a scale model of the UK system, or back to Labour as the perminant party in power.

    Sorry if that’s more a political position than a comment on the poll but like I say I haven’t looked at the full figures yet.


  24. Except that addressing the West Lothian Question just addresses who governs England, not who governs Scotland.

  25. The WLQ begets so many other constitutional Qs that I doubt the matter will be addressed by any side.

    It’s Cameron’s strategy to point out “unfairness” whenever he can, and the WLQ is clearly helping in that strategy, but it’s essentially a ruse and there is no way it could have arisen during a real election campaign. He will drop it.

  26. The problem with the WLQ is that the obvious solution, an English parliament and the HofC as a UK federal senate which would cover UK only matters and probably the functions of the HofL’s, wouldn’t be stomached by sitting MP’s or the Labour and Tory leadership, so the come up with half hearted measures instead.


    I’ll try to comment when the full figures are available or if Anthony posts a thread on it.


  27. Luke
    I am not sure your right most people I speak to in
    Scotland (supporters of main 4 parties) think the WLQ should be resolved. Arguably if it is not resolved then it will sooner or later create a constitutional crises when Scots MP’s force through/stop major English legislation. The Nats obviously want an English Parliament.

    I don’t understand why the Tories would backtrack from their 2005 GE Manifesto and earlier commitment to resolve the WLQ issue.

    Peter thanks.

  28. Do the pollsters ever collect evidence that English people dislike being ruled by Scots? Or that age comes in to play ? Or is it co-incidence that this issue gives Cameron the chance to contrast himself with a grey – haired Browne and Darling.?

  29. I think there is a fair chance the general Conservative leads will be cut (or maybe even erased) over the next three months, but once the new LibDem leader (presumably Nick Clegg) has enjoyed a bounce, the Tories’ standing will rise again.
    In fact I envisage 2008 being the best year for the Tories in the polls since 1991 or possibly even 1988 – now that the Brown Bounce has gone, it will still be mid-term and Labour will have been in power 11 years.

  30. SLAM – they haven’t renewed that committment(yet!); nothing that Rifkind has said has become official policy. You probably think it will, and I’ve been wrong before, but i just have a feeling the potential consequences would prevent a manifesto pledge before the next election, or at least before a Scottish independence referendum (which would solve it once and for all if Alex had his way)

  31. wolf

    The Tories have consistently since Scottish Devolution pledged to resolve the WLQ if they gain power. Cameron tasked his study group to propose a solution to the question long before Brown & Darling got their present jobs.

    If the question was asked in an unbiased way I suspect a strong majority in England would want a fairer system. I hope most debate is focussed on how best to achieve this. The recent Tory proposal is clearly a compromise but it arguably would leave Brown in a stronger position than the introduction of an English Parliament which is a more obvious but expensive way of resolving the WLQ

  32. John T
    Agreed on first part. Yes we disagree about the liklihood of the commitment been renewed before GE.

    If there were a referendum on Scottish independence it would only resolve the matter if
    the Nats won it. They appear to be fairly popular at present in terms of running the Scottish Parliament but the latest indications are they would lose a referendum.


  33. There’s a long way to go to October 2009 when I think there will be a General Election. If Brown improves his presentation and manages policy ‘u’ turns in a more subtle way I think the election campaign itself will be the key. Seems to me that there’s a danger of Cameron coming over as increasingly over-confident which wouldn’t go down too well with the ‘Great British Public’ who like to see a modicum of humility in their Leaders. On the Liberals I think they only need a better press to maintain 18% or above and it wouldn’t be too difficult for either of the contenders to do better than Ming in that respect.

  34. With regard to an English parliament; the Tories need to go for it. Argue a case on conservative logic, that the current position is a constitutional mess. A federal system is what we are drifting to and can not be repealed (go on then, try and remove the Scottish parliament…). It is logical therefore to make it logical. It’s not ‘devolution to regions’ as Labour tried tro make it–it’s federalism based on semi-nations. That’s why Prescott’s northern assembly was shot down in flames. Give all national parliaments equal internal powers (perhaps create an English parliament by having those elected from English constituencies be the parliament and docking pay from the rest; the public would like that). The Conservatives need to take pro-active logic; the current system is just illogical and to look to the future requires a federal system (and the federal system works very well throughout the world, it isn’t the end of humanity as we know it).

  35. RE WLQ – the “logical” solution of a federal system does not work in the UK due to the disparity in relative size of England. Federalism only works as a partnership of “equals”.

    People often make comparisons with US, Canada or Australia in the Anglo-Saxon world or with Germany on the continent. However, a better comparison would be the Soviet Union where Russia accounted for about 80% of population and >90% of GDP.. where the only logical solution was disintegration.

    That is one reason why Prescott (and the EU) have been trying to foist regionalism onto England, in an effort to balance out the relative weighting of individual regions vs Scotland / Wales. Even then Greater London would still be a heavyweight amongst a range of medium/small regions. That would create a scenario similar to the US where California, Texas and NY are significantly larger than most other states, but none are so large as to dominate.

    The WLQ may be an issue at the next GE, but it is not something capable of simple/easy reslution – hence it is still a thorny issue more than thirty years after first being posed.

  36. Looking at the first comment

    “the swingometer gives Con-287 Lab-299 Lib-36”

    if that happened then the Lib Dems would be quite capable of getting PR through as a price for support, in that case, this could be the last single party overall majority we ever have. Or else we go for some sort of English parliament or English only votes as the Conservatives propose. Either way, there’s more electoral reform coming, unless Gordon Brown suddenly does something amazing and becomes popular again.

  37. David Bowtell: Oct ’09 is an extremely unlikely date for a general election. In general governments don’t choose to go to the poll in autumn, the only reason it was proposed this year was because of the polls and the chance Brown had to go early. It will either be May/June 2009 or 2010, not autumn 2009.

    There is also the European Parliament elections in June 2009, that would be a tempting day for Brown to call the election on (Boosting turnout with a double-poll) – but otherwise if there is no general election by then, Labour will almost certainly be hammered in the European elections. That need not mean much, it happened last time and they still got re-elected, but no PM especially not Brown is going to call a general election on the back of that.

  38. Cameron will be the next PM of this country and he will win by a landslide I would put big money on it.

    Labour has been leaking support for a decade. Its local party organization is falling apart its membership falling on a daily basis.

    Polls show that the media has simply got bored with making excuses for 10 years of abject failure on virtually all levels.

    But the most important reason why we will have a landslide Conservative government is the following very simple one.

    By 2010 a critical mass of the electorate would have been young school children during the last Conservative government. So the effect of 18 years of vindictive almost hateful BBC anti Conservative government propaganda will have lost many of its past audience. Many of the younger generation don’t watch TV at all anymore. This is now extending to the middle aged.

    10years of actual experience has shown that Labour are not only incompetent they are also more nasty and authoritarian then the so called nasty authoritarian Conservative government they were supposed to replace.

    Labour has no unique selling points and is looking very tired and lacking in any new ideas.

    Whats worse many of the past and present actions of our great clunking fist leader has ensured that no new credible prospective Labour PM seems to exist on the horizon either, and no one at all not tainted by corruption and or embarrassing failure.

    Cameron has no real new ideas either but he is NEW good looking and a sublime political speaker. Cool in a crisis and has a believable smart answer to any question put to him. He will be dynamite in an election campaign and he knows it.

    They are the best selling point in politics one can have especially after what will be 13 years of failed promises by then.

  39. That’s told us Atlas!

  40. “By 2010 a critical mass of the electorate would have been young school children during the last Conservative government. So the effect of 18 years of vindictive almost hateful BBC anti Conservative government propaganda will have lost many of its past audience. Many of the younger generation don’t watch TV at all anymore.”

    Hey Thats me!

    Cameron has impressed me since becoming leader and only a huge cock up by him would make me stay at home(as opposed to voting Labour).

  41. Paul HJ:-
    “The WLQ may be an issue at the next GE, but it is not something capable of simple/easy reslution ”

    I agree-but it is an issue which will not go away.

    Ever since Blair introduced Scottish devolution the Pandora’s box has been waiting to be opened.When Blair found the Scots opting for distinctive policies on health and education he told Paddy Ashdown he regretted devolution: “You can’t have Scotland pursuing policies different from the rest of Britain.” he is reported to have said.

    So we have yet another example of ill thought through policy & fudge from Labour-with Brown now preaching the importance of The Union (!) in response to the Conservatives’ efforts to get to grips with this problem.

    Alex Salmond is certainly doing his best to prize that Pandora’s Box open by espousing Independence so strongly & nudging the Tories on to an English Parliament rather than a “compromise”.

    I must say this one has me thinking deeply. The concept of the Union is what I was brought up on….and yet I believe that there is a crying need throughout UK for less top-down centralist government-for more local democratic decision making….and reading the comments in the Herald article posted by Slam I was quite shaken by the vehemence of some responses. I wonder if the average English resident really understands Scotland today?

    Salmond’s claims about Scotland’s economic viability will have to be exposed at some point to forensic examination. But it amuses me to hear him including NS Oil revenues in his calculations. These will not be sustainable & are turning down now.It reminds me that the economy of the second most wealthy Local Authority in UK-Shetland-was based on the terminal at Sullom Voe. Shetland for some time has had a social welfare system which is the envy of the world & a public sector which UK unions can only dream of-but it too is not sustainable . When it has gone Shetlanders will be back to Tourism & Fishing etc.
    (unless they get to build that mega windfarm & cream in those juicy ROC subsidies)

    I would hope that in the options for more local decision making, the Conservatives will find some English equivalence of the powers now being weilded at Holyrood. Whether they need to be organised via Westminster-or English Local Authorities is an interesting thought.

    As for Salmond-he has pinned his colours to the Independence mast saying that as SNP govern well, the Scottish people will begin to support the idea.But supposing they don’t? What is SNP for then?-well that’s for the Scots I suppose-maybe it’s enough that they are not Tories ( respondents in The Herald were still quoting Thatcher & the Poll Tax !!!)…or Labour.

    But the ability of Scots to reshape elements of healthcare policy etc-even ( or especially)under a Westminster Government – will not lessen the demands for more local democracy in England.

    Labour has no credentials to meet this demand.It’s centralist thinking led it to Quango Regional Assemblies which met with little support.
    The Tories can have -but they need to think deeply about it,& not get too hung up on WLQ-but it will test the Unionist Party severely.

  42. The WLQ should be re-framed using language that reflects the heart of the matter, rather than a simply Scottish issue. (I’d suggest a question like “how do we become more democratic”)

    Elected rerpresentatives vote on matters that have a varying relevance to those who elected them. There are often “other agendas” corrupting the real democratic process of voting for or against something according to the perceived wishes of those in their constituency. The more local the decision-making, the more “democratic” the process is.

    Therefore, an “English” body being more local than the current UK one, would enjoy similar devolved powers to Scotland.

    I can’t see any party really wanting to go through the upheaval, when a simpler answer to the WLQ is that it doesn’t matter very much if relatively few Scottish MPs vote on UK-wide issues that their Partliament deals with for Scotland. The bigger question of better democracy all-round should be the focus, and maybe that does need a tweak in the direction of more local power.

    I expect the LibDems to be vocal on this in the next year, and to put forward/revive a poicy on local income tax, and more devolution of spending decisions.

  43. Atlas, your rant amply demonstrates the reason why the Tories have spent so long in opposition. The (frankly ludicrous) belief that Labour came to power because of anti Tory BBC hate speech over a period of 18 years is faintly amusing. It is that sort of denial that prevented the Tories from realising that they themselves were the reason for their fall from power. Cameron is the first leader who to realise that it was the Tories (not the public) that got it wrong and has sought to reconnect with the public. That is why he is the first serious threat to Labour since 1997.

    Similarly the mantra that Labour’s 10 years have achieved nothing and are a model of incompetence doesn’t wash. If it had been a Tory chancellor who had presided over inflation below 3%, interest rates below 6% and unemployment below 1 million, doubtless you, Mike Richardson and the Daily Mail editorial team would have laid an egg through the excitement of it all. Most of us of course are able to give some credit where it is due (regardless of political affiliation) but also realise that no government is wholly responsible for economic success or failure.

    It’s the difference between student politics and adult conversation within the real world, the latter being what this discussion forum is supposed to be about.

  44. COLIN,

    For clarification rather than a defence, it is SNP policy to create a Norwegian style “oil Fund” and to invest revenue, so that the investment income goes to wards future revenuse, not the current oil taxes. shetland has done the same thing.


    “As of the latest valuation in June 2007, it is the largest pension fund in Europe and the second largest in the world,[1] with a value of NOK 1.939 trillion (US$359 billion).”

    At todays exchange rate thats about £180m and on course to be twice Scotland’s GDP.

    The current SNP focus is to try to boost the economy ( we still hope to abolish business rates for RV under £8,000 and half them for under £12,000) and to make the public sector more efficent, while diverting spending fro employing people to capitail projects.

    Things like ending Bridge tolls have economic benefits for the economy and in terms of £30bn a year spending cost buttons, but the can be both popular and efficent.

    Even things like ending prescription charges are not that expensive when you consider how many people are already exempt and the costs involved in administering the current system.

    There is no doubt we need to reduce the public sector and expand the economy, but compared to many EU countries we have a strong economy and nothing to fear from going it alone.

    Sure we face tough choices but no tougher than anyone else.

    The two big issues are that as long as we are funded on the Barnet formula and the UK economy is geared to an driven by London, then our private sector will under perform while our public sector grows.

    In a real sense fiscal autonomy is about breaking that cycle so that we can set policies to suit or needs and learn to live within our means.

    To balance the books we need oil revenue so that we can have a smooth transition that allows us to strength the economy so that we can start switching Oil taxation to a futures fund.

    So initially we would bridge the current accounts by using oil revenue, but as we cut corporate tax to Irish levels and slowly raised the growth rate (and crucially the growth of public expenditure to below the growth rate) we would be able to divert money to the Oil Fund.

    The other issue is that unless we get more fiscal powers and the longer it is till Independence the longer it is before we can fully address our problems and the less oil money there will be to invest.

    Oh and for those that are interested the full results of the SNP/Yougov survey are now up on the results page. ( thanks Anthony).


  45. Atlas’ point about the young having grown up under New Labour and not under the Tory government is a valid one. Come 1997 there was an entire generation of voters who who did not remember the Winter of Discontent or the last Labour government, voters who weren’t even alive then.

    Come the next election there will be young voters who’ve known nothing but a Labour government.

    This is one of the reasons why “Time for a change” becomes a strong argument, right or wrong.

  46. Thanks Peter-interesting stuff-interesting times!


  47. Colin,

    Are you the same colin who didn’t use capitals?

    It’s all part of the SNP’s secret plan to show that we’re not all swivel eyed kilt wearing whingers.

    More seriously I’ve often thought that I am probably the only member of the SNP most of you have had any contact with.



  48. Yes I am Peter-the one you called “Looney Tunes” if memory serves!

    Still-no hard feelings.

    COLIN aka Colin

  49. Go back to being good-old non-ALL CAPS Colin please ;-)

  50. Oh and Peter, yes you are the only SNP member I’ve ever met. Known quite a few Scots, but none who actually wanted independence let alone support the SNP. I suspect Scottish support for independence might be lower amongst the Scots I’d have met (ie those living in England)

1 2