The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out today, with topline figures of CON 29%(+1), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 12%(+1), UKIP 12%(-6). The poll shows a sharp drop in support for UKIP, but this is probably something of a reversion to the mean after last month’s poll.

In May ICM had UKIP all the way up on 18 points, not unusual for companies like TNS-BMRB, Opinium or Survation that tend to show much higher levels of UKIP support for various methodological reasons, but very unusual for ICM who typically show the lowest levels of UKIP support. It looked odd then, and in hindsight it was probably a bit of a rogue poll… though it is worth noting that even 12% is a significant increase on the level of UKIP support ICM were recording before the local elections.

The poll also asked people’s preferred team on the economy, with Cameron & Osborne continuing to lead Miliband and Balls by 28%(-7) to 19%(-5), a drop in support for both teams since ICM last asked in December. There are also signs of Conservative disunity registering with the general public, only 44% of people now think that David Cameron has the backing of his party, compared to 62% at the end of last year.

83 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 29, LAB 36, LD 12, UKIP 12”

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  1. In 2005, if I had to choose, I would have chosen David Davis. I wonder how many Conservatives are now thinking they chose the wrong one?

    Do we have the wrong David opposite the wrong Miliband, or is the grass always greener?

  2. @AW

    Forgot to add. Do you have any articles on whether polls influence elections, or referendums (AV springs to mind))?

  3. Statgeek,

    The former never ran for the position but….

    Chris Patten and David Miliband would have been worthy opponents.

  4. A much better analysis from The Guardian this time in their write up about their adjustments for ‘shy’ voters. Before adjustments the Lab lead is 12 points.

    @ AW

    I was wondering if you could consider sometime doing a mini write up along the lines of “history of polling” with some dates when major changes to weighting, shy voters etc started to get used. I am guessing 1992 must have seen some big changes. I am also assuming that in the early 1970’s pollsters just reported their results without adjustment?

  5. Anthony

    “not usual for companies like TNS-BMRB” (2nd para)

    Did you mean to say ‘unusual’ ?

  6. Chordata gets the proper “first” prize for the first person to spot the, um, deliberate typo.

    Shevii. I don’t think there are many other step-changes like that after 1992.

  7. Slightly off topic…

    I read Nick Griffin has been invited by Bashar Al-Assad to visit Damascus in a fact finding mission.

    Don’t know what to make of it but then again Tony Blair visited Gaddafi so I suppose what’s good for the goose is good for the Emu.

  8. @ Statgeek,

    The right Miliband for sure. Labour’s biggest new pool of potential voters since the last election are defecting Lib Dems, and they would have been put off by David Miliband’s open support for Blair’s foreign wars and disregard for civil liberties.

    As far as the Davids are concerned, it depends whether being rightwing or being posh is more unattractive to the electorate. In a time of austerity it seems like the latter is the greater crime, but the former has been gradually making the Tories unelectable for two decades. They’re equally hopeless for different reasons, I’d say. (But Davis would probably have let Brown back in- I can’t see him forming a coalition with the Lib Dems or winning a majority even after a second election.)

  9. Lefty,Colin, Alec etc

    TPT, ‘The Ghost Map’ by Steven Morgan is superb on risk in the modern world and has an interesting perspective on how difficult it is to come up with the ‘correct’ strategy.
    The problem is in situations such as 9/11 all we have is hindsight which is grist to the mill for both sides in assessing whether an action should have been taken.

  10. Lefty,Colin, Alec etc

    TPT, ‘The Ghost Map’ by Steven Johnson (not Morgan). Sorry.

  11. In 2005, if I had to choose, I would have chosen David Davis. I wonder how many Conservatives are now thinking they chose the wrong one?

    -I am afraid David was brought up on the wrong sort of estate to be leader of the Tory Party!

  12. It was slightly weird in 1997 when the Labour leader was a public schoolboy and the Tory one was raised by acrobats.

    The Tory party seems to have gone full circle with their leadership, really. The Tory prime ministers haven’t been to public schools since Home, then suddenly all the Etonians show up and smash up the restaurant, as it were.

  13. What was that quip about Major? The only boy in history to run away from the circus to join a bank.

  14. Lefty

    So that’s where Pratchett got his storyline from for the “making money” book

  15. “Our monthly estimates of GDP suggest that output grew by 0.6 per cent in the three months ending in May after growth of 1.0 per cent in the three months ending in April 2013. Our estimates suggest that both the production and private services sectors provided significant positive contributions to GDP growth in the recent three month period.”


  16. Ewen

    Thanks for the tip-looks like an interesting book.

  17. Colin I didn’t realise there were Three months Between April and May

    NIESR’s estimate for the whole of 2013 is actually 0.9% growth followed by an Anemic 1.4% in 2014.

    Let the good times roll.

  18. Colin

    From the NIESR Report

    “The private services sector is likely to drive economic growth through the remainder of this year.”

    March of the Makers anyone?

    That graph on P1 of the NIESR still makes grim reading too.

  19. Colin

    I find your boundless and unshakable optimism utterly depressing

  20. @spearmint – “Labour’s biggest new pool of potential voters since the last election are defecting Lib Dems…”

    Admittedly only a small proportion of them seem to be drifting off to UKIP atm (neither of the pro-European Miliband brothers would likely make a difference there). Fwiw I have yet to see any polling evidence about the attitude of LD defectors to the Ed vs David question… other than what can be estimated from these type of polls:



  21. @colin,

    Ignore the onslaught. lol.

    @rich (in Norway)

    On the national security point, I did use the phrase ‘on balance’ I would rather be safe, which I think judging by the poll Anthony added, is where a reasonable majority of people are. We all have different views, but I have always been of the mind that I am happy to accept that police, security services etc, do need to have additional powers to help make us safe. As we have seen on the news even in the last few weeks, there have been some pretty horrendous plots foiled.


    @”I find your boundless and unshakable optimism utterly depressing”

    I can understand why you went to Scandinavia.


    Like to see ’em buzzing !

  23. Since Colin pointed us to NIESR’s thoughts on the economy, it’s worthwhile having a detailed read of what they think.

    “(I)t remains our view that fiscal policy can be used to support the economy in the near term through fiscal instruments that support the government’s other long-term policy goal of raising the potential rate of growth. As Besley et al. (this Review) note, investment in education, innovation and infrastructure is essential for future economic growth. With 10-year government bonds attracting yields of less than 2 per cent, the government can finance additional investment in much needed infrastructure at little cost. With an economy in such a depressed state the fiscal multipliers are likely to be far higher than in normal times. The government should use the next Comprehensive Spending Review to re-evaluate future levels of public sector investment.”


  24. Sorry, I missed the poll on the security services.

    Can somebody tell me why careers in the security services are among ‘the most vital [I can understand this bit] and least recognised’? I thought films such as James Bond gave careers in these services a romantic and adventurous air.

  25. @ Colin

    As the February-April is 1% and the March-May is 0.6%, it suggests a massive slowdown in May… Really bad news…

  26. Or alternatively February had extremely fast growth.

  27. I’ve had a post disappear for the first time in over three years?

    I linked to an obit in the Telegraph, is it behind a pay wall by any chance?


  28. MRNNameless.

    Clement Attlee attended a great public school. Not a bad PM, I tink.

  29. Laszlo

    Column 3, Table 1 of the PDF in my 7:49 post. I think it was fast growth in Feb.

  30. @ Billy Bob,

    Heh, fair point. Remember, though, that’s after years of the media and the Dan Hodges contingent relentlessly briefing against Ed and saying Labour picked the wrong brother and everything would be wonderful if only David had won. Had David won the contest he’d be facing the same treatment (although maybe a bit less since Ed wouldn’t have the stabbed-in-the-back mythology on his side).

    Then again, it’s possible that economics trumps the civil liberties stuff for the defectors and David’s centrism genuinely makes him more appealing. To know the real answer to this question we’d have to see how the Lib Dems were polling in 2010 during the leadership contest. YouGov did a poll (for David’s camp, but I assume it was fairly robust) but when I went and looked on the website I couldn’t find it.

    Maybe Anthony knows the results and could settle the debate for us?

    “The problem is in situations such as 9/11 all we have is hindsight which is grist to the mill for both sides in assessing whether an action should have been taken.”

    The choice was not action or no action, it was, and remains, military response or policing response, recognising 9/11 and contimuing terrorist action as criminal, not as action by any state with eminent domain or with legitimate political relations with other such states. It is a question of effectiveness as well as legitimacy or response, and the results and present costs of the decisions taken are plain to see and are being experienced, they are not hindsight.

  32. @ LeftyLampton

    Thanks, yes, it seems February was important (apart from being my birth-month) interesting that they use 2009 as base.

  33. LEFTY
    NIESR – “The government should use the next Comprehensive Spending Review to re-evaluate future levels of public sector investment.”

    I note that NIESR call for an easing of fiscal control and for public sector investment during a period of low interest rates, specifically in health, education and infrastructure. I have recently been involved in a national programme of roads reconstruction in which the strategic questions were not so much the need for the roads investment – a given if related urban and industrial development were to be effective and benefit the population – but rather whether the approach should be one of corridor development improving the rural infrastructure and services, and developing local production and vocational training and health delivery systems, thus linking infrastructural development to income distribution. Some 1950s thinking might not come amiss in the UK.

  34. @spearmint

    Yup, I can only find the Guardian summary of that poll. Ed also commissioned YouGov, but I think that was about rejecting “Blairism” and didn’t mention any of the candidates by name.

    YouGov did ask some questions right at the start of the leadership campaign when LD were still polling at 21% – and when you compare that to later in the year, 2011 and 2012, there’s been remarkably little change. As you say, hypothetical, and a bit of a stale debate. Nevertheless, it is dangerous to make assumptions about the mental processes of former LD voters!

  35. Just to vary the chat, the local elections in Italy have taken place. You can chase up the details if interested but essentially the socialists have beaten the rightists and Mr Cricket severely.

    Here’s a link to an English edition of C-della-S.

    What surprised me was that they moaned about a turnout of 59 and then 48 on the second ballot in Rome. We should be amazed at such for the locals here, especially in cities!

  36. LEFTY


    Indeed-just what GO will be doing .


    Yeah-that’s what I thought-bummer.

  37. RICH

    Wonder if EdnEd will be attending?

  38. Norman Lamont on newsnight, always worth listening too.

  39. “Norman Lamont on newsnight, always worth listening too.”

    ‘Specially when he’s calling Pinochet a “brave and honourable soldier.”

    Which I assume really means, ” a murdering fascist dictator”.

  40. @Nick, Not surprised you want to change the subject, as they are talking about economic recovery and the legacy Labour left…

  41. It was interesting Rich.

    I liked the battle of the charts.

  42. @ Colin

    I really expect growth to continue till the Autumn.

    Industrial output figures look a bit strange in those tables. Having said that the UK authorities and think thanks are not very good in measuring it.

  43. Do like that lady from the FT, she seems to talk a lot of sense. Agreed with Lamont that a lot of our growth during the 2000s was allusery and debt fuelled. I guess there is still the wider point @lefty made that actually we have had very moderate growth over a very long period (several decades) when you flatten it all out, which is the big worrying trend for the UK going forward.

  44. @ Rich

    The illusory growth started in 1993. But there is no predestined growth rate (long term).

  45. One thing I did note from Lamont’s chart is that the PMI data does appear to move faster than actual GDP, and seems usually to overestimate trends, both positive and negative. This is what I have occasionally postulated on here for the last year or so, but I’ve never seen the data pulled together to test the idea.

    What this might mean for our current time period is that the strong positive PMI data could be overestimating actual economic performance.

    What I’m struggling with is why this might be the case. Markit don’t cover the public sector, so that’s about a third of the economy out of the picture, and they use a panel system of purchase managers, so in effect they will probably be excluding the majority of companies, many of which are single traders or to small to have a PM.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean their data is inaccurate, but they do seem to end up with bigger up and down swings than the actual outcome, and on some occasions get the trend wrong, although they are usually pretty accurate in this respect.

  46. @laszlo,

    What is worrying is that some of the one off bonuses we have had are unlikely to be repeated. Thatcher was lucky with the North Sea oil revenue. Blair/Brown were also incredibly lucky with the amount the 3G auctions got. Other than maybe shale, it’s difficult to see what other big bonus incomes a future Govt might get.

  47. I note that the best prices on the Aberdeen Donside by election have the SNP at 1-33 on (Ladbrokes) and Labour at 10-1 against, other parties assorted upwards.

    Now even the bookies get things badly wrong and there is still a week to go. However at this juncture the SNiPs are hreading for a big win which leads to two questions.

    One is which other UK party would be winning by elections six years into Government in a seat which is held by Labour at Wwestminster and local level?

    Two is why do some posters on this site think that the referendum is down and dusted. It is not and when Salmond gears up as they have done in Donside then all will be to play for.

  48. I wonder what the ole Sun will think is good enough to tweet as far as tory % goes now?

    31% maybe??

  49. Rich

    “it’s difficult to see what other big bonus incomes a future Govt might get.”

    Aye well, that’s kinda the point of unexpected windfalls. Did Harold MacMillan foresee North Sea Oil revenue? Did Thatcher factor in 3G auction income into her plans?

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