The ICM poll for the Guardian also included a voting intention question with Brown as Labour leader, which showed the now normal pattern of the Conservatives doing better against Labour with Brown instead of Blair. The full figures were CON 37%, LAB 37%, LDEM 19% (as ever bear in mind that polls don’t predict, they only measure opinion at the moment, so this is a purely hypothetical question).
Net approval ratings for the party leaders are Blair -9, Cameron +20 and Campbell +19, though the interesting thing to watch on these questions is how Cameron’s rating holds up once the proportions of “don’t knows” declines – we shall see once the full figures are available.
Finally ICM also commissioned a focus group on the image of the party leaders, asking respondents what cars they associated with the party leaders (which sounds silly, but is actually a good way of looking at a brand image). Blair was seen as a defunct Rover or a Lada, David Cameron was seen as BMW 5 Series, Gordon Brown as a tank, suggesting that Cameron is seen as swish and modern, but perhaps something associated with the rich rather than normal people, while Brown as seen as strong, straight forward, but perhaps charmless and brutal. Ming Campbell was seen as an old Jag, which ironically, is what he actually drives. Or did drive, before it was banished to his garage during the leadership election.
Focus groups told ICM that they thought Cameron was dynamic and would be most at home at a Live 8 concert, talking or listening to people. While this sounds like political gold dust for a party leader, on the downside Cameron was seen as being too much like Blair, and – another recuring theme – ICM’s focus group commented on the fact that while he had offered signposts, he hadn’t put forward any policies.