So, with Gordon Brown expected to call the election tomorrow, tonight’s should be the last polls before the formal campaign kicks off. It’s unfortunate timing, given that bank holiday weekends (particularly long bank holiday weekends) have something of a reputation for producing strange samples. I’m not sure the reputation is actually justified, but there is at least one good example (the bank holiday weekend before the 2005 election, when a strange sample left Populus showing a 14 point Labour lead).

Anyway, the first two polls of the evening are ICM and Opinium. ICM in the Guardian have topline figures of CON 37%(-1), LAB 33%(+4), LDEM 21%(-2) – so a sharp narrowing of the Tory lead, down to the lowest they’ve been from ICM since February 2008.

In contrast, Opinium’s figures in the Express have topline figures with changes from a week ago of CON 39%(+1), LAB 29%(+1), LDEM 17%(-1). YouGov still to come (and possibly another, depending on whether that Opinium was the third one I’d heard rumor of or not).


185 Responses to “ICM show Tory lead down just 4”

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  1. Pete B
    First, sorry if I ruffled a few feathers when I suggested that the election might not be called tomorrow.

    Does anyone have a rational explanation for why ICM have Labour at +4? I can’t think of any particular news that may have caused it.
    ——————————————-

    ICM weighs by “certainty to vote”. YouGov do not. If the Labour vote has hardened as the Guardian is reporting in the article accompanying the poll, then it is not surprising that this would boost Labour disproportionately as Labour would have been under-weighted before.

  2. Kyle Downing

    Sir Alec Douglas Home – I remember him. In 1979, he made a high profile speech promising that Thatcher would imntoduce a “better” form of devolution for Scotland than Labour had proposed.

    It turned out to be the poll tax!

  3. @Guy F,

    My predictions are just that- yours are as valid.

    If I substantiated my reasons it would contravene the rules of the site.

    But yes your first point is correct. If yougov shows a12% you will not hear me call it a rogue… it fits a trend of YG polls… its not like their previous was a 4%..

    ICM will come out of this a wee bit worse, afterall their last was 9%.

    I have not changed my opinion on the final outocme however….

    I boxed as a sport in my younger years, contests bring opponents to the middle… they are rarely polls .

    Only no-contests have first round knockouts

  4. BBC NEWS:

    Election is on.

    May 6th is the date.

  5. Eoin Clarke

    “2. LD exposure all but disappeared, the poll reflects this…. Vince who?”

    Sorry to pick you up on this Éoin but if you look at Opinium’s polling history for LD you find that this is their joint highest rating this year. The fact that 17 is a low number for LD reflects that Opinium consistenly rate LD about 4 points lower than the other pollsters. ICM are 2 points down on their last reading, which was itself a record. Today’s ICM poll is gives LD their second highest score from ICM.

    LD exposure may well have disappeared but the polls just don’t reflect this.

  6. Sky news reporting Labour sources saying Parliament will be dissolved on 12 April, election day 6 May

  7. JAIME you are correct in what you say. However, it also happens on the Tory side ( eg the Sun, The Star, The Express, Mail etc). Shamefully both sides do it to help with their agenda whatever that may be.

  8. Con 41, Lab 31, LD 18 – YouGov for the Sun

  9. You Gov

    Con 41
    Lab 31

  10. A number of posters have mentioned momentum in relation to polls. Surely this is a spurious concept.
    Say there is a 2% swing from labour to the tories and then another 2% swing in the same direction in the next poll: this means that 1 person polled in 100 has changed their voting intention and in the subsequent poll another person has done the same.
    Why would this mean that in a third poll further person would make the same switch?

  11. Anthony Wells
    (and Gordon Brown is not a cartoon character)

    Not quite, but pretending he has any interest in the recovery of a disgraced English footballer in his attempt to prove his “Britishness” whilst not exactly endearing him to his own constituency has at the least cartoonesque features.

  12. Here’s another curious scenario: the Tories win a large plurality but miss a majority. Brown tries to go on, but the Tories and Unionists get a vote of no confidence through. Then, the Tories announce plans for an October election.

    From a Tory perspective, this would be very clever (Labour cannot afford another national election until 2014 and maybe not even then) but from a national perspective it would be terrible. This would essentially mean 3 years of pre-election government, which has prevented any tough macroeconomic action.

    What Britain needs right now, if I may be so bold to say so, is a secure government (whether with a majority, a coalition or a pact) that has five long years to work with before the next election. That government could afford three or four years of unpopularity in order to get a series of medium-term monetary and fiscal strategies through. WHO comprises this government is far less important than that it EXISTS, iin my opinion.

  13. YouGov has Tories 41:31 ahead.

    Brown will go to the palace with a heavy heart tomorrow.

  14. Brown off to Palace tomorrow.

    Queen off to Balmoral tonight.

  15. Is there any polling data the percentage of the electorate who are undecided AND likely to vote.

    Probably difficult to measure reliably.

    I haven’t decided myself yet, and I feel that, for more people than usual, this is a tough voting decision.

    Is the undecided-but-voting pot as large as 15-20%?

  16. Brownedov – the under-estimation of Brown iss his greatest weapon. He is clearly not a cartoon character. His use of Rooney’s injury shows a leap in the right direction – to explain matters in a way that people understand.

    Your false ascribing of motive makes a caricature out of your position, ironically.

    Brown was not referring in the slightest to whether he is British or not.

    Rooney is no more “disgraced” than Cameron. We all did things in our youth that would shame us if people were indecent enough to bring them up now.

    Isn’t that the Tory position?

  17. Amber & Sue – my friends ;-)

    It all starts from now. Fingers X’d till May 6th 10.00pm

    ;-) ;-) ;-)

  18. @Kyle Downing
    “The other thing that I liked about Sir Alec Douglas Home was that he had the honor of serving in Ted Heaths Cabinet as Foreign Secratary. Imagine Blair serving in Browns Cabinet or Thatcher serving in Majors Cabinet. Such a great man who history sadly ignores unfortunetly.”

    He’d also been an MP off and on since 1931 and was PPS to Neville Chamberlain. And played First Class Cricket. Great man in his way.

  19. Conservatives break 40% barrier – no difference, it was just a simple mythical barrier without any substance, it will be interesting to see how NC and the LibDems now react to this. Attack the Conservatives and win few votes, attack Labour and bring the Labour right into the LibDem fold. The game is now afoot, how NC plays it will decide the future of the LibDems for many years to come.

    Now DC has to prove his worthiness, no wondering off, no allowing himself to be pushed by Mandelson and Brown, he should now go for the goal when the appropriate opportunity arises. (Unfortunately for him he will not know when that is and can only use his best judgement – but that is what being a leader is all about.)

  20. In light of the YG poll, ICM looks highly suspicious, particularly in its timing and the way it’s being spun by the Guardian (tomorrow’s headline is “Brown triggers election wirh Labour closing in on Tories”). Is this just to keep chins up among the party faithful?

  21. @ AL J

    Isn’t this weird. YG at 9, Opinium at 10 & ICM at 4.
    TNS was at 5 (last week) when other polls had a bigger gap.

    What’s going on? :-) :-) :-)

  22. john tt

    His use of Rooney’s injury shows a leap in the right direction – to explain matters in a way that people understand.
    Yes, very homely and Baldwinesque, but to the best of my knowledge Baldwin did not suggest that “everyone” wished Northern Irish, Scottish or Welsh players well in their campaigns for their national teams. I have listened to the #10 podcast and it corresponds with the transcript’s: I know Wayne Rooney’s just had an injury to his foot and I know everyone will be hoping he’s fit for the World Cup. I know that not “everyone” in England, let alone Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be wishing that, and strongly suspect that very few in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath will be.

    Rooney is no more “disgraced” than Cameron. We all did things in our youth that would shame us if people were indecent enough to bring them up now.
    I am no fan of Cameron, but do not believe he was ever banished from the field for misconduct while representing his nation. Rooney was. That surely marks him as disgraced by any reasonable measure.

  23. @Amber

    I remember what you said – that the polls move in steps. I think the Tories have peaked. Éoin said Labour has firmed up – I think he is right. As the days go by and we have the TV debates, I really do think the polls will close for all the reasons we’ve discussed before. Surbiton has suggested Labour supporters who deserted us because of Iraq will return -I feel he’s also right. Cameron will be denied his majority -Labour may win the most seats.
    It is a very tense time -I will be watching tomorrow as GB goes to the Palace.

    btw Jonathan M said (on the other thread)
    **38-30-20-12. Every one of those numbers will be within 3 of the final result** Endorsed by Bob Worcester.

  24. “Brownedov – the under-estimation of Brown iss his greatest weapon. He is clearly not a cartoon character. His use of Rooney’s injury shows a leap in the right direction – to explain matters in a way that people understand.”

    It’s a shame the Prime Minister has to link himself to a disgraced footballer who likes old prostitutes, and refuses to sing the National Anthem at the start of England games. I don’t see that doing him any favours at the polls.

  25. Over on the BBC news website Nick Robinson said:
    “Polls in recent weeks have suggested a narrowing of the Conservative lead over Labour…”

    Looks like this site isn’t the only one to have partisan reporters believing what suits their case.

    Apart from tonight’s ICM poll I thought the polls in recent weeks had suggested a widening of the Conservative lead over Labour?

  26. Brownedov – you don’t really want to visit Cameron’s misdemeanours now do you? Youthful mistakes etc. Let sleeping dogs lie etc.

    Brown made an effort to describe a situation in terms that everyone would be able to follow.

    I doubt whether anyone who isn’t a caricature themselves would perceive a nationalistic bias in his comment.

    Even I as a non-Utd fan wish Rooney a speedy recovery because he’s a good player. It’s called sportsmanship, something which I would recommend to people who feel such enmity that they find it necessary to denigrate.

    Have you canvassed opinion in cowdenbeath? I suspect most honest members of that community would not want a footballer of Rooney’s ability to miss the World Cup.

  27. Jack Jones – on the subject of citing footballers with damaged credentials, I can think of one ex-footballer who endorsed a car insurance product despite having had an unfortunate prang of his own. Without any embarrassment or public shock.

    It seems the public actually don’t make too much of a connection between how footballers play and what they do in their private life.

  28. Guys, wise up.

    Picking on young soccer players is childish.

  29. john t t @ 8:46 am

    you don’t really want to visit Cameron’s misdemeanours now do you?
    I have little respect for Cameron’s political views and suspect that his becoming PM will be the last straw for the UK’s creaking and outdated unitary state but I believe he is right to say that one’s youthful misdemeanours before entering public life are just that and not to be dwelled on. Rooney’s professional fouls may be youthful but have been entirely within the public domain both for his club and his nation and as such represent a terrible role model for youth.

    I doubt whether anyone who isn’t a caricature themselves would perceive a nationalistic bias in his comment.
    Perhaps you would care to name any Scot outside unionist politics who wishes the England team well in South Africa. And perhaps you will recall the consternation in Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football concerning the UK government’s expressed desire to have a team GB compete at the 2012 Olympics, putting at risk the status of those nations within EUFA and FIFA.

    It’s called sportsmanship, something which I would recommend to people who feel such enmity that they find it necessary to denigrate.
    Yes. Something which Rooney has patently and publicly failed to demonstrate.

    Have you canvassed opinion in cowdenbeath? I suspect most honest members of that community would not want a footballer of Rooney’s ability to miss the World Cup.
    Not directly, no, but I suggest you read the Scottish media in general and Scottish football blogs in particular to examine the validity of your suspicions.

    I’ll leave you the last word if you wish to have it, but suspect that Brown’s wishing an English footballer well will be treated in England with the same derision as his previous remarks concerning favourite goals and outwith England as another feeble attempt to prove his Britishness.

  30. I don’t think the Scottish media necessarily reflects the views of the majiority of Scots as to Rooney’s past (legal) unsvoury exploits.

    I know a few Scots who would wish England well in a tournament that Scotland weren’t playing in, including some close relatives.

    Brown finding a way of expressing himself using a simile or any sort of imagery remains progress for him

    I don’t expect people to take off their blinkers, but I do expect the un-blinkered will find (if he continues to use such techniques) that Brown is a better communicator than he was.

    Like you, Brownedov, i hope that character assassination is left to one side, but it cuts all ways. Attempting to rubbish the indirect object of Brown’s little simile is plainly not consistent with your professed desire not to bring into the debate unsavoury activity of any sort, whether before or after the convenient entry to public life had been effected.

  31. Just shows how absurd these so-called neutral polls are
    The Tory press produce polls showing a big lead for the Tories while the lefty Guardian only gives them +4 points

    IGNORE THESE POLLS

    THEY ARE ALL BOGUS

    The only poll that counts is the one on election day

  32. john t t @ 10:19 am
    I don’t think the Scottish media necessarily reflects the views of the majiority of Scots

    There we are in agreement..

  33. Phew! we can move on…

  34. Anthony

    The ICM detailed data indicates that there is an overwhelming liklihood (80%) that anyone who voted Tory in 2005 will vote conservative again. Loyalty to Labour is much lower (at only 58%).

    The final table of the detailed ICM results yields some puzzling information: 21% of the unweighted sample voted Conservative in 2005 and 29% voted labour; these figures are then re-weighted to 19 and 22% respectively.

    The weighted figures suggest a weighted sample where there is 0.86 Conservative voters from 2005 for every Labour voter from 2005. But those figures do not fairly represent voting outcome in the 2005 election: a truly reflective, weighted sample, would have about 0.92 Conservative voters from 2005 for every Labour voter from 2005. If the ICM figures had been re-weighted to match actual outcome in 2005, then it seems fair to infer that the Conservative share would have been boosted – my mathematics does not enable me to work out the precise boost, but I would guess it is going to be 2-3% of the overall vote share.

    Can you shed any more light on the ICM methodology, and whether it stands up to scrutiny?

  35. Michael / LEGOMAN

    “However, the news on the ground is stating that Labour are set to lose 10 seats in Scotland with the Tories and SNP being the big winners”

    Thanks to FPTP and LibDem rural incumbency there will be very few changes in Scotland and nobody will win (or lose) big.

    Certainly Con and SNP are likelier to gain and the others lose, but in the range Con (-1 to +2) and SNP (+2-+4). My guess is +1, +3.

    I wouldn’t call that a “big win” though it would be a 100% increase in Con seats!

    The most important outcome in Scotland will be the increase in the number of SNP winnable marginals which they could gain on a small LAB to SNP swing at an early second election after a hung parliament. That could still be true even if they failed to win a single extra seat this time.

    The potential consequences are dramatic and likely to be overlooked.

    Tory Unionists may have to face up to the prospect of voting Labour at the following election if they wish to save the Union, while old fashioned One Nation Conservatives who want to see their party in Government in Scotland and freed from the stigma of Thatcherism could acheive their aim by voting tactically for Nationalist candidates and then for independence.

    Tough choices, but Conservatives are in favour ot FPTP, are they not?

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