Populus and ICM have now also released figures from instant polls conducted straight after last night’s debate. In the Times’s Populus poll 37% of viewers thought Cameron had won, 36% said Clegg and 27% Gordon Brown. In ICM’s reaction poll for the Guardian Clegg came first on 33%, with Brown and Cameron both on 29%.

Putting all five of the proper instant reaction polls together, Clegg leads in 3 of them, Cameron in 2. All five have the three leaders pretty close together – Brown trails the most in Angus Reid, who tend to deliver lower figures for Labour anyway.

216 Responses to “Populus and ICM post debate polls”

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  1. Anyone know if the Paxman interview is live? If not when was it recorded.

  2. @Eoin

    No doubt conservatives have wealth on their side – and with it the mass media – which makes you wonder why they seem unable to seal the deal given the obvious failures of the current government.

    The Conservatives do not connect with the electorate as well as they did thirty years ago. The deferential society has gone. In large sections of the country they have disappeared as a political force.

    I find your analysis a little static. Political systems change.

  3. “Get real” didn’t sound like passing down words of wisdom to me, it just sounded like arrogance hiding personal uncertainty. Again, like when my mum uses it :P

    Although the thought of him whipping out a bit of cockerney is possibly worse – yer having a laaarff, guvnor! *shudder*

    Seriously, this is part of the problem for Brown – he HAS no vernacular, no way to communicate on a human level with large swathes of the public, particularly the young. This is admirable in a way – it shows him as a serious man focused on solutions – but it’s a bit of an issue for a political figurehead!

  4. Eoin,

    I dsiagree with you – I think the Tories have a real identity crisis. Blair took most of their economic policies and now Cameron is trying to be Blair. When you get UKIP saying (correctly) that you could not put a cigarette paper between the three of them on Europe you know that Cameron is in trouble. The Tories were only up at 38% because people were unhappy after 13 years of labour and wanted change. Clegg must have been so relieved to be seen as the same as the others on Europe – all those SW seats will be safe!!

    I see no sign that Cameron is going to recapture those votes from the Lib Dems and go back to 38% – it is more likely that GB will get them. I would be genuinely astonished if the Tories poll more than 35% on May 6th


  5. @ DEREK

    That is a brilliant comment. Politicians have no idea what ‘hot button’ an answer will push with individuals.

    – Andy dislikes ‘get real’ because his mum uses it to end dissent when she’s not winning an argument.

    – You particularly dislike bosses who don’t stand up for their team.

    The electorate is not a lumpen mass, split into convenient issues based groups. That’s why the debates have the impact they do. Every turn of phrase could turn voting intentions…

    So my thanks to you & Andy for illustrating that so effectively :-)

  6. @ Christopher

    The Cameron interview with Paxman isn’t live. It will be recorded during the day today.

  7. @JohnT,

    “static” I can live with. So far today I have got “weird” “ridiculous” so static i will take as an improvement.

    Let me try and explain the difference I think welath makes.

    the Liberal Democrast 25 target seat (Bournemouth) well they are not even canvassing in it.

    the Labour party need a couple of hundred votes to remove SNP from Dundee East (They hold Dundee west) They are not even canvassing in it.

    Lord Ashcroft is pilin gmillions of pounds into his marginals. South BElfast is one of them. I have never seen as glittery a poster campaign in all my days. Blue buses are us!

    In addition, at 10.30am on the 21/04/10 4 newspapers owned by the Murdoch group wiped the Liberal Democrats off the the top perch….

    The historian that I am will always seek to take a long term view. But you at your peril would dismiss its relevance in the modern day.
    :) :) :)

  8. I am extremely confused by the “who won the debate” polls rather than the election opinion polls, perhaps I’m just missing something, could someone can explain the anomaly.

    Angus Reid: Clegg 33% Cameron 32% Brown 23% Total 88%
    Yougov: Cameron 36% Clegg 32% Brown 29% Total 97%
    Populus: Cameron 37% Clegg 36% Brown 27% Total 100%
    Comres: Clegg 33% Cameron 30% Brown 30% Total 93%

    Given there are only 3 options, no one else was in the debate, I would expect at most a range of 97% to 103% in total (due to roundings) and likely at or near 100%.
    How can some companies do this but others be outside this?
    Angus Reid are a full 12% short – was there another candidate I don’t know about?
    It doesn’t make sense and how are we expected to compare like with like given these sort of huge discrepancies.

  9. Andy T – do as yer mum tells yer. ((smiley thingy here))

  10. @Andrew Mc

    You articulate your point well. I think I understand you perfectly. I look forward like you to more polls. :) :)

  11. Eoin (12.41pm) – your comment shoudl encourage everyone to vote LD or Lab simply to send a signal to the Murdochs and the pther newspapers.

  12. @Jonathan M

    The remaining 10% or so will be people who couldn’t decide.

  13. I think a lot of thought went into the “get real” quip. Labour want to say yes the LibDems ideals are good, but unrealistic. Brown is portraying himself as dealing with the real issues which effect families today rather then dreaming of a utopia
    It also brought portrayed NC as being young and naive and I think the expression on NC’s face was that of a little boy being told off
    It is also a phrase that sticks in the mind and is effective on paper even though the delivery was not exactly perfect

  14. @Andrew,

    You do know that I have said the Tories will end up on 36% on May 6th?

    Ttheir 38% surge will be very very shortlived.

  15. Mike N

    “Eoin (12.41pm) – your comment shoudl encourage everyone to vote LD or Lab simply to send a signal to the Murdochs and the pther newspapers.”


    What did that former Sun editor say? “A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote against Murdoch?” … and Ashcroft.

    The Ashcroft money isn’t going too far thought. I know a Tory target marginal near me that hasn’t been given any.

  16. @Eoin, Mike N,

    Take your point on right wing press, but conversely, what do you think to the Daily Mirror campaign of following David Cameron dressed as a chicken?

    Just wondered.

  17. I always do what me mum says!

    Apparently overhead shots have revealed some of the other lines Gordon had prepared – he nearly said “You can phone a friend, you can ask the audience, you can go 50-50 with Nick.”

    It repairs some of my respect for him that he didn’t try that one out.

    Once again, Andrew McCaig made the point I was about to try to make in a much more eloquent manner. The Tories are still far too tarnished in the eyes of most of the electorate, particularly now the Lib Dems have offered them a real alternative. They won’t get anywhere near their poll levels from before the first debate now.

  18. @Richard O,

    I have never criticised the Murdoch press and I am therefore not going to criticise the Mirror group. You’ve got the wrong guy if you think I am passing judgement. I am simply pointing out events.

  19. @ColiN green,

    The MORI marginal poll yesterday showed a 1.5% marginal boost for the blues.

    Considering it was only 0.8% a week ago with ICM it is a significant jump!

  20. To be fair, “get real” may have worked with the rest of the audience; I can only give my reaction, which was that it made Brown look like a bit of a plonker, much as Amber was suggesting.

    Of course, this may be because I favour Clegg’s policy over Brown in the first place.

  21. Derek,

    You picked up teh key point about the leaflets. What they said is irrelevant. Itr is what it tells us about Brown’s attitude to responsibility.

    The point that came across was that GB likes to claim responsibility for putting the world to rights, yet absolves himself of responsibility for the actions of his own party.

    For someone who likes to lecture Big Business and hold Banks CEOs to account for the failings of individual traders, that really is rich.

    When he made that remark last night the first thing that came to mind was “MacBride”.

  22. Surely the important statistic in these polls isn’t who people thought won the debates, it’s what the people changing their votes will do.


    Among viewers, only 18% said that what they saw on screen means they will change their minds. Most, 67%, say they had already decided how to vote. Among people who have shifted their votes after watching the debate, 43% say they will be moving to the Liberal Democrats, 24% to Labour and 24% to the Conservatives.

    Another poll, though I forget which and maybe someone more clued-up than I can find it, suggested among changing voters that Cameron gained 18% and lost 17%, giving him +1, while Brown just lost voters, and Clegg gained something like 30% while losing 4%. What this suggests to me is that though Clegg may not have stormed this debate like the last one, the continuing exposure and his line is still pulling in floating voters. The proof of it, one way or the other, will be in the voting intention polls over the next few days.

  23. Richard O – someone dressed as a chicken following DC? That’s just silly.

  24. Eoin Clarke

    “The MORI marginal poll yesterday showed a 1.5% marginal boost for the blues. Considering it was only 0.8% a week ago with ICM it is a significant jump!”

    So perhaps Ashchroft’s money is buying the electorate after all. Perhaps that’s a bit strong but if the others had the same money to put their message across, the marginals gain mightn’t have gone up.

  25. I’m pretty pleased how things have gone for the blues considering how bad things last weekend. All still to play for IMO.

    I don’t really expect any major shift in the polls tonight. I don’t think there was an outright winner in the second debate , so I would think the figures for each party will remain relatively unchanged. I may well be wrong though.

  26. @ Eoin

    What we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.

    This will probably apply more than anything else to the polling in this lastminute.com election.

    The only polls that will get near the truth will be close to decision day. All these averages and extrapolations in trends will not reveal the outcome. Maybe the mean of the final polls will.

    It is anarchy out there. Volatility of never before experienced proportions. Order will soon be established, but patience is required.

    The pitch for order started last night with Brown’s “You may not like me, but let’s focus on what is important”. This is going to be repeated ad nauseum now and it will work now that the crown has toppled off the King of Change and fallen into the lap of the Young Pretender.

    @ Andy T

    I would truly love it if DC said “You’re having a laugh”. It would be like Raffles the Gentleman Yob in Viz magazine that I used to enjoy so much.

  27. Yeah the whole Mirror thing with a chicken following Cameron is just pathetic. They’re trying to attack him for never taking their questions, but it just makes them look juvenile. His response (hugging the chicken then pulling the top of the costume off him and asking what questions he wanted to ask) was brilliant, frankly.

    I’m off for the day now, thanks everyone for a stimulating chat!

  28. @Martin

    On one count i agree, on another I disagree.

    Polls are a lot of fun and extrapolating them is great.

    The eventual outcome, the mantra for change, the toppled crown- amen to all three.

  29. @Colin Green,

    “So perhaps Ashchroft’s money is buying the electorate after all. Perhaps that’s a bit strong but if the others had the same money to put their message across, the marginals gain mightn’t have gone up.”

    That’s just politics, I guess. I suppose you could argue that Tories are at a major disadvantage because of the way the electoral system benefits Labour. I think we are all agreed that is just the way it is though – despite its faults and problems.

  30. Saddo that I am I was just looking at the Angus Reid figures which showed Clegg winning the debate last night. What was interesting was that amongst definite voters Cameron is definitely ahead. Clegg’s surge comes from the waverers (39% of them). I wondered if others saw this as an indication that the Lib Dem vote is far from solid.

  31. There is nothing morally wrong about spending more money. If any of the three parties could get their hands on a Belize Billionaire they would take him arm and all. It is an aspect of poltiics we have to live with.

  32. I’m not saying any of the above is right BTW.

    The press campaign against NC has left a bad taste in my mouth. The electoral system (i.e. boundaries) unfairly benefits Labour at the expense of just about every other party. Being able to buy electoral success also seems wrong and undemocratic IMO.

  33. @ RICHARD O

    RE: Chicken thing…

    DC is a huge fan of the US TV show The WestWing. In that show, a candidate who is afraid to debate policies is followed around by a man dressed as a chicken – so Dave should not be discombobulated by it ;-)

    More serious is a story about 2 councillors following John Prescott around (wearing masks, they allegedly assaulted two women campaign workers in their attempts to reach John Prescott). They were arrested by local police.

    Mr Pickles has launched an investigation & will suspend their party membership if they are councillors or members of his party.

    The chicken thing pales in comparison to this, I think.

  34. In an ideal world, every vote at a GE would not be virtually worthless (and would be equal), money would not be able to buy success, and the newspaper/press would be fair and unbiased in its reporting. However, I doubt that’s ever going to happen.

  35. @Eoin

    Surprised to hear you are a historian.
    I don’t dispute your individual points about constituency campaigns or the Conservative press – although I doubt if the Lib Dems consider Bournemouth a target seat – even if psephologists working on ideas of uniform swing might.

    I was rather questioning the “natural party of government” bit – clearly they see themselves like that – but they are having to work rather harder for it than they expected – and much harder than a generation ago when Labour Governments never lasted much more than one term. In those days the Liberals were always hit badly when Labour was perceived to have failed (1970 and 1979). It is so far looking rather different this time – although who honestly can predict what the final outcome will be.

  36. Jonathan,

    Angus Reid ask the question”who won the debate”, but one of the allowed answers is “none of them”

    Eoin – The Lib dems are not targetting a lot of Tory seats, because they only really start winning them if the Tory % goes down compared to 2005. There are labour seats much further down the list that ARE being targetted. Lib Dem targetting is a major operation involving thousands of person-days over several years, and cannot just be switched on and off. I do agree with you that this will restrict their progress to UNS at best in many seats, and predictions of 100+ seats on 30% of the vote may be very optimistic, but I thought we were talking about vote share?

    Now I would like to ask you why the Tories appear to be putting so little effort into Pudsey, where I live. This is a seat they absolutely HAVE to win to get an overall majority, especially if they don’t make many gains from the Lib Dems. I have had nothing from them but the freepost leaflet, and I have seen a total of 5 Tory poster sites – and I have driven along most of the main roads. Labour are hardly trying either. They have not even put up the usual posters in the council houses on the Leeds ring road yet. Now it might be all telephoning but I don’t get any impression of Tory surge here. I think the Tories are having trouble getting their activists out on the streets personally – probably because most of them are thinking of voting UKIP!


  37. @FrankG
    ‘A little confused by your logic!’
    0.2% is double 0.1%. So 1st Q 2010 growth figure is double what was announced final Q 2009.

    ‘Con/Lib Dem pact’
    There’s no chance of this happening without a massive split in the LibDems. 3/4s of LibDem members want to back Lab and hate Tories. Charles Kennedy et al would never allow it.

    Someone mentioned politicshome website results. This website is owned by the non-Dom Lord Ashcroft. No more need be said …

  38. @Jones
    43% say they will be moving to the Liberal Democrats, 24% to Labour and 24% to the Conservatives

    But from whom to whom? Table 3 of ICM gives a picture although I became a bit confused at the ‘voting intention’ columns. I could not get my head around the idea of people moving from e.g. Labour to Labour. However, Table 3 seems to indicate a definite move to the left, to put it in traditional terms, so That should be reflected in ICM’s next poll, all of them in fact.

    DK’s were 15% so that seems a base level of them?

  39. @Andrew/John both make good points…

    Pudsey was in the MORI marginal poll yesterday. I have a theroy that if you dont laready represent that seat then it is for a good reason. Shipping blues from one constit to another must be hard work..

    I know Labour is finding it hard to get Dumfreis due to poor local aprty organsiation. I received a request yesterday for a group of Belfast reds to go over an canvass for them in portPatrick. I guess it is a sign of how turned off people are.

    Regarding John’s point about the natural party of government. I have never saw the merits of it myself. Unless you view history from a structuralist point of view, which would inevitably have blues at the top, then the numbers of years in office do not match the label.

    Someone made the point (on eof the Andrews I think) that Blair stole a lot of their clothes. I think it might be the case that BRitian is more consensual than was previously the case.

    Even from 1832 though, the Blues were rarely in office. Did Edmund Burke perhaps give them the nickname and it just stuck?

    A marxist interpreation might suggest that becasue the blues control the means of production, that is why they may be called the party of government. The Labour lot, afterall, are more disposed to the lower classes.

  40. re Bournemouth West

    As you may guess I live a long, long way from Bournemouth, but isn’t the point that there are local circumstances (post 2005) which have affected the seat? It is in the nature of the Lib Dems that local circumstances can result in significant and quite sudden (in electoral terms) shifts – the arrival or departure of key activists; changes in council control etc.

  41. @Eoin

    ” If any of the three parties could get their hands on a Belize Billionaire they would take him arm and all. It is an aspect of poltiics we have to live with.”

    No. If we don’t like it, we can vote Liberal Democrat to get rid of this whole mucky mess by bringing in strict limits on personal donations. Job done.

  42. @Robert C,

    Beware of the moral highground, they say its gradient is like a ski slope and its terrain like a razor blade.

  43. From the BBC,

    “Mr Cameron is asked what action he would take to rid the electoral system of “gross unfairness” – a reference to the number of seats won by a party not reflecting its share of the vote. The Tory leader says making constituencies a uniform size would be a “good start” but that he doesn’t support proportional representation because it would lead to hung parliaments with no power.”

    This would strongly indicate that the Tories would change the boundaries, if elected.

  44. To All the People Campaigning on the Ground
    Can I just say that it is really good to hear whats happening out there as it give us a feel for how things are going. For those of you who have experience of previous elections can you let us know if it matters how many posters are up for each party. ie have you had a situation where the election result was contrary to how it felt on the ground?
    In reality not decided nationally?

  45. My son is enthusiastically working for Labour – including leaflets, fliers, posters etc.

    His opinion, despite being happy to do it – it’s busy work. If a local MP has not won his constituents over the past 4 or 5 years then a leaflet or poster isn’t going to do it all for them.

    Potential voters without party allegiance or local ties, will vote per their take of the media coverage or won’t vote at all.

    His thoughts are: the panellists that YG etc. poll are the ‘Hawthorne experiment’ in action ;-)

  46. I believe that the LibDems have been holding fire in many seats & are now in the process of changing tactics to adjust to the present polling situation. I suspect LibDem HQ thought Cleggmania was just a bubble. With limited funds & resources, we can’t afford to waste any on impossible dreams.

    There has been virtually no campaigning in my constituency (Finchley & Golders Green) apart from a few leaflets. I believe it’s been assumed that it’s a definite Tory gain (or hold, based on boundary changes), but the LibDems will be stepping up in the next 2 weeks. As I’ve said before, the main hurdle is the wasted vote perception, though with a 20% Jewish vote, the LibDem stance on Israel is another hurdle.

  47. Last Wednesday I got 16/1 on Lib Dems getting 100+ seats. Same bookmaker today is 7/4 and that has been backed down over the last few days from 4/1 on Wednesday it was 2 to 1. Although there is one bookmaker still quoting 7/2.

    There seems to be more money going on the Lib Dems which suggests the canvassing in the marginals is going well.

    Further thought on the debates headlines such as the “Cam Back Kid” fall very short of the mark.

  48. Any truth in this?


    Lib Dems accusing the sun of censoring parts of a poll that said 49% of people wouls vote lib dem if they had a reasonable chance of winnig

  49. @Parag-
    If posters are an indication then this area is turning Blue! Conservative posters are EVERYWHERE! It won’t make a differance to south Glos as this is a safe Libdem seat (Steve Webb) but I can easily see stroud going Blue and if we are judging by posters Gloucester as well (both Labour).

  50. @Derek Pierson

    I believe that, unlike in the US, that demographic is not as beholden to Israel’s government as you might think. Certainly not in Islington.

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