There are three new polls out tonight.

ICM in the Guardian have topline figures of CON 39%(-1), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 16%(nc). Changes are from the ICM/News of the World poll yesterday so, as you’d expect, there are no significant changes. This does confirm the lowest Lib Dem score from ICM since the election wasn’t just a freak result though.

Interestingly in yesterday’s ICM poll 2 of those 16 percentage points for the Lib Dems were from the re-allocation of don’t knows – only 14% of people said they’d vote Lib Dem, the rest was people who said don’t know who ICM re-allocated according to how they voted at the last elecion. Of course, it doesn’t follow that the same applies to this one!

Moving to questions about the cuts themselves, 48% of people thought cuts went too far, 44% thought they were right or didn’t go far enough (36% and 8% respectively). 52% thought that the cuts were unfair, compared to 44% who thought they were fair.

Meanwhile Populus in the Times (£) has topline figures of CON 37%(-2), LAB 38%(+1), LDEM 15%(+1). Changes are since Populus’s last poll in mid-September. This is the first time Populus have shown a Labour lead since the election-that-never-was in 2007, though ICM, YouGov and Angus Reid have all shown more recent Labour leads and BPIX had one at the weekend. Looking at the spending review questions in Populus’s poll 58% thought the effects of the cuts would be unfair, a majority (but no actual figure) said that the cuts are too large.

While on the face of it the voting intention figures look somewhat conflicting, with trends apparently in opposite directions, I think the polling picture from the spending review is still pretty consistent. Nothing here conflicts with my conclusions yesterday – support or opposition to the cuts seems quite well balanced or even slightly positive; there is roughly even balance between people thinking cuts are too deep or about right/too shallow; people see the cuts as unavoidable and more Labour’s fault than the coalition. On the more negative size for the government, the polling suggests most people think the cuts are too fast, and across the board the polls are showing that people see the cuts as being done in an unfair way.

And voting intention? While the changes in ICM and Populus are in different directions, they are within the margin of error and looking at the broad spread of polls from different companies my impression is that there is a slight tightening – with a couple of polls showing Labour ahead, and YouGov’s daily tracker showing the Conservative lead dropping from 4 points or so to just one, I think the spending review may have led to a genuine narrowing in the polls.

Third poll tonight will be YouGov’s normal tracker in Sun at 10pm.

UPDATE: YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%. That’s the first time YouGov have shown Labour catching the Tories since the end of the Labour conference.

213 Responses to “New ICM and Populus polls”

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  1. Why does The Guardian say that Conservatives 39 is +4 when you say its -1, and Labour 36 is -2 when you have it as no change?

  2. Anthony – Do you thing it will be long before they all show a consistent crossover and if so do you then think the Lib Dems will hit single figures as the Labour percentage rises?

  3. I know this isn’t exactly on the thread Anthony, but the link attached did make me laugh out loud. Surely even Lib Dems must see the funny side.

    If I promise to be good henceforth, could I persuade you to allow it through?

  4. @Sally, because they’re comparing it to the last ICM poll done for them, whereas Anthony’s (rather sensibly) compares it to the last ICM poll published.

  5. Sally – newspapers tend to do changes from the last poll carried out by the pollster for that newspaper, even though polls conducted by that pollster for other clients will normally have used the same methodology*. I always do changes from the last comparable poll, regardless of who the client was.

    To their credit, the Guardian do mention the ICM/News of the World poll in their write up of this one.

    (*Until recently this was always the case, but ComRes are now carrying out polls using both online and telephone methods, and I expect I’ll do changes from the last online ComRes poll or the last telephone ComRes poll respectively)

  6. RedRag – impossible to say, it may stay with the parties neck and neck for a while. In the longer term I expect it’s almost inevitable – this is, after all, a government making huge cuts to public services with only one major party for opposition to focus upon – I’d see big mid-term Labour leads as almost inevitable.

    Equally, I’d expect some single figure Lib Dem scores at soonish. If YouGov have them at 10 or 11 for long then sample error alone will inevitably spit out a single figure at some point. As to whether the Lib Dems consistently hit single figures at some point – I don’t know.

  7. Thanks, Anthony.

  8. Extraordinary pension proposal today from Cable/Webb. Can’t for the life of me see how it’s feasible, but if we can move away from this silly “National Insurance” system and call a tax a tax (and remove the cap on it) then all the better.

    On the polls, seems like more of the same except for more confirmation that the very low LibDem figures seem to be unique to YouGov at the moment. The trend is the same across the pollsters but the actual score is bizarrely different, and consistently so. I bet YouGov aren’t Cleggy’s favourite pollsters right now…

  9. YouGov; CON 40%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%

  10. Well it seems to me the defecit reduction plan has made no substantial differenrce to the polls (within the magrin of error)

  11. Thanks I appreciate the response. After reading the article in full I realised why the difference had occurred. I appreciate that the comparison is against their own previous poll but it does seem to result in a skewed artcle.

  12. Reference Anthony’s comments on re-allocation of Don’t Knows, my post from earlier, has some relevance in this thread… [see below]

    ICM tables are now up. Some very important data – I feel contained within it. ICM are better than most at tracing past vote and where it has gone. The thing I am most interested in thi smorning table with ICM, is their tracing of where that 24% yellow vote in May 2010 has gone. For me it makes fascinating reading.

    Okay… of the 24% of LDs in May 2010, ICM record that

    10% would still vote yellow (suspiciously close to YG’s figure)

    3% would go blue
    4% would go red

    The rest are made up of Don’t Knows, would not votes etc.. (and others).

    It is the guesswork that ICm do into the preferences of the don’t knows that end up affording yellows the higher figure.

    Ordianrily I was openminded on ICM’s guesswork into the DKs. They do some prompting, and in the past it has brought them quite close (it might even do so again who knows?) but the difficulty I have this time around is that the % figure of dont knows who previously voted yellow is, for example, double the % of Dont Knows who previously voted blue (12% of blues/ 24% of yellows). It is the high % of Dks that have in effect raised the stakes of ICM’s guesswork. This is further compounded by the fact that the %s are weighted to May 2010 %s recroded for each party.

    Thus, trying to guess what 10% of LD voters who are now DK in 2006 say would have meant 2.2% of the electorate.

    But trying to rejig a quarter of the LD vote base who are now DKs based on 2010 weightings is in effect playing God with 6% of the electorate. Low and behold that is the figure ICM are consistently above YouGov in the % figures they give for yellow.

    I am not saying ICM are wrong- maybe these DKs will return in 2015 to vote yellow. Who know’s?

    But maybe, as I have long suspected, many of them will not vote at all.

  13. Thanks Eoin
    That’s fascinating. Looks like, for the moment at least, the 10/11% LD vote is very likely.
    How could the LDs get these DKs out to vote I wonder?

  14. It looks as though the Left Right polarity has established a rough symmetry, it would be interesting now to see a poll of the marginals.

  15. I had expected the crossover tonight but within MOE, we are seeing the end of the beginning for a Lab lead. LD must be wondering why they have to do what they do. I notice Neil A describes the pension proposal as ‘Cable, Webb’ instead of ‘IDS, Willetts’. I’m not saying you are making any particular point Neil but it seems nothing is proposed by the Cons in this Government, only agreed to and thereafter promoted by its junior partner.

    Even the CSR was all DA.s idea and merely communicated to the Commons by his ‘colleague’. Well, we’ll know who to blame when the next recession starts will we not?

  16. Julian,

    ICM do the same with red and blue DKs, so rather than it making the potential 6% difference that it could, AW’s figure of 2% is closer.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong but under ICM’s re-allocation, doesn’t a DK only equal half a vote?

    As for getting them out to vote Julian, i am not really sure what ICM hope to gain. Pollsters need to reflect that 30% don’t even vote in the first place…. let the Dks be, I am very tempted to say. But I a sure there is a solid method to their approach.. afterall they get pretty close don’t they?

    YG’s database that recalls accurately past vote seems eminently more preferable than randomly telephoning people.

  17. @Eoin

    Re ICM “But I am sure there is a solid method to their approach…. after all they get pretty close don’t they”.

    I think this is being a bit too generous to ICM. Although their margin of error in their FINALThey are unique amongst pollsters in that their final poll was conducted 2 days before the GE, whereas all others conducted their final poll 1 day before.

  18. …. let the Dks be writes Eoin

    Yes I cannot but agree with you. People who don’t know are better analysed as don’t care. They probably do care about everything from Wayne Rooney’s emoluments to the Second Coming. But a simple choice as asked by the pollster is beyond them. Thus they could go in any direction and there is no evidence for a permanent bias for which direction they might go in. .

  19. Please ignore above, I hit “submit comment” by mistake!!

  20. Phil,

    Yes maybe, but I am generous! :) Afterall, they have devised this method for years and they are a lot more expert at it than I. If they told me how to write Irish History, I’d tell them to go frig

  21. @Éoin………Normally you would tell them to go feck, but Anthony is trying to make this site feckless ! :-)

  22. Eoin
    Classing a DK as half a vote seems kind of logical, if not a bit arbitrary.
    The politician’s task of motivating people to vote is surely the hardest. This is where partisanship helps. Tribal blues and reds are more likely to vote, especially when they are voting against each other.
    It’s sometimes easier to define yourself by what you’re against than what you’re for.
    Could that be the LDs problem? They’re not sure what they’re against? :) (compared to blues and reds)

  23. Snapshots of YouGov from similarish dates in recent months :-

    26 JULY Con 42 Lab 35 LD 15
    26 AUG Con 42 Lab 37 LD 12
    24 SEP Con 41 Lab 38 LD 14
    25 OCT Con 40 Lab 40 LD 11

  24. Newsnight currently discussing how the CSR has targeted ‘ordinary working people’ far more than ‘the rich’ and how private sector jobs (in an advanced ‘first world’ economy) rely on public sector investment.

    C4 news earlier identified the division at the CBI between those cheerleaders (the types who signed the letter to the DT) for austerity and those more pragmatic and real-worldly businesspeople worried that Dave, George and Nick are tackling the recession of the early 1980’s (something utterly different from today) and simply going too far- worried that they are going to catapult the UK back into a disater of a second recession.

    ICM CON 39%(-1), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 16%(nc)
    POPULUS CON 37%(-2), LAB 38%(+1), LDEM 15%(+1)
    YG CON 40% (-1), LAB 40% (nc), LDEM 11% (+1)

    Three very interesting polls.

    Complex messages: but one thing can certainly be ascertained from them:

    – those arguing this time last week that we would see a 5-7 point 44% plus ‘CSR bounce’ for the Conservatives have been proven to be woefully off beam


  25. @ Eoin.

    When I first joined this site in April you INSTRUCTED me never to appologise.

    if I have upset you with my forthright valules so be it.

    You are a magnificent advocate for you beliefs.

    And I hope to be a magnificent advocate for mine


  26. those arguing this time last week that we would see a 5-7 point 44% plus ‘CSR bounce’ for the Conservatives have been proven to be woefully off beam

    wrote Rob S

    I may be displaying the occasional symptoms of LD ostrich like behaviour but I really was unaware of this Rob. Who were they then?

  27. @ Howard

    Your prediction game:

    Éoin, Hooded Man, Ken & Rebecca

    ..come to my mind as having forecast the Cons being on 44,43,43 & 42 respectively (that’s from memory, so apols for not checking back). 8-)

  28. DeAnne Angelus from Chatham House on Newsnight defending UK policy in the face of US and Japanese criticisms: Beggar thy neighbour… everyone trying to devalue and export will not solve the problem.

  29. Seems to me that the polls reflect that the coalition are losing the argument over the speed and fairness of the cuts that they are making.

    I sense that they are waiting for the budget next year to make some further changes to iron out some of the unfairness that the current plans will cause. So until then the polls will be very close between Laboiur and the Tories. Labour have only just entered opposition, so nobody is expecting them to have alternative costed plans. So it is a bit pointless for Cameron to make jibes at Miliband for not offering an alternative.

  30. @Amber,

    Given the average Tory poll numbers at the time (around 41%) and that the highest (and only) prediction was 44%, I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration.

    The CSR really doesn’t seem to have made a blind bit of difference to the polls. All of the slight trends that exist predate the CSR, and if anything they have become slighter. It’s quite possible the LDs have bottomed out, and that blue and red are in a grim embrace of more-or-less even support.

    I still think that Tory support will fall behind Labour within a month or so, as the actual plans for real-world cuts emerge, but it is hard to imagine what scope there was for a CSR “bounce” for the Tories.

    IMHO the backslapping and cheering from the government benches for Osborne’s performance, portrayed as callousness by the left, was really a sigh of relief at the thought that they might get through the CSR without completely tanking.

  31. @R Huckle,

    If Labour didn’t have costed plans after 13 years in government and striving hard for reelection, they didn’t deserve to win.

  32. @Amber,

    Oops my apologies. My comment about the “Bounce” should by rights have been directed at Rob. I lost the thread there a little.

  33. @Amber

    thanks for responding to the sarcasm not worthy of @howards normal reasonableness. I was deeply offended…..OK no I wasn’t :-)

    But- boy- were those you mentioned WRONG! And there were othyers as well. @howard- you can look at the thread again yourself ;-)

    The initial post-CSR response polling period would appear to suggest we are roughly where we were prior to the CSR:


    1) no rush-towards-red and collapse of yellow to single figures as some predicted (including @Howard…).


    2) did we see the ‘disavowal of the policy lite long game that EdM is clearly making a mistake playing’….and therefore a supra m.o.e lead for blue as predicted by- amongst others- those identified.

    Trending 40-39-11 +/-3% is where we stay till- at the earliest- next spring (‘Lente’ @Howard).

  34. It seems that disaffected LD voters are still drifting away towards Labour but I wonder how far that can continue, core LD support levels must be in sight soon, there’s not that much left to lose beyond diehards. Perhaps another 2% or so(?)

    That’s probably enough to put them ahead of the Conservatives but only by 1-2% across the board of various pollsters. If they want a serious lead they’re going to have to somehow pinch Conservative supporters. Not easy at the moment, although current polls suggest they have swung a few. Perhaps this will get more likely after christmas when things start happening and the cuts/tax rise situation becomes clearer.

  35. I think we all agreed we don’y really know why ICM and YG (both generally regareded as gold standard) are as much as 6% apart for LDs.

    This must be a worry for both organisations.

  36. In fairness Rob, and yours is renowned here, I predicted a ‘collapse’ from 10 to 9%. I appreciate that this may be seen not only as wishy washy but even woolly minded, but it is as rash as i am capable.

  37. Good lord. Just caught the previous thread, is the naughty step now full?

    And ‘arguing for a 5-7% CSR bounce’ ?
    That would have been 46% plus.
    19 October was 42%, had a guess at 1% lift to 43%.
    Ended up 41%. Tragedy ;-)

    I’m sure we could dredge up all those confident red predictions through June, July and August that saw solid Labour leads building after the leadership election, and increasing after the CSR, with coalition in big trouble?
    Before the customary retreat to ‘it’s already priced in’….

  38. John F,

    Faibh ar bith a chara (No probs :) ) I look forward to reading more of your pearls :)

  39. @Howard-

    “I predicted a ‘collapse’ from 10 to 9%.”

    a ten percent collapse in one weekend would be pretty bad :-)

  40. @ Neil A

    “If Labour didn’t have costed plans after 13 years in government and striving hard for reelection, they didn’t deserve to win.”

    Labour should have ran a bolder election compaign spelling out some of the cuts that they would be making. Brown got it wrong.

    Had they done so, they would have forced the other parties to be much more explicit about the cuts they would make.

    But even before the election, Labour should have completed a comprehensive spending review, as well as a defence review.. Much better to have all the information available for all parties , so you can have a proper debate.

    As it currently stands, the Cons and LD’s will be very unpopular come the next election in 2012, when the coalition ends. Once the LD’s have lost the AV ref and the cuts start to hit, LD MP’s will start to wobble.

  41. Ken, :) You stayed out of it I note- well done :)

  42. @ Hooded Man

    Before the customary retreat to ‘it’s already priced in’….
    I am the ‘priced in’ gal; & I always say it well before the polling shows it was, actually, priced in. ;-)

  43. Isn’t it quite likely that the high number of DKs amongst former LD voters reflects disenchantment amongst left-leaning LDs (which probably represent a sizeable majority of the total). These are voters just ready for the taking once Lab show themselves a credible home for the ‘liberal left’.

    Give it a couple of months and I reckon Lab will have a 4-5% point lead.

  44. Robin

    Remember that a lot of the “new” Lib Dem voters in May came from Don’t Knows anyway. Labour will have to do more than sit back and wait for them to fall into its arms. There’s a lot of cynicism about politics and a lot of people still choosing not to vote for anyone rather than abstaining out of apathy

  45. well, game on, politically and troubles for Whigs

  46. I know what is running through many a Conservative supporter’s mind: Labour wreck the economy, get our debt levels sky high, and then take advantage of it after they are kicked out of office.

  47. Andrew I think that might be regarded as partisan, many of us know what is running through the minds of Labour supporters, so why should I have to point out what we are thinking after years of building up public services from the ravages of 18 years previously.
    I might think also that I know what is going through the minds of Liberals who see their party giving up all they stood for, for power.
    We all know what the Tory supporters are thinking as you point out.

    Our point here, surely is: What do the voters think?
    What does the man and woman in the street think and how is this reflected in their voting intention in the polls?

  48. I think there was a poll on Slugger O’Toole that said the majority of voters felt they had little influence on politicians. I think it’s fair to say Labour are picking up a lot of votes from LibDems in traditional Labour areas. A Facebook friend has commented on the low turnout ( compared to France) of rallies against the cuts.

  49. Looking at these three polls, it does appear that as the implication of cuts becomes clear, voters are beginning to show a slow trend towards Labour.
    But I remember noticing recently that one pollster had the Tories with a 17% lead this time last year, yet they still could not win the General Election. (It’s the Liberals holding them there, remember. )

    How Labour can build on a predictable trend VI towards them will depend on a number of factors, positive policies from Labour, the degree of people’s hurt and there being no further war in the Falklands.

  50. So, let’s be clear…the LDs are the ones so far that the public have vented their anger against. The Con vote has held up simply because they are sheltered by these brave (I hesitate to say foolish) LD MPs. Sacrificing yourself for the love of another deserves better than this.

    But I think we are now seeing the beginnings of a drift away from the Cons too. The LDs need to shut up and let their beloved partners share the limelight.

    Neil A and perhaps otjhers have said Lab should have had prepared in gov what they would cut. I disagree with this – Lab has said that a CSR was planed for the autumn, so why pre-empt that.

    I think EM is playing a clever game. He avoided creating hostages of fortune before the CSR.

    The fact that The Times are questioning the lack of Lab policy on the cuts is frankly intended to divert attention from the impact of the Con gov’s policies. Typical.

    I’m pleased with the way things are shaping.

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