The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 32%(+2), LAB 37%(-1), LDEM 12%(-1), UKIP 9%(-2). Changes are from ICM’s November poll.

Other questions in the poll found that 50% agreed with the statement that the recovery is now underway, 42% of people disagreed. However only 26% of people said that they themselves had benefitted from the recovery so far. Cameron & Osborne’s lead over Miliband & Balls as the most trusted team on the economy remains at 16 points.

Meanwhile the twice-weekly Populus poll this morning has figures of CON 33%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 7%. Full tabs here.


40 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 32, LAB 37, LD 12, UKIP 9”

  1. Poll alert: new Ipsos MORI/STV

    The campaign for an independent Scotland has received a boost in a new poll commissioned by STV News.

    Thirty-four per cent of those certain to vote in the referendum said they would vote Yes, up three per cent on STV’s September poll on independence.

    Fifty-seven per cent of certain voters said they planned to vote No, down two per cent on September, and a further ten per cent remains undecided.

    Mark Diffley, director at Ipsos-MORI Scotland, said: “This poll will provide some encouragement for Yes Scotland as we enter the most crucial part of the referendum campaign, as it is the first time we have recorded an increase in support for independence in nearly a year.

    http://news.stv.tv/politics/252342-stv-poll-on-independence-referendum-puts-yes-at-34-and-no-at-57/

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  2. I suspect this poll might attract some ‘boost for Tories as gap narrows’ headlines, but I recall predicting just this when the previous ICM poll came out with an unusually large 8% lead.

    This poll remains at the higher end of Lab leads for ICM.

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  3. @ROSIEANDDAISIE

    When did you move to Oregon? http://rosieanddaisy.wordpress.com/

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  4. Neil A (from previous thread)

    You are right that there’s an element of being able to turn on production from previous capacity without investment – spare capacity in the economy.

    So you can put on a second shift of Morris Minor production, if the market still demands the product, with minimal investment.

    Trouble is that the UK suffers from a chronic lack of investment across both private and public sectors, compared with similar countries. Public investment is a bit of a separate topic and very LOC versus ROC controversial but private investment is normally seen as a good thing by all parties. In the good old/bad old days various incentives were offered from government in the shape of direct subsidy (investment grants) or tax concessions (investment allowances). IIRC the debate pre-Thatcher was more about whether it should be directed at ‘desirable’ things (Lab view) or universal to avoid picking winners (Con view) than whether it was good to do in principle whereas under multi-party Thatcherism it has become a *BAD THING* all round other than a bit of tinkering around start ups.

    With interest rates so low (though I suspect not so low if you’re a business borrower) and confidence allegedly so high you’d expect investment to be romping ahead, but the reality seems to be the diametric opposite.

    All of which leads me to a hypothesis that business does not believe the recovery is real. And to my way of thinking, if business is not investing that is really worrying for the medium/long term outlook.

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  5. alec

    I suspect this poll might attract some ‘boost for Tories as gap narrows’ headlines, but I recall predicting just this when the previous ICM poll came out with an unusually large 8% lead.

    Well not in the headline, but the Guardian do come up with this little gem:

    The results are in keeping with a separate post-autumn statement poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times, which also suggested the Labour lead tightening to five points.

    As opposed to the post-autumn statement poll on Friday which showed the lead widening. Sigh.

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  6. @Stuart

    The poll reflects an increase for Yes of one percent a month during active campaigning and huge amounts of publicity, with the news agenda on it set almost entirely by the SNP.

    The referendum is in nine months. There needs to be a much more drastic improvement in momentum for this to be considered “encouraging” for the Yes campaign.

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  7. @Roger Mexico @Alec

    The Guardian want EM to lose. Simple as that. Now had his brother been.leader they’d want DM to win.

    Nice of the Guardian to think people paid any attention to the Autumn Statement, given the floods and the passing of Madiba.

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  8. I’m curious as to how the Con / Lab / Lib vote share will be this week in comparison to UKIP / SNP / Green, the latter three being ‘less in this together’ with the others, regarding the 11% pay increase proposal.

    Holyrood is snubbing it apparently. Tricia Marwick has called it ‘unthinkable’, which is slightly better than Danny Alexander’s ‘inappropriate’.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-25305090

    I think that most people would not care much about £5 million used by parliament for this or that usually, but the fact that it’s being channelled into MPs wages is not popular in such times, and with (arguably) less capable politicians than seen in past times.

    @Alec – Agree to differ is always good. You have ‘facts’ and I have ‘facts’. We are probably both right and wrong. ;)

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  9. Jayblanc: “… the news agenda on it set almost entirely by the SNP.”

    Huh? The news agenda is set almost entirely by the No side. Only online, especially on social media, is the Yes side setting the agenda. All the traditional media outlets are vehemently anti-Yes, and are not scared to show it.

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  10. “No recovery in pay ‘for two years’
    Economic recovery is still not enough to boost pay rises, says Office for Budget Responsibility chairman Robert Chote”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/budget/10506780/No-recovery-in-pay-for-two-years-OBR-warns.html

    “Annual wage rises are not expected to return to their historic norm of around 2% for a couple of years, the head of the UK’s official fiscal watchdog has told MPs.

    Office for Budget Responsibility chairman Robert Chote said that falling real-terms wages, coupled with increasing house prices, were eating into household savings and holding down living standards.

    Giving evidence to the House of Commons Treasury Committee, Mr Chote said that the improved economic growth reported by the OBR at last week’s Autumn Statement had not been matched by the boost in productivity which would feed through into improved living standards.

    ”We have a relatively weak process of incomes recovering,” said Mr Chote. ”We are still waiting for productivity growth to pick up. The expectation would be that that would lead to earnings growth.

    ”In terms of real earnings, we don’t get the sort of 2%-a-year real growth in wages and salaries that people would have been used to on past historical experience for a couple of years still.”

    ”So we have consumption rising faster than that, leading to a relatively modest fall in the savings ratio.”

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  11. Roger Mexico,RAF,
    The guardian are in a bit of a. Bind at the moment I think.They have to keep on
    Supporting their beloved libdems whilst obviously realising that they are a
    Busted flush.

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  12. With respect to Guymonde and Neil A’s discussion…

    “Mr Chote said that the improved growth in 2013 and 2014 appeared to be driven by consumption and housing factors, rather than business investment.

    ”In past recoveries you would expect to see robust investment rising as a share of GDP at this stage,” he told the cross-party committee. ”One reason that hasn’t happened is that firms’ expectations of profitability hasn’t been high. That can be linked to the fact that there is weak productivity.

    ”In the absence of productivity growth, you don’t get the growth in real incomes and living standards that most people would think of in this context.”

    Meanwhile, Carney said this…

    The recovery will “need to be sustained for a period before productivity and real wage gains can resume in earnest,” Mr Carney said. “The fundamentals are promising” that productivity growth will pick up alongside demand, he said.

    “If supply responds to recovering demand, unemployment will fall more slowly than otherwise and the point at which we will re-evaluate the stance of monetary policy will come later,” Mr Carney said.

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  13. @Carfrew

    Boris’s economic advisor was on LBC’s weekly Livingstone and Mellor phone in radio show on Saturday morning. He made an interesting onservation. He said in the last (90s) recession, unemployment rose but the cost of living was stable overall. In this recession/recovery, unemployment has been falling but the cost of living rising.

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  14. @RAF, AiW

    The Guardian want Ed M to lose, true, but for the simple reason that they don’t want to be proved wrong if he wins.

    For similar reasons, as Cameron isn’t Eurosceptic enough for their liking, the DT and the Mail would be quite comfortable with a Tory defeat as long as a True Believer gets the Tory crown.

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  15. @RAF

    We really don’t – and didn’t – want to see unemployment anything like it was in the 90s recession. It was seriously bad.

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  16. @Stuart Dickson

    Are you saying that the NO campaign dictated when the SNP could release their white paper? I suggest you look up what the word ‘Agenda’ actually means. Setting the news Agenda means dictating when things will be in the news, not how the press will react. The SNP have been entirely in control of the agenda in regards to timing nearly everything to their best advantage.

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  17. @Ann in Wales
    “The guardian are in a bit of a. Bind at the moment I think.They have to keep on Supporting their beloved libdems whilst obviously realising that they are a
    Busted flush.”
    _______________________

    LD polling by ICM for the Guardian since the GE
    Half yearly averages
    2010 H2 16.5%
    2011 H1 15.2%
    2011 H2 14.8%
    2012 H1 14.2%
    2012 H2 13.8%
    2013 H1 13.5%
    2013 H2 13.0%

    So the last 6 months is comfortably the LDs worst with ICM since the GE. The trend is remarkably consistent. And the Guardian is consistent in its reporting by ignoring it.

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  18. @Chris Riley

    It’s important to note that Zero-Hour contracts only became widely used within the last decade, and that employment/unemployment figures are distorted by their growing use.

    I would certainly like to see employment statistics that excluded zero-hour employment.

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  19. @RAF
    @Carfrew

    “Boris’s economic advisor was on LBC’s weekly Livingstone and Mellor phone in radio show on Saturday morning. He made an interesting onservation. He said in the last (90s) recession, unemployment rose but the cost of living was stable overall. In this recession/recovery, unemployment has been falling but the cost of living rising.”

    ———-

    Yes, it is interesting, and points to something of a potential bind for the government.

    Because if cost-of-living keeps rising, while unemployment falls, that is potentially inflationary at some point. Which leads to pressure to up interest rates, and even relatively small rises in rates, given mortgage burdens and other costalivin’ rises, could be rather painful…

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  20. Phil,
    Thank you for those figures.And I believe ICM usually give a higher reading to
    The LDs than other pollsters.

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  21. Jayblanc,

    Indeed, and possibly therein lies the solution to the productivity puzzle. Namely, hundreds of thousands of people are now on government workfare programs. They count as employed, but they are not earning anything, so not contributing to GDP. Hence GDP per employee is not going up as commentators expect.

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  22. Carfew,
    I think you are absolutely right.As soon as interest rates start to rise there will
    Be big problems for whoever is in government.A lot of people were cushioned
    From the last recession because interest rates were so low.I remember the early 1990s when we had to cope with nearly 7 % interest rates.

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  23. It’s fascinating that people seem to take their opinions on the overall state of the economy from exterior sources, presumably the media, rather than their own experiences. I guess it’s such an abstract thing for most people that it’s difficult to conceptualise.

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  24. I am beginning to think that agreeing to fixed 5 year parliaments could prove disadvatageous to the Conservatives in the current term. Everything hinges on a rise in living standards beginning to be felt just a month or two before polling day. It looks as if this just might begin to happen at the 4 to 4+ years stage of this parliament. However, if so, it will trigger rate rises almost as soon as it begins to become obvious – and they will seriously dent any marginal uplift in real wages – they now look as if they could kick in between 6 and 3 months before polling day. The timing would thus be disastrous for re-election prospects, whereas the traditional 4 and a bit year parliament would have been spot on?

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  25. On unemployment, a couple of observations.

    Increasingly ‘challenging’ criteria for getting a payout combined with an increasingly meagre payout will discourage people from signing on as well as increasing people thrown off the register for ‘sanctions’.

    Not only zero-hours contracts have expanded dramatically: so has self-employment. You can take this two ways.
    1) withdrawal of nanny has caused people to get on their bikes and make jobs for themselves.
    2) people assess that signing on is not livable/worth the candle any more plus they don’t want to be stigmatised as skivers so they have become self-employed window cleaners at traffic lights, leaflet distributors, gardeners, babysitters at less than minimum wage.

    Lefty as I am, I actually think by and large it’s better for people to get themselves occupied for less than minimum wage rather than get depressed by doing nothing. The danger is this extends an economically adrift underclass. I guess to counteract that we need in-work benefits but that is fraught with poverty trap as well as claim authentication pitfalls.

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  26. Carfrew
    ‘costalivin’

    Please tell us that was a ‘typo’.

    A chap in our village bought his house from the local laird. He called it ‘Costaplenty’.

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  27. @AnninWales

    You make a good point about the 2008-12 recession, particularly when the economy was contracting at its fastest rate in 08/09. Those in well paid employment felt no pain at all as inflation and interest rates remained at almost historically low levels and I would think that the discretionary spending ability of mortgage payers actually increased, albeit a lot of this extra income went on paying down personal debt. I’m not saying it was an economic shangri-la, it manifestly wasn’t, but with unemployment failing to reach anywhere near the levels of previous recessions in the 80s and early 90s, it was a curiously painless recession for many. That was the micro-economics of it for the majority but the macro-economic consequences of the financial crash were much more severe for the economy in general as the length of time to limply recover from it has proved.

    The Christmas spending splurge, whilst good news in the short term for the retailers threatens to either further balloon personal indebtedness or force families to run down savings. Very little of the burst in purchasing power and consumer spending will be based on increased family incomes from earnings and I fear this will have mid to long term repercussions that are not good. Put simply, we need a much larger slice of the increased GDP to find its way into peoples pay packets but when you hear, as I did the other day, a business leader crowing about how good it was to see wages stagnating because this mitigated against cost-push inflation, I fear the pandemic of low pay and low productivity will continue.

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  28. A representative of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation was saying on the Today programme this morning that manufacturing employers in the Midlands were beginning to find it difficult to recruit people with the right skills. This suggests that both industrial output and wage inflation may be about to go up; in which case some workers at least may start to feel the benefits of a growing economy sooner than I, for one, had expected.

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  29. The economic news from West Mids -and its political implications-has become more & more interesting in recent months

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  30. @Crossbat
    Spot on.
    Round where I live (prosperous home buying West London) the majority of people – certainly those in employment – have enjoyed a painless recession with a pause in the euphoria of rising house prices offset by a reduction in mortgage payments.
    Right now they have the best of all worlds – mortgages still cheap and house prices rocketing.
    If what Richardw reports is confirmed there will be a window -perhaps around election time – when they have a triple whammy (cheap mortgages, rocketing houses, pay rises).
    What’s not to like if you’re in that bracket?
    Thing is though, most of these are Tory voters anyway.
    For the rest – public sector, those out of jobs or low paid, those living in rental accommodation – the whammy has a largely opposite effect (cant afford to buy, rent rocketing, real pay declining)

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  31. GUYMONDE

    @”What’s not to like if you’re in that bracket?
    Thing is though, most of these are Tory voters anyway.”

    England’s housing market :-

    Owned outright -7m
    Buying with a mortgage-8m
    Social Renters- 4m
    Private Renters-3m

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  32. TONY DEAN

    I doubt very much if Carney will increase interest rates before the GE.

    He has said that 7m unemployed would not neccessarily trigger it-and he continually emphasises the need to continue loose monetary policy until the economy enables people to cope with “normalised” interest rates. He also sees no need for concern over inflation yet whilst productivity languishes & their is slack in the system.

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  33. “Britain’s economy needs sustained low interest rates to spur growth and repair the stricken banking sector, the Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned in a strong rebuttal of critics who argue borrowing rates need to rise in response to a galloping housing market.

    Speaking in New York, Carney said it would be a mistake “to rush to a more extreme response” when the UK economy remained blighted by high unemployment and slow growth in major export markets.”

    Guardian today.

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  34. 7%-not 7m !!!

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  35. norbold

    Impostors…. our Daisie is spelt ie to match Rosie.

    Something the Americans clearly didn’t think of.

    Shameful stuff.

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  36. stuart and jay

    Its the next thread up for Scotch squabbling.

    Thankyou.

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  37. @colin

    “He also sees no need for concern over inflation yet whilst productivity languishes & their is slack in the system.”

    But the OBR have just said there’s very little slack (2%?)

    And where I’m talking about they are mostly Tory voters (12 out of 12 councillors in Chiswick are Cons)

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  38. @ANN IN WALES
    “Carfew,
    I think you are absolutely right.As soon as interest rates start to rise there will
    Be big problems for whoever is in government.A lot of people were cushioned
    From the last recession because interest rates were so low.I remember the early 1990s when we had to cope with nearly 7 % interest rates.”

    ————

    Yes indeed, I said “government” because it may be a problem for whoever’s in power post-2015. Chote seems to think it could be a couple of years before productivity rises; Carney thinks it may be a while, but fundamentals are in place for a productivity rise, in which case falls in unemployment will be slowed.

    And if falls in unemployment are slowed, then he doesn’t need to up interest rates as soon.

    Chote’s comments suggest it could be two years before productivity gains kick in, and in the meantime unemployment keeps falling, putting on pressure to raise interest rates. Carney’s comments recognise a desire to act if unemployment keeps falling, but thinks like Chote it may be a while, but “fundamentals” are in place for it, and when productivity does rise, then less need to act on rates.

    So it boils down to a question of when productivity starts rising, coupled with how much unemployment comes down in the meantime…

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  39. @Colin

    “He also sees no need for concern over inflation yet whilst productivity languishes & their is slack in the system.”

    ———-

    Productivity languishing is the problem!! It’s when productivity picks up that will postpone when Carney has to act, because it slows the rate at which unemployment comes down. So it’s kinda like having it both ways…

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  40. GUYMONDE

    @”But the OBR have just said there’s very little slack (2%?)”

    That was their comment on “output gap”-or spare capacity.

    Not sure that’s entirely the same thing as “productivity”.

    You can be operating at full capacity & still have poor productivity by comparison with competitors who employ different methods & investment.

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