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. Colin
    “And look at the forward forecasts for 2011-down to £/$ 1.3 to 1.4-based mainly on our continued low interest rates.”

    The downside to this is that UK oil costs will soar, won’t they? Will we see petrol pump protests?

    Must be easy job being the CoE, eh?

  2. Colin,

    LOL – should have known you’d climb on that one too!

  3. @MikeN
    You beat me to it. Devaluation. “The Pound in your pocket” ?

  4. @Cozmo

    Yes, that’s it. But I’m amazed that our bluey friends on here are embracing this with such relish and enthusiasm.

    Middle of next year when prices at the pumps go through the £1.50 mark and the cost of holidays deters any but the richest, there will be outrage against this gov.

  5. MIKEN

    “Must be easy job being the CoE, eh?”

    A nightmare I should think.

    I agree with you about oil costs-indeed all imported items.

    I think right now, inflation is a greater fear than deflation.

    But much as I would personally like to see interest rates rising,( the classic monetary counterinflationary tool) I cannot believe it would be right for at least a year-maybe more.

    I think inflation is the price we will have to pay for getting the private sector economy moving, and all those peopple who lost their jobs in it back to work.

    Food prices are already rising at a worrying rate. My wife has just shopped for the half term visit of grandchildren & their parents- & I have been given the gypsies warning about how much it all cost!

  6. @Mike N
    ” – – -embracing this with such relish and enthusiasm.”
    Forgotten their own propaganda ?

  7. Mike N,

    The oil part of petrol cost is about 30%. Yes there would be an impact on fuel prices, but not so significant. We were pretty close to £/$1.40 not so very long ago……

    Colin – are you sure the long term forecasts are $1.30? Who is forecasting that?

  8. @hooded man
    “We were pretty close to £/$1.40 not so very long ago…”

    Ah yes, but that was not because of sterling devaluation but global supply and demand of the black gold.

  9. @Cozmo
    “Forgotten their own propaganda ?”


    ((Captcha code – AVES. No room for the ‘ave nots))

  10. Mike N,

    @hooded man
    “We were pretty close to £/$1.40 not so very long ago…”

    “Ah yes, but that was not because of sterling devaluation but global supply and demand of the black gold”

    I was referring to GBP/USD forex rates?

  11. Hooded Man

    Something called next May.

    But that was the lowest I could find.

  12. @HM
    “I was referring to GBP/USD forex rates?”

    Ah yes, I see now.

  13. Thanks Colin. Seems very low.

    I’d rather see Reuters ‘mid’ view !!

  14. HM

    Sure thing-was looking at RBS & others.

    So long as our exporters get off their butts-that’s what we need ;-)

  15. “So long as our exporters get off their butts-that’s what we need”

    DC was imploring almost pleading with the CBI, IMO, to achieve growth.
    Not sure that is a good image of our PM.

  16. “Colin
    “And look at the forward forecasts for 2011-down to £/$ 1.3 to 1.4-based mainly on our continued low interest rates.”

    The downside to this is that UK oil costs will soar, won’t they? Will we see petrol pump protests?”

    On the contrary: a strong dollar globally(not necessarily the same as a weak GBP exactly I admit, although they often coincide obviously) means lower oil prices. When USD is up, oil is down, and vice versa. They are 2 commodities, if you like, that are almost exactly inversely proportional to each other.

    Thus when the recession hit, oil prices plummeted – as everyone was rushing to invest in the USD as the safe haven.

    Not, of course, that that meant we got cheap petrol prices – sadly it doesn’t seem to work like that. :(

  17. @BT SAYS
    Unfortunately our currency is GBP and we have to import oil.

    If the £/$ exchange rate is poor for the UK, then we pay more.

    If there is high demand for oil and ‘insufficient’ sipplies of oil it costs the UK.

    If GBP is devalued we’ll pay more for oil. Any way it costs us. The only bright side to it is that the UK should be more competitive globally.

    I don’t understand what you’re saying.

  18. @Mike N
    “Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has denied that large cities will be “cleansed” of poorer people following cuts to housing benefits.”

    Methinks he doth protest too much

    h ttp://

  19. The GDP figures are quite impressive. The economy may be able to keep it up – as I said earlier, I am a true believer :-) of manufacturing and investment, rather than services. If it keeps up, I’m very happy even if it helps the Tories, because it helps the country. Having said that, manufacturing has been slowing down since the beginning of the year, which could be a bad sign, so my appreciation is really about its resailence.

    There are some cautions, however. There is a good chance of downgrading these figures in a month’s time because about half of the growth figures comes from industries that are under sampled normally. Judging from the full bulletin: ht tp:// anything from -0.2-0 revision is possible. It is still a very good thing for the coalition, although perversely a no change would be less so – fewer justifications for the cuts.

    The growth factors: hotels, restaurants, distribution: no doubt that the weak pound helped, but it’s good to see that there is a growth there (no doubt domestic spending as well).

    An important proportion of growth came from post, communication and transport… Would be interesting to see how to interpret this figure.

    Increase in computer services plus health service was quite significant in the growth – essentially there was no discernable reduction in government spending.

    This side of the GDP is a rather difficult thing to interpret – contribution, rather than utilisation (which won’t be published for some some time) – consumption, investment, etc. It is important, because we don’t know if the growth is direct sales, replenishment of inventories, investment or what? I sincerely hope that these won’t negate the good message in the overhead figures.

    All in all, a good news to the UK economy, to the government and to the ONS – except if there is a major revision, then all turns rather bad.

  20. @Cozmo

    Thanks for the link.

    I was interested to see that “Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes has held talks with Mr Clegg over the coalition’s benefits cuts, which he has described as “draconian” and vowed to try and block in Parliament.”

    There must be huge stresses and strains in the LDs and similar in the Cons.

    This is the sort of issue that suddenly takes on a life of its own and causes change.

  21. @Mike N
    “There must be huge stresses and strains in the LDs and similar in the Cons.”
    Yes, a few rivets popping here and there. IMHO the likelihood of something painful and unfair occurring is in direct proportion to NC’s denials and protests. This is my Cleggometer. Perhaps I should patent it.

  22. @Laszlo

    I agree that GDP figures are difficult to measure accurately so we have many bites at the same cherry. One factor that affects them is the role of the black economy which usually increases in bad times and decreases in buoyant periods. This makes recorded growth look weaker in the trough and stronger at the peak. These measurement problems also make it harder to actually pinpoint the trough/peak until much later. The best example was Norman Lamont’s green shoots comment which was ridiculed at the time but was subsequently proven to be correct. Baroness Vadera may yet prove to have been right in January 2009.

  23. @’Cozmo

    “This is my Cleggometer. ”

    Reminded me of the clapometer (yes, you read that right) that featured in the earliest TV equivalent of the X-factor or Britain’s got talent. Hughie Green compered it. Probably before your time.

    I digress. I can see it now…”The Cozmo Cleggometer!”

  24. @Mike N
    “Hughie Green’s Clapometer Probably before your time”
    Unfortunately not. I remember it well ! This could have had another use to measure mispent youth and dubious liasons !

    Then of course we had Jim Davison’s Nickometer. This would have been a good name for my gadget but I guess I should try to be original.

  25. @Cozmo


  26. Hi Guys

    Back from holiday.

    Has there been discussion of the latest Scottish polling by YouGov (18-20 Oct) while I’ve been away?

    No time to check a week’s chat on here!!!

  27. @ Aleksandar

    Yes, the black economy is an important factor – certainly it would affect constructions, but also, since there is such a credit squeeze, SMEs would be more willing to engage with it than before (which had been quite substantial already – I’m always mesmerised when statisticians use SMEs’ financial reporting as if it was something real).

  28. Old Nat,

    Welcome back. There was some chat about it last week. Think there was a specific thread, in the October archive.

  29. Hooded Man

    Thanks. I’ll have a look.

  30. @COSMO
    Is £26,000 insufficient for “poor people”. Please don’t bring the berserk Polly Toynbee on this site. Reducing the ridiculous levels of payment which have been in existance is not a bad thing in the eyes of most people.

  31. Due to the the Clegg Hatefest which continues unabated from a number of posters, I can disclose that he doled out a few hard left handers this pm.
    The Deputy Leader shenanigans are improving dramatically, If one is a coalitionist.

  32. NC “…doled out a few hard left handers this pm.”

    Perhaps an indication that things are getting rough and there is increasing dissent among the LD MPs?

  33. OldNat,

    I drew up some rather large posts analysing it, I woud ahppily post them again for you..

  34. Small question if someone could answer it I’d be grateful.

    The PM gets access to ONS growth data how long before the rest of us know? IS it just 24 hours? Or is it longer? I wonder how tight a ship ONS run?

  35. @Roland
    “Reducing the ridiculous levels of payment which have been in existance is not a bad thing in the eyes of most people.”
    I agree. I presume you are referring to bankers and CEO’s and the like ?

  36. OldNat,

    I went and dug them out and put them all in one post. It is rather long everybody else so apoligies for that. [new thread anyways so the Celtaphobes, if they don’t want to know the score, can look away now :)

    1. The full details of the YouGov Scottish poll are included below (fieldwork pre-CSR).
    Labour 40 (+1%)
    SNP 34 (+5%)
    Conservatives 14 (-2%)
    Lib Dems 8 (-3%)
    • (REGIONAL)
    Labour 36 (0%)
    SNP 31 (+5%)
    Conservatives 15 (0%)
    Lib Dems 8 (-4%)
    The biggest pieces of news are as follows:
    1. SNP make gain at LD expense, particularly in the regions.
    2. Greens are now 6% in the regional vote, which is just 2% behind LDs. Potentially a race on to beat yellows into 5th place in the regional vote.
    3. A further sub-plot is that blue losing out in the constituency vote.
    • In addition YG also included a headline voting intention (Westminster). The results were as follows [including changes from May G/E]:
    Labour 44% (+2%)
    SNP 26% (+6%)
    Libs 7% (-12%)
    Cons 18 % (+1%)
    • The main conclusion to draw from that is in a manner akin to Wales, it is the nationalist party that is benefitting the most from LDs coalition with Blue. The double digit losses since May in the headline fit with the losses reported for YouGov Wales.
    4. The End of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland?
    There is now increasing evidence that the LDs are all but finished in Scotland as a political force. YG’s political tracker from 2005 covers the LD % in the headline (Westminster), Constituency, and Regional (list) vote. In all three categories the LDs are setting new records for the depths they have sunk to in VI polls.
    1. Westminster their 7% in the recent poll is a full 4% below their previous worse performance.
    2. In the regional LDs 8% is a full 3% below their previous worse performance.
    3. In the constituency vote the LDs 8% is a full 3% below their previous worse.
    • That their previous worse performance occurred so recently means in effect that the collapse in most cases is even bigger that the 3-4% below the threshold.
    • Perhaps worse of all, Scotland used to be a growth area for LD support. In May 2005 Charles Kennedy’s leadership saw the party attract 23% of the Scottish vote in the Westminster election. With LD figures of 7%, and the Greens climbing to 6% (regional), are we seeing the eclipse of the Liberal Democrats?
    • The 1405 if it is the one sample had four separate components, each receiving a different article of coverage.
    1. The vast majority of Scottish voters want tax raising powers that go beyond Calman (even a majority of reds)
    2. The next support for independence has improved 14% since it was last asked (Which was May I think)
    3. Gray trails Salmond, significantly, in the personality stakes according to a YG almost by 2 to 1.
    4. SNP, Greens and Reds all make gains in the polls as Lib vote collapses. There is every chance the Greens will soon overtake them in the regional list.

  37. @MIKE N
    Things are getting no rougher than Mr Clegg can handle. If ever a politician needs a robust defence of himself Clegg does. The hatred and vitriol ejaculated by Labour since the formation of the present government has surprised even me.

    I actually meant the largely indiscriminate splashing around of other peoples money by a totally irresponsible system on housing. I earned a good salary and drove a big car and now receive a final salary pension from financial institutions. It was all based on the money my profit centre contributed to the shareholders. I could not care less if the CEO of Conglomerated Assurance earns £ 1million PA. It comes from their profits, not my taxes. A Romanian immigrant who probably should not be here, costing British tax payers £154,000 PA housing benefit to live in South Kensington with his 9 kids is a disgrace, which only a tiny handful of extreme leftists would approve of.

  38. @Roland
    ” A Romanian immigrant who probably should not be here, costing British tax payers £154,000 PA housing benefit to live in South Kensington with his 9 kids is a disgrace, which only a tiny handful of extreme leftists would approve of.”
    Disgraceful indeed. Have you have reported this family ?
    When did you find out about them?

  39. Stephanie Flanders’s article on the GDP figures and the budget deficit shows, I think, that the pre election hysteria over the economic ‘bankruptcy’ of Britain was over blown

  40. Eoin

    Thanks for that.

    I find it interesting that the initial shift (post UK Coalition) of LD support was to Labour and Green, but since the political focus here has shifted to the effects of UK policy on Scotland (rather than the generalised UK policies themselves) that the SNP seem to be picking up more.

    Given the effect of the list seats on the eventual composition of Holyrood, even if they keep constituency seats in the Highlands (where they don’t get list seats), the effect on their list seats elsewhere looks like disaster – losing half their seats on current polling?

    What seems odd, as an outsider, is that the LDs (theoretically) had the constitutional strategy that appeared to satisfy most Scots, but never pushed it and presented themselves as part of the tripartite Unionist alliance.

    It has happened so often, in other countries, that the middle ground in constitutional or other political matters is abandoned, and the argument is increasingly polarised.

    Fascinating times!

  41. OldNAt,

    Interesting you say that (about Libs). It is now Labour supporters who comprise of the highest % of voters in support of independance (of the unionist parties) 28% of reds

  42. Eoin

    It’s always fun to see Labour/SNP politicians/activists hurling abuse at each other – precisely because both are appealing to exactly the same group of voters who are perfectly happy to vote for either party, depending on the circumstances.

    While I dislike elections fought on the basis of the “leader”, the media do drive that and the Scottish TV debates will certainly hand the SNP a big advantage come May, with these voters.

    An interesting aspect of the YouGov polls is the new weightings they have adopted.

    Their new weightings compare to the ones used for the last UK general election as follows for Party ID and newspaper readership:

    4-May, ? 20-Oct, ? Party ID
    ?33%, ? 38%, ? Lab
    ?11%, ? 13%, ? Con
    ?10%, ? 10%, ? L-D
    ?17%, ? 16%, ? SNP/Plaid
    ?2%, ? 2%, ? Others
    ?27%, ? 21%, ? None/DK

    4-May, ? 20-Oct, ? Newspaper
    ?13%, ? 12%, ? Express/Mail
    ?15%, ? 16%, ? Sun/Star
    ?20%, ? 20%, ? Mirror/Record
    ?2%, ? 6%, ? Guardian/Independent/Herald
    ?5%, ? 6%, ? FT/Times/Telegraph/Scotsman
    ?30%, ? 20%, ? Other Paper
    ?15%, ? 20%, ? No Paper

    (hat-tip Barbazenzero on BwB)

    They still don’t understand the regional (rather than political) bias of our two broadsheets, and the party ID weighting – used for all elections – seems to be based on Westminster VI (when we know that there are a large number of voters who vote SNP/Green/Socialist [pace the Sheridan trial!] for Holyrood, while voting for their preferred UK party at Westminster).

  43. Ignore the question marks! Result of a copy and paste.

  44. OldNAt,

    I’d say if there is one thing that turns off floating voters is SNP Lab going toe to toe. I quietly observe it online but it seems to me much ado about nothing. A grand SNP – Lab coalition with tax raising powers, would give me no end of pleasure. :)

    You missed this article when you were away for Tatty picking

    h ttp://

  45. @Cozmo at 3.53

    The verb is “to clegg”, as in “Years from now, teachers will ask their pupils to stop ‘clegging on’ about how the dog ate their homework and just bloody hand it in on time.” See Charlie Brooker’s piece in yesterday’s Guardian for further examples of “clegging”. The link is in the 3rd post on this thread.

    And yes, you should patent your “Cleggometer”.

    @Roland Haines

    It’s better to laugh than resort to hatred, however rational a response that might be.

  46. Eoin

    Agreed about the turn off effect – as far as some are concerned. But you will know that in US politics voters regularly condemn “attack ads” but polling suggests it works.

    You won’t have seen them, but the SNP PPBs for the last year or so have taken a totally different strategy –

    h ttp://

    The zealots hate them! I rather like them.

  47. The GDP figures are excellent.

    Labour look completely out of touch,which seeing as its a ‘new team’ is quite an achievement in itself.

    Labour’s spend,spend & spend some more message is going to sink Obama in the USA in their elections shorlty & it will leave Labour looking foolish here also.

    Pimco,the worlds largest global investment management and solutions firm has cut US GDP to 1.75% in 2010 in the last few days.With all the so called ‘stimulus’ & ‘investment’ that is a major setback for Obama.

    What most people fail to realise,trying to inflate bubbles in the consumer is the opposite of what we should be doing,this is what Labour tried to do in Government & what Obama is doing in the USA.

    UK companies are sitting on a mountain of cash,they will only spend it with a clear deficit reduction plan(which we now have) this keeps taxes lower for them,they can then invest in people and equipment,This should be the new growth for the UK economy over the next decade,not more spending by consumers & by the Government,it really is a no-brainer,when are we going to learn?

    House prices should be mundane,as should retail figures every month,instead of the most looked at stats,our problem is obvious.

    Brown’s comment about ending boom & bust is widely misunderstood,it was even more ridiculous than people think,Brown believed we(the UK & the west in general) could give up manufacturing & just grow for ever more selling houses to each other.

  48. @Phil
    “The verb is ‘to clegg’ “
    :) :)
    Thanks for the link. Great stuff. I liked this bit :-

    “Next week: Clegg defends his decision to force the Chilean miners back underground, claims 2 Unlimited were better than the Beatles, and explains why the coalition’s proposed oxygen-rationing scheme will usher in an age of peace and prosperity for all.”

    I may donate the Cleggometer to er – well maybe to science – or to anyone who seeks enlightenment about the mysteries of NC soothsaying, or to all those ex-LD’s who say “May I have my vote back please ?”

  49. Cozmo,

    In our culture ‘to clegg’ is to gather the mucus, saliva etc.. at the back of your thraot (particularly in winter) and spit it out violently and as far and nosily as you can.

    barney informs me that it means something else in Scottish Gallic

  50. @Eoin
    Oooer! I will keep quiet until we learn what the Scottish Gallic meaning is ! I hope it is something pleasant to balance things up.

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