The Guardian has some ICM figures on Europe out, very much in line with what we’ve already seen elsewhere. 70% of people would like a referendum on EU membership, asked how they would vote, 49% say they would vote to leave, 40% would stay in. The poll appears to have had voting intention as well, but so far the Guardian hasn’t published the voting intention figures. There is also a ComRes poll for ITV, which also finds 68% in support of a referendum on EU membership.

Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, so right back to the typical Labour leads of four points or so.


110 Responses to “ICM Europe poll and YouGov/Sun – 36/40/9”

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  1. Guardian/ICM: LAB 39%, CON 35%, LDEM 13%

    all seem to be coming together a bit, be interesting on Cameron’s personal ratings, Libya good, Europe bad

  2. I found the debate in the Commons quite interesting.

    Lots of English MPs arguing for independence was fascinating.

  3. I really expected Labour to start opening a gap. Nice to be wrong.

  4. I thought Nick Robinson’s commentary on the news was a little hyperbolic. What exactly are Tory anti-Europeans going to do next when the motion is defeated?

    Defect to UKIP? Topple the Prime Minister? Or just carry on moaning like they were before the motion was proposed. Most of them don’t differ materially from the PM’s position on most other issues. And the PM simply doesn’t need their votes in parliament in the same way that Major needed his “ba***ds”.

    Signifies nothing, frankly.

  5. @IanRobo

    “Guardian/ICM: LAB 39%, CON 35%, LDEM 13%”

    Isn’t that the biggest Labour lead in an ICM poll for quite some time? They actually had the Tories ahead a few months ago, if I remember rightly

  6. Seems like a 4-5 point lead is pretty much where we are at across all pollsters now. A coming together, you might say.

  7. @Neil A

    “hought Nick Robinson’s commentary on the news was a little hyperbolic”

    Fear not, Neil, the old YC Chairman always gets a little flustered when it looks like it’s all going pear-shaped for his beloved Tories!! lol

  8. Blimey. Up to 80 Tories rebelled and defied the three line whip tonight on the EU Referendum debate.

    I see troubles ahead.

  9. CROSSBAT11

    “I see troubles ahead.”

    But while there’s music, and moonlight, and love and romance. Let’s face the music and dance.

  10. CROSSBAT11.

    Correct on the former OUCA chairman

    CHOUENLAI

    Lib Dems seem high at 13%

    48% for the Coalition Party against 39% for Labour.

    Plain sailing until 2015.

  11. I honestly don’t understand what “the troubles ahead” are going to consist of.

    1/3 of the Tory MPs in parliament want a referendum on leaving the UK. OK. So what are they going to do about it?

    What would be their next move?

  12. Neil A

    “What would be their next move?”

    Whine incessantly?

  13. @Oldnat,

    Exactly.

  14. This is the biggest Labour lead from ICM since January. Significant, even if not seismic.

  15. “What would be their next move?”

    When you’re marked out as a rebel, future rebellion becomes much easierr.

  16. Good to see so many MPs of various shades defying the whips. I watched most of the debate and some of the speeches were quite good.

    Jacob Rees-Mogg was very good, but he looked and sounded exactly like Michael Palin imitating a Tory MP in a Monty Python sketch.

  17. It’s a blow for David Cameron and his leadership. No doubt about that. He wanted to prevent any dissension amongst the Tory ranks. It makes the party look more divided – something that may well picked up by the British public.

    But will it rip the Tories apart and end the coalition? Extremely unlikely IMO.

    I guess Labour supporters/voters, by their very nature, are constantly on the lookout for gaping holes to appear in the coalition. But this is from a game changer.

  18. @Berious,

    Yes, but on what?

    What HoC vote in the next three years is going to present an opportunity for the eurosceptic rebels to vote with the opposition to defeat the government? And even if they found one, how would the rebellion actually further their objectives?

    It’s a bit of fluff, if you ask me. Tory MPs venting.

  19. @Neil A – “Signifies nothing, frankly.”

    That’s an extremely optimistic view to be honest. In terms of current legislation, it means absolutely nothing. In terms of party dynamics, it’s extremely important, and in terms of future legislation and EU negotiations, this scale of rebellion will make the governments task very, very difficult.

    The rebellion is way beyond what would be needed to block future EU legislation, which means Cameron must listen to his right wing when dealing with Europe. Up to now, he has largely dismissed them.

    It also weakens Cameron. It shows clearly that he doesn’t command the respect of many of his backbenchers, and it shows a tactical ineptitude for a PM to force an issue that is at heart irrelevant and damage himself in the process.

    I’ve said many times before that his support in his own party is Cameron’s big weakness. This vote both demonstrates that, but also makes it more likely that he will have more trouble in future in this score.

  20. I’m with Neil A on this one.

  21. @OldNat

    There may be trouble ahead…………..I fell in love with that song when I heard it in Dennis Potters play, “Pennies from Heaven”. Nat King Cole and Potter; what a combination.

    @Neil A

    “I honestly don’t understand what “the troubles ahead” are going to consist of.”

    I see plenty. Emboldened Tory backbenchers with a taste for further mischief, for one. Not all of the rebels were necessarily giving vent to specific EU concerns tonight, I suspect they were firing warning shots across Cameron’s bows about a number of nefarious issues; past concessions to Lib Dems, overlooked Tories hoping for ministerial positions given to Lib Dems, backfiring boundary changes, Cameron’s liberal brand of conservatism etc.

    I think Cameron is a significantly weaker leader of the Tory Party tonight and that fact opens up all sorts of interesting political possibilities.

  22. @Alec,

    But at its worst, it would mean that the rebels, combined with a cynical Labour vote, might prevent the implementation of some minor additional EU agreements. If they were major, involving a treaty, then the government is committed to a referendum on them anyway.

    So, Cameron is quaking in his boots at the prospect of not getting the next round of banana-length legislation through. I doubt it.

    As for the idea that he “forced the issue”, well wasn’t the issue forced on him? Would refusing to timetable the debate meant less disquiet on his backbenches?

  23. @CrossBat,

    Hmm, I’m not convinced at all. I thought the tone was very much about Europe. Many of the rebels are basically straight-down-the-line Cameroons, but true believers in the Eurosceptic cause.

    The bottom line is that this time last week we knew that a big chunk of the Tory MPs would like to leave the EU. Now we know that if you give them a chance to vote on it, they will vote to leave the EU. Not such a big discovery.

    The most damage it will probably do is to paint the PM as more pro-EU than he’d like, and possibly haemorrhage some votes to UKIP. I confidently predict that it will make virtually no difference at all to the workings of the parliamentary Tory party or the coalition.

  24. I think this rebellion is more damaging to Cameron’s leadership than to the overall viability and health of the coalition.

    “In terms of current legislation, it means absolutely nothing. In terms of party dynamics, it’s extremely important, and in terms of future legislation and EU negotiations, this scale of rebellion will make the governments task very, very difficult.”

    I agree.

  25. Let’s not forget, these Tory rebels could vote against an essentially Lib Dem bill which wasn’t part of their agenda and could theoretically (with Lab voting against) bring it down.

  26. @Johnny,

    What theoretical bill though?

    My point is that everyone’s predicting that it will cause the PM “difficulties”, but noone can really point to any concrete example.

    Alec says future EU negotiations might be difficult. Well, I think they will be extremely difficult, regardless. But having to say “If I take your proposal back to my parliament it will be defeated” hardly makes it more difficult to get your own way.

  27. @Neil A – “What HoC vote in the next three years is going to present an opportunity for the eurosceptic rebels to vote with the opposition to defeat the government? And even if they found one, how would the rebellion actually further their objectives?”

    I don’t think you really get it. yesterday, Merkel said got an agreement from other EU leaders that the Lisbon Treaty would have to be looked at with changes likely to be required. Cameron has repeatedly said he would have a referendum about any further transfer of powers and has been talking about returning powers at every opportunity.

    On the one hand, this is his opportunity, but having enough backbenchers behind him prepared to vote on principle and potentially overturn the coalition majority he will need to go much, much further than he wanted to in these negotiations in order to placate his own rebels.

    This will probably end in parliamentary trench warfare over EU powers with Cameron likely to be put in the awkward situation of having to defend the EU to his own party who frankly don’t trust him over this issue. The public will just see a weak PM and divided party.

    This really is a big issue with many potential outcomes for the Tories.

  28. One important factor here is that the MPs voting tonight knew the result was a foregone conclusion. Therefore, it was a lot easier to make a protest vote that any vote with a real prospect of a Government defeat. I’m not so sure we’d have had 80-ish Conservative rebels had Labour been voting against.

    On the other side, the argument that now is a bad time for a referendum is a strong one. That argument will not hold whenever the financial situation in the EU stabilises. It is entirely possible that in a few years’ time, MPs who were previously taken in by the “bad time” argument will switch sides.

    I’m actually more interested by the 30-ish Labour MPs who voted for the referendum. That is a sign that Euroscepticism isn’t just a Tory thing any more. If the European Commission is banking on a Labour victory in 2015, that might not be enough.

  29. “49% say they would vote to leave, 40% would stay in”

    On those figures, by the time the big battalions of industry and commerce have finished promoting continued EU membership in the intense atmosphere of a referendum campaign (with pro politicians taking a back seat and only the anti politicians front and centre), I would not be surprised at all to see a 55% plus vote for YES to stay in :D

    ICM and YG are both good news for Labour tonight. A short term boost for a variety of reasons not least Dave’s perceived (rightly IMO) abandonment of anti EU referendum rhetoric.

    I expect it to stay about the same/ get worse tomorrow as he just looked so very very shifty/ dodgy on the 10 and 10:30 news tonight.

    Furthermore I really think the front bench need to stop banging on as if the EURO zone problems are responsible for our dangerously poor growth rate and extremely high unemployment rate.

    Its wearing thin.

    People know where the responsibility for the economy rests- with continung global financial uncertainty (of the same but lesser order than 2007-2008): and the governments OWN policies since May 2010.

    If this was Thatcher at least she’d be honest about that- indeed would celebrate the ‘toughness’. Or Lamont- ‘if it isn’t hurting it isn’t working’/ ‘3 million unemployed a price worth paying’ etc etc.

    But Dave – like Tony before him- reads the findings of too many focus groups for that degree of ‘front-it-up’ principled honesty.

  30. Con have been on 37% for the last four months with ICM, so that’s down 2% after a minor recovery in VI since the local elections in May.

    Labour have been on 38/36/36/39% (Sept /Aug/Jul/Jun), so back to June levels and they equal their highest ICM lead this year (January).

    LDs 14/17/16/12% (Sept/Aug/Jul/Jun) look to be still trending down with ICM.

  31. @Neil A – “As for the idea that he “forced the issue”, well wasn’t the issue forced on him? Would refusing to timetable the debate meant less disquiet on his backbenches?”

    I really don’t think you’ve got this. It wasn’t the timetabling. This was backbench business, with a non binding vote, with no chance of a defeat due to Labour and Lib Dem votes. Cameron forced the issue by going for a 3 line whip – he demanded total loyalty, and around half of the non payroll vote stuck two fingers up to him. Had he allowed a free vote as expected there really wouldn’t be an issue.

  32. Rob Sheffield

    “People know where the responsibility for the economy rests- with continung global financial uncertainty (of the same but lesser order than 2007-2008): and the governments OWN policies since May 2010.”

    So inheriting the biggest deficit ever from the previous government has nothing to do with it?

  33. Alec

    “Cameron forced the issue by going for a 3 line whip – he demanded total loyalty, and around half of the non payroll vote stuck two fingers up to him”

    Absolutely- its a definite shaving away of some of his authority.

  34. @Alec,

    Really? So if there had been a free vote and 150 Tories voted in favour, you’d be saying “yeah, whatever, nothing to see here?”.

    I think this whole “whipping” thing is completely a Westminster Village issue. The public at large have no clue what we’re talking about when we say it.

    All they’ll take from this is that a lot of Tories are very anti-EU (natch) and that there is some disagreement in the Tory party over how to proceed. That may detract from the sense of unity, at least for a time (and we know that can affect VI) but I really don’t see this as a running sore like the Major years. The “advantage” that Euro-sceptics had over Major was that their votes constituted his parliamentary majority. He literally couldn’t govern without them.

  35. @NEIL A

    “What HoC vote in the next three years is going to present an opportunity for the eurosceptic rebels to vote with the opposition to defeat the government? And even if they found one, how would the rebellion actually further their objectives?”

    A vote of no confidence in the PM if it happened.

  36. @Billy Bob,

    I’d urge against taking one poll, especially as we are only talking a very small 2% shift (well within the MOE). However, having said that, I would say that it does appear that Labour’s lead has increased in Yougov polls by about 1-2% very recently if you consider the change in methodology. So it is certainly within the realms of possibility IMO that there has been a genuine (but very small) shift with ICM as well. Only time will tell.

    Looks like we currently have Labour ahead by around 4-5% (if all pollsters are taken into account).

  37. @Statgeek,

    If you think these rebels would vote the PM out of office, then I think you misunderstand their motives. Any outcome that could result, from a new Tory PM (able to command LibDem support), to a PM from a different party (leading a Rainbow Coalition – although given the Democratic Unionists supported the motion that seems unlikely), to a fresh election, would see their cause weakened.

    Most of these MPs don’t seriously disagree with the government on most of its policy agenda, only on the EU referendum issue. This motion, and the rebellion, was gesture politics.

  38. According to revolts this is the most rebellious parliament ever. But the public don’t seem to have noticed, but 80 in one go might make an impact

  39. pete B

    Key point made each time your point is made on here (IMO) is that Cameron-Osborne *supported* the previous governments spending plans until autumn 2009: by which time Darling was already planning for Labours own longer and more shallow (by some 38 billion over 4 years) deficit-management policy.

    The very same approach which gave the current government optimism of growth in late 2010…..until their own polices kicked in and ended the recovery created by the previous governments 2010 policy.

  40. @Neil A – “Really? So if there had been a free vote and 150 Tories voted in favour, you’d be saying “yeah, whatever, nothing to see here?”.”

    Absolutely. I probably would have commented on the way such a vote reflected increasing Tory Euroscepticism, but that isn’t news to anyone. The media would have been supremely disinterested and Cameron wouldn’t even have turned up at the debate.

    I don’t think you realise just how much Cameron’s lack of touch with his backbenchers have caused him to make such a big screw up.

    There will be changes to Lisbon, mainly in the Eurozone block. These will not probably not directly affect UK sovereign powers but will have potentially enormous effects on the UK. It will be precisely the kind of issue where there isn’t a clear cut constitutional or legal outcome and will be a recipe for alternative interpretations and predictions. In these negotiations, this vote will hang round Cameron’s neck like an albatross, and there may well be more serious votes on matters the government dare not lose on.

    He really has created a rod for his own back.

  41. Just been reading Tim Montgomerie.It would seem that
    Dave is not well liked and also rather lazy(Compared to Mrs Thatcher) and of course GB was no slouch either.I
    think this is quite an important moment in the life of this
    coalition,if anything moves the immoveable 36% It might
    be this.

  42. Phil Cowley of Notts Uni did some pre-vote research on eurosceptic revolts

    http://nottspolitics.org/2011/10/22/the-european-magic-number-41/

    He forecast

    “All the signs therefore are that Monday will produce the largest Commons rebellion of Cameron’s premiership – and the largest ever rebellion by Conservative MPs when in government over the issue of Europe”

    Correct on BOTH counts!

  43. Gary Gibbon reports that NormanTebbit has been touring the tea-rooms and making the vote a leadership issue:

    “The question one has to ask is, is it likely that a new leader would come from those who are intimidated by the three line whip into reneging on what they truly believe”

    @AmbivalentSupporter

    Agreed, just one poll,
    the January poll was Con 35%, Lab 39%, LD 15%.

    ICM has been showing month by month trends this year (its all we have to go on), with a Lab lead tightening away to nothing, a momentary Con lead, now what looks like a reversal.

  44. A three-line whip is a strict instruction to attend and vote, breach of which would normally have serious consequences. Permission not to attend may be given by the whip, but a serious reason is needed. Breach of a three-line whip can lead to expulsion from the parliamentary political group in extreme circumstances and may lead to expulsion from the party. Consequently, three-line whips are generally only issued on key issues, such as votes of confidence and supply. The nature of three-line whips and the potential punishments for revolt vary dramatically among parties and legislatures.

    Is DC going to expel any of there revolters

  45. Surely the political significance of tonight’s vote has less to do with whether particular future Commons votes will be lost or not and more to do with perception of the Conservative Party.

    After all what drove Major’s ratings down and kept them there wasn’t just the (EU-derived) economic disaster of Black Wednesday. It was the constant attacks by a small wing of the Party over Europe. While some of tonight’s rebels may be more pro-referendum than anti-EU, it will certainly give the impression of a disunited Party and the public don’t like that.

  46. Roger Mexico

    “a disunited Party and the public don’t like that.”

    i know that is the conventional wisdom, and I’m not actually questioning it – but is there actual research evidence that the relevant members of “the public” (the floating voters) are turned off because of disunity, or other factors?

  47. A strange choice of topic to three-line whip……..Number 10 would have found it easier herding cats…..but the doom-mongering above is somewhat laughable. Every week, for a year, over many subjects, there has been a chorus of “serious trouble for Cameron”…….no particular sign yet that any of those calls have been accurate, but I guess if one picks enough reasons over a long enough period of time, a “prediction” will come true eventually….

  48. Been a bit busy and I’ve not been keeping up with the news today till now, so forgive me if this ground has been covered.

    Other than the Labour rebellion over Iraq, anyone know what the last time was that 80-odd MPs voted against a Govt 3 line whip? This sounds like the kind of event that historians use as examples of weak Governments being, not mortally wounded, but seriously hobbled.

  49. John major removed the whip(expelled?) 9 mps for rebelling over Europe. If dc doesn’t do the same then we can safely say that he is weaker than major. Or maybe not but what does DC do now, does he just pretend that it hasn’t happened? Or does he impose some discipline on his backbenchers?

  50. @Neil A – ‘The “advantage” that Euro-sceptics had over Major was that their votes constituted his parliamentary majority. He literally couldn’t govern without them.’

    And the coalition has a notional majority of… 83.

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