ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian has topline figures of CON 36%(-3), LAB 38%(+2), LDEM 14%(-2). Changes are from ICM’s last poll a month ago. It’s the highest ICM have shown Labour, and the lowest they’ve shown the Liberal Democrats, since the election-that-never-was in October 2007. The move towards Labour is, of course, very much in line with other companies who have now all shown Labour overtaking the Conservatives, though the last few YouGov polls have suggested that this may have been a short term shift.

The Guardian’s report also highlights a rather unexpected shift in attitudes to cut. Generally speaking the drift of public opinion has been away from the cuts and towards the idea that they are being done too fast or too deeply. In this month’s ICM poll they found the proportion of people thinking the cuts are going too far down 3 points to 45%, while those thinking they are about right or should go further is up 6 points to 49%. Julian Glover speculates it could be because of news stories about Ireland at the time the poll was being done – which it could be – or alternatively it could just be a blip.

Still to come tonight is the daily YouGov poll.

UPDATE: YouGov’s daily poll tonight has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%. This is quite surprising – all the polling companies (including YouGov, who had Labour ahead for three polls in a row) seemed to be telling the same story – Labour moving ahead of the Conservatives and establishing a small lead. Since then the last two YouGov polls have shown the Conservatives pushing back ahead – perhaps it’s a fading effect from the tuition fees row, or perhaps the situation in Ireland is indeed having an effect. It’ll be interesting to see YouGov’s economic trackers when they start rolling around, to see if they echo the movements in ICM’s monthly tracker.

77 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – 36/38/14”

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  1. YouGov tend to be slightly higher on both the Conservatives and Labour – I suspect this is purely a knock on effect from the Lib Dems (voting intention sums to 100. It’s well established that YouGov have been showing the lowest scores for the Liberal Democrats in recent months, hence their scores from CON & LAB are proportionately higher.)

    In terms of the Labour and Conservative positions relative to each other, I can’t really point to any significant house effects between pollsters. All companies have been showing much the same leads and much the same long term trends.

    The last two YouGov polls have shown the Conservatives back ahead – what they have suggested is a short term boost for Labour around the tuition fees protests, which rapidly unwound again. We don’t have any short term trend data from any other company to compare that to, so it’s impossible to say it that picture matches or is different to anyone else.

  2. The interpretation of the numbers is the most important thing about numbers. In this case, if you look closely you will see an almost one for one negative correlation between the libs and labour polling fortunes. The recent slip back by labour was to due a slight increase in libs support.

    For me current news is not so important as the political trends. Are the libs finished as a political entity? Who are the core lib voters? What would happen if the libs started to attack the cons before the next election? What happens if lib backbenchers were to walk on student tuition fees? What happens when the cons steady support (buttressed by the lib dems taking the hits) starts to deteriorate as the cuts increase post christmas? Is anyone brave enough to celebrate christmas this year?

  3. AW

  4. Can we not make stupid remarks about highly established polling compamies because they do not poll the results we would wish for. It got totally out of hand in the run up to the GE, but at least then it mattered. At the present time, a few % points one way or the other is of the greatest indifference and will be for the next 4 plus years. We all understand trends, we all (should) understand attitudes to important issues, EG 65% support debt reduction, or whatever. These things are important, but “YOU ICM are tossers co’s they knocked back my party” is not acceptable.

  5. Phil,

    Just looking over Thursdays by-elections, the one in Bradford’s Worth Valley could be an interesting one.

    The seat was vacated by a Councillor (Con) who won in Keighley at the GE. In 2008 he won it as follows:

    Con 60.0%
    Lab 24.9%
    LD 7.6%
    Green 7.5%

    In May this year it was (different Councillor):

    Con 45.4%
    Lab 30.5%
    LD 18.1%

    Without the obvious incumbancy factor of the chap who became an MP, with fresh candidates a 7.5% swing from Con to Lab will win for Labour. It could be worth seing how the LD Vote holds up, and where it may go. Here’s my bet:

    Con 42%
    Lab 40%
    LD 8%

  6. @ Socialliberal

    “How was the special on JFK? I hope informative.”

    You asked it from Nick Hadley, but in any case here’s my opinion.

    Andrew Marr made an awful programme – in order to make it more magazin-like, he even tried to act some of the figures involved in the 1960s. Those involved got very little time to express their opinion.

    He was mistaken by claiming that advertisement (1 minute ones) and parallels with commercials were unique (or rather first in political history) to this campaign. From a major political commentator I would have expected that he knew Marya Mannes’s comment on the 1952 (!) campaign:

    Hail to BBD and O
    It told the nation how to go
    It managed by advertisement
    To sell us a new President.

    Eisenhower hits the spot,
    One full General, that’s a lot.

    Feeling sluggish, feeling sick?
    Take a dose of Ike and Dick.

    Philip Morris, Lucky Strike,
    Alka-Seltzer, I like Ike.

    Otherwise, the usual stuff: the money, the organisation of the campaign, the nomination (though how the Kennedys utilised the media to increase the pressure was underplayed), his health problems and the projected image, the television debate.

    Really, the only great point, although not a major one, was close the race was.

  7. @Anthony

    Looking at the last few detailed tables, there’s a positive correlation between YouGov’s recalled 2010 vote and the size of the Conservative lead over the past week.

    Here’s the data from the 15/16 Nov tables onwards:
    2010 Con/Lab Con Lead
    1.072 -5
    1.149 0
    1.112 0
    1.189 2
    1.210 3

    So for example in the latest table of 21/22 Nov
    656 Con/542 Lab = 1.210

    To me, this definitely suggests that some of the fluctuation is due to sampling effects that are not
    eliminated by weighting, and the Con lead has been growing as more of the (reweighted) sample has been drawn from past Con voters. As the actual ratio of Con/Lab vote in the GE was 1.243, it also suggests that the reweighting has been more credible in the recent polls i.e. that a 3% Con lead could be the reality and the 5% Lab lead was a rogue poll.

  8. @LASZLO
    pedant alert.

    “Eisenhower hits the spot,
    One full General, that’s a lot.”

    Ike was more than a “full” General (4 star.) He was in a fact a General of the Army (5 star.) Therefore I have writtern a new verse.

    Ikes a General of the Army, Tricky Dickies very smarmy.

  9. Royal Wedding 29 April 2011.

    Less than a week before the AV referendum and the Scottish & Welsh elections – if they are, indeed, to be coincident.

  10. Roland


  11. Phil –

    On the first part, absolutely – in fact most fluctuation between polls will be from normal sampling error.

    On the second part, no – there will be some false recall even in data collected on election day or straight afterwards, so polls with recalled vote shares closest to the actual votes shares in 2010 are not necessarily those with the most representative samples.

  12. @Anthony

    Thanks for that and I’ll of course accept your expert judgement on the second point.

    On the first, my point is not just that this points to fluctuations dues to sampling, but also that the changes in the 2010 recalled vote share are providing a pointer to the direction in which each poll is likely to change. So once you know that the reweighted ratio of past Cons to Lab has gone up since the last poll, it’s possible to anticipate that the Cons lead will most likely have increased.

  13. @ Roland


    Thanks. And it’s a good verse :-)

  14. @SocialLiberal

    Haven’t watched the JFK programme yet. I was out carousing when it was first broadcast but I’ve taped it and will probably watch it this weekend, assuming that is, that I’m not distracted by a stunning display by my beloved Villa against Arsenal! That, if it occurs, will gain top priority, obviously! I was intrigued by Laszlo’s comments and will bear them in mind when I watch the programme. If he’s right, then that’s disappointing because you can usually rely on the good ship Marr making a very watchable programme.

    @Amber Star

    You’re spot on about Glover but Rawnsley’s a much more difficult journalist to pigeon-hole. My theory about him, as stated yesterday, is that his unrequited love for Blair still burns brightly and woebetide those who brought about his downfall. This has caused him to take all sorts of twists and contortions in his political stances and I thought he became more resolutely anti Brown than pro anything very much else. He’s no Tory though and I haven’t detected much warmth for the Lib Dems either. He’s an enigma wrapped up a sheet of the Observer!


    Now that is an interesting one about Glover being the civil partner of the old Tory MP, now Times columnist, Parris. Well I never and I’m not sure I will ever be able to read another Glover column in quite the same light ever again! These wheels within wheels intrigue me, though. Did you know that Jackie Ashley, the Guardian columnist and fairly pro Ed Miliband columnist, is Andrew Marr’s wife?

    The tangled webs that media folk weave, hey? It’s true what they say about politics and journalism, isn’t it? Nothing is as it first appears and we all get our received wisdom through very contorted lenses at times. What next? Peter Oborne is the secret partner of Peter Hitchens??!!

  15. Is it possible to find the voting intention for parties like UKIP, the Greens etc. as I find just ‘Others’ a bit too vague,

  16. Should the eurozone and eu collapse as I predict it will in next few years will UKIP voters return to the Tories?

  17. @ADAM
    A lot of them are BNP in Tory clothing Adam. I am not sure we would want them. But I suppose if their only real difference was Europe, and assuming your scenario is correct, then I suppose they would come back. The other point is, by then the Tories may be not just in bed with the Liberals, but married to the more sensible ones. I know that the present Tory leadership sees a better future with such people than with Farage and co.

  18. @Nick Hadley – Re Julian Glover, after I posted last night I remembered a story from a friend who knows Glover/Paris well. He told me that Glover is very close to the Cleggs, and that when Nick was considering running for Lib Dem leader he asked his wife’s opinion.

    According to the story, she wasn’t wasn’t very happy about it but agreed to support him only after being persuaded ‘that it wasn’t going to go anywhere’.

    On other matters – the markets are very jumpy about the irish bailout and there seems to be a lack of confidence that it will work, especially with a couple of independents vowing to vote against the critical budget on which it all hangs.

    Meanwhile, Portugal’s core debt has increased by 1.8% GDP, despite austerity measures. Even if Ireland holds, Portugal is likely to go, and if Portugal goes, it will be very hard to stop Spain tumbling. If Spain bombs, it’s too big to save. It would be much worse than Lehmans. No one has written down the debt – it’s still out there, but just being shifted around.

    I know Colin thinks I’m a depressive, but honestly folks – this is really serious.

    Even if we get through this with some sense of market order, there is an additional consideration for the UK and our current weak pound/strong export strategy. Apart from the problems of exporting to countries whose economies have collapsed, this is likely to either cause the Euro to fall relative to the pound or alternatively split the Eurozone with several countries leaving and allowing their curencies to fall.

    Either way, much of UK’s export markets will get much harder to trade with and Osborme’s strategy will struggle to get the growth he needs.

  19. “I know Colin thinks I’m a depressive, but honestly folks – this is really serious. ”

    Of course it is serious Alec.

    Who could not agree?

    I don’t think anyone has any idea what the true level of EU banks’ impaired loan assets is.

    EU/ECB seem simply to be papering over the cracks to me. It is the Euro they are trying to save & with it the EU.
    The straightjacket into which PIGS are being squeezed doesn’t help any of them to grow their economies.

  20. @Colin – I think it’s very much trying to save the EU – or at least, their version of the EU.
    In my view the biggest problem (and this goes wider than the EU) is that there has no attempt to work out how the debts will be written down, whoever ends up losing out. Debts that no longer bear any relation to market values are being shifted around with no one any the wiser as to what their true worth is and how they will be returned to the market place at the proper price.

  21. Alec

    Totally agree.

    Further-if ROI is an example- Banking Debt has become Sovereign Debt, because EU/ECB cannot countenance Bank Stakeholders taking the losses ( despite Merkels disastrous attempt to suggest it )

    So ECB is propping up this whole edifice of Bank Losses on Real Estate value impairment PLUS Sovereign Public Finances deficits in a mad merrygoround of paper .

    It can’t last-somewhere, somehow those losses have to be recognised.

    Are we going to see the weaker Sovereigns leave the Euro, devalue & default ?

  22. The whole thing is crazy especially Ireland, there has to be a way of making the banks accountable without screwing the rest of the economy. As it is Ireland is being dragged down by the banks and the markets, the markets are then demanding cuts and austerity which has made the deficit worse and they get into a vicious cycle. Yet still there are cries of let the markets free whilst the bankers laugh as they fill their pockets with huge bonuses and the ordinary person suffers. The world gone crazy.

  23. A copy of a post on another thread:

    This is a follow on from Alec’s posts on the last thread regarding Ireland, Portugal and Spain (or back to the misery…)

    I do not pretend to understand the way the global capitalism really works, and my economics is probably no better than O Level.

    Does anyone else feel unnerved that the international financial system appears to be picking off countries with ‘weaker’ economies, and pushing them into the clutches of the IMF etc?

    I am not saying that Ireland and Greece haven’t been at least partially responsible for being vulnerable, but it does seem once an economy has been identified as weak, the pressure to breaking points comes very swift and hard. Surely historically economies have been weak, but not gone through this trauma so fast and hard?

    Ultimately who really benefits from the IMFs medicine? Is the the IMF solution one size fits all?

  24. Garry K
    I agree, falling into the hands of the IMF is a bit like falling into the hands of some dark criminal.

  25. @garryK – the trouble is, the classic IMF solution is for a bailout with severe and sharp austerity conditions attached, working alongside a big currency devaluation. This risks importing inflation, but the austerity measures ensure this doesn’t matter (essentially it internalises the pain on the countries citizens in a sharp shock).

    The flip side is that the export economy has a rare old time as it undercuts the competition due to the weak currency. This is the avenue out of the crisis, with the IMF paying the bills until the exports flow.

    It hurts, but it often works. It can’t work with ireland though, unless and until they escape from the Euro.

    @Colin – “Are we going to see the weaker Sovereigns leave the Euro, devalue & default ?” Short answer – yes.

    BTW – if anyone is holding Euros, check the serial numbers. Each country issues it’s own Euros and has a set of issuing numbers. I’m afraid I can’t tell you which are which, but I suggest you find out and dump any from Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, and probably Italy as well. If they leave, these will be devalued and you’ll lose a lot.

    @GrahamBC – I too can’t really understand the global system. I did ponder in a post some time ago whether support from central banks to the banking sector could have taken a different form. I’m not an expert in international finance, but I did wonder that if central banks had used quantative easing to buy out individual people’s mortgages (particularly those in arrears) the capital would still have gone to the banks with the difference that real people would be left with more money to spend and boost the economy.

    The only thing I can see wrong with this is the inherent unfairness that some lucky, and possibly undeserving people get their mortgages paid off. But would they be less deserving than bankers?

  26. It almost feels like a bizarre conspiracy. When studying Economics is amused to discover that on of the underpinnings for monetarist/Thatcherite econimics was the theory of Rationala Expectations. This had as part of its model the assumption that all consumers had perfect foresight, how completely unrealistic yet 30 years of politics and econimcs have had this as its base.

  27. Graham BC,

    I fully agree with you.

    The world economic system has ruled for decades, barely regulated, and when it messed up (the credit crunch), the only solution offered is an bail out with strings attached that in effect reduces the power of the state to run it’s services and forces cuts that hurt the poorest, and pushes more and more aspects of a Sovereign country’s life into the hands of the private sector.

    So to summarize, global, private finance takes over, then messes up, and the only cure is giving more power to global private finance. Isn’t that handy?

    I can see that the Credit Crunch was probably useful to World Finance in the long run, now it has made beggars of the people of Greece, Ireland and more to come.

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