Norwich’s University & College Union have commissioned an ICM poll for the forthcoming by-election in Nowich North. The topline voting intention figures for the by-election are (with changes from the general election shares of the vote) CON 34%(+1), LAB 30%(-15), LDEM 15%(-1), Green 14%(+11).

This is the equivalent of an 8 percent swing to the Conservatives, pretty much in line with national polling at the moment, though beneath those figures the actual shift has almost all been from the Labour party over to the Greens. The sample size was only 500 (and once don’t knows, unlikely to votes and so on were taken out, the voting figures were based on only 294), so there’s a hefty margin of error, but the Conservatives start the race slightly ahead.

This is of course an early poll – the by-election campaigning has barely started and Labour haven’t even named their candidate. 18% of the people ICM contacted weren’t even aware there was a forthcoming by-election, and 24% said they didn’t know how they would vote (as usual ICM re-allocate a proportion of these people based on how they voted at the last election, without this adjustment the figures would have been CON 35%, LAB 28%).


71 Responses to “First Norwich North poll”

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  1. Please note that Labour gained a third less votes in this Euro Election than they did in the previous Euro Election.

    The average voting intention polling is 23%. Labour got 36% of the votes at the last GE – a little over one third!

    This poll shows Labour to have dropped from 45% to 30%, exactly one third. And this is AFTER ICM’s ‘correction’ which otherwise showed Labour on 28%

  2. Labour won Langbaurgh B-E closer to the ’92 GE than 9 months and lost it again in the GE.
    Also ,Darlington in 1982 (although this was a hold) which they lost 6 months later. Probably other examples I can’t recall.
    I agree with Quincel that Bye-Elections exaggerate the national swing.
    As you say though, Philip, the swing in Norwich North may end up at over 10%.
    In bye -elections 94-97 not only did the Tories suffer huge losses in votes (as Labour are now) but ‘New Labour’ gained votes.
    Whilst Labour are losing many votes now in BEs, the Tories are not piling them on like Blair’s Labour did.
    Key question for me, therefore, is will the Tory vote advance? Accepting it is difficult to judge properly due to expenses scandal and will be even harder if Gibson stands.

  3. Interesting that this poll doesnt include UKIP or BNP who are making substantial inroads in to the vote here.Interesting to know what Gibson actually wants – Steve Morphew the Labour Council leader has attracted a significant amount of dislike and Gibson may be more interested in stopping his campaign than actually exposing himself to a by-election. Surprisingly for a man who has always supported industrial chemistry he is very popular with the Greens here.

  4. The ‘left’ vote at Norwich is already split 3 ways between Labour, Libs and Greens. If Dr. Gibson stands as an Independent then that fractures it even more, thus giving the Tories a very easy victory.
    The good Doctor, who has been a thorn in the side of New Labour for a long time, knows exactly what he is doing!

  5. Since there can be no “official” candidates until the writ has been moved and nominations opened, Dr Gibson can keep Labour guessing about his intentions. The longer they prevaricate about calling the by-election the more damage he can do to their local organisation without actually standing – especially if they fail to get a candidate selected soon for the local party to rally round.

    While I agree with Alec that one should not take a Conservative victory for granted, it is difficult to see what Lab can do to be remotely confident of holding the seat.

    FWIW – in my view, if Gibson does stand, then Cons will struggle to get above mid 30s in a very crowded field – but that of course would be more than enough to deliver a comfortable margin of victory. If Gibson does not stand, then Cons need to be aiming for a minimum of 38% to have a decisive win.

  6. The comments on this poll seem to be straying from the central finding, which depsite the small size of the poll does tally with national opinion data and qualitative reports from the ground.

    The Conservatives and LibDems are making a striking lack of progress, which should worry them considerably given current circumstances. In effect, the change in support is entirely from Labour to Green.

    Protest voters won’t worry if a high Green vote lets the Tories win in a by-election.

    In effect the headline is:-
    GREEN BANDWAGON STARTS TO ROLL

  7. Frederick,

    If the final result in the by-election is:

    Con 30% (-3%)
    Green 24% (+21%)
    Lab 22% (-23%)
    LD 18% (+3%)
    Others 6%

    What do you think will be :

    (a) the headlines the next morning ?
    (b) the impact on Lab prospects for GE ?
    (c) the impact for Green prospects at GE ?
    (d) how the by-election is remembered in 9 months ?
    (e) the result in this seat at GE ?

  8. Paul. Excellent questions, not least because ou hypothesise quite a plausible result – with the caveat that things can change quite substantially during a by-election campaign.

    I suspect your Others figure is too low, but it doesn’t change your questions substantially.

    I also suspect that if the Conservatives, Labour and Greens are as close as you suggest the LibDems will get substantially less than 18%. At present the LibDems are on roughtly 18% nationally, but in most places the Greens are less credible and the LibDems are getting some protest vote that will go Green here, and of course the LibDems are often squeezed when there is a close race between Tories and Labour.

    Here a few immediate reactions, but very much subject to the proviso that I might change my mind on further consideration:-
    (a) I think the headlines would concentrate on “Labour come third” rather than “Greens come second”
    (b) The impact on Labour prospects for the General Election would be negative from their point of view, although by May/June 2010 they would be very limited.
    (c) On the figures you give, I suspect that the Greens would come a very good third in the General Election, although I wouldn’t be confident of it. I think the result would be too close to call between Labour and Conservatives, although if I was absolutely forced to back one or the other I would go for the Conservatives. I think the Greens would lose some vote share, but not a lot. The MPs performance at Westminster could affect things. However, if the Greens got even a couple percent more and Labour a couple percent less – say Conservatives 30%, Green 26%, Labour 20%, I think as the public mood stands at present enough Labour voters might shift Green tactically to make the seat very marginal between Conservatives and Greens.
    (d) I think the seat will be remembered in 9 months for discussion purposes if the Greens come first (obviously), second or even a very good third.
    Not least, busy journalists will find Norwich a good topic when they have to work up material to give the Greens their share of the election coverage.
    (e) See (c). More gnerally, if Labour win they will probably win in the General Election. If the Conservatives win easily (say by 5,000), they will hold on. If the Conservatives are narrowly ahead of Labour the result will be close again. If the Greens win over the Conservatives, they should hold the seat because of tactical voting. If the Greens win narrowly over Labour they may well lose to Labour in the General Election, although if they win easily over Labour they should hold on. And of course all this is subject to big caveats such as national swings in opinion between now and the next General Election.

    I don’t see the Liberal Democrats winning this seat. And the Greens would be disappointed if the Lib Dems even came third (unless Labour came fourth!). The LibDems don’t seem to be offering anything new, except “Vince Cable is wonderful”. The only thing they have is a non-intellectual local candidate (I believe a shopkeeper who could be in 1950s terms Poujardiste) in a seat wih a possible tow/gown divide (see today’s posts for Norwich North as a constituency), but the LibDems are not usually thought of as the anti-intellectual party.

    I suspect that this is a seat in which politics will not go away after the by-election caravan has wrecked its tornado on the town. There will be a lot to play for in Norwich (both seats) at at the subsequent General Election as well, and it will be up to the various and parties to campaign effectively at local level.

  9. I dearly hope the Greens pull it off: it would mean so much for breaking this concept that there are only three parties you can vote for; and only two who can be in government; and all of them basically representing the same thing… but I just don’t think they’ll pull it off.

    I think the Tories will just pip them; and so the result will be a damp squib… no victory of significance for the Tories over Labour; and no victory for “Others” over “them”.

    Having said that, the Greens could certainly siphon away loads of votes from Labour and the Lib-Dems… and doesn’t that tell you a lot!

  10. I heard a rumour that a second poll is expected today or tomorrow. Is this true?

  11. i would like to beleive this poll but ur polls was very misleading at the euro election, you had the bnp nationally at 1% , i think the bnp will poll reasonably strong in this election as bnp candidate reverend west is standing.

  12. prediction

    cons
    bnp
    lib dems
    labour
    green
    other

    not sure percentage wise but think this will be the order :D

  13. Here’s a question, if there was a general election on Thursday and Norwich North became the Tories most marginal seat, won by 1 vote what would the result of the election be?

    By my calculations it would be a Tory Majority of 22 seats,

  14. As a former Norwich South voter, Norwich is a BNP no go.

    The Greens are very strong, and are the main opposition on the city council, so are likey to fair well, third place is likely.

    But as Norwich is a fairly left wing, eco, hippy city, the UKIP and the BNP’s share of the vote will be low.

  15. LAST NORWHICH NORTH BY ELECTION WAS

    Labour Ian Gibson 21,097 44.9 ?2.5

    Conservative James Tumbridge 15,638 33.2 ?1.4

    Liberal Democrat Robin Whitmore 7,616 16.2 +1.4

    Green Adrian Holmes 1,252 2.7 +1.0

    UK Independence John Youles 1,122 2.4 +1.4

    Independent Bill Holden 308 0.7 N/A

    Majority 5,459 11.6
    Turnout 47,033 61.1 +2.0
    Labour hold Swing ?0.6

  16. prediction

    conservatives

    labour

    ukip

    lib dems

    bnp

    green

    other

    turnout will be about 55 %

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