A selection of polls out tonight (the regular polls from MORI, ComRes, ICM and Populus all seem to be clustering towards the end of the month, meaning we have a fortnight or so of just YouGov, then everyone else comes at once).

First up ICM for the Guardian have topline figures of CON 36%(+1), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 14%(+1), Others 12%(-1). Changes are from their poll a month ago and, self-evidently, show very little change: a small Labour lead, but with a higher Lib Dem score than other pollsters tend to show.

The rest of ICM’s poll dealt with the economy and the Eurozone. Asked what is to blame for the latest economic slowdown, 30% of people said the last Labour government’s debts, 24% the current government’s cuts, 19% the banks refusing to lend and 18% the Eurozone. As in the YouGov poll at the weekend, people were very evenly split on whether the government are following the correct economic course – 46% said Osborne should slow the cuts, 44% that he should stick to his plans.

Secondly we have Populus for the Times. Topline figures there are CON 33%(nc), LAB 41%(nc), LDEM 13%(+5), Others 13%(-4). The rather incongruous 8 point lead in Populus’s last poll is therefore maintained for a second month, though they show a sharp increase in Lib Dem support. To some degree this will a reversion to the mean after an unusually low Lib Dem score last month – like ICM Populus reallocate don’t knows to the party they voted for last time, so 8% for the Lib Dems really was extremely low. Nevertheless, even by Populus’s standards it is a boost for the Lib Dems, their highest from Populus this year.

Populus also asked about people’s preferred team on the economy, finding 40% trusted Cameron, Osborne and Clegg compared to 26% who trusted Miliband and Balls.

This morning there was also a voting intention poll from Survation, the first I am aware of. They would appear to be using an almost identical approach to that of ICM, except they reallocate don’t knows at a slightly lower rate than ICM do. The poll was conducted between the 2nd and 9th November, so it’s rather out of date now, but the topline figures for the record were CON 38%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%, Others 11%.

To come later tonight there is also the daily YouGov poll for the Sun.

188 Responses to “New ICM and Populus polls”

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  1. Mario Monti talking up Euro Bonds as a “tool for fiscal discipline”.

    That is talking Angela’s language about something she fears means moral hazard big-time.

    The pressure for mutualised EZ debt grows.

  2. Quick question, actually to do with polling –
    Since the polling figures (assuming they’re accurate) are highly dependent on turnout – does anybody have any idea how we’d go about estimating what it would be for future elections?

    A little background – I’ve been looking at the GE results 1945-2010 adjusted to count ‘Non voters’ as a ‘party’ and the figures are pretty dreadful.
    NV has been the ‘largest party’ in every election since 2001 and was fairly close in 1983 and Oct 1974 (though that is easily explained by the earlier GE that year).
    Even on 70% turnout, NV would be the largest party given the current polling of 36/40/9 (which would be 25.2/28/6.3).
    So my general thinking is that if we are to compare current support to historical elections, surely we have to compare the adjusted figure – so Major’s 1992 32.6% would actually be better than in 83 and 87.

    So I just thought I’d ask about estimating turnout – if anybody can help?

    (If anybody’s been wondering why I’ve been posting less, I’ve decided that my ideological posts were better off elsewhere and it’s best to try to stick solely to polling).

  3. Re the £400b mortgage guarantee for first time buyers.

    I have tyo agree with @RiN that this just isn’t the answer. It encourages greater take up of debt, pushes up prices, is a one off intervention only that disipates when the homeowners sell up at market prices, and is structured to assist home builders most of all.

    There is an idea abroad for social housing that solves many problems far better than this – Community Land Trusts. Boris promised these would ignite London’s housing market during his election campaign, but it’s another promise he has palpably failed to deliver on, with not a single new CLT project up and running.

    The idea is simple – a not for profit group buys land, which it retains an in perpetuity ownership. It builds affordable homes on it, which it sells – the home only, not the land, making the cost much cheaper – to a family who must live there.

    The homeowner has full ownership rights over the property, but if they decide to move, the CLT has the right to buy the house back at a fixed rate of increase, usually 25% of the market price rise. It then sells the house on to another owner at an affordable price.

    CLTs mean permanent affordable homes, rather than one off initiatives. In the current climate, government could gift them land, knowing that it would be used for social benefit in perpetuity, and that CLTs could boost current housebuilding as well as helping low income families.

    This would have been a far better use of the resources with a more lasting legacy than 24hr news cycle.

  4. @ Ken

    OLDNAT……….I have a sneaking feeling that yours was the answer Valerie was fishing for. I have developed an instinct for the loaded, ‘Olympic funding’ question, from contributors from beyond the Capital’s boundaries.

    Well you know what they say Ken – never ask a question unless you know the answer!
    But I’m happy to contribute to keep you in the style to which you have clearly become accustomed. :-)

  5. @AmberStar

    ” do you recall a discussion on here a couple of years ago about a lovely feature shared by Kylie, Sam Cam, and of course, your delightful self”

    Our Ken is being uncomplimentary here. I never had you down as a gormless airhead, Amber!! lol

  6. TINGED FRINGE………..I think you may have inadvertently happened upon a potential opportunity for politicians interested in democracy here. If the NVs can somehow be harnessed in, they would contribute considerably to the process of democratic choice. My view, based on no more than a feeling, is that the majority of NVs are people of fairly low motivation politically, this may be due to ignorance, personal circumstances, etc., however, I’m sure the majority will be television viewers, with the advent of major voting events on tele., could we not harness this medium to gather votes. All sorts of technology is available, but I should think there must be a way of communicating a vote, even a phone call with some sort of encryption, I don’t know, but the figures you quote are appalling in a modern society such as ours.
    The capital cost could be addressed by offering the private sector the project, surely it would excite the imagination of our entrepreneurs. Anyway, there are more plusses than minuses in my view. :-)

  7. @Colin – “The pressure for mutualised EZ debt grows.”

    As will the pressure on France’s AAA and also possibly Germany’s.

  8. CROSSBAT11…………Guess again. :-)

  9. @Ken

    “CROSSBAT11…………Guess again.”

    Oh, alright then. What else have Kylie and Sam Cam got in common, if not Amber? A simpering grin, perhaps, or maybe rather boring partners. If not either of those two, I give up! lol

  10. CROSSBAT11………Sorry, I have a duty of care to Amberstar, my lips are sealed in the absence of a response from the lady. :-)

  11. Colin

    See Alec’s answer, he is on the right track

    But also you are misrepresenting my viewpoint on building things we need

    A) it should be done with printed money not borrowed money
    B) it should be done in the depths of the coming recession, ie when unemployment has passed 4 million although my real test would be the amount of debt destruction.

  12. ALEC

    @”As will the pressure on France’s AAA and also possibly Germany’s.”

    Yes-in the case of France , where a credit downgrade seems a distinct possibility, they continue to press for ECB to print money to buy debt.

    There are legal constraints on that & Merkel opposes it tooth & nail.

    In the case of Germany, I just have a feeling that Merkel may concede some version of Euro Bonds in return for the tight central fiscal governance that she needs to sell the idea of sharing Germanies credit status with indebted EZ members to her own electorate.

  13. ALEC……..As far as the markets are concerned France’s AAA has already gone.

  14. Richard in Norway

    @”A) it should be done with printed money not borrowed money
    B) it should be done in the depths of the coming recession, ie when unemployment has passed 4 million although my real test would be the amount of debt destruction.”

    Right…thanks…….good plan :-)

  15. Alec

    France’s AAA will soon be gone and bunds are already widening. The is no chance of either one holding on to triple A if the Eurobonds go ahead.

  16. Colin

    Of course its a good plan, its my plan

  17. Richard in Norway

    @”Of course its a good plan, its my plan”

    True-true !

  18. RICHARD IN NORWAY………….You could introduce your plan into the longest palindrome, to give extra credibility, so RIN’s palindromic solution………….

    A man a PLAN a caNAL PanamA :-) Like all good financial plans, it should involve a dodgy South American tax haven. :-)

  19. KEN

    @”ALEC……..As far as the markets are concerned France’s AAA has already gone.”

    Was just reading some reports-like this one :-

    h ttp://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-22/france-s-aaa-status-in-tatters-as-yields-surge-euro-credit.html

    If/when it goes , there are massive political implications for Sarkozy,& for the relationship with Germany in EZ powerbroking.

  20. COLIN……….They really must get a grip, this thing is gathering momentum….slowly…slowly ! Very very serious now.

  21. What the Russians really think about Obama



  22. Ken

    It is getting serious, but not just in europe

  23. RIN…………Even China is looking perilous, it’s easy to close one’s eyes and hope it will somehow get sorted, I saw some data today, computations we call them, that would frighten the horses.

  24. The ICM tables have appeared and are worth a look:


    ICM found only 556 people who expressed a voting intention, but their published results also reflect their own assumptions on how another 357 declared don’t knows or refusals will actually vote.

    The 556, before any turnout adjustments, split as follows:
    Lab 42.8%, Con 32.7%, LD 11.1%
    Now you can dismiss this entirely, but bear in mind that in their turnout adjustment below ICM build in a bias against any party that might happen to be reengaging former supporters who failed to vote in earlier elections. Given this, IMO the scale of their turnout adjustment can be questioned.

    Once turnout adjustments are added in, the figures change to Lab 40.5%, Con 35.4%, LD 11.1%.

    Then ICM assume that 50% of the don’t knows/refusals will return to their former home and the rest won’t vote i.e. an assumption that for DKs and refusals at least, the next election will mirror the last. With this combined with rounding we end up with Lab 38%, Con 36%, LD 14%.

  25. tingedfringe – in practice turnout is almost impossible to predict, people are very poor at predicting it. While there is a good correlation between how likely people say they are to vote and how likely they actually are (i.e. somewho who says they are 10/10 likely to vote is indeed more likely to vote than a 9/10, who is more likely than an 8/10 etc.), however, there is a substantial chunk of people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote who do not, and a substantial chunk of people who say they will definitely not vote who do.

    Actual turnout tends to be quite close to the proportion of people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote, but the figure always rises sharply during an election campaign, so the proportion who say they are 10/10 certain to vote now will probably not be a good guide.

    “(If anybody’s been wondering why I’ve been posting less, I’ve decided that my ideological posts were better off elsewhere and it’s best to try to stick solely to polling).”

    Hurrah for that man. Have a gold star!

    Phil – interesting. IIRC ICM’s adjustment pushed the Lib Dems up by three points last month as well, it really is having a substantial effect these days.

  26. RiN,

    Spot on.

    Merkel’s position is the least enviable of all the Euro leaders at the moment. Many of the other leaders have gone or are going next time round. But she has the unfortunate position of being the leader of the country that has promoted, and has been at the forefront of, a fiscally united Europe, yet has to watch as all the other EZ countries fall about her. And her own country will still punish her at the polls, whichever way she goes, as there is no solution that benefits Germany now. Even one where they take their ball home….

    “Mrs Merkel argued if there was to be a debate on eurobonds, it should be at the end, not the middle of the crisis”….I wonder why?!……..

  27. @Phil/Anthony

    Surely an opinion poll is just that, a measure of current opinion. I don’t understand why interviewees who choose not to give an opinion should be guessed at. Or are the polls in fact a prediction of a hypothetical election.

    Also their assumption of 50% of the don’t knows/refusals returning to their former home favours parties who did well in the previous election.
    Is there any justification for ICM’s redistribution of DK/refusaIs?

  28. Cloud spotter – it is a philosophical question really, as you say in your third sentence, it is whether a poll is a measure of how people *say* they would vote now (even if you’ve good reason to suspect they might behave differently if there was an election), or is it a measure of how you think people actually *would* vote in an election tomorrow (even if they don’t realise it themselves)?

    There is no right answer to that, you pays your money, you takes your choice.

  29. @Phil

    If you haven’t seen it, here is an article by Boon (ICM) and Curtice. Some discussion of reasons why LD support was overestimated at the GE… “Lib Dem recall will be high on our list of investigations in the coming months.”

    It is not clear whether they have come to any conclusion which would affect methodology yet (the article was written in July last year).


  30. Latest YouGov/Sun results 22nd Nov CON 35%, LAB 42%, LD 9%; APP -27

  31. Lab lead back to 7 pts

    Latest YouGov/Sun results 22nd Nov CON 35%, LAB 42%, LD 9%; APP -27

  32. YouGov 22nd

    Lab 42
    Con 35
    LD 9

    APP -27

    When the gap between Lab and Con widens, the approval rating decreases. Is this a syndrome ?

  33. Hooded

    Nice to see you show up again

  34. RiN,

    Nobody does socio-econo-political Armageddon better than you :-)

    How’s tricks?

  35. KEN

    @”……….They really must get a grip, this thing is gathering momentum….slowly…slowly ! Very very serious now.”

    It has been a massive political failure.

    THey seem like rabbits in the headlights.

  36. Hooded

    I’m a bit disappointed really, armageddon is taking longer to arrive than I expected.

  37. RiN,

    “I’m a bit disappointed really, armageddon is taking longer to arrive than I expected”

    Your antithesis he may be, but trust Micawber. Something will turn up…… ;-)

  38. RiN/Alec,

    I guess I WOULD support a house building boost (micro-boost that is) being a structural engineer by background.

    And yes, the £400M will boost construction companies in the private sector. But they employ a very large number of the working class folk who have been particularly hammered during the last 4 years. My leftiness looks to help out those people.

    Anecdotal evidence again. My own company has just taken on a couple of ex- building labourers. Cracking lads. Bloody hard workers. Barely a chip on their four shoulders despite the fact that neither of them has had a stable job in 3 years.

    THESE lads are the ones who would benefit from an upturn in the construction sector. So yes, I DO support moves to get house building re-started, even if yesterday’s announcement was a gnat’s bite on an elephant of a problem.

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