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. Alec
    @ “The problems within the Greek state have been known about for years, yet some banks continued to lend”

    Ermmm……….well the REAL problems weren’t known till Papandreou won the 2009 election-and told the world in 2010 that the Greek deficit was twice as big as his predecessors had said it was.

    Prior to that any interested Banker assumed that Eurozone entry based on a deficit of 3% was actually kosher-in fact it was a fraud.

    You-well perhaps not you Alec-can understand why Banks, EUI, IMF , ECB, uncle Tom Cobbly & All are a bit uncertain about whether the Greek State really intends to cut its cloth at all-or is ever going to start collecting taxes.

  2. RiN

    Thanks for the link to the Australian article.

    Isn’t your idea of a minimum for everybody, what underlay the idea of negative income tax?

  3. @Jay

    “Which is not at all inconsistent with the idea that it’s better for the Government to require redistribution of the wealth for the good of society, because we’re all too selfish to depend on charity alone”

    I agree with that which is why I am in the belief that if you trust individuals alone then people get so corrupted by their own greed, selfishness and their own desires that clouds their judgment and decision of doing things for society and the common good.

    That is why my own intrepretation of the State is that I believe human beings are naturally selfish and greedy and the State acts as a neutral body of collective people to observe, coordinate and take action of policies that is for the common good. We need the State to do things for the common good.

    Heres a quote from the great Clement Attlee that might be in line with you views and you might like:

    “Charity is a cold grey loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at a whim”

  4. @Andy C,

    I studied politics at uni. I love Uk politics, but am frustrated at the lack of choice in contemporary British politics. That’s why I am interested in polls and general elections, even if I don’t actively support one particular party.

    I don’t support the monarchy particularly, no. I was just pointing out that, contrary to what some people claim, politics is all about self-interest, and this applies equally to all sides of the political spectrum. People are people, whether they be rich or poor. We are all largely governed by self-interest. To think otherwise is just delusional.

  5. I don’t believe believing in fairer distribution of wealth means that the rich have to give all their money away.

    Just set tax rates accordingly and actually pay tax instead of avoid it.

  6. There was a south American country which was suffering with debt problems and the new president ordered an audit of the national debt. It was found that a large slice of it was fraudulent. I would not suggest that this is the case with Greece but an audit would provide clarity. The is also the concept of odious debt which several south American countries have tried to argue, what they say is these debts were run up by military dictatorships and used to buy weapons to oppress the people why should we pay for our oppression after the fact. I don’t know how much debt remains from the days of the junta.

    But even if the debts are legitimate the fact is that Greece can’t pay even if you reduce the country to a state of slavery. They are bankrupt the banks should have known this, in fact it is inconceivable that they did not know. The banks just assumed that the Greeks would be bailed by Germany. You can say that the Greek govt hid the debt but they only managed to do this with the help of Goldman sachs and the rating agency’s both of whom made significant sums from the deception. All the other banks know the nature of the game they must have known that Goldman had hidden the debt in swaps, they have all bribed rating agency’s to give better than deserved ratings so they should have known that the rating could not be trusted. They made serious errors of judgement as have the Greek govt and the Greek people in trusting their govt. And when you make errors of judgement there are consequences if there were no consequences then no lessons would be learnt

    Greece needs to default firstly for the sake of her people but secondly to teach the banks that there are consequences for irresponsible lending.

  7. Andy C,

    It’s not just the rich who can/should help the vulnerable. Everyone should. You don’t need lots of money to help others/give donations to those in need.

  8. @ AmbivalentSupporter – “… contrary to what some people claim, politics is all about self-interest”

    YouGov’s Peter Kellner has something to say on this.

    Labour’s overall share of the vote [2010] was just 30%, and the turnout was only 65%. But the class figures remain telling: around 4.4 million ABC1 votes for Labour, compared with 4.2 million C2DE votes.

    “… the differences these days flow from values more than ideology or class. Labour voters tend to feel more strongly about fairness, public services and the need for collective action to tackle Britain’s problems. They tend to be more liberal on gender equality and gay rights. They are less hostile to Europe and, sometimes, to immigrants.”

    h
    ttp://today.yougov.co.uk/commentaries/peter-kellner/labour-not-just-party-working-class

  9. @Ambivalentsupporter

    I find as my political ideology has matured or become deranged to some people who comment here LOL that I find it dificult to find a party that is suited to my political beliefts but I traditionally go with the lesser evil or the best of the worst.

    My passion is economic justice and reform. Traditionally that has seen within Labour which is why I joined, even if New Labour did not do much to shifting the injustice but netherless I joined in late 2009 with the knowledge that I thought Labour would lose so by joining to influence my own view. A new clean slate lets say.

    I mean, their is a lack of choice for me as well but that has not stopped me taking an active involvment because I believe that you have to be in it to win it as they say on national lottery. If I don’t get involved then off course they won’t be influenced.

    I do sympathise with your views on lack of choice but that should not stop you taking active involvment in other groups which do not really have to be a political party.

    Also, I think selfishness is okay in politics depending on the content of it. I mean, Thatcher could be considered selfish by not moving on many issues. Some call it stuborn, some would see it as principal and boldness. So it all depends really on the content because studying psychology at college their is a thing where people do good deeds for selfish reasons i.e. to get praise, credit etc. So by that standards even Ghandi was selfish.

  10. @Andy C,

    Thoug, I do agree that rich people should do more, We all should. I think it’s a disgrace that the rich countries like Britain are doing next to nothing to resolve world poverty. We are all equally responsible for this IMO.

  11. @ Billy Bob,

    The vast majority of high earners who voted lLabour were probably public sector workers on good pension/salaries. In which case, I am not at all surprised!

    I mean why would a public worker on a good pension/salary vote Tory?

    If you saw a breakdown, I reckon all would become clear that there is a strong voting pattern.

  12. @Ambivalentsupporter

    Yes I agree. I am not saying for once that only the rich should give and this is where me being raised as a Catholic in a socialist household was always taught to give and aid as well because there are people more needy than me. So this goes beyond just wealth but it returns to civic society and collective responsbility.

  13. Class isn’t such a big determinant now. A high earner in the public sector on a good pension would have more reason to vote Labour, I’d say.

    It all comes back to self-interest though (in the vast majority of cases, anyway).

  14. And, of course, many professional/well-paid workers did very well under Labour financially if they had children, what with all the child benefits etc. The Tories aren’t as generous. Middle class female voters with children did nicely under Labour.

    It’s no longer quite as simple as a simple vote Labour if you are working class and vote Tory if you are wealthy. It’s more complicated than that.

  15. @Andy C,

    I see, Yes, I agree with you even if I an not Catholic myself.

  16. @Ambivalentsupporter

    I am not a good Catholic. I would say now I am rather more now agnoist although I do flirt with my faith from time to time but ironically if I had to find an ideology that it suited to my beliefs it would be Catholicism.

    I would say that civic responsbility, collective duty and supporting local communities is at the heart of it’s faith. It has it’s good moments given the corruption, greed and criminal acts that does go around and behind the Vatican.

  17. I can tell you that, in my experience, the vast majority of senior civil servants (and Head Teachers, I suspect) are Tory.

    It WOULD be a very interesting poll though!

    It always astonishes me how many public servants vote Tory.

  18. @Andy C,

    I’d count myself as an agnostic too. I agree with your views on collective duty and civic responsibility.

  19. @AmbivalentSupporter – “The vast majority of high earners who voted Labour were probably public sector workers on good pension/salaries.”

    I can’t find any evidence for that conjecture, it’s possible, but on balance unlikely.

    “Come the 2010 election and public sector voting for Labour had shrunk to 34% – only slightly higher than among the public as a whole (30%). Almost three-fifths (57%) of public sector workers voted for the Conservatives or Lib Dems: 1.9m votes and 6% of the total votes cast in Britain.”

    h
    ttp://www.ipsos-mori.com/newsevents/ca/545/Economic-Optimism-Divides-Public-and-Private-Sector-Workers.aspx

  20. One of the reasons the targetting of public sector pay, pensions and redundancy is a mistake is because so many of those affected probably are Tory or Lib Dem voters.

    Or were.

  21. .. Old Nat

    I presume that by negative income tax you mean tax credits. Which always seemed to me to be complicated but I have to admit that having never received them I know little about them, I remember my sister telling me that without the tax credits she would have difficulty managing. But I got the impression that although she welcomed the money she was not overly enthusiastic about the system

    What I propose is paying everyone over 16/18 a fixed amount weekly into a special account the account would never be allowed to have more than 4 weeks money in it, use it or lose it. I believe that the proceeds of the sale of benefit offices would cover the start up costs and the continuing costs would be raised from abolishing the PTA(I know why raise the PTA just to abolish it, but it makes since to me) and a modest rise in income tax

  22. Assuming *every* single high earning public sector worker voted Labour, and at the same time not one single lower paid public sector worker voted Labour (highly unlikely ;) )… then we could we say that one in four of Labour’s 2010 ABC1 voter demographic were from the public sector?

    Not “the vast majority” though.

  23. ” Most people don’t even realise this that their views on politics are probably coming from their own selfish concerns/experiences.”
    I’m going to completely disagree.
    Ego-justification doesn’t explain politics at all* – if it were the case that people voted solely in short-sighted self-interested ways then the Tory vote would have collapsed decades ago.
    It goes against research in to political psychology which shows that disadvantaged groups often *oppose* political ideologies that would improve their lives because ‘they’re in the position they deserve to be’.
    It also goes against game-theory (the rational-actor model) which suggests that the best ‘selfish’ long-term strategy is actually the mutualist one.

    *This isn’t to say selfishness isn’t a factor, but to distill all human nature to ‘people only act selfishly – and if they aren’t acting selfishly, there must be a subtle selfishness working under the surface’ is reducing psychology and politics to the absurd extreme.

  24. Colin

    It was well known before 2009 that the Greeks were hiding their debts I remember reading about it in the economist magazine shortly after the launch of the euro, it just served everyone’s interest to pretend that it wasn’t happening

  25. @Billy Bob and Nick P,

    It’s also complicated by the fact that very highly-paid public sector workers would probably be more likely to vote Tory. But those (professional) public sector workers on more modest salaries i.e. up to, say, £40-50,000 are probably much more likely to vote Labour. That would go a long way to explain why Labour voters are currently a lot more likely to support the public sector strikes than Tory voters (i.e. public sector workers are more likely to vote Labour, and hence, be adversely affected by the changes to pensions)

    Because the UK has undergone many structural and social changes over the past 30 years trying to determine who would be financially better off under party x/y is now much more complex. It is complicated further by the changes made to the benefits system. But a pattern is nonetheless discernible.

  26. “But even if the debts are legitimate”

    Of course the Debts are “legitimate”-all too legitimate.

    What was “illegitimate” was the fraudulent accounting practices ( mostly centred on the date at which military spending was recorded) with which Greece claimed compliance with Eurozone deficit cap of 3% GDP

    I wonder if, when lenders finish up writing off 50% of their Greek Sovereign Debt book values, some of them might be considering the Courts & named Greek Officials & politicians ?

    Sky just reporting G20 “preparing for” Greek default -with 50% losses for lenders.

    If this is a default & exit Euro-fair enough.

    If this is a default & stay in the Euro, how soon before Portugal & Spain-or even Ireland ask the question-can we do that too ?

    And if Default of a Eurozone Member is to be countenanced why sahould any Bank in their right minds lend to any of them?

  27. @Nick P,

    “One of the reasons the targetting of public sector pay, pensions and redundancy is a mistake is because so many of those affected probably are Tory or Lib Dem voters.

    Or were.”

    And yet the Tories are polling virtually the same as they did at the GE in 2010. It obviously hasn’t had any significant effect of note, backing up the idea (again) that public sector workers are, on average, more likely to vote Labour.

    @TingedFringe,

    Your views are contradicted by modern psychological and sociological thought.

  28. @TingedFringe,

    “*This isn’t to say selfishness isn’t a factor, but to distill all human nature to ‘people only act selfishly – and if they aren’t acting selfishly, there must be a subtle selfishness working under the surface’ is reducing psychology and politics to the absurd extreme.”

    I didn’t say that. Merely that politics is, on the whole, governed by self-interest, even if people don’t realise it. You have put a much-exaggerated slant (and interpretation) on what I was saying. No offence.

  29. @Ambivalent Supporter

    One problem there being that polls shape the result acording to a model that accounts for employment in the public sector. So they may well be shaping away signs that there’s movement of the public sector tory/libdem vote.

  30. Talk of DOUBLING EFSF to 1000 bn euros!!!!

    German & French taxpayers are really going to be pleased.

  31. @JayBlanc,

    But if it had had a significant effect on voting intention, I think we would have seen some kind of a slump, of some note, in the Tory vote by now. We haven’t; if anything the Tory vote is up ever so slightly on a few months ago.

  32. TingedFringe
    “Ego-justification doesn’t explain politics at all* – if it were the case that people voted solely in short-sighted self-interested ways then the Tory vote would have collapsed decades ago.”

    This is nonsense. The Tory government of the 80s was very good for working class people in many ways. Allowing them to buy their council houses at knock-down prices, privatising expensive publicly-subsidised utilities and encouraging shares to be bought and sold by the public (e.g. the ‘Ask Sid’ campaign), reducing the basic rate of income tax and raising the threshold and so on.

    I know there were unpopular things too, like the so-called Poll Tax but there were a lot of benefits in other ways for ordinary people.

  33. Colin

    The banks should sue senior public servants and politicians and I suspect that the Greek people would cheer, there are folk in Greece calling for high level prosecutions for treäson among other things. It most certainly not be right that these people should escape Scot free while the Greek people suffer.

    50% haircut is much worse than it sounds because the debt is held at 30 times leverage which is why some banks risk going under.

  34. Colin

    Greece owes 450 billion don’t you wonder why the EFSF needs doubling to 4 times the amount of the haircut. You realize that once Greek debt has been marked to market the banks may have to cover losses by selling other assets which might not be worth their book value and of course everything is highly leveraged, Greece are not the only ones hiding their debts, you watch when Greece defaults the banks will be forced to come clean about their dodgy balance sheets.

  35. If the Greeks default, the France and Germany are going to be very nervous, as their banks hold a a fairly large percentage of their debts. I understand this to be about 20% and 10% respectively. This could cause a domino effect with other banks around Europe and further afield.

    Where is the leadership concerning this further financial crisis ?

  36. RiN

    No. I meant Negative Income Tax (NIT).

    Here’s the Wiki article on it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_income_tax

    I’ve always liked the idea of it, instead of having a “benefits system” of any kind.

  37. @OldNat

    I remember NIT. It was something I believe was proposed by the late free-market economist Friedrich Hayek as well I believe. As someone from the left on the economy this is something that I do actually find attractive by most right-wing economists if it’s carried out progressively.

  38. Just to touch on this poll which the thread is about, It seems that every major poll other than YG sees a neck and neck situation. Without wishing to rubbish YG it does make one wonder. Particularly as the figures regarding say Mr Milibands stunning love in with the British public, seems to be something all polls agree on, give or take a negative here or there.

    [SNIP]

  39. P.S.

    IS there any polling to suggest that public sector workers are more likely to vote Labour?

  40. NickP

    “I can tell you that, in my experience, the vast majority of senior civil servants (and Head Teachers, I suspect) are Tory.”

    Well here in Wales is one recently retired senior civil servant who has NEVER voted Tory ! My own experience would tend to suggest that senior bureaucrats would have split about 45% Tory , 30% Labour and 25% Libdem in the period 1995- 2010. The Coalition may have more supporters at the moment because “Office” probably draws in some floaters. Many civil servants do not have a permanent party allegiance, even privately. One thing I did discover in the noughties is that some very senior Westminster bureaucrats took a ferociously anti-SNP stance, talking in private about devolution as being akin to treason. I found this alaming – anti-democratic and definitely (post) colonialist. Hopefully this is dissipating over time, but I wonder?

  41. WELSH BORDERER

    I suspect that Nick P was talking about England. The idea that Scots Head Teachers are mainly Tory made me smile.

  42. RIN
    re your NIT plan, how would this not encourage some to just stay in bed all day rather than go out and get a job? Would it not suffer from the malaise of all benefit support systems, that if the payments are too generous (as now) it encourages idleness, even if set at minimum wage levels?

  43. oldnat

    silly me. Yes. I’m talking about the South East too, so even more unindicative.

  44. @RICHARD IN NORWAY
    The Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, American and to a slightly lesser extent British and French people, have been living on tick for donkey’s years. It has now caught up with them. Differing percentages of citizens of these nations have been prepared to believe all the Keynesian/social democrat offers which have been put before them. Look at the many arguments put forward still on this site about Britain. There is no real financial issue, its just hard right Thatchrites being bloody minded. There are those who spout the same beliefs in the other affected nations. The people will now pay the piper for live now pay later. That many comfortably off people wont suffer much and many poor people will suffer a lot is tough, so it was when a bomb from an RAF Lancaster aimed at Darmstadt SS barracks , hit the children’s hospital in 1943. Life ain’t fair and never will be, despite Nick Clegg.

  45. Robert

    In essence, NIT wouldn’t necessarily have any different consequentials from the current cumbersome separate tax system and benefit system (except that it could be delivered more easily, and with fewer civil servants to administer it).

    Those of us in Scotland well remember Thatcher’s espousal of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “If a man will not work he shall not eat”.

    You may wish to live in such a country. Few do. However, we would probably both agree that “If a man will not work he shall not have enough cash to go out and buy a top of the range TV and a digi-box in order to record his favourite programmes, while he takes his family on a trip to Orlando.”

  46. @chouenlai

    “Just to touch on this poll which the thread is about, It seems that every major poll other than YG sees a neck and neck situation. Without wishing to rubbish YG it does make one wonder. ”

    I agree that there probably is not much difference in support between Labout and Tories. I suspect it is about how the questions are asked about likelyness to vote for a party. People are a bit fed up about the coaltion, as they have prescribed medicine, but it appears to be making matters worse, rather than better. So some of the YG % saying they will vote Labour are probably not more than 50% definately certain to vote that way if a GE was held today.

    In regard to Ed Miliband and Labour, they are finding it difficult in the current economic situation to talk about an alternative strategy in much detail. The Tories were in the same position before the 2010 GE. Not sure any of the main parties in the UK or anywhere else have a clue what to do. Personally I believe what David Blanchflower (leading economist) is proposing is the best option. i.e growth is the only way to tackle the debt problem.

  47. Old Nat

    Thanks for the link, I see the similarities. I saw that there was a link on basic income which was quite detailed, odd I have been thinking about these things for years and then you find out that lots of other folk have had the same thoughts and same arguments. I see that according to the link that the liberal party in Norway advocates basic income which I didn’t know, I guess that I should have read their manifesto more carefully. I first started thinking about it in the late 80s and early 90s when I was working on the buildings, the structure of the labour market makes it quite precarious even if you are a hard worker. And signing off could be a bit risky I also noticed that many employers turned a blind eye when folk needed a Tuesday afternoon off, in one case a foreman actually asked me which afternoon off I needed and was horrified when I told him I had signed off. But relaxed when I assured him that I had not informed them of where I was working. I remember that job well, on the first day I asked how long the job would last and was told that it would last as long as I did. Every week they hired maybe 10 guys and at the end of the week they sacked just as many. Just keeping the good ones. But this was in the depths of the recession and folk were a bit desparate for work, anyhow I’m rambling, sorry.

  48. “Your views are contradicted by modern psychological and sociological thought.”
    Really? Based on what research?

    Jost’s (Professor of Psychology at NYU) System Justification theory supports my view.
    As does Social-Dominance Orientation (Jim Sidanius – Professor of Psychology, Harvard).
    Right-Wing Authoritarianism (Robert Altemeyer, Professor at Manitoba university) does to some extent – people will work against their self-interest because ‘authority knows best’.
    etc

    People *often* work against their self-interests.

  49. Robert

    Well I don’t know if it would promote idleness, I suppose that it depends on the size of the payment. Even so most people are not idle and if given the chance to earn extra cash will jump at it unless they are penalized by the benefit system for doing so. There are those that are inherently idle and there really is not much we can do about them. Forcing them to work is a bit pointless because they just mess things up or everyone feels duty bound to cover up for them. For me the numbers of these people are tiny and it seems best to give them a little money and wait for them to come to their senses or not as the case may be. But punishing the 99 for the shortcomings of the 1 is counterproductive, that way you produce resentful idleness that is folk begin to think “well if they think I’m a srounger then I’ll be one” and I would suggest that this happens at a subliminal level, of course the only evidence I can offer is self analysis.

  50. Actually it wouldn’t surprise me if public servants were pretty much split voting wise the same as non-public service workers.

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