The last monthly poll of the year that was still outstanding, ICM for the Guardian, turned up on Christmas Day of all times. Topline figures were CON 32%(nc), LAB 40%(nc), LDEM 13%(nc) – the figures are all typical of ICM’s polling of late (the comparatively high Liberal Democrat level of support is methodological, and normally due to the reallocation of a proportion of don’t knows to the party they voted for last time, which usually produces a higher Lib Dem score and a lower Labour lead).

Depending on what TNS BMRB and Opinium are doing with their regular polls over the Christmas break, this may well be our last poll of the year.


324 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 32%, LAB 40%, LDEM 13%”

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  1. Bit of a disappointing ICM? No change for all parties.

    Also – Opinium/Observer –
    Con 29 (nc), Lab 39 (nc), Lib 8 (nc), UKIP 15

    With errr… no change for all parties.

  2. OECD EU member states family stability table – children up to 14y. still living with both parents, ranking out of 31:
    Britain 27th, 68.9%
    Greece 2nd 93.6%

    Question of values, or what?

  3. @JP

    “Question of values, or what?”

    My guess is that it’s a reflection of women’s growing economic independence, so that they are more able to leave a failing relationship.

  4. JP and Rn

    It also means that a huge number of children see a large number of ‘new dads’ in a year; that their independent mothers are often out ‘courting’ to use an old phrase, leaving children to be at home alone. in some areas this independence has meant that most children in school have no father figure at home. The average age for a personhaving sex is 14.

    Most parents rejected a Government proposal to have a block on Internet Porn.

  5. @ John Pilgrim

    WWII changed Britain; women believe we pretty much ran the war time economy & raised children alone whilst also working. And many women were prepared to fight to the death in the event that the attacking forces landed on British soil.

    An experience like that changes women’s attitudes (some might say their collective consciousness); these women passed it on to their daughters.

    Since then, amongst women the prevailing culture (narrative, myth, call it what you will) has been that British women collectively, are tough, independent & a force to be reckoned with.

    I do not think the women of any other Western nation had their own view of themselves so altered by WWII.

  6. I agree with Amber, its a distint characteristic you dont see in women in many other countries.

  7. @ Amber Star

    Nice though that heroic narrative is, as the child of a “broken family” (which has thankfully glued itself lovingly back together in later life) I would say it is much more likely to be linked to the favour that divorce courts show women compared to men in the UK. My mother took my dad to the cleaners in a very determined fashion (which at the time he thoroughly deserved) when they divorced.

    My brother recently had a major spat with his wife (she insisted on having a third child they couldn’t afford to support, despite them having previously agreed not to) and she simply reminded him that in the event of a divorce, she would get the house, maintenance and the kids. The incentives for women to divorce a troublesome husband in the UK are very large.

    Another factor is also the benefits and support available to single mothers here compared with other countries, as well as other factors like the collapse of well paid manual jobs which used to allow men to support a family.

    Overall, my theory is that the percentage of children living with two parents is directly linked to the relative status of men in societies. Where it is low, like in the UK, the incentives for traditional families to stay together are destroyed. You just have to look at the torrent of ads on UK TV which are denigratory to men and ‘dad’ figures in particular. 99 times out of 100, they are shown as incompetent, embarrassing clowns while the women are depicted as clever or having to put up with the stupidity of their partners. For my sins, I have also seen a lot of Italian TV and there you NEVER see ads which insult men in this way.

    Under those circumstances, it is really a wonder there are so many homes in the UK where the man is still present.

  8. @ Man in the Middle

    “Silvio’s (no Y) return has been known since November I think, they’ve already started opinion polling, last time I checked his coalition was about 8% behind. Could be more could be less by now.

    The big news in Italy is that Mario Monti the technocrat currently in place is going to try and leader a centrist coalition to keep his job and maybe beat both the Conservative and the Socialist.”

    See, I’m behind on stuff. This was an episode of the Daily Show from nearly two weeks ago. I didn’t realize he was attempting to make yet another comeback. Doesn’t Monti run the risk of splitting the potential anti-Berlusconi vote? How is Berlusconi going to be the PM if he’s in prison? Will he run the country from his prison cell?

    “We do need eccentric politicians, they make politics much more colourful. Was reading a few articles on the BBC about Jacob Zuma the South African PM and he seems quite eccentric, 4 wives, his views are that black people shouldn’t own pets because its apparently part of white culture, they shouldnt straighten their hair or wear make up because its part of white culture, his plan is to “decolonise” the African mind, and he sometimes wears a suit, othertimes wears traditional tribal dress.”

    Yeah, Jacob Zuma has some issues. Maybe a lot of them. There’s a fine line between being eccentric and being certifiable or an outright criminal.

  9. @ Amber Star

    “WWII changed Britain; women believe we pretty much ran the war time economy & raised children alone whilst also working. And many women were prepared to fight to the death in the event that the attacking forces landed on British soil.

    An experience like that changes women’s attitudes (some might say their collective consciousness); these women passed it on to their daughters.

    Since then, amongst women the prevailing culture (narrative, myth, call it what you will) has been that British women collectively, are tough, independent & a force to be reckoned with.

    I do not think the women of any other Western nation had their own view of themselves so altered by WWII.”

    That’s an interesting point. I almost wonder why British women were so unique in this regard. American women by contrast regressed during the 1950’s in terms of equal rights and progress. There were fewer working women, fewer university and professional school educated women, and fewer women in government. If feminism was gaining steam in the 1920’s and 1930’s, it was losing steam during the 1950’s and wouldn’t really get revived till the 60’s or 70’s. Yet American women were a massive part of the WWII workforce.

    Talking to Billy Bob about Congressional races reminds me of one of my favorite anecdotes about West LA. The year was 1953. The U.S. was at the height of the Cold War with the Red Scare casting a long shadow over society. Conservatism reigned supreme and there was retrenchment against civil rights including women and LGBT people. Responsible, conservative, white men were the ones who made decisions. Meanwhile, a woman’s place was in the home.

    It was in this backdrop that an open seat race was occurring in West LA’s 5th Council District. So what did the voters do? They elected a 22 year old, opinionated, forceful, single, liberal, Jewish woman to represent them. :)

    Now she was actually the second woman elected to that body. The first one was elected back during World War I (sadly only lasted one term or so). You would have liked her. She was a socialist and major activist for economic fairness and social justice.

  10. Personally as shocking as it sounds to some, I think criminals should be allowed to run for election, if the people want that person to govern them then they should (I don’t think the Italians want Berlusconi back).

    Over the course of history for whatever reasons plenty of political leaders have been criminals. The electorate should be able to decide whether that person’s offence should ban them for running for office. Similar reason for why I am against term limits, if the American people for example wanted Obama for a 3rd term then that power should lie with them. I know it’s supposed to protect those people from becoming corrupted by power, if the electorate believe someone is corrupted then at the next election the electorate would vote them out.

  11. @ RB

    You just have to look at the torrent of ads on UK TV which are denigratory to men and ‘dad’ figures in particular. 99 times out of 100, they are shown as incompetent, embarrassing clowns while the women are depicted as clever or having to put up with the stupidity of their partners.
    ———————-
    An interesting point of view: Advertising has ridiculed the UK’s husbands & fathers to the extent that our courts invariably side with wives & mothers in a battle over custody & assets.

    However, it’s my opinion that advertisers want to sell things. So I put it to you that it was the post-war economic power & existing adversarial attitude of UK women to which the advertisers were appealing.

  12. I do agree the balance needs to be addressed in the divorce courts.

    A 50/50 split of everything, assets and access, should be the starting base, then you should take into account individual factors which alters that ratio.

    I do feel perhaps accidentally, that good legislation to help women to leave a trouble husband has in practice, in some areas been encouraging the breakdown.

    It’s too easy and common now for a wife to just get bored of her current hubby and move on to the next one, taking kids and assets etc with her.

    In my own family, when finances were at their tightest, we worked out that if my parents legally split and my dad went to rent a house down the road, even after paying this additional rent, we’d have been financially better off.

  13. @ MiM

    It’s too easy and common now for a wife to just get bored of her current hubby and move on to the next one, taking kids and assets etc with her.
    —————
    Really? If so then a problem which has caused both church & state to furrow its brow (metaphorically speaking) can easily be solved. Men should try to be a tad less boring & all will be well…

  14. AMBER
    Please see Table 4, gender equality, of UNDP 2011 Human Resources Development Report.
    Greece ranks 24, 10 places higher than UK – 34th – on gender equality on these criteria.

    (hdr.undp.org’media/HDR_2011_EN_Table4.pdf).

    On my reading of the statistics, the rate of secondary education in both sexes (c. 99% for top ranked Norway, by comparison with c. 68% for UK, 66% for Greece) is the most significant independent variable in differences of gender equality.

    I don’t disagree with your account of the origins of British women’s toughness and its origins – my mum worked in an aircraft engine sealants factory throughout the war, as well as keeping chickens and running an allotment to feed the family – but it’s a toughness that may not have been responded to by access to the means of equality in employment or public life, for which no credit is due to successive Governments or to the educational establishment.

  15. hdr.undp.org’media/HDR_2011_EN_Table4.pdf

  16. try again:

    hdr.undp.org/media/HDR_2011_EN_Table4.pdf

  17. @ Man in the Middle

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0AjYj9mXElO_QdHpla01oWE1jOFZRbnhJZkZpVFNKeVE&f=true&noheader=true&gid=19

    You had asked for this like a month and a half ago but here is a website you might appreciate. It keeps track of the national popular vote (I don’t know how on earth Hawaii is still not done counting its ballots) but this is the most extensive popular vote count. 49 out of 51 are complete.

  18. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/9770710/Its-two-years-away-but-the-2015-election-is-already-lost.html

    While I hesitate to ever endorse people who proclaim what will happen at the next election with certainty, this down beat article (for Tories, at least) is pretty realistic.

    What I did find interesting is that Goodman describes the 2010 election not as a foregone conclusion like 1997 or 1983, but an uncertain event like 1992.

    In fact, the run up to 2010 was characterized by a certainty of a Tory majority, with Tories themselves proclaiming in public that they would have a three figure majority.

    This, more than anything else, demonstrates the slow burn crisis that Tories face.

  19. @ John Pilgrim

    …but it’s a toughness that may not have been responded to by access to the means of equality in employment or public life, for which no credit is due to successive Governments or to the educational establishment.
    ———————–
    I completely agree. The spirited independence of UK women has not been fully encouraged towards constructive achievement which is why boredom & discontent sets in. If family life is to fill the gap, our husbands had best be entertaining or we shall quit them for something or someone which at least has novelty value! I am making light of it but I do think you have hit the nail squarely on the head.

  20. Alec, thanks for link to a great article.

    I also read some of the comments…and this one made me smile, sort of:

    “Labour voters tend to be poorer and, not too put too fine a point on it, also a bit simple (the two are, you will appreciate, not unconnected historically).”

  21. AMBER
    I would emphasise the strength and meaning of the stats on education and the educational neglect which they reveal and on childbirth among adolescents, single parenthood and child poverty and their association with gender equality. The comparison with European countries which have managed education better, as a planned basis of equality of access to opportunity and of wealth distribution, is not sufficiently known or debated, is an indictment of both the main parties, and should now be at the heart both of domestic UK politics and of policy towards the EU.

    I also emphasise my concern over the years not only with the failure of the educational establishment to work towards or achieve equality of access to educational opportunity in respect of gender, wealth and class, but actively to have spoken and worked against it.
    This has been apparent in particular in the rhetoric, lobbying and in-school practice of management of educational resources, by such as the Headmasters’ Conference, to achieve “excellence” – essentially the creation of an elitist senior schooling based on assumptions about the supposed interests of the universities, and especially trhe Oxbridge universities or a wider Redbrick institutional elite.

  22. My own Christmas has been somewhat tarnished by the news a few days earlier that a 19 year old niece who had just commenced studies at Bath university has had to withdraw on account of having ‘ a little bastard on the way’.This represents significant shame and disgrace to her family and her parents are clearly embarrassed.For myself, I now find it difficult to think of her as anything other than a ‘tarty trollope’. I do have 5 nieces and 4 nephews and had made some provision for them re my estate . I will ,however,now take action to remove her as a beneficiary.

  23. Graham
    Your niece is clearly unintelligent and undeserving of your beneficence and the support of her parents.
    She should have had the intelligence to take precautions if she was unable to resist indulging in sins of the flesh, and of course to be alert to the attitudes of others to her transgressions.
    Further, one can only think that she was stupid in not terminating the pregnancy to avert all the problems that are engulfing her family and relations.

  24. Mike N

    Quite so.

  25. @Graham
    I wish your niece well and hope that she finds some support and understanding from the rest of her family.

  26. @Graham – quite a post, that one. Clearly, you are a perfect person, never capable of making a mistake and living a life of magnificent blamelessness. You are indeed, the perfect example of human moral achievement.

    I’m not sure what’s worse – actually holding the views you espouse, or regurgitating same views, quite unnecessarily, onto a polling site which is of no relevance to your niece’s unfortunate experience.

    I suspect you are also one of those types who lectures anyone who cares to listen about family values and how we should support our kith and kin, which actually makes your post rather funny to read, in a grim kind of way.

    I have always found the idea of cutting beneficiaries from inheritances for mistakes and misdeeds a vindictive and controlling habit, but it’s your money. We really have no interest whatsoever on UKPR what you choose to do with it.

    I’m with @Ozwald on this. Your niece’s predicament is not the way I would choose to live my life, but I suspect it’s also not the way she would choose either. It sounds like a mistake. Good on you for demonstrating family values in action and heaping yet more punishment on her for her error, for which she has already suffered aplenty. I hope it makes you sleep better this Christmastide, with that inner glow of serene contentment that only comes from calling children ‘bastards’ and turning your back on relatives in distress.

    [For what it’s worth, if I were in your shoes I would ask my niece if she could face an abortion and return to her studies. If not, I would encourage her to look to continue her education with the Open University, which she can do alongside motherhood and work, and tell her that I will gift her a sum within my will that would help clear the debt she might have to raise to pay for her education. I might even tell the family that I am bringing forward her inheritance to pay for this now, rather than await my death, if that would help her predicament and I was able to do so.

    I’m not as judgemental as you, but I would feel this approach to be more in line with the message of Christian forgiveness and forbearance we hear around this time of year.]

  27. Does anybody know when the next YouGov is out?

    I realise that’s to do with polling rather than the nature of the family but there we go. ;)

    I did pick up an extraordinary tip for avoiding the partisan/ideological chatter – which I am probably one of the worst offenders for posting – type your post out and instead of clicking ‘submit’, just delete it instead.
    It works quite well – you get it out of your system and don’t keep the partisan arguments going on.

  28. @ Alec
    ‘For what it’s worth, if I were in your shoes I would ask my niece if she could face an abortion and return to her studies. If not, I would encourage her to look to continue her education with the Open University, which she can do alongside motherhood and work’

    Abortion would be an obscene option – though I would not say the same of adoption.
    The facts are not quite as you assume. There is some parental blame here in that my niece – although very bright – is essentially a spoiled brat with no sense of personal responsibility.There is strong suspicion that this was no ‘accident’ – her boyfriend was strongly opposed to her leaving for university – becoming pregnant was a means of achieving that end and created a justification to her parents.

  29. Graham and Mike N. Who’s having me on here?

    I have dreams with such dialogues, from which I awaken, puzzled.

  30. Graham

    Good heavens.

    I must urge you to encourage your selfish, irresponsible and characterless niece to have an abortion. Bribe her, heavily. You have a duty to ensure that her offspring does not join the human race – for crying out loud the child could inherit her mother’s characteristics and become…a politician.

  31. Howard

    irony.

  32. @Mike
    Any old irony ?

  33. Well I knew that Mike but it seems Graham was impervious. Lucky him, he’s got money to splash around as well (but unfortunately has to cease to exist first). We used to have a Graham on here who thought the second coming would be in 2050. Bit useless, really as he would not be around to witness it.

  34. “Any old irony”

    Ah, that Lonnie Donegan hit record.

  35. It’s not up to either side to be less boring etc, it’s about both sides learning about commitment.

    When I hear bigots say that same sex marriage would harm traditional marriage, it makes me so angry, because it’s a lie, the biggest harm to marriage is the relative ease which divorce can be achieved now, and all these celebrities who get divorced after a couple of weeks.

  36. apropos of nothing… a query really… does anyone on here know what has become of the (it would appear) former deputy news editor of the Sunday Telegraph Ben Leapman (the guy who broke the MPs expenses scandal)? He is no longer listed as working for the paper, his twitter feed has vanished and there has been no notice whatsoever of his re-appointment or sacking. Very curious for such a high profile journalist.

  37. Graham:

    You make me sick.

  38. Good Afternoon All. Happy Christmas time. LOL The Feast Day of the Holy Family in the rc and orthodox churches.

    i.. Is this a politics polling site still?

    ii. Is dry irony being employed here?

    iii. I was very cheered by the PM’s broadcast to the Nation.

  39. @ Amber

    Yes, you are correct, though women in the UK (England?) were in paid employment en masse in the 19th century and child-bearing happened much later than elsewhere, so the roots are probably older.

    @ Many others

    Fascinating – the pairing couple is described here in terms of money/wealth qnd not in terms of an alliance for mutual development. Bah, criticising divorce, babies out of wedlock instead of property that introduces prostitution and pimphood to human relations (because excluding from the will the tart is pimphood and grabbing property or whatever in divorce is prostitution).

    These are the comments when I just love to read about the importance of preserving the family as the sacred unit of society. What do you want to preserve?

    @ Alec

    Very sensible.

  40. CHRISLANE1945

    “i.. Is this a politics polling site still?”

    I hope so, and that my posts relating to the UN and OECD stats, showing the impact of poor UK investment and inequality in education by successive governments, is understood to relate to a need for VI to be informed by clear policy commitments and public awareness and discussion.

  41. What’s wrong with wanting to preserve the family Laszlo?

  42. I’m confused

    Why does pregnancy mean that graham’s neice must discontinue her studies? Physically it would be long into the 3rd trimester (if at all) that the bump restrict her movement to such an extent that she can’t write essays, as far as I know there are no documented hearing effects of pregnancy so she should still benefit from lectures( academic ones I mean) similarly there are no known IQ effects of pregnancy, I’m sure we would have heard if pregnancy made you instantly stupid.

    Of course she will most probably need to take a couple of weeks off around the time that the baby comes but after that newborn babies are quite easy and I can see no reason why she can’t take the little one into lectures with her, generally speaking at that age they are quite happy as long as they have a tit to suck on

    Later on childcare will become an issue, but not insurmountable. The positive is that having had children before beginning her career she won’t constantly be putting off having children until her career is more stable and end up childless and bitter at the age of 40

    Ps, us bastards can be decent folk also

  43. RIN

    I have nothing at all against bastards. All blame falls on the parents – the children are totally innocent and I tolerate no discrimination.

    Howard
    Not at all impervious . I just played along with Mike N

  44. GRAHAM

    ” I tolerate no discrimination”

    Nor does Paul, so it seems.

  45. @ Chris Lane

    iii. I was very cheered by the PM’s broadcast to the Nation.
    ————–
    More irony?

  46. I am musing whether “I tolerate no discrimination” is the same as “I do not tolerate discrimination”.

  47. The Cheesewolf

    Interesting. How long ago did his omission occur, do you know?

  48. Re: Graham’s post.

    Sweet Jesus. I can’t believe I just read that.

    If you’re completely cutting your niece off it looks like she’s got the better end of the deal.

  49. @Alec

    Hat tip on the Telegraph link.

    The ‘mirror image of the 1980’s’ and a split centre right (Cameroons and orange bookers) and a split right (rest of Conservatives and UKIP) scenario- alongside a solid centre left- is one discussed many times on here by many posters going right back to the autumn of 2010.

    It appears to just be dawning upon the Conservative commentariat!

  50. Perhaps everybody jumping on Graham with personal attacks isn’t the best way to get discussion back to public perceptions of politics?

    I’m not defending Graham, by the way, only that it probably isn’t helpful to have a big pile-on.

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