ICM have a new poll out in tomorrow’s Guardian showing Labour in the lead. Topline figures, with changes from ICM’s last poll a month ago, are CON 35%(-2), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 18%(nc). The poll was conducted directly after Ed Miliband’s conference speech, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This is the lowest any poll from any company has put the Conservatives since the general election, though that’s probably connected to the high Liberal Democrat score. There is a significant spread in Lib Dem support across different pollsters – YouGov tend to show them between 12-14%, the most recent polls from Populus, MORI and ComRes all had the Lib Dems at 14-15%, ICM have them steady up at 18%.

In other findings, concerns about the spending cuts continue to creep upwards 43% said they thought cuts had gone too far as opposed to 37% who think the balance is about right, slightly less supportive since than in July. However, the coalition continues to be trusted more on the economy than Labour – 50% think they are best to ensure a prosperous future compared to 31% for Labour.

On Ed Miliband, 28% think he will move the Labour party to the left, 41% think he will keep it in the centre and 8% think he will move it rightwards.

A final intriguing point was ICM’s question on what people would like to happen at the next election. The overall picture was that 40% wanted a Conservative led government (19% on their own, 21% with the Lib Dems), 39% a Labour led government (26% on their own, 13% with the Lib Dems). The interesting bit was that amongst Conservative voters only 50% wanted the Conservatives on their own, 41% prefered a Con-LD coalition. In contrast, when YouGov have asked the same question they have found 72% of Conservatives would prefer the party to rule alone, 25% prefer the Con-LD coalition.

317 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – 35/37/18”

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  1. @Julian Gilbert
    Agree all the way about US Republicans. They would be very happy with a “big state” that would forbid same-sex unions, ban abortion altogether, restrict women and minorities rights, impose religious creed to the unfaithful, replace evolution theory with creationism, reverse all actions concerning climatic change, apply in much more cases the death penalty, etc. In all these areas they stand for a big state involvement in citizen’s life. When they say “no big state”, they simply mean “no taxes” for health care, education etc.

  2. Jay,

    In Mar. 2014 Blues will announce the best economic figures we will have seen since 2007. I would not be surprised if income tax is reduced to 19%. I have said that for some time.

    Now reds have a choice what to do about that…? Amber has said she thinks Labour need to poll 50% at some stage to stand a chance. Rob S says 46%. My hunch is that a figure somewhere in between is desireable….

    Incumbency takes hold in the final year of polling… it will eat into whatever lead reds build between now and then. yellow’s poor performance at the polls benefits blues more remember..

  3. Eoin
    “likely in my view that we could see a yellow/red coalition in Holyrood.”

    Now that would be interesting! Yellow/Red in Holyrood and Yellow/Blue in Westminster. Yellows would have to do some pretty nifty footwork not to appear completely inconsistent.

  4. rob

    so the reds aren’t looking for someone to take the blame? only the blues would do something like that

    you know, these are polls of real voters not party hacks, real voters want the dems in govt, you better get used to it

    another thing, most popular govt alternative proably goes something like this

    rainbow………..everyone else

    maybe YouGov could do this poll

  5. look, why is it that everyone thinks the Lib Dems are split down the middle? Your evidence is?
    My evidence that the Lib Dems are not split over the coalition: almost uninamous support for going into coalition with the Tories at the special conference in Birmingham last May; no punch ups, briefings against the leadership or major attacks at the conference last week in Liverpool (much to the disappointment of journalists, who were clearly looking for dissenters and couldn’t find any). The party is neither Labour nor Tory, it is Liberal Democrat. Yes, it includes a range of opinions, but then so do the other two parties (Ken Clarke and John Redwood; Diane Abbott and Jack Straw).

  6. MrsB,

    You speak of party members- my tipple is voters :)

  7. Eoin

    Good post.

    No bounce for EM.

    His speech was pretty clearly directed at LibDems:-

    AV/an elected House of Lords,/ devolving power to local government, /shorter prison sentences to reduce re-offending,/ a review of stop-and-search powers/ …..and that flashing set of neon signs- ,Lloyd George, Keynes and Beveridge!

    If it was that important within that speech, a failure to depress the LibDem vote to Labour’s advantage will be a key failure of EM’s tactic.

    Meanwhile I think Cons, in the context of no publicity except cuts, two party Conferences other than theirs, and a very low profile Prime Minister, can be reasonably pleased with the polls.

    But this is still a phoney war.

    Post CSR, post Cons Conference, through the winter ( ?of discontent), into 2011 cuts implementation-then we can begin to judge where the chips lie.

  8. Eoin,
    My comments were mainly aimed at Rob Sheffield.

  9. MRSB
    I must admit, I am surprised the LDs as a party are so unified. But as just Eoin pointed out, the LDs aren’t so unified when it comes to voters. Only 12% have remained loyal according to YouGov.
    Although I suppose you could argue that the remaining 12% are unified!

  10. MrsB,

    My Humblest apols. I just rememebr in April that you said your were standing for the LDs. I jumped to conclusions… sorry :)


    You should read up on Geddes Axe… it never really swung. Georgie’s aint gonna swing either.. and he’ll come out of it smellin of roses… The man is three steps ahead of us all.

  11. Julian, 12% was probably always the ‘true’ level of libdem support. The others were most likely anti-Tory tactical voters, so they’ve lost nothing really.

  12. I think itis much too early to make predictions of what is going to happen in 2014-15. The economy may be on the up, tax cuts might be feasible but there’s a good chance that the atmosphere in the country after the bitterness and bitter battles surrounding the cuts over a very long period of 4 years might be very sour indeed.

    Polls are showing a hardening of opinion against severe cuts and Ed Miliband and his new team can be expected to pretty sharp on tactics and be capable of developing a good story around a modified Darling deficit reduction plan.

  13. @ MrsB/Eoin

    As a longterm LibDem voter, but non-member, I can assure you that here is a man VERY unhappy to be in bed with the blues.

    If the boy Ed can maintain Brownite macroeconomics, limit the excesses of finance, and – most importantly – restore lost civil liberties and local control of local services, then he gets my vote…

    @Rob Sheffield

    … in 2013. Like you, I don’t see the coalition lasting. The Cleggies will merge with the blues in the same way as the Simonites did after 1931.

  14. colin

    and that flashing set of neon signs- ,Lloyd George, Keynes and Beveridge

    yes i noticed that too, but these names mean nothing to the average voter not even the dem voters but they mean every thing to the libdem activists

    this wasn’t an attempt to woo dem voters, this was an invitation to dance

    which is why the red tribilists have decided that ed is a back stabing ungrateful brother

  15. @EOIN – “Georgie’s aint gonna swing either.. and he’ll come out of it smellin of roses… The man is three steps ahead of us all.”
    I hope you’re not suggesting that GO is hyping the cuts so we all expect the apocalypse to descend and then is going to reveal himself as a cuddly, friendly Chancellor who doesn’t really want to do all those nasty things everyone said he was going to do?
    That would be very clever. And would most likely win them the next election.
    But this is the Tories we’re talking about here.

  16. Time for an early review of Yougov’s methodology , the variation in the figures between their daily polls and the other pollsters is an embarrassment .

  17. Any takers for my suggestion that over the next 2 years a poll lead for the reds is going to be the status quo?

  18. DavidB

    “a good story around a modified Darling deficit reduction plan.”

    The story will be tax rises rather than spending cuts.

    To be any really significant component of AD’s £70 BN pa fiscal tightening, they will have to be eye watering. ( unless of course he rows back from £70 BN pa )

    Whether “tax the sodding banks & the “rich” ” will have the same appeal outside the Labour Party as it does inside it remains to be seen.

  19. Julian,

    We have some eivdence to go on…

    he told them to prepare for 40%. Now why would he do that? Then he floats 25%… Watch, they’ll not be 25%. Sub 20% for most depts. is my guess… Given that red increased health and Education by 300% factor in that 20% ish and ask yourself the impact…

    Bitter battles will be sparse… remember NHS direct being cancelled? or those 10,00 uni places? or those 985 schools re-furbs? No…. all in the past. Sad isnt it..

  20. Julian,

    We have some eivdence to go on…

    he told them to prepare for 40%. Now why would he do that? Then he floats 25%… Watch, they’ll not be 25%. Sub 20% for most depts. is my guess… Given that red increased health and Education by 300% factor in that 20% ish and ask yourself the impact…

    Cuts battles will be few… remember NHS direct being cancelled? or those 10,00 uni places? or those 985 schools re-furbs? No…. all in the past. Sad isnt it..

  21. There are some rumblings about direct action in the bit of the NHS where i work. (Yes, there will be NHS cuts). I’m looking forward to doing a bit of strike-breaking. It’ll be quite nostalgic.

  22. @EOIN
    Not for the first time you’ve got me worried.
    Although…. remember a lot of Tory voters actually want to see visible cuts. He also has to play to his core voters too.

  23. Colin

    Interesting to see if the Irish bank problem is contained. Another bout of bank bail outs while money is being taken from peoples pensions and services and jobs are being lost. Then there really will be a clamour for additional taxation on the financial sector – probably a tobin tax and punitive taxes on bonuses.

  24. Richard


    What amused me was that it was said by a man who only weeks ago promised the elimination of the Lib Dem party.

    So I can understand Dem activists being a bit confused.

    But this chap has so many “flags of convenience” flying from his masthead, he must expect questions when the people being signalled suddenly find one has been hauled down.

  25. What is missing in this whole discussion,is the UK position 2014 say,compared to the rest of the world.

    I see a defeated Obama in 2012 & a new US administration following a austerity path.

    Under this scenario i believe the tories will win a majority at the next GE in the UK,assuming the GE is in 2015.

    Also the ‘PIGS’ in the EU,Greece has gone,Ireland and Portuagal are on the brink,Spain today has had its credit downgraded again.

    The USA came out of WW2 as the economic superpower,although it had 122% debt to GDP,because everyone one else was in a worse mess.

    In other words if we go through hard times but the rest of our competitors are doing worse,i believe the tories can pull it off.

    I reckon what goes on in the USA is crucial & for Labour the signs are not good.

    WASHINGTON, Sept 27 2010(Reuters) – President Barack Obama signed a $30 billion small business lending bill into law on Monday


    Obama controlled Congress is poised to cut food stamps again, taking more away from an extended benefit created by the 2009 stimulus

    The US has over 42m people on food stamps,a record.

  26. @Mrs B

    “why is it that everyone thinks the Lib Dems are split down the middle? Your evidence is?/ My comments were mainly aimed at Rob Sheffield.”

    Hhhmm- well you only have to read the journalistic reportage/ or follow the LD blogosphere to know that a significant number (I would guess a majority) of the Lib Dem party *that is left* would be totally unworried were the coalition to be called off tomorrow !!

    Of course- depending on who you listen to- between 15- and 35% of the LD party membership has left in the last 5 months anyway! Those who have joined are clearly the orange types Clegg wants.

    Plus of course the poll numbers since May the LD’s have declined from 24% to 13% on average- that is a *49%* decline……

    I’m sorry but you simply appear to me to be one of those rather desperate Cleggite refusniks I have mentioned before on many occasions!

    More power to you- but IMHO you have nothing to look forward to over the coming years believe me.

  27. colin

    i read the speech and i didn’t trust the guy but today i heard snipets on the radio and i was nearly falling for it

    i’ve got no idea where he going to take the reds, i don’t think he knows either

  28. @Richard in Norway

    “you know, these are polls of real voters not party hacks, real voters want the dems in govt, you better get used to it”

    How do you KNOW that. Unlike Eoin C I hold great store in the tribal instincts (still- even in 2010) of a great many voters.

    My assessment? If your party was to pull out of the coalition TOMORROW- then (in the first opinion poll taken) a significant majority of both LD members and LD identified voters would support that exit form Cameron’s embrace.

    There you go…..

  29. @Eoin – “In Mar. 2014 Blues will announce the best economic figures we will have seen since 2007.”

    A couple of thoughts. Firstly, no one has the remotest idea of how the biggest collapse in the global financial markets will play out, so anyone making definitive statements is merely guessing.

    Moving on from that, if what you say does indeed come to pass, such circumstances favour oppositions more than a poorer economic outlook, especially if that oppostion is able to frame a positive view of how society can be improved now that the economy is stable. [I call this the ‘sharing the proceeds of growth’ option].

    I also think that your view that Osborne is not going to announce 25% cuts is somewhat surprising. The numbers are out there, and since the June emergency budget tax receipts have begun to reverse the more encouraging picture from earlier in the year, spending is trending over estimations and if the deficit is on track this year it will only be because the first quarter of the financial year saw lower than expected borrowing. It’s likely growth will slow, this year and subsequently, and this will also slow the pace of deficit reduction.

    If Osborne is to achieve his stated target it’s more likely than not that he will have to announce further cuts, not fewer.

    My guess is that the most likely option is that he will fail to reduce the deficit by as much as he hopes, and I have a wry notion that the end result will be somewhere near where Darling would have taken us, but with more pain.

    If he has briefed 25 – 40% cuts purely for political impact massaging (which I don’t believe is the case) then he would be the most worthless and irresponsible Chancellor we’ve probably ever had. Just the talk of such austerity has been sufficient to switch the housing market into reverse, collapse consumer confidence and restrict business investment – to the extent that yesterday the Deputy Governor of the BoE was effectively begging consumers to stop saving and start spending.

    I believe the only circumstance in which GO will not make such cuts is if the Treasury realises the perilous nature of the recovery and rows back from it’s deficit reduction timetable – I can’t really see this, as it would effectively mean Labour and the pre coalition Lib Dems were right and the Tories wrong.


    “I hold great store in the tribal instincts (still- even in 2010) of a great many voters.”

    I agree – but frankly these people of little importance in deciding elections. The tribalists will loyally support their party label, regardless of the policies that their party adopts.

    Those a little less tribal, may decide not to bother voting, if their party is doing things they don’t like.

    Elections are decided by those who aren’t tribal. The ones who change their vote from one election to another.

  31. Just think – the 2 Eds.

    One is leader, one shadow chancellor.
    The dream ticket! :-)

  32. @eoin – “We have some eivdence to go on…

    he told them to prepare for 40%. Now why would he do that? Then he floats 25%…”

    BTW – Osborne never mentioned 25% cuts. What he said in June in the budget statement was that departmental cuts would be 20% ‘on average’. It was left to the media to work out that with his stated committment to health and overseas aid this would mean 25% to non protected departments. The 40% figure came later, from a leak as I recall. This is not part of a politcal image game, and you have the time line for the figures completely the wrong way round – they started small and got bigger.

    “Cuts battles will be few..” I’m afraid you are completely wrong – they have started already and you can read about them in every local paper. Just because it isn’t top story on the news at ten doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. A clever opposition will target specific, local cuts on a constituency by constituency basis (like the Lib Dems of old) and it will be a highly effective tactic if matched by a convincing fiscal narrative from the centre.

  33. @Eoin-

    “Rob, More than 35million voted to choose the Democrat US presidnetial candidate.
    That is a really beautiful thing. I am not sure they checked the alleigances of those people beforehand. I hope they did not.
    You have called me all sorts- Lunatic is harmless enough / ” “As for barring people because of their leftist leanings SWP etc… that is not what democracy is about”

    SWP/ Respect; AWL/ Socialist Organiser; RCP members should have NO INFLUENCE whatsoever on Labour party elections.

    I can go along with the ‘closed primary’ approach: as long as members of other parties are ruled out.

    If you look at Democrat commentators they will support my view on that: and not yours. Democracy is best served by opposing opinion: NOT by agent provocateurs getting involved in ‘open primaries’.

    In the USA in 2007-8 it backfired on Republican operatives who thought that by influencing Democratic open primaries- and electing Obama as Democratic candidate- then the Dems’s would never win.

    Whether it works in terms of the Unions getting EdM elected……..well we will have to wait and see. I am still of the opinion that there are two scenarios: EdM is a surprise winner; or he resigns in 2013 having made no inroads into the Tory poll rating.

    I think the stepping stone to that should be one individual labour party member one vote.

    Members of trot parties (and others) should be excluded from any involvement or influence n Labour party politics.

    That is the difference between the ‘Labour Party’ and the ‘Labour Movement’.

    Just thought I should point that out ;-)

  34. rob

    you may be the last of a dying breed

    voters are becoming less tribal according to this poll

    21% would vote blue hoping for a blue/dem govt
    13 % would vote red hoping for a red/dem govt
    18 % would vote dem expecting some kind of coalition

    21+13+18= 52% of voters who want the UK to be governed by a coalition and that’s without counting others

    triblism is dead

  35. @Richard

    You must be looking at a different US than I am…

    The US I’m looking at has the Republicans campaigning hard to try and keep all the Bush era tax cuts, and trying to prevent any economic reform and regulation. And no one at all thinks Obama will lose in 2012, especially if Sarah Palin runs.

    You may be confused by the mid-term cycle, but that’s almost always very bad for the party in control of the White House, and its not an indicator of next Presidential race.

  36. @oldnat-

    I was making the point that LD party members- by definition “tribal”- would back their party like lemmings if tomorrow they pulled out of the coalition.

    So the idea that LD poll numbers suggest that they ‘support’ involvement in the coailition- as @Mrs B alleged- is pointless.

    That is simply the tribal choice-de-jour and would be totally different were the coalition to break up tomorrow.

  37. Jay Blanc

    US is in a terrible state,this is why Obama is cutting food stamps & instead choosing to help small business with the money saved.

    He has been warned by the credit agencies not to borrow more money or risk USA AAA rating.All spending must now be deficit neutral,cut somewhere to spend elsewhere.

    This will not go down well with all those who voted for him,especially the record 42m on food stamps.

    I am sure he is loathed to do it,he has no choice because he spent all the money.

  38. @Richard in Norway

    “tribalism is dead”

    You once said you calculated you were the same age as me based on growing up under the Thatcher epoch’. Well Thatcher came to power at a time when (Weberian) academics-incorrectly- proclaimed the ‘Embourgeoisement thesis’ had made class/ tribal voting irrelevant.

    Well let’s see- after the CSR and the oncoming 2 years of cuts and slash- just how dead ‘tribalism’ (I prefer the term ‘principled political affiliation’) actually is…..

    I predict a significant upturn- October 2010 thru October 2012- in that political antagonism and activism that your middle and upper class politico’s find so distasteful.

    ;-) !!

  39. rob

    i’m sorry was that last sentance aimed at me, or nick and dave

  40. rob

    you still havn’t addressed the issue

    the majority of UK voters want coalition govt’s in the future

    coalition is now the norm

    do you think you can cope, would you like some counselling

  41. Is it possible that the Conservatives and Lib Dems could end up in a semi-permanent pact, similar to Australia ?

    In Australia your have in effect a Conservative coaliation competing with Labour, at every general election.

    It could be that the Conservatives and Lib Dems end up in a position, where they need to continue the coalition, to have any chance of remaining in government. I therefore don’t believe Clegg when he says the coalition is for one term only.

  42. @Rich-in-Norway

    “coalition is now the norm. do you think you can cope, would you like some counselling”

    If we reformed the voting system to be STV then you’d be correct.

    HOWEVER: there is no evidence at ALL that coalition is the norm- I don’t know where you get that from….

    This coalition was the result of the May 2010 election where upwards of 40% of the LD vote came from people who- sad little innocent things- thought the yellows were to the left of Browns Labour ?

    Concomitantly the current poll numbers support it…….simply because LD and CON voters support the current government (mostly tribally) and Lab voters would ‘like some of that please if it means those horrible Tories are kicked out’ !

    Unfortunately by the time of the next election- when you are conclusively proved to be wrong- and we have a majority Tory or Labour government (based purely on the ‘economic competence’ question) we most probably will not be conversing day-in / day-out on this website !

  43. Rob Sheffield

    “we most probably will not be conversing day-in / day-out on this website !”

    Is one of you going to be rubbed out? (Sorry – watching This Week)

  44. @oldnat-

    I am trying to be optimistic about both myself and R-i-N in terms of spending hours-per-week on this website in a few years time!

  45. @R Huckle. You may well be right. But I can’t see the LIb-Dems surviving the scenario you paint without a major split. 1980-81 in reverse.

  46. Rob S/Richard in Norway, 
    You’re probably both right.

    From my own standpoint, I think coalition govt has been very refreshing and appreciate the sacrifices made by LDs who would normally not go near blue, but did so for many reasons, some selfish, some not. At the same time, given the choice of govt next time I would take outright majority every time.
    But the ukpr bubble or party faithfuls do not represent overwhelmingly the mood of the electorate. Many voters aren’t as committed to a party as we all are, and ultimately it is those voters that decide the elections. They want to see inter-party co-operation, it’s why they dont have a tribal alliance to a party in the first place. And it wil be those people that are in the pro coalition camp, boosted for the moment by coalition expedients.

  47. It makes me laugh when I hear that coalitions are now the norm. As Rob notes, coalitions would only likely be the norm if we had a more proportional system (i.e. not FPTP…….. or AV :p).

  48. @hooded man

    “They want to see inter-party co-operation”

    There is NO temporal empirical data that this is the case at all.

    It is just what you want as of NOW i.e. it tribally suits your own personal belief in Cameron-Clegg.

    If- hypothetically- Clegg tomorrow decided that the ‘Rainbow option’ (with 65% of the vote) was for him then you would rapidly lose your view that coalitions are both inevitable and wonderful ;-)

    Under the current electoral system/ or an AV system (unlikely according to current polling) the next election (in 2013 or 2014 or 2015) will result in either a small majority for the Conservative or for a small majority for Labour.

    And a significant reduction in both the Lib Dem vote and the Lib Dem MP total.

  49. The poll is good new for Labour, but on the whole I feel the conference season has been lukewarm at best for them.

    Timing the leadership election as they did was, IMO, horribly incompetent. It meant that there would never be a rejuvenated Labour Party in place in time for the conference, traditionally a good time to engender a bit of positive sentiment.

    Had they opted for a shorter election, perhaps concluding a month or so earlier, then the shadow cabinet could have been elected and in place for the conference. Instead the conference was dominated by an unconvincing victory for EM, the will he – won’t he episode for DM, and a load of shadow ministers who are effectively keeping the seats warm for whoever succeeds them.

    Good polls are a small consolation to this shambles.

  50. Colin (10:47pm)

    Whether “tax the sodding banks & the “rich” ” will have the same appeal outside the Labour Party as it does inside it remains to be seen.

    Would you support or oppose each of the following
    policies? … (all %)

    A higher levy on the banks
    Support 74 Oppose 9 Don’t know 17

    Making people who can afford it pay more in taxation
    Support 66 Oppose 19 Don’t know 14

    Giving more employment rights to temporary workers employed through agencies
    Support 61 Oppose 18 Don’t know 21

    Introducing a higher minimum wage
    Support 72 Oppose 15 Don’t know 13

    ht tp://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-EdMilibandLeader-290910.pdf

    Sample Size: 1916 GB Adults
    Fieldwork: 28th – 29th September 2010

    I think that’s a yes then. :)

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