ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian is out. Topline voting intention figures with changes from ICM’s last poll in January are CON 35%(nc), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 18%(+3). The three point Labour lead is very close to Populus’s (who use a similar method to ICM’s), and to YouGov’s four point lead at the weekend (though I still expect that one was a bit of an outlier). The reallocation of don’t knows in Populus and ICM’s polls should be expected to produce slightly lower Labour leads than other pollsters.

More surprising is that 18% for the Liberal Democrats, their highest score since October. We’ve seen quite a lot of variation in the levels of support different companies give the Liberal Democrats this Parliament, but recently it had looked as though they were starting to come together. Looking at all the companies’s most recent polls YouGov have them at 10%, ComRes, Populus and Angus Reid at 11% and MORI at 13% – there’s no obvious explanation for the large contrast with ICM’s figure.

ICM also have some interesting findings on the AV referendum. They have voting intention in the referendum standing at YES 37%(-7), NO 37%(-1), Don’t know 27%(+9). Changes are from the last time ICM asked the question in December – this is the first time that a poll that was not prompted with explanations of the system or pro- and anti- arguments has shown the NO campaign catching the YES campaign. Note that the fieldwork was conducted between Friday and Sunday, the first since Cameron’s and Clegg’s repective pro and anti speeches and the first since the media have starting to devote some attention to the campaign.

UPDATE: YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 11%. After 7 polls in a row with the Labour lead at 7 points or above, including two ten point leads, we’ve now just seen three YouGov polls in a row showing the Labour lead of below 7 points.


96 Responses to “ICM show Lib Dems up and AV and FPTP neck and neck”

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  1. @ Billy

    (As for the public sector – I’m sure a healthy amount of that money has being going towards banks so that they can still pay their ceo’s their bonuses)

    _________________________________________

    To wrongs don’t make a right.

    I’m not defending bankers I am just sick of some local government such as Manchester where they are happily laying off front line staff while keeping their “Diversity Coordinators” et al on £50,000 plus salaries. The Cronyism of the State Sector is just as bad as that in some sector of private businees.

    A plague on both their houses.

  2. The “diversity co-ordinators” is all part of the orchestrated “non-jobs” propoganda of the anti public service press.

    Know any “diversity co-ordinators”? Know what they do?

    Or are you spouting received wisdom and letting your blood be boiled for you?

  3. I am normally just an interested lurker on this site but in the interest of fairness to all Councils :-

    ttp://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20110222/tuk-pickles-under-fire-from-tory-led-cou-45dbed5.html

  4. @Amber

    It appears that Boris intends to increase the number of warranted officers on public transport in London by 413 and reduce the number of PCSOs by 300 and traffic wardens by 210. Seems reasonable to me.

    Interestingly the most vocal attacks have come not from Labour but from Caroline Pidgeon of the LDs on the grounds of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’. I suspect that you’re right that the LDs are campaigning early and trying some brand differentiation at the local level even where there are no locals due.

  5. I don’t know any diversity co-ordinators, and I do think it’s a stupid job title. However, I strongly suspect that a council as large as Manchester requires a senior post to manage and monitor the council’s actions with respect to discrimination legislation. Everything the council does will need to be compliant with a wide range of legislation, and that isn’t going to happen on its own.

    My suspicion is that this post is responsible for disabled access, gender/age/race discrimination in the workplace, recruitment equal opportunities, and probably half a dozen things that haven’t occurred to me… It’s difficult to think of a job title to cover all of those that wouldn’t be a gift to the Daily Mail. But it sounds like a job with major responsibilities and that merits a decent salary.

    To do away with such a post (or its equivalent) would, in the long run, probably cost Manchester CC vast sums wherever they failed to comply with appropriate legislation and were taken to court.

    [Robin. Compliance Officer? Shouldn’t upset the Mail too much – AW]

  6. Robin

    I was interested to see what this covered and found a useful chart by googling

    MEP Diversity & Inclusion Team – STRUCTURE

  7. Can anyone actually define a backroom job as distinct from a front line job?

    This facile oversimplification of organisational structure begs more questions than a bankers beg their bonuses. When one calls up say British Gas and has to answr 15 questions none of which apply to the query and then wait another 15 minutes to speak to an operators who may or may not have the slightest notion of your query or complaint…I think we know the value of good backroom staff in a business.

    Good administration improves the organisation adapitbility of a bank or a school or a hospital and the notion that a good receptionist isn’t a business asset is puerile…

    Experience teaches that best practice effects how everything is done in public or private sectors. And as anyone whose ever managed a cut in a budget knows…freezing recruitment and cutting capital expenditure or front loading cash reductions is the least effective and least efficient way to make things more efficient.

    Those who learn nothing from history are bound to repeat its mistakes. The UK’s cronic infrastructure arose from government always chosing to make the easy cuts. And today we’re about to repeat the same mistake.

    There is also an implicit contradiction in the notion that you want local government and local people to make local choices and then slag them off for making a choice which someone with different idealoogy deems incorrect.

    Then those responsible change the rules…or in the worse cases abolish the authorites. Sound familiar…it should… GLC and other Metropolitan councils in the 1980s….at the very time when those who now complain most loudly about hugh salries paid to local government senior personnel were in the vanguard of paying the market rate for top jobs to transform our local government and public services.

    And so we’ve choice ….which electricity company to use; which train operator to use; which water authority to use but are we better off….

    We’ve paid a high price for the ideological purity of market economics but like the worse zealots when they fail they argue that last time we didn’t go far enough….

    Something comres to mind about holes and stoppibng digging. No it’s easier to blame the backroom bureaucrats , foreigners, Marie Antoinette and the romans leaving us in the lurch. Woe betide we ever blame this mighty princes who got us into the hole we’re digging in the first place.

  8. Cameron has gone on to the front foot attacking Blair and Brown’s legacy of corruption in local government and appeasement of murderous dictators abroad. They can be to Cameron the enemy that unions were to Thatcher.

  9. IFS just released its Feb press release..

    Borrowing on course to be £10bn less than expected.

    A bit of wiggle room for Osborne come March’s budget.. a chance to manipulate the polls round budget time…

    From the point of view of sheer unadulterated geekery, I cannot wait to see if he conjures something to defy the trend that incumbent parties take a hit at budget time…

  10. @Wolf – “attacking… appeasement of murderous dictators abroad.”

    Would that involve reversing the coalition directive about removing restraints on arms exports?

  11. Wolf

    “Cameron has gone on to the front foot attacking Blair and Brown’s legacy of corruption in local government”

    This is an area that interests me. I know of the corruption in West Central Scotland (but UK PMs haven’t controlled that), so I presume you are talking about local government in England?

    Is that corruption endemic in all authorities – or just some? How was this corruption brought about, and what form does it take?

  12. It seems that last month was the first time in 2 years that the tax take was greater than the Government spend.

    This is yet another indicator the Osbourn’s Plan A is on track.

    You don’t have to be a financial genius IMO to realise that earning more than you spend and paying down debt, so as not to pay excesive amounts of interest, is the basis of a secure financial future.

    Good week so far for the Blue Team.

  13. @ Oldnat

    “Cameron has gone on to the front foot attacking Blair and Brown’s legacy of corruption in local government”

    ______________________________________

    Eric Pickles spent a lot of time in local govt in Yorkshire so he knows where to look for the skeletons in the cupboard, and understands well the whiny local govt tactic of lax or downright corrupt financial management, whist blaming the failure to deliver on central government.

    The fact that even some Tory councils are complaining about his severe cuts fills me with hope and optimisum.

    If it ain’t hurtin it ain’t workin. IMO of course.

  14. John Fletcher

    My request for information was specifically about corruption. That is a very specific criminal action, but often difficult to gain the evidence to prosecute (if the proscuters may have some involvement).

    Wolf obviously has evidence of such corruption and a direct link to two previous PMs. Some specificity would be useful.

  15. Oldnat – well, presumably if Cameron has said it we just need to google something like “Cameron corruption local government” it and it will pop up.

    Alternatively it’s the sort of partisan hyperbole that people really shouldn’t be using on the site…

  16. @ OLDNAT

    I take your point.

    In retrospect I will withdraw the “corrupt” from my last post.

    What I should have said is financial mismanagement.

  17. Thanks guys.

  18. “It seems that last month was the first time in 2 years that the tax take was greater than the Government spend.”

    I assume this was for January? So, lots of income tax/NICs on bonuses paid in December plus the VAT increase beginnign to filter through perhaps?

    Is the extra £10bn forecast by IFS for the whole of the tax year?

  19. @_Mike N
    _________________________________________
    I assume this was for January?

    Yes. It won’t be as good as this every month but better than predicted
    __________________________________________
    Is the extra £10bn forecast by IFS for the whole of the tax year?

    Yes

  20. Mike N – probably not bonuses (different companies pay they at all sorts of different times). Far more likely is that it is due to the deadline for paying your self-assessment tax being January 31st.

    My guess (since I can’t be arsed to go and check) is that there will be a spike every January… just last year it wasn’t enough to take it over the govt spend.

  21. If my memort serves me correctly, which is less and less these days, by Aug 2010 the government had undershot on projected borrowing ytd.. to the tun eof £10bn.. Things wnet pear shaped from their, we know that November was shocking borrowing figures.. [the number £25bn is jumping ot the fore of my lobe].

    Last January the government posted its first ever borrowing fo rhte month of January, they required £4.3bn…

    Conceivably, this Jan’s take and possibly Feb’s [let wait and see] was significantly below last year’s Jan Feb, thus canelling out Novemebrs horrnedous figures and retunring equilibrium to the state of play lte summer.

    John F is correct in my view that this Geithener’s words etc.. are favourable news for GO..

    Impact on polls probably zero of course but the wiggle room for MArch 24th could be worht a %… even Joe Schmore tunes in for the budget, that % might just be lessening the damage of the budget, rather than any gain per say…

    apologies is that is incomprehensible.

  22. AW

    Yes, there are peaks and troughs in tax receipts. I’d forgotten about the SA deadline.

    Thanks

  23. Sorry to be a pedant…

    If the extra tax is attributable to SA we should note that the SA return submitted by 31 January 2011 is for tax year 2009/10.

    The amount payable comprises
    – a payment on account for 2010/11 that is based on the tax return for 2009/10
    – plus a payment for any unpaid tax for the 2009/10 after taking into account the tax payments (on account) already made in January 2010 and July 2010. (I think).

    I’ll have to go and look up the details in due course.

  24. @ Robin

    If Labour had no created a politically correct cesspit that costs huge sums of money to try and legislate maybe a diversity co-ordinator would not be needed in the first place?

  25. @Mike N

    Having submitted your 09/10 SA tax return you settle up any outstanding amounts, either payments or refunds, for that tax year in Jan 2011 having already paid the bulk ‘ on account’. You also pay half of the amount calculated for 09/10 as a payment ,on account, towards your 10/11 tax bill. ie a best guess of your 2010/11 tax bill is your 2009/10 tax bill. The second half is due in July 2011 so that the bulk of your taxes for 2010/11 are paid by then. There is then a balancing act in Jan 2012 because the actual 2010/11 tax bill is only then known and the process starts again.

  26. Adam

    By “politically correct cesspit” you mean the laws relating to discriminating on the grounds of sex, race, religioon and age?

  27. For anyone interested in polls around these parts, Ipsos Mori will have a Reuters poll later in the week.

    Mori will also be publishing what I think is their first question on AV, please correct me if they have produced one before..

    Warm regards,

  28. Yes nickp I do. Because I believe that people are a lot more open minded in this country than they are given credit for. You do not need to have so much legislation on these issues because in my opinion there is very little discrimination. These laws go to far and actually cause resentment of other groups and do not improve things. These laws are used and abused by people who sue for millions of pounds. People are scared to have conversations with work collegues incase they say something that is said to be sexist, racist, ageist, homophobic you name it.

  29. @ Adam

    “You do not need to have so much legislation on these issues because in my opinion there is very little discrimination.”

    Would I correct to assume that you are making that totally objective judgement based on being a white, heterosexual male?

    i.e. you personally have never experienced discrimination yourself, so you assume it doesn’t happen to other people.

  30. @ Adam

    Ever thought the lack of discrimination (in your opinion) could be down to the fact that having these laws actually works?

  31. ROBERT C no you would be incorrect. Am i right in asuming you are a racist person and are stupid enough to believe that white people are emune from discrimination. I am a white hetrosexual male but I am someone that has been discriminated against. I work for a london based organisation where I am one of 5 white employees out of 200. I have received emails from a collegue condeming christianity and praising islam, but did I sue for millions no i did not. I spoke to the person concerened and that was that. I did not blame the other 198 people for a single persons act. I have a back bone something this country now lacks. Still carry on with racist comments against white people please.

  32. I am getting of the subject of political correctness now as I have read the comments policy and do not want to cause problems.

  33. Aleksandar
    Thanks – this was my understanding too.

    It crossed my mind that if there was an increase in tax revenues in January and this was (in part or wholly) attributable to SA, then the SA income tax receipts are related to or based on the 2009/10 tax year income, rather than the 2010/11 tax year – if you see my drift.

    I’m sure there’s more to this tax revenue increase than is immediately obvious. (Maybe Barclays Bank paid a bit more in Corporation Tax?) But moving on….

  34. @ Anthony, Nick P

    My guess (since I can’t be arsed to go and check) is that there will be a spike every January… just last year it wasn’t enough to take it over the govt spend.
    —————————————————
    Anthony, your guess is correct.

    After the meltdown, I believe Labour allowed businesses extra time to pay without penalties or charges therefore the income ‘bump’ didn’t happen last year.
    8-)

  35. @ Anthony

    I admire the fact that you are the only person who can use @rsed without auto-mod. I shall know better than to quote you, in future ;-)

    [I have special swearing privileges – AW]

  36. MikeN

    “I’m sure there’s more to this tax revenue increase than is immediately obvious”

    The most important comparison is that with the OBR forecast from last November-which is what the current Budget plan for Public Finances is based on.
    Jan numbers vs last Jan are not really informative.

    THe numbers from the IFS bulletins are as follows :-

    Receipts

    Jan 2011 vs Jan 2010 + 12.4%
    YT Jan 2011 vs YT Jan 2010 +8.4%
    OBR’s last Forecast 2010/11 vs PY + 8.9%

    Current Spending

    Jan 2011 vs Jan 2010 +4.3%
    YT Jan 2011 vs YT Jan 2010 + 6.9%
    OBR’s last Forecast 2010/11 vs PY +5.4%

    Investment spending

    YT Jan 2011 vs YT Jan 2010 -20.5%
    OBR last Forecst 2010/11 vs PY -9.4%

    IN other words:-
    Tax Revenues are increasing marginally below forecast rate of increase.
    Current Spending is increasing by more than the forecst rate of increase.
    Investment Spending is decreasing by substantially more than the forecst rate of decrease.

    YT Jan 2011 trends , if continued to end FY 2010/11 will produce a deficit of £139bn vs last OBR forecst £148.5bn

    I would read into this that whilst Tax revenues are more or less where forecast, current spending is not yet under control.

  37. Colin

    Thanks

    I caught a few bits of the TV prog last night about the financial disaster that has overtaken ROI.

    Just beyond belief what was happening.

    Sorry, off topic.

  38. @ Anthony, Nick P

    My guess (since I can’t be @rsed to go and check) is that there will be a spike every January… just last year it wasn’t enough to take it over the govt spend.
    —————————————————
    Anthony, your guess is correct – at least regarding normal years.

    After the meltdown, I believe Labour allowed businesses extra time to pay without penalties or charges therefore the income ‘bump’ didn’t happen last year.
    8-)

  39. Those following Barney Crockett’s campaign may be interested in this development

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-12541212

    Naturally (in the old joke) he was vice convenor of social care.

  40. @ Adam

    Whoever sent that e-mail should have been disciplined and given a first warning like any other person. You weren’t threatened with the sack or anything, so how were you discriminated against?

    Not sure why I am supposed to be racist against white people, seeing as I AM white. Duh?

    Anyway, I’d rather not continue this conversation because you seem a bit wound up about it.

    @ Mike N

    As regards revenue being on track. The figures for tax receipts, which are a good indicator of economic activity, suggest that economic growth continued in Q4 and is doing so in Q1 and that the ONS first estimate of GDP for Q4 2010 will be revised up markedly. Add that to fairly buoyant business survey data from Markit etc. and I reckon the next quarterly GDP figures, due in the last week of April, are going to look much better than expected.

    That, plus royal wedding etc. could all line up to give the coalition a timely boost before the local elections.

    Alternatively, there is just an outside chance that all the survey data are wrong and GDP is contracting, the weather is awful for the wedding, the No vote surges. At that point, it would all go t**s up for the coalition.

    Events, dear boy, events….

  41. @ Old Nat

    Naturally (in the old joke) he was vice convenor of social care.
    ————————————————-
    Gosh, I assume he was buying; if he was selling, they really will have to look again at MSP’s salaries & expenses. ;-)

  42. Amber

    If he was selling – then some of these guys are spending far too long on the rigs! :-)

  43. @ Old Nat

    :-) LOL :-)

  44. MIKE N
    “I caught a few bits of the TV prog last night about the financial disaster that has overtaken ROI. ”

    Me too-watched the whole prog.

    It put the whole thing into a nutshell.

    All those rotting new houses -absolutely incredible.

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