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%”

1 2 3 4 5 7
  1. @ Eoin

    “As a general rule, stars that rise the fastest fall the fastest…. where would we put VC on a “Boston Matrix””

    Problem child? :-)

  2. Laszlo,

    Yes, I have him in that quadrant :)

  3. @ Eoin

    Well, two of the others (star, cash cow) are excluded as there’s no match what so ever and the one of remaining two apart the problem child is just not fair. And this is how he looked on QT…

    Although, depending on the developments in the near future, he may find himself divested (when he cannot be any use to be an opposition figure).

  4. @ Howard

    Good to know that Lab supporters are developing a hard edge to policy Amber – none of this airy fairy sense of justice stuff!
    Do Labour alone have no ‘sense of justice’?

    Was there never any party-interest in the Dem or Tory position on PR?

    Howard, you make me smile. 8-)

  5. @ Richard Dawson

    Finally on AV I would point you at the polling evidence on AV (which is what this site is about) which shows strong support for electoral reform of which AV is the first step. Would a future leader really want to play politics on this and be behind public opinion when they stood for it at the GE ?
    “All five Labour leadership candidates said they support the Alternative Vote at hustings co-hosted by the Fabian Society, and would lead Labour to campaign for a change in a referendum. Andy Burnham was the most cautious in stressing that there were a range of views in the party which should be reflected, but said that he was tending towards the Alternative Vote.”

    As I said, Labour will back AV in a form that suits the Labour Party. If it doesn’t, they will bow to the ‘range of views’ in the party & come out against it. 8-)

    Of course Labour will ‘play politics’ on this issue. All the parties will.

  6. Laszlo,

    well these business tools are not to be used in isolation

    a pest analysis, forcefield analysis or your bog standard product life cycle all render the character less useful than an old gramaphone…

    From santa to scrooge in a matter of months! What goes around, comes around :)

  7. Eoin assumed that I would be backing England. Whatever made him think from my postings that I would have affinity with a bunch of coarse illiterates I cannot imagine (David James and Jermaine Defoe excepted -I’m glad they had good games).

    This snobbery of mine is not confined to our sink estate heroes. I could never understand Zoetemelk in Dutch but his French (cycling remember) was fine.

    What would be the effect on the polls do we think? Why would it have benefited Labour but have no effect on the Coalition??

  8. Even if Labour back AV it will fail quite miserably.

    Blues do not want it…. that must be 36% conservatively.

    Then factor in all the safe seat areas of Sunderland, Glasgow etc and tell me that Scottish or NE Labour voters will vote for it?

    Not a hope.

    A SE/NE/Scot alliance will vote it down.

    NI dont much care for it either…

    Last I looked Welsh Labour would hardly benefit from it…

    Since none of the five Labour Candidates come from these areas, their views don’t matter much. Labour activists are all that matter since without a proper energised yes campaign it will fail.

    There will be no proper energised yes campaign since the youth are that peeved at yellow they wont campaign for them either…

    If it is held next may with unemployment at 3 mill and VAT surely still at 20% and Interest rates back on the rise…. I fail to see how any intelligent individual harbours any hope whatsoever of a yes result.

    You show remorse regarding Englands defence now you are a member of the Labour party. So you should,
    the waste and poor judgement, linked to lack of commitment by the last government has reduced us big style. If you meant in a soccer sense, it has merely ended the pantomime of grossly over paid half wits further damaging what is left of our national prestiege.

  10. Roland
    My erudtion has landed me in a nanosecond in automatic limbo but your thoughts echo mine (at least on the football – but David James was good and he can speak English too)..

  11. @ Eoin

    Thanks for the “Green Fields of France”

    Very nice indeed. Have just rattled it off on the old guitar, Sounds great. Might add it to me repetoire.

    :D :D :D

  12. Eoin
    The polls on Av were national and not constituency based since a referendum does not distinguish in that way. So I don’t follow your logic.

    People like PR when they are given it (see Euros, nation elections and so on).

  13. Diane Abbott was pretty much wiped out on her own turf in This Week.

    Ed Balls is having a better than expected campaign.

    The Milibands continue to be popular; Andy B could still win through with union backing & being an alternative candidate to the big names.

    And Labour polling continues to gently climb. It’s all looking good. 8-)

  14. EOIN
    The homage to the great call up in 1916 that is “The Green Fields of France” and the loyalty of the Ulster fighting man, should be allowed to mislead anyone about the large number of republican Roman Catholics, who fought and died with great distinction in both wars. Hardly anyone fought in the British Army between 1800 and 1940 who didn’t count a “Paddy” as one of his mates.

  15. EOIN correction.
    “Should NOT be allowed to mislead………………………

  16. Roland,


    I am glad you like the song!

  17. Howard,

    How do you get someone physically up off their butt to vote ‘yes’ for something they aint bothered about.

    Answer: Campaign

    Now who is going to campaign in Kent or Sunderland for a yes vote?

    do you think Tom Harris will advise his constituents to vote yes in Glasgow?

    Regions matter because you will have to attract about
    10 million voters assuming turnout is 40ish%

  18. It is worthwhile putting these polls in a Scottish context.
    The You Gov poll gives Scottish figures which of course are based on small numbers so you can’t read too much in to them but they show as Shep pointed out a wee increase for the Tories, a vast 55 for Labour, the snp on 15 and the Libs on 9.
    Obviously this is a possibly quite misleading snapshot. It is more interesting to see the political developments which these figures might strengthen.
    To the puzzlement of many of their own activists, the Tories have been having a blood-letting following a poor performance at the uk election. It is puzzling because while no one fails to see the failure, few see a ready answer.
    We now know a bit more with S Times trailing that the Tories are looking to a grand alliance of Tories, Nats and Libs to stop Labour at Holyrood.
    This comes a couple of days after Salmond sought to distance himself from a goal of independance which is now “not at the heart of” discussions on Scotland’s future.
    There is a lot to chew on in this and not just in Scotland

  19. Eoin on AV referendum

    Follow this, well put, but th apathy that applies to ‘not interesteds’ does not apply to keen types. Holding it at the same time as locals next May would help a yes IMO

  20. Generally, I am writing rubbish today as you may have noticed.

    My mind and heart are still in Corsica and that huge vulture and pretty large finch I spotted in the mountains (yes and the belles on the beach I admit).

  21. What’s the LD’s target voter?
    Right-wing Tories will vote Tory, not LD.
    More centre Tories will now vote Tory because the coalition has moved them to the centre.
    Labs will never now consider voting LD even in Tory/LD marginals.
    So who’s left to vote LD?
    Possible answers;
    1) Core LD voters.
    2) Tory voters in Lab/LD marginals.
    That will never add up to enough votes to win power by itself.
    So LD’s can only hope to be in power if there is another hung parliament.
    Not likely IMHO.

  22. @Julian,

    There is no reason why the current balance of the party political spectrum (heavy at the ends, light in the middle) should remain that way. What most people really want is competent, non-dogmatic government which the LibDems are well placed to offer. A simple, evidence-based “whatever is the best policy to achieve the objectives” approach could win quite broad swathes of support. There is no reason that centrist parties shouldn’t occupy 60% of the vote share with the left and right sharing the extremes. Then the question would be “why would a moderate, non-ideological voter float between Tory and Labour when they can just stick with the LibDems?”.

  23. Mark Senior – You live in Worthing??? Never! Me too.

    You are, I gather a LibDem.

    What is the point of us?? Add our votes together and we still wouldn’t catch Bottomley OR Loughton. (Which one is yours?)

  24. @ Eoin

    “well these business tools are not to be used in isolation”

    When I teach my future consultant students, I ban them using these tools (especially PEST and Porter’s five forces) for anything else than somewhat organising their mind. To be quite honest, most of them are waste of time and their only function to make the consultants’ job easier for squeezing money out of the client.

  25. @NEIL A
    I take your point nand you might prove to be right. However, I’m not sure the two big parties are moving to the extremes. Under DC, the Tories have moved to the centre ( I’ve come to this conclusion since the election) and a moderate, non-ideological voter could quite happily vote for a Tory party under him.
    If Labour too project themselves as moderate and relatively non-ideological (as I believe they will), they will also be squeezing those non-ideological voters.
    Both parties can afford to do this because the close result of the last election is more likely to cement party loyalties, meaning their core voters are less likely to stray. At least at the next election.
    I think the LD’s would have better served their own interests with a Confidence & Supply policy.
    And a stronger demand for PR.

  26. @ Neil A

    “A simple, evidence-based “whatever is the best policy to achieve the objectives” approach could win quite broad swathes of support”

    I doubt it – it’s the usual liberal fallacy: people choose parties as theirs of different brands of baked beans. The whole stipulation assumes that the action of choice is not influenced by anything else but the attribute of the alternatives. It worked to some extent when nobody took the LibDems seriously (judging from their manifesto, not even the LibDems themselves), but not after that. Perhaps the 2% of the deepest pocket of the British society would accept such a policy, but they would vote for BNP or UKIP and not LibDems, because their calling words are much more precise at aiming at suppressed emotions.

    But perhaps I have more trust in the British electorate.

  27. Lib Demsetc?
    In what I regard as a classic book “The Laws of Marketing”, the writers point out that the failure of almost all marketing campaigns is rooted to the belief by the seller that people are willing to devote more space in their brains to the seller than is actually the case.
    All the thoughts as to how the Lib Dems can come out of this coalition unscathed rely on this fallacy. As others have pointed out, if people like the coalition they will vote for the main brand associated, the Tories; if they don’t like the coalition then they will vote for the main anti brand Labour. End of story.
    Old nat is right that this did not apply to the LDs in the Scottish Executive for reasons I hope I explained in a preevious thread

  28. Dwin – I have expressed support on this very forum for several of the coalitions suggestions.

    Eoin – Cameron was pushed pretty hard on Face the Audience on the 20% VAT rate. It won’t BE going back down.

    Roland – “For that matter, why should folks believe Labour now?”
    No reason at all. It’s only 6 weeks since the election and nothing much has changed since then. Remember though, Scotland, Wales, The North and NI believed Labour all along. The economy will speak for itself. If GO gets it right, Labour will remain slightly less believed than believed. If he doesn’t, I think you’ll find the country snapping back to Labour quicker than you can say “Thatcher”

  29. @ROLAND

    I have to say I agree with your verdict regarding the English football team.

    But history will judge Brown and Darling more kindly than Cameron and Osborne. While Clegg and Cable will be toast. Words fail me having heard Cable on the Andrew Marr show deny VAT is a regressive tax. Either he is economically illiterate or beyond cynicism.

  30. Valerie
    I think I heard Cable say on Question Time that unemployment was going to go down? Surely a credibility gap?

  31. Sue,

    I wonder how many years ago blueys decided VAT would be 20%?

    what does that say about democracy?

  32. I expressed my certainty before the GE campaign had even started that the new government would raise VAT to 20%, regardless of the outcome. It was a blindingly obvious change.

    And as for VAT being regressive, that really depends on what other taxes you have in place. The poor spend more of their income on VAT than the rich, but that’s only because the rich don’t actually “spend” most of their income in the conventional sense. If you tax the other activities they use money for at a level comparitive to VAT then it isn’t regressive.

    And VAT, in theory at least, should hardly effect the very poor at all. Someone in extreme hardship shouldn’t be being very many VATable goods at all.

    It’s the middle income brigade (us lot in other words) that bear the brunt of VAT. But whatever way new taxes are raised, it’s the middle income stalwarts that pay it in any case.

  33. “shouldn’t be being” should of course be “shouldn’t be buying”.

  34. Neil
    Thank goodness for these kind Libs who know exactly how the poor should spend their money. No doubt we will hear the Cables etc laying down rules on coal in the bath.
    Vat is regressive in another way. It will be paid in huge quantities by local government, nhs etc

  35. thought piece on the progressive nature of the budget even with VAT nails the lie

    h t tp://

  36. @Barney,

    I’m afraid I’m one of the those hard-nosed rightists who sees the function of welfare provision as keeping people from starving, and from freezing to death for lack of clothing and a roof over their head.

    If someone wants to go hungry in order to buy an XBox game then that’s their choice. I refuse to feel any kind of guilt over it.

  37. Haven’t read it yet Richard, but the name is making me wonder why they would be less biased than every other economic commentator….

    Still just for you, off I go.

  38. Have come back to say don’t read my contribution on England football team that escaped limbo -it’s disgraceful.

    We are in another polling limbo as it is quite clear from the poll results that the electorate has its mind on other things.

    I hope that at least makes better sense than my earlier efforts.

  39. Neil
    People might get the wrong idea of your believing yourself to be in the middle ground (posting to Julian)
    But as other posts possibly from you have indicated, the probable future role of Libs (if there is one) is on the free market to the right of the Tories as is the case in the rest of Europe

  40. I still haven’t heard one explanation of why we must cut the ENTIRE budget over the life of this parliament?
    If 40 Billion was adequate, (OBR) why must we now go for 89 Billion?

  41. @Barney,

    I believe that excessive welfare support is actually bad for people in the long run, hence I consider myself “liberal”. I just want what’s best for people…

  42. Sue Marsh
    See the words of Mr McCawber (I suppose)

  43. The LibDems have a limited core vote and by definition fewer ‘tribal’ supporters than the other parties.

    60 years ago the LibDems were virtually wiped out despite an honourable record in the wartime coalition. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost 30 seats at the next GE whether it’s FPTP or AV and 50% of the local authotity councillors by then as well.

    If Clegg and Co had stood out against the VAT increase, had said that 77% of the deficit reduction from cuts was too high and pushed for a three year income tax surcharge of 3 pence they might well increased in popularity. Now I’m afraid it’s ‘Tory Stooge’ which will stick in people’s minds and I think we will all be interested to see how LibDems like Simon Hughes react – as the going gets tougher do the LibDems get going or get out?

  44. @Neil A

    When people pay a tax on goods and services, regardless of their income, then that tax is defined as ‘regressive’.

    When people are taxed according to their income- that tax is ‘progressive’.

    Hence, VAT is a regressive tax. It could not be clearer

  45. @DavidB,

    That’s all very well, but the LibDems are very much the junior partner in the coalition and, as such, are obliged to accept most of the Conservative economic agenda. Certainly, a LibDem majority government would have quite a different policy platform, but that’s not what they are.

    You can be sure that the bulk of the emergency budget was worked out, in draft at least, in those frenzied negotiations just after the election. The options for the LibDems were essentially to support the Tories or force a new general election. Neither was likely to be good for their fortunes, but a new GE was the worst option for the country so they did the decent thing.

    Personally I am far happier with the extra tax coming in the form of VAT than Income Tax. We want our people to work hard, and spend wisely.

  46. @Valerie,

    My understanding is that a tax that is levied at higher rates on higher earners is “progressive”, a tax that is levied at lower rates on higher earners is “regressive” and a tax that is equally applied is neither.

    My point is that, in theory at least, sales taxes are progressive in that those who spend the most pay the most and the bulk of the shopping basket for the poorest is exempt.

    When people quote figures showing that lower income brackets pay higher rates of VAT than higher income brackets, that tells me two things;

    1) The poor may not be so poor as we’re sometimes led to believe and
    2) We’re not comparing like with like. A rich man may invest in property, pay no VAT on it and then get stung with CGT instead. So he’s paying less VAT as a % of what he spends, but not less overall tax on what he spends.

  47. @ Neil A

    Personally I am far happier with the extra tax coming in the form of VAT than Income Tax. We want our people to work hard, and spend wisely.
    So, are you against inherited wealth as discouraging hard work?

    Do you think the wealthy should be made to spend their money wisely – for their own good, of course?

    Or do your ‘liberal’ strictures only apply to the lower classes?

  48. Budget Reaction, a Vignette from the SE.

    Regardless of your region I’m sure you are familiar with those local radio stations that are resolutely apolitical(?), uncontroversial, and serve up a diet of feelgood motr music to please advertisers.
    This morning the tongue-in-cheek upbeat airhead: “Did you all enjoy the budget last week? I can tell you I am still bleeding after that. I’ve worked out that if I stick to bread and baby food for the next five years I should just about survive!”
    My translation: The weather is absolutely perfect, and I won’t allow this frightful government to spoil my mood just yet.

  49. @ Neil A

    “My point is that, in theory at least, sales taxes are progressive in that those who spend the most pay the most and the bulk of the shopping basket for the poorest is exempt.”

    Sales tax has been a kind of anathema for the Liberals. Historically this was the rallying cry of the liberals against the Tories. Income tax as a progressive contribution was their slogan (equal sharing of the burden – of course with the coalition it has become outdated, but nevertheless, this is one of the key liberal roots).

    Describing sales tax as a progressive taxation is delusion (if it’s directed to the self) or pure and simple spinning (if it’s directed to others). Do you care to demostrate its progressiveness on the current number of unemployed and those that are under the income tax threshold? Or you continue churning out partisant views without the slightest bit of evidence?

    “A rich man may invest in property, pay no VAT on it and then get stung with CGT instead. So he’s paying less VAT as a % of what he spends, but not less overall tax on what he spends.”

    To this I can only quote Goethe (not very popular today probably): “If it was not so difficult to think…”

  50. Imagine two people lived in identical rented houses, and had no “investments”, etc. Their circumstances were identical except that one person had twice the income of the other, and both of them spent all of their income every year.

    The person with twice the income, in addition to any other progressive taxation that he would incur, would pay a far higher proportion of VAT on his purchases than the other person, because most of that second 100% of income would be spent on VATable goods whereas most of the first 100% would be spent on VAT exempt goods and services. That is progressive taxation. I accept that without the exemptions the progressive element is removed. I am glad the budget increased the rate rather than remove exemptions.

    Of course the complex nature of the tax affairs of the wealthy doesn’t always mean things work out that way, because they don’t go down to the shops and “spend” most of that money. But it’s not the VAT element that is regressive, it’s the various wheezes and dodges employed by the rich to avoid tax.
    We can buy most of what we need to survive without spending a penny in VAT.


    Calling someone stupid in pompous and exclusionary language is still calling someone stupid. Address the point or ignore. Snide is snide, in German or English.


    I’m not “against” inherited wealth. I’m also not against Inheritance Tax. The point is that some things are in the gift of government policy, and others aren’t (short of full-on Marxism). The government chooses which taxes to levy, it doesn’t choose who has rich parents. Having been a (poor, council-funded) pupil at a very expensive school I have no doubt that large inheritances discourage hard work.

1 2 3 4 5 7