As well as the marginals poll for the News of the World, there is a national ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph. The topline figures there are CON 38%(+1), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 21%(nc). The changes are from the ICM poll done over the Easter weekend which showed a 4 point lead, which seemed rather out of line at the time. I suspect the apparent drop in Labour support in this poll therefore is not really meaningful, just a reversion to the mean after an outlier.

Channel Four news have also reported the topline voting intention for YouGov’s Sunday Times poll, which according to them shows figures of CON 40%(nc), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 18%(-2). The Conservatives remain on 40%, but Labour recover from the 30% they showed yesterday. Viewed together ICM, YouGov and ComRes all have pretty consistent figures for the Conservatives (38,39,40) and Labour (30,32,32). There is also supposed to be a BPIX poll tonight in the Mail on Sunday that I’ve seen quoted as showing a 7 point lead, though I haven’t seen any full figures yet.

The 8 point lead in the ICM poll equates to a 5.5% swing, so we can now compare this to the 6.3% swing in the ICM marginals poll earlier and it suggests the Conservatives are only doing very slightly better in marginal seats. To put the level of the “marginals bonus” in context, if the Conservatives need an 11% lead to get an overall majority on a uniform swing, if their swing in marginal seats is 0.8% higher then they would actually get an overall majority with a lead of 9.6%.

Of course, marginal polls have margins of error like any other, so don’t take that 0.8% marginals advantage as gospel – it could be larger or smaller than that, all we can be relatively certain about is that the Conservatives do have an advantage in Con-v-Lab marginals (since all polls of marginal seats have shown it), and that it isn’t particularly large (since no one has shown it higher than a point or two).

UPDATE: Incidentally, yesterday we had a Harris poll suggesting 65% of people were in favour of supporting marriage by raising allowances for married couples. I said at the time that it was one of those things that depend on how you ask the question, so tonight we see ICM’s poll in the Sunday Telegraph finding only 35% supporting it and 65% opposed – the implication is that the question asked about a tax reduction for married couples but not unmarried people – so putting it as a question about fairness rather than supporting marriage.

Which one tells us the true picture? Well, I haven’t seen the exact wording of either so I can’t really say for certain, but assuming both are fair and balanced questions it’s possible they are both right and reflect different ways of looking at it. Which gives us the better guide to how the public will react to the policy would depend on whether the political debate and public perceptions of the policy end up being about fairness, or about support for marriage. It’s a reminder that polls do by necessity force public opinion into neat little boxes for media consumption, when public opinion is almost always more complicated and nuanced.

UPDATE 2: Those YouGov figures from Channel 4 earlier are now confirmed. No sign of the BPIX figures yet.

158 Responses to “ICM and YouGov both show 8 point leads”

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  1. Wayne
    “You can all talk about the polls till the cows come home”

    Funnily enough, Wayne, that’s what the site is for. So why are you contributing? Good to hear from you by the way.
    Your contention needs checking but I don’t have the data to hand. I rather thought it was not so in 2005.

  2. @ SUE 10.34pm

    I think there is a little more water to go under the bridge yet Sue.

    But here & now-I can only agree with every word of your post, and admire the spirit in which you wrote it.

  3. Amber Star @ MARTIN WILLIAMS

    That is a really good point, actually. I don’t think Ashcroft has had value for money from his spend in the marginals.

    I agree. It’s not at all clever to use the money is such a way that it is obvious to voters that a rich non-dom is trying to buy their votes for a party that is going to slash and burn public services.

    Both the major parties are uncritically accepting the schemes that PR agencies are offering. What passes for thinking in both PR and poliics is nothing of the sort. Its fashion.

    There must be a better way to use political donations.

    On the other hand, Ashcroft gets his payback after the election doesn’t he? It’s the Cons that havn’t got value for money, not Ashcroft. The Cons have been conned.

  4. Sue Marsh

    “Even I would prefer an outright for [Cons] so that they can have at least some attempt at governing.”

    You have accepted the cosy relationship of two alternating elites who accept that it would be unfair and impractical to have an opposition that never had its turn. That would offend the public school sense of fair play that the other team, like cricket has to get its chance to get in to bat.

    The French used to say that there was more in common between to parliamentarians, one of whom was a Comminist, than there was between two Communists, one of who was in parliament.

    I think Ian Paisley would agree.

    The problems of a hung parliament are more imaginary than real, and are talked up in case party members like you start thinking about democracy, PR and the like.

    You can easily find out what the alternative would be like.

    Google “The Scottish Parliament” and you will be surprised. Its politics for grown ups. The SNP have a minority government with one MSP more than Labour, and after getting sworn in [which she needed to do to get paid] she immediately went off on maternity leave.

    You can’t be more hung than that., and it works very well with people of the quality of Annabel Goldie and Fiona Hyslop who aim for success in sold political achievements rather than in PR froth..

  5. The Inependant has published the following.

    Pollster Firm Prediction

    Andrew Hawkins ComRes Con majority 32
    Ben Page Ipsos-MORI Con 25 seats short
    Andrew Cooper Populus Con majority of 10+
    Peter Kellner YouGov Con majority 20-30
    Robert Salvoni Harris Con majority 2-10
    Andy Morris Angus Reid Con majority 40-50
    Martin Boon ICM Con majority 20
    John Heald Opinion Research Con majority 40+

    Seven out of eight predict a Tory majority

  6. John Brown


    read the entire thread first before you post and make yourself look like a complete ignoramus :-)

  7. For some time now I have been predicting a Tory Maj of 10 seats, I have been following elections since 1964 and over 46 years you are able to smell a result. . while the polls show a swing of between 5 – 5.5% swing to the Torys hung P area the pollsters are saying a Tory majority.
    It is not the result I want but the Torys have got this election won.

  8. The opinion polls are very deceiptful as they do not the public the general picture of eth type of questions asked . Infact the result of the polls appear to be rather a confused one , where it shows a majority support for Cameron and yet the majority do not trust him on the economy . That by itself appears to be rather a confusing poll , and appears more like a media hype for David Cameron , even though noone really knows what his party stands for .

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