The Guardian have released this month’s ICM poll, the first telephone poll conducted since the local elections. Topline voting intention figures with changes from a month ago are CON 28%(-4), LAB 34%(-4), LDEM 11%(-4), UKIP 18%(+9!).

The 18% for UKIP is the highest that ICM have shown and, more strikingly, the highest any company have shown. I will advise my usual caution about polls showing extremes and records, more often than not they tend to be outliers. ICM’s methodology tends to produce some of UKIP’s lower figures (ICM reallocate some don’t knows to the party they voted for last time, weight down people who didn’t vote last time and interview by phone… all things that tend to produce lower UKIP scores) so it is particularly surprising to see ICM with a record breaking UKIP score. While the scale of the UKIP increase may well be a bit of a blip though, the broader trend is the same as other companies – they are all showing a surge in support for UKIP.

It does make one ponder about how high we might see UKIP in some other companies’ polls. If YouGov have them as high as 16% or 17%, if ICM have them at 18%, what might we see from companies like Opinium or ComRes who tend to show higher levels of UKIP support?

More unexpectedly the ICM poll also found a jump in support for the BNP, up to 4%, the highest any poll has had then at for years. This is strange. The BNP have certainly not had any great publicity boost, at the local elections they seemed essentially moribund. It may just be an odd sample, or perhaps as Tom Clark suggests it is just a case of confusion amongst respondents, with some people getting the names of the BNP and UKIP mixed up.

ICM also asked about voting intention in an EU referendum, finding voting intention fairly evenly balanced – 40% would vote to stay in (22% definitely, 18% probably), 43% would vote to leave (32% definitely, 11% probably).

UPDATE: ICM tabs are up here. Topline figures without reallocation of don’t knows would have been CON 27%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 19%, BNP 5%.

That strange boost of support for the BNP is almost wholly amongst women, almost wholly amongst C2s, almost wholly amongst over 65s and almost wholly in Wales. The unweighted number of 2010 BNP voters in the sample was 1, increased to 18 by weighting. What that strongly suggests to me is that there was one little old C2 BNP-voting Welsh lady who got a very high weighting factor, and probably makes up almost all of that 4%! Such things happen sometimes, but it means the BNP blip is probably just a data artifact that can be ignored.

499 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 28, LAB 34, LD 11, UKIP 18”

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  1. Third

  2. And second

  3. But not first

  4. I think the polling landscape has been fascinating lately and this ICM has only added to that picture.

    Looking at the previous “would never vote for” figures, and general polling on how important various issues are/who could best solve them, I’d hazard a guess that UKIP’s ceiling could be as high as 40%. 99% chance they’ll never reach that, but an SDP-style byelection victory could do it. If they really seized the headlines and brought in non-voters, curmudgeons and assorted protest-voters-who-never-vote, they could hit 50%.

    I did my thesis on the SDP and my conclusion was that they only ever could have won when it seemed like they could (very cyclical) because they dominated the news and were “none of the above.” Such as when they had 51% in the polls and had yet to produce a single policy – Ed Miliband presumably very jealous of that.

    Let me dig out some SDP private polling (aren’t you all lucky!) …

    ‘In lieu of having a definite manifesto to react to, voters have simply fed in their own hopes and aspirations, and because of this, they are virtually believing in themselves.’

    ‘SDP support is more volatile than support for the Liberals… The SDP is more dependent on transient phenomena for its support. Ours is support that voters have not yet internalized.’

    I suspect UKIP is looking at the same problem now – what they need is to keep a fuzzy platform but REALLY pound the streets and get members enrolled and active. What did for the SDP, I contend, was that they were so thin on the ground that many people would join and never be contacted, and many people would say they supported the SDP but never see it around when it vanished from the headlines.

    That’s where the Lib Dems got it right with their pavement pounding local activism, with the guidance of uncontroversial character Lord Rennard (sorry)


  5. wow, just imagine if PR had got voted in, no wonder the big two like the current consensus that FPTP gives.

  6. Martyn

    You can have first, I know that makes you happy

  7. @James Baillie

    I’ve answered your question on the previous thread on the previous thread.


  8. Sorry! Here’s the quote I was looking for:

    ‘[there is] the impression of grass roots invisibility. By no means all of our respondents were certain that there was an SDP or what it was like. They were not prepared simply to believe that the SDP was there, it had to be continuously demonstrated.’

  9. @Richard In Norway

    Sadly, it does… :-)


  10. PR must be coming soon, fptp with 4 parties is just silly

  11. Surely if nothing else this had to reignite a debate on the unrepresentative nature of FPTP?

    Maybe once the EU comes to a natural conclusion one way or another, that will weirdly become UKip’s raison d’être…

  12. Alex – your post is fascinating about the similarities between the SDP surge of 1981/2 and the UKIP surge today. UKIP badly need a real tangible Victory to keep this going longer than a couple of months. They have done well so far. However, they do not seem to have the slightest inclination for adopting the hard graft of Community Politics (which incidentally pre-dates Chris Rennard by at least a decade!). The Liberals adopted it as a strategy/philosphy because it fitted the “local libertarianism” of their activists. I suspect UKIP “activists” are a different breed with a different philosophical reason for political activity. So far, they show no signs of digging in long term anywhere in particular in order to create electoral Fortresses (like Eastleigh) as the Liberals/LibDems have done. It is this difference that makes me think that UKIP will sometimes gather large numbers of votes, but find it even more difficult than the LibDems have done to gain Westminster seats under FPTP.

  13. Will Farage run in a seat, and if so which one? Surely that will be a key step to the next level, the leader winning a seat, if it does occur.

  14. @RiN

    “PR must be coming soon, fptp with 4 parties is just silly”

    Silly it may be – I would agree that it will create ludicrous results……BUT for so long as it skews results in favour of the big two, and applies “negative pressure” to voting for the lesser two, the big 2 will cling to it like **** to fur!

    However, if UKIP continue to disproportionately damage the Tories (or seem to in Tory minds) there may be a very, very slow shift towards considering SV amongst Tory MPs on the grounds that “Oh well, we have it already for mayors and police commissioners, and it isn’t really a radical departure from FPTP….etc. etc…..”. If they can convince themsleves it would help rather than hinder, they may go for this “gradualist tweak” to our constitution. Maybe….but I still doubt it!

  15. As Anthony points out what is even more extraordinary in this ICM poll is the 4% BNP support.

    Can there be any other explanation other than BNP/UKIP confusion?

  16. @ Rich

    But it’s also extremely risky (if you mean by-election). Just imagine if he couldn’t win…

  17. Under the current circumstances I can’t see any reason for Labour to support PR, and while the more pragmatic Tories may have a change of heart, pragmatism has not been the party’s defining feature of late. I doubt the leadership would back it, especially if they manage to eke out a plurality at the next election. So that leaves the Lib Dems (plummeting national support, halved parliamentary representation), some of the Tories (divided, fewer in number, mostly likely facing a leadership contest), Ukip (a handful of seats at best), the Nats, the Greens and the SDLP to advocate for it in the next Parliament.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  18. Also I wonder how long the Lib Dems will continue to support PR, if their ability to hold on to local fiefdoms begins to outweigh their national polling.

  19. Another AV referendum then?

    Did we all enjoy the last one that much?

  20. @James E

    Not AV, no. It’s the worst of both worlds.

    Real PR. STV perhaps, or the system that Scotland uses.

  21. Well Farage is in Scotland this week;

    The last result was;

    Scottish Parliament election, 2011: Aberdeen Donside
    Party Candidate Votes % ±%
    SNP Brian Adam 14,790 55.4%. +10.6%
    Labour Barney Crockett 7,615 28.5% -3.2%
    Conservative Ross Thomson 2,166 8.1%. +0.6%
    Liberal Democrats Millie McLeod 1,606 6% -10%
    Independent David Henderson 317 1.2%. +1.2%
    National Front Christopher Willett 213 0.8%. +0.8%

    Majority 7,175 26.9%
    Turnout 26,707 47.3%
    SNP hold

    In some respects the worst possible test for UKIP;

    it’s in Scotland, it’s for the Scottish parliament, the EU or immigration isn’t a big issue in Aberdeen ( fishing is up the coast), the Tory vote poll where they have been drawing largest support from is less than 10%, Labour is in second so not attractive to tactical Tory switchers, the SNP IS well ahead in Holyrood polls, they didn’t stand a candidate last time, they have no organisation on the ground.


  22. Spearmint

    As I already explained to amber, there is absolutely no chance of the libdems turning their back on PR, its religion. Also the idea that the libdems would be more advantaged by fptp because of local strongholds is mathamatically flawed, current vi of 10% would give 65 seats in the purest form of PR

  23. Tony Dean RIN

    We have 4 party FPTP in Scotland. At the end of the last thread I suggested to Neil A that he looks at what it does to Scottish Conservatives.

    The other aspect is how small the swing from Lab to SNP would need to be to pick up the bonus given that all parties are regional, Cons less so than others which is very damaging for them.

  24. @ James E

    “As Anthony points out what is even more extraordinary in this ICM poll is the 4% BNP support.
    Can there be any other explanation other than BNP/UKIP confusion?”

    Even accepting the suggestion put forward by Anthony – that would indicate that the UKIP would be in the early 20s if we take back the BNP to its usual 1%.

    Very striking indeed!

    Over on Electoral Calculus they have done some analysis suggesting that UKIP will be massively short changed on earning any seats up until they reach the point of 23-24% of the vote. Then a trickle starts and gradually becomes a torrent as you move their VI up further.

    This story could yet run and run folks.

  25. Any word on when we can hope for crosstabs on this one? I’m going to be fascinated to see that.

    @John: The “four party” situation in Scotland is sort of a phantom thing. It’s really “three parties plus Tories on the side”. The Tories are really only a presence anywhere there because they’re a national party, so it’s more of a three-party system in a very real sense. Moreover, what Tory presence still exists is likely also an artifact of the fact that the Scottish Parliament is MMP, not FPTP.

    Wales is similar, though there it’s lately been a case of “Labour dominant, three others vying for second”.

  26. @TONY DEAN
    “The Liberals adopted it as a strategy/philosphy because it fitted the “local libertarianism” of their activists. I suspect UKIP “activists” are a different breed with a different philosophical reason for political activity. So far, they show no signs of digging in long term anywhere.”

    At least two of the UKIP councillors elected in Essex said they only stood because they had been told they wouldn’t get elected. One said he had a full time job and had no time to be a County Councillor. I can’t see them going in for local community politics….

  27. Regarding UKIP, this is an interesting piece by Yasmin Alibhai Brown today.

    h ttp://

  28. Gray,

    You might want to check your figures, the Tories aren’t strong at Holyrood but they out polled the LibDems by a good margin in 2011.

    Constituency vote
    Scottish National Party 45.39%
    Scottish Labour Party 31.69%
    Scottish Conservative Party 13.91%
    Scottish Liberal Democrats 7.93%
    Others 1.1%
    Independent 0.4%

    Regional vote
    Scottish National Party 44%
    Scottish Labour Party 26.3%
    Scottish Conservative Party 12.4%
    Scottish Liberal Democrats ?5.2%
    Others 7.72%
    Scottish Green Party ?4.38%
    UKIP are part of the just under 8% others, they got just on 1%. Anything over 5% in Donside would be a result for them but they could get 10% although I would be struggling to see from where.


  29. I do not find the rise in VI for BNP surprising. It was virtually certain to come with so much policy on immigration. Immigration is the BNP’s biggest policy.

  30. Anthony,

    Apologies, I’ll sit on the naughty step!


  31. @Reg

    In live in Kirklees where the BNP used to have Councillors.

    They have all gone. They did not put up one Candidate in the last few council elections.

    There appears to be no BNP ‘operation’ at all. They are moribund.

    Or am I wrong?

  32. Gray

    It is a while since I looked, but at not the last election the Scottish Conservatives were disadvantaged more than any party anywhere.

    That’s because they are the least regional party in Scotland.

    The party most opposed to devolution benefited most from it.

    The party that most wants independence may well be destroyed by it.

  33. Actually thinking aloud about this poll a bit more I am wondering if its actually quite a good one for the Tories.

    Reason: This is by my quick look up the first time ICM have had the combined Lab and LD scores below 50.

    Normally the Add Labour And Lib Dem together score on ICM runs at 52-55. Here its at 45(!)

    Whilst it is true that UKIP are eating into the Tories core vote in a manner that is potentially fatal for the Blues its also creating a “mood music” that is noticeably right wing and this may just be opening up a life line for the Tories IF they can get the UKIP vote to go back into its box somewhat.

    Personally I dont think they can do that by trying to show they are just as right wing and as tough on Europe and immigration as the UKIP. If they go down that path IMO they will not only validate the UKIP further but lose votes on their left flank to the LDs. Probably to the effect of just treading water (drowning?)

    Rather I think they need to be training the spotlight onto the UKIP and posing the question of “who are this mob and are they fit to be in charge of the country?” i.e. like any govt would and should do to an opposing party.

    If they can start to cast some doubts in the mind of the public about the UKIP’s ability and competence for govt they might well subside that parties vote without the Cons actually shifting their own position to one too far away from where the general public is at.

    Moreover the whole process could be setting both Lab and the LDs up where they are out of synch with where the general public are at.

  34. @Catmanjeff

    That seems to have little to do with my post which was about the rise in BNP VI. Anyhow, I think it rather hazardous to judge an entire party by how they are doing in your area. If I was to take my area, for example, and convert the local VI to national VI we would get a Tory majority of about 85%.

  35. @Reg

    Sorry, just checked and they put up four Candidates in 2011.

    (Combined 903 votes)

  36. @Reg

    I wasn’t extrapolating Kirklees,

    I’m just interested to know if the collapse in Kirklees has occurred elsewhere?

    Have some former BNP members joined UKIP?


    “Rather I think they need to be training the spotlight onto the UKIP”

    You could be right but it is never easy to fight a war on two fronts.


  38. I think we’re wrong to assume that any UKIP VI is essentially there for Conservative picking. Many UKIP voters are anti-govt voters, previously non-voters… need I go on?

  39. @Catmanjeff
    I would imagine some might have but they probably haven’t gone in droves as UKIP is too far ‘left’ for many of us.
    (Not me – I am a policy voter)

  40. @Neil A

    I’m not sure how much you know about the East End.

    I can’t remember the details, but I think you will find that in the Middle Ages it was not unknown for landowners to relocate en masse their serfs from another estate to work more profitably at some noxious industry on land outside the city – it has always been the cheapest place to live for incomers so it’s pointless to talk about a settled population. Repeatedly communities establish themselve over a few decades and then break down as people become more prosperous and move out – or disperse for other reasons.

    You do know the story. Hugenot weavers, Irish weavers, Irish building the canals railways and the docks, Ashkenazi Jews, Bangladeshis and other British passport holders from the sub-continent, the story goes on.

    Chinatown in Limehouse goes back centuries (before it largely relocated to Soho after the war) as do the other maritime communities of Lascars and Africans, (plus freed/escaped slaves, plus Black Loyalists who fought for the Crown during the American War of Independence etc).

    So I don’t think the East End was ever as white as you seem to remember it – and if it was, it was as largely as a result of immigration from other parts of Europe or the British Isles.

    “God’s Acres” as Avram Stencl called it.

  41. ^ which makes me BNP

  42. Sorry, Billy Bob got in the way. Billy Bob is probably not BNP.

  43. Now here’s some petrol for the bonfire.

    “Tom Newton Dunn [email protected] 3m

    BREAKING: David Cameron is going to ram a law through Parliament to enforce an In/Out EU referendum – defying Labour and Libs to block it.”

  44. This is very interesting, not least because the total vote for parties that aren’t the big two is 38%, which is astoundingly high.

    The question with UKIP is whether they’re able to concentrate their support well enough to win seats. I’d imagine if they ran Farage as a candidate and spent a good bit of money campaigning, they could take, say, Boston and Skegness.

    Boston and Skegness would be a good seat to target for them, actually. It’s a strong Tory seat, but UKIP came fourth with 9.5% of the vote in 2010. The BNP were fifth with 5.3%. Given the total collapse of the BNP since then, it’s conceivable that most of their vote would go to UKIP.

    That would already put them about 14% – almost the same as the Lib Dems polled for third place last time around.

    In that situation, if their voter base ratios (C:70%, L:15%, LD:15%) hold up and they hold their swing of about 21% they received on Lincolnshire council, that would put the Tories on 34.7%, Labour on 17.4 and the Lib Dems on 11.6, although that’s not taking into account LD>Lab and Tory>Lab switchers who would knock the Tories down more.

    That would give UKIP 36% of the vote and allow them to take the seat.

  45. This poll adds to the evidence that UKIP are taking support even from Labour and not just the Tories/LDs. While they’d never vote UKIP, there was once a well-established anti-EU section of the Labour party e.g. Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Peter Shore.

  46. Also, can we now say that the polldrums are over?

  47. @Mrnameless
    If BNP still have 4% of the entire national VI I do not see that as a total collapse.

  48. I’m expecting a poll from a new company, PCD, ( PAULCROFTSDOGS ) tonight, someone might Tweet it, so keep your eyes open, on second thoughts, it may be Barked rather than Tweeted.

  49. @ Alex Harvey

    “I think we’re wrong to assume that any UKIP VI is essentially there for Conservative picking. Many UKIP voters are anti-govt voters, previously non-voters… need I go on?”

    Im not making that assumption and think you are essentially right….BUT that should make it easier for the Cons to suppress the UKIP vote come a GE…Maybe not so that they vote Con but at least so they don’t vote UKIP but rather lapse back into non-voting apathy.

    In fact many of us I am sure believe this will happen to the UKIP vote as the GE nears.

    Meanwhile the public debate has rumbled on in a way that is very damaging to both Lab and the LD as they are seen as too pro-EU/immigration.

    I for one consider the ALALDT (add Lab and LD together) score very important because these voters are basically anti-Tory and will vote to the best strategic advantage to ensure a Tory candidate can be beaten at their individual constituency level.

    Its a factor I think that has handcuffed the Tories since 1997 and the arrival and understanding of mass tactical voting. Its what stopped a Con majority last time around, and its what will probably save the LDs from melt down in the 2015 GE.

    This current UKIP surge just possibly threatens to unlock the ALALDT handcuff on the Tories.

  50. @Reg,

    One of their MEPs abandoned the party and they just lost all their council seats. This is a blip – nothing more. Other polls show them near 0%, as did the South Shields by election.

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