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. Thats a stunning poll for Labour! Especially from ICM. However, this could be due to election excitement or missing Tories on holiday haha

  2. Anthony,

    given thatICM is going to take a barrage of abuse for being labour friendly, I would appreciate it if you let this link through.

  3. a ‘non partisan’ site shouldn’t be running Tory ads perhaps?

  4. I think you will find ICM are labour friendly and the Opinium poll is more accurate with recent polls.

    This poll if not wrong predicted in the london mayor election in the exit poll as a KL win and we all know what happened there.

    You Gov will be interesting.

  5. I can’t see the reasoning behind conducting a poll over a long Bank Holiday weekend. It’s been shown in the past that results from this timing produce erratic results so, why on earth do it. Beggars belief.

  6. @Sue/Amber….et al……..Obviously a rogue ! :-)

  7. The ICM poll has Con -1 (hardly Changed) and Lab +4.

    Even article that acompanies the poll in the Guardian finds it hard to believe that Labour have only lost 3% since the last GE.

    So it would seem that it is the LIB/DEM’s that have gone away for and Easter Break.

  8. That link shows Labour should not get too excited yet.

  9. If anyone wants to leave their partisan hat to one side for a moment

    1. It may be out by a couple of % afterall that is waht MoE is for.

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

    3. Others are heading towards an all time low in this parliament- it is going to be close contest guys….

    4. the Tory vote is holding up well… 37-39% is now the norm..

  10. Is it the time of the month for a populus poll for the times?

  11. so a big headline saying that Lab are within 4% of the Tories but no such big headline saying that the other poll shows a 10% Tory lead. But still who needs impartiality

  12. Barry P – the reasoning is straightforward, newspapers want a poll for the day of the general election announcement :)

    Craig U – ICM are not particularly Labour friendly at all. Recently they have tended to show one of the largest Conservative leads amongst the established pollsters. In terms of the London election, you are thinking of MORI, who were the company who showed Livingstone ahead. ICM did one poll, but it was early in the campaign and showed Boris Johnson ahead. Opinium have never been tested against any actual election result.

    Daniel Clarke – it would be, but I expect Populus are on their election timetable now, so we shall see what their rota of polling will be during the campaign.

  13. I hope this doesn’t come across as too partisan but I really have to pop over to politicalbetting and watch the Tories have a cow. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I’d react the same if it were Labour dominated the way it is Tory. (I read the comments there mainly when Oldnat decides to wind them up a bit and he’s been falling down on the job)

    The polls look like they’re all over the place. Probably take an average of all of them and come out about right. I usually trust ICM as the “gold standard” but that might be a tad closer than reality. Fun days.

  14. Apparently, YouGov will show a higher Tory lead.

    Easter polls appear to be all over the place.

  15. Assuming the ICM is a rogue (which is the correct response, in the absence of follow-up polls showing the same trend) then it still looks like both Labour and the Conservatives go into the campaign in a good position.

    The Tories need about 3% more to get a working majority. Labour need that much more to paralyse the next parliament and maybe hobble on with Brown as PM leading a (tacitly) Lib-Dem backed minority government.

    I still think the most interesting scenario is this: Labour get a big gain out of the campaign and win a small majority; Cameron gets thrown onto the ash-heap of history; a new, hard-right leadership takes power within the Conservatives; Labour go through a fourth term with a minority government and end up politically unviable for a decade. Result? In 2015, we get the most ultra-conservative government since Thatcher and probably get it for quite some time.

    In a way, I think this is a terrible election to win for Labour. However, if they lost, I can see a renewed Labour getting back in 2014/2015 with relatively little difficulty. The next government will not be a popular one and will have to cut spending and adopt a (secret) policy of high inflation to get the debt down.

  16. Eoin

    I think you are right – and that the most worrying thing for Labour is not so much the extent of the lead but the fact that the Conservative support is as you say steadfastly in the upper thirties. If the marginals shift this slightly up then the Tories will just about get there.

    The Tories will remain nervous until they breach the psychological 40% nationally.

  17. I’ll be ignoring bank holiday polls, whether they are pro-Labour or pro-Conservative.

    I can’t believe we can have such a fickle electorate that can move in 2 weeks from 2-3 point Con lead, to 10 point Con lead, back to 4 point Con lead.

    Is there really that many floater voters? Everybody I know seems pretty set in their ways. In fact, I have only talked to one person who was undecided, and she was very much either Labour or Liberal.

  18. @Bill,

    ‘In a way, I think this is a terrible election to win for Labour.’

    I have to say I agree with you. Just as 1992 was a Pyrrhic victory for John Major. If Kinnock had won that time, Labour rather than the Conservatives would probably have been out of power for a generation. However relieved either party would be not to have to deal with the economic cataclysm, they are all egotists and in it for power, so no politician would want to lose. Heck, they probably all even believe they could fix this mess!

  19. @ Bill,

    Your spot on. It’s a terrible election to win for Labour, as if they do, where probably talking coalition or tiny single figure majority.

    Just remember what happened to the Tories after the 1992 win. An unmanageable small majoirty of 21, then knocked out of site for nearly 15 years, despite handing over a stellar economy.


  20. So the “Gold Standard” swings to Labour on the eve of official start of the Election campaign!

    This poll certainly seems a somewhat more realistic than ICM and YouGov’s previous 9%-10% Tory leads. However – best to wait a few more days to see if this newly reduced Tory lead is reflected in ICM’s poll by the end of the week (assuming that The Guardian runs a daily ICM tracker poll as in previous General Elections).

    Tonight’s YouGov poll will certainly be interesting…

  21. There is no such thing as a rogee poll. All polls are perfectly legitimate and I don’t think ICM would be very happy with people talking about their polls like that. It is probaly just down to pre election nerves. It is not the end of the world.

  22. Anthony,

    “….the reasoning is straightforward, newspapers want a poll for the day of the general election announcement ”

    Still a stupid method of arriving at a set of prederermined erratic figures. Still, they are in the business of selling newspapers as you correctly say. “Just doin my job Guv”

  23. Richard O

    Well, they are probably not quite that fickle and the reality may be that the lead has been 6% – 8% all the way through the last few weeks! Small samples, weighting etc etc and you get the 4%’s and the 10%’s without much difficulty – or even more extremes.

  24. ICM report that 71% of Labour + Tory voters are unlikely to change their minds…..

  25. @MLB

    Kevin Maguire on twitter has tweeted

    ‘Told Sun yougov poll shows bigger con fig’.

    40% or 41% perhaps?

    Someone on PoliticalBetting has also posted that yougov is very good for Tories.

    I would take all these Easter polls with a pinch of salt.

  26. Kyle – there is such a thing as a rogue poll. It is a poll that produces a figure outside the margin of error due to normal, unavoidable sample error. All pollsters produce them (and if the people using the term understand what it means and are using it correctly, ICM wouldn’t mind at all!)

  27. Just a thought. In the event many Con voters have been telling a few porkies when being polled to lull Labour a little, would we expect the Tory share to jump a little when Brown calls an election?

  28. R Huckle – painless tax cuts, increased spending on the front lines, asides about Europe and Discrimination rights – not so much a dog whistle as a wolf-whistle in the direction of our slatternly electorate!

    But seriously, Osborne’s coup of announcing IHT cuts swung it around as far as the polls went. Key respected figures from the business world seem to have galvanised him

    It’s all very interesting, and I myself feel great respect to the Tories for making the differences so obvious. it would have been very easy to commit to similar spending plans as Labour, and not court controversy.

    HAving said that, I’d be surprised if many people didn’t think their vote made no difference; the general impression I get through the media is that people reckon they’re all the same…

  29. Barry P – well, I think the risk of wierd polls over bank holidays is sometimes somewhat overstated. You can also find lots of examples of perfectly normal polls conducted over weekends, and strange rogue ones popping up at other times. Perhaps it just makes it a little more likely that an odd one will turn up.

  30. 5% of polls should be outside of the MoE, this may be showing a surprising an sudden shift, but unless more polls show this we’re probably looking at the 5% right here. Good fun none the less.

  31. @Anthony…………..I appear to be learning ! :-)

  32. I would not take too much interest in polls conducted over a BH weekend. This includes Opinium/YG

    ICM is certainly out of kilter with recent polls. I cannot think what possibly could have shifted Labour support up by 4% considering what a week they have had.

    Lets wait until Friday/Sat of this week for a more acccurate picture. The phoney war ends tomorrow, thank god…..

  33. Anthony

    I will be guided by your experience, thank you.

  34. I think you got me there Anthony. I don’t tend to notice the margin of error on the polls, so I find rouge polls an alien concept.

  35. Wonder if ICM will now be rubished! Opinium same cuckoo catagory as Angus Reid.

    Anyone know if You Gov are publishing a poll tonight.

  36. Apprently Sky News has just reported that the Lib Dem figure for the Opinium Poll is 17% meaning that this Poll now reads:

    Con 39% (+1)
    Lab 29% (+1)
    LD 17% (+1)
    Others 15% (-3)

  37. I reckon we start GE campaign with the following

    Labour 29-30%
    Tories 37-39%
    Lib Dems 21-23%

    If the Tories can poll 31% in 97 GE surely Labour will reach that level this time? So the Tories need to be polling 40% or more consistently by end of GE campaign to be confident of majority

  38. I agree that we should take these Easter Polls with a pinch of salt.

    What is remarkable though is the song and dance the Guardian are trying to make of this by suggesting on the basis of this one poll that Labour could be the largest party in the new parliament.

  39. Hmmm… as much as I’d like to dismiss this as a rogue, I think we need to see what Yougov shows before leaving ICM out in the cold. A significant fall in the lead could show that the B&B story may actually have had an impact – I’d be surprised, but you can’t rule it out just yet.

  40. Anthony,

    If all the rumours are correct and the GE is called tomorrow, any idea of what the normal timetable is?

    ie What time will GB head off to Buck Palace? What time will the announcement become official?

  41. JR Tomlin

    “(I read the comments [on political betting] there mainly when Oldnat decides to wind them up a bit and he’s been falling down on the job).

    I didn’t know he was doing that Tories are so ignorant about Scotland and devolution, and incapable of being consistent Unionists.

    I must go there right now. I may be away for some time.

  42. I supose yougov will be the decider tonight

  43. I am hoping and looking forward to seeing some more marginal polls.
    Any chance do you think?

    Maybe the polling companies should just focus on those key 50 seats or so – given the national picture indicates that’s where the battle will be won/lost/hung…

  44. Well there’s the small matter of detail about when field work was done. That could bring back the two into MOE territory?

  45. Could someone tell me where and how are these polls are carrid ou?t… I am confused and would like help in understanding how these poll figures seem to be up and down by a big margin from one day to the next, i can understand 1 or two points cange in a short time but not four points plus.

  46. Howard, Sky News says it was conducted between 1st and 3rd of April

  47. Opinium’s others are in freefall, I was beginning to think they might form the next government, or at least form a grand coalition with one leader to gain entitlement to the leader debates

  48. Good point Guy. I had a post that got left behind as our host opens new threads with whirlwind frequency. See last post of last thread.

  49. Kyle – which was?

  50. I doubt this ICM poll is correct. Much of it was sampled on Good Friday which may have skewed it.

    The Tories need a 40% score now. They must be twitchy for one.

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