The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out and has topline figures of CON 31%(-3), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 14%(-1), Others 14%. In the last couple of years ICM have tended to show smaller Labour leads than many other polling companies for methological reasons, so while ten point leads for Labour have been two-a-penny these last six months, for ICM it is a very large lead, the biggest they’ve shown since 2003. The poll also has UKIP at 6% – a high figure for a telephone pollster.

There is also a new TNS BMRB poll out with topline figures of CON 28%(-3), LAB 44%(+1), LDEM 8%(-1), Others 19%(+2) (including UKIP at 7% and the Greens at 5%). While TNS do tend to show some of the largest leads anyway, the sixteen point Labour lead is the largest any company has shown this Parliament. Suffice to say, I think we can write off the sharp narrowing of the lead in the weekend ComRes poll as an outlier!

From here on in we are into conference season polling. In some past years this has produced a rollercoaster effect, with each party enjoying a boost in the polls in the immediate aftermath of their conference and their leader’s conference address. In other years it has had hardly any effect… we shall have to see which sort of conference season 2012 is.

313 Responses to “New ICM and TNS-BMRB polls”

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  1. I think we can safely take it that if ICM tells us Labour have a big lead, then they really do have a big lead.

    Possibly a fairly temporary effect from “pleb-gate”, although this year it seems when Labour’s lead increases, perhaps due to pressure from UKIP, not all of the increase trickles back, a slight ratchet effect.

    Conservatives will be hoping those under-30 ratings won’t persist. I suspect there will be more, given the unpleasant decisions that need making soon.

  2. Peter:

    No apology necessary but thanks anyway. We were both offended by the same thing as it happened.


  3. Voters have never been so economically aware as they are now . The mainstream accept difficult decisions have to be made but the Coalition will only succeed in winning the argument if they are seen to be fair in the difficult decisions they have to make .

    Labour has to be economically credible from now till the election or they will be torn apart in the campaign and there will be another hung Parliament .

  4. The Telegraph has the police log:


    It doesn’t tell us anything new, but I note that a few days ago the Daily Mail quoted Mitchell as also saying “I’ll have jour job for this” – hence the officer felt that he had no choice but to file a report.

  5. “…….. pleb is just another variation”.

    No, I agree with PaulCroft, it is not. Furthermore, context and who is using the expression is alpha and omega in such situations. A fact illustrated in one of Jackie Chan’s masterpieces when he plays a Hong Kong cop on a trip to the US. He goes into an all African-American bar and, wishing to be friendly, says to the barman “how’s it hanging n****r?” – cut to next scene with our hero fleeing for his life down the street pursued by the entire clientel of the bar! The point of course with Mr Chan’s joke is that *who* says it is key. I could perfectly well say in the sosialect I grew up with to a friend “ello you old bastard, how*s it going?” For a lot of people the thought of this “high and mighty Tory chinless wonder” addressing a public servant (it did not need to be specifically a police officer) in tones of such class based contempt makes the use of the word transcendentally offensive.


    Point well made.

    An interesting aspect is the role of stereotyping in this affair.

    Mitchell paints himself into the stereotype of “high and mighty Tory chinless wonder” not because he swore at a policeman, but because he classified a group of people as being less worthy than himself – ie he appeared to be stereotyping (if I understood Chris Lane’s description correctly) the lower middle class as inferior.

    The irony of Paul Croft showing concern over judging people by a group that they belong to does, of course, have its own delicious humour! :-)

    “Voters have never been so economically aware as they are now”
    The reason why VC may make a difference, as LD leader or not, is that his experience and wise old head would stand him in good stead when the economic problems go beyond awareness to the need for a knowledge of economic strategies. I believe VI contains an element of trust, or trust on trial, specifically in respect of the EU and Eurozone – if noone on this thread knows much about the stability of monetary unions and their causes, or what they achieve; or if they would be tested by any knowledge of the CAP, or of nuclear v. coal in the UK’s responses to EU energy policy what hope for the poor ol electorate. (Ef who knows or cares that Thatcher refused EU subsidisations to the UK coal industry and related carbon emission measures, not just to favour nuclear, but to defeat Scargill and bring down the miners unions?; or that the CAP was designed to support enduring hobby farming masquerading as peasant production in Greeece, Italy, Spain, Ireland and France, based e.g.on cattle herds of 1.7 head per farm in Greece (i.e. the family cow) as against 67 per head in the UK in 1994), and to favour large scale meat, grain and large scale farming through subsidies and maladministered application of supposed EU statutes. Among other ends that it was a use of the CAP to destroy cooperative farms, and with dire results on regional and local breed production and slaughterhouses and animal welfare?
    In other words, I would not expect any of the present lot except Vince and one or two old heads in Labour and the Conservatives to actually have any knowledge or memory of this stuff, which has been the heart-beat of the economy since Maastricht, and continues to pulse away there in Mummy global economy’s little eggs.
    Ditto for foreign policy and overseas aid – now there’s a bag of upstart monkeys waiting to be let loose.
    So, my money in the trust stakes in Vi is on the reemergence of Old Hands, and in the case of the LD resumption of a respectable minority and influential opposition but mainstream role in the shape of a caring and ageing Vince and his ilk.


    Isn’t it tautological to say that only older people might have a memory of what happened earlier in their lifetime, and that younger people can’t have such a memory?

  9. ICM at +10 is a nice one for Labour. Poor wee ComRes, all alone down there.

    Despite our Colin’s protestations, the deficit being at a record high in August may have done more damage than he expected. Personally, I don’t think it’s Andrew Mitchell; IMO, it’s the economy being as wet & cold as the weather.

    Boris’s merry Olympic style japes will cut no ice until Christmas (yes, I expect he will dress up in a Santa suit). :roll: But what I’m really trying to say is: Conference likely won’t make much difference, Christmas will be the key. If folks think they can afford to eat, drink & be merry, the polls will swing back in the governments favour; if it’s token gifts, fizzy wine & frozen chicken for the plebs then Labour’s lead could well be set in stone.

  10. @OLDNAT

    “Mitchell paints himself into the stereotype of “high and mighty Tory chinless wonder” not because he swore at a policeman,”

    Yes, the resemblance and the contrast between his situation and Chan’s (of course fictional) faux pas is instructive I think. Both he and Chan’s cop do not see the stereotype they have made of themselves. The resemblance is that I am certain that Mitchell would not have recognised the image that he conveyed of himself as the nasty honking braying scion of the county set any more than Chan’s character realises until too late that he has come across as some kind of insulting redneck. The contrast is that in the case of the latter we (the audience) know that he meant no harm at all and that is why it is so funny. However, in the case of the former we (the voting public) know bloody that he meant ill and that he expressed himself in terms of class based contempt, thus making that image of himself real, nasty and very definitely not funny.

  11. Labour lead on 11 – Latest YouGov/The Sun results 24 Sept – CON 32%, LAB 42%, LD 9%, UKIP 7%; APP -38

  12. 11?


    “But what I’m really trying to say is: Conference likely won’t make much difference, Christmas will be the key. If folks think they can afford to eat, drink & be merry, the polls will swing back in the governments favour; if it’s token gifts, fizzy wine & frozen chicken for the plebs then Labour’s lead could well be set in stone.”

    In view of my political loyalties I think, in light of your analysis, that come December I shall have to remember to wish people an Unmerry Christmas. :)

  14. The tables show Lab on 43, not 42.

  15. @ Fredrick L


  16. YG +11 for Labour.

    Interestingly, Labour are above 40% for all age groups. I think that could be important, were it to become a trend.

  17. Some oddities:

    Lab with a healthy lead at over 60

    but neck and neck again in Wales/Mid which must be good news for Con

  18. @Amberstar – “Despite our Colin’s protestations, the deficit being at a record high in August may have done more damage than he expected.”

    I posted back in July when the previous borrowing figures came through that I felt a metaphorical dam had burst for the Tories. Monthly borrowing figures have been poor since the turn of the financial year, but the media wasn’t interested. In July, it suddenly became the headline story (more so than in August). I just felt a significant corner had been turned.

    At this time I posted that while I didn’t think anyone really was bothered by the actual borrowing numbers, it was the fact that the media story became Tory failure on the key policy plank.

    I the previous parliament I called Peter Mandelson’s speech to the 2009 party conference as a significant turning point. I still back that assertion, as I believe that this was the point at which Labour started some kind of fight back and the Tories began to see increasing difficulty in persuading voters to back them. The polls didn’t follow this pattern exactly, but by January 2010 were moving against Cameron. I believe the speech set the tone that ultimately denied Cameron his expected majority.

    I’m calling the July deficit figures likewise. July 2012 seems now to be the point when it became mainstream to see Plan A as a failure. Of course, numbers could change, and a new turning point come in due course, but the longer this period of below expectation deficits occurs, the more well defined the sense of failure will become.

  19. The Scotsman is running an article on supposed increase in Scots calling themselves British.


    One quote:

    “The latest results suggest a 1 per cent drop in Scottish respondents in a year, down from 81.5 per cent in 2010 and down nearly 10 per cent over a decade, from 88.1 per cent in 2001.”

    It fails to mention the demographics however, so not likely to be reliable.

  20. Quite exciting for a leftie like me to see Labour roaring ahead in the polls like that (TNS-BMRB is my company but I don’t work on opinion polls as it happens). Will it be borne out in the days to come in other polls? The ICM poll is if anything even more striking.

  21. AMBER

    :”Despite our Colin’s protestations, the deficit being at a record high in August may have done more damage than he expected.”

    I think you misunderstand my view-or more likely I failed to communicate it.

    I think the Autumn Statement ( ? Winter Statement :-) ) WILL be very very difficult politically for GO. Slippage on the deficit reduction plan will produce Balls in full flight with “pain but no gain”-“reduce VAT & “create” jobs” etc etc.

    But once this furore is over-IF GDP in Q3 shows 0.5% growth minimum-and starts to be sustained, then the next two years will take us to a GE in which Debt , not Deficit becomes the overiding issue .

    I set out my thoughts on that yesterday.

    But I certainly anticipate major grief for GO when he presents his next public finances forecasts.

  22. The revelations in the Times about the abuse of young girls in Rotherham is truly shocking. Even more shocking is the blind eye turned by knowing authority.

    That this takes place under the watchful eye of South Yorkshire Police is , given the Hillsborough Report findings , cause for rage & fury on the part of every decent citizen.

    I am pleased to see that the local MP , in calling for a Public Enquiry, admits that he has failed these poor children, along with every agency charged with their protection .

    This is a crime which deserves much , much more publicity than it is getting.

    The BBC doesn’t mention it.


  23. @Colin

    “The BBC doesn’t mention it.


    I picked it up last night from the BBC.

  24. Another possible cause of the shift in polling is the change in council tax payments for low paid workers and those on benefits.

    This may have passed by many here, but poor people are being told currently that they will have to pay coucil taxes for the first time, or are going to have the amount they have to pay increased quite considerably

    Things like this – the 10p tax band abolition is the archetype – often go unnoticed by those unaffected, but are very important to millions.

  25. The BBC seems happy to keep the Mitchell story on the front page, days after the (non) event, but push child abuse to a local level. Strange.

  26. By far the most common response to the YG question about which (positive) qualities each of the three main party leaders has was “none of these”.

  27. CHRIS

    Thanks-but I agree with Statgeek..

    We can only despair at the twisted priorities & definition of “balance” & “relevance” which seem to beset BBC when faced with difficult issues like this one.

    I think it may be the self same contortions which saw these girls ignored by their own Police Force.

    “The BBC seems happy to keep the Mitchell story on the front page, days after the (non) event, but push child abuse to a local level. Strange”

    I think you will find it was that Left-wing organ The Daily Telegraph splashing the Police log book over the front page, and that other pinko liberal rag The Sun’s front page detailing Mitchells ‘long frustrating day’ included 2 hour lunch at a Westminster curry house…..Oh and of course Mitchell’s ‘apology’ on TV yesterday ” I want to make it very clear….I am very clear about what I did and did not say ….” Just not going to tell anyone….. BBC are following up on this, as are Sky.

  29. Judging by these polls there are plenty more Plebs who Don’t Know their Place.

    Real shame the individual officer doesn’t want to pursue the Mitchell Gate Gate .Maybe they will change their mind if Mitchell persists in questioning their account.

  30. The Mitchell story had so many aspects to it which made it obvious it would not fade away quickly. The story resonates on so many levels.

    An aspect of the story is the role of the media, especially in light of Leveson. It was almost inevitable that the media would want to be seen as carrying and pursuing a story in the public interest.

    Further, this is the kind of story which, say, 12 months ago, would probably not have enjoyed so much attention by the media. It would have been water off a duck’s back. But now with the Cons’ VI seemingly heading into the very low 30s, or even lower, the 2012 Budget mess, the recession made in Downing St, the toff’s image, the reshuffle, the role of the police, etc, the Mitchell story has proved to be a great opportunity.

  31. If Labour can get Ed Miliband in the gym to do some bodybuilding and take some steriods to lower the voice, perhaps they may enjoy a 20% lead.

    Obviously a joke, but how can Labour firm up their lead, so they are continually 15%+ ahead ? They are not going to be in a position to offer any alternative tax/spending plans until nearer the GE. They may not even bother then, if they don’t have full access to treasury officials.

    If the economy is still fragile in 2015 and the Tories are not offering any positive future for the many, it may be enough for Labour, to offer a sense of optimism in the way of policies they can implement, that are for the many and not the few.

    A tax on bankers bonuses and additional wealth taxes, may be popular with a majority of voters. Also Labour signalling that they will stop HMRC making cozy deals with corporations on tax payable and expect corporations to pay what is properly due. In return they will work with corporations to ensure that the UK enables them to remain competitive. So there could be some incentives for any investments they make in the UK.

    On a different note, I wonder whether the Tories might try to engineer a split in the coalition and an early election. They may think they have more chance of a majority, if there were a snap election, rather than wait to 2015, when the economy is deeper in the mire, with another £300bn + of debt.

  32. I realsie the police office has accpeted Mitchell’s apology and does not want to pursue the issue, and the Met / eywood have reached an agreement, but…..the question is whether this is appropriate? If an offence has been committed by Mitchell, shoudl he be charged? In other words, is he receiving preferential treatment that would not be accorded to, er, a pleb?

    This is another aspect of the story. And it is one which I suggest joe public will be thinking too.

  33. The Labour lead of 42% to 30% in the over-60s looks a bit of an outlier, but it’s in the context of much smaller Labour leads in this group in the last three YouGov polls. I wonder if we are starting to see a realisation that cuts are going to affect this group as well – despite the best efforts of the government to cocoon at least the better-off members of this group.

    The change (if there is one) started before the row over Mitchell, but that could be also having some effect. What does surprise me is that with all the fuss over language, we haven’t had lots of witness reports. According to the Police Log, which the Telegraph has helpfully printed, “There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate […]The members of public looked visibly shocked”.

    There had been rumours that Mitchell had threatened to have the police officers involved dismissed, but he only uttered the more general “you haven’t heard the last of this”, though this seems to have been enough for the officer involved to feel justified in leaking it to the Telegraph. (Has Boris reassigned the Met’s leaks contract away from News International to his own employers?).

  34. ” “you haven’t heard the last of this”, ”

    Words that will forever have a place in political history.

  35. @mikems
    I agree but there is more…

    I don’t think it is so obvious to the majority what the welfare cuts actually mean, I do think as more of these cuts/adjustments take place people are now realising how they are going to affect not just those people suffering the cuts, but the families who support those people, and are having to give more and more support.

    We are now seeing the start of those most seriously ill and disabled being retested and it is beginning to scare not just the people to be retested but the families who will have to pick up the pieces, I think there is an automatic reduction in £ for some of these people as they switch from IB to ESA.

    If this winter is a bad one then we can expect the NHS to be put under more and more pressure, flu etc, but my concern will be those who decide not to heat their homes because of loss of income; that will cause pain and distress for many but for some it could mean death.

    All in all it is a cascade effect as families realise that the cuts also mean it is them or their family member being targeted not the other guy…. As they really thought the reality would be…

  36. @STEVE

    As I understand it free, land-owning Roman citizens are not allowed to vote in Britain, so Pleb votes will have no effect on the next election.

  37. Back in the 80s, the Melody Maker used to run spoof Sun-type editorials. They gave up after The Sun ran a real editorial ranting about Elvis Costello changing his showbiz name back to his birth name of Declan MacManus. The MM team said that it was pointless trying to parody reality with ridiculous fiction when the reality was better than anything they could come up with.

    I suspect Armando Iannuci will have similar feelings over Gate-gate. From slippage of the carefully constructed guard, through bungled handling to all-out DEFCON1 Clusterf***, it is so daft that were it a Thick of It script, it’d never pass the “Is it realistic enough to be funny?” test.

    Terrible for the Cameron detox, but more importantly, terrible for the image of politics and politicians in general. If you are going to have arrogance, at least have courage and strength to go with it. Arrogance allied with weakness and obfuscation when confront is suicidal.

  38. @MIKE N
    “On a different note, I wonder whether the Tories might try to engineer a split in the coalition and an early election. ”

    I was thinking the Liberals might do this. Split the coalition on a point of principle (if they have any left) get a new leader and then a new coalition wth Labour this time. They might think it is the only way to save their skins plus prevent a Labour OM.

  39. Couper2802

    “@Mike N” shoudl be “@R Huckle”

    But I do like “Split the coalition on a point of principle…”

    You’ve given me my first good laugh of the day. Thanks.

  40. @Statgeek

    What do you make of the fact that, as far as I could tell earlier this morning, that gang of lefty multiculturalism apologists at the Daily Telegraph hadn’t reported it at all?

    I’ll tell you what I made of it? I made that the story is a legal minefield.

  41. Mitchell is toast surely. Then again, Cameron doesn’t sack ministers who have been caught out. Whether this is good for politics in general or for the long term health of the government is yet to be decided.

  42. This will probably only be of interest to SoCalLiberal, but following Romney’s 47% remarks, there does seem to be a theme developing.
    The Ruiz-for-Congress (California 36th district) campaign has uncovered an old email from Mary Bono Mack to a radio host who had described Coachella (just happens to be Ruiz’s home town) as a third-world toilet:

    “I heard some of your remarks with the councliman (sic) from Coachella. You were great!!!!!!
    ….Unbelievably great!!! Third World Toilet? That was too funny.”

    Raul Ruiz accused Bono Mack of having “a pattern of disdain for her constituents”


    @Roger Mexico – “you haven’t heard the last of this”

    The Daily Mail gave this quote from a “police official” on Sept 21:

    “He also said ‘I will have your ****ing job for this’…”

    I won’t post the link because it is ridiculously long, but you can search it (I’ll have your job Daily Mail) if needs be.

  43. Something no one seems to have mentioned is that the constable who bore the brunt of Mitchell’s foul mouthed tirade was a WPC. Indicative of a poor attitude to women as well, perhaps?

    If the Sun is correct, and part of his ‘long and stressful day’ included a 2 hour lunch, then I see no reason for maintaining his post in government. Clearly, he won’t go. Cameron has backed him, so for him to go now would hurt Cameron much more.

    While we are all having fun with this, and the entire incident is wonderful for the opposition parties, these kinds of events are genuinely difficult for PM’s. No leader wants to give colleagues the heave ho at the first whiff of gunfire, and Cameron has been particularly bold in trying to hold on to ministers (friends?). The balancing act of which scandal to succumb to and which minister to dump is extremely delicate. Push them too soon, and you create the expectation of a resignation at the merest whiff of scandal, hold them too close and you appear to keep damaged goods. A difficult hand to play, but I suspect played rather badly by DC, all things considered.

  44. @COUPER2802

    Given that the story from the Lib Dem conference is to stay the course for the sake of the economy, I don’t see how they can now or even in the near future pull the plug and attempt a raprochement with Labour. They would look fools – well more even than they do now.

  45. @Alec

    It is worse than that. Garry Gibbon has a blog entry on who could replace Mitchell, the only name he could find mentioned was Francis Maude.

    All candidates (other than Mitchell) considered for chief whip in the reshuffle were either needed elsewhere or deemed unsuitable. You have to wonder how he can be an effective enforcer issuing behind-the-scenes threats after this.

  46. @Chris R

    I don’t tend to read (or read too much into) newspapers or their on-line equivalent. I pay the BBC though.

  47. I don’t think calling a police officer a pleb is as bad as a PM calling an ordinary voter a “Bigoted Woman”.

  48. @Billy Bob

    you have to wonder at the sort of language he might use as chief whip.

    re Romney’s 47%, the irony is that his national opinion poll ratings don’t seem to be going above that figure. Whereas Obama’s do by 2-3% quite regularly.

  49. @STEVE
    As I understand it free, land-owning Roman citizens are not allowed to vote in Britain, so Pleb votes will have no effect on the next election.

    -My Grandfather was from Rome and He owned His own Teeth ,will you make an exception?

    The I’ve got a classics education put down is something that supporters of this Government should I think try to avoid in the circumstances.

  50. Plebeians was a specific term used in the Public School system to denote scholars who were not sons of the aristocracy or gentry… consequently “pleb” became a widespread slang term used to demarcate those on the lowest rung of the schoolboy hierarchy.

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