ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian has been published. Topline figures with changes from last month are CON 34%(nc), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 15%(+1), Others 12%(-1). Changes are from ICM’s last poll in July. Full tabs are here.

I am always a little wary of conducting polls over bank holiday weekends – there’s always the worry that it might get a weird and wacky sample because of people travelling or going out. In this case though the poll looks very normal and very much in line with ICM’s recent polling, showing no significant change from their last couple of polls.

ICM tend to show some of the smallest Labour leads of the main pollsters, partly because they re-allocate some of the voters who say don’t know based on polling evidence from past elections that many of these voters are likely to end up voting for the party they voted for at the previous election. In this instance reallocation of don’t knows closed the Labour gap from 9 points to 5 points, and increased reported Lib Dem support by 3 points.

The poll also asked who people would like to see lose their job in the forthcoming reshuffle – 48% of people said they think George Osborne should lose his job. As with other polls on Osborne, the answers to this are quite partisan, with a majority of Labour supporters saying Osborne should go. Even amongst Tory supporters though 29% think that Osborne should be replaced.

91 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 34, LAB 39, LDEM 15”

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  1. There’s talk of GO and WH being switched in their roles. Surely, WH is as suitable for role of Chancellor as GO was/is?

    Someone with some economic ability is needed at the Treasury. There are two potential candidates…KC and VC.

    It seems unlikely/improbable that DC woudl put someone other than a Con in charge of the economy. But there is a reasonably good argument for moving VC into the role of Chancellor…firstly, VC as head of BIS is perceived by many Tories as averse to cutting employment laws. Further, as Chancellor VC woudl have his chance to pursue the policies that the LDs espoused before the GE – if they fail, DC can blame everything on the stupidity of such policies and say that austerity, austerity, austerity shoudl have been continued. If VC were to succeed and get the economy growing, DC would bathe on the glow of making the right choice and also in the improvement in chances of the Cons winning the next GE.

    All round moving VC to the Treasury makes sense, and would be welcomed by a big slice of voters.

    IMO, it’s the right move … but it won’t happen.

  2. Crossbat 11 “I fear there may still be some within the Labour fold, although thankfully not too many these days, who appear to loathe their fellow supporters rather more than their political opponents. It was the silliness of such people that divided the party almost irretrievably in the 70s and 80s. Inane cliched labelling of those they disagree with is usually their hallmark. You can spot them a mile off.”

    Nicely said & bang on the money.

  3. I think there is a decided shift going on at the moment… in the way that the BBC (I think Ashcroft identified the Corporation as voters main source of news) is beginning to allow viewpoints which question (what has hitherto been) a complete adherence to austerity orthodoxy.

    Jonathan Portes uninterrupted here (from 16 min):


    On Today this morning (8.45am) their own commentator Gavin Hewitt asks whether Portugal and Spain are being “locked into a cycle of decline” by the austerity medicine.

  4. LEFTY



  5. Colin/Lefty L/Billy Bob

    Interesting thoughts on the BBC, Today programme and Naughtie. I’m an avid listener of the Radio 4 Today programme as I travel into work every morning, relying on Davies, Webb, Naughtie, Humphreys and MacGregor to relieve me of my daily M42 and M6 induced hell! I’m a guarded fan, to be honest, although I too get frustrated with some of the hectoring interviewing that occurs, with Humphreys and Davies the worst culprits. I’ve often, like Lefty L, shouted at the radio; “For God Sakes, let him or her answer the bloody question you’ve just asked!”, but more times than not, the interviews are illuminating and robust in equal measure. Naughtie, once famously accused by Neil Kinnock of “kebabing” him live on radio, is a favourite of mine, although a much better reporter and journalist than an interviewer, I think. His regular reporting on the 2008 US Presidential elections was some of the finest pieces of radio journalism that I have ever had the pleasure and privilege of listening to. Objective, measured, cerebral, educative, humorous at times, it was right up there with the peerless Alistair Cook’s weekly “Letters from America”. It defined what public service broadcasting should be all about.

    Where Today can be disappointing and frustrating is when it merely follows the daily tabloid news agenda. Whether they do this in light news weeks when they’re struggling for material, I don’t know, but a respectable BBC news programme shouldn’t be following Daily Mail hobby horses; not for love nor money in my view.

  6. @Crossbat

    I don’t know why I keep writing to you. Are there no trains where you live? I would have thought someone with your views would rather walk than admit being a Thatcherite transport user?

    @Statgeek. I thought your answers could be revealing and the syndrome of use to party pollsters. Forgetting Carter seems to me to be to do with your age. He was not some one you had for history at school, he was no longer daily in the news, so as an 80s child there would be no influence. I knew nothing of the Irish troubles of the WW1 period. It was not history to my teachers in the 50s (that ended with Napoleon!) and I only learned more after adulthood was reached. The point of this ignorance is that the NI troubles carried no significance to me as a young man in 1970’s and I am ashamed of the views I formed because of that ignorance, following what is now known as ‘bloody Sunday’. Also, the reaction I had to the false convictions of various people following bombings on the grounds that ‘well, they are Irish aren’t they? ‘, still give me a queezy feeling.

    I realise we are all prisoners of our environment whether place or time.

  7. Interesting article in today’s Times about the transformation of the Detroit motor industry.

    In 2009 Detroit had 50% youth unemployment, GM & Chrysler couldn’t sell their over-priced vehicles & were headed for bankruptcy.

    Obama appointed Steve Rattner to find a solution which avoided mass redundancy & never ending state subsidy.

    Rattner told the UAW they could keep their current wages & benefits & lose a million jobs in USA-or do a deal which made Motown competitive .

    The resultant deal saw a two tier wage structure with new workers paid less & get only basic health benefits, while existing better paid workers also made concessions on things like pension entitlement.

    The big three hired thousands of cheap workers & today Detroit is a lower cost auto manufacturer than Canada, Japan, South Korea & all of Western Europe.

    The writer draws parallels with uncompetitive EZ economies.

    Vince Cable junked the Beecroft Report, and is reported to be resisting ideas to replicated Schröder style Mini-Jobs in UK.

    Gerhard Schröder hired a director of Volkswagen, Peter Hartz, to design the biggest shake-up of German employment law in a generation ten years ago.

    It transformed the German economy.

    Schröder, -Merkel’s predecessor, was a Social Democrat.

  8. colin

    unions will always do deals to avoid job losses…provided their is a modicum of trust, wage restraint at the top, some semblance of a strategic plan and proper discussion.

    The trust issue is the biggie in the UK. In Germany or Sweden where unions haven’t been vilified with divisive vitriol for years, things might be different.

  9. Colin

    There is a different view about mini-jobs.

    Germany does not have a minimum wage – so these mini-job employees are paid low wages.

    There are ‘mini-jobs’ in the UK already. They are held by people who don’t pay tax and whose earnings are such that no NICs are due. I imagine they cliam benefits eg tax credits.

  10. CB11

    Thanks for those thoughts.

    We will have to part company on Naughtie-for me he is a pretentious poser.

    USA reporting by BBC has suffered since they brought Justin Webb back. I don’t know why they did that-he is wasted prattling with Naughtie & HUmphries every morning.
    He was a serious & knowledgable analyst when in USA.

    I like & respect Evan Davis , despite what I suspect are his political leanings-and his tendency to get rather excitable.
    I like the way he centres on a key issue & shakes it till he gets an answer.

    But he too is afflicted by Today’s silly search for the day’s BBC quote of something embarrasing said by a politician-usually a Government politician !

  11. NICKP

    “The trust issue is the biggie in the UK. ”

    It sure is.

    Today’s unions in UK are essentially Public Sector Unions.

  12. MIKEN

    No doubt Cable is working urgently on an alternative which helps .

  13. Colin

    What might the alternative be?

  14. @Mikems

    “You’ve got Home and MacMillan round the wrong way and ‘Peanuts’ is Carter.”


  15. @Howard

    “I realise we are all prisoners of our environment whether place or time.”

    My only real memories of Carter are one where he was giving a speech (it might have been the ’79 energy crisis one), and when Reagan won the ’80 election. I remember thinking I preferred Carter (i.e. he looked nicer). Bear in mind, I was 7 at the time. :)

    As an adult, I’ve always had a general impression that Carter (and Ford) were fairly unimpressive, but again that might be the ‘no longer there; not far enough back for history’ that you mention.

    In fact my memories of current affairs prior to the 1980s are pretty minimal. I remember the ’79 Conservative victory imagery, but not the election. I remember the death of John Lennon, but knew nothing of him, other than my Dad’s Beatles LPs. I never heard ‘Imagine’ before Lennon’s death.

    I remember hearing of Northern Ireland and another bombing, and yet another Gaza Strip incident, and wondering if they would finish soon, because it’s not very nice, and it’s getting a bit boring. :)

    It’s true that the period just prior to one’s own memories being effective (pre-five) seem to be blank areas for many. However there were times when I would hear a song on the radio as a teenager, and know I’d heard it, but it had to have been when I was pre-three. I must have liked it.

  16. MIKEN

    @”What might the alternative be?”

    Cable is Industry Sec-not me.

    Beecroft had some-he didn’t like them.

  17. Colin
    Going back to my earlier post, moving VC out of BIS into the Treasury replacing GO would achieve so many things, wouldn’t it?

  18. MIKEN

    @”moving VC out of BIS into the Treasury replacing GO would achieve so many things, wouldn’t it?”

    It certainly would !

  19. If I were a conservative political strategist, I would certainly be suggesting that moving VC into GO’s position, and moving GO off to somewhere that is as face saving a high position as possible where he can do no more harm. It allows VC to come in as the ‘nice guy’ reverse some of the unpopular decisions, lighten up on the departments, and at the same time let the LIbDems take the ‘blame’ for breaking from Austerity, taking the heat off Cameron’s right wing. Meanwhile the LibDems suddenly have a lot more ‘Power’ and can be seen to be more making the government more compassionate and creating growth, which will pick up their vote share and potentially stave off the Labour Land Slide.

    Of course, it’s a move that would be politically radical, “a very brave choice”, and reliant on hitting just the right balance of blame and praise from the right and left. So it almost certainly won’t happen. And my view is coloured by thinking that VC *would* be a better chancellor than GO if he were given latitude to reverse course and ditch all-out-austerity.

  20. And here’s a thought…if DC ‘agreed’ to move VC to the Treasury woudl this buy the LD’s support for the boundaries changes?

  21. IF DC moved VC into the Chancellor role, the right wing of the Tory Party would go absolutely barmy – even barmier than they are already. It would be political suicide for DC inside his own party. If VC brought in any new “non-austerity” measures they would be opposed by the right wing. There would be a state of continual warfare inside the Conservatives. I just can’t see it happening.

  22. @ Colin

    2011 Union membership:

    Private sector 2.5M (40%)
    Public sector 3.9M (60%)
    Total 6.4M

    2012 is reportedly showing a surge in membership, both private & public sector.

  23. @Mike N

    During the Olympics, Cameron was asked directly about Osborne’s position and he said this: –

    “George Osborne is doing an excellent job in very difficult circumstances and he has my full support in going on doing that job.”

    Asked if Mr Osborne would be chancellor at the next election, which is due in 2015, Mr Cameron said: “He’s not going anywhere… yes.”

    Now, I agree, there’s an interesting double negative in Cameron’s slightly odd response, but it would be pretty embarrassing for him, and Osborne, if he gets rid of him now after this sort of unequivocal endorsement.

    Besides, how would a humiliated and aggrieved Osborne, and his large number of acolytes on the Tory backbenches, react? Elevating Cable to the Chancellorship has its attractions, not least to me, but as with all of these things, what Cameron may gain in terms of economic credibility he may also lose, in spades, in terms of party discipline and cohesion.

    Can I suggest that his best move might have been not to appoint Osborne in the first place? Now he’s appointed him and given him two and a half years to ply his dubious talents, I suspect Cameron is now in an almighty pickle as to what do with his Chancellor, his Cabinet and his government’s economic policy. I fear, politically, the damage may have already done. I suspect he may have arrived at the Brownian crux where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    If I was advising Cameron, I’d be tempted to to give him the classic Irishman’s advice; “I wouldn’t start from here if I was you, Dave!”

  24. I can’t see DC replacing GO…but what if GO ‘resigned’? Wouldn’t that make it easier fo DC?

    Nonetheless, I can’t see DC putting anyone other than a Tory in post as the Chancellor. There is that Tory, David Laws…


    Dave and all of us are stuck with GO. We’re all in it together…

  25. Norbold:

    “Tory party would go barmy”

    Gosh! That’s really hard to imagine…………..

    Reminds me of Monty Python election night sketch.

  26. DC’s ‘inability’ to sack GO demonstrates several things including the lack of authority he commands in his party.

    Some can try and spin DC’s inability to sack GO as ‘loyalty’, but surely only partisan Tories will see it this way? Even Tory MPs are increasingly expressing concerns about DC.

  27. It’s not just those on here who think Cable should replace Osborne. When Survation asked If George Osborne were to be replaced as Chancellor, who should replace him?


    Cable easily came top with 27% (though 34% said Don’t Know and 19% Someone else) well ahead of Hague with 13%. Admittedly Hague was ahead among Conservative supporters, but by less than you’d think – 25% to 22%.

    Mind you making Cable Chancellor would still reduce the Tories to civil war, but the public don’t seem to mind it.

  28. Sorry the page number on that link should be 23 (it’s numbered 17 in the report), so you’ll need to scroll down a bit.

    Incidentally Survation must be putting a very strong pre-filter on to exclude non-voters. All but 50 (5%) of their sample of 1023 said that they intended to vote and only 15 (1%) of the rest said they were undecided or refused.

  29. @Anthony

    I’ve just ordered one of those “Bad Idea” T shirts. Does the young lady wearing it come with it???

  30. ‘Former Ulster Unionist MP Lord Maginnis quits party after 50 years’
    – Maginnis resigns following clash with party leadership after he described gay marriage as ‘unnatural and deviant behaviour’


    Is this the death blow for the “Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force (UCUNF)” ticket? I cannot see PM D Cameron being too impressed with these antics by his NI colleagues.

  31. Why would Hague want to move from the Foreign Office, usually the major office that generates the fewest awkward situations in terms of public perception.
    GO will stay as per CB11 Cameron is now damned either way and I think party cohesion has become more important than in the past when he was given a chance to win etc by his right flank, now his has to keep them on board as far as he can.
    FWIW, if GO does go before 2015 my money is on Phillip Hammond who, notwithstanding some personal tax arrangements issues, is an impressive performer and a safe pair of hands.

  32. I fear that the next step is not a change in Chancellor but a new round of spending cuts. Either that or not much change at all.

    I honestly can’t see, with employment holding up reasonably well, that deregulating the workplace is going to give any sort of growth or jobs boost.

    More likely to lead to a round of sackings.

  33. @MIKE N

    “DC’s ‘inability’ to sack GO demonstrates several things including the lack of authority he commands in his party.

    Some can try and spin DC’s inability to sack GO as ‘loyalty’, but surely only partisan Tories will see it this way? Even Tory MPs are increasingly expressing concerns about DC.”

    Love it. Sew up the argument to remove any argument.

  34. @crossbat11 – “He’s not going anywhere…”

    It’s worth remembering George Osborne was shadow chancellor from 2005.
    He replaced Oliver Letwin after the election and was Michael Howard’s third choice (Hague and Cameron both turned it down).
    Cameron inherited him.

    Paul Goodman (who served in Cameron’s shadow cabinet before leaving parliament) has commented on Cameron’s great reluctance to make changes. The minimal ones he has made so far have either been dictated by the coalition agreement, or forced on him by resignation(Laws/Fox); junior ministerial reshuffling, according to commentators, has mostly been George’s handiwork.

    There seems to be just a wee bit of pressure on Cameron at the moment to prove that he is up to the job.

  35. @Oldnat (and others)

    You misunderstand me. I think (correct me if I’m wrong) you’re using the word “regional” differently than me[3]. I used it in the sense of “subnational” and (I think) you’re using it in the Paxman sense of “outside London”/”outside Home Counties”/”outside the South”. I have bumped into this different meaning of the word “regional” before and it kills me every time: for me, “region” is a value-free subdivision of “country” and applies equally to BBC London, BBC South East, BBC South as it does to BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and BBC North East and Cumbria.

    So when I said “moved from regional TV” I didn’t mean “moved from Yorkshire to London”. I was referring to the well-travelled BBC route from local to subnational to national. In this context the movement from BBC Berkshire local radio->BBC South regional news->BBC Breakfast News has the same value as moving from BBC Newcastle local radio->BBC North East and Cumbria regional news->BBC Breakfast News.

    I thought you knew me well enough by now to know that my jobs tend to use the UK as a single unit successively subdivided[2] (so UK governance goes UK->countries->regions->local authorities,[1] UK royal administration goes UK->ceremonial counties, BBC television goes UK->regions, Eurostat goes NUTS1->NUTS2->NUTS3 and so on). Given this, you could have deduced that I was unlikely to be exhibiting the areal snobbishness you thought I was.

    Regards, Martyn

    [1] with some creative blurring around which is a “country” and which is a “region”. The best way to think about it I find is that Scotland, NI and Wales are countries with one region each and England is a country with nine regions.
    [2] see previous posts about the dangerous ambiguity of the word “county”
    [3] OK, “differently than I”.

  36. Amber

    UK union representation :-

    Public Sector-67% of 6 million
    Private Sector-11% of 23 million

  37. MARTYN

    @”he dangerous ambiguity of the word “county””

    I love this .

    I will remember it -it speaks volumes to me.


  38. Ridiculous state of affairs re Govt funding for “free” schools in Bradford..

    Biting and bottoms spring to mind: another utterly daft idea blows up at enormous cost and adds to correct impressions of utter incompetence.

  39. Martyn

    Your explanation is as lucid as ever.

    You must be from Cumbria after all! :-)

  40. @ Colin

    UK union representation :-

    Public Sector-67% of 6 million
    Private Sector-11% of 23 million

    Yes, just think how cool it would be, if the unions could get private sector membership up to around 67% of 23M. :-)

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