ICM’s final call poll for the AV referendum is very similar to the ComRes poll yesterday. Topline figures are YES 32%, NO 68% – a landside victory for NO.

The poll included respondents from Northern Ireland and was conducted on Monday and Tuesday (the Guardian report says somewhat cryptically “The bank holiday made it more difficult to reach some voters, but figures for the state of the parties have been adjusted to take account of any imbalance in the sample” – which sounds intriguing, but I expect just means “it was weighted”)

ICM also included standing voting intention, with topline figures of CON 36%(+1), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 15%(nc)

92 Responses to “Final ICM poll shows landslide for NO”

1 2
  1. I’d really just like to echo what many of you have said about the ‘yes’ campaign.

    It really was an anemic campaign at best, with no momentum and endless b-list celebs. They completely failed to explain AV and why specifically it is better than FPTP in multi-party democracies. The first referendum broadcast for the yes camp was TERRIBLE.

    The ‘no’ campaign was vicious and executed with precision. It assumed the British public were reactionary and stupid, and by and large, they are.

    I very much in the ‘yes’ camp, I even donated to the campaign – but I have to say, we failed miserably. To the victor, the spoils.

  2. Anthony Wells

    When analysing the English local election results for the BBC tomorrow, please bear in mind that a simple seat count could paint a very misleading picture of what is actually happening. Thats basically because the majority of shire districts are electing three councillors compared to only one in a met district, and also because ward sizes are much smaller in shire districts than in mets.

    To illustrate the point, here are some ball park figures:

    In met districts, there are about 820 seats up for election (1/3 of the total), in districts with a total population of 11.4 million (note population not electorate as I don’t have stats for the latter, but it serves well enough to illustrate the point). That’s about 14,000 for each councillor to be elected.

    In unitaries, there are roughly 2100 seats (say 2/3rds of the total) in districts with a population of about 11 million (about 90% of the total unitary population lives in areas electing at least 1 councillor). That’s about 5,200 (very roughly) for each councillor.

    In shire districts, there are very roughly 6700 seats (say 3/4 of the total) in districts with a population of about 20 million (about 95% of the shire district population lives in areas electing at least 1 councillor). That’s about 3,000 (very roughly) for each councillor.

    So for every councillor up for election in a met district, there are likely to be at least 4 and perhaps 5 times as many people eligible to vote as in a shire district.

    Put another way, about 27% of the people entitled to vote in local elections tomorrow live in metropolitan districts. But only 9% or so of council seats contested in those same elections are in met districts.

    Why does this matter? Well if you just concentrate on the number of seats changing hands, your conclusions will be based almost entirely on the numbers emerging in shire districts, with very little consideration of the pattern in mets. So if the LD vote collapses to Labour in urban metropolitan areas, but holds up better in shire districts, a simple focus on seats gained and lost would mainly reflect the latter pattern only. Labour could make absolutely stonking gains in the mets, yet it would still have relatively little impact on the count of seats changing hands.

    No doubt the simplistic seat counts will lend themselves to instantaneous analysis. But whatever advice you give, please don’t be sucked into that game and counsel for consideration of the bigger picture.

  3. @ Phil,

    Doesn’t share of the vote do the trick, and the corresponding change from the last time these seats were contested?

    I imagine someone will also do a “if this was repeated at an election” scenario.

    Simple “Labour gain 1000 seats” could be misleading.

  4. @Adrian B
    “Doesn’t share of the vote do the trick”.

    Yes done properly it would do, but it has to be done properly rather than extrapolated from seats gained and lost. There are also other dangers:
    1. In the rush to instantaneous analysis, it’s the seat count that will be concentrated on.
    2. Even in more considered analysis, it may be the seat count that will be concentrated on. For weeks I’ve seen loads of discussion about benchmarks based on targets of seats gained and lost, and very little based on gains or losses in share of the vote, so it’s fairly obvious what will get more attention.
    3. To draw implications for the GE, you still have to build in the fact that some parties traditionally do better in local elections than GEs (i.e. the LDs) and discount that difference.

  5. Found this on the No2AV site… a quote from Andy Burnham from last November:

    “Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, has sold electoral reform campaigners short by agreeing to hold the AV referendum on the same day as the local and national elections. The referendum should have been held on its own day, when the yes and no campaigns could have argued it out. Our sole priority has to be, and will be, winning in Scotland, and Wales, and doing well in the local elections.

    It would be a recipe for chaos and confusion if Labour candidates were also supporting AV in their literature. The election and referendum campaigns have to be separate and distinct.”

    There is also a discussion of the whys and wherefores of Ed Milliband not sharing a platform with Nick Clegg… though I think also there is perhaps a little too much history concerning Clegg’s autocratic attitude towards the previous Labour leader and PM.

    I for one don’t understand why anyone should be swayed either by animosity or other emotion on this issue, but alas as I have said before, many voters find it too much bother to really follow the argument of just one politician, let alone listen to the whole lot and then rank them in order of preference.

  6. As Mike Smithson pointed out recently, it will be very interesting to look at the council results by parliamentary constituency.

  7. Adrian B

    You spotted my irony then… ;-)

  8. To illustrate the dangers of basing judgement on seat counts further by taking some extremes.

    In Birmingham, the whole of the electorate is entitled to vote tomorrow, but only 1 in 3 councillors in each ward is up for election. 40 seats are being contested, the population is 1.042 million, that’s 26,000 people per seat.

    In rural Melton, likewise everyone can vote in a whole council election. 28 seats are being contested, the population is 49,000. That’s 1,750 people per seat.

  9. The AV referendum count is not starting until 4pm. What’s more, as each area finishes, they then report to the regional centres. Depending on how public the declarations are (and how wide the margin is), it could be into the evening before we know the result.

    Not that we don’t already know it.

  10. Danivon

    yep- Labour will get a days worth of good coverage (and in Wales a few days worth).

    But in England and Scotland its going to get drowned out at the weekend by the SP and the Referendum- former negatively drowned out/ latter just drowned out in the rush to analyse where ‘yes’ got it wrong.

  11. Phil,

    I’m pretty sure that the BBC usually do a projection of a national GE vote share based on a sample of council wards.

  12. Fandango,


  13. If all of us who are going to vote yes get out early, maybe we could build up a bit of momentum, get the word out on Twitter??


  14. Or even West Somerset. 31 seats, 35,700 people. 1,150 people per seat.

    Birmingham has 23 times as many people per seat. But a seats gained/lost count treat both as of equal importance.

  15. @Danivon

    But why then do the likes of Rallings and Thrasher (or is it Thresher?) bother with such arbitrary and potentially misleading seat count targets?

  16. The arrogance of some posters here is unedifying to say the least. So because yestoav loses then thats because joe public are stupid and reactionary and the Tories vicious. Amazing. has it ever occured to any of you that AV is not well liked because it isnt fairer or simpler. Its a diaster of miss matched dogma that pleases no one except those it might improve chances of being elected, ie minority parties. I’m sorry but I voted No as I dont want to be dictated to by parties that get the lowest percentage of peoples votes. Simple

  17. What is the betting that the landslide won’t actually be this big, No might win just over 60% and then the Yes Campaign will pat themselves on the back for doing so well by stopping the No campaign getting 68% and they’ll be congratulating themselves on a job well done, even though they got wiped out by 20+ percentage points?

  18. @BillyBob
    ‘It would be a recipe for chaos and confusion if Labour candidates were also supporting AV in their literature. The election and referendum campaigns have to be separate and distinct.”

    If Cons and LDs do badly, I hope that Andy Burnham will gracefully accept their excuse that the Cons and LDs were concentrating on the Referendum and that is why they did poorly. Some how I don’t think so! This sounds more like an attempt to patch the split in the Lab party and gloss over the fact of the failure of so many senior figures and members of the Lab Party to back the very electoral reform system that Lab had in its GE election platform.

    Neither Con nor LD wanted AV, it was Labs choice. If it fails, then Lab should be honest enough to shoulder its share of the blame. It won’t of course, it will snipe triumphally at the LDs, who did try to back a system they NEVER wanted, was NEVER their preferred option and in which they were NEVER wholeheartedly committed.

  19. Rob Sheffield

    “Referendum result apparently released Friday afternoon/ Scots counting on Friday morning. Wales is also starting on Friday morning as well.

    So tomorrow night seems to be only the BE and the majority- but not all- of English locals.

    A good night for Labour then”

    If by “Friday morning” you mean after midnight, then you may be right for Scotland. However, most areas are counting overnight. Only 3 council areas are delaying the Holyrood count until 9am on Friday.

    Referendum counting won’t start anywhere until 4pm on Friday. That means that the Scottish/Welsh/Northern Ireland results (probably the areas with highest turnout) won’t be available until the evening. The rest of you are going to have to wait for the Celts, before you know the final result. :-)

  20. @Rob Sheffield

    I did reply to your comments on Bristol. Did you get it?

  21. @Adian B

    ‘Nick Clegg had christened it a “miserable reform”


    ‘AV is not really a brilliant reform. It is marginally more proportional, and marginally leads to more coalitions and makes marginally more seats competetive but hardly at all.’

    Brilliant summary of why Clegg made his original AV statement. ;)

  22. Even though I was a late convert to the Yes cause in the AV Referendum, originally inclined, as I was, to vote No in order to play a longer game with genuine PR as the eventual prize, it is quite obvious to me that there is no passion or zeal involved in the Yes campaign. The reason? Well, it’s because it is a halfway house between FPTP and a truly proportionate system and who can get excited about a halfway house?

    I don’t think even someone with the oratorical skills of Luther King could get his rhetorical juices flowing about a cause as lukewarm as AV. “I have a dream that one day we’ll have a voting system that’s slightly better than the one we already have……………….where votes are counted on the content of their preferences rather than the colour of their ballot papers”. Well, you get the gist, don’t you. It has proved a hard sell and, as Rob S has pointed out, Clegg was outmanoeuvred to an embarrassing extent during the brief period in the coalition negotiations when he had maximum leverage. A Referendum on AV at this stage of the Parliament was a hospital pass from Cameron that he should never have accepted when he could have got so much more. Weak and disastrous leadership that both the supporters of PR, and the Lib Dems, will rue for generations to come.

    I read a letter in the Guardian today that I thought neatly encapsulated the weakness of AV vis-a-vis a genuinely proportionate voting system. The writer pointed out a key, sometimes overlooked, feature of the way most of us vote in General Elections. In the main, we don’t vote for an MP, we vote for a party that we want to form the Government. He put it very neatly like this; “PR recognises that people vote primarily for parties and that is why their votes count as national as well as at local level for a specific candidate. AV would still not address this failing and that is why it is a poor, even if a slight, improvement on the present system”.

    And who the hell can get passionate about a “poor, even if a slight, improvement”? Much easier to get excited about resisting change, hence the No bandwagon. All very sad.

  23. Yougov.

    Lab 40
    Cons 36
    Libs 11

    Gap closing, it seems.

  24. On tonight’s polling, I reckon we could be in for an interesting day tomorrow. Looks like the Tories may not have a disastrous day in the local elections after all.

  25. @RogerG

    ‘according to last week’s New Statesman poll the strongest support for AV comes from BNP voters. It’s all a bit bizarre.’

    Dare one suggest that one aspect of the AV system is the opportunity for smaller parties before an election to bargain with larger parties on policies with the offer/threat of advising their supporters to use their alternate vote to support the larger party. Hopefully BNP never get strtong enough to be a major threat of a substantial number of seats, but in tight marginals under AV their ‘bargained support’ could be crucial.

    I suspect the BNP have realised that opportunity to expand its influnce base as opposed to its electorial base.

  26. Final YouGov AV poll

    NO-60% YES-40%

    It’s also worth noting for the Labour voters out there that if you look at the unweighted sample in tonight YouGov VI poll you’ll see the Tories ahead.

    Worth keeping an eye at least.

  27. Why would anyone bother to look at unweighted figures?

  28. @Timothy
    “We will be back into red-blue politics. I do, however, advocate open primaries for people on the right or left to determine what they want .’

    Bedford tried an open primary for the Con nomination as Mayor in a by-election. The result was that the primary seemed to be ‘hijacked’ by non Con, selected a Con candidate that most Con members did not want.
    At the byelection many Con supporters rebelled and the LDs won a surprise victory for Mayor. Disgruntled Cons left the party and became Ind councillors instead, thus depriving Con of its lead party status.

    Whilst some may wish that to happen to all Con councils, it is a salatory lesson that open primaries can go badly astray. Open primaries mean members outside the party have a choice in the party candidate. Since it is meant to be a party candidate it should only be party members that decide.

    Imagine the result if Lab leadership elections were open to Con and LD MPs and supporters to chose who they would prefer as Lab Leader. ;0

  29. For what it’s worth, here’s my prediction for the Local Council Election results: –

    Labour – 37%
    Conservatives – 33%
    Lib Dems – 16%.
    Others – 14%

    In terms of council seats, Labour will be the biggest winners, gaining about 1000 seats, but I think the Lib Dems will avoid a complete rout, performing above expectations, albeit on a patchy and uneven basis. The Tories, defending most of the council seats, will be the biggest losers, but they’ll be able to put a decent spin on it, claiming a better showing than predicted. I’d be very surprised indeed if they get the 36-37% that they’re currently achieving in the opinion polls, though. Turn out will be key, although I predict an above average poll by local election standards, with the AV Referendum bring a few more to the booths than would normally pay a visit.

    Labour to win an overall majority in Wales and run the SNP a much closer race in Scotland than polls predict, but Salmond to lead a minority SNP Government in Holyrood.

    The AV Referendum? Closer than polls suggest, but the Nos have it 57% to 43%.

    I’m off to Ladbrokes in the morn!

  30. @Crossbat11

    ‘I’m off to Ladbrokes in the morn!’

    Should bother, they still won’t give you your shirt back!


  31. @FrankG

    “Should bother, they still won’t give you your shirt back!”

    They’ve still got my trousers after I wagered them on a 100 seat Labour majority at the last General Election!

  32. @Phil
    “But why then do the likes of Rallings and Thrasher (or is it Thresher?) bother with such arbitrary and potentially misleading seat count targets?”

    Well, the seat count targets are indications of the effects of the polls, and along with the number of councils controlled are not completely irrelevant. R&T are local election geeks, after all.

    But if you want to use local election results it to indicate the national picture, you need to account for the variations in seat size mentioned above.

  33. @FrankG

    “I suspect the BNP have realised that opportunity to expand its influnce base as opposed to its electorial base.”

    I thought it bizarre because both groups were voting contrary to the policy of their parties. There’s pretty unanimous agreement that the BNP would not benefit from a switch to AV. Maybe their membership is particularly stupid, though.

  34. Re. AV, I’m pretty much in agreement with Peter Kellner:

    “I think I am Britain’s longest-serving public supporter of AV. I first advocated it in the New Statesman in the early 80s. And I like it for itself – I am opposed to PR. That said, I don’t regard the issue with the passion that some on both sides do. I happen to think AV is the best (or least worst) system for the Commons today. I have no problem with PR for Scotland or Wales – and think PR would be good for local government. But I like a majoritarian, constituency-based system for choosing the forum from which our government emerges.”

  35. In all likelihood BNP are the largest supporters because they will benefit most after the Lib Dems. A BNP voter knows under FPTP his vote is essentially wasted, but under AV, he can vote for BNP, then he can get another vote for say English Democrats, and then can get another vote for UKIP, and another vote for Labour. Instead of wasting his vote under FPTP, AV would allow him 4 votes. So that is why the average BNP supporter supports AV.

    I am however surprised at the Liberals. I thought they would be the biggest supporters of it as AV would guarantee them a seat in government after every election, albeit, only as the Junior partner.

  36. With the vote counting tommorow, does anyone know if there will be exit polls? And will their be a breakdown in the actual vote by constituency? I doubt AV will fall by this large a margin but it will fall. The attacks on politicians in order to promote the system were offbase. And the attempts to bring in Labour voters didn’t move Labour voters to favor AV so much as it moved Tories to oppose.

    @ Charles Stuart (from a few threads back)

    “Yes, but they have probably only one chance. Their next leader needs to be someone really good, both politically and in terms of charisma/popular appeal. Come 2015, he or she needs to lead the campaigning and take the fight to the other parties. If the other parties lead and take the fight to the Liberals, I see the Liberals heading into a terminal decline.

    I think that Canada, like the US, is not a country where European-style social democracy can thrive. The NDP does not directly compare to Labour or other left-of-centre European parties.”

    I think that simply getting a new leader is not going to be enough for the Liberals to turn themselves around. I mean they’ve done that for several years now and after the latest leader, they’re at teh worst point they’ve ever been. I think though there’s a bigger problem for them being in 3rd place. Center-left voters who oppose the Conservatives are going to vote for the center-left party who has the best chance at winning. Prior to this election, that party was the Liberals. It’s not anymore. And it appears that in Ontario, they lost because of their own voters switching to the Conservatives to keep out the NDP, which makes it hard to figure out an alliance of the NDP. So it’s tough for them.

    And their leader may have been lousy (I kinda find it hilarious how the Brits and Scots on this site who’ve got little interest in the Canadian election seem to really dislike Michael Ignatieff…..I can’t imagine what Canadians think) but to drop as they have is for deeper reasons than just their leader. I’m not a Stephen Harper fan but I can’t complain about his reelection victory (first of all because I’m thankfully not a Canadian and second of all because Harper will continue forward to buy billions worth of U.S. manufactured fighter jets).

  37. How about some local council info to pass the time:

    Metropolitan Borough Councils

    I would like to make the following predictions:

    Labour will retain control of Barnsley,Coventry,Doncaster,Gateshead,Knowsley, Liverpool, manchester,Rotherham, St Helens,Salford, Sandwell, S Tyneside, Sunderland, Tameside,Wakefield, Wigan and Wolverhamton.

    Con will retain control of Dudley and Trafford.

    I will now deal in more detail with some of the others.

    Walsall – currently Con controlled
    Current holding 33 Con,18 Lab, 6LD, 3 Oth
    31 required for control
    Up for election 12Con,4Lab, 2LD, 2Oth
    Start count holdings
    Con 21
    Lab 14
    LD 4
    Oth 1
    Virtually impossible for Lab to win control, so to become largest party is only viable goal. To stop Con from overall control Lab needs to take 2 Con seats more than Con gains from LD/Lab/Ind. To get largest party Lab must win all its own seats, the 2 LD, the 2 Oth and 6 Con seats out of the 12 Con seats. Likely outcome therefore NOC with Con as the largest party.

    Newcastle upon Tyne LD control
    Currently 42LD, 34 Lab, 2Ind with 40 needed for control.
    Up for election 9Lab, 16LD, 1 Ind
    Start count holdings
    LD 26
    Lab 23
    Ind 1
    Lab needs to take 2 LD seats more than LD gain from Lab/Ind. This is very likely.
    For overall control Lab must hold its own 9 seats and take 7 of the 16LD and 1 Ind. I think this is quite feasible. So my prediction is Lab just gaining overall control from LD.

    Stockport Current LD control
    Holdings 35LD, 13 Lab, 9Con, 6 Ind
    32 required for control
    Up for election 2Con, 5Lab, 13LD 1 Ind
    Start count holdings
    LD 22
    Lab 8
    Con 7
    Ind 5
    3LD losses more than gains means LD loses contol. Lab cannot take control as start holdings 22+7+5 already add up to 34. To become largest party Lab must hold its own 5 seats and take a further 11 of the 13LD plus 1 of the Con/Ind – a very difficult task. Likely therefore that it will fall to NOC with LD the largest party.

    Now I will concentrate on the difficult ones – those currently with No Overall Control (NOC).

  38. I admire the Labour spin doctors in getting their message across.

    We are told by the pollsters that 90% of Tory voters agree with their leader’s recommendation on the referendum.
    We are told by the pollsters that 75% of LibDem voters agree with their leader’s recommendation on the referendum.
    We are told by the pollsters that only 40% of Labour voters agree with their leader’s recommendation on the referendum.

    Yet the message that the media have followed is straight from the Labour spin doctors. “Clegg in trouble” rather than “Miliband ignored by supporters”. High quality spin, low quality reporting.

  39. @RogerH (got it right this time – sorry)

    ‘There’s pretty unanimous agreement that the BNP would not benefit from a switch to AV. Maybe their membership is particularly stupid, though.

    Lots of parties voting contrary to previous manifestos etc. Still we are talking aboout he BNP so the ‘let’s give Cleggy a good kicking’ seems applicable


  40. More Metropolitan Boroughs to amuse:

    Birmingham NOC Con largest party
    Current holding 45CON,41Lab, 31LD, 3 Respect
    61 needed for overall control
    Up for election 16Con, 13Lab, 10LD, 1Resp
    Start count holdings
    Con 29
    Lab 28
    LD 21
    Resp 2
    The threeway split makes it virtually impossible for Lab, Con or LD to take overall control, so NOC is the only thing up for grabs. The question is will Lab or Con (or LD but unlikely) be the largest party. The recent plls tend to suggest the lab v Con is slightly in Labs favour, however it is easier to defend seats than gain them and Con have a 1 seat start advantage and is defending 16 to Lab 13. Some could also say that it gives Lab 16 to 13 chnaces to make a gain. The key is probably in the LDs and that means in the LD wards up for election, who is best placed to make gains. My guess is that Lab will make just that fraction more headway, but itrealy will be very close, Definitely one to watch out for in getting an indication on how the Lab v Con battles is progressing.

    Bolton NOC Lab currently largest but so close now to overall control that it should be a cert. Lab Gain.

    Bradford NOC Lab currently largest but so close now to overall control that it should be a cert. Lab Gain.

    Bury NOC Con largest
    Holdings 23 Con, 20 Lab, 8LD
    Maj required 26
    Up for election 6Con, 7Lab, 3LD
    Start holdings
    Con 17
    Lab 13
    LD 5
    If Con hold its 5 seats then Lab cannot take overall control. To take overall control itself Con must hold its own 6 sets and take 3 of the 10Lab//LD. To be largest party Lab must hold its own 7 seats, gain the 3LD seat and 1 Con seat. Thus NOC but a toss-up as to the largest party slightly favouring Lab.

    Calderdale NOC Con largest
    Holdings 19Con,16LD, 10Lab, 5Ind, 1BNP
    26 for overall control
    Up for election 7Con, 4Lab, 5LD, 1 Ind
    Start count holdings
    Con 12
    LD 11
    Lab 6
    Ind 4
    BNP 1
    Neither Con nor Lab probable able to wrest overall control, so its largest party scenario.
    Lab would have to win 4Lab, 5LD 1Ind and 3 Con to take largest party. 13 out of 17 is a very tall order. So NOC with Con the largest party is more likely.


  41. ‘MAX KING
    In all likelihood BNP are the largest supporters because they will benefit most after the Lib Dems. A BNP voter knows under FPTP his vote is essentially wasted, but under AV, he can vote for BNP, then he can get another vote for say English Democrats, and then can get another vote for UKIP, and another vote for Labour. Instead of wasting his vote under FPTP, AV would allow him 4 votes. So that is why the average BNP supporter supports AV.’

    The point being you can vote for as many losers as you like; AV. The key point is the order you put those likley to win.

    AV means person liked by the majority of the electorate actually represents the electorate. Under FPTP this is often not the case. In fact, under FPTP an MP loathed by the majority of the electorate can win if the others split the vote.

    With FPTP you currently have to make a choice before you get the voting booth; do I vote for my party or do I vote for someone who shares some of my beliefs but might win. AV allows you to make that choice on the voting sheet.

  42. Haven’t posted for ages,but something interesting RE AV.Someone asked me yesterday what is AV ? Now she is generally interested in politics .other people have said the same.IMO the lack of quality information of the pros and cons is the reason the NO campaign will win.People are generally afraid of change and unless there is a great sell of the benefits ,people will resist.I am afraid AV was hotch potch of a deal that satisfies nobody and the enthusiasm of it’s backing or lack of has failed to ignite public opinion ,especially at a time of numerouos bank holidays and warm weather and a royal wedding.Sorry but Cameron has played a blinder here and all but buried this vote.
    As for Labour’s leader backing a surefire loser does seem a somewhat strange lack of judgement.He should be more concerned about his parties problems north of the border that should the result prompt an indepence vote and subsequent yes could see his party out of power (without Scotland’s Labour seats) for a very long time.Interesting times

1 2