There is also a new ICM poll tonight, carried out for the Sunday Telegraph. The topline figures, with changes from ICM’s poll a week ago, are CON 41%(+2), LAB 35%(+4), LDEM 16%(-5). The figures are pretty much in line with those from YouGov tonight, with the Liberal Democrats pushed down into the mid teens while both the Conservatives and Labour are considerably up on their general election support.

The full tables don’t seem to be available yet, but the Sunday Telegraph report suggests similar findings to YouGov when it comes to the budget. 47% thought the budget would improve the economy, compared to 19% expecting it to make things worse. Once again, almost all the measures of the budget recieved majority support with the exception of the VAT rise, which ICM found 60% of people opposed (including 55% of remaining Liberal Democrat voters).

52% of people thought the cuts were necessary, 43% thought that it was tougher than necessary and the government were “using it as an excuse to introduce measures it had always wanted to”.

341 Responses to “ICM/Sunday Telegraph have Lib Dems down to 16%”

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  1. 52% of people thought the cuts were necessary, 43% thought that it was tougher than necessary and the government were “using it as an excuse to introduce measures it had always wanted to”.
    43% think it is tougher than necessary & the cutting has barely begun… I am expecting real dismay when the cuts begin to affect people’s lives & particular interests/ causes.

    Here’s an example: When young people can’t get a start in ‘middle class’ careers because of the cut backs (teaching, law, police, pharmacy, advertising, administration, civil service etc.), their parents & grandparents will become angry at the government.

    Then that 43% will rapidly rise, IMO. 8-)

  2. “(including 55% of remaining Liberal Democrat voters).”

    I like the use of “remaining”, Anthony. That’s pretty funny. :-)

  3. That’s strange Anthony, I’d seen there were two rumours out there – Labour on 35 and 36, but the 36 was from Pat Hennessy at the Telegraph.

  4. We should now discount the proportion of LDs who agree with A, B, C

    Had we taken a poll of dudes on the Titanic who refused to believe it would hence (and by consequence avail of a dingy) I suspect 59% would have thought it would survive its collision. (phonetically is that coalition?)

  5. * refused to believe it would sink :)

  6. “52% of people thought the cuts were necessary”

    I read that as “unnecessary” at first and flew into a panic… the coalition really would have been in trouble if a majority already thought that the budget had no justifcation!

    The 43% who think it’s tougher than necessary is still worrying for the coalition though – if Labour pulls itself together and is able to tap into that sentiment, then Cameron and Clegg might find themselves in a very shaky situation indeed.

  7. Anthony’s front page has a link on all polls called “all”

    If you click it a view the graph it illustrates better than anything the yellow demise

  8. @ Sue

    I think more people will decide the cuts are ‘unneccessary’ when they impact people’s lives.

    43% saying they are ‘ideological’ is stunningly high at this early stage, IMO. Quite a PR achievement by a leaderless Labour Party against a popular coalition.

  9. Could we be returning to an (almost) complete two-party system?

  10. i don’t like this not one little bit

    however if we are fated to disappear better this way than forever drifting on the fringes waiting for that breakthrough moment

    on the other hand we are different from the other two parties we could never be comfortable in one of the top down parties, so i believe that the liberals will always exist but we might reduced somewhat

    come on Richard D cheer me up a bit

  11. These two latest polls show that:
    Whilst remaining totally partisan as ever, it is clear that there is huge public support for cuts to the oversubscribed, overpaid, over pensioned public sector.

    The poll also suggests Labour are starting to be Possibly overstated, overweighted again, which is quite worrying really !

    This poll also suggests very little support for Labours cuts attacks, in fact people seem quite willing for nice big juicy cuts?

    As I said two days ago the torys are climbing up into the mid forties again,
    I wouldn’t be surprised of they reach 46/47% very soon.

  12. @ Richard in Norway

    It’s possible the Lib Dems could split (yet again) with the left of the party going back to being the Liberals and the Dems merging into the Cons.

    Really I think the Lib Dems problem won’t be if the coalition fails, but if it succeeds and the Conservatives go on to get a majority and don’t need them anymore. Then what will they do?

  13. richard in norway

    ” the liberals will always exist “. Indeed they do. They had 5 candidates at the GE. The Lib-Dems, however, may be another matter. As a creation of the Liberals and ex Labour Right Wingers, the coalition was always likely to prove dangerous.

    Perhaps they should have taken note of their Holyrood results when they were in coalition with Labour

    1999 – 14.2% : 2003 – 15.3% : 2007 – 16.2%. Coalition with Labour did the LDs no harm.

  14. The two Richards’ posts are endearingly realistic, optimistic and principled.

    I would hate to see my party so squeezed, but I’m glad they’re here reminding us all why honest Libs are doing this.

  15. @Richard in Norway

    Both Labour and Conservatives had to reinvent themselves, wheras LDs have been ‘drifting’ since their inception. The membership at least, have been taken by surprise by the aftermath of the election. Conference season should be interesting, especially if you get a visit from tiger himself. :)

  16. @ Billy Bob

    You are right about the Lib Dem membership. I have been following the post budget response in Lib Dem blogs, and they do not look good for the leadership. I would say about 30% of the grass roots are okay with the budget, 40% unhappy and about 30% outright hostile.

    I am surprised how good these recent polls are for Labour as they have not got a new leader yet, and no policies. If “Caretaker” Labour can poll these results a new leader with new policies can get to 40+% easily. I think that would at the cost of Lib Dems.

  17. I have just read two separate articles – one in the Telegraph, one in the Guardian about the fiscal argument and how it is playing out both here and at the G20.

    The vote on the budget on Tuesday could be a chance for some really great oratory and for all MPs to question what they are in politics for. A chance for them to put their arguments forward with as much power and passion as they can.

    Wouldn’t it be great if that happened?

  18. Apparently some poll says that half of LibDems are thinking of leaving the party over the cuts.

    Reading a little further, it seemed a little slanted, but the findings actually seemed to say that half of all LibDem supporters are “less likely” to vote Lib Dem now. I think it was a YouGov poll though, so perhaps Anthony can tell us more.

    Very bad news for the Libs if true.

  19. wayne

    52% of people thought the cuts were necessary, they didn’t think they were welcome like oranges at halftime, a visit to the dentist is necessary but no one talks about a big juicy root canal filling

  20. Simon Hughes saying there might be LD amendments to specifics of the budget, however, a Guardian survey of MPs (as opposed to membership)
    show them rallying round NC (not Ming and CK though :) )

  21. @ Wayne

    These two latest polls show that:
    Whilst remaining totally partisan as ever, it is clear that there is huge public support for cuts to the oversubscribed, overpaid, over pensioned public sector.

    I think that in 12 months time people will see that the job losses that the budget cuts will lead to will be School Dinner Ladies and cleaners etc. Will people believe these are “the oversubscribed, overpaid, over pensioned public sector”??

  22. @ Billy Bob

    I think that the MPs will support the budget, as they have a taste of power. The grass roots will revolt though.

  23. h ttp://

    This was the story with the poll in it.

  24. @Garry K

    When mention of the 55% rule emerged immediately after the election I wondered if NC might argue (with power comes responsibility) for changes to the LD constitution.
    There was an article by an ex-Sun editor recently about how it was NI policy not to even send one journalist to cover the LD Conference. Expect more interest this year.

  25. @Wayne

    Going to join in the chimes of dissent.

    Out of context, sure, great poll for the Conservatives.
    In context, bloody awful poll for the Conservatives.

    This should be a honeymoon period, and 42% disapproval of the budget is a very high figure. And 52% is a statistical slim majority for general approval. What this does show is growing polarisation over the new government, which is not a good thing. And a Labour rally at the expense of the LibDems is not something the Conservatives want to see when they’re supposed to be in leaderless disarray.

    If I were a Conservative, I’d be placing my hopes on a really good showing by England in Tennis and Football to prop polling up.

  26. @ Jay Blanc

    Placing your hopes on Mr Murray winning Wimbledon or England winning the World Cup is sheer desperation ;-)

  27. Two observations:

    (a) SCUP up … although a rising tide lifts all boats …

    (b) while there are limits on the meaningfulness of them, and taking a big breath … there is a fairly high correlation between the LibDem and Con preferred spending cut areas; and once you factor out the petulant “no cuts”, a similar (albeit slightly weaker) level of support from Labour.

    Is there an evolving consensus on the need for smaller government outlays, and a recognition that government has become an expensive means of redistribution rather than a source of real services?

    Seems to me there could be a significant appetite for workfare reforms, and the reversal of the dependency culture developed of the last 30 years, first under Thatcher “moving unemployment off the factory floor” and then under Labour

  28. @Jay,

    Made me giggle with your “should be a honeymoon” remark.

    I wonder what factor might be affecting the traditional honeymoon concept for this government?

    Hmmm, let me think… Ah yes, drastic austerity measures made necessary by the worst financial crisis in living memory?

    Ah, that’ll be it….

    Everything that’s happened since the coalition agreement was signed was predictable. All that ever remained to be known was whether the medicine will work, and whether the picture will look rosier in five years time. It’s far, far too early to be judging the political effect of the coalition and it’s financial measures on any of the three main parties.

  29. Will Hutton (Observer economist) is asserting that the pace of the cuts is designed to make another bank bail-out possible!

    If this proposition gains traction with the voters, there will be uproar. I think many Tory voters would be outraged by the idea of the deficit being reduced to facilitate the bail out of a failed business model for the second time!

  30. A note to anyone who thinks that this is a “good poll” for the Tories. The Tories won the popular vote in the General Election by 7%, and this poll shows them with a 6% lead.

  31. Dear All,

    I am a cynical chap regarding politics – why? because of the tribal party loyalties. I am personally delighted at the GE result and am full of praise for the coalition and the budget which was absolutely necessary.

    Are people really going to post bitter or anti lib dem / anti tory comments day after day. Please try to accept the result – for which the general public (albeit temporarily) thoroughly approve.

    Over the next few years the probabilities of both coalition parties losing local and european seats is high and yes Labour will in all probability win the next GE…..But for me it is a delight to see parties working together on quantity of policies reflected in the 5 to 1 seat count.

  32. DWIN

    “Are people really going to post bitter or anti lib dem / anti tory comments day after day. ”


  33. Both the Reds and the blues will be pleased with these polls, the yellows however are in a real quandry.

    At such levels of support they cannot IMO risk bringing down the coalition and sparking a general election.
    However the longer they stay in the coalition the more their support will split to the Reds and Blues.

    Catch 22.

  34. When the constituency sizes have been made more equal, this poll result will look much different. A lead in the poll percentages for a party should really mean a majority of seats.

  35. @Saltfordman

    The trick for the Cons would be to force through the changes to constituency sizes then force the LD’s to leave the coalition before AV comes in and spark a GE.

    Of course I am sure they would never do anything so underhand. :D

  36. The drop in support for the libdems is very much in line with expectations but most people here, but there will be a bottoming out at some point, let us hope for their sake it does not fall any further.

    I was suprised with the general support of the budget and in particular the support for the freeze in child benefit. I felt the banks levy was nowhere near enough and they were responsible for the credit crunch and the resultant recession and should be made bear the brunt of tax rises. I believe it was £8billion expected to be raised as compared to £14 billion in the VAT rise.

    I think peoples perceptions of the budget will change when we beging to experience the impact on public services. I am sure that the public were supportive initially of the early thatcher budgets as well. Only time will tell.

  37. I think the change in constutency sizes may mean another 20-30 seats for the tories. I must look back at the regional voting and seat allocation to be sure. The question is what to do with places like norther ireland and wales who may feel they are not being properly reprsesented with fewer mps, though as sinn feinn dont take up their seats, that is a hollow arguement for them.

  38. Dont LD always go down after an election? May this be a continuance of tradition and the budget but a red herring?

  39. @ Jack

    Dont LD always go down after an election?

    I believe so. However this does not detract from my belief that this makes it much harder for any rebel LD MP’s to bring down the coalition.

    Prior to this they have always gone up at GE time because of increased exposure. They now have no problems with exposure, it is just that they are comming over in Harmans words as a “Tory fig leaf”.

    It will be very difficult for them to garner their usual support at GE time as the party of responsible “protest” having been complicit in cuts.

    Their only hope IMO is that the economy recovers in 4 years, there is a give away budjet and Cameron is kind enough to offer them some kind of a GE pact. All highly unlikely.

    Otherwise I suspect they will be toast, so they might as well enjoy thier few years of power before toddling off to write their memoires in the sun.

  40. Look at the polls in September/October 2007
    ICM Libdems down to 15% , Yougov LibDems down to 12-15% . Not exactly good forecasting of the result of the last GE were they ?

  41. @ Mark S

    Not exactly good forecasting of the result of the last GE were they ?

    Agreed, but the dynamics are different this time as I say.

    1. They cannot complain about lack of exposure.
    2. They are in government so will have IMO difficulty garnering the support of “responsible” protest they usually get.

  42. @John,

    I agree that the LibDems will struggle to attract their “protest vote” demographic next time. I am not sure that is necessarily the end of them, however. The greatest problem for the LibDems has been their identity crisis. They were always perceived as a party that you didn’t know what they were for exactly, but you could vote for them when you were against something (“big party” politics, war, poverty, socialism, environmental damage, take your pick). They’ve been forced right down off that fence by the coalition agreement. However, I think that if they govern well, and use their exposure wisely, they may well pick up at least as many serious-minded centre-left and centre-right votes as they lose at the fringes, whilst at the same time both marking themselves out as a “real” political party and scotching the “coalitions don’t work in the UK – don’t elect Hung Parliaments” mantra of the other two parties.

    If anyone had done their back-of-a-fag-packet poll calculations and reckoned that left-leaning voters would embrace the LibDems voting through massive public sector cuts, then they need a more realistic fag packet. There are 5 years to go, however. We shouldn’t be holding post mortems for a party that merely has the sniffles.

  43. @ Neil A.

    We shouldn’t be holding post mortems for a party that merely has the sniffles.

    If the coalition lasts 5 years
    If the economy gets better
    If AV gets passed
    If they manage to “rebrand” themselves as a party of responsible government instead of responsible protest

    You could be right :D

  44. Sue – it was a poll asking if measures made them more or less likely to vote Lib Dem… you’ll know by know that I am not a particular fan of questions that ask if X makes people more or lesss likely to vote for Y – people tend to use them just to express approval or disapproval of a policy. Really all I’d take from it is that most Lib Dems disapprove of the VAT cut, which we already know from the other polling.

  45. Colin/DWIN – Oh come now, did you jump for joy when Tony Blair was elected? Was there NOTHING you felt you wanted to criticise in his first 6 weeks in power?
    If he’d needed the LibDems to get into No10, would you not have been just a teeny-weeny bit sceptical after all the hype and 20 point leads? Would you have believed it was a genuine meeting of minds or a cynical attempt to grab power?

    It is ludicrous when some posters have accused those on the left of opposing for the sake of opposition – can you honestly not see anything about the new coalition that a left leaning poster might object TO? Do you really think they would say “oh, OK then” when a Conservative government announces the most comprehensive cuts in a century?

    I do feel for you (not being patronising) you don’t get 5 years to enjoy the heady feeling of knowing that the country is firmly behind you, eager for the change you bring, but no, I can’t imagine that all those on the left will stop feeling uneasy about many of the new MPs and their policies, just to ensure that you can enjoy a warm fluffy honeymoon period.

    By the way, Neil A’s back!! Good-O

  46. @ Sue Marsh.
    __It is ludicrous when some posters have accused those on the left of opposing for the sake of opposition______________________________________

    Of course you must oppose. I don’t think I am the only one that believes the cuts are far more ideological that econnomic. If Lab had got in and carried out later and lesser cuts, of course the country would have survived, all be it weaker in some regards.

    The real battle is between BIG state and LITTLE state.

    At the moment the electorate seem to be buying in to Little State. However the moment of truth will come when services the electorate have got used to start to dissapear. Will they be prepared to live without them?

  47. Colin,

    Anti Tory comments I think not. Many a non blue poster including myself have been fairly non-committal in bashing blues.

    It would be anti-democratic to do so since their portion of support continues to rise.

    Democracy is not an a la carte menu. You must always accept the outcome.

    It is not unreasonable for us given yellow’s demise in the polls to critique their part in the coalition. even then I have been careful to differentiate between right yellows and left yellows.

  48. @ Eoin
    Anti Tory comments I think not. Many a non blue poster including myself have been fairly non-committal in bashing blues.


    I think you are all being terribly kind to the Blues at the moment, saving most of your venom for the “traitiorous” yellows. God bless you.

    Cameron really is a lucky man.

    So far :D

  49. John F,

    Yellows had 34% they now have 16%…. That must be 5 million people who have deserted them. Posters on here are simply reflecting that trend.

    Venom no – glee yes. I make no apoligies for being dogmatic- every party needs its dogmatists to ensure the movement does not stray too far. That is our purpose.

  50. @ Eoin

    I make no apoligies for being dogmatic

    As you have told me before. Never say sorry.

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