ICM poll on the riots

The Guardian have an online ICM poll on the riots, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday. As in the YouGov poll at the start of the week, both David Cameron and Boris Johnson have negative ratings on how they handled the riots – 30% think Cameron did a good job dealing with them, 44% a bad job; 28% think Boris did a good job, 38% a bad job. In contrast Tim Godwin, the acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan police is seen as having done a good job by 45% to 27%.

The majority of the public (61%) are confident that the police are enforcing the laws fairly and without prejudice (36% are not), however only 41% are confident they have the resources available to control riots (56% do not).

Finally ICM asked people what they thought were the cases of the riots – as with the YouGov polling earlier this week people were most likely to blame it upon criminal individuals and cultural/societal problems, rather than economic, political, racial or policing problems. 45% said the main reason was criminal individuals, 28% a lack of respect within families and communities, 8% unemployment, 5% the shooting of Mark Duggan (2% said policing more generally), 4% the government and 2% the economic situation.


189 Responses to “ICM poll on the riots”

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  1. ‘As with the YouGov polling earlier this week people were most likely to blame it upon criminal individuals and cultural/societal problems, rather than economic, political, racial or policing problems. 45% said the main reason was criminal individuals, 28% a lack of respect within families and communities, 8% unemployment, 5% the shooting of Mark Duggan (2% said policing more generally), 4% the government and 2% the economic situation’.

    DC is probably not happy with his performance rating although a little less dire than in YouGov. However the Tories must be delighted that the public almost universally blame the riots on
    ‘individuals and cultural/societal problems’, which will give them confidence when they introduce IDS reforms.

  2. The question is, how long will the public continue to just blame ‘criminality’ after the dust settles?

    I would suggest that it won’t change much, if at all – the public like simple (and often tautological) answers and blaming ‘criminality’ rather than looking at the complex issues (one – the benefits trap, which IDS’ reforms seek to fix) is an easy answer.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the party leader’s approval ratings are this week and next-
    I’m expecting Cameron to take a hit this week (in line with the poor approval over his handling of the riots, much like when he took a hit over his handling of phone hacking) but I’m not really expecting Miliband’s approval to go up.
    Approval, as proven by the falling figures for all leaders, isn’t a zero-sum game so we can’t expect Miliband’s to go up if Cameron’s falls.

    I’m not sure when Clegg’s figures will go – he hasn’t been very visible and his approval rating was already (IIRC) at -50 so they can’t really fall much lower.

  3. In contrast Tim Godwin, the acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan police is seen as having done a good job by 45% to 27%.

    The majority of the public (61%) are confident that the police are enforcing the laws fairly and without prejudice (36% are not), however only 41% are confident they have the resources available to control riots (56% do not).
    ————————————————–
    Interestingly, much of the media (IMO, FWIW) were criticising the police until David Cameron criticised them in HoC & then attempted to take credit for bringing the situation under control.

    The media have now made a U-turn & are praising the police & mocking the idea that politicians contributed anything from the comfort of their COBRA office.

    I actually think the police did a good job. I’m impressed that no officers were seriously injured, as far as I’m aware. And that the police didn’t seriously injure anybody or aggravate the situation.

    They seemed well aware that a firearms incident had sparked the intial unrest & decided that gun fights on the streets was the last thing any sensible police force wants to happen.

    The deaths/ murders of ‘have-a-go heroes’ are a tragic reminder that police officers are absolutely right not to dive into risky situations unless there is an overwhelming reason to do so (& stopping stuff being nicked isn’t an overwhelming reason worth risking a police officer’s life, IMO, although I’m guessing some people would argue it’s their job to do so!).
    8-)

  4. The Times, and probably other newspapers are identifying some of those involved in the rioting and looting, including a ballerina, olympic ambassador, and a range of others including a number of students; there are also serial criminals and a number of young kids (I hope they at least are given a second chance).

    Apart from a criminal record and prison sentences, many of these people had a lot to lose, and have been very damaged.

    Even the serial criminals may in retrospect feel that their escapade is too high profile and that their normal activities would be alot safer.

    However the politics play, this could be good news for we citizens if potential rioters and looters think twice in future.

  5. Amber,
    I absolutely agree.The only good thing,if you can call it that,out of all this,is that there were very few injuries or
    deaths,in view of all the violence and arson.This is due in no small part to the careful appraisal of the ongoing
    situation by the police.But how different it might have been
    if they had been armed with plastic bullets,etc.

  6. Also, I can see Theresa May going over the handling of the riots, in a ‘cabinet reshuffle’.

    See was already disliked by the police, has avoided meeting with the police federation (citing that she was too busy) since the riots and there have been claims made by the head of the police federation about her competence (he claims that he warned her in May 2010 of the risk of riots and was dismissed as ‘scaremongering’).

    Cameron can’t afford to have a political fight with the police and can’t afford to look weak on crime (as one of the Tory main selling points is ‘tough on crime’).

    Perhaps he’ll push for a ‘Lord Paddick’ to take over? ;)

  7. “See was already disliked” should read ‘She was..’

  8. HENRY

    I notice that Magistrates are passing significant numbers up to the Crown Court-where stiffer penalties are available.

    Can’t help feeling that there will be some eye openers when the arsonists appear there. ( 10 years max as I understand it )

  9. Tinged Fringe

    ‘I would suggest that it won’t change much, if at all – the public like simple (and often tautological) answers and blaming ‘criminality’ rather than looking at the complex issues (one – the benefits trap, which IDS’ reforms seek to fix) is an easy answer’.

    In my opinion a well considered post.

    I think future riots are much less l;ikely because of the strong disapproval by the majority. While that would be good, the danger is the necessary reforms could be put on the back burner.

    I would like to see IDS, with a Coalition partner and a rep from Labour get together on this issue, as I am sure there is a lot of common ground. A joint proposal can then be made to Parliament.

  10. Interesting that while the ICM Approval figure for Cameron and Boris (30%, 28%) are roughly similar to YouGov’s, (28%, 24%)the Disapprovals are far less (44%, 38% v 57%, 54%).

    I wonder if this is because YouGov offer five options (Very well, Fairly Well, Fairly Badly, Very Badly, Don’t Know) while I presume ICM only offered three (Good job, Bad job, Don’t Know).

    Maybe people are more willing to say ‘Fairly badly’ than the outright condemnatory ‘Bad job’ when they don’t feel strongly or that they don’t know everything about a situation. It doesn’t work on the other side because ‘Good’ is a less decisive word than bad. Is there any evidence for this sort of effect?

  11. I would like to see some more nuanced polling on the causes of the riots rather than simply asking people to choose a ‘main’ cause.

  12. An excellent poll for Ed Miliband, (on what possible basis the Coalition partisans could gain pleasure out of it escapes me).

    Henry, you got me totally wrong. I support the Coalition Agreement. This is just by the way, of course, that view of mine is irrelevant to this blog.

    Anthony, I would not like you to think I don’t think you have the best ‘political’ blog. I just don’t think it is one. (At least it’s not supposed to be one – someone ought to tell most of the posters).

  13. Tinged Fring

    Cameron can’t afford to have a political fight with the police and can’t afford to look weak on crime (as one of the Tory main selling points is ‘tough on crime’).

    I expect DC will go for (already has I believe) reconciliation to bring the police on side, but in the future will look to move out those he sees as his enemy and replace them with those who will more willingly deliver his mandate. .

  14. “I would like to see IDS, with a Coalition partner and a rep from Labour get together on this issue, as I am sure there is a lot of common ground. A joint proposal can then be made to Parliament.”
    I agree. It will be a shame if Labour oppose IDS’ plans for a universal credit, getting people back in to work and out of a benefits trap.

    IDS also needs political backing because his plans, if done properly, would be initially expensive (no matter how much it’ll save in the long-run) to implement and I think he’s going to have to fight Osborne (who wants to eliminate the deficit) for the funding to do so.

    So Labour pushing for proper funding of the plan would be beneficial to the nation but also to the Labour party as they’d be able to claim some credit if successful and wash their hands of the plan if not.

  15. “but in the future will look to move out those he sees as his enemy and replace them with those who will more willingly deliver his mandate.”
    I think this will make the police even less on his side.
    I’d imagine that the police will not appreciate political interference in their operations and appointments based on partisan loyalty, rather than competence.

  16. Howard

    ‘Henry, you got me totally wrong. I support the Coalition Agreement. This is just by the way, of course, that view of mine is irrelevant to this blog’.

    That’s good. Like me you must be delighted that only 4% blame the (Coalition) Govt, and therefore is unlikely to damage the Coalition Parties’ poll standings.

    Possibly the best news is that the public reaction and stiff penalties will discourage further riots and looting.

  17. HENRY

    I don’t think Cameron is going to be able to get rid of Boris Johnson. The Tories can hardy ditch their candidate for London Mayor and whilst he knows (as we do) that Boris wants to be leader of the Conservative Party he’s just got to hope that teflon Boris really does come a cropper that ‘sticks’.

    Whether he is Mayor or not Boris will be standing for Parliament at the next GE and much as I dread the thought I can see him getting the top Tory job if Cameron loses and Cameron losing next time isgetting more likely all the time.

  18. Tinged Fringe
    ‘IDS also needs political backing because his plans, if done properly, would be initially expensive (no matter how much it’ll save in the long-run) to implement and I think he’s going to have to fight Osborne (who wants to eliminate the deficit) for the funding to do so.

    So Labour pushing for proper funding of the plan would be beneficial to the nation but also to the Labour party as they’d be able to claim some credit if successful and wash their hands of the plan if not’.

    Yes I agree

    I am not sure whether a gradual change in police leadership would affect grass roots opinion. My view is that police chiefs are too political, maybe because they are criticising the Coalition. But I hope I should hold the same view whatever colour the Govt.

  19. So the public think the police have done a good job and DC and BJ have done a bad job in their responses to the violence, looting and arson.

    Cameron is making a noose for his own neck by insisting that frontline police numbers will not be affected by his government’s cuts to the police service.

    (And anyway what about all the backroom boys who are now going through all the countless hours of CCTV? They are now dispensable are they?)

    The public trust doctors and nurses and the police over politicians.
    Yet Cameron seems intent on disrupting the very professionals that he needs onside.

  20. David B

    HENRY
    I don’t think Cameron is going to be able to get rid of Boris Johnson. The Tories can hardy ditch their candidate for London Mayor and whilst he knows (as we do) that Boris wants to be leader of the Conservative Party he’s just got to hope that teflon Boris really does come a cropper that ‘sticks’.

    Actually I believe that DC is Tories biggest asset and Boris, although a lovable joker (and that wins votes) is actually not very competent and would damage the Tories if he was leader.

  21. Woodsman

    ‘Cameron is making a noose for his own neck by insisting that frontline police numbers will not be affected by his government’s cuts to the police service’.

    Unfortunately, his cunning plan will only work if every dept other than health and overseas aid receives cuts.

    I believe he has been criticised for almost every cut he has made or suggested. Fair enough if you don’t believe in cuts.

    If there are no future riots, which is a possibility given the public reaction and stiff sentences then DC may get away with cuts, particulary if the Chief Constables he appoints can deliver efficiency savings and also reduce non-police activities e.g. massive PR, spa visits or other gifts, etc.

    Incidently, which Coalition cuts does Labour support?

  22. I’m conviced Boris Johnson and Boris Yeltsin are related. The likeness in both looks and actions are amazingly similar.

  23. Colin

    ‘I notice that Magistrates are passing significant numbers up to the Crown Court-where stiffer penalties are available. Can’t help feeling that there will be some eye openers when the arsonists appear there. ( 10 years max as I understand it )’

    Not everyone agrees that stiff sentences prevent crime, but I think when taken with the bad publicity and public outcry the likelihood of future riots is diminishing.

  24. Henry – “then DC may get away with cuts”

    He may “get away” with it in your words but it is a dangerous game to be playing.

    I believe Labour support cuts to the Police proceeding at about half the rate of the government’s.

  25. I wonder if the Labour approach of smaller and slower cuts is in fact all the policy they will need?

  26. A tenant of Wandsworth council has been given an eviction notice after their son was convicted of being connect to the violence in Clapham.

    While I make no judgment about this it does raise the question about what happens next.Assuming the courts uphold the judgment and they are evicted do not the council then have a duty to rehouse them and if so whats the point ?
    Just wondering.

  27. “Incidently, which Coalition cuts does Labour support?”
    Henry, I’d argue you’re pushing toward partisanship here.

    It’s a poor argument for two reasons, except the partisanship –
    First, it’s the logical fallacy of the appeal to hypocrisy.
    And secondly, Labour, by virtue of being in opposition, don’t have to present any answers until closer to the election.

    Just as Cameron or Clegg (or the leaders before them) didn’t have to give any answers when criticising Labour’s policies.

  28. I notice the poor looters are on remand but the millionaire’s daughter with a car full of stolen booze is out on bail.

    She won’t be kicked out on the streets by the Council either…or, I suspect, jailed like the bloke who stole £3.50 worth of mineral water. He got a longer sentence than that MP who claimed mortgage payments with no actual mortage amounting to tens of thousands of pounds.

    Equal in the eyes of the law. Where’s Rumpole (or John Mortimer) when we need him?

  29. to HOWARD.

    Ed Miliband has had a good summer.
    i, He did well over hacking.
    ii. Grew in stature in the House and the country.
    iii. Did very well over the riots.
    iv. Very interesting line on ethics and the inquiry.
    v. The Police cuts issue has traction, and Harriet did well on Any Questions- Radio 4 tonight.
    vi. Labour’s slower pace of cuts line seems to be gaining credibility- but maybe I am too influenced by by old tutor: Robert Skidelsky’s whose POLITICIANS AND THE SLUMP is well worth a read.
    vii. The Phone hacking issue is going to come back

  30. Tsitsikamma – “what happens next?”

    Indeed. And isn’t such a decision likely to alienate said family and individual even further from society, and even increase the likelihood of re-offending?

  31. I wonder if we’ll get any questions about Social Networks, since DC seems to have caused a somewhat negative reaction to his ideas about requiring ISPs to cut off access to Twitter…

    Which really seems like it would only have stopped people looking out for each other’s safety, and organizing the cleanup. Since cutting off access to Twitter after the riots started couldn’t have prevented them being planned!

  32. NICK POOLE

    “I wonder if the Labour approach of smaller and slower cuts is in fact all the policy they will need?”

    I hope so-because its a busted flush after the recent events in Eurozone.

    It was demolished by GO in his statement in HoC .

    Who will Labour go to to borrow more money from to increase the deficit ?

    Eurozone countries are pushing through emergency cuts-not emergency borrowing. THe Labour Party is alone in advocating more borrowing.

    That Labour policy would trigger higher interest rates. Currently THE most significant stimulus in the UK economy is it’s low interest rates. Mortgage rates are keeping householders afloat.

  33. @Colin

    It’s a choice between more cuts, or more borrowing…

    Are you sure you haven’t forgotten an option there?

  34. Colin

    Why should a Government borrow anything? It has a printing press and the power to decide what it uses the paper for.

    Why let the “Money markets” decide what rates you borrow at when you are printing money to give to the banks anyway? Stop giving it to the banks and let’s get some people back to work.

  35. Perhaps people view Cameron in a negative way about the riots because the media were giving the impression that Cameron was very reluctant to return from holiday. There were many pictures showing Cameron in Italy sunning himself after the first Riot had happened in Tottenham. Cameron did not return to London until Tuesday morning, after the situation had gotten totally out of control. Bad judgement or not wishing to involve himself in operational Policing matters, unless they asked him.

    I think Cameron does have questions to answer including why he did not return untl Tuesday and why he allowed so many senior cabinet ministers to be on holiday at the same time.

    In regard to Cameron and his performance as PM to date, he needs to prove that he is able to cope with the demands of the job. It is a role that requires 365 days 24/7 commitment and to be on top of every aspect of government business. Personally I think he is struggling, because he does not have the abilities required for the role. This is often shown during PMQ’s and statements, when he does not quite get the facts right, because he is not on top of the details. An example of this happened yesterday, when he announced that the additional Police costs incurred as a result of the rioting would be covered by the Treasury. This was later corrected by Theresa May when she said that the various Police authorities would have to make a specifc application using a particular scheme. i.e there was no guarantee additional costs would be covered by the Treasury.

  36. Woodsman,
    I agree and your comments tie in nicely with Nick Pool at 9.32.

  37. Nick Poole.

    Very, very interesting point you have made here.

    Equality before the Law?

  38. Also, on the subject of polling – since we’re starting to drift in to ‘my party’s deficit plan is better than your party’s deficit plan’ ( ;) )
    I’m surprised that questions haven’t been asked more broadly about how different people have responded to the crisis.

    I noticed that the yougov poll asked about Theresa May, who equalled Boris (at -30) for their handling of the riots – but where’s the questions about Nick Clegg (who was, before Cameron returned, in charge and the public face of the government) or Ed Miliband?

    It’s difficult to view the Cameron/Johnson/May polling properly without context – perhaps it was a feeling of general distrust with politicians (and general trust of the police) rather than distrust of those specific members of the government.
    So an anti-politician effect for handling of the situation, rather than anti-government effect for handling the situation.

  39. I think it’s beginning to dawn on Milliband E that a party that represents the interests of the people and not the banks might well get a lot of votes.

    It’s called the Labour Party, after all.

    We’ll see.

  40. @ Nick Poole

    “Equal in the eyes of the law.”

    ….yes, your point has annoyed me so much that it has spoiled my evening!

    The punishment should always fit the crime….rather than the punishment fitting the horse for their particular course.

  41. Someone raised the interesting question of the looter or
    whatever he was being evicted from a council house as a
    consequence.I understood that councils have a legal
    obligation to provide people with a home,so I suspect that
    he may end up being quietly moved back into one.It looks
    as if a lot of the measures announced by Cameron in
    Parliament may not be fit for purpose.

  42. Risky stategy for the political class, after the fact, to criticise the police for being timid and too slow to repond (forgetting for a moment that they were still on holiday at the time perhaps).

    As well as losing the battle with the police over blame, they also appear not to be sucessful in taking the credit for restoring order (May flatly contradicted that she “ordered” the increase in numbers, Cameron/Cobra’s tough talk about water canon and baton rounds was largely dismissed).

    One senior officer today was quoted as saying that the coalition are “delusional” if they think reducing the number of officers by one fifth will not affect policing (Cameron has been saying this week that the budget cuts would make the police *more* effective).

    Incidentally, that the police did not make many arrests at first is understandable. even in run-of-the-mill Friday night public order incidents they have to weigh the risk in an evolving situation. Do we make arrests and take officers away to escort/process miscreants, or maintain numbers and protect the public in the event that things escalate further?

  43. Ann in Wales –

    Councils do not have an *absolute* obligation to house people. The two exceptions are if a council can demonstrate that the person has a better connection with a different local authority (i.e. it’s a different council’s problem), or more relevantly in this case, that the person made themselves intentionally homeless.

    Legally intentally homeless means that someone did something that caused them to lose a home that they could otherwise have stayed in. Having been evicted for anti-social behaviour counts as having made yourself intentionally homeless.

    There’s a good FAQ from Shelter explaining it here:
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/homelessness/help_from_the_council/what_the_council_will_check/intentional_homelessness

  44. @Tsitsikamma – “A tenant of Wandsworth council has been given an eviction notice after their son was convicted of being connect to the violence in Clapham.”

    I think I’m right in saying that the son has been charged, not convicted.

    @Nick Poole has also highlighted the apparently ridiculous sentence of 6 months imprisonment for the theft of £3.50 mineral water, and compared this to Eric Ilsley’s (ex MPs 4 month sentence for £8,000 fraud.

    We need to be a little careful as we haven’t read the court transcripts, but it certainly seems that there is a huge mistake being made in disproportionate sentencing. I watched Young Question time on BBC3 tonight, and young people have certainly picked up on this. We’re in a very dangerous place on this.

    And a word to those who think the sentences will prevent future riots. Do me a favour. It just means the next lot of rioters will get themselves proper balaclavas. It’s not rocket science.

  45. Ed Milliband upping the anti on the public inquiry issue,
    saying that Labour will hold their own if the goverment do not do so.Expect a U turn by Cameron in the morning.

  46. @Jayblanc – “I wonder if we’ll get any questions about Social Networks, since DC seems to have caused a somewhat negative reaction to his ideas about requiring ISPs to cut off access to Twitter…”

    Another one of those wearying ‘something must be done’ useless rants by politicians and journalists who wouldn’t recognise real life if it bit them on the arse.

    Not a single one of them stopped to ponder how come we had riots in Brixton in 1981, years before we had social media. And Toxteth, Oldham, Cable Street, Peterlee etc etc.

  47. @Jayblanc – “I wonder if we’ll get any questions about Social Networks, since DC seems to have caused a somewhat negative reaction to his ideas about requiring ISPs to cut off access to Twitter…”

    Another one of those wearying ‘something must be done’ useless rants by politicians and journalists who wouldn’t recognise real life if it bit them on the *rse.

    Not a single one of them stopped to ponder how come we had riots in Brixton in 1981, years before we had social media. And Toxteth, Oldham, Cable Street, Peterlee etc etc.

  48. Re: eviction in Wandsworth

    I think there is no duty to re-house if a tenant is evicted in this way. However the tenancy holder is the mother and she has not rioted. The issue is that her seventeen year old son also occupies the property and he has been accused, though not yet convicted, of a public order offence. This will have to go before a court before an order to evict is approved. In my opinion the eviction notice will not be upheld if she asks her son to leave the property but in the current situation who knows?

  49. HENRY

    Boris is very bright and a clever operator, as exemplified by his ability to get away with things. He is also more charismatic than Cameron and, after all, there isn’t anyone else in senior Tory ranks with an ounce of charisma.

    As a Labour supporter I am hoping that the developing feud between Boris and David will do the Conservatives considerable harm.

  50. Anthony,thank you for that information.I guess that if the
    tenant is the father of the accused,his best argument is that he had no idea where his son was or what he was doing.This could be valid dependent on the age of the son.

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