ICM have a new poll in tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph. The topline figures with changes from about a fortnight ago are CON 42%(-2), LAB 25%(-2), LDEM 21%(+3).

The Conservative lead is unchanged at a landslide winning 17 points, but both the Conservatives and Labour are down, with the Lib Dems up three points to 21%. ICM normally give the Liberal Democrats the highest level of support of all the pollsters anyway, but leaving aside their 23% conference boost this is the highest Lib Dem score from ICM since May.

The 17 point lead does contrast with the more modest leads recorded by YouGov and ComRes, but technically all three party figures are well within each others’ margins of error and a lead of 15 points or so. Of course, if it was solely sample error, it would even out over time – we would not see one pollster consistently reporting larger leads than another one. Just recently it has appeared that ICM are consistently showing a larger lead than YouGov, but Populus, who use a very similar method to ICM, are showing a lower lead – so while I’m keeping a careful eye on it, I think it’s most likely just normal sample variation.

The Sunday Times also reports that ICM have carried out polling in Stoke on Trent, Blackburn and Leicestershire North West for the Equalities and Human Rights Commision, which shows the BNP at 18% in those areas. There are no figures yet – the report suggests it is not being published for several weeks – but it’ll be something to look out for.


96 Responses to “Tories remain 17 points ahead with ICM”

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  1. Barring catastrophes, it does appear that the Tories are heading for a comfortable working majority, contrary to what Michael Heseltine said recently.

  2. Micheal Heseltine I imagine is just making sure there is no complacency with Tory voters and make sure all get out to vote that intend to and not presuming its done and dusted. It will be very important that all intended Tory voters get out just to make sure.
    With an incumbant government to be on 25% six months before an election is dreadful. After wasting 3 weeks banging on about the Tory associates in Europe it seems no one either cares or notices. After spending years telling us how racist we are here in the UK its no wonder we dont care what someone thinks in Latvia.
    I also hear that Brown wants to continue spending with a new fiscal injection. God help us. Desperate desperate desperate.

  3. Interesting that one of Labours safest seats – Blackburn – looks a likely candidate for a BNP surge.
    Perhaps the voters there are reacting to the recent publicity over Labours clandestine immigration policies which have shown them in a particularly bad light.

  4. I can’t see any reason why the Lib Dems would be seeing a growth in support; when they are in the news over things like the Gurkhas they see no poll boost – yet when they are silent in the media, like at the moment, they seem to see support grow?

  5. Anthony,

    The last Populus poll was on 10th October, so it is really not comparable with current polls. I think from now on we should see a clearer picture emerging. It is difficult to say exactly what that picture will be, but at the moment it looks like the pre-PBR position is something like:

    Conservative ~ 41%
    Labour ~ 26%
    Libdem ~ 19%

  6. I’m not a LD supporter but they must fancy their chances of closing that 6% gap with Labour if things don’t improve for the government in the coming weeks and months, especially if Labour loses what is traditionally one of its 5 safest seats in the country in Glasgow NE to the SNP.

  7. I forecast a few months ago that at the end of October we would have an average polling of Cons 43, Lab 25 Lib Dems 20. The average is quite close and the last poll of the month even closer.

    Unsurprisingly to me, Labour are rapidly developing a reputation for being the most deceitful government in British history e.g. we are well positioned for the global economic downturn; canabis is an extremely dangerous drug.

  8. Silent Hunter – I wonder if that’s because it’s Jack Straw’s seat?

  9. @ Pete B

    I can believe that Labour will try to save certain scalps in 2010, will they be better than the Tories were in 1997?

    I reckon we’ll be in for a few surprises, and it might even impact on the future leadership, as it did to the Conservatives in 1997.

  10. WMA 41:27:19 CLead 14.9 compared to 200-day (or 188 day if you think the election will be on 6 May) average of 14.6, so situation remains as before.

    The dreadful GDP figures seem to have made no difference … has everyone economically literate has deserted Labour already?

  11. Oldnat,

    Regarding your last reponse where you seek to distinguish Brown from Labour.

    Over the last few years I have been hoping that Brown is not truly representitive of Labour as a whole. But very, very sadly it seem to me that this is actually the case.

    Remember when Labour managed to secure a major (despite only getting 36%) they did so on the understanding that Blair would remain in office for the full term. When 9.5 million people voted Labour they did so believing that Blair would be PM, and in the full knowledge of the mistakes he made over Iraq.

    Two years laters Blair was forced to resign. What had happened in the mean time? Nothing!

    Brown, undoubtedly with the help of the Labour government, forced Blair out of office – CONTRARY TO WHAT PEOPLE HAD VOTED FOR!

    Brown will have remained as PM for TWO AND HALF YEARS despite never been elected to be so by the public.

    Brown came into his post unchallenged. And even when it was clear what kind of PM he was, and the polls showed that people did not want him in the post they did not take the opportunity to remove him.

    What does this tell us about Labour as a whole?! At this point one cannot truly make a serious distinction between the qualities, or lack of them, of Brown and Labour.

  12. Heseltine interview very revealing. Asked whether he had anything to offer Cameron on policy, he said that numerous committees are working on various areas of government and that all those with past experience, including himself, were being consulted. I have no doubt that Hague will be ready to announce the Conservative position on Europe as soon as the Lisbon Treaty is signed. They will have been working on it for months, and it will have taken account of all the possible pitfalls , the legal limitations and the effect on both wings of the party.Interesting times ahead.

  13. Philip JW

    Sadly, I’m just one of those people who prefer accuracy. You simply misrepresented the poster to whom you were replying.

    Personally I see little difference between any of the larger UK parties or their leaders.

    That you apparently either don’t understand (or worse still accept) the weaknesses of English constitutional law, and how it allows MPs to select one of their own to exercise the royal prerogative and to rule with monarchical powers suggests that you are overly concerned with the cough, and not the underlying cancer which causes it.

  14. More importantly, and most relavantly for this website, when the GE comes most people are likely not to make a distinguishing difference between Brown and Labour.

  15. If (when) the Czech Republic sign the Lisbon treaty we will see probably the most major test of Cameron’s ability to hold a double figure lead between now and the election. If he doesn’t respond well he will lose a lot of soft support – there is a fine line to be trodden, but he has far more margin for error on the Anti-EU side of the line than on the Pro-EU side.

    If Cameron is too Pro-EU in his response, he risks driving large numbers of voters away to: a) UKIP; b) the sofa; or c) BNP. If the response is too anti-EU it risks alienating the likes of Hesseltine – but in all honesty Hesseltine is a bit of an irrelevance now anyway – its the voters who matter.

  16. Oldnat,

    I think you might find, to your dismay, and possibly surprise, that what you refer to as “English Constitutional Law” is in fact British Constitutional Law.

  17. Philip JW

    Actually the polling suggests something a little different from that in Scotland.

    Where there has been polling on the Labour leadership, more Scots preferred Brown to Blair – England’s preference was the other way round. During last summer’s media frenzy, the Scots sample suggested that more would support Labour with Brown as leader rather than with the likes of Milliband. In England it was the other way round.

    Feel free to make party points, but please base them on some kind of evidence.

  18. Oldnat,

    Just read your last comment:

    As we saw with ‘smeargate’, when you’ve lost the arguement just try to smear your opponent. Of course, I recognise the weaknesses of the British constitutional laws.

    You ignore the fundamental point, that to try to make a distinction between Brown and Labour at this point is grasping at straws.

    I get the impression you are trying to criticise what I say in any possible way rather than interact with the issue I am commenting on. Tackle the ball, not the man, please.

  19. @ Phillip JW

    Despite my dislike of the Labour party and many of its ideas, I don’t think that Phillip’s representation is fair. I remember the pre-2005 discussions about Blair’s continued leadership; after all, he was forced to declare that he’d run for full term, which says something in itself.

    Secondly, I reckon Brown’s bogeyman status is a little overrated: Brown wanted it in 2007 (everybody and their mum had known that for a decade) and the others with an ounce of common sense might have been happy to let the Brownites hoist themselves by their own petard for a few years before they challenged a now-discredited Brown.

    @ Oldnat

    The British constitution is the oldest of its kind on Earth and has navigated a lot more than this; if the Reform Act riots of 1831 couldn’t bring it down, I suspect that a new election and passing of much-needed Acts will deal with the problem, as it did 177 years ago.

  20. Philip JW

    I think you may be a little confused. There is no “argument”. You made a factual error a number of threads ago, which I corrected.

    On this thread, you posted to me a convoluted argument why Brown and Labour are effectively the same thing. Why you did that, I have no idea, but if you address a comment to me, I feel free to point out the inherent contradiction.

    I know nothing about you, but your post sounded like the comments of a Tory supporter. I have seen nothing in any Tory policy which would avoid the political impropriety that you were suggesting.

    As a further correction, there is no such thing as “British constitutional law”. There is English constitutional law (which for no good reason is assumed to apply to Parliament). There is Scottish constitutional law, in which sovereignty lies with the people, not Parliament. There is UK statute law.

  21. Richard Manns

    It’s hardly surprising that the “British constitution is the oldest of its kind on Earth”.

    Almost no other country has that kind of constitution. New Zealand (not surprisingly) is a younger version of that constitution. Israel embraces parliamentary sovereignty, and in Finland it exists only in emergency conditions.

    So essentially, your argument is that the UK is the oldest of the 3 countries with this peculiar form of constitution.

  22. Oldnat,

    I am very disappointed to learn that British Constitutional Law doesn’t exist. That suggests the time I spent studying it during the course of my law degree was time wasted!

  23. Neil

    It suggests that your University was careless in labelling that course.

  24. Oldnat,

    Sorry if I am starting to sound a bit sarcastic towards you on a semi-regular basis. I find your repeated (and erroneous) attempts to show that the UK doesn’t actually exist as a country and that Scotland and England are in fact two separate countries, extremely irritating. Much as you might like that to be the case, it isn’t.

    The differences between Scots Law and English Law are significant in some areas, but in terms of the constitution they are essentially the same thing. The closest thing to a “Scottish Constitution” is in fact the Scotland Act 1998 – an act of the UK parliament.

  25. Actually the course was labelled Public Law – however, what we studied was mainly the constitutional law of the UK.

  26. Neil

    I presume that you are conversant with MacCormick v. Lord Advocate?

  27. The Courts (in this case the Court of Appeal) regularly create legal fictions in order to put their reasoning into words – I would suggest that the use of the term “Scottish Constitutional Law” in this case to be an example of that.

    The most interesting thing about MacCormick (from a constitutional point of view) was the court’s opinion that the sovereignty of parliament does not apply. This is something the courts often like to claim, but is completely contrary to Diceyan Legal Theory. Interestingly, in this case the courts said that parliament could not repeal the Act of Union 1707 – with obvious implications at present because of the SNP’s aim to achieve just that. Arguably that particular statement was obiter, and in any case it would probably have a relatively slim chance of surviving a challenge in the House of Lords, but it highlights the difficulties in splitting up the union.

  28. Sorry, I meant to say “the court’s opinion that the sovereignty of parliament does not ALWAYS apply”

  29. “Sovereignty lies with the People?”

    Sorry but that sounds like a platitude to me. In what sense can sovereignty lie with the people? I am one of the people. Can I declare war? Can I annexe a neigbouring country’s territory? Can I levy taxes? No. I can vote for a representative to do those things for me.

  30. @ OldNat

    It’s called the “Westminster system”, the reason why the UK Parliament is called the “mother of Parliaments”. You cannot choose an arbitrarily small number of them to suit your ends as the weakness of an over-powerful Prime Minister is suggested for the system as a whole.

  31. Neil

    I think you misread the decision.

    MacCormick and Hamilton’s petition was rejected because the Court of Session (not the Court of Appeal) decided that they had no title to sue the Crown.

    Your representation of their Lordship’s judgement is inaccurate. The Lord Advocate conceded that the Parliament of Great Britain ‘could not’ repeal or alter ‘fundamental and essential’ conditions” of the Act of Union.

    The Lord President, gave his opinion that “the principle of unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle and has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law”.

    Dicey, as you well know, writes about the English legal system. You would get short shrift quoting him in a Scottish court.

  32. Neil A

    Try the US Constitution (or that of almost any other country). Sovereignty lies with the people.

    They elect people to carry out government as in the UK, but thy have a constitution which can strike down actions of government which are unconstitutional.

    Do you really not know that having a political leader using the prerogatives of a monarch to govern his subjects is unusual?

  33. It’s an unusual form of words, but I really don’t accept that the UK system of governance is so different from any other. All it means in practice is that there are times and situations where the PM can act without reference to the House. The vast majority of decisions are put to a vote in one way or another.

  34. @OldNat

    They also stated that since there’s no clause regarding numbering of monarchs in the Treaty, it’s pretty hard to break a non-existent clause.

    But such trifling details should not stand in the way of Nationalist grandstanding, no sir…

  35. Richard Manns

    Actually, it’s only the Brits who talk about Westminster as the “Mother of Parliaments”.

    It’s comparatively recent.

    Iceland’s Althing has been in place since 930. The Indians, and Sumerians have reasonable claims to have had parliamentary systems BC.

    A bit arrogant to discount these other people don’t you think?

  36. Richard Manns

    They did indeed state that there was no mention of monarchical numbering in the Treaty of Union.

    Didn’t stop Unionist grandstanding.

  37. Does the whole population of Iceland still meet by a big rock every year and hold plebiscites and trials in front of the Logsogrs? In a country ruled by regional governors who are also priests?

    The Althing of today is not the Althing of 930 AD.

  38. Neil A

    “The vast majority of decisions are put to a vote in one way or another.”

    Oh dear, you do need to do a lot of research!

  39. Wow! I can’t believe how this thread has degenerated into a debate about constitutional law. Anthony Wells must pull his hair out sometimes at the nature of the debate on his website.

    I hoped we’d have an intelligent discussion on how Brown and Labour are now synonymous (or not) in the eyes of the voters and its potential effect on the up coming GE.

    One can dream ;-)

  40. @ OldNat

    Let me explain…

    “Mother” does not mean “oldest”. It means, particularly in this case, a progenitor, as many of the parliamentary systems in the world were either modelled on Westminster or actually created by its Acts.

  41. Oldnat,

    Are you suggesting that a significant proportion of the actions of the UK executive are taken without reference to legislation?

  42. Neil A

    And the English/UK Parliament is not the same as it was at whatever date you want to suggest for it’s origin.

    It really is cultural arrogance to suggest that yours was the mother of all.

    Oh, and the UK Parliament still has priests from one of its regional denominations voting on laws – the Icelanders gave that up a long time ago.

  43. Well, I wasn’t the one calling it the Mother of Parliaments. But my point about Iceland was that NOW their parliament is a pretty standard affair. It has MPs. They sit on benches. It has government and opposition. They elect a PM. The PM governs on the sufferance of parliament. All pretty familiar stuff. And not very viking.

  44. Philip JW

    Hey you could have had that discussion! You could have referred to polling evidence instead of dragging me into it from a comment on a previous thread.

    Why don’t you post what you should have earlier?

  45. @ Old Nat

    No-one has said “mother of all”. Except you. The precise quotation is “England is the Mother of Parliaments”, coined in 1865 by John Bright.

    Not content with straw men for your arguments, you have actually misquoted someone and then called them arrogant based on your own misquotation.

    Will you retract this?

  46. Neil A

    This distracting debate started with Richard Manns who was the one who said the “British constitution is the oldest of its kind on Earth”.

    Accuracy is all – “of its kind” was the critical phrase. I’m glad we all agree he was wrong.

  47. Richard Manns

    Happy to accept the correction. But Bright was being arrogant when he made that inaccurate claim, and those who repeat his phrase repeat his arrogance.

  48. Well I can see where we got onto this trajectory…. PM vs Party popularity and the extent to which this is or is not a feature of a system where the PM wields an anachronistic Royal Prerogative which is in reality no such thing…..

    But honestly, although I accept that the system is a little odd (albeit that I like and support its oddness) I really don’t think there is much difference between the position of a leader in relation to his/her party in the UK or in other countries with different legal systems

    There is no reason why Angela Merkel can’t be 10% more popular than the CDU, or Papandreou 5% less popular than Pasok (or whatever). I think most electors in most countries aren’t much bothered about the intricacies of their constitution and electoral system, as long as from time to time they are given the chance to “vote the bastards out”.

  49. Neil A

    I’ll agree with that. There will be times when a party leader and their party have different approval ratings. Indeed I suspect that may be quite common.

    anyone got any polling evidence?

  50. Oldnat,

    The polling evidence has been made easily available on this website. All you need to do is move your mouse around and click. It’s not rocket science. And if you do you will find that Labour’s polling and Brown’s rating are virtually synonymous.

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