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. Conservatives are just on the margin of either being the biggest single party in a hung parliament and forming a minority government or securing an outright majority.

  2. The UNS figure on the right hand side of this site still shows the Conservatives being short by 21 seats. When is this figure updated? Only I’d have thought this number would have gone down a little given some of the poll leads we’ve seen since the election started.

  3. The biggest winners of the campaign so far are the Labour Party.

    They are now 0.75% improved from the April polls before the campaign.

    The Tories remain largely unchanged.

    The liberals, have made modest increases of 0.44%.

    The Tories are 8 points in front……

  4. @GIN
    So good to read your words Gin. I have started to doubt my sanity just lately. CON 40 LAB 30 Yippee Labour doing great?
    6 .3 % Tory swing in the marginals, wow Labour will be thrilled with that.

    In the end you start to doubt your own comprehension.

  5. Using the swingometer on this site, Tories are still somewhere short of a majority.

  6. Several posters on tonights previous poll seem to suggest that the Lib dems are in hoc with Labour. I assume that their reasoning is due to the fact that the LDs (Vince Cable) have joined in the attack on the Tory NICs policy and the support from business.

    IMHO, VCs attack has nothing to do with any support of Labour but rather his incredulity that people can believe that because the business bosses support cancellation of NICs increases then the Tory policy must be correct. As someone (can’t remember who) once said, “they would wouldn’t they” when as one report said it will cost M&S £10m (out of £652m operating profit). Stuart Rose et al would rather the average person in the street would pay increased VAT, or suffer horrendous public sector cuts or whatever the Tories are currently keeping secret from the electorate.

    One other point. this afternoon I attended a Nick Clegg meets the North East event. Prior to taking questions he spoke for about 15 mins and to me it was noticeable that he spent more time criticising GB than he did DC even though IMHO I suspect that in the NE most LDs would be on the left rather than the right of the party. Having said this, there did seem to be a significant number in the audience who were not of LD persuassion and as most LD battles will be vs Labour this may have been the reason for his GB attacks.

  7. WMA 39:31:19.

    The 14 day trend still has an R2 of 0.6 which is reasonably significant: no other significant trends. But both the significance and the slope are decreasing a bit. My rough and ready predictor gives a CLead of 11 – still in the 10-15 range I expect.

    If history is any guide the actual CLead will probably be about 2% above the WMA CLead in the Opinion Polls. And I still think the public will want to make up its mind. But right now it is possible that the CLead may have plateaued. As ever – we shall see. The MoE of the CLead even when you have 3 polls together is about 3% so there is no meaningful statistical trend here yet.

  8. Richard – I’ll update it once I’ve got all tonights polls in. I wouldn’t expect it to change much, after all – it’s currently at an 8 point Tory lead and most of tonights polls are at or close to that (and lots of polls feed into the average)

  9. Roland, all tonights polls are pretty awful for Labour. They are facing on of the biggest post war swings ever in a general election. Even so the Tories remain *just* short of securing an outright majority based on UNS and I guess thats what Labour supporters are pinning their hopes on?

    The one thing we can take from tonights poll (and this has been the case for a while actually) is that Labour are facing a very bad defeat on May 6th and a swing that in any other election would see the losing to a substantial majority for the opposition.

    This is the case tonight of course. Still time for big changes in all directions.

  10. Eoin – referring to the April average before the election was callled implies that there were many polls in that period.

    This isn’t so. There were hardly any by different companies. To suggest the Tories are trending downwards is clearly designed to upset the thin-skinned Tories on here.

    A few weeks ago UKPR poll of polls said the lead was 6%. Then it became 7%. It’s now 8%. It has moved a little in the Tories direction.

    We’re now in a situation where the Tories look set to win as many – if not more – seats than Lib/Lab combined.

  11. @Peterbell

    IMHO I suspect that in the NE most LDs would be on the left rather than the right of the party.

    I’m afraid I disagree with you here. Lib Demmery in the north of England often tends to be more to the right than in other parts of the country. I put this down to just how much of an anathema Thatcher was in the North of England in the 1980s. Clegg’s own Sheffield seat is an example of this. See Chesterfield and the Liverpool seats too.

    In the north of England, the Lib Dems need to present themselves as the acceptable face of small c conservatism.

  12. The Sunday Mirror and Telegraph polls tonight show same 5.5% swing as the Mori marginal poll 8 April?

  13. The Immigration Poll in todays Mail points to this being the next big issue after the NI one

    And it dont look to good for labour on that front wither once you read the poll figures

  14. The polls are showing that the Tories are very slightly below the level needed for an overall majority, but they will be hoping that the slight Labour exaggeration that polls have always shown in the past is continuing this time.

  15. @Sunbeam,

    Your view has some logic. NBeale has a similar view and I think Billroy

    So in short, you are not alone.

    Let me try and explain why I think the 7 April polls all carried out before the campaign started is enough to merit a comparison…

    It includes opiniums and harris’s ICM and YGs

    These had labs labour going from 33-27 a nice broad range and the tories from 41-37..

    It is only logical to want to measure the effects of the campaign

    a long temr average will not give you that change.

    I started this measurement on day one of the campaign, go back and look if you like.

    I was not to know it would work out in Labour’s favour the way it seems to be doing…

    But if you prefer a longer term average in such a short campaign… well that is your choice…

    I like campaigns, I like measuring the effects of them

    and the Torie

  16. Interesting LD campaigning this week generally negative with attacks on Labour,Tories,Plaid ,SNP (personal re Alex Salmond) and Big Bosses.Clegg said he would take risks and this is certainly a risk but is quite clever as it is certainly raising media profile.Generally LD’s avoid the negative stuff in a GE. Perhaps it a case of there is no such thing as bad publicity !

    Tories have been unremittingly positive all week

    Labour rather negative .

    Weeks ahead will probably see a shift in strategies on all sides all part of a plan we don’t have access to.

  17. has now updated its prediction, which is:

    Current Prediction: Conservative short 11 of majority

    Pred Votes Pred Seats

    CON 38.61% 315
    LAB 28.78% 246
    LIB 21.37% 56
    NAT 2.22% 12
    MIN 9.02% 21

    Probability of a:

    Conservative majority 46%

    Labour majority 10%

    Con/Lib coalition 20%

    Lab/Lib coaliltion 14%

    Lib choice of coalition 10%

    No overall control 0%

    Prediction based on opinion polls from 19 Mar 10 to 9 Apr 10, sampling 19,843 people.

    Compared to last Saturday, the probability of a Con majority has gone up and Con is closer to a majority (although still short)

  18. @ Eoin – I was not aware you were using polls from after the 5th. I accept your point re that.

    However it is worth remembering that at that time there was a suspicion that the Tory polls were inflated by a post-Budget bounce. It could have evaporated but it’s held despite some strong opposition attacks.

    I’d have thought that would please the Tories. The economy is supposed to be Labour ground. I fear for Labour when crime/immigration come up.

    I know I’m a broken record but immigration is the wildcard.

  19. Evening all.

    The 40% figure for the Conservatives has repeated itself a few times over the past 8 days, this is indeed an encouraging sign for them.

    The range value is lower for the Tories, higher for Labour and higher still for the LD’s who seem to be bouncing between 16 and 21, hence it is clear that the majority of fluctuation is between LD/Lab.

    If we are to consider the marginal swing quoted by ICM and factor in the odd “surprise” gain (one such surprise was Crewe&Natwich in late’08, we could potentially see a handful more here), I still believe a small majority is on the cards here.
    On economic issues, Labour are failing. The job tax spin and failure to recognise marriage/civil partnerships in the tax system have played out to the Conservatives advantage. On non-economy issues such as immigration, health and education, the Conservatives can potentially score further.

    The leader debates will also cause some poll movement, although I dont believe this will be quite as significant as some on here predict. GB’s lack of social skills and vagueness could be an issue.

  20. Frankly, in a world where the pollsters don’t bother with a decimal point because of the inexactitude of their polls, Eoin’s figures are neither here nor there. Differences of 0.75% here and 0.44% there, over the course of a handful of polls, shouldn’t move anyone to tears (of joy or of frustration).

    On the other hand, Eoin’s posts on the figures are a handy pocket guide for me so I hope he keeps them up…..

  21. The debate around the National Insurance hike clearly did not benefit Brown in the polls last week, and he seems determined to pursue it into next week. The intervention of business leaders has attracted a lot of attention, but what about employers in the public sector. How much extra NI will have to be paid (under a Labour goverment) by, for example, the BBC, Kent County Council and Manchester University (or any other large public bodies), and how will that affect employment in those places?

  22. I hadnt spotted that the electoralcalculus numbers would also give the Tories 3 more seats than Lib and Lab combined. Not sure if that is the first time that Martin’s numbers have shown that however.

  23. I have been following your posters some days now and I am wondering if they can offer some views on my observations.
    In 1983 Labour was at a very low point and just managed to stay ahead of the Lib/SDP on approx 28%. Since then Labour has clawed back some voters and it maybe reasonably to assumed their vote to be no lower than about 30%.
    The ethnic minority communities (of which I am 1) has stayed largely loyal to Labour as has the working class vote. This leads me to think that more Labour votes may be wasted in this General election as the these communities are concentrated in inner cities of the Midlands and the North and the marginal Labour voter of the past few elections may be more likely to swing away.
    In Leicester, where I live the Labour support may actually increase( as it did in the council elections) and this was also shown in the Norwich South poll yesterday.Some Lib Dem support of the last election may actually return to Labour because of the less prominence of the war as an issue in this election.
    The LibDems could pick up from the current polls because of increased exposure and more equal role in debates, say to maybe 22%.
    That would leave the Tories with quite a task to poll near the 40%.
    It seems that the betting websites giving theTories approx 335 seats may actually be very close to the actual result leaving them with a majority of 20 or so seats. I cannot think how a Party which has moved so far away from their principles to get elected can hold together under such a weak and inexperienced leadership under the massive economic problems they will face.
    This all makes for a very interesting few months/years ahead..

  24. G. Gardner: “On economic issues labour are failing….their refusal to recognise marriage etc etc etc”

    What on earth is the point of a comment like that? It’s so clearly just your opinion and not borne out at all by anything I’ve read/heard today, when it has, in the main, been ridiculed.

    Too many people here try to fit events to opinions instead of the other way around.

  25. Labour and Tories will punch themselves drunk on the economy.

    Immigration handled correctly by the Tories could win it for them.

    They have to be careful though.

    Labour last year switching to the points system bolted one gate. The Polish president’s premature death bolted another in the sense that the viewing public will expect some measure of political correctness.

    On a few occasions Cameron has attempted to deal with the rogue faith schools or the schools visa programme. it seems to me that this is where the fertile ground lies.

    A moratorium on foreign students while the third sector goes into a spending review or Mandleson’s £484million cuts might work.

    I could see middle England liking the type of policy which guaranteed all science and mathematic university scholarships would go to home grown students.

    The amount of university funding or prestigous graduateships going to asian students who take the talent to their own countries would resonate with the grey vote worrying about their son’s future.

    As a gender historian I have nothing to fear which is why I hope my observation on this is taken as impartial.

  26. I would say the Conservatives are the big winners at the moment rather than Labour.

    As I remember, we were looking at a 4 point lead at the start of April, now its 8.5%.

  27. Speaking as a Tory I hope the party steers well clear of immigration policy in this election. I am (reasonably) confident that the Tories would be “firmer” on immigration than the other main parties, but I really don’t want the unedifying spectacle of a “Beauty Pageant of Intolerance” to try and suck up votes from dunderheads on the fringes.

    The issue for me is to build and inclusive, tolerant, broad-based British society out of the people we already have here (of whatever origin) without allowing further uncontrolled immigration to destabilise that new society.

  28. @Neil A,

    I admire the sentiment.

    22% of people listed it as their most impoartant issue though.

  29. Parag

    Interesting comments- the reason the Tories are doing reasonably well is not down to a revolution in their own party, It’s down to the failing, slease, lies, corruption and crass incompetence and stupidity at the top of Labour. I was a tribal Labour supporter up until 3 years or so back, saw the rapid degeneration setting into the party and could no longer identify myself with Labour. I will vote Conservative this year for this very reason-they are by far the stronger and safer bet of the two.

    Regarding ethnic minorities and to which party they identify themselves with, I find it is very much dependant on the individual group. As a self employed consultant, I have dealt with a broad cross section of such people in the customer base over the years and found generally that those resident in the UK from Europian ethnic groups tend more towards Conservative, the Asian countries/Middle east tend more towards Labour, however I have dealt with several Indians who are die hard Conservative supporters.

  30. I am very very surprise that tories had the best week yet no net gain. By monday, the effect of attacks on the marriage tax and Vince attack on fact cats Bosess will reflect in the polls.

    It is certian that polls tends to hardens as the election draws nearer. I dont know of any magic policy again that the tories will produce that will enable them grab the headlines for 2 weeks.

    The final predication will be Labour 35 Con 37 and Lib dem 23 . GB will still at Downing Streest while DC will return to back bench.DC have a done great job but the blame goes to the tradictional tories who would not to tow his vision of mordern tory party. They are the same old tories,

    The only hope tories have is to make Boris Johnson the leader and i am pretty sure, he can pull it next election.

  31. @Graham AD

    Do you seriously think 35% of the electorate are prepared to give GB & the Labour party another mandate? I suspect that’s a case of the heart ruling the head.

  32. What we are seeing I think in this campaign is a strategy from Labour and tactics from the Tories. As a result it may appear to some that the Tories are winning some battles, but the war is far from over. I’m not saying this will work out in Labours’ favour, just that I think 2 different approaches are being taken.

    The Tories are banking on winning by appealing to perceived interest groups, hoping to pick up votes that way.

    The Tax break proposal is part of that, as is DC offering an ‘olive branch’ today to Gay men regarding convictions for previous activities that are now legal. It may have been planned anyway but seems designed just to deal with the Grayling comments and trying to reverse any damage done.

    I’m sure there will be plenty of these carrots from the Tories in the days to come. Now, I’m not saying Labour won’t try to offer some carrots as well, but that it is not central to their election camapign.

    Labour will be happy to ensure that the economy remains the number one issue in the campaign and are engaged in a strategy of trying to unravel the Tories economic plans.

  33. I really dont think we know anything until the debates are out of the way and the financial figures for the last quarter are in.

    My suspicion is, Labour won’t come off best on either of those two things.

  34. I don’t think the Tories will perform as badly as a 2% lead, but even if they did I honestly don’t think Cameron would be ousted as leader. He has done a sterling job over the past three years and to take the Tories from nowhere to being ahead in the popular vote would be enough to guarantee him another crack at the top next time. And the “next time” might not be nearly so long as 5 years away.

    We’ve got used to leaders resigning when they don’t win, but there’s really no reason that they should. Think of Harold Wilson, or Neil Kinnock.

  35. Graham A.D. “Tories had the best week” is an example of what I meant earlier. That premise was based on YG polls widening but has now altered because polls are, slightly, closing again. It effectively attempts to fit a “narrative” [hate that expression but it sort of works] to some numbers.

    It’s all pretty fluid and it’s very early days.

  36. @ Eoin Clarke

    “The biggest winners of the election campaign so far are Labour with an 0.75% increase”

    I think you are over analysing the figures again! Sometimes you have too look past the figures and make a judgement with using your swingometer.

    Labour have been on the back foot all week, responding rather than setting the agenda. I think it is fair to say the Tories had the better first week.

  37. Graham AD

    Could you please point me in the direction of the trend which supports your comments, I am most interested.

  38. @Neil A

    I think recent history of the Tory party would make it pretty obvious that if they don’t win this election with a majority, they have the capacity to implode quite rapidly.

  39. A Newman: if you don’t think this site is for “trolling” what are you doing here with your “liebour” insults?

  40. @ Steve D

    That’s a bit of a silly comment.

  41. @George Gardner
    ” however I have dealt with several Indians who are die hard Conservative supporters.”
    I am not disagreeing with you that you know some Indians who vote Conservative. I just thought that in this election if the Asian vote is going Labour’s way then this may actually benefit the Tories as they may be picking up votes in the places that matter.
    As far as the competence of the two parties, does anybody else think that DC does not represent what the majority of his Party think or want and that this could pose a real problem if he ends up with a relatively small majority?

  42. @Steve,

    Your deviation from figures to political analysis is too big a leap I am afraid, for me at least.

    If that 0.75 grows to say 2%

    Then we will see who says it is significant?

    A trend is a trend

  43. @Steve D,

    I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.

  44. Sunbeam,

    I am with you – the polls in the week after the budget which stretched the Tory lead probablly contained an ephemeral elemement.
    As such the correct judgement on the first week (almost) of the campiagn is difficult to make as what bench-mark to use is unclear.

    My impression has been a better start for the cons but wonder how sustainable this will be.
    The marriage tax break, coupled with Grayling, adds to the same old tories feeling and I hope the ‘Effeciency savings’ paying for the NI stance will actually work agin the cons as scrutiny gathers pace.
    Current position is as per Gin at the top the Cons very close to 326.

    If I may disagree with GIN as little, though; denying a con majority could be construed as a good result for Labour given the back-drop. You could argue it the other way and say that the cons failing to get a decent majority would be a bad result.
    Finally ,pace Neil A , the cons have to be careful on immmigration, it could drive liberals away and may re-inforce the same old ‘Nast y Tories’ message.
    Like Thatchers ‘swamped’ it will play well to Tory die-hards but beyond I am not so sure.

  45. @ Richard

    Check recent polls, 36% have not made up they mind who to vote for. I am thinking that most of them are previous labour voters. Since the Tories cant close the deal at this moment,they might be tempted to give labour the last chance.

    DC should have closed the deal long time ago like Tony Blair did. As i said before, he has done his best , but the tories party is not yet seen to have changed hence they call for “CHANGE” is not working.

    The country needs change but what can of change we are gonna get.I think the GDP growth result due on in few days time will work in Labour’s favour and that may bring back labour deserted voters as well as encouraging tactical voting against the tories

  46. @Spencer (9.30)

    I would remind you that I was referring to the North East (of England) The cities you are referring to (even sheffield) would not be classed as the NE by anyone up here.

    In addition, IMHO you are confusing what they believe in personally with what they need to show to the general public. Most LD supporting people I know were previously from the Social Democrat wing of the Labour Party. Up here, all LD targets are currently Labour seats (there is only 1 Tory seat north of Yorkshire) .

    IMHO in the North East TV will have a major effect. Tories know that in most seats they have no chance and the only way to defeat Labour is to vote LD. It is because of situations like this that I question the accuracy of equating % share with number of seats.

  47. TrevorsDen
    Con 30.8%, Lab 44.5%, LDem 17.7%’
    In fact, the most striking statistic is the rise of LIb Dem votes in Lab-Con marginals.

    Why should we conclude that their vote will fall in their own marginals ?

  48. @The Last Fandango

    Ok, if you say so. You really don’t think that all of the infighting and recriminations within the Tory party after 2001 and 2005 will not happen again? After all, their chances of winning in those 2 elections were not very high and it didn’t stop them.

    I think the reaction to losing an election they were expected to win by a large margin would raise a few eyebrows in the party.

  49. I think it is fair to say whatever happens, labour will not have a majority. It is also very likely that the labour/lib dem combined seat total will not be greater than the conservatives. All in all, even if the conservatives dont have a majority it is beyond a doubt that they will be the largest party. Safe to assume therefore that Cameron will be in at No 10 one way or another.

  50. Parag

    I believe DC has done to the Conservatives what Blair did to Labour- tamed a party in dissaray. Thats only my personal opinion though.

    if the Asian vote tends largely towards Labour but this vote is largely concentrated in already safe Labour seats, It would be right to say that this may be of little help to Labour’s cause.

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