The worst thing you can do in analysing polls of voting intention is to get excited at polls that show something exciting and different and ignore those that show the same old pattern. Occassionally the unusual poll will herald a genuine movement in public opinion – after all, whenever there is a change, one poll has to pick it up first. More often than not, the unusual poll will turn out to be a freak result, the product of unusual sampling or methods. If there is genuinely a change in public opinion, other polls will pick it up sooner or later, so it’s always wise to withhold your judgement.

Today we have one of those unusual polls, and we have the overexcitement you’d expect. ICM’s monthly poll in the Guardian has topline figures of CON 39%(+3), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 7%(-2), GRN 7%(+3) (tabs). This is pretty odd all round – a storming six point lead for the Tories, up on thirty-nine percent; the Greens and UKIP equal on seven percent.

In the Guardian’s write up they are rightly dubious, and include a welcome caveat from ICM’s Martin Boon about the inevitability of random variation and the sample perhaps being a touch too Tory. I’ll just leave it with the usual caveats – it’s one poll, and an odd looking one at that. Sure, it could be the start of some Tory surge, but if it is we will see it echoed in other polls today…and luckily enough we have at least three of them.

Populus this morning had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (tabs). The Conservatives are up two points (possibly helped by an update in weighting targets), but no big tory lead.

Still to come are the weekly Ashcroft poll and the daily YouGov poll. Come the end of the day, the way to judge where we are is too look at all them as a whole – not fixate on the unusual one.

UPDATE: Lord Ashcroft’s weekly poll has topline figures of CON 33%(-3), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 9%(+3), UKIP 13%(+3), GRN 6%(-1). Changes are from a fortnight ago – Ashcroft took a week off to avoid bank holiday fieldwork. As with today’s Populus poll, there is nothing here to support the big Tory lead in the ICM poll. Full details are on Lord Ashcroft’s website here.

UPDATE2: Finally the daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 34%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6% – a one point Labour lead. Putting all four polls together that ICM poll looks very much like an outlier. Such things are an unavoidable part of polling – and well done to Guardian for reporting it in a heavily caveated way within the context of other polls showing no movement, rather than getting all excited about it.


459 Responses to “Latest ICM, Ashcroft and Populus polls”

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  1. @Lefty

    I presume it doesn’t inform, educate or entertain then. Anyways, moving swiftly on…

    @JimJam

    Apparently for retail establishments, peeps like to source locally these days, and there are issues with exclusive arrangements: eg if a supplier is supplying one shop on a street, they may not be able to supply another. It’s a bit like polling with its embargoes and stuff…

  2. CARFREW
    I don’t think the coffee vote should be ignored. Several peeps asked me yesterday the best places to get good coffee – and no, I didn’t bring the matter up. And it seems to be an increasingly favoured career choice for those unsure how to proceed on graduation, now that traditionally more secure career paths are being eroded…

    I agree, but do note that the Daily Record made a big deal over the bean to cup machine in Sturgeon’s kitchen which didn’t seem to stimulate the debate. As a coffee drinker, I recommend them, but in Blighty purchasing beans is not as easy as it used to be.

    Budget supermarkets like Lidl & Aldi are to blame, IMO. In the UK they both offer ground arabica at competitive prices but in the rest of europe they do the same and sell arabica beans also. Looks like that common market thingy isn’t working as well as it should be.

  3. @Barba

    Things are changing. Like, we have our own roastery locally now.

  4. “…well done to Guardian for reporting it in a heavily caveated way within the context of other polls showing no movement, rather than getting all excited about it.”

    Hasn’t stopped the Telegraph picking it up as their poll of the day! Splash on the front page and “analysis” over a half page article on page 6. I wonder who they are campaigning for?

  5. CARFREW
    Like, we have our own roastery locally now.

    Lucky you.

  6. It’s not entirely luck, since les environs-du-carfrew are in part chosen for proximity to the coffeeness-of-it-all…

  7. I’m always amazed that people confuse the fact that the Guardian is non- Conservative with an assumption that it is pro-Labour. My suspicion is that most of the folk who do this are TImes/Telegraph readers who rarely see the Guardian but just believe it is “left-wing”.

    Tradionally the (Manchester) Guardian was Liberal with a large and small L. Orange Book in today’s vernacular. It still is if you scrape the surface a bit. It lost quite a few readers to the Independent (especially “i”) after it took an aggressive stance against the Brown Government in GE 2010.

  8. Word on the street here is all for UKIP, but in a very safe CON seat, will be interesting to see if replicated in marginals, where Farge today has told his supporters to vote CON.

  9. UKIP

    Based on the polls, I reckon UKIP is about 16% nationwide.

    Having looked at a map in the Telegraph showing where UKIP support is likely to be located, it is reasonable to conclude the 16% is so concentrated that it could result in far more seats for UKIP than we are being lead to believe.

    This is backed up by the recent telephone (shy voter!) poll showing UKIP at 24% in Kent (17 seats) where UKIP support is concentrated in 4 seats.

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