ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian is out tonight. Topline figures are CON 37%(nc), LAB 38%(+2), LDEM 14%(-3), Others 12%. Fieldwork was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday, so in the middle of the Lib Dem conference but before Nick Clegg’s conference speech. Clearly there’s no boost in their ratings, 14% would be a high Lib Dem score for any other pollster, but is the second lowest this year from ICM. Things were a bit more positive for Nick Clegg himself though – his net approval was at minus 8, up from minus 21 when ICM last asked it in July.

There were also questions on cuts and Ed Miliband. On cuts, 32% supported the cuts, 62% opposed them (the question rolled together whether they were too deep, too fast, good for the economy and necessary which disguises some of the nuances of public opinion. We know from YouGov’s regular bank of cuts questions that people’s views are actually more complicated: they tend to think the cuts are too deep, too fast, bad for the economy… but necessary).

Turning to Ed Miliband, only 28% of people agreed with a statement that Ed Miliband had the right qualities to become Prime Minister, 60% disagreed (amongst Labour’s own supporters 51% agreed). 30% of people (and 49% of Labour supporters) agreed with a statement that Ed Miliband was the right leader for the Labour party.

274 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 37%, LAB 38%, LDEM 14%”

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  1. How many times has a party dropped support in the polls at their conference time?

  2. Old Nat

    That just a statistical error

    Nothing to worry about

    We haven’t seen Howard in a while not since he threatened to give up politics

  3. RiN

    Numbers knocked off course by fleeing neutrinos?

  4. OldNat

    How many times has a party dropped support in the polls at their conference time?

    Or leader’s poll rating boosted by 13% even before his excellent speech. I wonder if EM will fare so well.

    I am not sure why you have started picking on us LDs. You should be more concerned about the ever rising support for the Tories in Scotland.

  5. Old Nat

    That’s what I thought, next week we will see nick cleggs ratings moving at light speed

    Beam me up scotty

  6. Henry

    It was a question, not an attack.

    The conventional wisdom is that parties get a conference “blip”.

    So again “How many times has a party dropped support in the polls at their conference time?”

  7. Old Nat

    Ready photon torpedoes

  8. @SoCalLiberal,

    You said “…Because your Parliament has existed for over 1000 years…”

    Oh, Lord…(holds OldNat back.. :-( )

    Anyhoo… Have you ever heard of the “grandfather’s axe” paradox[1]

    “The Parliament is a building which holds a group of people who amend and pass legislation proposed by ministers of the Crown over the whole country on behalf of the population of the country.” Defined like that, the Parliament goes back many hundreds of years.

    But there have been many discontinuities: the Crown has had at least two major discontinuities (Cromwell, the Glorious Revolution), the building has changed several times, the definition of “country” has changed several times, the method of representation has changed several times.

    So if you take a tighter definition thus:

    “The Parliament is a Gothic Revival building called the Palace of Westminster[2] which holds a group of people who amend and pass legislation proposed by the Prime Minister[3] of the Crown[4] over the whole country[5] on behalf of[6] the population[7] of the country.” Defined like that, the Parliament goes back…to the mid 1970’s.

    Regards, Martyn

    [1]: I have my grandfather’s axe. I changed the blade and my father changed the handle…
    [2]: Built 1840-1870
    [3]: Walpole, ~1721
    [4]: House of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, 1841
    [5]: ~1972-1974, when the Government of Northern Ireland folded and it was refolded into the UK Parliament
    [6]: Reform Act 1832
    [7]: Representation of the People Act 1928: suffrage extended to women equally

  9. @MikeN

    You said “…But with this coalition we seem to have the LDs acting as oppiosition and also as a party in office (albeit not in power)…Is this usual?…”

    The two coalitions I am most familiar with are the 2008-2010 Fianna Fáil/Green/PD coalition in Ireland and the 2009-date CDU-CSU/FDP coalition in Germany, and the honest answer is “Yes, when times are bad”. If you want a more unified coalition, you’ll need to look for parties which are themselves de-facto coalitions (eg CDU-CSU).

    For a more detailed answer, consult Virgilio.

    Regards, Martyn

  10. Martyn

    “My grandfathers axe” are you quoting from prattchet or did he nick it from somewhere else

  11. Martyn

    I thought that SoCalLiberal was talking to Roger.

    ” The Government on the Isle of Man is a parliament called Tynwald. Tynwald is over a 1000 years old and believed to be the oldest continual parliament in the world.” (according to the Manx).

  12. Sorry to be boring, as well as stating the bleedin’ obvious, but a monthly poll is of no value in judging the VI impact of short term events.
    In ICM world the LDs could have dropped to 12% for altogether different (though strange) reasons just prior to the conference then received a 2% boost.
    YG remains the only worthwhile pollster for studying VI relativity trends, whilst the debate on which pollster gets closest on VI absolutes is inconclusive……

  13. @OldNat

    “How many times has a party dropped support in the polls at their conference time?”

    It’s quite an extraordinary achievement, isn’t it, and I expect had the polling been conducted after Clegg’s speech, the decline would have been even greater.

    Despite D Abraham’s loyal protestations to the contrary I think the Lib Dem’s conference was a disaster for them. Puerile and choreographed digs at their coalition partners (did you hear Teather’s cringe-making stand-up routine? It almost achieved the impossible and made me feel sorry for George Osborne!) followed by a speech by their leader that could well have been delivered by a Conservative politician; all received by a docile and politically neutered audience.

    And they wonder why support keeps haemorrhaging away from them. The spectacle that unfolded in Birmingham last week can only have further convinced those that have voted with their feet since May 2010 that they made the right decision.

    The current Lib Dem leadership isn’t playing a long game; they’re just enjoying power for as long as they can before their eventual electoral reckoning. Clegg will have manned his one-berth lifeboat by then, no doubt! The donkey will make damned sure that he doesn’t go down with his lions!

  14. @RIN
    My grandfather’s axe – the paradox was first raised in a Greek legend. See Wikipedia for details.

  15. @Oldnat

    Aaargh! I missed that. Thank you


    I (probably) got it from Pratchett, but I was also aware of the “Ship of Theseus” equivalent (it was in the Economist recently)

    Regards, Martyn

  16. BlueJock

    Fair point. Though we can’t just discuss YG polls – otherwise we will remain becalmed in Amber’s poldrums.

  17. Old Nat,

    Indeed. Longer term trends are still discernible and relevant across all pollsters, whether daily or weekly. But only YG can capture ‘event’ movements in “real time” as it were……..polldrums or not……

  18. Martyn
    Just to be pedantic, I don’t believe Walpole ever held the title of Prime Minister. He was First Lord of the Treasury. I think the office was first recognized in the Edwardian period (1901-1910 fo Socalliberal’s benefit).


    On this poll, I find it interesting that only 51% of Lab supporters think Miliband has the qualities to be PM. So presumably about half the party have either written off the next election, think that there will be a new leader before then, or are resigned to winning with a rubbish leader!

  19. OldNat

    So again “How many times has a party dropped support in the polls at their conference time?

    It appears nopbody knows. So what is the answer?

  20. I guess that Labour would be relieved with this poll Although +2 is only potentially MoE, last month there was a definite tightening which has seemed to ebb away now.

    I also think Ed M’s line today was effective. As far as I am aware he is the only UK (and possibly world) major political figure calling for the G20 to pull it’s finger out and have an emergency meeting brought forward.

    There has been a dreadful complacency in western governments, including our own, who have primarily based their response on saying it’s not our problem until it’s become blindingly obvious that as our growth is forecast to be the lowest in the G7, we are at the heart of the problem.

    There are genuine problems for the UK government in how they response to what is currently going on, but to date they have been a cross between a rabbit in the headlights and a bunch of useless rubberneckers watching someone’s house burn down without even calling for the fire brigade.

  21. When ICM release the tables, I suspect we’ll see that this poll is not far away from YouGov’s penultimate poll (the 35/41/9 which was conducted at the same time) after you strip out ICM’s adjustments to their data.

    At the moment, all we have is ICM’s prediction based on assumptions applied to their polling data, not the poll itself.

  22. Henry

    If I’d known the answer, I wouldn’t have asked the question!

    But Bluejock makes an excellent point. Prior to YG’s daily polling, all we had were monthly/quarterly polling, and that was when the meme of conference blips developed.

  23. @PeteB

    Thank you.

    Regards, Martyn

  24. Incidentally, I haven’t been following the end of the last thread so this might be old news, but it’s emerged tonight that Andy Coulson in suing News Corp, and that NI paid Neil Wallis for crime stories while he was working for the Met Police.

    It’s the scandal that keeps on giving.

  25. Crossbat11
    ‘And they wonder why support keeps haemorrhaging away from them’.

    I am not sure if it does. It seems to have remained fairly stable for several months; of course if the next YouGov shows a drop of 2 or 3 points, I shall have to agree.

    I do not think many LDs are wondering.

  26. @Alec
    Indeed. And I’m more and more struck by the contrast between the urgency of actions taken in 2008 and the extent to which, for all the talk of urgency, things now are just being allowed to drift while the gangrene spreads.

  27. Phil.


    Osbourne’s interview with Stephanie Flanders tonight was a case in point.

    Endlessly rabbitting the same soundbite to every question, (by the third answer, I was actually mouthing along with him, “Well, I think we all realise that this is a DEBT crisis and the Eurozone is at the epicentre and they have weeks not months to sort this out.”).

    We are crying out for someone to grab the world by the scruff of the neck and show the way through the storm. I suspect no-one will be looking to London for that lead these next few weeks.

  28. Mike

    I should have a go at answering your question

    First I should say that it is normal to have disagreements within govt even when they are one party, think Blair and brown and back in Maggie’s days there were furious rows between the wets and drys, and yesterday someone posted about the row over “in place of strife” in Wilson’s govt. So policy and personal differences always exist and of course when two or more parties work together the potential for rows is greater

    My experience of coalition govts and all govts in Norway are coalitions is that the disagreements are not so public or as hyped as they are with the cons and libs, but there are press briefings and rumors, and when questioned ministers say “we are still talking about that but we are moving to an amicable solution” and vague stuff like that. But we have a different system here, we have PR with 7 main parties, and if a party gets 4% of the vote they are guaranteed seats in the house. No party ever gets to rule alone so building bridges to other parties is important, looking out for your traditional friends is also important because if they lose vote share then your chances of being in govt become slim. All parties know that they will most probably have to work with the same people again, but you have to be nice to the opposition parties as well at least those closest to your own views, because maybe at the next election you will need to work with them(which is why clegg’s comment seemed so stupid to me) another crucial difference is that all the parties are similar to the dems in that policy is mostly driven by the members, my impression of the blues is that the leadership decides and the members fall in behind but that may be unfair. However things like the NHS reforms dropping out of nowhere wouldn’t happen here. The policy or the aspiration would be known about beforehand, Because the party members would have voted for it.

    But in the UK we have a situation were no one is used to working together, the likelihood of the parties working together again is small, one party could actually gain power alone if its partner has a bad election and one party is facing complete wipeout(dems at 10% = 4 seats) under those circumstances its amazing that its lasted so long.

    There is another thing which is strange with this coalition and that is there are no big jobs for the dems. In Norway the socialists got 8% of the vote and they have the education dept because that’s most important to them, they have other stuff as well but that’s the bigger. The centre party have got the local govt ministry and energy again these are things which the centre party are passionate about but they only got 9% of the vote. In all there are 21 ministers 5 from the socialists 5 from the centre party and 11 from the labour party. But the dems didn’t. Get one of the big jobs even with 24% of the vote. You would have thought that they would get education at least.

  29. @Leftylampton – I think ‘soundbite’ is the relevant word here. Just like Cameron’s John Cage like 4 minutes and 33 seconds of nothing much.

    I would like to think that these aren’t partisan points. No sensible person would want another global crash and the inevitable slump/depression. It would be so awful to contemplate. While we can all enjoy the knockabout stuff, this is the really serious business, and we should all support our own government and hope they do the right thing. (Or is that ‘correct’?).

    Tory supporters should be as worried as anyone else at the inaction coming from Westminster and Whitehall, and for exactly the same reasons as Labour should be.

    I find it incomprehensible that we haven’t seen every sinew of government straining to reach a global consensus on action, and the inane platitudes mouthed by our leadership serve to demonstrate that a PPE from Oxford is no substitute for understanding how economies work. They’re out of their depth, and it’s painfully obvious for all to see.

  30. Things were a bit more positive for Nick Clegg himself though – his net approval was at minus 8, up from minus 21 when ICM last asked it in July.
    The conference speech will probably take care of that though…

  31. @Alec – “… Ed M’s line today was effective.”

    This is the second time of asking. On Sept 1st he wrote in the FT and made a statement advising that Cameron (visiting Paris) should persuade Sarkosy to bring forward November’s G20 meeting.

  32. @Alec
    “it’s emerged tonight that Andy Coulson in suing News Corp, and that NI paid Neil Wallis for crime stories while he was working for the Met Police.”

    In the Huffington Post, Tom Watson says “If more people were to go as a result of this scandal it wouldn’t surprise me. Certainly in News International and possibly the Met. There’s a lot more to come. I’m not sure how you can get worse than Milly Dowler but I think some of the stuff will be pretty gruesome. Pretty disgusting.”

  33. Phil

    There has been lots of activity on the economic front but all of it from central banks and the IMF, providing unlimited dollar liquidity is not inaction, its panic.

    The fact is that while the politicians have been making soothing noises the worlds central bankers have been pulling their hair out in frustration. The politicians seem to be superfluous. The real decisions are taken at the world bank, ECB, fed, BoE, BoJ and the IMF.

  34. OldNat

    But Bluejock makes an excellent point. Prior to YG’s daily polling, all we had were monthly/quarterly polling, and that was when the meme of conference blips developed

    I agree.

    However, I am a little disappointed, as you are usually a mine of information, and I thought you were going to confound me with some interesting data.

  35. Anthony missed the best bit of the poll:

    Yet more voters would like to see Labour governing with a majority than any alternative. Asked to pick from a range of options, 27% say they would like a Labour government and a further 16% a Labour-Lib Dem coalition. Meanwhile 22% want to see the Conservatives on their own, and a further 16% a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.

  36. Alex

    You are quite right that none of US should be hoping/wishing for a crash for partisan reasons and I doubt that anyone here does. I was reading a comment from a woman in Greece describing the situation there and it made me realize just how bad things could get/will get for people I know, family and friends. I do get a bit hooked on the entertainment of the crisis, but when you read about how people are suffering it makes it real. And unfortunately it will come to Britain and there is not much the govt can do about it unless they print vast amounts of money to spend on infrastructure, but that has some drawbacks in our present monetary system. And it is the monetary system which is at fault.

  37. Amber

    More people want to see the dems in govt than see labour govern alone


  38. 50% think “Labour deserves another chance in government” (including 43% in the South of England). This contrasts with Cleggs “never to be trusted again”

    I tend to think though that some of the more vague/hypothetical/subjective questions can get unreliable results:

    Respondent (bored/distracted): Yep… yep… yep.

    Interveiwer: You can only say yes to one… which statement do you agree with?

    Respondent: The last one you just said.

  39. “More people want to see the dems in govt than see labour govern alone”

    Perhaps because they haven’t been in power for decades, unlike everyone else who can be blamed for what has gone on since the war (at least). And if there is a crash coming whilst they are in power – just blame the Conservatives. Or Labour. Or both.

  40. Keith

    Your right it should 100% what are the public thinking of

  41. Amberstar
    ‘Things were a bit more positive for Nick Clegg himself though – his net approval was at minus 8, up from minus 21 when ICM last asked it in July.
    The conference speech will probably take care of that though’

    I’m disappointed, I was hoping that like me, you thought NC made a valiant effort. It seems from CrossBat’s disdainful comments and your more refined subtle humour, that the maestro’s performance did not go down well in the red corner.

    When Nick said ‘Its not easy’ (18 times) it rang true; just about summed up the last 40 years in politics for me in just three words. Whereas you, whose Party is in power for about half the time and has just completed 13 years of majority rule, must think ‘of course its easy’.

    I think when posters write ‘the LDs are going to pay for it this time’, or ‘they will be crushed in 2015′, or NC will be punished’ etc. they believe that this is devastating news to us, whereas we are more likely to shrug the latest disaster off with a ‘no change there then’.

    That is not to say that I’m pessimistic about the future, I know that better times are just round the corner, and the victory champagne is chilled and waiting. Lucky its patient.

  42. Voodoo poll by Tory Hoose, has support for the original 3 candidates for SCON leader (before Mitchell joined in) as

    Fraser 46% : Davidson 44% : Carlaw 11%.

    Turns out they are using an STV electoral system.

  43. Osborne’s response tonight to the latest wave of jitters about the world economy: We should wait until November for a coordinated reponse from the G20.

    Calm under pressure?

  44. Oldnat,

    Maybe being able to understand STV is the first test within the leadership race.

  45. Bill Patrick

    Actually I think they just selected the wrong TV channel. :-)

  46. Old Nat

    Don’t you mean AV, STV is for multi- member seats. Unless they are thinking two heads are better than one

  47. RiN

    STV is what they say!

    ” STV is for multi- member” parties, perhaps? Fears that they won’t have more than one member? Davidson is boasting that 93 year old Albert McQuarrie is supporting her. :-)

  48. Since the data isn’t available, and the findings are specific to a single (and let’s be honest, one that is not a friend of the current gov) newspaper, and given that it’s a monthly one at that…

    Well it’s not very scientific, is it?

    “62% say austerity measures harm economy”

    “8 out of 10 owners…etc.”

    What percentage of the 62% are financially minded, have been studying the current affairs with understanding, and have formed a realistic alternative?

    Ho hum!

  49. @ RiN

    Yes, I thought you’d like the 16+16=32.

    Labour supporters have increasingly been accused of ‘bashing’ the Dems, so I thought I’d give you something to cheer about; & there was a little something in those figures for the red team too.

  50. Statgeek

    “Ho hum!”

    However, that also would apply to every question asked in every poll.

    Apart from posters on here (who self-evidently are uniquely qualified to make such judgements on any and every topic :-) ) “ordinary” people’s views should maybe just be ignored?

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