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. The ICM poll, Howard

  2. Don’t see the natural logic in placing polls performed over a bank holiday as rogues – can someone explain the science behind this?

    AW – Please allow this side of election night.

  3. New poster here! How are you all! I have been reading this site but have never posteed…….until now!

    I can’t see the outcome of this election being nothing other than a handsome tory majority simialr to the one Labour have now, this is coming from a Labour supporter in a central Scotland Labour heartland. Even here I here people saying they will vote Tory simply because they aren’t Labour. Now I am not for one second saying the tories will win here but there could be a shock or two like 1997 and 2001 (I still can’t beleive Labour hold Margaret Thatcher’s old seat).

    Anyway my prediction on May the 6th is

    Tories – 41
    Labour -28
    Lib Dems – 18

    A majority of between 70 and 80 for the tories. I predict this as I have no faith in Gordon Brown to win over middle England and also there may be an unravelling of tactical voting.

    It is a shame too as there is only 3 competent members of the Shadow cabinet. I just hope Ken Clarke returns to the treasury or even Willam Hague I shudder to see Osbourne standing outside number 11.

    Arise Alan Johnston next leader of the Opposition and hopefully PM in 2014/15.

  4. Richard O
    ‘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.’

    Rich, I thought you knew better than to post that on this site. perhaps hastliy penned, I don’t know.

  5. @O Richard,

    There are lots of floating voters. Pertisan delaignment has been in progress since WWII.

    The core vote of all three parties would be about 2/3ds of the % of the overall vote, if even that.

    And most of those live in safe seats.

    In marginals floating voters are even more a factor.

  6. The way trends are going, I expect YouGov to put the Cons on 40% tonight

  7. Kyle thanks.

    Then I don’t know where Sunbeam gets his comment from. (Field work was thus Thursday to Saturday).
    I’ll agree one could miss the chavs. They are all down here in the West Country going by the obesity and behaviour I witnessed in our local supermarket car park on Saturday.

  8. Your welcome, Howard.

  9. I agree with Simon and Richard O

    Logic says Labour should be able to poll about 31 at the bottom; the polls are surely fickle …

    The known unknowns are the effect of the expenses scandal and how voters in marginals will react.

    I think that a significant number who might be disenchanted with the govt will say they are disenchanted with politicians in general thus a normal sort of knee jerk swing to the opposition will be subdued.

    Will that still be the case in the marginals where they will know their vote has an effect?
    It could be we will have to wait.

    BTW – there is no gold standard now. Gordon sold off all the stuff.

  10. I still think ICM are correct and i stil think we will see the momentum returning to Lab as this polls shows.

    A lot has happened over the weekend and I am partisan about this, its true, lots have hapened and the positions have changed, momentum is back with Lab.

    I still predict a small lead for Lab within ten days, that is not partisan, but that is what I predict.

  11. Andrew Kennedy – I suppose it depends when Brown goes and when the Queen is free! Not sure what you mean by official. The proclamation and writ will not be issued until the 12th April, since they must happen exactly 17 week days (excluding bank holidays) before polling day.

    Hotpointdave – look at the FAQs down the side of the page, particularly the one on sampling.

  12. Legoman. Grow Up or dont bother posting mate

  13. Thanks Anthony

    Hmmm, I wonder if 10 Downing Street asked her to pencil in (say) 10am Tues 6th May some weeks ago ;-)

  14. Where has the ‘Tweet’ come from that said someone has heard YouGov will put the Tories on 40% or even 41% tonight?

  15. @ Andrew Kennedy

    I think Brown will officially make the announcment between 10AM and 12PM.

    Also, a general note about this site. I used to think that this site had an incredible amount of hackish posters (from all parties)….until i started reading the PoliticalBetting comments….lol.

  16. Legoman
    Well you’ve been proved right so far -let’s hope it goes all the way ;-) says me anxiously awaiting YG tonight!!

  17. I remember when the 2005 election was declared, there was a yougov poll showing both labour and conservative at 36. Maybe ICM is showing a similar narrowing just before the election is called.

  18. Michael

    ‘Even here I here people saying they will vote Tory simply because they aren’t Labour’

    Welcome Michael and may I point out that this statement is not polling evidence. OldNat (another contributor) will put you right but he says that the polling in Scotland is none too reliable.

  19. Mark – Kevin Maguire tweeted that YouGov would be showing a higher Conservative figure. I can neither confirm nor deny.

  20. LEGOMAN – You sound like Comical Ali! The game is up for Labour. I also disagree with people saying labour will hit the 30% mark. I think 27-29 mark is a more realistic figure.

    Having said that I think Labour will win back a few of the seats they have lost in by elections during this Parliament. Dunfermline East and Glasgow Govan being two of them. 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.

  21. Michael – Welcome aboard. This is a really great site, and a little partisan comment is quietly allowed by AW ( :) ). So the fact your first post was so non-partisan means that you start off with a great reputation.

    Folks, many things will happen this week, polls will be awkward for all parties as people align themselves with the announcement of the GE. From here on in it is not individual polls that matter – and I say this with the expectation that YG poll tonight may indeed show a ‘widening’ of the Conservative lead or at least a Conservative rise in share of vote. From now on with the election now all but announced it is the total of the polls that becomes important.

    Good luck to everyone, whatever party succeeds and which lose.

  22. Anthony – Thanks – :o

  23. The last 34 polls have the Tory average at 37.3%.

    That is in relative terms, for an average at least, a long way off 40%.

    Even if we add a couple of 40s into the mix it would affect the overal average remarkably little.

    Given that even Angus Reid has the Tories off 40, it now to me seems elusive.

    The Labour share over these polls is at 30.4%. If this was to dip a little during the election and the Tories held their vote at 37% they might still take the election, even a majority is possible.

    That now, not their former hope, is their only chance of forming a single party government

  24. Howard – I realise that 100% I said that because I have heard only contempt towards the Tories up until now and I am quite experienced with this sort of thing. I hope no offence was taken.

  25. @Bill Roy…………..I’ll drink to that ! :-)

  26. @Anthony W.

    Thank you for advise, I will have a look.

  27. @ Legoman,

    I will write to you again in exactly 10 days. :-)


  28. YouGov
    One thing i do know. If YouGov show 40 30 20, there will be a post from Mark in Lancs saying at last the pollsters have got it right.

  29. @ Howard :o

    Well if it does show that 40 30 20 then surely you will allow me to say it with a little smile on my face just this once?

    And who knows maybe a smile on your face too Howard – (just a tiny one-lol)


  30. Howard – LOL

    AW – hope you have stocked up on coffee?

    Eoin – I think rather than look at the last 34 polls perhaps start looking at a ‘seven day average’ might now be more appropriate.

  31. @Howard

    Maybe Mark knows something we don’t….

  32. Michael
    ‘lHowever, the news on the ground is stating’

    MIchael, may I direct you to Anthony’s thread on anecdote and other misleading statements about polls. I don’t know where it is unfortunately (AW help?). But you really would benefit from reading it, believe me.

    Of course no offence is given, we are only trying to keep each other on the’straight and narrow’ where polling eveidence is concerned.

  33. So we start the GE “run-in” with say an 8-10 point lead for Cons.
    What will be the impact of the next 4 weeks proper electioneering?

    My hunch is not a lot, since most of the population don’t seem to be too interested – unless there are new policies that really make a positive difference to their own back pocket. And that does not seem too likely!

  34. @Billy Roy

    Nothing much changes if we do it over seven days

    Tories touching 38 Labour still around 30

  35. In the two Post War elections in that a government was fighting for a fourth term, the personality of the Prime Minister was an important factor. In 1964, Sir Alec Douglss Home looked awkward in front of the TV cameras and was heckeld a lot. There was a famous incident in which a Make up girl said he “had a head like a skull”.

    In 1992, John Major was presenting himself as being more in touch with the public by going on his soap box and returning to his former childhood home. He also had a more likable personality.

    I think it will be very hard for Brown to win this election because he is presenting himself as being in tune wth the public. Compared to David Cameron, he looks stuffy, out of touch and very awkward in front of the camera.

  36. @Guy,

    on average there has not been an 8+ lead for the Tories in a very very very long time….

    Even starting on an 8% lead is selective….

  37. Howard – Thank you for that and apologies to anyone else who may have been offended I only wanted to post what I know and you are right I should have read this!

  38. Hi Eoin – sorry, I meant from here on in, polls will be chucked at us constantly and it would help to see how things progress from here.

  39. Simon H

    ‘Maybe Mark knows something we don’t….’

    Oh he does, he does……

    Also someone called Glen Otto has his ear to the ground too.

    Don’t worry, if i spot a lib Dem or Lab supporter giving us this stuff I will post according if I am around. This site should be educational if nothing else. Michael is new and I hope he continues to post as he has knowledge about Scotland and is a Labour supporter, which i think is new experience for us.

  40. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t expect the election to be called tomorrow. I expect a state of emergency (and hence deferred election) instead.

    This is not because I have any inside information of a plot, but just based on my reading of Brown’s character.

  41. Did anybody see Brown in casual wear yesterday? He looked ill at ease, lets put it that way.

  42. Pete B @9.09

    If Brown were to call a state of emergency, I can see the other parties high tailing it to the High Court to demand that Parliament be dissolved immediately as there is no emergency to be in the state of, if you see what I mean. After all, Brown keeps telling us things are getting better, doesn’t he?

  43. @Fragmeister
    Something could happen tonight or tomorrow to justify the state of emergency.

  44. Is there any legal precedent for calling a state of emergency?

  45. @Pete B
    “………I don’t expect the election to be called tomorrow. I expect a state of emergency …….. instead ………… based on my reading of Brown’s character.”
    If implying GB is secretly planning a dictatorship isn’t partisan, I don’t know what is!

  46. After Blair has gone (phew), the public return to Labour…..
    Bank Holidays in all likeliehood cheered a few people , maybe pay day improved economic optimism

    @Richard O,

    There are two polls released, and one on the way. This is not a gossip column

  47. @ Pete B

    “Something could happen tonight or tomorrow to justify the state of emergency.”

    Ironically enough, just before Blair called the 2005 General Election, Pope John Paul II passed away, which made Blair delay the announcment by a day.

  48. The statutory powers for a state of emergency are in the Civil Contingency Act. There is quite clearly no emergency (and Gordon Brown is not a cartoon character) so it’s downright silly.

    The election will almost certainly be called tomorrow simply because the media are universally assuming it will be and, if it wasn’t going to be, Labour would have been briefing journalists to dampen down expectations in order to avoid “bottler Brown” reactions.

  49. Michael crossing the bar earlier this evening has given me the confidence to do the same thing. I will seek to observe the protocol and make a non-partisan maiden speech …

    Like Michael, I too have been observing the site from the sidelines for some time – an embarrassingly long time in fact, perhaps I ought to get out a bit more!

    I am a closet politics nut and used to be actively involved in the late ’70’s & early ’80’s. In order to maintain the non-partisan theme I will not mention the party!

    Looking forward to what promises to be a fascinating few weeks ….

  50. Kyle,

    In 1964, the supposedly unelectable Alec Douglas-Home almost got as many votes as the Tories did in 1959. This was after the Profumo affair and the early 1960s economic fiasco (which was a mild mess-up by modern standards, but a scandal after the stability of the Tory years of the 1950s).

    If there was a similar swing in 2010 from Labour to the Tories that there was in 1964 from the Tories to Labour, then Labour would be the largest party in a hung pariament. Brown, I suspect, would be overjoyed to do as well as Douglas-Home!

    I would say that Labour’s best shot is to keep their use of Brown to Labour-faithful events. Brown is unpopular, but the Labour brand is still electable and a sizabe portion of the population still hold broadly New-Labour-ish values, even if I don’t.

    I don’t think either side is going into the election with anything more than a strong probability of winning. It’s not out of the realms of possibility that Labour get a majority (35-35-20 would do it). However, given the funding gap, Cameron’s superior charisma, Labour’s record (governments pay for their failures and don’t get rewarded for their successes) and the extreme difficulty of winning a fourth term, I think that in all probability we’re looking at a Tory government post-election and probably one with a small majority.

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