ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian has finally appeared (it was conducted on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Chistmas, but presumably held back till today’s paper when there is normally no proper news to report!). Topline figures, with changes from the ICM/Sunday Telegraph poll straight after the veto are CON 37%(-3), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 15%(+1).

The rest of the poll had some questions on economic optimism (unremittingly negative, as usual), and on leadership qualities. On overall approval Cameron’s net rating is plus 5, Miliband minus 17, Clegg minus 19. On the figures shown in the Guardian 55% of people think Cameron has “the courage to say what is right rather than what is popular”, 50% think he is “good in a crisis”, only 34% think he “understands people like me”. For Miliband 41% think he has “the courage to say what is right rather than what is popular”, 37% think he “understands people like me”, 21% think he is “good in a crisis”.

325 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 37, LAB 36, LDEM 15”

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  1. COLIN
    Lots of Labour supporters believe that Alastair Darling lost Labour the election by his brutal honesty of making Thatcherite cuts post-election…I personally would be unhappy at his return and can`t wait for Liam `There is no money` Bryne to be ditched…Those who can`t realise that they are damaging the party by their actions do not deserve the front seat

  2. Colin

    I rather suspect that blaming the Lib Dems is what Conservative ministers do when their more rabid supporters put forward a policy that is too impractical, expensive, unpopular, illegal, ignorant of the laws of physics or just plain silly, even for them. It’s the political equivalent of saying “‘ealth and safety, mate”.

    You can then spin sympathetic journalists and bolshie backbenchers that you’d really like to sell the SAS to Haliburton or bring back the Workhouse, but those evil Lib Dems won’t let you.


    Yours was the honest answer.

    It is no concern of mine, and I am certainly not versed in the iconography of Labour sectarianism.

    But for what it is worth-I think you are wrong to see AD in that way-and I think it is opinions like yours ( + what he endured from his colleagues when CoE ) which have made AD unenthusiastic for more of the same.


    “rabid”-no doubt the sort of LIbDems you support will add that one to their playground list .


  5. COLIN
    The talk of DARLING only comes from conservative supporters and newspapers…Darling can sense that there is no enthusiasm for his return amongst Labour supporters


    Let’s hope it stays that way then :-)

  7. Smukesh

    I agree and disagree with your comment re AD.

    Certainly it was the wrong ‘message’ to send.
    But Lab were always going to loss the 2010 GE … it was only a question of how big a defeat.

    For me, the prblem of AD’s comments abut the levelof cuts needed paved the way for the lectorate ‘accepting’ the prohramme implemented by this gov. Worse still, IMO, DC and GO achieved a significant success in persuading joe public that drastic cuts were (are) required and that the blame for them rested with the previous gov.


    On the matter of the performances of DC and EM at PMQs.

    I have mentioned on here before that there is a significant contrast between them. IThere is scope for EM to improve but I am content with where EM is. (And I
    doubt anyone else would do better.)

    DC has weaknesses. It is a question of if and how EM can exploit them.

    DC blusters and bullys. He doesn’t answer EM’s questions. (DC even ASKED EM a question recently, I believe!)

    Another weakness…DC relies heavily on the support of his backbenches. He enjoy their vocal support. IMO he is desperate to win approval … At some point that support will waver and I think we will see a very different DC then.

    As regards EM, he needs to continue honing his act and working on his voice/delivery.

    Several weeks ago I posted that this was as good as it gets for the Cons. By that I menat that 2011 would be the best chance there was to achive a Con OM. The surge in the Con support arisiong from the EU farce is a strong indicator that there was (is) a lot of latent support fopr DC and the Cons whcih could be released via another GE.

    I still believe it is all down hill for DC and the Cons from now. The EU situ will cease to be relevant to people. The immigration problem will bite DC and the COns in the ar*e. The economy will crash and there will be higher unemployment. We may well see the markets turning on Sterling.

    The irony of course is that DC has tied his hands with the fixed term Parliaments.

    How lucky are EM and Lab, eh?

  8. If in the next 18 months the LibDems decide to break with the Tories I fail to see how they would gain anything by moving to a C&S arrangement.Under such a scenario they would still be blamed by centre – left voters for ‘keeping the Tories in’. in the same way that the Liberals lost centre – right voters at he time of the Lib/Labb pact in the late 1970s..
    Should they decide to leave the Government they must be prepared to bring Cameron down on an issue not of his choosing, and either to force an election or to install Milliband as PM of a Rainbow Coalition or minority government.. Were they to do so, I suspect they would recover quite a bit of the centre-left support lost in the last 19 months – partially offset by the loss of some centre -right voters.

  9. MIKE
    Yes Ofcourse…It might have made the difference between Lib/Lab or Con/Lib coalition…But then one could talk of Duffygate etc which may have cost a few votes.

    I agree with you on PMQ`s.

    I am not sure if you are right on the economy et al…If the economy picks up late 2012 as expected,then the government may still get some credit from a forgiving public…It seems a mistake for DC to give up the right to call elections…But with the threat of a Lib/Lab coalition,DC may not have had a choice

    I am not sure whether Ed Milliband would want to head a minority government after 2013 and lose Centre-left supporters to the Lib Dems…It`s either C&S,general elections or carry on as you are

  10. Smukesh,
    I fully understand your point re Ed Milliband – but from a LibDem perspective it might well be in their interests to offer such an arrangement.

  11. Smukesh

    It is open to speculation how damaging Duffygate was to Lab.

    For me, it was the moment when a carefully constructed campaign plan came off the rails.

    I do think that Duffygate and AD’s commenst may have reduced lab’s vote by say 2 points, but whether this made any difference is moot. The votes may have gone to the LDs, for example.

  12. Reputedly, GO has a ‘three-dimensional chess board’, a hybrid Star Trek/New Labour Grid. The first layer is the day to day narrative; the second is directed towards the GE; and the third is focused on creating permanent Conservative thinking in the UK (a la Mrs Thatcher’s dream).

    Using the same analogy, Ed Miliband has to have a multi-dimensional board. His narratives need to be considered vis a vis the considerably more left wing grassroots; the 50% of the PLP who are New Labour; ordinary LDs; the Orange Book LDs; Osborne’s strategic positioning; and an overwhelmingly hostile media.

    With a view to keeping ‘his enemies close’, Ed M promoted many Blairites to Shadow Cabinet positions. However, with so many members of the shadow cabinet supporting or creating policies which are unacceptable to the grassroots LP, a simple clear narrative is pretty impossible… and Ed Miliband’s success should be viewed through that prism.

    IMO there are irreconcilable differences in philosophy, assumptions and values, between the Blairites and Real Labour; between the Orange Bookers and the social democratic LDs; between the One-Nation Tories and the Cameroons. This sort of worked over the last 32 years, when all three mainstream parties subscribed to Mrs Thatcher’s TINA. However, the internal contradictions of ideology (and careerism) are coming to the fore, mirroring the crisis in neo-classical economics which was supposed to create a better, fairer, more stable world.

  13. Colin

    rabid”-no doubt the sort of LIb Dems you support will add that one to their playground list

    Oh come off it ;) – you know quite well that all Parties have people like that in them. It’s just that the Conservatives seem particularly well off for them at the moment – no doubt a spin-off from the wilder fringes of the Right in the US. The coalition just provides a good excuse for ignoring them. Long-married couples play this game all the time.

    As far as Darling goes, I imagine his non-participation may have more to do with weariness at having been a safe pair of hands for so long. He may also be uncomfortable with a Westminster narrative that insists politicians should be ever-more youthful – odd in a country with an aging population, but there you go.

    Of course this belief in inexperience as a qualification (see some earlier comments on this thread) will only make the public more cynical as political decision get seen as attempts or deals to get a lucrative post-politics career ‘advising’ and ‘consulting’ in certain favoured industries or corporations.

  14. SYZYGY

    @”between the One-Nation Tories and the Cameroons.”

    I think this is a non-existent dichotomy Sue.:-

    “the TRG has contributed greatly to the Conservative Party over the last 30 years and is central to where we need to be in the future.”

    2009, DC-writing in TRG’s journal, Reformer.

    I believe that DC is a One-Nation Conservative.

    ps-hope you & your children had & great Christmas.


    @” I imagine his non-participation may have more to do with weariness at having been a safe pair of hands for so long”

    I think the source of his weariness ( ? wariness) is pretty clear if you read his book.

  16. Rob Sheffield

    Ta for the info on English locals


    The term “school” is generally used in a more restrictive way in the UK. You use school to apply to any educational institution (leaving it up to the listener to judge from the context whether primary, secondary, or tertiary education is meant).


    I hadn’t heard of that proposal.

    You misunderstand my reference to “right school”. Going to Fettes has no advantage in Scottish politics. Salmond went to Linlithgow Academy, Jack McConnell went to Arran High, Henry McLeish was schooled in Buckhaven and Dewar at Glasgow Academy.

    Of course, there are areas where people have poor life prospects and the schooling reflects that, but we really don’t have schools with the influence of Eton.

  17. Colin

    “I think this is a non existent dichotomy Sue”

    I think *all* of her ontological dualisms are non existent!

    The only two that *possibly* hold (neither of which she mentions unsurprisingly)- and *if* they apply they apply to all political parties- are between party policies that win elections and those that don’t; and between Party leaders who can win elections and those who can’t.

    “real labour”: what totally pompous nonsense!!

    What right does *anyone* have to say whether their brand of politics is ‘real’ or not….

    Hhhmmm- perhaps it’s the notion that ‘we have our 1980’s party back’?

  18. Colin,
    As per Amber AD would be welcomed back but we respect his decision as after 13 years in Government (mostly in the cabinet) he deserves a break, complete or otherwise.
    Chris – agree re Yvettte and imo she is the most likely leader after the next GE and at the moment my choice but that could change of course. I would not want her to ‘lose’ in 2015 as, sorry for repetition,, once a loser alweays a loser; exceptions rare.
    FWIW, I hope DM stays out now as like Portillo returnung as SC to Hague the situation is lose lose and impossible for both individuals.

  19. ROB

    Thanks .

    I agree with all of that-but not too vociferously, because I quite like Sue :-) :-)

    …so I just corrected her on the bit which matters to me.!

  20. Colin

    DC might well be a one nation conservative but that rather begs the question

    Which nation?

  21. RiN

    “Which nation?”

    I’d have thought that was obvious. UK leaders keep on referring to it.

    It’s called “This Country”.

  22. @ Colin.. I more than ‘quite’ like you! And I see your brand of Conservatism as being at odds with Osborne’s. I do not believe that you agree that the environment should be of little account. Nor do I believe that you would want to justify tax havens … anymore than you approve GO signing up to still more PFIs.

    One Nation Tories believe in the ‘conserve’ part of Conservative. They believe in ruling compassionately, on behalf of the lesser orders. They are not asset-strippers or financial divas. I do not share their solutions but I accept their good intentions.

    GO’s policies are not those of traditional Tories such as Charles Moore or Peter Hitchens… or I dare say Andrew Tyrie, Ken Clarke, Steve Norris, Sir Peter Bone, Richard Shepherd and so on…

  23. @Rob Sheffield

    ‘Real’ Labour is a borrowed phrase with which I imagine you are familiar. I would much rather go further back than 1983 to 1972 or even 1945, when the LP had more in common with Nelson Mandela, Ghandi and the Dalai Lama… widely admired figures you must admit.

    I wonder why you argue for the LP being re-elected.. seemingly, it is for the sake of being elected, given your lack of concern about policies and ideology?

    In fact, I don’t agree that a political party which was mandated to govern on behalf of ordinary people rather than the City of London or the transnational corporations would be unelectable.. but my question still stands:

    ‘What is the point of a LP which is Tory-lite?’

    Either one agrees with the blues, in which case vote for them, or policy is dictated to by the right wing media and focus groups. Margaret Thatcher did not tend towards some pseudo- middle ground.. and as I recall her conviction politics were quite successful electorally.

    I would also argue that there is a democratic deficit in the political spectrum only spanning from right to centre… but I see that we are unlikely to agree… which rather substantiates the points that I was making about the need for realignment in the mainstream political parties along ideological grounds.

  24. Richard in Norway
    @”DC might well be a one nation conservative but that rather begs the question
    Which nation?”

    I think OldNat has answered your rather strange question.

    I’m glad he did , because if I had done so , we would be up to our necks in constitutional minuteae by now :-)

  25. Is SYSIGY “THE SUE, SWEET SUE, THE BRIGHTON BELLE ? I wished I had known beforehand.
    A) I might have been rude by mistake.
    B) I would have said ” hello how are you, hope you had a lovely Christmas”.

  26. SYZYGY


    There are a number of non-sequiturs in there Sue :-)

    But I know our politics are probably irreconcilable-so won’t prompt a fruitless exchange …………except to say that :-

    a) You have GO wrong in my view.

    b) the day Peter Hitchens qualifies as a “traditional Tory” is the day I start voting Raving Loony Party .

  27. @ Chouey

    Nope, I don’t believe Syzygy is Sue Marsh in disguise. IMO, They have a completely different style of writing.

  28. Syzygy!

    How are you?! Been a while….. :-)
    Hope you had a lovely Xmas, and everything well with the family……?

  29. GRAHAM.
    The Liberal democrats will not break with their Tory friends, their loyalty to their allies is solid.

    They are enjoying being in government.

    They are the same social class as each other in the front bench, and we dont have to be marxists to accept that ties of class are powerful.

    The report in this morning’s Independent about the loss of tax credits by the working poor which will more than outweigh income tax threshold rises- will not worry them.

    The Lib dems are honourable people.
    They have forgiven what happened to the referendum and the european policy, and looks like happening over seat distribution.

    The PM and GO are lucky to have them. That downing street post election fun will live long in the memory.

  30. Colin

    But I love constitutional minutiae!

    “This Country” is so wonderfully vague. UK politicians apply it to England only, England & Wales only, England, Wales and Northern Ireland only, and sometimes to the UK.

    I suspect the poor dears just can’t bear to utter the word “England” – the nation that dare not say its name. :-)

  31. Hooded!!! Lovely to see/hear/read you too. Hope you had a good Christmas too… and your little ones enjoyed seeing something of their workaholic dad :)

  32. @AMBER
    Thanks, I thought the two most attractive socialists in the world were both back on the site.

  33. Syzygy

    Nice to see you back.

    I presume you saw this?


  34. @syzygy

    ‘What is the point of a LP which is Tory-lite?’

    It got elected 3 times on the trot.

  35. My wife doesn’t come on here :-)


    Amber is correct. I am not “THE SUE, SWEET SUE, THE BRIGHTON BELLE ? Although I’m also from near Brighton… and I’ll try harder with the sweet bit… so that you won’t want to be rude to me either :)

  37. @Smukesh

    Personally I thought John Smith did far more damage in 1992. Don,t think telling the truth in politics does you any harm , Margaret Thatcher always told the truth and at one point in 1984 she was the most popular politician ever. Only when she lied about the Poll Tax did things go wrong.

  38. JIM JAM

    She told me that she lurked! :-)

  39. CHOU. Happy Christmas time to you.

    Agreed with you here, a tory lite Labour winner leader delivers labour things.
    Minimum Wage.
    Peace in Northern ireland
    Tax Credits
    Sure start
    Nursery places free
    Saddam removed (ally in the 1980’s armed by UK)
    Serbia restrained (unlike under Hurd)
    School Buildings
    Rising Employment.

    Nothing much really.
    Oh and falling crime rates.

    And the first time since 1966 a big victory for non toryism

  40. Having “surfed the posts”, I am surprised to see open gossip regarding a replacement for Edward Miliband.
    To do implore LP members/ voters, not to do anything rash. The loss of this fine young statesman, would be a tragedy, not only for the Labour movement but the nation.

    The compliments of the season to yourself Chris.
    Your list IMPO, is less impressive in reality, especially the “peace” in Ulster.

    CORRECTION to my 6.37; Should read, I do implore LP members/voters……………………..

  42. @ OldNat

    Thank you … I l’urk’ so I feel like I have kept up with you but of course you haven’t known.

    Thanks for the reference.. it does make me want to move north of the border! The welfare reform bill is monstrous IMO.. as the Brighton Belle works so hard to expose :)

  43. I support Syzygy 100%.

    Our politics has for too long focussed on on the centre to centre right.

    Neo-Liberalism conquered all, and thought it could go on forever. Labour decided it couldn’t offer an alternative, so accepted it at it’s heart (New Labour).

    Well after years of growing inequality, decreasing national democracy and the concentration of wealth and power, it is finally consuming itself and falling apart.

    What will Ed do? Will he try keep the New Labour tradition, and try to get support from the soft centre of politics (an ever decreasing portion of the Electorate as measured by lower and lower Turnouts)? Or will he forge a genuine alternative that would find support from those who do not currently vote?

    I think he is torn, and this is the root of his problem.

    Winning three in a row by selling out nothing to proud of.

  44. CHRISLANE1945

    “labour things” If we assume that you mean distinctly Labour things (not supported by other parties) then why do you include
    “Peace in Northern Ireland” (everyone wanted that)
    “Devolution” (bitterly opposed by many in Labour, but theoretically a main plank of the LDs)
    “Rising Employment” (again everyone wants that – but was it sustainable?)
    “School Buildings” (funded by PFI? What happened to Socialist thinking – or are you suggesting that everyone else wanted pupils to be taught in fields?)
    “Saddam removed” and “Serbia restrained” (Interventionism and regime change in other countries is a “Labour” thing?)

    “Falling crime rates” is hardly a Labour thing either.

    Even your final point “a big victory for non toryism” is hardly a “Labour thing” – unless you see the SNP gaining an overall majority in Holyrood as being a “Labour thing”. :-)

  45. @catman
    I agree 100%. The left should return to its roots and offer clause 4, one sided nuclear disarmament and finish with the monarchy, before the present Queen dies. Bravo Comrade.

    PS under Ed Milliband as leader.

  46. SMukesh.So you believe AD and Byrne lost Labour the election because they told the truth? Honesty and integrity is to be deplored in politicians? Presumably, you recommend this to Labour candidates.

  47. SYZYGY

    As I understand it (which isn’t all that much!) there are parts of the devolution settlement that mean we are going to have to pick up the tab for some expenditure when the Welfare Bill gets shoved through (we haven’t given leave for Westminster to make adjustments to devolved aspects).

    However, I was pleased to see SNP and SLab agreeing that the disabled shouldn’t take the major hit.

    At least we know what to do with the Barnett consequentials of the increased London Olympics funding!


    This talk of the Labour Party as if you have to sign up to a brand when you join is complete nonsense. Anyone who has attended a GC, never mind campaigned, knows that there is a vast range of opinion, very little of which neatly falls into these categories.

    The point that Tony Blair identified was that to win in the UK the left needs the centre. If you think that isn’t the case then you can join the comrades of the SWP/Respect who have only been able to gain representation by becoming a single issue party. To come back to polling – if there was any evidence of a demand for a strong left then why aren’t people prepared to say so in an opinion poll?

  49. SCOT NAT.
    Compliments of the season of the sending of the Christos to you.

    Well, it was Labour who delivered these things, and yes, in the 1980’s we did feel sometimes we were teaching in fields, with leaks routinely dealt with by buckets.

    Ulster of course is nine counties, but the 1921-1922 Treaty finessed that, and well, not perfect, but many lives have been saved, and I know that MT and JM prepared the way for the peace agreements

    OLD NAT.
    TB and I (!) would argue that ‘Labour things’ are what people want.
    Morrison said: ‘Socialism is what ever a Labour Government does.

    And yes, I will pray for a massive Scot Nat Victory and a yes vote in the Referendum!

    On March 31 1966 I was ten years of age, when Harold won and on May 2 1997 I was still just 41.

    By the way, DID the 1918 Act allow some married 21 year old women to vote- the Act’s wordings dont seem to say that.

    Many thanks.

  50. @COLLIN
    There was a similar comment regarding Captain Darling.
    He is a no…no, “because he would not be good for Labour”. Never mind that he might have been some good to the nation.

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