We could have several polls tonight, given most of last month’s polls ended up being conducted over the same weekend. The first one out is ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian. Last month’s Guardian poll had shown a Tory lead of five points, this month it slips back to a rather more typical figure – CON 36%(-4), LAB 37%(+2), LDEM 14%(-2), Others 13%(+4). Certainly that others figures looks like something of a reversion to the mean – 9% really was unusually low.

There is also an interesting question on trust in the NHS, repeated from 2006 early in David Cameron’s leadership. Back then 14% said they trusted the Tories a lot on the NHS, 47% trusted them a little and 31% didn’t trust them at all. The figures now at 13% who trust the Tories a lot (down 1), 42% who trust them a little (down 5), 40% do not trust them at all (up 9). This suggests a drop in the proportion of people who trust the Tories a little on the NHS, though the hardcore of people who trusted them a lot was minimal to begin with.

On the same question for Labour 23% trust them a lot(up 4), 46% trust them a little (up 2), 25% do not trust them at all (down 7).

We’ve certainly got the daily YouGov poll for the Sun to come tonight, I don’t know if Populus and Ipsos MORI’s monthly polls will also turn up today or tomorrow, or whether they’ll be done next weekend.

UPDATE: The monthly Populus poll for the Times has now been released, topline figures are CON 37%(nc), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 11%(-2). Putting aside the usual variation we get between different companies Liberal Democrat scores we are actually getting quite a consistent picture on the Con vs Lab horse race – YouGov’s daily polls have been averaging a Labour lead of about 1.5 points, ICM tonight are showing a 1 point Labour lead and the Populus are showing a 2 point Labour lead.

UPDATE2: And finally (assuming MORI don’t pop out of the woodwork), the Sun politics team have tweeted the YouGov figures for tonight. Topline figures are CON 39%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, so while the lead is bouncing back and forth (much as we’d expect from normal variation within the margin of error), it’s still very much in line with YouGov’s average position of a small Labour lead (and the 7 point figure for the Lib Dems yesterday does appear to have been an outlier).


130 Responses to “New ICM, Populus and YouGov polls”

1 2 3
  1. I’d take a 1% Labour headline lead with ICM over a 4% lead with YouGov anyday.

    Not because ICM are any better but because (a) that poll will be with us for the next month rather than being here today, gone tomorrow and (b) the ICM data with YouGov would produce a far greater lead, stripped of the more dubious of ICM’s heroic assumptions.

  2. And 2nd as well?

  3. My friend who is not a Tory supporter said .’There/s nothing worse than a screeching woman”. Made Haye v Chisora look tasteful.

  4. Phil – it’s worth noting that ICM’s adjustment makes more difference when a party has lost lots of support since the last election (hence why it makes so much difference to the Lib Dems).

    With the Tories now doing a bit better than in the middle of last year the ICM adjustment is making less difference to them. Last month’s 5 point Tory lead would still have been a five point Tory lead without the adjustment

  5. According to the Graun, the ICM poll shows 52% want the NHS bill dropped.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/20/conservative-support-shrinks-voters-nhs

    That is against 33% who believe it is better to stick with the plans at this stage.

    The 19-point overall margin in favour of abandoning the legislation is mirrored in strong leads for killing the bill across all social classes and regions, as well as among male and female voters.

    Opposition hardens with age, and is at its most marked among the over-65s – who favour dropping the bill by a 56% to 29% margin. A third of Conservatives (31%) and a significant majority of Lib Dem voters (57%) also want the proposed law to be ditched
    ————————
    8-)

  6. My theory (for what it’s worth) is that the NHS issue has been gradually shifting VI, starting from the cabinet dissent and general opposition of the medical establishment.

    I see that the “drop the bill” petition has gone over 150k today, that’s around 50k up in a week, and will soon be the most-signed active petition on the Downing Street website. That’s an indicator of the public mood, not precise, but still something.

    The effect on VI seems to be hitting LD support maybe more than Con.

  7. I wonder how many people who have signed the petition have a) read and b) understood it. Id wager less than 25% and 10% respectively.

  8. Try as I might, I can see no logic in DC’s strategy. I’m even beginning to struggle with any kind of understanding of his tactics. This just makes no sense.

    The Tories wanted a much more decisive Bill and didn’t get it. So why press ahead with half-baked reforms in return for a hugh political risk? This is looking like it will end in hubris, even if the reforms go through.

    I can’t see an upside for DC on this matter, so why dwell on it with a widely derided coalition of the willing at Downing Street, making hom look even more isolated? Why?

  9. JOE
    I wonder how many people who have signed the petition have a) read and b) understood it. Id wager less than 25% and 10% respectively

    I think you are right…But once you have doctors and more importantly nurses and midwives against the bill,that does a lot to shift opinions.

  10. @Joe

    The petition says “Calls on the Government to drop its Health and Social Care Bill.”

    I would guess everyone signing read it and also understood it.

  11. @Anthony
    I did indeed discover at the time that the don’t knows reassignment had no effect on the Con lead in last month’s ICM poll but decided to keep silent about it. It would have been cruel to depress the reds here any further by commenting thus!

    The Labour wobble of last month was accompanied by a larger than usual number of 2010 Labour don’t knows (also apparent in YouGov polls), and hence the reassignment of DKs by ICM for once didn’t add to the net Con lead, even though the LDs continued to be the main beneficiaries. I suspect the effect will have been transient and normal service may have been resumed when we see the tables 2 days hence.

    It’s only one of ICM’s “more dubious” adjustments though, in my book. The others are their (rather crude and uniform) reweighting of 0.5 if you didn’t vote in 2010 and the absence of more than a token adjustment for unreliable current recall of past voting.

  12. @Joe

    I could pose the same argument in reverse.

    This is why the politics matter. And I fail to see why or how DC can win this one.

  13. It’s heartening that young people generally support the Bill, obviously they have a more objective view of the NHS than older people, who feel threatened by change. However, if, and when, Lansley ups his presentation, to properly explain the benefits, I feel that people will be re-assured, and will disregard the self interested NHS lobby. Hopefully Cameron will have the guts to see the project through.

  14. @RAF,

    I suppose the question is, has Cameron got anything to gain by scrapping the Bill? U-Turns are pretty damaging politically.

    Everything probably turns on what the action effect of the reforms are in practice. If they lead to the complete privatisation of health provision and the breakdown of care across the country then I guess Cameron’s goose is cooked either way. If they lead to no particular noticeable change, apart from a few unit closures and some headlines about how a private company got a contract to do cataract surgery then it may all blow over.

  15. @Ken

    Young people who statistically are less likely to have used the service. Or at least far less often.

    And i’m not sure what you mean by.vested interest. Most of the NHS professionals opposed to the bill are clinicians, not hospital administrators, who are the ones who will lose out.

    Members of the BMA probably.do as much private as public work. Many are also GPs, who will now have the power.

    The reality is most healthcare groups, representing the.largest healthcare workers oppose the Bill. And there’s not much DC is doing to address that.

  16. More worryingly many observers believe that neither Clegg or Cameron had read through Lansley’s proposals when they put their names to the forward in July 2010.

    The proposals, probably drafted by a firm of management consultants, were deemed to be “incomprehensible” by committee experts and other observers… it needed a team of academics to untangle them and draw out the implications.

    Andrew Rawnsley’s conclusion (12th Feb) is that the fiasco was a result of vanity (Lansley) and inexpirience (Cameron) – but it has now become personal:

    One government figure observes: “The dread of the U-turn is incredibly strong in Number 10. For them, it is all about control, decisiveness and grip – Cameron’s personal brand. They believe that U-turns make Cameron look weak.”

  17. I see the Lansley incident has made the front page of The Independent and some people believe it`s not bad PR…Pensioners are the Tories biggest supporters and having a pensioner berate Lansley (whether former union official or not) is PR self-goal

  18. RAF………..The BBC has so far presented an evenly balanced view of the reaction to the NHS proposals, interviewing professionals on both sides of the argument. From those successfully implementing change and realising the benefits, to those vehemently opposed on principle. Only time will tell which side will be proven right, it’s just a shame that change is always painful.

  19. @AW
    “….and the 7 point figure for the Lib Dems yesterday does appear to have been an outlier”

    No it’s not. It’s perfectly consistent with other YouGov polls on the 18th of the month this year.

  20. @Neil A
    “I suppose the question is, has Cameron got anything to gain by scrapping the Bill? U-Turns are pretty damaging politically.”

    That’s a fair point. But he didn’t have to let things reach this stage. He could have ditched Lansley and blamed it on presentational matters. Kicked it into the long grass, with an aspiration to bring in a revised Bill in the next Parliament.

    “Everything probably turns on what the action effect of the reforms are in practice. If they lead to the complete privatisation of health provision and the breakdown of care across the country then I guess Cameron’s goose is cooked either way. If they lead to no particular noticeable change, apart from a few unit closures and some headlines about how a private company got a contract to do cataract surgery then it may all blow over.”

    So the best eventuality is stasis? That may well be true. But it seems a terrible waste of energy, time and political capital for such a subdued result.

  21. I always welcome the odd interjection of polls other than YouGov, and the weekend ComRes and today’s ICM and Populus provide some interesting grist to the mill. The ICM is quite a turnaround from last month’s with a drop in Tory support of 4% outside the MOE parameters, suggesting that the previous poll might have been a suspect one. The 5% Tory lead last time around was sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb at the time and unless ICM are detecting a significant decline in Tory support over the last four weeks (which none of the other polls are) then their 40% VI rating for the Tories in January was clearly inaccurate.

    I know it’s all desperately mundane, but tonight’s YouGov (suggesting the weekend poll showing Labour 4% ahead was an outlier) and the ComRes, ICM and Populus polls indicate that the two parties are still locked together more or less neck and neck.

    The other potentially (mildly?) interesting point is that it looks like Lib Dem support is slipping in all the polls, even those who have been tending to have them 4 or 5 points ahead of their bottom book YouGov VI ratings. In fact the Populus, ComRes and YouGov polls have them about the same and ICM isn’t a million miles away either now. The 7% was obviously a bit low, but 10-11% looks about right now across most polling organisations. Still no real sign that they’re doing anything more than bouncing around like the proverbial dead cat!

  22. @Crossbat11

    Actually, the 4 point drop in Con VI doesn’t necessarily imply the previous ICM poll was a rogue, just that it was towards the top of the moe, whereas this one is towards the bottom.

  23. While its generally best not to comment on cross breaks, sometimes they’re so implausible that it’s difficult to resist.

    The 18-24 cross break in tonight’s YouGov has to be a well out of kilter: 49% Con, 30% Lab. By comparison, last night was 24% Con, 57% Lab which looked overly heavy for Labour, even though they are usually well ahead here.

  24. KEN

    @”However, if, and when, Lansley ups his presentation, to properly explain the benefits, I feel that people will be re-assured, and will disregard the self interested NHS lobby. Hopefully Cameron will have the guts to see the project through.”

    I don’t think anyone is listening to Lansley now Ken-he has left it too late.

    I find it intensely frustrating to hear DC talking about CCGs who are achieving more integrated health care, reducing admissions to A&E, cutting costs etc.

    Why on earth haven’t they been publicising the results & data from the Pathfinder CCGs ?

    I think he is pressing on for two reasons :-

    a) because pulling the Bill doesn’t have any political upside now.
    B) because he actually believes in the reforms.

  25. Neil A

    The state of the NHS would play a large part in public opinion ofcourse…However the worth of Cameron`s promises come the next election is also an issue considering he specifically promised `no reorganisation of the NHS`

  26. This is what DC & AL should be hammering home :-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9093792/Labours-opposition-of-NHS-reforms-is-pure-obstructionism.html

    They are letting Labour get away with it.

  27. Pensioner in the news?
    She is a professional loony lefty political activist….

  28. @ Colin

    They are letting Labour get away with it.
    ———————————
    Get away with what?

    Opposing:
    1. ‘any willing provider’ &
    2. 49% of NHS resources being ‘open for business’, to the potential detriment of patients who can’t pay.
    8-)

  29. @Robin

    It doesn’t even imply that (neither a rogue nor a margin of error issue).

    It could equally well be perfectly correct. In fact it’s more likely to be correct than any other split you care to mention. Unless you have lots of samples taken at the same time, using the same methodology, then any argument you make about rogue/moe is just an opinion. It may be a good opinion, but there is no evidence to enable you to establish that.

  30. On the Today programme this morning Peter Kellner was
    saying that the Tories are running out of time,because by
    2015 any significant improvements to the NHS will not
    have made any great impact.Always providing there are
    any improvements of course,So basically the Bill is a huge political liability.
    .

  31. Amber.

    I understood it to be “any competent provider”-and that Monitor will ensure no competition on price alone.

    I don’t accept that use of private sector providers is ” to the detriment of patients who can’t pay.”

    I don’t know what you mean by “49% open for business”-you imply that 51% of NHS capacity only will be available on demand. Where do you get that from?

    Don’t you realise how much of the NHS capability is provided by private sector companies already?

    What sort of healthcare would we have now if all drugs were developed & produced by THe State Pharmaceutical Company?

    Where is all the technological innovation in treatment coming from?-The MInistry of Medical Equipment ?

  32. COLIN…………..You are quite right, Labour are getting away with having no cohesive policy for the NHS, they simply oppose for the sake of opposition, poisoning the well. If DC can’t score through an open goal with the successes of NHS reform, I just don’t understand why he pays advisors. Perhaps he’s playing the long game ?

  33. Meanwhile the Times,The Guardian and the Indie all have
    Mr lansley and the irate pensioner or rabbid activist depending on your point of view,slashed across their
    front pages.So it will not be forgotten tomorrow after all.

  34. @ Colin

    I don’t know what you mean by “49% open for business”-you imply that 51% of NHS capacity only will be available on demand. Where do you get that from?
    —————————————-
    From the NHS bill, Colin.
    8-)

  35. KEN

    I think his friend AL has let him down.

    AL is managerial-head down-steeped in the detail & the jargon.

    He has not ( is not able in my view) communicated the essential reason for reform & rationale for these reforms -in simple , understandable terms.

    DC lets his Ministers get on with it-intervening only when things go wrong . Chairman of the Board if you like, rather than CEO.

    Combine these two approaches for the design , communication & implementation of something as big & complex as NHS reform, and there was always a risk of a PR cock-up.

  36. AMBER

    Please give me the Bill reference which indicates that the existing capacity of NHS to provide free healthcare on demand will be reduced by 49%

  37. @ Colin

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16337904

    The BBC gives a broad – but not entirely accurate – overview of the part of the bill which means 49% of NHS capacity could be used for private patients.

    Come the day you need the NHS, you may find somebody with a bigger wallet has priority over you & yours.
    8-)

  38. @Ann Miles

    The Times, The Guardian, and the Indy do not reach massive audiences. Indeed the latter two are the lowest selling boardsheets, only the Times will give it some signifance, and even then, The Telegraph, Mail, Sun, Express, etc. do not have it on their front pages.

  39. COLIN

    The bill allows for 49% of the income of hospitals to be obtained by private work…That means hospital resources may be diverted to private work and hence patients not paying may be subject to longer waiting lists

    One can`t just blame Labour…Many of the doctors are Tories and still the Royal colleges are polling 90-95 % opposition amongst doctors to the bill

  40. BOO BOO

    The Mirror has this story on the front page as well and has a circiulation of a million,however everyone knows it`s Labour leaning anyway

  41. @Smukesh. True. In light of that, it looks like it’s only being taken up by the left leaning press.

  42. BOO BOO

    The Times is not left-leaning,and looking at it another way,the right leaning press are wilfully consigning it to the back pages

  43. Notice the Guardian are going with ICM on there front page. They really are desperate. And it’s a shame – because no one beside their small readers will even read it! :)

  44. Edit meant small *amount* of readers

  45. AMBER STAR

    I don’t think “allowing foundation hospitals to raise 49% of funds through non-NHS work” means the same thing as “49%of all NHS capacity will be denied to NHS patients”

    However if waiting list double, whilst the car parks are closed to anything smaller than a Rolls Royce, then DC will obviously not be PM for very long & Labour can implement their plan for funding the NHS.

  46. BOO BOO

    I think you are being partisan there…They went with ICM in the front page last month when Tories were 5 ahead

  47. I do have a problem with the NHS being available, ‘ on demand ‘. I thought it was meant to provide a response to ‘need ‘. Too many users are taking advantage of the institutional incompetence and the laissez faire of the 5th biggest employer in the world, how on earth did we allow this monster to grow ?

  48. @Smukesh
    Did they? I genuinely don’t remember them doing that.

  49. I thought the original reforms were actually pretty good. Competition, not based on price, would drive up standards because you would only get the contract if you provided better clinical care. In a dog eat dog world every provider would constantly try to provide better care, to the benefit of all of us. Also removing levels of bureaucracy made a lot of sense because more money could be provided for front line care. But the watered down reforms make no sense because they have removed one level of bureaucracy for another so what’s the point in that change? Though CCGS still make a lot of sense because your GP knows more about the care and services you need than central government-it may also help keep local hospitals open (maybe Cameron isn’t being as stupid as people think). I think Cameron is sticking to this due to his personal philosophical belief in de-centralization and local government, which we saw in his speech last week on devolving more power to Scotland, previous local government legislation and the Big Society. The reforms are an application of his philosophical beliefs. He generally believes the reforms are correct. He will be either proven right or terribly wrong, history will decide. Coming from a history and philosophy student that last point made me chuckle.

1 2 3