There is apparently a new ICM poll in the News of the World tomorrow. The topline figures with changes from their previous poll are CON 45%(+5), LAB 26%(nc), LDEM 18%(-5).

ICM’s last poll was conducted towards the end of the Lib Dem conference, so the changes in this poll likely reflect the unwinding of the Liberal Democrat conference boost, and the heights of the Conservatives’ one. Compared to ICM’s pre-conference polling the Conservative are up 2, and the Lib Dems down one, but as I said with the polls this morning, it’s too early to draw any conclusions about overall effects from the conference season since the Conservatives may still be benefitting from a publicity boost.

As far as I’m aware this is the second highest lead that ICM have ever given the Conservative party (their highest ever was 20 points in June 2008).

UPDATE: Fieldwork for the poll was on the 7th and 8th October, so at least half of it would have been prior to David Cameron’s conference speech. The rest of the poll included a set of “best party on issues” questions. The Conservatives led on all but one – their biggest lead was law and order, where they led Labour by 21 points, followed by reducing debt (19 points ahead), Afghanistan (16 points) and the economy (15 points). Their lowest leads were Europe (6 points), the environment (5 points) and the NHS, where Labour had a narrow one point lead.

54 Responses to “ICM show 19 point Tory lead”

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  1. Six months before the general election will be called and 19% behing! What a disaster for Labour!

  2. This Poll looks very much like Anthony says above, but also shows a healthy Conservative poll lead of 19% which they need to totally wipe out Labour next May.
    David Cameron must be very satisfied with 45% while Brown and Labour must be left wondering what on earth they can do in 7 months to change things around.

  3. A few tears in browns retina? maybe is this the start of a way out for him? maybe he does roll over after all.

  4. I do not believe at all that come next May it will be a landside win for the Tories and the reason is quite simple and that is voters are always nervous about electing in a Conservative Government, In 1979 Mrs Thatcher was elected with a majority of 43. In 1970 Ted Heath was elected with a majority of 31 and in 1951 Winston Churchill was elected with a majority of just 16. It takes time for people to get comfortable with voting Conservative. History specks for itself!

  5. Alex

    Dont remember the public being nervous in electing the Tories in 83 or 87 or 92 come to think of that. what tosh!

  6. Alex Richardson

    Actually history doesn’t even speak for itself.

    Events and their circumstances need to be interpreted by people who often have a political motivation for selective use to construct a political narrative.

    Your post is one such.

  7. @ alex richardson

    If you look a bit further back, to the GE in 1931 the Conservatives were elected with a majority of 324! A bit far back, granted, but it demonstrates it can and has happened before.

  8. Oof. That’s a big punch in the gut for Brown. Though I think we’ll see that lead drop down to around 14 points in the coming weeks/months.

    Unless Labour just rolls over and dies, which looks like a distinct possibility.

  9. Alex Richardson
    “It takes time for people to get comfortable with voting Conservative. History specks for itself!”

    What nonsense and even if it was historically true (which as Stephen points out is not the case) don’t forget that in 2005 the Tories had more votes than Labour in England and the demographics have changed further since then.

  10. I have no doubt this is an outlier, as was the recent poll with the 9% lead. The overall picture remains the same as it has been; Tories well ahead, Labour trailing but slightly ahead of where they were and the LibDems static.

    What this poll does do is to remind the Labour supporters who leaped on that earlier 31% showing that one swallow doesn’t make a summer.

  11. Combined Labour and LD vote only 44%. They won 59%, 61% and 61% in the last 3 elections.

  12. There is still time for things to change . We have a very fickle electorate who are ready for change if it doesn’t affect their living standards. Osborne’s gaffs and mis-understanding of documents suggest that he is not a strong contender for government.
    Cameron seems pleasant on the surface but has not been tested in the school of hard politics. His poll lead could dramatically disappear in the next few weeks as more questions are asked about policy and his background. Has he had a real job apart from being a PR person?

  13. Alex R,

    Doesn’t recent history show how this Government has undone the fabric of our society and left a legacy of debt for us and future generations – isn’t this a fairly significant consideration which may well result in a Conservative landslide? What’s so bad about the Conservatives that they want to rebuild everything that was good about this country?

  14. This just gets worse for labour and with the expense scandal coming up again on Monday it does not look good for the government.

    News is that labour will probably suffer more from this so the Tories may go into a 20+ lead.

    I think this country is ready for a Tory government and the polls speak volumes. Anyone who can say otherwise is just a very very optimistic labour voter. Its not over but 19 points is a huge lead and will give the Tories a landslide victory. I honestly do not know how labour can turn this round and I for one look forward to watching this country vote out key members of the cabinet. What a memorable night next May will be. Roll on the General Election.

  15. GIN is tight. Someone on the News said its only 9 months to an election but the reality is its only 6 months to when the election will be called. By the time of the PBR (if we have one) it will be five months – with everyone trying to forget politics over Christmas). Tempus Fugit.

    A few months ago labour could have pretended to be reacting with fury and thrown Brown out. They could have made a fist at a fresh start – an apology to the nation. For myself this would have been a load of Horlicks, but it could have given some a fig leaf.
    Now after saying Brown is marvellous then even if they throw him out before Christmas they are all tainted by saying what a stout fellow he is back in June and throughout the conference.

    Even if they now throw him out I think its too late for them to mount a credible case to be taken seriously.

  16. Apparently the fieldwork for this poll was carried out on Wednesday and Thurasday so making it less uptodate than this morning’s two polls.

  17. I never carried away by Lab 31% and 9pt lead and will by this poll either.
    Let’s wait until 2 weeks time and I think Neil A is right.
    My guess 42/3 – 27/28 – 18/19 by the end of October.
    A nice cushion for the cons but still not a done deal on out-right majority.
    Andy post is intersting can the combined Lab/LD vote %age fall by around 25%, doubful so there must be some recovery but how much and to who?

  18. Trevorsden

    I agree that it looks like Labour missed their last window of opportunity. They decided to avoid (intra-party) civil war by hanging onto Brown and hoping for the best; as it happens, the best has not come and a conference that could (possibly) have been a turn-around moment under a different leader has been nothing of the sort.

    When one thinks about it, why would the conference have turned it around cateris paribus? It’s not like Brown and Mandelson are unfamiliar fresh faces. Instead, they’re the last major survivors of a Labour politician generation who were democratic socialists in 1983, anti-militant under Kinnock, rising stars under Smith, leaders of the 1997 landslide and who have been gradually walking off stage for the last five years or so.

    As has been said before on here, polls don’t change like the seasons and governments don’t automatically get a pre-election boost. Polls change due to events, not due to cyclical patterns. There are two significant events left before the election: the Wegie by-election and the PBR. The latter is likely to be, at best, a tough slog for Labour. The former might yet help generate a “fightback” narrative provided Labour win (majority is about 13,000, albeit in a pseudo-election) as was the case in the controversial Glenrothes by-election.

  19. ” There are two significant events left before the election”

    I would suggest a third Bill-the TV debates-new for both the UK electorate and the participants.

  20. Andrew

    I am intrigued by the differences between the predicted uniform swing overall majority and your own prediction (although this latest poll has not yet been included?) In recent months you have been predicting a slightly larger majority but now that has reversed and you are currently predicting 8 less that the uniform effect. I presume this is to do with LD and other shares, but could you please comment?

  21. Yes, indeed! At this conference I was for the first time somewhat impressed by Cameron. It seems that many did take on board the fundamental message which was that the Tories are the party of responsibility and Labour of irresponsibility.

    For the first time I suggested that the Tories could reach 45% in the polls. Whether they can maintain this until the GE? But if they maintain the same tone of message of both toughness and optimism as Cameron did in his speech I can’t see them doing worse than 42% at the GE.

  22. Better not get to excited, but the WMA is now 43:28:18 – CLead has almost exactly reverted to mean.

  23. As I said to the Labour fans getting excited about the 9 point gap, so say I now to my fellow Conservatives getting excited about the 19 point gap:
    Don’t trust any poll until the end of October.

  24. A bit like the conferences the leaders play a key role in the weeks before a general election. So assuming over the next few months Labour claw back a few points to say 10-12 Tory lead what will happen?

    Last time the leaders were Blair, Howard and Kennedy, and I think Charles won. The Lib Dems got a very good vote.

    This time it will be Brown, Cameron and Clegg. To me this would indicate a further strengthening of the Tory position.

  25. And the day after tomorrow…. when the end of the world occurs–oops only MPs with their snouts in the trough…. no-one will remember the last few boring weeks…

  26. Cameron did his best to sound prime ministerial, echoes of Blair pre 1997, all inclusiveness and eager to get on with the job. Contrast that with the rather hollow-sounding Gordon Brown.

    No wonder the polls are like this.

  27. lin,
    the dying days of you lefties.blair never had a proper job and got a 179 majority.

  28. I do worry a bit, probably unnecessarily, that the Lib Dems might get rid of their leader.
    Need to keep Clegg – helps the Tories (and probably all parties).

  29. Colin,

    I was thinking of the debates as being part of the broader general election campaign itself, which is how candidate debates work in the US.

    Once the election comes, a huge new list of events arise, including the debates. However, if I was a party strategist, I wouldn’t want to leave it all until after the dissolution of parliament.

  30. Joe James B,

    The Lib Dems have had a bad habit of thinking that things couldn’t get any worse if they changed their leader, only to find that thing very much COULD get worse. Menzies Campbell, for all his faults, would have probably capitalised on the expenses crisis far better than Nick Clegg, while the strategy of focusing on the Afghan war rather than tax redistribution is something that Charles Kennedy would have never allowed. In general, Nick Clegg seems to have won because they thought he was charismatic, but youth is not the same as charisma, as Winston Churchill could have told them.

    While Chris Huhne might be appealing for some Lib Dems, I think they would be better off trying to work with the devil they know rather than risk yet another leader.

  31. At the risk of sounding partisan – what absolutely tremendous news!

    I am delighted to see polls like this. It does look like the Tories can achieve a workable majority next year.

  32. Hello all long time reader first time poster.

    While I’m sure this poll is a blip it does demonstrate that the Tory lead doesn’t appear to be a “soft” or “nervous” one. The risky Osborne speech has not damaged support but seems to have created a frothy jump upward.

    The polls will settle down but it seems the long term lead is not as fragile as people like to speculate.

  33. Oh, it’s nonsense! Just like the occasional poll that showed a 9 point Tory lead, this too is wildly out of synch. God help us if they do get a working majority though.

  34. “I was thinking of the debates as being part of the broader general election campaign itself, which is how candidate debates work in the US.”

    Sure Bill-but they are completely new here.

    Their effect on UK voters in this GE will be a new & significant factor.

  35. Can anyone confirm Graham’s point about the timing of the fieldwork of this poll? If he is correct that it was Wed/Thurs then it would strengthen the view that it could be an outlier or particular conference boost.

  36. Having skimmed the Sunday papers, at least it looks like we’ll get the Ashes back live on free to air TV before the Cameron/Murdoch government takes over. There is some good left in the world after all.

  37. ” it looks like we’ll get the Ashes back live on free to air TV “.

    Yet another reason for independence…..


  38. I agree with Stephen’s commet above. The reports in all of today’s papers about Brown’s retinal tears suggests a face-saving way out for him. My money remains on Mandelson as Labour leader at the next election, raising the interesting prospect of a Blair-Mandelson axis across Europe.

    Incidentally, it’s funny the way that Harriet Harmon’s brush with the law has been treated with such kid gloves by the media, who in past times would have headlined the story. It’salmost as though the media barons don’t want to scupper her chances of succeeding Brown.

  39. Colin –

    Brown and Clegg and Cameron face each other at PMQs regularly. The debates IF they happen will not be terribly new.

    The only novelty is if Clegg is involved and he and Cameron may cross swords.

  40. Jamie Smith makes the mistake of assuming that a comment reflects a partisan approach. However were I a ‘leftie’ I would not consider it a term of abuse merely a different perspective . Does the term ‘right wing’ appear as a condemnation or is it a descriptive device. Cameron has faults,Gordon Brown has faults,we all have faults! Life is not simple.

  41. Only the committed few watch PMQs, but I suspect a large number of the viewing public would watch a three way election debate between Brown, Cameron and Clegg.

    In the past the split between Tory and Labour voters have been blue collar/white collar and north/south. The conferences have emphasised what was already becoming apparent that the 2010 divide will be public sector/private sector.

  42. @Peter Cairns – At least you won’t have to worry about Sky stealing the shinty coverage.

  43. Trevorsden-
    I disagree.
    PMQ’s has been debased & , as Davey says, is not widely viewed.
    At PMQs , the PM doesn’t answer questions, and the opposition don’t get asked any.

    I presume the TV debates will ensure that questions to all participants are answered & I think they will be widely watched.

  44. A question about uniform swings. We have got the calculators here and at Electoral Calculus which turn the poll results into a seat split and majority prediction.

    These are based on a uniform swing.

    But what would be the result if the swing was higher in the marginals than in the safe seats?

    I am guessing that this will be the case and I’m also guessing that this will favour the Tories.

    By that I mean that they won’t need to do better than Labour in terms of lead to achieve the same majority of seats.

    I’m therefore guessing that it is possible for the Tories to achieve a workable majority with a lead of 6-7 points rather than the 9-10 required under a uniform swing.

    Can anyone comment?

  45. Yes Andrew

    Is there any recent evidence in marginal polls that they favour the tories rather than the national polls?

    Also the Lib dems seem to hang onto their seats against the swing; however, this may change, particularly now as they seem to wish to replace Labour rather than Tories, but most of their seats are ex-Tory.

  46. I think the problem with that line of thinking, Andrew, is that marginals don’t make a very homogeneous category. There will be some that have an average swing, some that have a bigger swing and probably some that buck the trend completely. I suppose you could argue that voters may be more motivated to turn out where there is a real chance of dumping out an MP, but the differential in that turnout would depend very much on the MP and their record. And the real unknown is how tactical voting/third party squeezing will work out. There are signs that tactical voting against the Tories is likely to be less widespread, and tactical voting against Labour increasing, but I wouldn’t claim for a second to have any idea what will really happen on the day.

    One thing is for certain; Ashcroft and the Conservative election team will probably be very focussed with funding and effort being channelled into marginals. Given that Labour probably won’t have the same level of funding, that might create a bigger swing in marginals in general, but there’s no guarantee.

  47. I stand by what I say, in fact I am shocked by that I have seen written. As I say there will be NO landside win for the tories of 90+ but a Tory majority of about 30-48. History does speck for itself on this by what I have said and I now know what to expect, History shows that first term Conservative Governments are only elected with a small to modest majorities and unless Labour win in May or a hung parliament I expect it to be no different than in the past!

  48. Alex Richardson

    That’s twice you have shown that you are seeing things through rose tinted specktacles!

  49. Colin,

    Again, excellent points about the debates. PMQs is not strictly speaking a debate: it is a venting of emotions by two groups of people who, while they often work together in select committees and are largely friends, must occasionally remind themselves they are fighting each other for control of the nation. This is why the fact that Cameron generally asks loaded questions and Brown does not answer any of them is not a problem; the purpose of PMQs is not questions, let alone debates.

    HOWEVER, it is true that people who are unlikely to change their opinions of the leaders at the debate. More likely is that certain marginal voters will decide that leader x and party y are a better/less horrific option than leaders a and parties b.

    Most importantly of all, the debates will add a little variety and novelty to the elections. Remember how the commentators when on and on about the new roof at Wimbledon? Imagine that for over a month. The inane reaction of the press will be mitigated only by the fascinating nature of the debates themselves, I suspect.

  50. Personally I wouldn’t get my hopes up about the debates, even if they do happen they might not be a good thing. I’ve watched many of the US debates and they really aren’t up to much.

    The idea that politicans who have spent their careers only giving the answers they want to the questions they are asked, will somehow act differently on a election debate is to say the least niave.

    I can understand that people want the debates and are looking forward to them but I can’t see any new blinding insight or revelation. In fact the risk is that we get the opposite, one candidate says the wrong thing or misses an answer and the other wins.

    Imagine what would happen if the majority didn’t want Brown but Cameron made a gaff and the media attention let Labour just sneak a win even though Browns not up to the job.

    If people want exitement lets just draw cards to see who wins, live during the X factor.

    For me the Leader debates are like Video replays for Live Football. the people pushing for it aren’t the fans on the terracings it’s the TV companies who want to make money out of it.

    The idea that Sky is pushing this because of Murdochs commitment to democracy is only for the gullible. They want it because it will be prime time viewing.

    Now if only they can get an add break between each question……


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