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. Well the headline figures of this poll are as usual boring as hell. But the attitude to cuts is fascinating. I cannot make my mind up whether the “Irish Question” rings true on this issue, or not.

  2. @Anthony

    “Julian Glover speculates it could be because of news stories about Ireland at the time the poll was being done”

    I’d treat Julian Glover’s commentaries with a bit of scepticism, if I was you. Judging by his regular columns in the Guardian, he’s a staunch coalitionist and I suspect he’s likely to put the very kindest of all possible interpretations on what looks to be a worrying poll for the coalition government. The 5% turnaround in voting intentions in a month is interesting but the change in the mood on the impending cuts could be much more significant in the long term and may well have a lagging effect on VIs. To be absolutely honest, I’m a tad surprised that the mood has shifted so abruptly. I thought the coalition had won the argument on the depth of the cuts that were required, and the speed needed to introduce them in order to reassure the markets, and I didn’t think they’d suffer in the polls until much later when the cuts ceased to be words and became instead a painful reality. Do you reckon Ed Miliband should extend his paternity leave?!?

    One other observation. Yet another major polling company putting the Tories at mid to late 30s. Is the daily YouGov tracker starting to stand out as a bit of a sore thumb?

  3. Well, well. Tory lead grows..

  4. How is that neil??

  5. Difficult to explain as we await Ed M’s far-reaching review. A case of ‘no policies are good policies’? Could be that Dave has been less than impressive at PMQs and is clearly finding the burdens of office demanding. He has lost his fluency and focus. It’s easier to be in opposition!

    I must confess I know very little about Julian Glover.
    But unless he is out and out lieing about the percentages on cuts, I dont see there can be much wrong with what he is saying.

  7. C41 L38 LD11 in tonight’s YG

  8. @JOHN C
    I think Tory, Liberal and Labour alike can be sure the gradual increase in Labour support is to do with cuts and the threat of cuts and more cuts. It has nothing to do with PMQ or Daves tiredness.

  9. julian glover is a wind up merchant, i always enjoy his articles and the response from the regular readers, i mean does any one know if he is a real person?

    but having said that i would be surprised if the Irish situation is not having an effect on the public, i don’t think your average joe is going to understand or want to understand what’s going on but it must feel a little too close for comfort, however in a couple of days the roadshow moves on to Portugal which won’t bother anyone too much. it would be just typical if the banker handout road show turned up here around about april/may

  10. @NEIL A
    I thought thats what you mean’t, you rascal.

  11. @Neil A

    You mean YouGov is even more out of kilter now!!!!

  12. There is certainly a lot of discussion at YG and ICM about this. It has been going on now for too long to be dismissed. I expect that is where AW is tonight.

    I am wonderimng if the YG Panel is too small for nightly polling? yers I know the statistics but 36 to 41 (con) takes some swallowing.

  13. I took a chance on the spellchecker – big mistake :-)

  14. Not sure that the average voter obsess about PMQs nearly as much as some posters on here?

  15. * Latest YouGov/Sun voting intention – CON 41% LAB 38% LDEM 11%
    * Latest government approval: minus 7 (Approve 38%, Disapprove 45%)

    Broad rule of thumb –
    * rioting students, tuition fees: Yellow falls by about 1-2 points, dragging Blue down with them.
    * Ireland defaulting, international credit problems: Blue rises by 1-2 points, dragging Yellow up with them

    Regards, Martyn

  16. @Nick Hadley,

    Out of kilter with your deepest desires, certainly!

  17. Martyn
    I did enjoy and appreciate your piece today. Might one extend the logic to USA? I mean how big does the debt there have to become before we reach Eire status?

    I know they have natural resources and i know we all need them to do business with but…. is there a limit?

  18. Here’s something for folks to think about:
    ICM had the Cons at 41% on 24 June; apart from YG’s panel, that ICM 41% is the only poll which has put the Tories above 40% since the GE.

  19. @Neil A

    “Out of kilter with your deepest desires, certainly!”

    Steady on Neil, I’ve always tried to keep my deepest desires as far away from these pages as I can!!

    By the way, my first e.mail was hogwash (some may say all of them are!) I speed read Anthony’s commentary and thought he’d said opposition to the speed and depth of the cuts were growing. In fact he said the opposite was found by ICM and that Glover thought this might be linked to the Ireland bail out. Silly me and I must try harder in future!

    That said, if support for the coalition’s approach on the cuts is growing, then the 5% switch in VIs from Tory to Labour is surprising in my view. As is the growing disparity between YouGov and most of the other polls.

  20. @Amber,

    Here’s another stat for you…

    Since the general election the only polls that have had Labour at 40 or above are….

    YG’s panel.

  21. @Neil A

    “Here’s another stat for you…
    Since the general election the only polls that have had Labour at 40 or above are….
    YG’s panel.”

    Well, you know what they say, two wrongs don’t make a right!

  22. @Howard

    My knowledge of the States is pretty limited – it’s always a relief when SoCalLiberal asks a question I can actually answer. So I can’t answer with any certainty. The only thing I can tell you is what you already know – namely, the US has, since the Reagan days, run a big debt and deficit (with a wiggle back up during Clinton), but they can afford it because China will buy all the bonds the US wants to sell (the whole Niall Ferguson/Chimerica concept)

    Regards, Martyn

  23. howard

    “is there a limit?”

    i don’t know but i think we might find out soon

    foreclosuregate is moving up the news agenda, and even the mainstream stations are starting to whisper the F word

  24. martyn

    china has slowed down on it’s US bonds buying, they seem to be buying euro paper instead

  25. I see that this has been going on for decades with the Arabian states doing the subsidies and now the Chinese. In fact the whole world is keeping the USA afloat because the alternative is unthinkable.

    Unlike Eire (thanks Richard for updating us) that scenario really would affect VI !.

  26. Still amazingly solid support for the Tories. Lib Dems still no sign of reaching the bottom!

    It is bound to take a long time for Labour to work out what hurts the Tories in terms of political point scoring. So far they haven’t found a way to hit back at the “We are clearing up your mess” argument. It is a bit of a killer. It will remain so until the Tories cause an even bigger mess themselves – and even then with the rich and Murdoch on their side, the Tories will be hard to dislodge.

  27. @Richard in Norway – “julian glover is a wind up merchant, i always enjoy his articles and the response from the regular readers, i mean does any one know if he is a real person?”

    I might be wrong on this, but I think Glover is the partner of Matthew Paris, former Tory MP and now Times writer. If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone out there will correct me, but if I’m right it might help offer some insight into his political leanings.

  28. Back in April when polling was in full swing from various companies it was often said here that YG and ICM were the gold standard.

    There is a consistent and wide difference between these pollsters.

    Which is the fool’s gold?

  29. I have to say I find it an intolerable shame that at the precise moment we need to hear from someone sitting virtually on top of the Irish powder keg, our good friend Eoin has decided to take his leave.

    I’m utterly fascinated to hear what the mood is over there, especially if there are implications for polling over here.

    In a UK context, I’m extremely surprised that there isn’t significant pressure on Osborne to link british support for Ireland to some kind of agreement on taxation rates – the UK exchequer has lost billions with companies transfering their legal entities into Irish juristiction.

    I’m also very torn emotionally about the plight of the Irish. In many ways I wish to see the anger on the streets of Dublin take hold and the bankers and financiers get their just rewards. Unfortunately, in a just world, if the Irish people succeed in forcing the bankers to take their losses that means my pension and pretty much everyone’s savings and livelihoods goes up in smoke along with the banks. What is a radical to do in such times?

  30. alec

    that was a priceless comment

    but yes i agree we are on the horns of a dilemma

  31. Some analysis (mine) from November’s by-elections so far.

    9 by-elections where all 3 main parties stood in the by-election and preceding election. 6 urban seats, 3 rural ones.

    Here’s what I thik is the mean change in the vote (simple average of seats, unweighted by size of seat/turnout etc).
    Urban seats: Lab +11.2%, Con -2.5%, LD -10.1%
    Rural seats: Lab +5.5%, Con -1.1%, LD +1.9%

    Might there be a pattern that’s not showing in the national polls, of the shift in votes from LD to Lab being much more marked in urban areas? Maybe the sample’s too small to draw conclusions yet?

  32. Alec

    “What is a radical to do in such times?”

    Buy gold before you urge revolution, perhaps.

  33. old nat

    you want to put scotland on the gold standard instead of the euro

  34. @Alec

    I have always believed that investment is about risk and reward so I have a suggestion for your dilemma. Take a handful of said bankers to Guantanamo and leave them there ‘pour encourager les autres’. Explain to the rest your new policy and then remind them how much you treasure your pension and everyone’s savings and livelihoods and how large Cuba is.

  35. RiN

    Like Norway, the oil and renewables standard would do Scotland fine.

  36. ‘I might be wrong on this, but I think Glover is the partner of Matthew Paris, former Tory MP and now Times writer. If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone out there will correct me, but if I’m right it might help offer some insight into his political leanings.’

    Glover is the civil partner of Parris I think but he writes for a left-leaning paper, is not a Tory as far as I am aware, and nor would we assume he would be because Parris had been a Tory MP.
    My wife, and her family, are very left-wing, I’m blue, in 10 years of marriage we have respected each other’s views but agreed to disagree (on more than politics I might add!).
    I have read the Guardian daily for 15 years, through thick and thin, because I enjoy reading a different perspective, just as I do here. I don’t see the opinions therein as less worthy, just because they don’t match mine (although Toynbee’s flip-flopping grates ;-) ). They’re all just valid opinions, expressed reasonably, to throw into the mix….

    Having said all that, I’m not a fan of Glover’s style but hey-ho….     

  37. Julian Glover & Andrew Rawnsley are big Coalition fans. Orange Bookers/ Caring Conservatives/ Slightly to the left of our Tony these days.. i.e. they may write for a leftie paper but they write from the right, IMO.

  38. @ Neil A

    I’m in no way suggesting that YG’s panel haven’t overblown Labour at times… but there is a volatility in YG’s results that we are not seeing from other polling companies.

    So, are YG panel members ‘trend setters’ & the other polls will follow where YG leads; or are the panellists overly impressionable compared to the average voter?

    Time will tell.

  39. Despite all the YG “being isolated” I think YG is a very useful poll because of the frequency; it gives us a better impression of what’s going on.
    Although I get the impression that something has gone wrong either last week or this week. Because YG has recorded a set of massive changes in the last week.

    I suspect that 12-16th for YG was the aftermath of student protests. It’ll be interesting to see what happens after this week’s “second wave” of student protests.

  40. Phil,

    I have been looking at by – election results since September every week, and I think that you are right.

    I do see a clear trend in the performance of Urban LDs, and LDs ouside the South and SE. It looks bad.

    These Islands of Yellow look in serous danger of being wiped off the map. I do understand that many of May’s Local Elections are not in these areas, so it may not happen then, but at a later date.

    I also see the rural trend you point out, where Labour are gaining, but still clearly in third place. LDs and Cons are taking a few percentage points off and seats of each other.

    The by election of note last week was Sandwell for me. Lab took a seat off the Cons with a 16% swing, and the LDs finished behind the National Front. Lab have been taking a few seats straight from the Cons across the country. Even in Labour heartlands, in safe seats, Lab have really been piling up the votes too.

  41. @ Martyn

    You’ve answered plenty of my questions and I’ve appreciated the answers (even the non-answers, honesty is better than giving me false information). To be honest, this is one of the more intellectually stimulating political blogs I’ve ever been on (even if some of you guys are a little bit poll obsessive).

    @ Howard

    I hope you saw my response to your question about the experimentation with alternative voting in California (fortunately not in my neck of the woods) in the previous threads.

    Re: U.S. Bonds owned by the Chinese

    One of the reasons that the 2001 Bush tax cuts were so irresponsible is that the U.S., after several years of running surpluses (and paying down the national debt) borrowed money from China to pay for the tax cuts. It would be stupid to extend them (at least in full…I’d favor a descending extension actually) but if Congress does it, I’d hope that Obama gets something good in return. I’m not holding my breath though. Nancy Pelosi was the only one who was effective on the Hill and she’s lost her majority. :(

  42. Is it possible that the YouGov polls that showed a Labour lead last week are being reflected in these polls? And that with the track back, the next polls might show a swing back toward the Tories?

  43. I thought you guys might appreciate this clip because it shows you the great benefit of the UK electoral system. That is, you guys know who your winners are (in constituencies) at one time with every candidate standing on stage at the same time with the final and complete results being read aloud. You don’t have individuals declaring victory before they’ve won in order to jockey for position. :)


    Lesson: Don’t Declare Victory before your race has been officially called. :)

    @ Nick Hadley

    How was the special on JFK? I hope informative. I’m not a JFK hater actually (I’m just not a big fan, if I like any of the Kennedy’s, it was RFK).

  44. Hard to say why YouGov suddenly seem out of kilter with other polls. Historically I’ve always tended to trust ICM’s figures more than any others, though whether I am on firm ground with that is difficult to say scientifically.
    I think Labour should simply say that never mind “clearing up Labour’s mess”, the Tories and Lib Dems are creating an almighty mess of their own. History shows proper recovery isn’t achieved by ruthless cutting. In the USA for example high government spending (mainly on the war) is what finally ended their depression, and the same is true in many other cases.

  45. The problem is that High Government Spending is official Labour policy all the time. The recession is just the latest justification for something that is in the bones.

    After all if spending should rise in a recession, shouldn’t it therefore fall in a boom?

  46. @Barnaby Marder

    “Labour should simply say that never mind “clearing up Labour’s mess”, the Tories and Lib Dems are creating an almighty mess of their own.”

    Hardly a strong message though, is it? “They’re nearly as bad as we were!”

  47. @Garry K
    Thanks for that. I’ll update the figures after this Thursday’s crop but will trust your judgement as an alternative to crunching the numbers back before November.

    In case anyone else fancies a look, here’s a link to the by-election results.
    h ttp://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/byelections/

  48. @ Colin Green

    What mess have they created, hardly any policies have been implemented yet so how can you say that? Wishful thinking perhaps! The polls will move up and down like a yoyo for the forseeable future.

  49. The VI figures for the YG polls are volatile.

    One thing seems reasonably clear from all polls is that Lab are at (least) on or about 38%.

    IMO, therefore the Con and LD figures seem to be the ones that are the cause of YG’s discrepancy with other pollsters figures. These other polls seem to show a higher LD VI, with a resulting lower Con VI. Whereas YG has a lower LD and higher Con (and occasionally Lab) VI.

    The question is … what is the Con’s (and LD’s) real current level of support?

    Sorry if I’ve stated the obvious.

  50. @ Barnaby

    At the moment YouGov produces at least twice as many polls as the others combined, based on this shouldn’t your argument be why the others might be out of kilter with YouGov?

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