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. Sarkozy:-

    “”Things cannot continue as they have done up until today. Our preference is for a treaty among the 27 (EU members), so that nobody feels excluded, but we are open to a treaty among the 17 (euro members), open to any state that wants to join us.

    “This treaty would contain the following things: We want automatic sanctions in the event of a breach of the rule on deficits below 3 percent (of GDP).

    “We want a golden rule that is reinforced and harmonized on the European level so that the budgets of all 17 (euro zone states) have a constitutional rule to ensure that national budgets move toward a return to equilibrium.”

    Merkel :-

    “We need binding debt brakes, which can be verified by the European court of Justice … in order for the Stability and Growth Pact to hold.

    “We are open either to changes to the treaties for the 27 but also for the 17 euro zone members if necessary.

    “Regarding what we have said about the ECB, nothing has changed. We reject the idea of euro bonds.

    “This package shows that we are absolutely determined to keep the euro as a stable currency and as an important contributor to European stability.”

    Reuters

  2. @ RiN

    Short, fat and hairy legs – the boots would not fit or suit :-)

    From LD to Leftie and now BNP all in one day – It’s lucky i’m not on the YouGov panel, the stats would be going ballistic.

    As Robbiealive says, if you can’t guess my politics from my posts, that’s just how I want them judged. :-)

  3. amber

    ” 1. EZ is not going to be accepting new members for the foreseeable future; therefore…
    2. GBP would be Scotland’s currency; unless…
    3. Westminster/ the BoE say: “No” because currency union doesn’t work without fiscal union; & furthermore…
    4. Not being able to use GBP without fiscal union also kicks devo-max into the long grass; so…
    5. The SNP are up a creek with no paddle, are they not? ”

    Aye, it would appear so!

    Events dear Alec Events…..

  4. ROBBIEALIVE………… So far, so predictable. Since Marx represents the very antithesis of what I believe, and since I have read enough of his work to realise that I prefer to be where I am on the political, social, and economic spectrum, I don’t need lectures from an obvious disciple such as yourself. I prefer to plough my own independent furrow in life without the ‘help’ and interference of an old fraud like Marx.
    By the way, I had this debate at University, and still managed to see through the guff, I admit though, that as an engineer, I didn’t have the time to bask in the warm glow of a guru, no matter how misguided he may have been. :-)

  5. Colin

    Do you think this will cause a split of some kind between those (in the Tory party) who agree with what IDS said today; and those that agree with the rather brusque way he was slapped down by number 10?

    perhaps more significantly, can you see the coalition surviving if war breaks out in the Tory party over this- as there are those (on the Tory right) for whom the ‘E’ question is more important than a stable coaliton government: whatever the CRAs might think…

  6. So what ARE the main differences that we will be voting upon whenever UK goes back to the polls?

    Up North they’ll be considering independence, and it’s possible a Tory win will have them stampeding towrds a YES vote.

    The public sector could be a battleground, if Labour want to make it so. They could make a stand against outsourcing and privatisation in general…like they are (a bit hypocritically?) over the NHS.

    The grey vote probably means pensioners won’t get hammered.

    Scale and speed of cuts? That will depend upon events and the state of the world economy. If the electorate perceive that growth is necessary and achievable, they might consider that the Coalition has done its job and its time for Labour to get things going again. But all the talk of fiscal discipline makes the Labour case hard to make presently. Austerity is becoming the “accepted wisdom”and it would be brave of EM and EB to challenge it, at least right now.

    I don’t think Labour policy will look much different to Coalition…but they might look a lot more attractive to voters than a Tory government on its own.

  7. Europe as an entity, at whatever level, is now, in all but name, a Franco-German Alliance, they call the shots, don’t move or I’ll shoot, is the tone of the joint statement, sad.
    As far as the ‘markets’ are concerned, as ever, at times of crisis, we can expect a bunker mentality to prevail, with the odd sortie out to check the crops. When the smooth operators emerge they will blink in the light ,and carry on as if nothing had happened.

  8. To get back to the headline poll, the ICM figures for the S Telegraph are now up:

    http://www.icmresearch.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2011/12/2011_nov_ST_poll.pdf

    ‘Raw’ figures (taking non-voters out):

    Con 37%
    Lab 39%
    L/D 12%

    After adjusting for likelihood to vote:

    Con 38%
    Lab 38%
    L/D 12%

    After adjustment for Don’t Know/Refusers

    Con 38%
    Lab 36%
    L/D 14%

    It’s also worth pointing out that if you compare current ICM polls to last September (ICM seem to have lost later polls in 2010) while they are finding ‘Will Not Votes’ constant at around 8-10% and Refusals constant at about 8%, Don’t Knows have risen from 16-17% to 24-25%.

    The other point to make about ICM polls is that with only 58% of their sample giving a VI it means their Margin of Error will be +/- 4 points

  9. COLIN………..I imagine the cartoonists will have a field day with this latest Euro gambit ……….the temptation to invoke historic images will be too hard to resist. :-)

  10. @Colin – I seriously wonder what the market reaction will be in the next 24 – 48 hours. What Merkozy have just announced is that the immediate solution to the crisis that the markets have assumed would happen, is now conformed as not happening (massive ECB bond buying) and that the ‘solution’ to this week’s crisis is a new structural treaty of ill defined form, that may or may not be approved within the next 6 – 12 months.

  11. Hmm, what to say about personal appeal to win elections…

    Well, he looks and talks like a nerd, his way of speaking is over nuanced and not what people are used to. Just far too geeky and weird looking to be a world leader. And he hasn’t swept away all opposition so obviously people don’t support him. Even his own party are divided on supporting him, a lot of them openly say the other candidate should have won and they will loose the next election because of it…

    And yet somehow Obama ended up president of the United States anyway.

  12. As I understand EU law, an independent Scotland would have a choice between either leaving the EU or “moving towards” the Euro. That would presumably have to take the form of ERM membership, rather than Sterling Zone membership.

    Eventually, an independent Scotland would HAVE to be a Euro-using country.

  13. (Unless Scotland goes the way of EFTA, NAFTA or whatever other unlikely scenario you want to cook up.)

  14. @ NICK P

    I don’t think Labour policy will look much different to Coalition…but they might look a lot more attractive to voters than a Tory government on its own.

    If, that comment is correct, the public will recognise that the coalition has been right and Labour have been wrong.
    Every Labour supporter on this board, from Rob Sheffield to swebb & David B is wrong. Because you see, cuts and austerity are not necessary and Europe is nothing to do with the UK ‘s problems. Therefore, Labour must have a brilliant Keynesian spend like buggery set of policies. Why on Earth copy the completely wrong policies of silly George?

  15. @Amberstar – I recall posting about an independent Scotland’s currency problems a few months ago, and I recall I didn’t get a totally satisfactory response fron the Nats.

    My general drift was much as your link discusses – they either go solo with their own currency, which would be subject to great dominance by GBP (which could work in either direction at any given time, but would be prone to natural instability of exchange rates) or they sign up to centralised fiscal decision making. I wouldn’t touch the Eurozone with a bargepole if I were a Scot, which leaves Westminster as the residual base of fiscal power.

    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.

  16. Rob

    I don’t know-I’m not close enough or involved enough to speak authoritatively.

    My feeling would be ( my hope too) , that DC will persuade them that a Referendum is not appropriate just now-reasons might be :- Don’t cause problems when our overiding objective must be a stable EZ. / This Treaty doesn’t seek more powers from UK so no need for a Referendum.

    On the latter , I think he could prevail-it won’t impact non EZ members.
    On the former I think he will be pressed for a quid pro quo-ie a payoff for helping Merkozy get this through. I was trying hard to read the runes after his meeting with Merkel-& I got the whiff of a feeling that he came away with the prospect of something on working time-but I’m probably wrong. A concession on the Tobin Tax might also fit the bill-but again I don’t know where we are on that.

    So I suppose -if he tries to plead “Referendum not triggered by this Treaty ” and has nothing at all to show by way of concessions from Merkel on benefit to UK economy -my feeling would be , the prospect of some difficulties for DC.

    BUt I can’t see any of this threatening the Coalition.

    THere is so much water to go under the bridge-which grouping do Merkozy intend the new Treaty to apply to?

    What about ratification through other EU national Parliaments-and/or Referendums called by them ( RoI ?)

    If others are given a “voice” which UK is seen as being denied , that will perhaps strengthen the dissent.

    Rambling now-so will stop :-)

  17. @jay blanc
    You have certainly got a point there Jay. Shout “YES WE CAN” until you are horse, could do it for Ed. The other similarity to Obama, is no he can’t.

  18. KEN

    “I imagine the cartoonists will have a field day with this latest Euro gambit ……….the temptation to invoke historic images will be too hard to resist”

    SArkozy was asked a pointed question which involved references to “Bismark”. He looked embarassed & sort of said -don’t mention the war.

  19. @Bill Patrick – “As I understand EU law, an independent Scotland would have a choice between either leaving the EU or “moving towards” the Euro.”

    I think that is correct, but don’t forget EU law is about to be changed. Having seen the EZ calamity, I strongly doubt that all of the 10 (9 excl UK) outside the EZ will be happy to retain the notion that they are working towards EZ entry, and it only needs one to scupper a treaty deal.

    I suspect this would be more likely to come from one of the wealthy nations, as either the Euro will remain dysfunctional, in which case why join, or if it becomes properly functional it will be because the wealthy nations will be paying for it.

  20. ALEC

    I don’t know.

    I may be wrong but the markets seem to be reacting positively to what they perceive as real intent-as witness Italian bond yields after the Monti austerity package.

    But the herd can decide to stampede in the opposite direction at the drop of a hat as we know

  21. @Bill Patrick

    You said “…As I understand EU law, an independent Scotland would have a choice between either leaving the EU or “moving towards” the Euro…”

    No, I’ve pointed this out before: there’s a loophole which Sweden uses – they are obliged to enter the euro once they have passed certain tests but they are not obliged to enter those tests, and Sweden ain’t budging. Consequently, it looks like the obligation to use the Euro for new EU entrants will (I think) be quietly dropped post 2015.

    Regards, Martyn

  22. @Colin

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/12/05/uk-eurozone-talks-idUKTRE7B410K20111205

    Oh god, it’s Kremlinology, it really is…OK, when examining the sentence “We want a golden rule that is reinforced and harmonized on the European level so that the budgets of all 17 (euro zone states) have a constitutional rule to ensure that national budgets move toward a return to equilibrium.” the important part is “on the European level”. This phrase has a technical meaning usually used to denote things handled by the European Commission, i.e. supragovernmentally, not intragovernmentally. If so, this is a change of position by the French, who wanted the latter.

    Both say they want a 27 treaty, but would settle for a 17 treaty or – oddly – even fewer (a “coalition of the willing to save up”?)

    So I think it’ll go like this

    * They want the new treaty outline decided this week
    * They want a new treaty signed on/before March 2012 (the French elections) by the 17-or-fewer
    * They’ll let the new treaty be ratified after March 2012
    * Oce ratified, that treaty will be Europeanised by amending the Rome treaties to mention it (yep, a one-line change), thus enabling EU personnel and institutions to get involved and be funded.
    * Since it’s an agreement between the 17-or-fewer affecting only the internal arrangement of the EU institutions, it won’t trigger the UK referendum lock.
    * I don’t know if the Crotty decision covers this (probably not, thinking about it) so it may not trigger an Ireland referendum either.

    If it does go like this, the Parliamentary Conservative Party will go absolutely hatstand.

    Incidentally, I also get the impression that a Tobin Tax opt-out for the UK would be an acceptable quid-pro-quo: it has the virtue of simplicity, it doesn’t need a treaty amendment nor trigger a referendum, and it respects the reality that a Tobin Tax is something that any UK government simply won’t swallow.

    Regards, Martyn

  23. COLIN……….A reference to, ‘ BISMARK! ‘ Balls of steel brilliant, I can’t wait to see that ‘curly grin’ of his………..! :-)

  24. AmberStar @ Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)

    ” EZ is not going to be accepting new members for the foreseeable future; therefore…”

    Is Scotland going to be independent “in the forseeable future”?

  25. Alec

    Positive reaction on the Equity Markets it seems-but ahead of outcomes on Friday. ( European)

    Merkel & Sarkozy have written to Van R. to tell him what they want .

    This is what gets me about EU-the processes & layer upon layer of decision making is just ridiculous.

    Why don’t they just make EZ one country & be done with it.

    I mean is all this TReaty & Golden Rule stuff, with ECJ involved , actually going to work, when there are still fundamental differences between the economies on taxation , retirement rights, welfare entitlement etc etc.

    How soon before all those differences become an issue between France & Germany , when their people are asked to share a common fiscal policy?

    It is so obvious-the EZ needs one Central Bank & one Teasury .

  26. @Robbie Alive

    Blimey, according to our Ken you must be a Marxist because you quoted Karl.

    Must be a new rule, quote someone and you must be a disciple!

  27. @Colin

    You said “…SArkozy was asked a pointed question which involved references to “Bismark”. He looked embarassed & sort of said -don’t mention the war…”

    If true, the war in question would be the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), which led directly to German unification. France lost (I know, it’s a surprise… :-) ). I tell you what, if you really want to make Sarkozy nervous, go up behind him and whisper “Alsace-Lorraine” in his ear… :-)

    You then said “…Why don’t they just make EZ one country & be done with it…”

    Be careful what you wish for…

    Regards, Martyn

  28. MARTYN

    THanks

    Your knowledge of the detail of EU governance is staggering.

    I must confess that my eyes glaze over & my brin shut down when I see stuff like that.

    Sorry, but I don’t think you can run anything important with Byzantine rigmarole like that.

    To me it’s all completely mad .

  29. Valerie

    “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”

  30. @MARTYN
    Why don’t they just make EZ one country & be done with it…”

    Europe would then become like Argentina. People with names like Karl – Host Von Zem Buch Santos and his fiancée Donna Maria Elaina Smit.

  31. @Colin

    You’re welcome.

    Regards, Martyn.

  32. Colin

    Thanks.Interesting.

    I think its quite clever for N10 to slap IDS down quickly but then appear to leave it simply at that.

    I think its almost definitely going to be an EZ-17 treaty and I think Cameron will win the internal Tory argument that this does not require a referendum: though there might be 15-20 Tories not prepared to accept that. I don’t see it as a 80-plus referendum bill via on-line petition scenario.

    But I also believe in doing so he will use up another batch of personal/ political capital with “his side”- both members and voters.

  33. Roger Mexico

    “The other point to make about ICM polls is that with only 58% of their sample giving a VI it means their Margin of Error will be +/- 4 points”

    Thanks very informative- you should go and put that post on PB (where ICM is referred to as ‘the gold standard’)….then again let them eat their cake for the while !

  34. Colin.
    Good Evening, after my slightly frustrating day at school, which reminds me that when a teacher thinks he has everything cracked, something goes wrong! That is why we know that teacher who work until they are 65 tend not to get to 66 before their final judgement!

    In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the Virgin Mary DID through the stone.

    The EEC was set up on the Feast of the Annunciation…

    It is not appreciated in the UK that the Single Act and Treaty of Maastricht were both enacted when the Tories were in power, as was the European Communities Act, 1972, which commits us to ‘ever and ever closer Union- as in the Treaty of Rome

  35. 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.”

    They are advising clients to sell the market, hoping that this will persuade the ECB to print, print and print. BTW it is quite likely that a big German bank gets nationalized in the next two weeks, not Deutsche.

  36. VALERIE………….You’re so literal, l didn’t say he was a Marxist I said he was a disciple, a follower…..a statement with which he would agree, since he holds close a fundamental Marx truth. :-)

  37. @ FrankG

    “I probably cannot vote for my preferred party in my constituency”

    You know Frank, on reflection, I feel the same. I am not a Scot but I currently would like to vote for the current most able politician in the Britsh Isles, Alex Salmond, to be PM of the UK in a General Election, but alas he won’t be putting himself forth for that role and in any case I live in Berkshire! Pity!

  38. I’ve been out of the news loop, blissfullly, for the past four days while the sterling and ever tolerant Mrs H, and I have been getting lost in wild and windy Cornwall, walking the magnificent coastal pathway. We did the six mile stretch from St Ives to Zennor and in the 4.5 hours that it took us to walk it, didn’t see another soul, just us two and nobody else but the wave-battered and magnificent North Cornwall coast. Winter winds, drifting sea spray mist and the thunder of waves against the crags and cliffs; enough to lift the soul and post-Autumn Statement spirits of any man! Mind you, the St Austell brewery ale in the harbour-side Sloop Inn came in quite handy too. Doom Bar and Tribute were excellent insulation against the wintry temperatures!

    The only event to dampen my spirits came with the sad news of the death of one of my all time sporting heroes, the sublimely gifted Brazilian midfielder Socrates. I still dream of the goal he scored in the 1982 World Cup (I was elsewhere in Spain at the time, watching England, as Roger Waters would say, hanging on in quiet desperation in a typically English way) when he exchanged passes with the ridiculously talented Zico who played him in with a pass of almost poetic beauty for him to then finish exquisitely. A challenge to all the many agnostics out there; watch that goal and tell me that football isn’t the best ball game ever invented by man. The beautiful game indeed.

    Of course another reason for my worshipping of Socrates was his bohemian lifestyle and his radical politics. Brazil in the 80s was ruled by a right wing military junta and Socrates campaigned bravely against some of their excesses whilst plating for his club side, Corinthians FC.

    They don’t make sportsmen like Socrates any more, alas (or many politicians either, for that matter!)

  39. RICHARD IN NORWAY
    Do you work in the banking sector?Does this mean that the banks don`t think that austerity is the way out of the crisis?

  40. Crossbat.

    Amen to that. That Brazil side of 1982 were an utter joy to behold. They kind of glided across the pitch like a puck in an Air Hockey game. Football never has been quite the same. Socrates, Falcao, Zico, Eder, Junior. Shame about Serghino, but even a pearl needs a bit of grit.

    By contrast, we had Paul Mariner…

  41. And by the strangest quirk of historical fate in the history of football, Socrates ended his career playing for Guiseley in the Northern Premier League. I wonder what odds you’d have got on that in 1982?

  42. @ Martyn

    I don’t know whether Scots would accept a new currency *politically*, but in purely technical terms it really isn’t “GBP or nothing”.
    —————————————-
    It’s either GBP or the Euro, Martyn. There’s no way that business, in the face of all the inherent uncertainty, will accept Scottish Thistles (or whatever) instead of GBP; we oft times can’t get businesses outside Scotland to accept GBP issued by Scottish Banks!
    8-)

  43. @Amber

    Gottit, Amber, thank you.

    Regards, Martyn

  44. @ Valerie
    “Blimey, according to our Ken you must be a Marxist because you quoted. Must be a new rule, quote someone and you must be a disciple!”

    Yr right Valerie, some people are unable to follow a logical argument.
    Yesterday I posted to the effect that Thatcher, back in the late 80s, had grasped the potential problems of the [disastrous] ERM/EMS much quicker than most. According to our friend’s “logic” this makes me a Thatcherite!

  45. Smukesh

    Bless you, but no I don’t work in banking, I am a sh*t shoveller by profession and possibly by nature, I have always had an interest in economics and in the last couple of years have become very interested in finance, perhaps I have missed my calling? But my interest is mainly confined to predicting the end of civilization.

    In answer to your question, what the banks want is money printing for them and austerity for us. They most certainly do not want to feel our pain!!

  46. RICHARD IN NORWAY

    In answer to your question, what the banks want is money printing for them and austerity for us. They most certainly do not want to feel our pain!!
    Fair deal I think…lol…Hope they can sort it out before it all goes pear shaped

  47. What is going on? The markets seem remarkably stable despite the fact that the Merkozy plan will involve months of referenda within those of the 17 that constitutionally have to have them (uncertainty writ large) and all the detail nitpicking and bargained loopholes to the essential plan……

    So, why aren’t the markets freaking out that Merkozy didn’t go for Central Bank riding to the rescue short term as everyone was pressing them to do?

    I don’t understand!

  48. ROB SHEFFIELD

    @”I think its almost definitely going to be an EZ-17 treaty and I think Cameron will win the internal Tory argument that this does not require a referendum”

    If I understood Merkel she said she would “prefer ” a Treaty of the 27, but would setle for the 17. Sarkozy then agreed saying “we don’t want anyone to feel left out ”

    But I don’t see how DC can accept the offer-he has to be “left out” , because a Treaty of the 27 which ceded power to Brussels on UK budgets would be unthinkable & trigger a Referendum.

    THere seems no point in being party to a Treaty of the 27 which deals with matters concerning the 17.

  49. Chris Lane

    I love your posts.

    Only you can bring together the Virgin Mary & the Treaty of Maastricht , & contrive to make a connection between the two :-)

  50. Tony dean

    It’s all a game, the markets were trying to force merkels hand, they will try again later this week, but you should know that the ECB has already been printing about one trillion so far. Also with the collapse of MF global one of the major players betting on printing is out of the game. The whole thing has many different levels of complexity. Games within games, they truly are masters of the universe, like gods playing with the fates of men. If you read terry prattchet you will have a good idea of how they operate.

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