ICM have joined the fray of companies polling on the European elections. Their first poll on the 2009 European elections has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 24%, LDEM 18%, UKIP 10%, Green 9%, SNP & PC 4%, BNP 1%. It was conducted on May the 20th and 21st.

Overall the poll shows the main parties increasing their support since the last European election, which seems somewhat implausible given the current political events. UKIP are up in double figures, though not to the heights YouGov, BPIX and ComRes have shown and the BNP are down at just 1% – a figure that seems very unlikely. Of the minor parties only the Greens are up on their 2004 performance.

As the Guardian say in their commentary, when compared to their ratings in other polls and the support they received in 2004, it looks as though there is a social desirability bias here resulting in the BNP support being unreported.

UPDATE: On the same day we have the results of an ICM poll for the taxpayers alliance conducted back at the start of May before the expenses scandal broke. It has both national and European voting intention figures – both now out of date – but more importantly shows us that when ICM asked about European voting intention they included UKIP in their prompt along with the three main parties. It’ll be interesting to see if they used the same wording for their Guardian poll.

Other questions in the ICM/Taxpayers Alliance poll suggested support for the single currency stands at 23%, with 75% opposed. 28% said they would vote in favour of the Lisbon treaty in a referendum, 62% say they would vote against.

51 Responses to “ICM European election poll”


    ICM/TaxPayers’ Alliance

    “Between the 1st and 4th May 2009, ICM polled a random sample of 1,002
    adults (18+) on their attitudes to the EU. Interviews were conducted across
    the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.

    General Election voting intention: Conservatives 41%; Labour 27%;
    Liberal Democrat 21%; Other 11%.

    Euro election voting intention: Conservatives 32%; Labour 28%; Liberal
    Democrat 22%; UKIP 9%; Other 9%.

    People oppose joining the euro by 75 – 23 (the highest ever No vote
    since ICM first asked this question in 1995). The economic crisis has
    strengthened opposition to the euro”

  2. Perhaps it’s time they started asking people what they want rather than what they don’t want.

    In other words, they could ask people whether they’d like to re-join EFTA, and ask which organisation people would prefer: the EU or EFTA.

    Not only does it still exist: “http://www.efta.int/”
    …but in fact EFTA countries (up until Iceland went pop!) have been the most prosperous, socially cohesive, and peaceful in the world… I’m sure Iceland will recover.
    It makes sense when you consider the marine resources shared between Norway, UK, and Iceland; and having three hard currencies in EFTA makes for a good background to rebuild the financial sector.

    …it’s just never talked about or asked about; why not?!

  3. Promsan – these kind of things are rarely talked about because the main stream media has the attention span of a gnat and dislikes trying to explain and anlayse anything that takes more than 45 seconds of coverage.
    Perhaps I’m being a little unfair, but there are plenty of different and challenging viewpoints out there – its just the overall level of discussion always seems to revolve around facile, oversimplified soundbites. Politicians and media inadvertantly collude in this as it suits them both.

  4. “Politicians and media inadvertantly collude in this as it suits them both.”

    True enough… I just pray that this crisis evolves into a battle royale between the two, with an eventual change in culture, so that we can talk about other options.

  5. On a related topic – who’s funding UKIP? Rupert Murdoch?

  6. They may have other large donors in the next round of published donations, but their largest known donor is Stuart Wheeler.

  7. Had a look at their billboard – v professional including a freephone number tor ing for anyone who wants to help. I’ve seen one of their recent newsletters and it’s on a different scale to what was in there. C

  8. Well, between the two EU election polls we’ve seen much of what we’ve seen elsewhere: A decline in major-party support and a bump for “Other”. And we also get to see more “splatter pattern” polling…*sigh*

    Anybody got a guess as to which sets of polls are more accurate, or are we just as well off flipping a coin?

  9. Thanks to Stuart for the numbers on the older poll which have of course been overtaken by events
    Howevr, what strikes me about this poll is Lab & Lib Dems being more or less the same for GE and Euro Elections (probably were in early May).
    Add the UKIP to Tory for Euro Poll, though, and they match the GE Tory score.
    This confirms, perhaps more succintly than any recent polls, that the UKIP vote is almost all ‘borrowed’ from the Tories.
    Whatever the gap in the actual Euro poll between Labour and Cons, most of the UKIP vote should be result added to the Cons for forecasting the GE.
    Due to claims Labour and Lib Dems may lose a few also (Nat and Greens perhaps) but not as much. More likely labour GE voters stay at home.

    So if the result matched the new ICM poll the Tory lead would only be 6 pts and labour spokespeople will claim ‘given recent GE polls a good result, Tories not that far ahead in real elections etc’. (Even if lead 10pts they will take this line.
    Bizarrley, therefore, expenses scandal makes a probable terrible Labour result spinable.
    I am a Labour Supporter and can hear now our leaders saying after the euro poll ‘ bad night for all 3 parties .. expenses protest voter blah blah.
    I won’t buy it and they will know themselves.

  10. Nadine Dorries claimed that the owners of the Telegraph, the Barclay Brothers, may be supporting UKIP. I don’t know how much truth there is in that.

  11. I agree with Jim Jam that the relatively poor polls for the Cons are due votes being ‘lent’ to UKIP. The Cons I imagine will get 4 points back by July.

    In the polls, before the expenses scanal, they were regularly getting 45%. I was skeptical about their ability to maintain this until the election. Now with focus falling on greedy Tory millionaire Toffs my skepticism has been strengthen regarding the Cons ability to gain more than 44% in the GE. Although I imagine they would be very satisfied with getting more than 40% in the GE.

  12. Well, I think the focus is on all parties, not just the Tories by any stretch of the imagination) and if you get MPs standing down for expense problems while cabinet ministers don’t get dumped for similar problems, Brown is going to have a lot of trouble in his own house to deal with.

    The honest truth is that the Tories might well get a majority government and then some on 40%; 40-25 gives a Tory majority of about 80 (and it’ll probably be slightly larger as I suspect the SNP will be picking up some ground…even absent any boost for the expenses scandal, the SNP would seem to have risen a good distance since 2005, and that will sting Labour and the LibDems in Scotland more than anything). On the mythic Universal Swing against 26 Labour and 20 LD, the Tories only need 37.18% to get a majority (of 2, granted); against 25 Lab/19 LD, they only need 36.25 to get that, though I figure they actually need a little less owing to Labour likely dropping more votes to the SNP and PC than the calculator rightfully accounts for (which could lead to a few “indirect” pickups).

    Truth be told, a 37-25-19 election in Britain is rather unrealistic (once you add in NI it’s a hair more believable, but not by much) as it implies close to 20% going to “Other” (hence why I figured on Labour and the LDs getting an extra point, just to cover low “other” turnout), but the point is that the Tories don’t need to get to 40% to get a majority on anything close to the current numbers…particularly if the minor-party vote gets a bump (which would not be at all surprising), and I suspect they don’t quite even need what a uniform swing says they do (partly owing to the fact that said swing gives Labour negative votes in a decent number of seats; lost deposits I’ll buy, but not negative votes).

  13. Strangely enough, I think the crystallization of UK voter opposition to Europe will in the long run be a great boon to the Tory party. Europe is really the only policy area where there is genuine deep division in the Conservative party. The only thing that gets the Europhile Tories to keep schtum and cooperate with a Eurosceptic leadership is the belief that there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of getting the public to come round to their way of thinking. So long as polls like this show big majorities against EU integration, the Tories can stay pretty united.

  14. This poll is a bit of a joke.

    BNP: 1%?….

  15. BNP on 1% even thats too much for this right wing fascist party.

  16. Why are you talking up the BNP chances here. They are recording 1% as their vote has collapsed, its as simple as that

    The simple message- the BNP is a nazi party, has finally got through

  17. Jim – if it’s a drop in support, we’ll see it reflected in polls carried out without a live interviewer too. You can’t take a poll with an interviewer effect, compare it with a poll without an interviewer effect and conclude support has fallen (nor the other way round for that matter).

    Don’t automatically assume the explanation you’d like to be true is the correct one – I’m sure if the polls had been published in the other order you wouldn’t be blindly rejecting all explanations other than that the BNP vote had increased from 1% to 7%.

    Bill – it’s a site for discussing what support parties do have, not what we’d like them to have.

  18. On a related topic – who’s funding UKIP?

    remember that the EU fund them to a considerable degree.

  19. “the BNP is a nazi party, has finally got through”

    What a load of predictable rubbish. Want to back this accusation up with some rational, relevant evidence?

  20. The BNP is a party that only allows white membership. Non-whites are not allowed to join. It is a party with a strict ‘race’ policy.

    The BNP also favour a form of ethnic cleansing through the repatriation for all non-white Brits. Repatriation is a racist policy. Simple as. This is in the BNP manifesto, and thus shares a similar world view to the Nazi party of Germany in the 1930s and 40s.

    You cannot deny that this has similarities to the Nazi party.

    Nick Griffin is also a holocaust denier. Remember ‘Holohoax’?

    Look it up if you have any doubts to these facts.

  21. I think tonights ICM Telegraph will be
    Con 33
    Labb 29
    Lib 23

  22. The BNP was founded by a openly Nazi, the leader of the Young BNP and the “future leader” of the BNP has praised Hitler and said some digusting things about minority groups.

  23. Anyway, sorry about the double post, but i think the BNP will be back up to 4 or 5% in the next poll, i’d love this poll to be true though. UKIP’s numbers will be higher too.

  24. Wayne, given the present eradic nature of the polls the next one could be anywhere from Cons 43 to 38, Lab 28 to 22, Lib Dems 23 to 16. But is your Cons 33% prediction a typing error !?!?

  25. I’m refering to a GE poll. Perhaps you were refering to a coming Euro poll???

  26. Thanks for getting things back on topic Philip. This is not the place for arguing about whether the BNP are nazis or not. Take it elsewhere – further comments about it will be moderated.

  27. Do we have any reason to think there will be an ICM/Sunday Telegraph poll tonight?

  28. I think the EU elections are going to be an eyeopener and the polling predictions may be well away from the reality of the coming 4th June.

    I feel sure that very few will have openly said that they intend to vote BNP because of it’s stigma. Labour is down in any case and since the expences scandal has been revealed in full the Consrvatives and Lib Dems are also having to have a rethink in the eleventh hour.

    I very much fear that many voters will vote BNP just out of protest against the big three prties.

    On 5th June we will all be much wiser.

  29. Philip JW,

    Yes a typing error I meant Con 31


    “An exclusive Sunday Express poll conducted in the Salford constituency of Communities Secretary Hazel Blears revealed the minor parties, including the far-right BNP, are the main beneficiaries of ­public disgust with the political establishment.

    Among those intending to vote, the BNP picked up 38.4 per cent support compared to 19.2 per cent for Labour. The result, in what was a safe Labour seat, gives the Tories 13.4 per cent of the vote, the Liberal Democrats 10.7 per cent and the Greens and the UK Independent Party 7.1 per cent each.

    The Sunday Express conducted similar surveys in the crucial seats of Worcester and Basildon, which also suggested the minor parties are on course to do well.

    In Worcester, sitting Labour MP Michael Foster, who claimed £83,594 in second home expenses over five years, is set to be deposed by the Conservatives, with the minor parties doubling their vote.

    And in Basildon, Gordon Brown’s Parliamentary aide Angela Smith is also on course to be kicked out, picking up only 16.2 per cent support compared to 34.7 per cent for the Tories. The UK Independence Party has 13.8 per cent of the vote and the BNP has 7.8 per cent.”

  31. Well if that’s the case, let’s hope the BNP’s voters continue to be lazy bastards then. Considering the recent Salford by-election got them under half ot that vote.


    Scottish Opinion/Mail on Sunday

    (Note: Scottish Opinion is not a member of the British Polling Council.)

    The SNP today welcomed a poll in the Mail on Sunday showing nearly two thirds of Scots want a General Election.

    The poll, by Scottish Opinion of 650 people between 15th and 20th May puts the SNP in a strong position to fight for Scotland’s jobs with a 16% lead over Labour.

    Excluding those not voting the poll puts the SNP on 43% to 27% for Labour with the Lib Dems and Conservatives on 11%

    If translated into seats at the next Westminster election the poll would give the SNP 48 seats (+42), to 8 (-33) for Labour and 3 (-9) for the Liberal Democrats.

  33. well I think it’s fair to say we can’t trust that Scottish poll.

  34. I think a lot of posters on these opinion poll threads get a bit carried away with the prospect of a very extreme result, I think perhaps influenced by what happened in 1995-97.

    The chances are the “others” vote will be substantial in the Euro elections, but will contract to about 10% in the next General Election, and Labour support will climb into the low 30s.
    The Conservatives should achieve 40-42%.

    I think the 1979 figure of 44.9% is probably unlikely because
    a) I think the LDs will be higher than then (unfortunately) – they may well see a substantial drop in support but the number of areas where they’ll resist the swing will be greater than in 1979.

    b) The Others will be about 10% – not 3.2%
    c) Labour will improve from where they are today.

  35. Well Joe I think it is very brave of people to forecast the precise results of the next general election after the events of the last 6 months or so. I certainly would not go much beyond forecasting a Tory majority at this stage-and that because I think that whatever happens to the economy etc the combination of an unpopular Prime Minister and the time for a change arguement will be overwhelming on the campaign trail.

    The MP’s expenses row shows once again the validity of Harold MacMillian’s reponse to the question as to what could change the political outlook….’events dear boy events’. There is no doubt that the Tory Euro election campaign has been blown off course and it is only thanks to David Cameron’s bold and determined leadership that the Tories still look likely to emerge as ( muted) victors.
    Whether or not some voters wishing to protest about MP’s expenses should back UKIP given their track record on this subject is curious but hopefully they will not try out the BNP. If only clergymen and hysterical jounalists on Question Time would refrain from giving them publicity by invoking the fear of unforseen BNP victories. That silly woman on QT last week actually seemed to think they could win several seats in a Westminster poll when the best they can hope for is a distant fifth…
    The dust will settle on the expenses row provided the major parties see to it that the main offenders are got rid of at the next election as seems likely since the consituency party machines are as angry as the rest of us and alive to the dangers if they do not. act.

  36. An interesting angle on the mood of public anger about MPs, is prompted by Alan Johnson’s article in The Times today.

    AJ proposes a referendum on PR, and offers a preference for something called AV+, which includes a county level party list.

    It seems to me that the single constituency MP/ FPTP system is the very vehicle by which angry voters are currently taking their MPs to task-a process which they will be able to complete at the GE by voting out an individual MP.

    Johnson’s intervention on behalf of PR seems peculiarly mistimed , since it ” will only intensify the power of the party machines and create even more lobby fodder” to quote Boris Johnson.

    An article in yesterday’s Times contrasted the ability of UK Parliamentary voters to vote out an individual MP , with the voting system in the EU election where that is not possible, and in which the Party List dominates.

    Supposing the general public had been permitted by MEPs to see the 2008 EU auditors’ report exposing criminal abuse & fraud in MEPs expense claims.

    Supposing the general public was as aware of the gravy train which constitutes MEPs expenses, as they now are of the HoC system.

    How would they vote to remove individual MEPs ?

    I think AJ is completely off target with his proposal today-reducing the public’s ability to vote out an individual will go down like a lead balloon just at the moment.

  37. Colin, I don’t thing AV+ is really PR… so I think much of your critique doesn’t apply.

    AV+ seems more like a compromise between FPTP and PR, where you still get a FPTP, but you get “points” for 1st 2nd and 3rd as in various sporting leagues, thus guaranteeing a majority elected candidate, but without fundamental flaws of either pure FPTP and PR… every vote actually matters, but no dirty deals have to be done, and get a candidate who is accountable to a defined group of constituents …so it is claimed.
    I wonder whether it’d be better to do away with the old-fashioned notion of the MP, and simply elect the head or the council or a mayor to go and sit in parliament instead?!

    It’s interesting how they are trying outdo each other with being simultaneously radical and different.

    You’re right to point out that if the expenses snowball rolls into the EU, then it would make the issue of the EU more *interesting*… UKIP has various accusations levelled at it despite it’s keenness for going on about the EU accounts not being signed off, and the endemic corruption therein… which party is it going to benefit when it turns out that about 60% of MEPs have apparently voted against transparency…
    It seems to only strenghten the case against continued membership of the EU, when it’s self-evident that turkey’s won’t vote for christmas, and the pro-EU clarion of “being in the heart of europe to reform it” echos emptily – how long do you need to clean it up? how long have you had?!

    “Anthony Wells

    Thanks for getting things back on topic Philip. This is not the place for arguing about whether the BNP are nazis or not. Take it elsewhere – further comments about it will be moderated.”

    …how about deleting them? They are clearly trolling.

    (It’s one thing to talk about how they’re going to do, and why people might vote for them, or how you might define them for purposes of polling; but misinformed extremist propaganda should be confined to student newspapers.)

  38. “Colin, I don’t thing AV+ is really PR… so I think much of your critique doesn’t apply. ”

    My reading of AV+ is that it includes-as I pointed out-a party list level.

    Party LIsts are the antithesis of the accountability of MPs to their consituents.

    David Cameron’s speech today at the OU made precisely that point – developed a raft of very interesting initiatives on returning power to the individual.

  39. Colin – Cameron’s “raft of very interesting initiatives” . Remove “interesting” for plagarised……..

    However he is hitting the right notes at the moment. And this shows in the steady 10+ leads.

  40. Cogload,

    Remove “interesting” for plagarised……..

    Given that PR and electoral reform has been debated in it’s numerous variants for decades you could level that criticism at anyone.

    I am a big fan of PR and I can see how it’s advocates are seeing this as an opportunity to advance it, but it’s not something to be rushed at in a crisis becuase you could get it terribly wrong.

    I am a strong supporter of open list PR as it takes power away from the parties if we have seats that have more than five or six members because then large parties have to put up more candidate in each seat who under open list compete as much with each other as their opponents.

    Thats a good way to get rid of the deadwood,

    As a compromise I suspect we might get STV in single member seats where the first to get 50% wins. That would give every member a mandate without the big parties suffering the way they would potentially in multi member seats.

    It’s not a particularly good type of PR and is very much a littled reform, but I suspect that you could get a majority of Labour and Tory MP’s to back it on the Turkey principle that it would mean most of them would have a good chance of avoiding the potential general election cull.

    I shorted, I’d favour open list STV and seven member seats, but if we get anything we are more likely to get 500 single member STV constituencies.


  41. Peter.

    If pushed on PR I would opt for single member STV constituencies and cull to 500 as well. I was thinking more along the lines of Deltic Dave’s conversion to local government; something which his party eviscerated during the Thatcher years. If we are to have a mature look at local politics then we must accept that service delivery cannot be universally “standardised” and must trust the local electorate to place the pressure when required.

    Cameron is winning the electoral cycle in terms of heaslines at the mo and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the polling data for the next few weeks; especially with the Euro’s coming up.

    As for your own party, anecdotal evidence leads me to believe that quite a few will plump for the SNP at a national level but would vote against independance in a referendum – again something which the polls bear out?

  42. Cogload,

    In Government the SNP have entered a voluntary concordat with local government which has a set of jointly agreed outcomes.

    This allows each council to decide how it will pursue each objective and at what pace, with each free to priorities them as it see fit.

    So on that count we are already implementing what Cameron is only now suggesting.

    As to Independence, as far as I know we haven’t had an Independence question in a Scottish poll since before the expenses story broke and I’d be interested in seeing one.

    The last SNP poll conducted by Yougov showed that a change to a Tory Government had an effect of peoples likelihood to support Independence.

    It may well be that Cameron out performing Brown during this affair might have changed that , as could talk of voting and constitutional change on a UK scale.

    However, we could equally see dissatisfaction with Westminster boosting support for Independence. We’ll just have to wait and see if we get that Scottish weekend Euro Poll.


  43. I am with Peter and have supported multi member open list stv for years. It maintains local links, it allows candidates to be preferred by voters, means in virtually all seats the 3 (4 in Scotland and Wales) main parties are represented and every vote would count.
    It also produces a fairer outcome (no majority with 37%) without the pitfall of straight PR – a party getting 47% having to coalesce with a party getting 5% to form a Government.
    It also allows smaller parties to receive first preferences to build their core vote and not suffer squeezes (Greens would benefit significantly I reckon)
    Single constituency STV (I think of as AV) only makes the threshold to win higher and whilst making some more seats swingers would still leave millions of votes in safe seats meaningless.
    Any party lists system only works from a democratic stand point, in my veiw, if the list are open – Jack Straw was criticised by many Labour activist when the Euro voting system was introduced for the list being closed.
    Peter is also right that rushed change now would be a mistake as the atmosphere is too febrile.
    I will resist a partisan comment about Cameron ‘s apostasy as others will disagree and an unhelpful thread could deveop,

  44. Why is it in this Euro election time that I have not seen much more media information articles, documentaries etc. giving us all the euro-information we might want before voting.
    For example good versus bad points to membership, laws, taxes, any waste/scandals etc effect of euro laws and policies on us here in UK and what the various parties hope to do about such things. In other words a sort of cost/benefit analysis to inform the choice of the common voter. Pity a lot of time has been spent debating our Westminster gravy train sleaze (and I wonder how much worse it is in Brussels/ Strasbourg?)

  45. “Why is it in this Euro election time that I have not seen much more media information articles, documentaries etc. giving us all the euro-information we might want before voting”

    A very good question.

    The Euro “election” is , of course, for the benefit of the politicians who participate in it, rather than the voters.

    Perhaps that is why the former ( of whom there are many) make little effort to inform the latter ( of whom there are few).

    It is as though this sham election , whose purpose is to return Party hacks to their Ivory Tower Talking Shops in Brussels & Strasbourg, has been accepted by our Press & Public as just another spendaholic Quango, with no relevance to anyone outside in the real world…….just another part of “the b****y system”

    Does anyone know who their MEP is ?
    Does anyone understand the voting system?
    Does anyone care?

  46. Colin,

    Did you get your “many” and your “few” muddled ?

    The reasons that “european” issues are not getting much coverage fall under the following headings:

    (1) Displaced by a domestic scandal
    (2) Issues of little interest to public anyway
    (3) The parliament has few powers to change anything
    (4) The PR electoral system means that it makes little difference anyway

    So, in summary, we will have an election based on domestic issues with voters taking the opportunity to protest with little fear of the consequences if some odd people get to join this (extremely expensive) super-Quango.

    In terms of Europe, what the public really want is a referndum on the Lisbon treaty, but of course Brown has denied us that. No doubt he came under some fierce pressure from Brussels, Paris and Berlin who have no illusions as to what the outcome would be, but in any case Brown does not have the courage to agrue the point – hence he has been absolutely invisible in terms of the euro-elections.

  47. I live in Hackney most of the people I speak to are going to vote for the BNP.