The first of tonight’s two polls is out – ICM for the Guardian have topline figures of CON 37%(-2), LAB 30%(nc), LDEM 20%(nc). The poll was conducted between Friday and Sunday, so the majority would have been conducted before the “Bully Brown” story broke, and the overwhelming majority before the intervention of Christine Pratt made it into a really major story. The poll echoes the narrowing YouGov have shown since Brown’s interview with Piers Morgan.

It worth noting that while polls showing a narrowing of the Tory lead have become commonplace, this one is rather unusual in that the Tories are down and Labour are static. Despite the narrowing gap, almost all polls continue to show the Conservatives up around 39% – up to now the narrowing has overwhelmingly been due to a strong recovery from Labour since last autumn.

YouGov for the Sun will be out later. The fieldwork was conducted yesterday and today, so it will be post “Bully Brown”.

143 Responses to “ICM show the Tory lead dropping to 7 points”

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  1. @ Epochery

    Where do you get your data from about the support turning towards the incumbent party just before the GE?

    I have looked at the last 10 polls before the GE in both 2005 and 2001 and compared them to the ten polls up to the end of February in each year.

    In 2005 there was no change (5 point LAB lead) whilst in 2001 the swing was away from Labour (17 points to 14.5)

    Indeed both actual results showed a further swing away from the incumbent – a final 9 point lead in 2001 and a 3 point lead in 2005.

  2. Well now the trends are all pretty convincing – the 2 week WMA has an R2 of .73.

    I still don’t think we will have a hung parliament and I expect that bullygate (or some other subsequent blunder) will lead to a reversal, but we have no statistical evidence of this yet (obviously). Over the last 76 days the CLead has reduced from 13 to 9 so if present trends continue and I don’t think they well, the CLead will be about 5 come the election.

    But I still think the CLead will actually be 10-15. We shall see.

  3. Anthony, The Sun article has a bit from Peter Kellner saying that it has not cost any votes. Can you confirm?

  4. The “swing to the government” thing is an old canard that’s been raised and knocked down repeatedly. Its certainly true to say that there is almost always a swing to the governing party between the middle of their term and the election (which we’ve already seen of course), but no evidence that there is a swing in the immediate run up to the election. I think that mostly the perception is a hangover from the “shy Tory” era when the Tory government would get a higher vote in the GE than in the opinion polls. That was about poll methodology (since corrected) not about any actual swing.

  5. Nick R – I certainly can, though hell, you shouldn’t need it. If anyone knows, Peter does.

    I won’t put the figures up till I’ve seen them properly, but they do indeed suggest no damage yet.

  6. Thanks Anthony… Didn’t think we needed something. These Twitter rumours are getting of hand now.

  7. @ANDREW

    There are so many polls conducted so the data is a little hard to find a consistent figure, however on memory, i can recall elections in the usa, australia, and gb from 1983 onwards and it can be error in the polls such as 92′ that may be the reason. I am quite sure that in 2005 the lead in the polls during the campaign was smaller than the final outcome. The labout lead in 97 in the polls i believe was also larger than the ge poll. I may be wrong but generally speaking there has been a psychlogical bleed back to the incumbant even when they lose.

  8. Given the 12% lead version of the numbers is spreading all over the political blogs maybe you should put up the real numbers to correct them.

    The way these polls leak out seems a bit of a shambles to me.

  9. Someone better tell them over at conservativehome that its not the right figures then.

  10. Politics Home and Coffee House both showing the results of the Yougov poll

    Coffee House:-

    “Post-Rawnsley poll has Tories over 40 and ahead by 12 James Forsyth 11:42pm

    The second poll of the night is much better for the Tories and will calm some jangled nerves. A YouGov poll carried out for the Sun after the Rawnsley revelations and has the Tories up two to 41 with Labour dropping four to 29. This poll has, obviously, been taken at the worst time for Labour but, at first blush, it does suggest that the bullying allegations have cut through.”

  11. YouGov 41: 29:19

    12 point delta compared to 6 sounds like damage to me (from LAB viewpoint)!

    I guess there must be a specific question that results in no change re the ‘bullying’ & the -6 point change is due to other issues.

    Delayed response to the poor economic stats for January, perhaps?

  12. Doesn’t look like the Sun is putting up the figures online (my bet is that they are in their “Race to Number 10” graphic just above Peter’s little commentary, and won’t be on the website – that’s what happened one day last week) so I’m off to bed.

    I’ll update tomorrow morning when the figures finally appear, but I’ll leave you with Peter’s commentary on what they show –

    SO far the drama of the last 48 hours has not lost Labour votes.

    According to our YouGov poll for The Sun yesterday, voters seem to be giving Gordon Brown the benefit of the doubt. Just a quarter think the word bully applies to him. But he won’t be happy that four out of ten regard him as bad tempered.

    It can take two or three days for disclosures to have their full effect. Watch this space as the week unfolds and we find out if he’s seen as the villain or the victim. “

  13. Where on earth do people get these polling figures from if they’re not published? Is it just leaks from YouGov staffers? Or do people just make it up??

  14. The only way a hung parliament can result in the way being paved for Bottler Brown to remain in number 10 is if Labour remain the largest party. Even the most ardent of their supporters must accept that any hope of that happening are remote even with the narrowing of polls. I am personally yet to be convinced that Labour’s improved showing in national samples is going to lead to them holding onto scores more of their marginal battleground seats that previously thought. I feel they may just be solidifying their vote in regions of the country already intending to vote Labour.
    All opinion polls commisioned in marginal seats over the last couple of years indicate an outright Conservative victory, until i see evidence that Brown is winning back some of the middle class voters who backed Blair, i expect Cameron will be PM. 40 being a likely majority. I have long believed Labour could claw their way to around 32% on the night. I definately do not believe they can reach 34-35%.

  15. Simon

    This is a joke :-)

    Which figures are wrong?

    Amber – twitter got it wrong tonight-I’ll be more careful next time. I reckon the Tory lead is knee-jerk- will reverse again in a week.

  16. now the only person with any insider information is off to bed.

    Do we all have to go out an buy the sun in a few hours time just to find out? :\

  17. Simon

    Some things are just too appalling to consider doing!

    That the Sun has the worst online site ever does’nt help. I’m long past the age of looking at naked female flesh (well that’s not really true :-) )

  18. @DANNY BOY

    Correct me if i am wrong but didnt the recent polls taken in marginal show that labour and the conservatives are neck and neck? All the calculators seem to indicate that labour will be the biggest party on around 33% depending on the support that the tory’s get

  19. Guys, go to bed. We will all find out exactly what the results are by the morning.

  20. What time in the morning? -I’m having kittens -though having been on the Guardian tonight – I haven’t stopped laffing (joke). ;-) So many strangers there I haven’t seen before.

  21. How does one spell Tories?
    Or is it Tory’s?


  22. If the headline figures do turn out to be Twitter induced fiction and that was known by YouGov personnel but no correction made, then that is pretty atrocious behaviour in leaving things dangling.

  23. Well Anthony is off to bed & we poll addicts will have a sleepless night.

    I bet you think that’s funny, Anthony ;-)

  24. @ AL J

    How does one spell Tories?

    Tories if it’s the plural of Tory as a noun.
    Tory’s if it’s singular ownership e.g. A Tory’s expense claim for his duck house.
    Tories’ if it’s plural ownership e.g. All the Tories’ mansions would be taxed by the LibDems.

    If anybody, more pedantic than me, thinks this is not correct, please speak up.

    BTW the bias is intended ;-)

  25. Amber it’s been hilarious -Amber I would love to tell you who I am on the Guardian- if I give you a sign will you look out for it?

    The Guardian has been so funny in the last few days -so many people I’ve never seen before -and not all nutcases ;-)

    I’ll be off soon to bed. Hope you reply. Nite nite.

  26. Amber thanks about the spelling.

  27. Reuters reports 14 mins ago
    A separate YouGov poll published by the Sun on Tuesday put the Conservatives on 39 percent, Labour on 33 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 17 percent.

  28. For what it’s worth, Reuters are reporting that the Sun/Yougov poll is 39/33/17.

  29. @Neil

    In 1992 the polls picked up a late swing to the govt.

    In 1997 even though it was a blowout there was a late swing to the govt.

    2001 and 2005 there wasn’t a swing but those elections there wasn’t a chance in the change of governments.

    The evidence that is out there is that there has been a swing to the govt in elections where there is a chance for a change in governments.

  30. Tom

    Thanks very much

    Now I’m so confused -but good news if it’s right

    Where did all theother ones come from?

    Anthony will explain tomorrow.

    I can go to sleep now and count sheep instead of having a nightmare ;-)

  31. link to reteurs reporting of the poll results

  32. I noticed Ch4 news on the item by KGM following interview with Brown saying poll coming out showed a Con 10 pt lead – when nothing of the sort materialised…not sure where the misinfo arises from…ConHome you can imagine would be less choosey about checking their sources than Ch4; but either way one wonders whether there is an angle for anyone misleading with inflated conservative lead – but then maybe just seeing patterns where there are none…!!…more medication methinks!

  33. Political betting have you gov poll yes it is 12% lead

  34. On Twitter

    **someone is posting fake figures**

  35. Shock as unsubstantiated rumours turn out be false!

  36. AL J

    You have made me really curious now. Give me a clue, please :-)

  37. Sun You Gov 39:33:17 *NOT* a 12 point lead…..

    REUTERS at 1:46am this morning.

    LONDON (Reuters) – The Conservative Party’s lead has tightened in recent days, making a hung parliament look increasingly likely, two opinion polls showed.

    The Guardian/ICM poll published in Tuesday’s edition found support for the Conservatives down 3 points, at 37 percent, while Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party was up 1 point from last month at 30 percent.

    The Liberal Democrats, who could hold the balance of power in the case of a hung parliament, fell 1 point over last month to 20 percent.

    If these results were repeated in an election due by June, the Conservatives would lack an overall majority in the House of Commons.

    A separate YouGov poll published by the Sun on Tuesday put the Conservatives on 39 percent, Labour on 33 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 17 percent.

    Both surveys suggest allegations that Gordon Brown intimidates his staff have yet to damage a Labour poll recovery. The projections show the Conservatives’ lead has shrunk to its narrowest gap in recent months.

    ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,004 adults by telephone between February 19 and 21 for the poll, the Guardian said. The Sun poll was conducted on Monday.

  38. I do not take a lot of notice at polls at this stage. Despite what the polls are saying I think that when the election is called one side will win with an outright majority. At the moment though itis not possible to predict. The individual polls seem to be of more value to the political parties. They tend to force them to act as utter lunatics and say things that they will never carry through. Ultimately we all loose out because rational logical thinking by our so called betters goes out of the window. We will in the end get the government we deserve even if we don’t really care for it.


    CONFIRMED – Tory YouGov lead still 6pc
    February 23rd, 2010

    CON 39% (39)
    LAB 33% (33)
    LD 17%(17)
    Peter Kellner validates the figures – ConHome was wrong

    I’ve just managed to get in contact with Peter Kellner and he has confirmed the above figures to me – so ConHome got it wrong. The overnight YouGov daily poll showed no change in any of the numbers from Saturday night.

    The fact that there is no change from Sunday must come as major set-back for the Tories – and the Lib Dems. For this suggests that the bullygate business is having no effect.

    It might take time to seep in but Labour must be breathing a massive sigh of relief.
    Mike Smithson

  40. to say it with Shakespeare:
    Much Ado About Nothing

    it will be interestings how the polls will change (or not) over the next few days

  41. I have not been following the polls too closely recently.

    However 2 significant events have happened this week I think.

    1) Labour have finally climbed above 32%, a ceiling that was looking impossible for them to get above
    2) Conservatives have now dropped under their safe floor figure of 38%

    this is a real tightening of the polls and if this trend continues could make for a very interesting campaign. I still don’t see where all this talk of a hung parliament is coming from, the Tories are still huge favourites I think, but they must be getting jittery!

  42. @ EPOCHERY

    what causes confusion when people are trying to decide what size portion of the vote will facilitate what number of seats for each party is solely down to how much you trust swing calculators. I personally do not for one minute believe the Conservatives need an 11 point lead over Labour to get a small majority. if you do, fine. I dont. Therefore how close do Labour need to get to the Tories to remain the largest party? I think a lot closer than you think, and i would bet on 3%.
    The Tories need to win roughly the first 75 Labour held target seats to become the largest party. These seats are as good as lost for Labour. The last time i looked the seat in which i live was no. 83 on the target list and the Conservatives are in front here by around 3%.
    The news of the world poll in the marginal seats sunday before last showed the Conservatives on course for 38 seat majority.

  43. Perhaps Con home were quoting the new AR poll

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