There is a new ICM poll in the Guardian tomorrow that probably isn’t what David Cameron hoped for on his 100th day in power. Topline voting intention figures are CON 37%(-1), LAB 37%(+3), LDEM 18%(-1). This is the first time an ICM poll has shown Labour catching the Conservatives since October 2007 and the election that never was.

Despite this rather striking finding, the Guardian’s report concentrates upon the findings on the economy, which is rather more positive for the government. 44% thought the government was doing a good job on securing the economic recovery, compared to 37% who thought it was a bad job. 42% thought George Osborne was doing a good job, 33% a bad job (a net approval of +9). ICM’s approval rating for the government stands at +10 (the difference between this and the narrower figures from YouGov will be at least partially the wording – YouGov ask if people approve of what the government is doing, ICM ask if they are doing a good job. ICM’s wording probably picks up people who think the government is doing a competent job at something they don’t necessarily agree with).


130 Responses to “ICM show Labour and Tories neck and neck”

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  1. I guess this should come with a health warning a its out of kilter with YouGov as it has the conservatives somewhat lower.

  2. I love the way a single poll can make the lefties around here so giddy!

    Let’s be in no doubt, by the time Labour’s new leader is crowned they will be close to level pegging. Not long after they will build up a regular lead.

    It really isn’t any kind of indicator for the future.

  3. Intresting to see what will hapen when one of the Millibands gets elected. Seems CCHQ is already preparing for either.

  4. This is a thoroughly respectable poll and no particular reason why it should be an outlier.

    A fabulous result for a leaderless Labour party only 100 days after a serious defeat, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Labour with a 10% lead in six monthys time which will cause all sort of jitters within the coalition.

  5. @Neil A

    “It really isn’t any kind of indicator for the future.”

    Can you say that everytime there is a poll to your liking please… ;-)

  6. @Rob,

    I can be accused of many things, but a lack of diffidence about opinion polls is certainly not one of them!

  7. Rob |S
    Neil A’s mind is elsewhere. I won’t go into detail.

  8. What I don’t understand Neil, is why the giddiness is so resented? Why must someone always comment on the giddiness? What’s wrong with allowing a little giddiness from time to time (level pegging being one of those surely?) safe in the knowledge that your giddiness will come?

  9. Equivalent August polls for ICM over the last four parliaments

    1992
    Lab 36
    Con 41
    LD 17
    OTH 5

    1997
    Lab 55
    Con 29
    LD 12
    OTH 4

    2001
    Lab 46
    Con 30
    LD 17
    OTH 7

    2005
    Lab 38
    Con 31
    LD 22
    OTH 9

    The coalition is trending worse than the governing party in any of the previous four parliaments (for this company and this dataset).

    They are closest to John Majors 1992- 1997 administration.

    August 1992 was just before Black Wednesday: what day of the week is the CSR announced ?

  10. Again much of a muchness. It’ll be interesting to look at the cross heads and see if this is just a different balance between Lib Dem and Con among the vaguely-supporting-the-coalition lot.

    What is nice is to have three different, quite comprehensive polls at the same time, so we can look at opinion through slightly different questions and get a sort of polling 3D effect.

  11. Just when the conservatives were getting good leads in odd polls we all stated the importance of seeing the big pictures and look at other polls.

    I think it is sensible to reaffirm the same hear.

    We should expect the gap to close. I would like to see a Government have grand leads when they are announcing their intention to cut public services as at least someone likes each bit in the public services.

  12. @Sue,

    I didn’t say I resented it, I said I loved it! I think it’s sort of cute.

    And as for comparing the 2010 electoral scene to previous election years, I think there is a danger in taking that too far. 2010 is an extremely unusual year in all sorts of ways.

    Remember, before the election the Governor of the Bank of England was reported to have said that whichever party wins the election will be out of power for a generation. We all talked endlessly about how this was “a good election to lose”. The idea that the governing party or parties would ride a wave of popularity as they took an axe to public services is silly.

  13. @Martyn

    I thought I’d put this one to bed in previous posts. In the UK, coalitions last the full term, minority governments collapse prematurely. Don’t make me go back and recite the whole list again, my head’ll explode.

    I don’t believe methodologically in the historical imperative (comrade); nor that non-numerical human observations observed retrospectively over time provide any innate accuracy for future prediction……

    To put it another way:

    You are going to be wrong – sorry but all that work was a waste of time ;-)

  14. Roll up! Roll up – Take your seats for Martyn V Rob, clash of the always certain.

  15. @NeilA

    I didn’t say I resented it, I said I loved it! I think it’s sort of cute.

    yes: hhm so ‘cute’ you cannot but prevent yourself from trying to pour cold water on it ( i.e. ‘“It really isn’t any kind of indicator for the future.”)

    Just be man enough to admit that this poll was a tad of a shock to your good self: you’d get more kudos from us reds if you could be honest (even if it is through gritted teeth). ;-)

  16. I think, Rob, a different perspective is needed than your historical snapshots.

    The GE result was Con 36 Lab 29 LD 23 .

    We now have in this one poll 37, 37, 18.

    This tells me that we have at least 15% of voters who float around like political flotsam. These are the same kind of people who once thought Diana Spencer is the second greatest Briton who ever lived and who get excited about TV talent contests.

  17. @Howard

    I think, Rob, a different perspective is needed than your historical snapshots.

    Granted- just a bit of (ICM) fun.

    You are saying Con +1; Lib Dem -5; Lab +8 since general election….

    I can live with that.

  18. Anthony,

    Thank you for pointing out the difference in the wording of the Question.

    It is quite a difference in the outcome just by simple phrasology- makes you wonder why we cannot standardise questions like this…

    I researched the different ways this question has been asked since 1992 and the variance is quite big…

    voters have been asked to assess competence, management and satisfaction in the government’s dealings with the economy… Perhaps a kindergarten black and white type statement with agree/disagree options might tease it out more…

    You polling companies are like computer programmes

    Harris BASIC
    YG Microsoft
    ICM Applemac
    ComRes Linux

    (forgive me my head hurts :) )

  19. @Rob,

    I think I’m allowed to find something cute and also disagree with it? My point is that I am not at all resentful. Political polling is an expectation game. In a way a bad poll result can be a good thing as it frames the way future polls are reported.

    We all know that a big chunk of the LibDem vote jumped pretty much straight to Labour when the Coalition agreement was signed. Everything since then is basically oscillation with a very slight upward trend for Labour. I fully expect that trend to take Labour into the lead where they will stay for most of the next couple of years.

  20. Reminding those who don’t know I am a labour party member, i say this as I Am posting to agree with Neil A.
    Labour will take the lead over the cons in the UK polling average sometime later this year or early next.
    Unless one thinks the coalition will collapse forcing an early GE (I don’t as why would LDs when so low) this is unimportant.
    The lead Labour build up over cons is the key factor and the last parliament shows this needs to be at least over 15% for a good while 2 and a half years out to give a realsistic chance of a Labour outright victory in 2015.
    Re approval polls, the coalition element and the desire of some LD voters to want things to work and hence approve distorts the numbers somewhat so the positive figures are not encouraging for Osborne et al in my view; Tories will be kind to clegg as well.

  21. @ Eoin

    Careful, you may inadvertedly started an argument about whether or not Microsoft is better than Applemac ;)

  22. Neil A,

    Just think of the white wine and the hake…. not long now ;)

    Billy,

    I aint used applemac but all the good lookin lasses seem to have one :) I rely on microsoft.. dependable and used to a heavy workload – a big like YG

  23. What is the margin of error?

  24. the first of many false dawns for our beloved labour party, whose next leader will be forever seen by the electorate as a brown, i abolished the economic cycle, accolyte. look at osborne’s rating.the tories would win by a hundred seats ,right now

  25. Eoin
    Neil A’s definitely mentally already in Venice, hence the valedictory statement rather than prediction. We can all go to sleep now until 2012 – Neil says so!

    I received my LD party conference agenda and I would not bother to go down the road to it, let alone Liverpool. Mind, I will never go there anyway.

  26. Howard,

    You have an AV campaign to fight for…. you never know reds might join you :)

    We have a Holyrood to look forward to :)

    Then its the Boris Johnson Horror Show…..

    (In the midst of all that we in NI will prob have an election and our cousins over the border will have one)

    Westminster is about 5th in the pecking order of relevance…

    Top of my wish list is that a new Labour First minister in Scotland triggers tax raising powers and puts income tax up to protect Scots from cuts… :) :)

  27. @ Eoin

    Whereas Applemac’s are effecient and rarely get bugs. So that could be ICM :)

  28. Billy,

    Pretty girls get bugs too you know :) Dont listen to what your mammy told ya. But yes highly efficient.

  29. very surprised to see this sort of thing so soon!

    I thought autumn at least, when the “bad news” becomes something more tangible.

    Perhaps it’s just the rain?

  30. @ William

    “look at osborne’s rating.the tories would win by a hundred seats ,right now”

    That’s a very bold shout!

  31. This poll looks like it’s underestimating the Tories a bit, YG haven’t had them below 41% for awhile have they?

  32. YOUGOV; CON 42%, LAB 37%, LDEM 14%

  33. Julian,

    Ta for that.

    YG & ICM agree that reds are 37% :)

    Combined Blue/yellow ICM = 55%
    combined Blue/yellow YG = 56%

    That’s as about agreement between those two polls as I can muster..

    My own hunch given these two companies past trends is that

    40% blue
    38% red
    16% yellow

    Is about right

    Others do seem frightfully low, however.

  34. @ William

    “look at osborne’s rating.the tories would win by a hundred seats ,right now”

    and others tripping on the ‘most popular Tory Chancellor of all time’ pill.

    If you go here

    h tt p://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/June10monitor-charts.PDF

    On page 30/46 you’ll find the historical charts for ALL chancellors going back to 1974: NOT just the Tory ones as on Guido and PB….

    It will not surprise quite a few on here that- for significant proportions of their tenure- both Healey and Brown had far higher approval ratings than Osborne currently does.

    N.B. his rating before the results of his policies are felt by anyone- we will have to wait till winter 2011/ Spring 2012 for that to start becoming clearer in his ratings.

    Browns best noughties number:

    YouGov/Sky News
    23/04/05
    67 24 +43

  35. @Eoin

    YG & ICM agree that reds are 37% :)

    Combined Blue/yellow ICM = 55%
    combined Blue/yellow YG = 56%

    That’s as about agreement between those two polls as I can muster..

    Spot On.

  36. @ROB SHEFFIELD

    You said“…I don’t believe methodologically in the historical imperative (comrade); nor that non-numerical human observations observed retrospectively over time provide any innate accuracy for future prediction…To put it another way: You are going to be wrong – sorry but all that work was a waste of time…”

    God love you, Rob, but nobody’s called me “comrade” for some weeks now… :-) I dealt with your main point in a reply to Sue in the previous thread.

    However I do have to point out that you spent twenty-six words (“…I don’t believe…future prediction…”) telling me that it’s impossible to make definite predictions. Then you spent twenty-one words (“…To put it another…waste of time…”) telling me that I will be wrong. Which is, er, a definite prediction. Do you see what you did there?… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

    Oh, PS: I think ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_inference may cover your point (but don’t ask me to explain it… :-( )

  37. Martyn/Rob,

    The betting man that I am tells me to put my mortgage on this coalition lasting…

    Yellows have entred a zero sum game.

    There is no get out of jail free card…

    Pugh, Hughes, Steel and Kennedy are behaving themselves – I forsee no circumstances under which yellow would pull the plug.

    Unforseen events of course can change things I accept- but how things stand at the mo- that’s how I see it…. It is time to batten down the hatches. In the spirit of Robs post… liken it to the Siege of Stalingrad. Cleggie Weggie is no Von Paulus.

  38. Please please please…
    Some on here are getting a little overexcited..
    It’s always best to wait for 4 or 5 polls before we can see any concrete evidence of a tied position.
    It’s the holiday season, rich Tory voters are away on their yaughts, sipping champagne.
    Labour voters are sitting at home filling out their social security claims.

  39. Anyway it’s 5 more years to the next GE ..
    The torys and Libs will join force as the “Liberal Conservative Party”.. Clegg and co will not be able to face life on the backbencher again!
    With the new boundary changes, equal constituencies and a new LibCon party.. Labour will be having their conferences in a telephone box!!

  40. @neil A – “We all talked endlessly about how this was “a good election to lose””

    Just to say that I didn’t. I’ve consistently said this was a good one to win, if you did the right thigs with power. It’s a great opportunity to reshape society in a way that New Labour struggled to do. Radical change is very difficult in benign times – much easier when there’s a crisis to face.

    I’m not saying it won’t go horribly wrong. All we’re getting so far is tried and failed conventional economic led politics from the 1980s and precious little truly radical stuff, but Labour’s reaction to opposition will be interesting to watch.

  41. Wayne…..

    How does that Champagne taste on this warm sunny evening?

  42. @martyn

    You just spent 50 words failing to distract attention from the fact that I said you were wrong to make cast iron predictions !!

    Or maybe perhaps I should get you to PM me this week’s lottery numbers :-)

    “events dear boy events” (look it up on Wikipedia)

    That was my point….and retrospective observation is no cure for that (Bayesian or not).

    @Eoin

    Yellows have entered a zero sum game. There is no get out of jail free card…

    There does not need to be: this is politics.

    Even the OBR says that by 2013 unemployment will be one million higher (pub and pri sector) than it is now before ‘bouncing back’ alan partridge style and becoming a decrease from inheritance 2010 to 2015….

    So even the coalition’s best case scenario is 24-30 months of unremitting bad economic news (and local election/ assembly election/ London mayoral election tonkings). The Lib Dems – a majority of whom (of the ones who have stayed) are against/ unenthusiastic vis-a-vis the coalition already- just won’t be able to handle it and the consequences for poverty, inequality, environmental quality, health and education provision etc etc There is no way that the economic news is going to be ‘better than expected’- just listen to the Fed chairman, BOE head and look at the contraction forecast for China and India.

    The issue is ‘what will the orange Tories do’ ?

    My prediction is they’ll want an electoral pact- which they’ll have to accede to by late 2013 having been tonked in contested elections in 2011-2013. But will the Lib Dems FPC and majority of MP’s accept this?

    If no then they (orange Tories) have a choice:

    1. stay in Lib Dems and fight Tories;
    2. leave LD’s and stand as independents with no Tory opposition (informal deal on seat by seat basis);
    3. form their own centre right party on the lines of the CD’s on the continent and stand without Tory opposition as a part of a formal pact;
    4. go the whole hog and join the Tories and become the Tories candidate in their seats (having to stand against a new LD candidate).

    (1) and (4) seem to me to be the most likely today. But as you rightly say in your post “Unforeseen events of course can change things I accept”– so (2) and (3) may become more attractive.

    So my prediction is that the coalition will collapse by late 2013: but there are 20 or so Orange Tory Lib Dem MP’s who- along with your mates in the Ulster Loyalists- could see out the final two years of the parliament quite comnfortably if they were prepared to countenance a split.

    Just because I predict the coalition will end does not means there will be an election before 2015- though I think there will be…..as a guess pace Martyn :-)

  43. Rob,

    Yes- I see where your thoughts are headed…. eminently possible…

    The rightist element is a little stronger than 20…. other than that yes fairly credible I’d say….

  44. There’s a lot of wishful thinking going on. The Coalition is not going to break up. The next election will be in 2015. There is not going to be a Tory-Liberal electoral pact.

    It’s quite possible that the pain of the deficit-cutting programme will keep Cameron from winning a second term, but 2010 isn’t the best viewing platform to spy out what will happen in 2015. There will lots of claims and counter-claims about what would have happened if Labour had won, what would have happened if policy X had been followed instead of policy Y, etc.

    If I was the Labour leadership I’d be a little careful about saying unpleasant things to and about the LibDems. Labour have probably already secured the centre left vote from the LibDems. Burned bridges now could mean that a future LibDem-Labour coalition is all but inconceivable. That sets the bar pretty high for a future Labour victory, needing a clear majority (post boundary changes).

  45. Actually, I think I like this poll, despite being a coalition-supporting tory.

    First of all, this polls has the LDs out of nightmare territory (even if it’s just one poll, it provides some psychological comfort) meaning that there is less likely to be a bolt from the coalition.

    Secondly, this should hopefully make some on the right of the conservative party think twice before trying to push the coalition to breaking point. I think there has been a tendancy in parts of the party to assume that if the coaliton collapses, the Tories will easily win a majority. The very real prospect of a returning Labour administration should hopefully knock this nonsense out of them.

  46. Howard – This tells me that we have at least 15% of voters who float around like political flotsam. These are the same kind of people who once thought Diana Spencer is the second greatest Briton who ever lived and who get excited about TV talent contests. – SO WHAT? We all know that elections hang on fickle voters. But voters is exactly what they are and their views are crucial to the outcome.

    Wayne, you may think your comments are pricelessly witty, but in fact they’re very snobbish & full of prejudice.

    Nonetheless, I do concur that it’s too early to think Labour have actually caught up. The gap is, though, as Anthony says, probably slowly narrowing.

  47. HOWARD

    Thought you were a bit hard on the apolitical 15% – hope you are not suggesting a competece as a voting qualification requirement? Just because some people decide who to vote for on the basis of physical appearance and not much else is just one of those things you have to nod in n a democracy.

  48. @NeilA

    The Coalition is not going to break up

    Same koolade as @Martyn

  49. @Rob,

    If the Coalition has broken up before the end of 2014 I will donate £10 to the charity, or political party, of your choice…. ;)

  50. I don’t care if it’s just one poll; this is great. 8-)

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