The ICM poll we’ve been waiting for these last few days has finally turned up in the Guardian. The topline figures, with changes from their last poll a week ago, are CON 45%(+3), LAB 30%(-1), LDEM 18%(-1). It was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, so this is the first voting intention poll conducted after the full press coverage of the pre-budget report.
It shows an increase in Conservative support and a small drop in Labour, though as ever no single point shift is significant. While this is only a single poll, it is the first poll to show any significant trend away from Labour and back to the Tories for a while. While ICM have been showing the largest Tory leads in recent months, this is still their largest lead since August. As a note of caution though, this poll was conducted at the exactly the point when the media was full of negative coverage about the PBR and secret plans to raise VAT to 18%. Not only is this a single poll that is yet to be corroberated by other companies, we also can’t yet tell if it’s a real shift in opinion, or just reflecting bad publicity for the government at the time it was taken.
Looking at the other questions in the poll, 50% said they approved of the measures in the PBR, with 41% disapproving. Brown and Darling also have a 9 point lead on being the best team on the economy, backed by 46% compared to 37% for Cameron and Darling. The weak point for the government appears to be borrowing. 74% agreed that it was important to “keep borrowing under control so as not to store up problems later”, compared to only 22% who chose the option that “it was important to boost the economy now, even if it means more borrowing and taxes later”.
On the question of whether it is time for a change from Labour, 58% agreed, with 35% disagreeing.