The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian has been published here, and has topline figures of CON 34%(nc), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 14%(nc), Others 13%(nc) – no change whatsoever in the main topline voting intention figures. The breakdown for other parties was SNP 3%, Plaid 1%, Green 4%, UKIP 4%, BNP 1%

On economic trust 40% of people said they trusted David Cameron & George Osborne more, 29% said they trusted Ed Miliband and Ed Balls more, an 11 point lead for the Conservative team that is not significantly different from the 9 point lead ICM registered a month ago, but is still substantially below the sort of lead they had pre-budget.

ICM also asked how people would vote if Tony Blair was Labour leader, and found a slightly smaller Labour lead, with the Conservatives on 34%, Labour on 36% and the Lib Dems on 15%.

137 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 34, LAB 39, LD 14, UKIP 4”

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  1. “Name and shame tax avoiders? Isn’t there a whole list of plumbers in the Yellow Pages?”

    I think SOME plumbers are probably tax evaders as they illegally don’t pay tax. Top celebrities, footballers and bankers are tax avoiders as they can affrord to pay clever accountants and lawyers to legally not pay tax.

  2. Anthony
    As usual, and unlike you, i expressed my comment incorrectly. I meant to say that polled voters opinions would not be a very good way of deciding whether to buy euros or not.

    Aside from polled opinion, i do not take any notice of the so called experts either, for the reasons i gave in my piece. A person whom I particularly remember was Mr Callaghan’s son in law (was our USA ambassador) who was always talking down the pound.

    I would have been interested in his currency holding arrangements.

  3. It’s looking increasing like the bank bailout for the EZ and Spain in particular is following the now well established pattern of all the other EZ bailouts, with a surge of optimism after the announcement, followed by days and weeks of mounting realisation that the package is another duffer, leading to the next round of market crises.

    While I don’t place any great faith in the ratings agencies, looking at the news of a possible downgrade for Germany, it is beginning to look like the attempts to bail EZ banks without impacting on sovereigns is failing, in particular in Spain. With a second Spanish region now in trouble and 10 Italian cities reported to be on the brink of bankruptcy, were now seeing the backwash of the conventional austerity approach to the problem. It’s very hard to see how these issues can be dealt within the Euro as at present, while at the same time as preserving Germany’s AAA rating.

    From here, it really is increasingly difficult to see how the EZ can dig itself out of this and keep it’s membership intact. I just can’t see how heavily indebted countries, subject to stringent austerity but locked into a highly (for them) overvalued currency can hope to grow their way out of the mess, and I equally can’t see the German people bowing to the inevitable alternative of paying for them.

    What is really fascinating is that, according to all the polling evidence I have seen (not that much, it must be said) is that the EZ public do still seem to be very keen on retaining the Euro, even when it’s flaws are hopelessly exposed.

    I don’t know why this is, but I suspect it’s probably the impact of the huge weight of ‘informed’ opinion bearing down over many years that seems to stifle any alternative views and ensures that other opinions are rubbished and disparaged to the point of virtual extinction.

    While in the UK we have a much healthier debate over the Euro itself and a stronger Euro sceptic scene in general, we seem almost as prone on the whole issue of the EU. The commonly stated view seems to be that not being in the EU would be complete and utter disaster for the UK, despite examples of Norway, Switzerland etc, but when reasoned and careful studies are done, the conclusions appear to be clustered around only relatively marginal differences one way or the other.

    I do think that the EU as a whole is heading towards a critical period and that a much delayed but much needed questioning of motives, values and potential futures will come in due course. I get worried that the ineptitude shown over the Euro will adversely affect the resulting debate, both here and across the water.

  4. To develop my them a bit more, it’s like governments deciding a policy based on opinion polls. :-)

  5. And of course I would not take any advice from Alec either (with respect) as to whether I should dump my euros, nor whether we should remain an EU member but I am interested in the issue that young people want to stay in and old people don’t. After all, by the time it matters (referendum in 2018?) they could be be dead.

    Should future policy be influenced by the shortly to be departed?.

  6. If Aw does not mind could i reccomend you have a go at this one pretending you could vote in USA?

    h ttp://

    I am sure Socal, who has got to know us a bit, could be interested in our results.

    I’ll tell you mine later.

  7. @Alec

    You said (regarding EZ17 public’s desire to hold on to the Euro) “…I don’t know why this is, but I suspect it’s probably the impact of the huge weight of ‘informed’ opinion bearing down over many years that seems to stifle any alternative views and ensures that other opinions are rubbished and disparaged to the point of virtual extinction…”

    Er, it also has something to do with the fact that they remember the fragility of the previous currency and are aware that if they abandon the Euro the resulting worthlessness of the replacement currency will wipeout their savings. I think the only regular contributor on this board from an EZ17 country is Virgilio (twice over): we don’t have any southern Irish that I am aware of, Richard in Norway is in Norway, etc. Consequently we tend to discuss the Euro in abstract terms: “devalue”, “growth” and so on. But people on the EZ17 ground address more closely issues like “will I be able to afford bread tomorrow”, hence their adherence to the Euro. It may sound counter-intuitive but people aren’t stupid: they are actually making a hardheaded assessment of their own best short-term options.

    As populations age and die, this will change: people who remember the old currencies and have savings are older and will die, younger people with no memories nor savings but needing jobs will take their place. So I assume (mutatis mutandis) there will eventually be an anti-euro majority in the EZ17. But until then, it isn’t a case of “the Greek people are subject to a false consciousness and must be freed from the bonds imposed on them”, it’s a question of “how do we hit the Greek knuckles hard enough to make them release their vice-like grip on the currency”.

    Regards, Martyn

  8. @ Howard

    In one of the troubled South European countries today a broker to the question “should I buy Euro” allegedly answered: “I would buy an AK-47 first”.

  9. The Euro crisis has only one solution, but it is politically and ideologically not acceptable: allowing the monetary financing of budget deficit of countries with reasonable (ie not the ones currently prescribed) adjustment policies, thus neutering (sic) the sovereign bond market and inflating away debt.

  10. @Martyn, @Alec

    Greek public opinion appears to:
    1. Desire that Greece stay in the Euro.
    2. Oppose most of the measures their government will need to implement to fulfill the conditions of their latest bailout.

    Those positions are difficult to reconcile. So I suggest that it is quite in order for @Alec to start from the premise that Greek public opinion is of questionable rationality when it comes to the Euro and the associated economic choices.

  11. @Phil

    I said they were rational, not logical (or, come to think of it, even right). Consider the following

    * 1) I want my teenage son to go to a mixed-gender school so he may acclimatise to the needs of women
    * 2) I want my teenage daughter to go to a single-gender school so she can study unbothered by adolescent males

    Or the old classic:

    * 1) I want to go to Heaven
    * 2) I don’t want to die

    It is possible to hold views that are entirely logically contradictory, and yet still be rational.

    Regards, Martyn

  12. ANMARY

    @”There is a world of difference between the plumber who might not declare the odd job or two to make ends meet, and the investment banker who creamed vast bonuses off the public purse then hides it away offshore to save himself millions.”

    Of degree-clearly.

    Of principle & intent-none whatsoever.

  13. ALEC


    Agree completely

  14. On phone hacking, today’s news is being presented (by the BBC) not as “Andy Coulson is to be charged….” but as “David Cameron’s former communications chief Andy Coulson is to be charged…”

    The former presentation would have little impact on VI. The latter presentation, if copied elsewhere, might have.

  15. @ Phil

    Greek public opinion appears to:
    1. Desire that Greece stay in the Euro.
    2. Oppose most of the measures their government will need to implement to fulfill the conditions of their latest bailout.

    Perhaps, & I am simply hypothesising, Greek public opinion also runs along the lines of:
    3. Germany may yet be forced to pick up the tab.

    Not irrational at all, when you look at it that way.

  16. Looking at the phone hacking charges, the named people targeted include celebrities, politicians and a union official.

    Labour Politicians.

    No Tory targets at all.

  17. Martyn
    ‘Consequently we tend to discuss the Euro in abstract terms:’

    Not I, I have a few euros. They will of course shoot up in value when we rid ourselves of the ne’er do well members. :-)

  18. @tingedfringe

    That YouGov poll you quoted looks interesting, do you have a link for it as I can’t find it anywhere?

  19. @Amber Star
    True, in that context. Not that I think that Germany will. At which point what either the Greek government or Greek public opinion thinks becomes irrelevant.

  20. @Nick P

    + Former MP Mark Oaten (Lib Dem)

  21. @Howard

    Given Draghi’s conviction to push ECB interest rates to the floor and break every rule going to bail out the banks, you’d best be advised to get rid of them ASAP. At this rate, it’ll hit 1 GBP= 1.30EUR by Friday, which wasn’t something I thought we’d ever see again

    (Incidentally, if we return to 1GBP=1.5EUR=1.7USD, I regain all the money I theoretically lost in the Crunch. If it wasn’t for six years’ intervening inflation, i’d be happy)

    Re: h ttp://

    Apparently I side with Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green) and Ron Paul (Narnia), with >80% scores for all three. Absolutely no surprise there: they all seem like nice people and they have zero chance of winning… ;-)

    Regards, Martyn

  22. DrunkenScouser
    On a mobile device so can’t get the direct link. Look on the British futures website and their latest report (called something like ‘youth 2012’) and the poll details for 18-24s are in there.
    If you can’t find it, I’ll find you the link in the morning.

  23. @Howard

    Quite a canny investment strategy that. It would come a cropper if instead the “do well” members (Germany, Finland, Netherlands etc) left, which is what would have needed to happen to effect a significant devaluation of the rump whilst avoiding widespread defaults. But that won’t happen.

    And definitely more attractive than 10 Year Greek Government bonds, despite their offering an annual return today of 28%. In the immediate aftermath of the last bailout the rate fell to the high teens.

  24. @Martyn – yes, I can agree that worries over the personal consequences of leaving the Euro could lead some to have justifiable reasons for wishing to retain the currency, but I still believe that the most successful aspect of the Euro has been to instill a sense of irreversibility about it. While this is essential for any currency to survive, it is a problem when a bad currency needs to die.

    You talk about people losing savings, but just take a look at Greece. Whether we blame the Greeks or not, they have suffered total economic carnage over the last four years, yet are still nowhere near escape velocity out of their problems. They face another 6 years of austerity, at the end of which they will still have debt to GDP at a completely unsustainable 120%, even if their economy grows at the top end of unreasonable expectations. Sticking with the Euro for them will mean no savings, no jobs, and no economy pretty much, yet they still want it.

    I do believe this is an ingrained psychological mindset, formed largely because of the weight of opinion telling them that to depart and devalue would be a disaster. Fear is a powerful factor, and fear of deep seated upheaval is particularly strong. Although only bits of paper, currencies carry deep emotional sentiments, and I suspect that fears of such upheavals are easily stoked.

    I linked the Euro with the UK’s place in the EU for this reason. The opponents of separatism use fear of being ‘alone in the world’, and this really has been promoted from pretty much all parts of the political and business spectrum.

    On cold, logical inspection, there really is no conclusive evidence that leaving the EU would greatly harm the UK economically or politically in the medium term, and quite a spread of evidence that it would have a positive benefit.

    I was interested in the disparity between younger and older voters on this. I suspect it is because younger voters have been brought up entirely within the period when we were told relentlessly that there is only one way to be, while older voters have memories of a life before hand.

    It’s perhaps worth thinking that millions of people lived in communist countries and genuinely thought they were great, but eventually realised that this perhaps wasn’t the full truth. I hesitate to draw too tight a comparison with issues of the EU and EZ, but groupthink can operate on a very large scale and lead us sometimes to set aside our analytical capacities in favour of accepting the established view.

  25. An aide to David Cameron said: “The Prime Minister has never paid anyone in cash to get a discount – he may have paid in cash but he has never paid at any time in his life to help them evade their share of tax.”

    Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, was among those who confessed to paying cash for jobs – but not in order to avoid tax.

    A senior Liberal Democrat source said: “Nick Clegg has occasionally paid cash in hand but not for the purposes of allowing someone to avoid tax or in exchange for a lower price.”
    So now we know: There’s paying cash & there’s paying cash. And they are two totally different things.

  26. tingedfringe

    Thanks for that. Stupidly I just looked for tables on YouGov rather than going to British Future’s site.

    The actual report is here:

    All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,009 adults aged 18–24. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th–28th
    June 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted to be representative of all British adults aged 18–24.

    The comparable ‘All Adults’ figures weren’t a separate survey, but are taken from the YouGov daily asking the same question that was nearest in date (in some cases this is January).

    I do wonder if the weighting included level of education. I know Anthony has complained in the past about getting enough non-students/graduates into the under 25s sample and some of the figures look a little high given that with this age group even 30-40% of graduates should be post education.

  27. @AmberStar

    Clearly the government plan to hand out free electronic billing software and systems to all tradesmen. And a free appointment with a solicitor to draft bespoke written terms of payment.

  28. @RAF – are solicitors moral?

  29. “Lord Turner said: “In the UK we had a dangerous institutional underlap between an inflation-targeting central bank and a rule-driven regulator, with no one responsible for assessing the big picture risks, or equipped with tools to address them.”
    He added the UK had a “a flawed theory of economic stability” which relied on low stable inflation to maintain stability and ignored asset booms and “totally inadequate rules on bank capital and liquidity”.”

    Daily Telegraph
    Adair Turners’s speech at Bloomberg offices.

  30. “The Government is seeking a High Court injunction to block strike action by PCS border staff on the eve of the Olympics, the Home Office has confirmed.

    Staff at Heathrow and other airports are due to go on strike on Thursday in a dispute over job cuts, but ministers are challenging the legality of the action on grounds of “procedural errors” in the PCS ballot.

    In a statement, the Home Office said: “We want the PCS leadership to call off this irresponsible strike and we continue to ask members not to walk out at a time when the eyes of the world are on the UK.”

    Politics Home


  31. AMBER

    @”So now we know: There’s paying cash & there’s paying cash. And they are two totally different things.”

    They are.

    Simply stated the rule is –

    If “rich people” do it it is wrong & inexcusable.

    If “ordinary people” do it, it is probably excusable.

    If “I” do it-it’s always excusable because :-
    * I needed to do it.-or
    * It was for really understandable reasons-or
    * It was only small & insignificant & didn’t harm anyone-or
    * Lots of other reasons too.


  32. I think, even in my daft way, I established that it is personal circumstances that define attitudes to (say) the euro and EU generally.

    We have the option to emigrate and lots depends on internal inflation in the country to which we could immigrate. Property values could be important.

    So many decisions, so little time (left!). We should take account of the hordes of peoples throughout the EU who have divided assets and incomes all over the continent and what passes their through mind as options.

    Even in the xenophobic UK, there are more like me than the government imagines.

  33. HOWARD

    @”what passes their through mind as options.”

    You don’t need to think about that for too long do you ?:-

    “European Central Bank figures show Greek deposits down by 17 per cent in the year to the end of March 2012, and in the ten days after the 6 May election, savers were reported to have pulled £3bn out of Greek banks.
    Meanwhile, figures published by Spain’s central bank showed €97bn was pulled out of the country in the first three months of the year – around a 10th of the country’s GDP.”

    This is Money.

    “From Italy, Greece, Spain and other countries in the European currency union, the affluent these days are moving money into hard assets valued in something other than euros, which have been plunging in value.

    Expensive London apartments, valued in pounds, fit the bill nicely.

    “Interest from buyers is closely connected to the politics of Europe,” said Mr. des Forges, a partner at the Knight Frank agency who has been in real estate for 23 years and who said he has “never worked harder.”

    Flight of cash now poses one of the big financial risks for the euro zone. According to Spain’s central bank, a net €66.2 billion flowed out of the country in March, the most since records started being kept in 1990. And analysts expect signs of an even brisker outflow when new data become available.

    Although prime London real estate has long been an attractive investment for the foreign wealthy — whether in Russian rubles, Chinese renminbi or Saudi riyals — more buyers from Continental Europe now seem eager for sterling-denominated properties. They are aided by the European Union’s guarantees of free movement of capital among its 27 members, making it easy for the rich to shop across frontiers. And they are abetted by London realtors who specialize in foreign investors.”


  34. @Phil – ” + Former MP Mark Oaten (Lib Dem)”

    Mark Oaten’s thoughts: NoW “had my story for three years I think, but hung on to it and never did anything with it. They could have made that public interest argument at any point in the three years. I had always been a Member of Parliament, but they waited… ”

    As Roger Mexico pointed out many moons ago, they waited until the LD leadership election, when Oaten was Kennedy’s favoured candidate.

    Charges today relate to 600 persons who had their phones hacked between Oct 2000 and Aug 2006.

  35. @ Colin

    Simply stated the rule is –

    If “rich people” do it it is wrong & inexcusable.
    I view Mr Cameron & Mr Clegg as rich. But apparently it is okay for them to pay cash because they are doing it for the ‘right’ reasons & not to secure an advantage. But their colleague makes the assumption that when ‘ordinary’ people pay cash they are facilitating tax evasion.

  36. I think the “paying cash to the plumber is just as bad as the bamks” ranks up there with the stash jerrycans full of petrol for rank stupidity and with the phone hacking charges, we are going to see Con VI shrink.

  37. NickP

    No, jerrycans is just ahead – so far, but as Cons on here keep saying, its a long time to the election.

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