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. One point which might be worth making about the last week’s polling is that higher UKIP ratings (say 14 to 18 per cent) generally accompany Labour leads, while lower percentages (9 to 13) for UKIP are linked with dead heats or Tory leads. If this pattern continues it could prove significant.

  2. @John Murphy

    “I honestly can say I do not think it was either a debate in any meaningful sense or will change any minds on either side”

    I talked a bit today to a secondary school teacher who I don’t know very well but who commented that he is not a Lab voter and the ‘debate’ won’t change his mind, but he was surprised how good Ed M was

    So it sort of supports your comment (no change of mind) and sort of contradicts it: I suspect it went some way to demonstrate to the casual observer that Ed is not so carp as previously reported/assumed. It will be very interesting to see what (if anything) happens to his approval levels.

  3. @Laszlo,

    Nah. Benefit cuts play well with the electorate generally. Let’s be honest, both parties have some nasty stuff up their sleeve when there is like a £20bn blackhole in spending plans now VAT and NI increases ruled out by both.

  4. @ Rich

    Not if you want to take away money from disabled, and their carers. Imagine the billboard from the yesterday meeting with the lady in the wheelchair, Cameron’s words, and then these cool figures.

    Capping child benefit at 2 children is also a problem.

  5. If you mean the leak about benefits cuts, it’s just as likely to gain them votes. (IMO)

  6. @ Rich

    At the moment ther’s now need to increase budget revenue through action. It could become necessary though.

    It became an issue, because the Conservatives, rightly so, want to use the economy in the elections.

  7. So Laszlo,

    Labour’s sums leave them with at least a £20bn black hole after they were pressured out of the NI rise they planned. What are they going to do? I wouldn’t be surprised with a standard income tax rise tbh, that would be a nasty leak.

  8. @ Pete B

    Do you really think that taking money away from the disabled and their carers is a vote winner? Labour doesn’t need to talk about the rest.

  9. @ Statgeek

    For some reason, on this new computer, all my charts are 3x larger (it’s not a zoom issue – it’s something else), so I have to recreate them (130 or so of them), and I’m working up to it.
    Is it a different version of XL on your new computer or the same version but displaying differently?

  10. If it were popular, then they would be an announcement not a leak.

    I doubt it will change the outcome of the election.

  11. @ Lazlo

    So have you heard from UKIP, LD or Conservative as compared to 2010 and did you here from Green in 2010.

    Does the Green leaflet and Labour leaflet talk about issues and if so are there any similarities in the issues being wriiten about.

  12. @ Rich

    I think it’s much easier to play the tax evasion card. Also Labour doesn’t have 20 billion hole, as it was a Tory promise (because of the panic over 1930s while keeping the economic competence point alive).

  13. One point that might be worth making is that for the last week a higher UKIP ranking (14 to 18 per cent) has been associated with Labour leads, while lower percentages (9 to 13) for UKIP have come with Con/Lab ties or Tory leads. Just a straw in the wind perhaps but potentially significant if continued in any marked way.

  14. The leak looks bad but people are starting to get used to the idea that civil servants fly kites. They will generally work up the cost and potential savings of just about everything in case the minister asks. Very few of these are ever taken up. The same sort of thing happens in every council in the land – and they are often leaked as well.

  15. @ Statgeek


  16. @ Andy Shadrack

    Nothing other than Labour and Greens. LibDems use to be strong here, but silent now.

    Greens are more competent, professional than in 2010. they strongly position themselves to the left of Labour. It’s a national newspaper format with one or two “articles” that are local.

    Labour takes the constituency granted (they actually increased their share in 2010!).

  17. @ RMJ1

    But this seems to be commissioned by the Conservative Party HQ. They would have given the parameters in which they want the kite to fly.


    Would you consider putting the Scottish Cross Breaks in a Tabular form?

  19. Laszlo
    Possibly reducing benefits to genuinely disabled might not win votes, but reducing the overall cap on benefits would be popular amongst those who have to go to work for less than some people get in benefits.

  20. @ Spearmint

    Au contraire- we got a killer new pledge! Katie Hopkins vowed to leave the country if Miliband becomes Prime Minister.

    Who has to win for her to leave the planet? Since we went global, KH just leaving the country isn’t going nearly far enough!

  21. @RMJ1

    I’m sure that we are all getting used to the idea that civil servants fly kites. I’m not sure that has reached far beyond the politically engaged majority. Even if it has, the leak is still damaging – it just asks the question “Would they really do that?” and a lot of voters will be able to imagine the answer.

    However, as Laszlo points out, to be damaging it needs to stay news and it won’t because the Conservatives will kill it. It’s an election campaign, you know.

  22. @Amber, Spearmint

    I’m still waiting and hoping for Paul Daniels to go so I wouldn’t hold my breath about Kopkins.


    I have a feeling that these leaks could cause some disabled people, and their families, very uncomfortable about voting Conservative.

  24. @ Statgeek

    Can you get XL 2010 without breaking the bank? Skipping XL 2007 solves a shedload of problems! 2007 did have one nice feature. Multiple data sheets could be combined into pivot tables & pivot charts. Not so 2010, it’s single sheet only (although there are workarounds that I use to solve that issue). But 2013 has resurrected this 2007 capability – but without the snafus. I haven’t ‘officially’ moved from 2010 to 2013 yet because, like you, I leave the early adopters to do MS’s testing for them.

    Anyways, if you can get XL 2010 it might solve your problem.

  25. The poll results seems to be way at odds with the reaction on social media where Miliband averaged neutral comments, but Cameron received averaged negative ones. Miliband also attracted more interest overall, an unusual result against an incumbent who traditionally dominates comment.


    Also among those who said they may change their vote, Miliband came out on top, with 56 per cent to Cameron’s 30 per cent.


  26. @ Laszlo

    It lowers the “nasty party’s ” vote ceiling even further, I’d think. Polling usually shows the GB public wanting disabled people & their care-givers to be exempt from such cuts.

  27. @LASZLO

    They will simply have been asked to provide the costs and potential savings of all welfare benefits, probably excluding some specifics, this list is just everything else. Conservative HQ would not know about all the specific benefits, only the relevant ministers would be expected to know that because this is a very complicated area. Even they would have to rely on their civil servants for the details.

  28. @ Laszlo

    Of course, the leak may be a clever double bluff. The Tories can hotly deny these alleged planned cuts & receive TV time to tell the public how they have a plan to increase support for the disabled & their carers.

  29. @ Amber Star

    “Who has to win for her to leave the planet? Since we went global, KH just leaving the country isn’t going nearly far enough!”

    The Eurozone and the Rest of the World have just announced an immediate immigration ban.

  30. @ BlueBob

    That’s what I was afraid of. ;-)

  31. As Postageincluded kindly noticed, the story would have to be kept alive, which would require action from Labour, and to maintain it beyond Ms Reeves’s comments (she did what I thought was the reasonable: disabled and carers, ignore the rest – that’s probably 300,000 votes at a very modest estimation (assuming equal distribution of don’t knows among people with or without disability and caring) which requires very steady nerves.

    The other, I think important, issue was the point about the coalition. The LibDems must have a lot of stories about the Tories and how they sank these ideas, but now the Conservatives go alone – there’s no mention of LibDems, so it wasn’t the government (that’s an important point about the last two leaks) and look what they are doing.

  32. Just a suggestion for those looking to do stats work in Excel.

    Look into R: It’s a very good free tool and has so many user written packages, pretty much anything you can think of needing will be there (or you can write it yourself if not there and needed) instead of waiting for MS to support it.

    If you are comfortable with doing work in Excel, it shouldn’t be too much of a step, there’s always a bit of a learning curve but I certainly think it’s worthwhile.

    I can’t think of much I’d do in Excel instead of R.

    Another alternative is Octave, which is pretty much an open source version of Matlab, but for stats work, R is the go to tool.

  33. @ OLD NAT

    The West Lothian byelection results can be found on the council website at:


    At stage 2:

    33% of Green vote went to Independent
    30% to SNP
    10% each to Labour and Conservative

    At Stage 3:

    31% of Conservative vote went to Independent
    21% to Labour
    11% SNP

    At Stage 4:

    35.8% of Independent vote went to Labour
    22.8% to SNP

    12.7% of the overall vote was exhausted, which cannnot happen under FPTP

    But everybody should pay attention to the fact that Conservatives can vote Labour, at least 1:5 did in this election.

  34. Just catching up on the day.

    Analysis of online reaction to the debates appears to show a narrow Milliband win. Sentiment analysis led by Sussex Uni on tweets showed far more activity then for the indy ref debates, and also showed Milliband ended up in positive territory – the first time ever any politician had done so. However, as the history of this analysis is short, let’s not get too excited, although an Oxford Uni study also found Ed winning the online reaction battle.

    I wouldn’t agree with those suggesting leaks around welfare cuts would aid Tories. Especially not where the disabled and carers are concerned. These are the ‘good’ welfare recipients, as opposed to the ‘bad’ welfare recipients.

    Additionally, during the short campaign, opponents can turn suggestions into ‘facts’ very readily. Risky stuff, such leaks. And someone is leaking – a significant worry at election time.

    Labour’s big health announcement seems an interesting political play as well. ‘Capping profits’ may or may not be workable, but sounds simple and easy to explain on the doorstep. How could a Tory argue the opposite?

    Without a detailed technical rebuttal, countering this won’t work, and people don’t do detail.

    I would have thought that today was generally a good campaign day for Labour, with a couple of useful themes offering clear messages, with a sense of relief also from the debates.

    Many more days to come though.

  35. Andy S
    Very interesting. Here are a few more observations
    1) Green second preference was mainly split between Independent and SNP, with very few Labour.
    2) Independent got most 2nd and 3rd choices
    3) SNP didn’t get the most alternative votes at any stage.

    Some interesting patterns there, but I daren’t try to interpret them with so many claymore-wielders around apart from saying that it seems there was an unusally strong independent candidate.

  36. So are LD having a rvival in Scotland or something? Populos was on 6% LD Mar 20th-22nd and March 25th-26th now has them on 13%,while YouGov has them on 15% in Scotland for the same dates.

    As YouGov notes March 25th-26th this leaves LD on 6% in England, so is the uptick in LD support simply a Scottish aberration?

  37. Alec
    “I wouldn’t agree with those suggesting leaks around welfare cuts would aid Tories. Especially not where the disabled and carers are concerned. These are the ‘good’ welfare recipients, as opposed to the ‘bad’ welfare recipients. ”

    Firstly, there is a popular perception that many people are ‘on the sick’ who are perfectly able to work. I certainly know a few. This is not to denigrate genuine disabled of course.

    Secondly, there are some proposals that were leaked such as regional benefits caps which Balls has also supported according to the BBC, and this would be popular with working families.

  38. @ProfHoward re Northumbrian Devolution

    At the time a big issue in the referendum campaign was a reluctance to move to the Unitary Authority model as people were worried about centralisation of power away from Districts in rural Northumberland and County Durham.

    Ten years on and how many districts are there in NE England…

  39. @ProfHoward

    I agree with that, the disabled and their families will notice, but I doubt the Tories have much to lose from that constituency. Damage beyond those immediately affected probably takes more exposure.

  40. Latest Populus VI: Lab 33 (-), Con 31 (-), LD 9 (-), UKIP 16 (-), Greens 5 (-), Others 6 (-).

  41. Someone wrote earlier today that data have shown the UK population to be slightly left of centre. If so, then imo. these leaks will negatively affect the Tories. Unless and until they confirm where the hits will occur, Lab can continue to make the claim that the disabled, unemployed etc will suffer. While it may not result in Con -> Lab movement, imo, it will firm up the Lab vote from Don’t Know and draw votes from Green, LD and left leaning UKIP In close seats.

  42. Am I correct in thinking VI stands for voting intention?

  43. They in my last comment = Tories

  44. Oh! Excel 2007. Do NOT get me started on that!

    My company lost a decent chunk of money when we missed a deadline for a report to a client. We’d spent 3 weeks going progressively more and more insane trying to figure out what we had done wrong in the formulae of a spreadsheet that we used for processing some lab data. Very time we plotted the data, we got an incomprehensible graph.

    SEVEN times we re-wrote the .xls file from scratch. Same problem every time.

    Turned out it was a bug in Excel. If you plotted a scatter graph with more that 2,700-odd data points and used the “Smoothed Line” formatting, the bloody program plotted out something that bore no resemblance to the data to we’re using. If you plotted fewer than the crucial number of points it was fine. Or if you turned off the smoothed line.

    If I could have got my hands on Bill Gates, I would have removed his vital organs with an egg whisk.

  45. Simon


  46. @ Postageincluded

    but I doubt the Tories have much to lose from that constituency

    But there are DK, WV too.

  47. @JohnB

    The relevant numbers from the Armadale & Blackridge byelection are the transfers from Independent in round 4.

    The independent campaigned with support from Cllr Borrowman the existing independent who received 57% of the vote in 2012 and whose transfers split 35% Lab, 25% SNP, 30% No Transfer.

    This time they split 35% Lab, 22% SNP, 40% No Transfer.

    The higher no transfer is mainly due to the elimation coming after rather than before the Tory.

    What this means is that the headline increase for SNP is reliable despite the large independent vote in 2012 as both Lab & SNP gained fairly equally from 2012 Cllr Borrowman supporters who didn’t support Mackay as an Independent.

    If Mackay runs again in 2017 then with a larger number of Transfers from Borrowman – Mackay it’s not impossible for the ward to elect
    2 Independents.

    That could make the difference to overall control although it’s very likely that Fauldhouse will remain the key contest now that Action to
    Save St John’s Hospital has imploded in the light of ex Cllr Beurskens convictions.

  48. Oops, Peter Bell said it before me.

  49. @ Statgeek

    Exactly – 2007 has a variety of glitches which can be at best inconvenient; at worst… well you know it!

  50. Andy Shadrack

    Thanks for the transfer data – West Lothian have been unusually fast!

    I would calculate the transfers differently, as you have to discount the people who have not made 2nd, 3rd or 4th preferences.

    At stage 2:

    40% of Green vote went to Independent
    36% to SNP
    12% each to Labour and Conservative

    At Stage 3:

    49% of Conservative vote went to Independent
    33% to Labour
    17% to SNP

    At Stage 4:

    61% of Independent vote went to Labour
    39% to SNP

    At anything beyond stage 2, clarity reduces, because we don’t know how many of the 506 transferred votes from the Independent were those for whom the Independent was their 2nd, or even 3rd, preference.

    Your conclusion that “Conservatives can vote Labour” is a commonly observed factor in STV elections here, as is that more of them transfer votes to Lab rather than SNP.

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