It is over a year since we had an ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph, but there is one tomorrow and it shows something almost (but not quite) as rare: a Conservative lead. Topline figures with changes from the last ICM poll in the Guardian just under a fortnight ago are CON 38%(+2), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 14%(nc), Others 12%.

UPDATE: This will, no doubt, cause great and largely unwarrented excitement. Whenever a poll shows an unusual result I offer the same caveat – sure, it could be the start of some new trend, but more often than not it turns out to be a blip caused by normal sample error.

Pollsters’ different methodologies have impacts upon their topline figures, and ICM tends to show some of the most positive figures for the Conservatives. Of the five polls in 2011 that have shown Conservative leads, four of them have been from ICM. At least part of the reason for this is that ICM (and to a lesser extent Populus) estimate how people who say “don’t know” would actually vote, reallocating 50% of them to the party they voted for in 2010. This tends to help the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives and harm Labour, in recent months quite dramatically (though of course, we won’t know how much difference it made in this poll till the tabs appear)

Looking across the wider polling landscape YouGov’s daily polling is showing an average lead of 4 or 5 points for Labour, the last two polls from Populus (whose methodology is extremely similar to ICM’s) have shown a Labour lead of 8 points, MORI’s last few polls have shown Labour leads between 2-7 points, ComRes’s recent polls have shown Labour leads between 2-4 points, ICM’s last poll also had a 2 point Labour lead.

In short, this is a single poll, and the bigger picture continues to be of a small Labour lead. We may see other polls from other companies show a similar pattern to ICM in coming days – time will tell – but until then don’t despair/get too excited* (*delete as applicable)

UPDATE2: In contrast, YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%, Others 13%. An eight point lead for Labour is high by YouGov’s standards, but no more inconsistent with their average Labour lead of five points or so than the 2 and 3 point leads they showed during the week.

UPDATE3: There was also a BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday. They had topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%, Others 12%

380 Responses to “ICM/Sun Telegraph – CON 38%, LAB 36%, LD 14% YouGov/Sun Times – CON 35%, LAB 43%, LD 9%”

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  1. @ Richard i N

    Well you have predicted the day of judgement will soon be upon us! ;-)

  2. Tony Dean/ RiN

    The CRAs just this evening have put Germany and France (amongst others) on ‘downgrade watch’ – go figure !

  3. @ Alec

    This, and the general difficulty in arguing that Scotland has suffciient economic resources in the long term to withstand an independent life, is one of the key reasons why I genuinely can’t see any practical advantage in full independence.
    Hooray! Something we agree on, rather than having our rather differing views on the EZ.

    The Nats constantly say that the ‘Unionists’ are negative… as if this makes our points less valid.

    When considering a longterm strategic move, which will effect the livelihoods & life chances of millions of people, minimising the down-side is more important than maximising the up-side… unless you are an ego-maniac who believes that nothing can possibly go wrong with your master plan; nothing & no-one should stand in your way etc. – there’s often a white cat around.

  4. @Colin
    You said “…a Treaty of the 27 which ceded power to Brussels on UK budgets would be unthinkable & trigger a Referendum…”

    It certainly would (competence transfer, and quite a biggie). So that’s not going to happen. But a 27 treaty acknowledging the existence of a 17 treaty…different matter.

    You said “…THere seems no point in being party to a Treaty of the 27 which deals with matters concerning the 17…”

    There is a point, and it’s a big one: money. The EU-27 can do what they like but the EU institutions can only do what the treaties allow them to do. Right now, EU resources (office rental, staff salary and expertise) are being used for things like the EFSF, and everybody’s looking the other way because they’re technically moonlighting. If you want the Commission, ECJ, translation services, etc involved, you have to Europeanise them – gain official EU recognition so that they can be budgeted for and held accountable to European law. Merkel wants the 17 treaty Europeanised so it’ll have access to EU staff and offices and, if somebody walks off with several billion quid in their pocket, they can be punished using EU institutions rather than building a whole new shadow Eurostructure, Eurooffices, Eurodesks, and Eurocomfychairs

    This is not exceptional: consider Schengen, for example, which includes two non-EU members (Norway, Switzerland) but has been Europeanised via the Treaty of Amsterdam. So EU resources and staff can quite legally oversee, run and enforce matters regarding travel in Norway, despite the fact that Norway isn’t in the EU.

    Regards, Martyn

  5. ROBBIEALIVE…………..Wonderful, you’re a Marxist Thatcherite, suits you. :-)

  6. Richard in Norway

    @” the ECB has already been printing about one trillion so far.”

    Don’t think so :-

    “Weekly figures from the E.C.B., released Monday, showed it bought €3.66 billion, or $4.9 billion, worth of bonds last week, less than half the €8.6 billion of the previous week and the lowest amount since mid-October.

    That took the total it has spent since starting the controversial program in May 2010 to €207 billion.

    There has been no clear change in the E.C.B.’s bond buying tactics since Mario Draghi took over as the bank’s president from Jean-Claude Trichet last month.

    Last week in the European Parliament, however, Mr. Draghi signaled the bank may be prepared to get more aggressive if politicians start the euro zone on a path towards a fiscal union later this week when they meet in Brussels.

    Under the E.C.B.’s program, known as the Securities Markets Program, it and the 17 euro zone national central banks can buy government and corporate bonds from banks and other investors, but not directly from governments. ”

    New York Times
    5 Dec.

    Looks like 207bn euro.

    ECB “sterilises” these purchases by
    by withdrawing equivalent sums from the financial system by offering deposits,.

    This assuages the considerable criticism of the operation from Germany.


    Wonderful stuff-thanks.

    I understand

  8. Have just watched the news with Merkel and Sarkozy. What they are proposing is such a different Europe from the collection of friendly nation states we have had thus far to a Brussels (defacto Berlin) dominated union. Do we British want to be a semi-detached member of such an organisation as this? Is it in our national interest to do so?
    Such fundamental questions. Although you all know my politics to be left-Liberal I think IDS is right on this one. We do need the public’s consent to carry on with these developments. I think Cameron/Clegg/Miliband would almost certainly get a yes vote because of the jobs implications and despite a heated debate and a rough referendum. So why not have one and put it to bed for another 25 years!

  9. @ RiN

    Here is a lovely quote from Deutsche bank

    “We think the current track of European policy is not credible in that austerity ultimately undermines the banks, increasing the need for recapitalization and asset liquidation, and threatening a vicious circle.”
    Deutsche bank, eh? I thought you were quoting Ed Balls ;-)

  10. @ Ken
    “Wonderful, you’re a Marxist Thatcherite, suits you ..”

    As A. E. Houseman said “some books are merely an irritating interruption to more one’s thoughts” [For books substitute posts.] Or as Capt. Mainwaring used to say to Pikey … [Yellow blob whatnot returned.]

  11. ROBBIEALIVE……….Now you’re showing your Housemanite tendency, is there no end to your talents, I’ll tell you what, think of something that ‘you’ are quotable on, otherwise we’ll be downloading ‘Quotable quotes’ all night. :-)

  12. Faisal Islam (C4 economics editor) on twitter just now:

    “announcement “pretty soon” re FT story on S&P AAA creditwatch for Ger Fra etc, someone in the know has told me. I’m calling it as 100% true”

  13. FT Blog tonight

    There will almost certainly be no EU referendum this parliament

    by Kiran Stacey

    Two sources who would know have told members of our political team that the chances of having a referendum on EU membership this parliament are very low indeed.

    One ruled it out altogether, the other said the “number one priority” of coalition policy on Europe was not to have one.

    David Cameron pretty much guaranteed that today when he said there would only be a referendum “if a new treaty passes powers from UK to Brussels” adding:

    “As Prime Minister, I do not think the issue will arise.”

    Given the ferocity of Number 10?s whipping operation during the backbench debate on the issue earlier this year, this is perhaps not a surprise. But the message will be gutting for scores of Tory backbenchers who have made this the main issue on which they now lobby their party leader.

    Even Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions minister, was saying this weekend there would be a referendum “if there are substantial changes that affect Britain’s position” (subtly but importantly different to the official position of “only if powers are transferred from London to Brussels).

    The question journalists should now start asking the government is not “Will we have a referendum?” but “Given that there will be no referendum, how can you keep your party, not to mention the millions of voters who also want a referendum, on board?”

  14. @colin – re market reactions today – if you look at all the big EU ‘rescue deals’, they all experienced a rapid market rise in the first few hours/days before the markets realised they were ineffective and plummeted again. I’m expecting the same.

    I’m confident that Merkozy have not got the faintest idea of what they are dealing with here. The idea of a legally enforceable 3% budget deficit (er – if you’ve got a budget deficit over 3%, how do you pay the fines?)
    without capital transfers from the rich areas of a currency union to the poor, will be utterly devastating.

    Imagine a modest recession (these things do happen) when a nation’s unemplyoment payments rise and tax receipts fall, and the budget goes over the 3% deficit. Merkozy won’t permit this, but the only way to prevent this is either to transfer resources from the wealthy areas (like Surrey stockbroker’s taxes paying Middlesbrough’s unemployment benefits) or stop paying the benefits.

    The deal doesn’t seem to take any account of this, and is therefore economically utterly incoherent. Even if they get through the current mess, they’ve just created the next disaster, although this time it will be overtly political and intra national.

  15. Colin

    You are looking at one program which is highly visible and almost transparent but the ECB has other tricks up its sleeve and often employs some and mirrors, as do all central banks

  16. Peston just now on CRA pre-downgrade for Germany/ France et al as “scooped” by FT


    The FT reports that the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s is set to put six AAA-rated eurozone governments on “creditwatch negative”.

    Given that the FT quotes extensively from an alleged S&P report, the assumption is that what the FT says is spot on – though, bizarrely, S&P is refusing to confirm or deny the story.

    As yet, regulators have not forced S&P to make a statement, even though arguably there is now a false market in the euro and in eurozone debt.

    Anyway let’s assume S&P is about to do what the FT says it is about to do. That would mean there is a 50:50 chance that these governments will lose their cherished AAA status.

    What has set the cat among the pigeons in markets is that one of these governments is that of the strongest and biggest economy in Europe, Germany.

    The others are France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Luxembourg.

    Why does any of this matter?

    Well, whether these governments like it or not (and they don’t), the ratings agencies still have an influence on how much they have to pay to borrow – in spite of the horlicks the agencies made of rating all those investments made out of sub-prime loans prior to the 2007/8 crash.

    To be clear, the issue is not that the interest rate paid by Germany is likely to rise much, if at all. The German government will still be seen as the only proper safe haven within the eurozone.

    But if some or all of the six lose AAA, it will be almost impossible for the eurozone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, to keep its AAA.

    That will make it harder and pricier for the EFSF to borrow. Which in turn means that it may be forced to charge more to governments it rescues.

    And, perhaps most significantly, increasing the firepower of the EFSF, so that it could lend to a big borrower like Italy in the event that an Italy was shut out of markets, well that would be pretty close to impossible.

    All of which means that the renewed optimism of investors after today’s entente between President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel could be wiped out.

    S&P certainly knows how to win friends and influence people.

  17. CRIKEY- FT “scoop” is wrong…

    ..EU officials just announced that S&P is not to put *6* countries on pre-downgrade watch…they are to to put ALL *17* EZ countries on pre-downgrade watch.


  18. @ Rob Sheffield

    The question journalists should now start asking the government is not “Will we have a referendum?” but “Given that there will be no referendum, how can you keep your party, not to mention the millions of voters who also want a referendum, on board?”
    By giving a ‘cast iron guarantee’ that there will be a referendum in the next parliament… :roll:

  19. Rob

    The fed is playing hardball

  20. ..EU officials just announced that S&P is not to put *6* countries on pre-downgrade watch…they are to to put ALL *17* EZ countries on pre-downgrade watch.
    We are all in this together ;-)

  21. @Tony Dean

    The problem is that we ensured French and German dominance over the EU by vacating the field so we could instead use the EU as a political scape goat for domestic reasons. Note that *every* thing the EU has done, the UK has been able to veto their way out of if they wanted. So every single time the EU got blamed for something ‘bad’, it was really something that the government of the day wanted anyway but found wonderfully convenient to have it put through as an EU directive rather than a government bill.

    Complaining now that Germany and France are leading Europe, is complaining about what our Governments demanded the EU be. We demanded it be undemocratic and bureaucratic so the government could appoint EU commissioners who could pass EU directives our government wanted while being able to pretend it was forced on them. We *had* a chance to turn the EU into a democratically appointed parliamentary/presidential system directly accountable to the people. And we let that be sabotaged and derailed by watering it down and making it appear undemocratic…

  22. RiN

    I wondered that.

    Also announced tonight that MF Global traders hired for a major brokerage (Marex Spectron Group) !

  23. Given that this site is about public opinion and polling, here’s the governance question asked in the SSAS (2010 survey figures in brackets).

    Which of these statements comes closest to your view about who should make government decisions for Scotland (2010 survey figures in brackets)

    The Scottish Parliament should make all the decisions for Scotland: 43% (28%)
    The UK Gov should make decisions about defence and foreign affairs and the Scottish Government should decide everything else: 29% (32%)
    The UK Gov should make decisions about taxes, benefits, defence, foreign affairs and the Scottish Government should decide the rest: 21% (27%)
    UK Government should make all the decisions for Scotland: 5% (10%)

    Supporters of all powers or all except foreign affairs by party identification

    Con 29%
    Lab 67%
    Lib 67%
    SNP 90%

    Which of the following comes closest to your view about who should decide the level of taxation and government spending in Scotland

    The Scottish Parliament alone 51% (+15)
    The Scottish and UK Government 35% (-4)
    The UK Government alone 11% (-12)

  24. Oldnat

    I’m a bit worried that your average Scot can be bought for as little as £500, all the unionists need to do is promise a £500 lump sum if Scots reject independence and the ref is in the bag for them, of course your lot could up the ante and offer £600. After a few bidding rounds the real question would be who do you trust to pay up!!

  25. Latest YouGov/Sun results 5th Dec CON 36%, LAB 42%, LD 11%; APP -28

  26. “Latest YouGov/Sun results 5th Dec CON 36%, LAB 42%, LD 11%; APP -28”

    Two consecutive YouGov polls showing 8% and 6% Labour leads and a BPIX poll showing a 5% Labour lead; are we now entitled to categorise the recent ICM/Sunday Telegraph poll, giving the Tories a 2% lead, as an outlier?

  27. Richard in Norway

    @”but the ECB has other tricks up its sleeve and often employs some and mirrors, as do all central banks”

    THat made me smile.

    I hope someone gives you a little printing press for Christmas Richard-you deserve one :-)

  28. Colin

    Yes a printing press would be nice, then I can print all the sounds and neuros and dollops I need.

    Some should have been smoke, of course

  29. Fingers crossed for you Richard.

    I picture you hunkered down in some Nordic basement , flooding the world with free money- ushering in the Bank Free , Debt Free Millenium.

    I prefered “some” actually-it reads much better :-)

  30. Good Evening Libera Democrats.

    BBC reported that the deputy PM is furious with the Prime Minister.

    Surely the new European Federation will make rules among themselves which will harm the UK, just as the old EEC did after 1957.

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