There should be several polls out tonight. First up is the Guardian’s monthly ICM poll, which has topline figures of CON 33%(+2), LAB 41%(nc), LDEM 14(nc), Others 12%(including UKIP 5%, Greens 2%). Changes are from the last ICM poll just before conference season began. The poll shows a slight increase in Conservative support, but this is probably a reversion to the mean after the last ICM poll, which showed an unusually large Labour lead by their standards.

ICM also asked whether people thought Cameron & Osborne or Miliband & Balls were best able to handle the economy, showing a sharp narrowing of the Tory lead. Cameron and Osborne are on 31%(down 9 since July), Miliband and Balls on 27%(down 2). Later this week we have the 3rd quarter GDP figures, so it that shows something interesting enough to be noticed beyond the business pages it’ll be interesting to see the impact.

While I am here, kudos to Tom Clark at the Guardian for putting the ICM poll in the context of other companies polls in his write up and explaining the methodological reasons for some of the differences.

Earlier on today we also had the weekly TNS-BMRB poll, which has topline figures of CON 30%(+1), LAB 44%(+2), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 7%(-3), Others 11%(nc). Changes are from last week. Fourteen points is a high Labour lead by most companies standards, but is actually pretty normal for TNS-BMRB’s recent polls – they tend to show some of the bigger Labour leads and have the Labour lead between 13 and 16 points in their last few polls.

We may also get the monthly Populus poll for the Times tonight (the Guardian’s Tom Clark was polled for it!). I shall update if it surfaces.

UPDATE: The actual poll isn’t out yet, but the Guardian also mentions a new poll commissioned by Lord Ashcroft in Corby, which is going to show Labour 22 points ahead there. That would be a very strong performance, a thirteen point swing since the general election. Full details of that are due tomorrow morning.

UPDATE2: Having been complementary about the Guardian’s coverage of their ICM poll I may now have to be less so about the Times’s coverage of their Populus poll. Of course, since the Times is behind a subscription wall the end of their coverage may be hedged with all sorts of caveats, but the beginning of it talking about “slashing Labour’s lead” doesn’t look good!

Anyway last month’s Populus poll was a pretty obvious outlier, showing a startling 15 point Labour lead when Populus had previously been showing Labour leads of around seven points and when no other company was showing similar huge swings to Labour. This month things are back to more usual results for Populus, with topline figures of CON 35%(+5), LAB 40%(-5), LDEM 9%(-1). Big shift from Labour to Conservative and pehaps a sign of a slightly reduced Labour lead, but the size of the shift is essentially meaningless.

At first glance the the polls appear to be giving a contradictory picture, but they really aren’t. Part of it is because of the methodological differences (companies like TNS-BMRB and YouGov tend to show bigger Labour leads than companies like Populus and ICM because they treat things like turnout and don’t knows differently) and part of it is because of sample error and reversion to the mean after some unusual results. The bigger picture though is that the polls were showing Labour averaging at around about 9-10 points before conference, and are showing Labour leads of around about 9-10 points now.


82 Responses to “New ICM, Populus and TNS-BMRB polls”

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  1. While Tom Clark may have been more understanding of polling than other journos, the headline

    “Guardian/ICM poll finds Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are catching up with PM and chancellor on perceived financial competence”

    lacks what one might describe as accuracy!

    Trust in Camborne has fallen more steeply than trust in Milliballs, so that both teams are scrabbling around in the political coastal marshes. Neither is even managing to scale the foothills of public trust.

  2. Sub-editors do the headlines though, can’t blame Tom for that!

  3. The fact that the Conservatives have reduced the headline Labour lead by 2%(yes I know, MOE) but the headline is pointing towards the narrowing of the Camborne lead over Milliballs shows the problem the Conservatives have at the moment. The press narrative from all spectrums is back firmly against them and anything positive is being drowned out by the nagatives.

  4. It’s quite surprising that the 41% for Lab held up at last month’s 9 year high with ICM, simply because with a relatively small sample a bit of regression to the mean might have been expected.

    Grauniad write up gives more details. To be fair to them, it’s a much broader picture of the variety of current polling than we normally see in newspaper reports:

    “Labour’s eight-point lead with ICM is at the bottom end of a range of polls published over the weekend, which put the opposition’s lead at everything from eight to 13 points. ICM’s raw figures show a bigger 43%-32% gap, but the pollsters adjust to identify so-called “shy Tory” voters, by assuming that a proportion of those who report voting a particular way last time around but refuse to say who they will back next time will in fact revert to past form. The same adjustment boosts Lib Dem support more substantially, from 11% to 14%, which helps explains why ICM continues to rate the third party more highly than other pollsters, who often put them on 10% or less. Experience has demonstrated that this sort of adjustment in favour of parties who have fallen out of fashion is a valuable way of ironing out wilder political vicissitudes to give a more robust prediction. Support for the individual minor parties was as follows: Ukip 5%, SNP 3%, Greens 2%.”

    But “experience has demonstrated….” seems to be overcooking it a bit. What experience have we of a party losing well over half of its support from the previous election, such that it’s still reasonable to assume that the remaining DKs in that party would revert back to that party (the LDs) and nowhere else?

  5. PHIL

    ” What experience have we of a party losing well over half of its support from the previous election,”

    Good question.

    I suspect that the LDs may have overtaken the SNP as the party with the worst collapse in support between successive elections. :-)

    Oct 74 SNP seats 11 : vote share 30.4%
    1979 SNP seats 2 : vote share 17.3%

    While the SNP have shown that a party can recover well from such collapse – it takes a helluva long time to do it!

  6. Labour at 41% in four out of the seven ICM’s since April (the other three at 39%)… their highest level since 2003.

    Con at 33% are back where they were in April after bouncing up to 36%, a spell on 34% and the 31% last month.

    To emphasize the importance of April 2012 with Tory leaning polling companies (in terms of house effects)… prior to that date ICM had been reporting an average Labour lead of 0.5% following the 2010 GE.
    April onwards the average lead is 6.5%

  7. @ Billy Bob

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/21/us-usa-campaign-mccain-poll-idUSBRE89K02120121021

    Now you see, I think this is interesting and also telling in a way. Polls that are devoted solely to polling Latino voters (pollsters who actually specialize in polling that community and have live polling in both languages) show Obama leading among voters within that community by a far wider margin than he did in 08′. I think there was one poll of Latino McCain voters earlier this year that showed that 40% would vote for Obama while only 38% would vote for Romney. I have a feeling that some of these bigger pollsters (who Nate and other pundits rely upon) are not really picking up a lot of those Latino voters and not accurately factoring them into their polls.

    That actually was something that threw off Obama’s numbers in 2008 primaries. Polls had him winning or only narrowly behind in states with large Latino voting populations. Those voters turned out massively and Obama lost those states decisively.

  8. @ Old Nat

    “Oct 74 SNP seats 11 : vote share 30.4%
    1979 SNP seats 2 : vote share 17.3%

    While the SNP have shown that a party can recover well from such collapse – it takes a helluva long time to do it!”

    And that was also caused by blowback from voting with Thatcher to bring down the incumbent government right?

    You know what I’ve never understood about that. The election in 1979 was only going to be a few months later as required by British law. So I wonder why Thatcher pushed for a motion of no confidence to bring down the government and why the Nats would push for it when they only had to wait a few months anyway.

  9. Poll boost for SNP as conference ends

    Mon, 22/10/2012 – 09:51

    As the SNP’s successful Perth conference draws to a close, the Panelbase poll has revealed that support for the SNP is higher than its support in the 2011 election landslide.

    The survey puts support for the SNP at 45% in both the constituency and regional votes – which is the same in the constituency vote as in last year’s election landslide, and is a point up in the regional vote.

    This follows the figures published in yesterday’s Sunday Times which show that the gap between support for and against independence has been reduced to just eight points.

    Commenting, SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said:

    “The momentum remains well and truly with the SNP as we continue to show competence in Government, fulfilling our social contract with the people of Scotland in the face of Westminster cuts. The SNP’s overall support in this poll is actually up on our 2011 election victory.

    “The core message from our conference is that there is now a real threat to the achievements of home rule through the austerity agenda of all of the anti-independence parties, and only a vote for an independent Scotland can protect Scotland’s progress.

    “The challenge now is to maintain this momentum and win the argument for independence, because when we win the argument, we will win the referendum.”

    ENDS

    Constituency

    Poll

    SNP -45%
    Labour -33%
    Tories -12%
    LibDem -6%
    Greens -3%
    Other – 2%

    Regional

    Poll

    SNP – 45%
    Labour -30%
    Tories -12%
    Greens -6%
    LibDem -4%
    Other -3%

    Panelbase interviewed 972 Scots between October 9th-19th. Panelbase is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

  10. SOCALLIBERAL

    Party leaderships can be so wrapped up in their own agenda that they totally misread the people.

    Keeping a balance between core principles and actually getting the power to implement them, is an issue for every party in every country – except for those parties who don’t have much in the way of core principles any more. They have their own problems, of course.

  11. ” Panelbase is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.”

    Well, I emailed them asking for some tables about 9 hours ago and they haven’t abided the their rules yet ;)

  12. Anthony

    My! You are impatient.

    I asked them for their tables in July and have heard nothing. :-)

  13. Panelbase is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules
    —————-
    Panelbase has independent Scotland rules when it polls for the Scottish Times. ;-)

  14. ANTHONY WELLS

    That’s what the article said lol. :)

  15. Amber Star

    Panelbase is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules
    —————-
    Panelbase has independent Scotland rules when it polls for the Scottish Times
    _____

    I like the sound of that!! ;)

  16. Oldnat. That’s very naughty. John Curtice or Nick Moon would be the people one might like to contact were one to wish the BPC to nudge them towards compliance…

  17. @ Old Nat

    “I suspect that the LDs may have overtaken the SNP as the party with the worst collapse in support between successive elections.

    Oct 74 SNP seats 11 : vote share 30.4%
    1979 SNP seats 2 : vote share 17.3%”

    I think in terms of the overall percentage loss of overall support, the Lib Dems had a greater fall in 2011 than the Nats did in 1979. Their share of the vote was cut in half (even if didn’t fall quite as much).

  18. Anthony

    Thanks. I didn’t know who to ask about deviant practices – other than a Westminster MP of course. :-)

  19. @SoCalLiberal

    I noticed the Daily Kos report on press endorsements for Obama substantially outstripping those for Romney.

    I’ve been trying to read the tone behind mydesert’s evenhanded coverage of CA 36 and the ‘un-American’ debacle (I imagine the KMIR6 moderators are just about now emerging from under the desk and patting themselves down):

    h
    ttp://www.mydesert.com/article/20121019/NEWS03/310190031/?odyssey=tab%7cmostpopular%7ctext%7cBUSINESS04

    Found this on newsmax, also suggesting the attacks on Ruiz might backfire:

    “We are not endorsing either candidate at this time,” Tribal Council Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, said in a recent statement. “However, we call on Rep. Bono Mack to unequivocally repudiate this attempt to portray standing up for Native Americans as somehow un-American.”

  20. Mike Smithson @MSmithsonPB
    It’s reported that Michael Ashcroft has done another Corby poll and this shows that LAB is 22% ahead.. No further detail at the moment.

  21. @ Old Nat

    “Party leaderships can be so wrapped up in their own agenda that they totally misread the people.

    Keeping a balance between core principles and actually getting the power to implement them, is an issue for every party in every country – except for those parties who don’t have much in the way of core principles any more. They have their own problems, of course.”

    Sometimes I think that you get people who get divorced from reality and that can be a mistake. That’s when you get the attack ads that backfire.

    Btw, tonight’s debate will be an interesting rubber match. Romney will be very strong tonight and much better than the last debate because in this kind of debate format, he can memorize his talking points and debate lines extremely well. In off the cuff situations where he has to extemporaneously speak or answer questions he hasn’t heard before, he’s a lot weaker. He won’t have that problem tonight. Regardless of what the media decides as to who’s the winner and who’s the loser tonight, I think the debate is key for Obama in one respect. I speculate here completely but I think Colin Powell will be watching and he will be watching carefully and deciding whether to make an endorsement or not.

  22. I see the Ashcroft poll has been taken down due to an embargo. Does this mean that AW will have to moderate himself!

  23. SOCALLIBERAL

    I won’t get much sleep tonight, as I’ll try to stay up to watch as much of the debate as I can – but have to get up early tomorrow to fly out to the USA.

    Looking forward to seeing Jon Stewart keeping me right on the election! :-)

  24. DaveM – I haven’t seen the poll, so I know of no embargo ;)

  25. AW only joking as even if the Guardian have taken the article down due to embargo, the embargo can not apply to a third party who has the info from a source other than the original.

    So are are safe

  26. @ Billy Bob

    “I noticed the Daily Kos report on press endorsements for Obama substantially outstripping those for Romney.

    I’ve been trying to read the tone behind mydesert’s evenhanded coverage of CA 36 and the ‘un-American’ debacle (I imagine the KMIR6 moderators are just about now emerging from under the desk and patting themselves down):”

    I thought that Romney had more press endorsements at the moment (just not large ones). I don’t think newspaper endorsements matter all that much in these races. I don’t think they hurt though and I’d rather see my candidate get that endorsement than the other one.

    Moderating a debate is no easy thing. I don’t like how the moderators handled the debate but Mary Bono’s opening statement was so viscious and vile that they may have just been shocked.

    The attacks may backfire if they look ridiculous and don’t frighten the people. If it does frighten people, it will help her.

    @ Old Nat

    Did you like the evidence I provided for support of your theory (of politics getting harsher when there are fewer differences between opponents) with the Shberman race?

  27. SOCALLIBERAL

    I’ll try to get back to your link, but I’ve been a bit time deprived having been at Conference, then helping out with my grandson, writing a couple of articles, and flying to USA tomorrow!

  28. @SoCalLiberal

    Yes, I misspoke about newspaper endorsements, though the (updated) position seems to be tied at the moment:

    h
    ttp://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/192344/obama-narrowly-winning-in-swing-state-newspaper-endorsements/

  29. @Oldnat – interested in your posting of the SNP slump between 74 & 79 elections. I was genuinely interested in whether the failure to secure a winning majority in the independence referendum was anything to do with this? My memory is insufficient on this, and I couldn’t find any SNP polling in AW’s archive.

    From this, I am also wondering what impact a defeat in 2014 might have on SNP support, if the current polls are to be believed. Clearly, devolution and a general admired SNP administration mean the circumstances are different, but losing the central issue for the party would be a tough blow, but I don’t know whether people would remain behind the SNP once independence was lost.

  30. @Socal

    “You know what I’ve never understood about that. The election in 1979 was only going to be a few months later as required by British law. So I wonder why Thatcher pushed for a motion of no confidence to bring down the government and why the Nats would push for it when they only had to wait a few months anyway.”

    I’ve not read below your post for others’ answers, so apologies if someone else has said this.

    In my humble opinion, it’s far easier to fight an election with the electorate reminded of a vote of no confidence in the other lot. It undermines them, and makes for good commentary when there’s little else happening.

    In fairness I was barely into school in ’79 so it’s all conjecture on my part.

  31. Alec

    Who knows?

    While the circumstances in the 70s and the 20s are very different, it could be that the pattern is replicated.

    On the other hand, we could well see a No vote in 2014 resulting in most Scots voting SNP (because they are seen as being competent, while others aren’t) continuing in power, while Scots vote dominantly Labour for Westminster.

    Regardless of the 2014 result, I’ll probably end up in the Scottish Greens. The SNP, like every other party, has its component of “Authoritarian Followers”, but it also has a large number of members like me, who don’t give a damn about electing one group of political clones as against another group with very similar views.

  32. @OLDNAT

    “On the other hand, we could well see a No vote in 2014 resulting in most Scots voting SNP (because they are seen as being competent, while others aren’t) continuing in power, while Scots vote dominantly Labour for Westminster.”

    I wonder if the SNP can sweep to victory in Scotland, both at Holyrood and Westminster, but the majority of people don’t want independence?

    Maybe some will recognise the SNP as best representing Scottish voters, but within the union. Many are unsure of what independence will give the voters…Labour or left-wing? Some aren’t too keen on that.

  33. @Hannah

    “4. I see that you voted Conservative in the general election in 2010, but you intend to vote for a different party at the by-election. Which one of the following is the main reason you intend to vote for a different party in the by-election?

    Because I am not happy about what the Conservatives are doing in government 50%”

    Protest vote then. It would seem that Corby shouldn’t be afforded the title of ‘how the country is thinking’, as has been said in the past. However, it may give the government a good idea of how unpopular they are becoming. Whether they act on it is another thing.

  34. STATGEEK

    “I wonder if the SNP can sweep to victory in Scotland, both at Holyrood and Westminster, but the majority of people don’t want independence?”

    On the basis of current polling, SNP would continue in power at Holyrood, Labour would have most Scottish seats at Westminster, and the Noes would win the referendum (assuming a particular set of circumstances).

    If that continues to be the political mood, then none of that should be surprising.

    In the UK, only in England, where they concatenate local and state governance, would that cause any surprise. That those unused to voting for governance at multiple levels, can’t imagine what that would be like, is a bit sad – but not unexpected.

  35. We’ve seen some stonking big by-election swings in recent decades which bear only moderate resemblance to subsequent election results. The Corby swing does not seem very big, no doubt meaning will be gleaned from whatever result ensues. It’s part of the picture of local election results, opinion polls and the odd random by-election. However, it seems Labour ought to win it handily.

    It’s been clear the US presidential election will be very tight this time – rivalling 2000 – maybe it will all depend on a single state’s results. No landslides this time.

    I can’t help but wonder if the LD’s have done themselves long-term damage in Scotland, following on from what the Conservatives did to themselves in the 1980’s. Being as they seemed to be the most logical coalition partner choice for Labour there, that means if Labour want power there, they must either wait for them to recover, or get even more support themselves. Assuming that the next incumbent in Westminister will be Labour (or a Lab-LD coalition), with possibly more austerity to do, that might well be hard work.

  36. @Statgeek

    Question 5 is probably the more pertinent:

    27% of by-election Con-Lab transfer voters would probably not vote Conservative at a general election, 15% probably would, 58% undecided.

  37. Among the many reasons that I don’t read the Sun is this kind of reporting of polls –

    http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4602641/Salmonds-support-stands-up.html

    “ALEX Salmond is SEVEN times more popular than his nearest political rival when it comes to who voters think stands up for Scotland.

    A poll found 43 per cent of Scots believe the First Minister is best at looking after the nation’s interests.
    That compares to only six per cent for Labour’s Johann Lamont in the YouGov survey of 1,000 adults.
    Tory leader Ruth Davidson was supported by five per cent, with Lib Dem Willie Rennie on just two.”

    Polling dates? Link to tables? None

    Since it seems to be a YouGov poll, Anthony will be able to clarify.

  38. Lord Ashcroft on Corby.

    Another possible explanation is that CCHQ may have decided to conserve resources for future campaigns it sees more hope of winning.

    Can’t win a seat they won last time?

    Dead in the water.

  39. @ Statgeek

    Protest vote then.
    ————–
    You’re half right. Not voting Labour in 2010 was a protest vote; Labour just needs a good chunk of the 2010 LibDem vote & they win. The Tory protest vote can go to UKIP or even return to Tory & Labour can still win in 2015.
    8-)

  40. [email protected] Statgeek

    The term “protest vote” used by supporters of dominant parties (ConLab in England, SNP/Lab in Scotland) is a peculiarly arrogant way of thinking.

    You plebs must always vote for one of the big two. Belief in anything else is clearly silly, and voting against some aspect of what we are telling you to think is just a temporary deviation from our definition of normal.

    You will conform in time.

    1984 is so yesterday! :-)

  41. @ Billy Bob

    The polls continue to tell a very mixed picture. Just tonight a new ABC News/Washington Post poll was released (I’m not sure if it’s a tracking poll, it could be). It shows a tied race with Obama holding a 49%-48% lead. That is among Likely Voters. Among Registered Voters, Obama leads 50%-43%.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postabcpoll_2012-10-22track.html

    I think it shows just how much the voter turnout will matter. This is either a statistically tied race that could go either way or a decisive victory for the President.

  42. SoCalLiberal

    I am just about to watch the debate. Feeling nervous for Obama -the polls are very close. It seems like Obama is much stronger on registered than likely voters so he has to hope for a high turnout?

  43. @ Old Nat

    “I’ll try to get back to your link, but I’ve been a bit time deprived having been at Conference, then helping out with my grandson, writing a couple of articles, and flying to USA tomorrow!”

    Have a very safe flight man and a pleasant journey overall. I hope you don’t stay up all night and then have to go through airport security and check in all groggy (nothing worse than that). On the bright side though, after staying up all night to watch this silly debate (which might likely offend you) and writing articles, you’ll at least sleep on the plane.

  44. @ Couper2802

    “I am just about to watch the debate. Feeling nervous for Obama -the polls are very close. It seems like Obama is much stronger on registered than likely voters so he has to hope for a high turnout?”

    I’m nervous too. I think that Romney will put in a very strong performance. He knows how to memorize lines and have them look convincing. And he will say whatever he’d like, regardless of what was said in prior appearances. I think though that Obama will be strong though. I’m about 10 minutes behind on DVR.

    Yes, polls appear to be close. You don’t hope for a high turnout so much as you work towards it. Right now, the massive early vote turnout appears promising.

  45. I think President Obama just thumped Romney on strategic defence. Romney served a zinger about the number of ships; but the President returned it with a winning backhand right down the line.
    8-)

  46. “The actual poll isn’t out yet, but the Guardian also mentions a new poll commissioned by Lord Ashcroft in Corby, which is going to show Labour 22 points ahead there. That would be a very strong performance, a thirteen point swing since the general election. Full details of that are due tomorrow morning.”

    There’s a by-election there right? If Labour wins, that would be their first by-election gain of this Parliament right?

  47. Thought Obama won that by miles.
    But I am probably biased but Obama was very tough and Romney didn’t have much to say. Opposite of the first debate.

    “I agree with the president” – Romney

  48. I too thought that the President won by a long way but the TV people seem to think it was a draw. Weird.
    8-)

  49. Whilst waiting for analysis of the debates, I noticed another UK government announcement:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/22/badger-cull-plans-major-setback

    Yay for the badgers. :-)

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