ICM post-debate poll

ICM did a rapid “who won” poll after the Paxman interviews with Cameron and Miliband tonight. Cameron won over Miliband by 54% to 46% – we won’t know until the tables appear, but I expect that going to show Labour voters thinking Miliband won, Conservative voters thinking Cameron won, the rest splitting evenly and not many minds changed. Still, we’ll see if there is any longer term effect in the next week’s polls. I wouldn’t have imagined there will be – while the debate was new in 2010, events like tonight’s Paxman interviews or the leaders’ Question Time style event next month aren’t new – there were things just like that in2005 and 2001 and they made bog all difference to anything.

Meanwhile tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%. A Tory lead today after some ties and Labour leads so far this week, suggesting the underlying average in YouGov’s daily polls is still neck-and-neck.

UPDATE: ICM tables are now up here (thanks to that fine man Tom Clark!). As expected, perceptions of who won fell pretty much along the lines of pre-existing party support – 84% of Conservatives thought Cameron won, 74% of Labour supporters thought Miliband won, Lib Dems were split, Ukippers thought Cameron won, Greens thought Miliband won. Note that while the sample was demographically and politically weighted to be nationally representative, it was a very heavily Labour sample in terms of current voting intention: the pre-debate voting intentions of the sample had an 10% Labour lead (thus are the difficulties of doing things like this – people who watch programmes like this are different from your average voter!)

365 Responses to “ICM post-debate poll”

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  1. Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, said Miliband had clearly given a better performance, giving him 7/10 against Cameron’s 4/10, Rowena Mason reports.

    “It was not what I expected at all,” Farage said. “In terms of personalities, he fought back more, was more human and got the audience clapping. Cameron was nowhere near that. Cameron looked discomfited.”

    Is Nigel first to comment?

  2. Thanks Anthony. Looking forward to figures on the ICM poll.

  3. Repost from previous thread:

    Being one of the three people who watched the debate, I’d say Miliband just edged it; neither of them did well with Paxman (but that was to be expected), but Ed finished well, whereas David didn’t. Ed also, noticeably, had the harder questions and Burley was more interventionist with him (particularly uncomfortable when the question of his brother was raised – that had no place in the discussion and was bang out of order). Doubt it’ll shift much in the way of VI, but a decent enough warm up before the ITV debate which will most probably be more watched.

    One thing I didn’t understand though – why did Cameron start with Paxman and finish with the studio audience and Miliband the reverse? It seems to be a fairly obvious potential response bias issue as Paxman was always going to throw a more negative light on things, whereas the studio audience would always allow for a more positive finish.

  4. Yes, he is. At least on this UKPR thread. ;-)

  5. Anthony, will Sunday’s polls show any ‘debate’ impact, or did those go out before the ‘debate’?

  6. @anarchists unite

    MIlliband won the coin flip and chose to go second. I assume they were both very well versed in the format before he made his decision.

  7. The ICM poll also asked about character.

    Ed Miliband did better than David Cameron on four counts: governing in the interests of the many not the few (55% v 27%); having the courage to say what’s right rather than what’s popular (51% v 35%); and understanding “people like me” (48% v 25%). And, when asked which leader was more spin than substance, Miliband also did better. Some 49% said Cameron was more spin than substance, but only 35% for Miliband.

    Cameron also won on four counts: being respected around the world (58% to 19%): being decisive (54% to 29%); being good in a crisis (46% to 21%); and being backed by his party (58% to 21%).

    The two men are almost equally matched on having “changed his party for the better”. Some 36% say that of Cameron, and 35% of Miliband.

  8. Amber
    Farage usually says what he thinks, but he’s also a pretty canny politician. Do you think he meant it, or has some ulterior motive?

  9. @Omnishambles (FPT)

    5 poll rolling average, YG 2015, Lab + Con:


  10. Miliband is resilient and incredibly determined and I think his critics may be beginning to realise this. I had always seen him as weak but he is definitely improving. We saw a bit more personality tonight.
    Cameron has always come across as more comfortable in his own skin. He doesn’t seem comfortable at all under scrutiny though.

  11. @ Pete B

    Farage usually says what he thinks, but he’s also a pretty canny politician. Do you think he meant it, or has some ulterior motive?

    FWIW, I’d say he probably both meant it and has some ulterior motive for actually saying it ‘on the record’ as it were.

  12. @ Mr Nameless

    “…On another note, four blokes on multicoloured horses just rode by my window…”

    Behold, a pale horse, and the man who sat on him was death…and hell followed with him…

  13. @catmanjeff

    Great, thanks. So there’s a rise and dip but a clear trend towards 70%

  14. @Mikey

    Miliband will be defined by one thing; he loves and performs well with a fight. His performance in the first half of this parliament was embarrassing for the Government – he scalped much of their front bench and I’d argue this put pressure for the last reshuffle as well.

    He goes all in which I think will serve him well in an election campaign.

  15. Oh – and can I repeat my request from the last thread – please can people refrain from saying who they think won. It’s very difficult to get beyond one’s own biases on things like this, and it will just be a rather predictable litany of Labour supporters saying Miliband won and vice-versa.

  16. I think Clegg won, and I’m not even a Libdem supporter

  17. The Sun has been using sentiment analytics to track reactions to the interviews and Q&As on Twitter.

    And their verdict is – a bit mixed.

    Well, it seems there was no clear overall winner, with both of them getting a kicking on Twitter.

    It was a good night for Paxman, who put both leaders through the wringer, with poor Ed coming off worse.

    But Miliband had a stronger showing during the Q&A section, which may have been enough to give him the edge overall.

    Sentiment analytics?

  18. “ICM did a rapid “who won” poll after the Paxman interviews with Cameron and Miliband tonight. Cameron won over Miliband by 54% to 46% – we won’t know until the tables appear, but I expect that going to show Labour voters thinking Miliband won, Conservative voters thinking Cameron won”

    I think you might be right.

  19. I didn’t watch it so when will the tables be out?

  20. “I think, factoring in the public perception of EM, that was a pretty solid Ed Miliband win.”

    I’m eagerly anticipating Saturday’s post match footie interviews, where the manager of lowly team beaten 3-0 says ‘well given that we’re sh!t, I think we came out on top’.

    More seriously though, it does seem somewhat better for Ed.
    The Telegraph columnists seem to have scored this 3.5/1.5 to Ed, which is surprising.

    Perhaps a hint that he isn’t the total duffer CCHQ would have everyone believe? Comments about Ed being more connected and light hearted with the audience suggest the wonky geek notion may be a little out of date.

  21. Interesting stuff Amber. I’m not expecting a nuanced headline from them tomorrow though.

  22. @ Amber

    I never thought that I’d be saying this but I agree with Nigel Farage :)

  23. em>Verdict from the Twitter commentariat…

    …If ICM are giving it to Cameron (by a small margin), the commentariat are giving it to Miliband.

    It’s not just ‘the usual suspects’ who are calling it for Miliband.

    An interesting comment from SKY, relevant to polling:

    joncraigSKY @joncraig

    Bit surprised by 54-46 snap poll. I just wonder if ICM, in their haste to publish poll, stopped polling before Ed Miliband’s strong finish?

  24. I accidentally clicked on the Comments Policy. That’s what I call a Freudian Slip.

  25. Politics is a survival game and they both survived. Is next week the Magnificent Seven debate or Five Star?

  26. @ Syzygy

    LOL :-) Me too!

  27. “Amongst those who indicated that they were likely to have changed their mind about how they would vote at the election on the basis of what they saw tonight, 56% said they would now vote Labour. And just 30% said they were now backing the Conservatives.”

    Interesting finding that gets around AW’s point about both sides backing their own man.

  28. The true winner of these debates will be the one who gives least ammunition to their opposite number. Cameron did well to avoid personal sound bites and keep to policy sound bites. I think Ed could possibly regret some of the things he said in a few days particularly that he wants to be a prime minister who “under promises and over delivers” – this smacks of going in to the election being low on policy and low on ideas – or not being straight on what he would actually do.

    Also, Paxman was Ed’s greatest ally tonight. His attacks gave Ed the chance to defend himself and look passionate. Paxman had him on the ropes throughout policy wise but as soon as he went personal Ed battled back which is easier to do than defend your policies sometimes. Cameron was on the ropes throughout on policy (even though I agree with most of what the Conservatives have done) – but at same time looked more like a leader. Just my opinion though.

    Overall though I doubt the debates are going to add anything or change the polls. For me you find very little out. Appeals more to those looking for personalities than policies – I think you need both

  29. Anyone know if there will be any more Lord Ashcroft polls before the elections?

  30. @Amber Star – “Sentiment Analysis” is a Big Data collection of social media content, where they look for words that suggest positivity or negativity. So basically, they had a computer program trawl Twitter for tweets about Cameron and Miliband during the debate, and looked at how many said good things and how many said bad things.

  31. ICM tables on VI pre & post non-debate show a drop in SNP support during the debate.

    One person moved their vote from SNP to “Other”

  32. @David – “As for myself, I will carry on polling right up to the day, publishing my regular national poll; the focus groups to tell us more about why people think what they think, rather than just how many people think what; and my research in marginal constituencies throughout the country.”
    -Lord Ashcroft, “Polling – how I started, and why it’s a force for good: my Anglia Ruskin lecture”

  33. On newsnight the panelists were asked “what will be the response of young people watching tonight?” – to which the answer would almost certainly be “wheres the channel changer?”.

    Seriously – this non-debate will no real impact on VI – however, it does show that the Con strategy of monstering Milliband – “the tories greatest electoral asset” etc, could be somewhat misjudged.

    He has his faults – hes not a natural chatty communicator or a great orator, but the flip side of that is that he projects a nerdy earnestness and honesty.
    Cameron is more assured and confident – but the flip side of that is people reading this smoothness as arrogant and duplicitous (al la Blair).

  34. @MrNameless

    Thanks for the tables

    So VI before the debate (not properly weighted of course)
    Cons 28
    Lab 38
    LD 6
    UKIP 14
    Green 6
    SNP 5

    VI after the debate
    Cons 29 (+1)
    Lab 40 (+2)
    LD 5 (-1)
    UKIP 13 (-1)
    Green 6
    SNP 5

    And that is obviously all people who watched, so I’m sure that is a pretty small percent of the population.

    Guess AW is correct, there won’t be much impact, if anything it will just squeeze the small parties further.

  35. YouGov’s app poll: 51% says Cameron won, 49% Miliband

    Will be interesting to see whether the swing voters break as conclusively for Miliband as they did in the ICM poll.

  36. I think I was watching a different debate; the audience laughed at milliband three or four times during his paxman grilling.

  37. Just noticed the ICM changing vote figures – 30% would now vote tory and 56% now voting labour after tonight – but only 8% said it had changed their mind – I think around 88 people. 84% said tonight made no difference. 8% would probably equate to the ‘flip of a coin’ floating voters – the sort that approach a polling booth one political colour and leave another or change their mind every few days. So overall ICM poll is saying tonight meant very little.

  38. “projects a nerdy earnestness and honesty.”

    So did Michael Foot, and William Hague on the other side (to be non-partisan)

  39. How many more debates before all this stops for five years?

    Can we discuss Scottish independance for a bit??

  40. One observation on tonight’s television encounter and not on the leaders but the audience.

    They seemed, for good or bad, more interested and engaged with Miliband. This manifested itself as tougher questions, derisive laughter at times, supportive applause towards the end.

    When DC was on they were markedly more subdued almost detached. This may have been deference for a serving PM or perhaps they were just getting warmed up.

    Whatever the reasons, one presumes this was a representative group so does their reaction speak to something wider in public perception of the two men?

    The impression I was left with was that minds are largely made up regarding Cameron, but those in the studio tonight were still sizing up Miliband.

    If this is the case – and the break towards Miliband among the allegedly undecided may support this – then the opposition leader might gain from being the near constant fixture in this assorted set of debate like events.

  41. @Catmanjeff
    Interesting figures, but fairly predictable that as the election nears, some people will tend to shift their vote to one of the likely winners.
    2010 turnout 65%. http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm
    The election result will depend on who and how many vote, rather than what they say now.

  42. What poll is this neing reported on Twitter:

    @britainelects: Who is your preferred Prime Minister? (ICM):
    Cameron – 48%
    Miliband – 40%

    Whatever it is, it looks good for Ed, given past polls.

  43. being!

  44. @ Norbold

    This ICM.

  45. @Norbold

    It is that ICM poll that Mr Nameless sent the figures for. But note that there are too many Labour voters as you can see from the headline VI, so adjust the other responses accordingly.

  46. Milliband can be summed up
    Knows his ‘direction of travel’ but can’t drive the car.

  47. I missed a Scottish council by election today from my previous list.

    In Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath there are two candidates SNP and Independent.

  48. @Richard
    It is that ICM poll that Mr Nameless sent the figures for. But note that there are too many Labour voters as you can see from the headline VI, so adjust the other responses accordingly.”

    Even if you adjust it by 10%, DC leads on the PM question by a smaller number than in other polls (48-30).

  49. Anecdotal stuff, I accept, but if the BBC Question Time audience is a representative slice of the British electorate (I know, a big “if”), then Miliband has done himself no harm at all tonight. Two members of the audience said that they found themselves liking him more than they thought they would. Significant? Who knows, but I thought Jim Murphy’s comment that was quite astute. He felt that we found out tonight why Cameron didn’t want the face to face debates with Miliband.

    By the way, what was it with Murphy tonight? He looked like a cat who’d just emptied a saucer of cream. Does he know something the rest of us don’t?

    By the way, we found out something else tonight. Add Janet Street Porter to that list of clapped out pseudo-rebels who became Tories after they passed the age of 60.


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