As promised there are two new polls tonight. YouGov for the Sunday Times have topline figures of CON 40%(+1), LAB 27%(-2), LDEM 18%(-1). The second poll is by ICM in the Sunday Telegraph; their topline figures are CON 40%(-2), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 19%(nc).

So there are no major shifts in either poll, ICM continues the trend of a narrowing in the Conservative lead, while the move in YouGov is in the other direction (in fact, YouGov looks more like a reversion to the mean than anything, prior to their last poll they had shown Labour at 27-28% for four polls in a row).

While it is not statistically significant at all (a move from 39% to 40% from one poll to another really doesn’t mean anything), politically it’s significant that after several polls with the Tories sub-40% and in hung Parliament territory, that both polls have the Conservatives up to 40% again and with a lead that would translate into a majority. It doesn’t necessarily mean much, but it will work against a hung parliament narrative establishing itself.

Some interesting stuff in the other questions in both polls. YouGov asked some questions about whether the Conservatives were seen as the party of the rich, and about potential tax hikes and cuts. On the issue of the Conservative party image 52% agreed with the statement that the Conservatives are still the party of the rich, with 31% disagreeing. It was largely a partisan response though, 90% of Labour supporters thought so, only 14% of Conservative supporters.

On taxation, YouGov continues to find the public opting for public spending cuts over tax hikes (by 52% to 30%). If there are to be tax rises though, putting extra taxes on the very rich remains as popular as ever. Asked whether taxes should be spread evenly across the population, or concentrated on rich people, 66% go for the latter. YouGov also asked about the Conservative proposals to recognise marriage in the tax system, and found the public pretty evenly divided: 48% of repondents supported the idea, 43% disagreed.

ICM meanwhile asked about people’s belief in man made climate change. They found 52% of people thought that climate change was happening and that humans were largely responsible, 39% of people thought that it had not yet been proven that it was man-made, while 7% did not believe the world was warming at all.

This isn’t vastly different from the Populus poll on climate change taken in November, suggesting no vast change in opinion. However, the questions were probably asked in a different way and giving different options, so we cannot be sure. We really need a truly comparable question in order to see whether the recent leak of emails has shifted public opinion on climate change: a question on climate change asked exactly the same way as one before the leak.

151 Responses to “New ICM and YouGov polls”

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  1. @Trevorsden & others

    I think it’s fairly obvious….extremely obvious…..that the point Brown had been meant to make (but failed), wasn’t so much that the tory front bench most all went to uber posh schools for the privledged, but that their tax policies can be painted as favouring extremely rich people like themselves.

    Even just pointing and calling eton boy will do their core vote good ofc…..but that won’t really help them save any seats.

  2. LOL what happend to the BNP’s 22 % of the vote? did that just vanish into thin air? I see there has been no reports on this lately !

  3. ‘Even just pointing and calling eton boy will do their core vote good ofc…..but that won’t really help them save any seats.’ it might by getting their core vote out–old labour hasnt gone away, it’s just resting…

  4. It is interesting to hear about the spin put on the poll by The Telegraph.The underlying stats point to a possibility of Labour working on the ‘soak the rich policy.’ This morning one commentator in a leading newspaper suggested that Cameron had ‘run out of things to say.’ whereas the government can be pro-active. This difference may determine the result of the next election.

  5. According to Alec’s post above 53% of the Conservative Shadow Cabinet went to private schools (17 out of 32).

    Does anyone know what the figure is for the Labour Cabinet?

  6. ‘So I think LibDem seats are as vulnerable as any. After all what has voting LibDem given us – 13 years of Blair and Brown and a deficit and national debt to make your (and your grandchildrens) eyes water’

    I dont think all of this can be blamed on Lib Dems; even they would suggest they are not that powerful. and who’s to say Tories would have been any better, they were after all, bereft of any useful ideas by the time they lost office. (Oh, other than privatise everything or selling everything off and slash / burn all social welfare…)

  7. Quote: The country is not mad – there will not be a hung parliament.
    N Beale

    And since all any individual can do is influence the result in their own constistuency, how will the country ensure that there isn’t a hung parliament, exactly?

    Quote: I reckon a 40% overall vote should be enough to give the Tories a decent majority.
    Dennis Ward

    In any democracy I want to live in, 40% should never give one party a majority.

  8. NBEALE:

    If there is a hung parliament despite a 10% Tory lead, it won’t be because the country is mad but because the boundaries are woefully out of date, more than 10 years so.

    It works for us thanks. Whatever “country you choose to live in”
    it will not be able to display a track record of parliamentry democracy which even begins to approach ours.
    I cannot stop you attempting to sell PR in Britain but please remember our appaling system has not given us the benefits of leaders like;
    Francisco Franco
    Benito Mussolini
    Phillipe Petain
    and the ever lovely Adolf Hitler.

  10. @LIN REES
    How can Cameron run out of things to say when we owe £3trillion and are loosing a war, in addition we are enquiring into another war which appears to have been started due to lies.

    I can think of about 2 dozen questions straight of and I did’nt even go to Eton.

  11. @JACK
    If it has taken the resting “Old Labour” this long to learn that Cameron went to Eton, they should have their francise removed.

  12. @ LIN REES

    “This morning one commentator in a leading newspaper suggested that Cameron had ‘run out of things to say.”

    He didn’t actually.

    Rawnsley in the Guardian quoted Wilson as follows :-
    When the election of 1964 was finally called, the leader of the opposition, Harold Wilson, sighed with secret relief. He had, he confided to friends, “run out of things to say”.

    The thrust of the article is that Cons are far too reliant on their leader over the next six months for things to say.

    That may or may not be true , but Cameron -as Wilson- is dying to get the GE Campaign started & said so again this morning on TV.

    There will be plenty said when Brown’s phoney hiatus comes to an end.

  13. Mr Myers,
    ‘Dizzy Thinks’ knows how many.

    He could add Labours biggest donor to that list, Lord Sainsbury (who guess what, went to Eton)

    Attlee Gaitskell Foot and Blair all went to public school as did labours current deputy leader Harman. Browns closest advisor did as well.

  14. Re: LibDems…

    My trend model shows that the Lib Dem data has been very noisy, but that there is a slight trend upwards that might put them firmly back over 20 on election day.

    Re: Campaign…

    Anyone who thinks that there isn’t a current and on-going election campaign in this country, must be one of those ‘common folk who don’t pay attention to politics’. The conservatives have been in election campaign mode since last year when people started rumouring that there would be a snap election.

    And yes, I think that Cameron has shot his wad too early by starting off an election campaign over a year before the election.

  15. Where Labour politicians went to school is missing the point slightly. For Labour, it doesn’t matter in the same way, they are not really vulnerable to that sort of attack because they are traditionally the party of the working class.

    The Conservatives on the other hand are trying to ditch an image of being interested only in wealthy and well off, so are vulnerable on things like this.

    (Of course, while Labour themselves are not at risk of being painted as the party of the rich, such an attack does risk making them look negative or hypocritical, so it’s not without risks)

    Lin – in case you hadn’t noticed Frank Luntz has replied to you on the previous thread, and you probably owe him an apology for making false allegations about him.

  16. A word of caution. The ‘class war’ debate seems to have degenrated into a discussion over which schools various people went to. This will not be how Labour use this issue. Schooling is the part of a characterisation exercise that is currently underway – Eton and Cheltenham Ladies College makes it quite easy to do this in many people’s minds. However, the strategy will be much broader than merely the backgrounds of respective candidates. It will be about tax, who pays what, controlling bonuses and how much banks will pay back, excessive earnings, both public and private sectors, spending cuts against tax rises etc. In short, it’s going to come down to the haves vs the have nots. In Labour’s favour, a majority of people (according to these polls) see the Tories as in it for the rich. The reaction to the 10p tax rate abolition also shows the British electorate want to see ‘fairness’ in how tax and spending is approached. This could be made to chime with the general thrust of the attack on the Tories.
    For the Tories, they currently have greater credibility on tax and spend issues if the polls are to be believed, and few appear to support class based attacks for the sake of it, so there could be a backlash if the attacks are seen to be economically incoherent and purely opportunistic or envy/class driven. Labour has to hold the middle class coalition to have a chance of power, now and in the future, and its easy to alienate this group.

    The PBR on Wednesday will be critical. Last weeks PMQs smells like a set up for new tax policies in the PBR. Darling might well stand there and ape Osborne’s ‘we’re in this together’ line while he lines up some eye catching top end tax increases. Don’t ask me what the reaction will be and how it affects the polls though.

    Labour cannot persist in this class warfare if it is made clear just what hypocrits they are. Its rather like them making an issue of the duck house and up jumps Mr & Mrs Smith with the porn movie. People will just take them for a dirty pot calling a kettle black.
    The real villians are socialist MPs who stand against private education and then send their own kids to such an establishment. Also, Labour cannot be elected by the “bottom end of the market ” only. They need to attract people with aspirations. This kind of 1920s class war wont cut it with them.

  18. They can. Not least, as Alec says, where people went to school is just a sideshow. The core of it will be on taxation, attitudes towards bankers bonuses and so on.

  19. Figures for the 1979 election earlier weren’t quite right.


    C 13,697,923 44.9% GB (43.9% UK)
    Lab 11,532,218 37.8% GB (37.0% UK)

    October 1974
    Lab 11,457,079 40.2% GB (39.3% UK)
    Con 10,464,000 36.7% GB (35.7 to 35.9% UK)

  20. Of course when a lot of Tories went to grammar schools they couldn’t be accused of benefitting from being able to pay for the best schools because grammars were obviously selected by academic ability. Margaret Thatcher won a scholarship, Norman Tebbit attented an academically selective school, and John Major went to a grammar school.

  21. What proportion of the current crop of bankers went to Public School? I personally have no idea, but I can’t help thinking that the recent trend towards reckless adventurism and greed in city institutions owes a lot to a drift from quietly arrogant public-school tie types towards loudly arrogant state-school barrow boy types.

    There is an anachronistic part of me that quite warms to the idea of having a cabinet stuffed with Eton-educated sons of the gentry. It doesn’t conjure an image of self-interest so much as one of self-assured noblesse oblige. Complete cobblers of course, but so is the mood music Labour’s trying to play. And ultimately its not about the facts, its about the picture it paints in people’s imaginations.

  22. I think we are not understanding GB’s motives,do not forget he is a calculator on legs. He realizes that the election is lost. Every thing is aimed at the Labour core vote so as to limit the damage to ensure enough of a party to come back in 2014-15. He has given up the middle ground as he knows it is lost. The Liberals also will loose heavily as anyone in Cornwall and Devon knows, although they may pick up a few seats off Labour in the North.

  23. @King Harold

    The psyche of the British middle, and pseudo middle class has changed. Whereas before, the manifestations of their frustrations and inferiority complex, would be directed towards those they believe to be lower down the scale from them. Now it is quite the opposite. Look at how we as a nation take great delight in bringing down those who we feel think that they are higher up the scale than us, or those we feel that think they are ‘getting too big for their boots’.

  24. C.L.A.D:

    I agree with you – it’s interesting how people never blame themselves for their problems. As you say, sometimes it’s people lower down the scale; other times it’s those higher up it. If someone runs up a credit card debt for example, it’s never their fault, always someone else’s.

  25. Have you seen the latest.Darling and Flint say that Labour has given up attacking the Tories on class. It only lasted 4-5 Days

  26. I think the answer to what the trends are is pretty clear from the five-year chart of all polls, which overcomes the problems of comparability and different polling methods. What it shows is that the general trend since mid-2008 for the Tories is clearly down, with each successive peak being lower than the last. Looking back to August-September 2008 they were regularly polling in the high 40s (at one point 52%). Now they are averaging under 39%.

    The major shock to the system caused by MPs’ expenses hit both Labour and Conservatives, but Labour suffered more, while for the Lib Dems it was neutral. The real question is what happens to the ‘other’ vote as it gradually filters back to the main parties.

    At present, this process seems to be helping Labour more than the Tories (probably because of the UKIP element), with the former gaining 5-6% points versus the latter’s 3-4% points. If the news on the economy carries on improving and GDP growth starts again, then it is likely this will continue. My current prediction is therefore: C41, L32, LD 21, Other 6, leaving the Conservatives 12 short of a majority according to the swing calculator.

  27. Please everyone – get off this obsession with which school people went to – it really isn’t the point. It’s really about public perceptions of wealth and fairness, and in particular unwarranted wealth. Jonathon Ross and RBS directors are as much in the frame as any ex Eton chums.
    Up until the banking crisis as a nation we collectively accepted that if people were super rich they were obviously worth it – market forces. (I know many of us didn’t agree with that, but this was the prevailing orthodoxy). This has changed, and people are much more prepared to question massive salaries and the social worth of the wealthy. Personally, I firmly believe there is little correlation between remuneration levels and true worth at the top end. However, those hiring (including government) and those hired, collude in a game where both are more satisfied by higher salaries paid as one side thinks they’ve secured the best while the other thinks they are the best. Hence top wages keep spiralling upwards. As you come down the wages scale however, there is a mystery point at which this logic ceases to be heard. That’s why you never hear councils saying how they need to pay bin men or cleaners bigger wages to secure the best workers.
    I suspect Labour is looking to play on some underlying sentiments that the high earners in society have picked up massive benefits over the years, while appearing unwilling to now dip in and pay the price now when needed. Its as much Labour’s fault as anyone’s, but we have a tax system where the poorest pay a far higher proportion in tax than the richest, and many see this as unfair.
    This is the milleau of issues that Labour wants to tap into – schools are not the real issue.

  28. I believe UKIP will poll at least 4% in the general election (compared to 2% in 2005), and both the Greens and the BNP will poll at least 2% (compared to 1% each last time). That means “others” will poll at least 8% in my opinion. I also think Labour are unlikely to reach the dizzy heights of 32% which would only represent a 4% decline since 2005.

  29. @Glen Otto – “Have you seen the latest.Darling and Flint say that Labour has given up attacking the Tories on class. It only lasted 4-5 Days”.

    To be honest, that strikes me as classic Alistair Campbell. Its a brief burst of activity designed to trigger certain thoughts and feelings, prior to policy announcements designed to work into the same emotions. By the time your opponents are responding you’ve moved on and are insisting it’s not an issue, but the damage has been done, and the overall message lingers in people’s thoughts.

  30. @Lin Rees

    Why is it that Luntz is almost always prefaced as a “right-wing” pollster? Surely you would expect a pollster to be neutral and independent.

  31. @ Alec

    Thankyou, a very interesting observation.

  32. CLAD – Not in the USA you wouldn’t! There are polling companies across the water who specifically work with Republican or Democrat clients. The reason is simply that there is a lot of money in political polling in the USA, and pollsters can make a good living specialising in polling for Democrat campaigns, or pollings for Republican campaigns. If that’s the work a company is looking for, it’s can be good marketting to be known as a Republican polling outfit – then someone running for office on a publican ticket might think “Ah! I’ll get Republican Polling Ltd to do the private polling for my campaign, they’ve got lots of experience in polling on republican campaigns”,

    In the UK, there is very little money in political polling, and companies make their money polling for commerical clients about advertising and toothpaste and pensions and so on – political polling is mostly just a shop window to get their names known and advertise their accuracy. The only large scale private political polling done is by the party HQs, so it’s not like there are lots of other potential Conservative party clients or lots of other potential Labour party clients to appeal to. No UK polling company would want to be seen as right-wing or left wing.

    Anyway, enough Luntz. It’s not on topic, and I don’t want any further posts making allegations that may not be factually correct. If you want to risk libelling people, don’t do it on my blog.

  33. ALEC:

    The problem is that which school people go to is very much connected to perceptions of unfair wealth these days, especially with people buying properties in the catchment areas of what they believe to be the best schools. There are probably some commentators who have always predicted that this would happen once selection based on academic ability was abolished in most of the country. I would love politicians who support the current school policy to explain why they think selection based on wealth is fairer than selection based on academic ability. It seems a no-brainer to me that the the current situation is more unfair than it used to be, not less.

  34. Thanks Anthony. Message received and understood.

    Interesting though, vis a vie the differences in polling between the US and Britain. How does this relate with Canadian polling and Angus Reid?

  35. CLAD – the Canadian political system is very like our own, I’d be very surprised if there were any partisan polling outfits over there. Certainly AngusReid are not a partisan company.

  36. @ Tony Fisher – “In any democracy I want to live in, 40% should never give one party a majority.”

    Well, you can always leave. I’m surprised you haven’t done so already, seeing as Labour won the 2005 election with just 35.3% of the vote.

  37. I agree with James.
    And what’s the alternative?
    If excessive attention is paid to parties that have attracted a lot less support than 35.2% or 40%, just because they hold the balance, then it’s extremely debatable whether the majority of people are getting the main thrust of policy that they voted for.

    A party in power with an overall majority does still have to frame it’s policy somewhat towards those who haven’t voted for it or are loosely aligned, because if they don’t the removal van will arrive in Downing Street, something which is not so clear a threat if you are cobbling together a co-alition, and there could be a situation where it is extremely difficult to remove a government.

  38. I have to agree with Tony Fisher. I think Australia’s election system of a two-party preference vote is more democratic. Even in the US, the winning party usually gets a majority of the popular vote (if not, somewhere near).

  39. That said, I think the LDs could find PR has a nasty sting in the tail aswell as leading to an inevitable co-alition. The PR elections we’ve had in non General Elections in recent years show that this miscellaneous vote which goes to the LDs in fact breaks up in different ways to other smaller parties, and doesn’t lead to people thinking they can get more LDs elected.

  40. Whichever way you rationalise it this “Eton Toff” stuff boils down to a two part subliminal message:-

    a) People who go to Eton come from a background which renders them incapable of understanding “ordinary people”

    b) People whose parents were wealthy enough to send them to Eton , will, if in government , promote tax & other policies which favour “wealthy” people to the disadvantage of all other people.

    a) rests on the premise that understanding only comes from direct personal experience. ie that education, and imagination cannot have an effect on outlook.
    Clearly if this were true no advances in Science , Technology , the Arts or Humanities would have been possible & we would all still be living in a Paleolithic world.
    It is manifestly a stupid proposition & I have no doubt that the average voter ( excluding the tribal voter that is ) will see it that way.

    b) is more subtle.
    It plays on the perceived folk memory of “loadsamoney” “Thatcherism”.
    To the tribalist who accepts a) it will follow logically.

    To the objective mind which rejects a) it suggests that Cameron & his team are liars. It has to since no sane politician would go to the people on a manifesto of bashing the poor & making the rich richer.

    b) therefore suggests that whatever Cameron/Osborne say , what they intend is to help the already wealthy to become even more wealthy, at the expense of the poor.

    We shall see if this suggestion gains support.

    I hope Cameron confronts it head on. He could start by explaining that his IHT proposal is for only “millionaires” to pay it,( not- only millionaires to avoid it )- and that modest estates , particularly in the South East, between £350k & £1million, will thus avoid this tax on aspiration & arbitrary property values

  41. @James Ludlow – “Well, you can always leave. I’m surprised you haven’t done so already, seeing as Labour won the 2005 election with just 35.3% of the vote.”

    He shoots. He scores. Nice finish.

    @Andy Stidwill – “There are probably some commentators who have always predicted that this would happen once selection based on academic ability was abolished in most of the country. ”

    It’s one of the myths about selective education that its based on academic ability. Its more about whether you had parents who read to you as a child, paid for private tuition lessons, or had the time and ability to help with additional education at home. then there is the fact that children develop at many different ages, but their school selection takes place on a singl day at age 11. In an ideal world there would be promotion/relegation tests every term – wouldn’t the middle classes love that? And what about the poor sod that has hayfever for the 11 plus?
    Academic selection is no panacea and is almost as class based as a free market free for all. Why can’t we just sent local children to local schools, and dispense entirely with myth of parental choice?

  42. Quote: @ Tony Fisher – “In any democracy I want to live in, 40% should never give one party a majority.”

    Well, you can always leave. I’m surprised you haven’t done so already, seeing as Labour won the 2005 election with just 35.3% of the vote.
    James Ludlow

    What an absolutely pathetic response.

    I want to change the system to something fair and democratic (and have done all my life), not leave my home country. And PR would increase real choice as it would remove the ridiculous argument that “there’s no point voting for/listening to party X as they can’t win a majority”. So we get a choice of Labour or Conservative. Great!

  43. @Colin – Interesting post. I would suggest that there is some truth however in your proposition a). People from different backgrounds can imagine life in someone else’s conditions, but the experience is that most don’t. I’ve always been struck for example by Johnathon Aiken’s experience. Well educated, wealthy, with a very one sided view of certain sections of society prior to his imprisonment. Since then he’s been a model of liberal understanding of prison and justice issues in particular. his social circle has been greatly expanded and he is nothing like his former Tory minister incarnation.
    I think it is genuinely difficult (but not impossible) for those from a privileged background to gain a true sense of perspective on many social issues. It’s why every now and then we have TV programmes where famous people spend a week living as homeless types or on benefits. I don’t need to do that. I’ve been there and seen it already.
    I believe that in the full package of issues that go to make me support one party or another, their social background, and more critically how and whether their social background affects their policies, is part of my decision making package. One example is that Bush and Blair took us to war in Iraq, in part because they believed in God and thought they were doing the right thing. I would prefer a moral atheist or humanist to take such decisions on my behalf, as I worry about people who talk to a god making such life and death decisions.

  44. @ Tony Fisher – it’s your original comment that’s pathetic, not my response. You sound exactly like those rockstar and Brit Art jokers who harumph about leaving the country if the government and/or taxation aren’t to their liking.

  45. Colin with reference to your Cameron post earlier on .Rawnsley called him a man with chameleon like qualities who could re-invent himself to suit the mood.
    It was Gordon Brown on Wednesday in PMQ’s who said of Cameron,’the more he talks the less he has to say.’ He has been Leader of the Opposition for a long time and it is a difficult job.

  46. @ ALEC

    “Academic selection is … almost as class based as a free market free for all.”
    ” In an ideal world there would be promotion/relegation tests every term – wouldn’t the middle classes love that?”

    My parents were solid old fashioned working class.

    They had precious little money for the family
    neccessities , let alone “private tuition lessons”.

    They encouraged me as best they could & ( critically) pushed me to study. I had a good primary school ( which I walked to each day-two miles there & two miles back)

    I went to Grammar School & passed professional exams.
    My brother failed eleven plus & went to “Secondary Modern”. He entered the RAF at age 15 and retired as a Wing Commander.

    By & large success in education results from a combination of two things-Good Teachers & Good Parents ( Two of them)

    It is the increasing absence of both of them which has reduced educational success rather than the litany of social deprivation & “middle class” envy.

    It is no wonder to me that we never approach the levels of innovation & initiative to be found in USA.

    President Obama used the phrase”middle class” in his campaign constantly to identify his biggest target constituency. In this country it is a term of envy & abuse.

    It is no surprise to me either that the greatest philanthropists the world has ever seen come from the USA.
    What Bill Gates is doing for global health & learning is staggering & would be sneared at as “charity” in this country where aspiration must always be supressed.

  47. Lin-I read the article thanks-it was pretty balanced about Cameron’s achievements & faults I thought.

  48. Colin: I certainly agree with what you’re saying. The problem is that the middle-classes are always vulnerable to a kind of pincer movement: of being ganged up on by those at the very top and bottom of society. Those at the bottom resent them for being successful and those at the top see them as a challenge to their position. Abolishing grammar schools was a move which suited those at the top and bottom at the expense of those in the middle.

  49. ALEC-social background & religious beliefs are quite different.

    I profoundly disagree with you about social background. It goes to the root of what I believe.I could not disagree with you more about anything.

    I might well share your distrust of religious belief-it would depend on how exclusive & inflexible it was.

  50. @ Lin Rees – The Observer and The Guardian regularly run articles in line with their pro-Labour, anti-Tory editorial bias. I don’t know why you think Andrew Rawnsley’s contribution to the genre today is particularly significant.

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