ICM have released their August poll for the Guardian. Topline voting intention figures are CON 40%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 10%, GRN 4%. Full tables are here.

This is the first ICM poll since the election to feature an updated methodology in light of the polling error. Since 1993 or so ICM have reallocated people who don’t give a voting intention based on how they say they voted at the previous election. Colloquially this is often known as a “shy Tory” adjustment, as when it was initially introduced in the 1992 to 1997 Parliament it tended to help the Tories, though after the Iraq war it actually tended to be a “shy Labour” adjustment, and in the last Parliament it was a “shy Lib Dem” adjustment.

In practice ICM didn’t reallocate all their don’t knows and refusals as many people who refuse to give a current voting intention also refuse to say how they voted at the last election (ICM call these people “total refusals”, as opposed to “partial refusals” who say how they voted last time but not this time). Under the new method ICM are also attempting to estimate the views of these “total refusals” – they are reallocated at the same rate as “partial refusals” but are assumed to split slightly more in favour of the Conservatives, based upon what ICM found in their post-election re-contact survey. The effect on this change on ICM’s headline figures this month is to increase the level of Conservative support by one point and decrease Labour support by one point.

The implication of this adjustment is that at least some of the error at the general election was down to traditional “shy Tories”, that those who refused to answer pollsters’ questions were disproportionately Conservative supporters. However, from being on panels with Martin Boon since the election and hearing him speak at the British Polling Council inquiry meeting I don’t think he’ll have concluded that “shy Tories” was the whole of the problem, and in ICM’s tables they are clear that they “expect to produce further methodological innovations in the future.”

689 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 40, LAB 31, LDEM 7, UKIP 10, GRN 4”

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  1. I see JC is to speak on the same platform as some interesting characters later in the month. Palestine is the topic. Azzam Tammimi will there.

    It will be interesting to hear JC’s comments. When he was a lone representative of the “Loony Left” the Press would have shrugged.
    But as prospective leader of the Labour Party and aspirant ( one assumes) for the position of Prime Minister , a new dimension arises.

    I feel sure it will be on the front pages. I trust those who have voted for him will not have cause for second thoughts.

    John Mann MP, chair of the all party group against anti-semitism seems concerned.

  2. A few months of rising unemployment may change the general narrative on the economy with people less inclined to believe that things are improving – or that Osborne’s ‘Plan’ is working.

  3. Colin, please go back to all that clever financial stuff you do so well. Your JC stuff is desperate and dull.

  4. MARKW

    The point I was trying to make is that as Labour Leader, JC’s views on Foreign Policy will be a newsworthy as his views of Economic Policy.


    Unless it is a dramatic rise I cannot see it having any great impact. Probably a sign of skills shortage rahter than a decline in the economy.

  6. I think some people need to look up the term “debt deflation”.

    There are plenty of books about it…in the horror section.

  7. TOH
    Well with the state labour are in at the moment unemployment could double and I doubt labour would gain much ground with it. Conversely though if Labour gets its act together and unemployment continues to rise (no matter by how little) a wise opposition would be able to score some points.
    The Tories have to be careful with the economy since its their main vote winner, if for whatever reason they lose credibility with the economy (like in 1992) the Tories might be in trouble.

  8. Narratives can change quite quickly. Already the Opposition can begin to say that ‘unemployment is back to where it was at the beginning of the year’.

  9. Colin
    You are 100% correct. Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA aren’t mainstream vote winners. Should Corbyn progress, this will be everywhere. Can’t see it being a mainstream vote winner either. I suspect though his supporters will want this centre stage as it will appeal to their core.

    Nor will his views on mass immigration be the stuff to bring back red Ukip. Expect this also to be a main point of attack.

    But then, the point of the others standing is to win a general election. The point of Corbyn is to win the Labour Party. But that certainly doesn’t mean to unite the SWP with the SDP.

  10. It’s worth remembering that the Tories continued to win even after three recessions (as Spitting Image said “how many more do they want?!”). Labour has to be credible as an economic force. Even Kinnock/Smith weren’t quite trusted on that enough to win.

    Much as I agree about Labour MPs not rushing to join the Lib Dems (from an earlier comment), I do see some bleed from SDP/New Labour voters into that territory. Even after Corbyn is kicked out, there would still be an elephant in the room stopping such an easy drift back, plus a drift to the Greens. I still don’t expect either the Greens or the LDs to be a force in the foreseeable future but enough to fracture the centre left and far left to stop Labour being in power for a long long time. Naturally, events, but even so, there has to be a ready party to turn to.

  11. @Colin

    “No they are not-QE is a monetary tool addressing market liquidity & interest rates.”


    You keep pushing this line, but you don’t mention that a significant amount of the money created by the BoE ends up in the economy via the banks.

    The BoE creates the money to buy the gilts off the banks, and the banks then have that money and can use it to finance more loans to peeps and businesses.

  12. Laszlo – “Infrastructural investment (including schools) may or may not add to productivity. There hasn’t been a coherent economic policy in the UK, so we cannot benchmark any of it.”

    There are some types of infrastructure investment that would yield HUGE gains in productivity – for example investing to make all the Tube trains driverless. But that would of course cause some unemployment as the existing employees would have to find something else to do.

    Part of the reason productivity in France is high is because they automate everything they can. But they also have correspondingly higher unemployment…

    I suppose it depends on what your priorities are. In the UK supply of labour has been big enough and at reasonable prices for both businesses and the state to decide to continue to employ people rather than spending capital to replace them with automation. It does mean we have low productivity – but the social fabric is not as strained because people have jobs.

  13. Like Starry, I can’t see many/any Labour MPs jumping ship to join LibDems or Greens, although a handful may cross to the Tories in the event that Corbyn gets the leadership.

    Looking at their websites LibDem activists are digging in for a long road back based on what they have always done best – local campaigning and building out from pockets of resistance. That won’t remotely get them back to 60 seats, but it could well take their vote up to 12%+ territory.
    The Greens have always been based on localism too – again an increase in votes will deliver one or two seats more at best.

    So I anticipate a bleed of left of centre voters and probably some councillors to LibDem/Greens, plus some voters, councillors and MPs on the right of the party to the Conservatives.

    I could easily see a Tory majority government post 2020 having gained less than 1/3rd of the vote, based on a split left & centre (Labour/Greens/LibDems), the SNP still controlling Scotland and a firm 10-12% stuck with UKIP.

  14. Jamie – “I think Osborne and Cameron have learned a lot from working with the LibDems for five years and will be very mindful to keep their government in the centre ground.”

    They’re going to have to consciously work on that. As time goes on, the temptation to do whatever they want will increase, the more it seems Lab is unelectable.

    Pretty much all Blair’s mistakes came after IDS was elected leader of the Conservatives. Prior to that he was super careful because he was scared of being a one term prime minister. Once he got his second landslide in 2001 and then the Conservatives topped things off by electing IDS, he lost his fear.

    He thought, they’ll never elect IDS (correct), so I can do whatever I want.

    Overnight he ditched his focus group polls and became a conviction politician. Hence Iraq, hence waiving the transition arrangement so the eastern europeans could come to Britain. Which wouldn’t have happened if the Conservatives had a more credible leader (say Ken Clarke) and Blair was worried about losing to them. In that scenario, he’d have been clinging to his focus groups and making fewer mistakes.

    Unelectable oppositions tend to be dangerous all round.

  15. Back from temperatures in the 90s in Carolina to a somewhat cooler Scotland!

    Roger Mexico sensibly (as always) gives the figures from Table 3, before ICM’s speculative adjustments are made.

    That table also has the regional/national sample figures. With all the usual caveats about these, they are indicative of the rather useless value of the GB figures – though pollsters seem wedded to repeating old systems, regardless of utility.

    Sco – SNP 60% : Lab 17% : Con 15% : LD 8% UKIP 0%
    Wal – Lab 40% : Con 29% : PC 16% : LD 6% : UKIP 4%
    Eng – Con 43% : Lab 33% : UKIP 11% : LD 8%

    The geographic split in England is noticeable between the North (29% of English respondents) and the South & Midlands, who have almost identical VI numbers.

    North – Lab 48% : Con 33% : LD 9% : UKIP 8%
    M/S – Con 48% : Lab 27% : UKIP 12% : LD 7%

    Regardless of who becomes Lab leader, a Lab “win” in 2020 would seem unlikely with significant support only in Wales and the North of England.

    Unfortunately, it seems that Labour are going to conceal any details of where the support for individual candidates comes from.

    Pretending that they remain a party for all of GB becomes less realistic as time goes on. In that they are like the Tories – but the Tories have the advantage of being dominant in the areas where most UK voters live.

  16. @Colin

    “Much more significant they cannot control interest rates & money supply if they have arbitrary money printing demands imposed on them.

    It is the stuff of Banana Republics”


    Not sure whether you noticed, but we don’t live in a banana republic.

    As for interest rates, The use of QE or helicopter money is intended for when interest rates are on the floor and have ceased to be effective as a policy mechanism, as pertains currently.

    Has Corbyn said he’ll keep printing helicopter money even when inflation becomes burdensome and interest rates have to rise precipitously?

    Helicopter money needn’t increase the money supply anyway. It can just be a rebalancing of where the money goes. Central Bank prints more money for infrastructure, but the government removes money via taxation etc. on less productive spending, e.g. asset inflation.

    You’re erecting a set of straw men.

  17. Good afternoon all from what seams like tropical weather here in Reigate.


    “Welcome to leafy Surrey, we live within two miles of Burgh Heath. Enjoy your visit”

    Thanks Howard. It’s a lovely neck of the woods and some extremely decent houses which must be worth a few bob.

    When I get the chance to work down south the company usually put us up at the Premier inn Burgh Heath but this time because I’m traveling down without any colleagues I’m staying at my aunts in Wokingham and driving to Reigate daily. Beginning to regret it and wish I had booked into the Premier inn. Too much driving.

    The last couple of times we stayed at Burgh Heath we went to a great restaurant in the village, The Khyber Tandoori. It’s about a 10 min walk from the hotel via a small path which cuts through a wooded area and into the village. I highly recommend it if you haven’t already visited to it.

  18. @Oldnat

    Welcome back Oldnat.

    You Indy peeps get about. Allan’s always gadding some place or another. Is the coffee good in Canada?


    One other aspect about the hotel. It’s a bummer when you want to go to Asda for some late night munchies, you can’t turn right when leaving the hotel and have to drive about a mile in the opposite direction to the roundabout to get onto the other side of the road. Who planned that lol ;-)

  20. @Allan

    Ah, well, I’m told you need to plan your late night munchies in advance. Gals I know will already have stocked their room with Chocs and stuff before going out. So you need to be a girl, basically.


    Unfortunately most of my travels are either work related or visiting relatives, well I suppose it’s not that bad …work ain’t that bad. ;-)

    Thanks for the advice on planning for late night munchies. Next time I’ll bring the stilettos and the mini skirt.

  22. @ Candy

    One of the reasons for automation in France is the awful skill levels in industry (they tried to address it about 10 years ago, but I can’t find any decent data if it worked). The other being labour shortage (I know that they have high unemployment, but the two can be quite independent of each other).

    As to the UK if you release labour force through automation in one sector, you still have to absorb them somewhere else. This is why the economic policy is needed.

    By the way, the largest buyer of industrial robots is China …

    My hostility to infrastructure as a magic pill is my two experiences when huge investment in infrastructure as a generic economic policy caused macroeconomic collapse (the Soviet Union, and Hungary), and we may see the next one in China.

    On the other hand, the lack of investment in infrastructure caused major problems in U.S. manufacturing in the 1980s.

  23. @Laszlo

    Yep, you can’t just build roads to everywhere and nowhere and just assume an unalloyed good. It has to be a matter of due consideration.

    You can’t seem to have too many coffee shops though, I have discovered…

  24. I cant see any Lab MP’s defecting to the Tories if Corbyn is elected there are just too many impracticalities.
    For one it would only help the left as they would have the perfect avenue of attack “Blairites would rather join the Tories who have done (insert Tory atrocity of choice) than support our leader” It really doesn’t look good and vindicates the whole “red Tory” meme and essentially destroys the right of the party.

    Second though is more practical, I’m only naming these as the high profile examples but the likes of Tristram Hunt trying to defend Stoke Central, Chucka Ummuna trying to defend Streatham, Liz Kendell trying to defend Leicester West or Chris Leslie trying to defend Nottingham East under a Conservative ticket well it would just be futile and they know it.

  25. @Allan

    Happy to relay the advice concerning the Chocs etc.

    You’re on your own with the stilettos though…

  26. Old Nat

    “Regardless of who becomes Lab leader, a Lab “win” in 2020 would seem unlikely with significant support only in Wales and the North of England”

    Labour have not insubstantial support in a place called London – and most voters in Birmingham and Wolverhampton ( Labour clean sweep in GE) don’t believe they live in “the North”.

    Besides with JC in charge Labour could morph into the leading party of a an anti-Tory progressive movement embracing Greens, LibDems under Farron, Plaid, former blue collar UKIP protest voters, and even TUSC in an electoral pact. Different ballgame then throughout UK.

  27. @RIVERS10
    The Tories are quite pragmatic – they have parachuted turncoat MPs into safe seats before, and there will likely be one or two younger Labour politicians who fancy their chances of a ministerial car on the blue side rather than perpetual opposition as part of a fractured left.

    I’m not predicting an army switching sides, but one or two seems quite likely; there are so many upsides for the Tories and the have a lot of levers at their disposal (ministerial appointments, patronage, safe seats, etc) to help such a think along.

    And why would those who jump ship care what the left wing of the Labour party said about them once they had left – they would hardly be saying nice things about the Labour left themselves anyway!

  28. Predictably, we now wait for the “great Tory economic crash” as a saviour of the Labour movement. The poll we should be discussing shows the Conservative party, currently @40%.
    The triumphalism which has allegedly driven left wingers away from this site, is in my view, that level of support which these same posters were telling us could never happen. “The Tories will never obtain more than 33% support” they said. “The Tories cannot win an overall majority” they said. I would suggest that the opinion polls since the GE and the result of that election, show that rash forecasts based on what one would wish, rather than reality, is being falsely blamed as “triumphalism”.


    Good old solid Reg Prentiss was one thing, the present Labour front bench is quite another. The only place most of them would be parachuted, is the North Atlantic.

  30. Chris Leslie a brownrite rather than a Blarite per se.
    Very few of the blairties are in seats where the Torries could even win a bi election let alone in a election.
    John Woodcock could be one in Barrow through. Maybe Gisela Stuart as well. The majority of blairites have safe and ultra safe seats.

  31. Bigfatron
    But with boundary changes there is already going to be a massive squabble over the safe seats. Several Tory ministers will be in danger I doubt the Tory hierarchy will sacrifice them for some Blairites. As for what the left are saying about them I’m not so much a cynic to think the Blairites are Tory plants, most of them genuinely care about the Labour party and support its core principles they just feel their way is the right way and defecting to the Tories ensures that Labour never implement Blairite policies and neither do the Tories. The whole thing just becomes farcical.

  32. After al this nonsense about leading Labour Party M.P.s defecting to the Tories, a serious comment: http://newsthump.com/2015/08/12/corbyn-boost-after-condemnations-from-dreadful-people/

  33. From what I hear about local Conservative parties, I understand they do not take kindly to Central Office meddling. I imagine that would apply doubly to ex-Labour people.

    This does remind me of an Oxford University Labour Club speaker meeting I attended in the late 1990s with ex-Tory defector Peter Temple-Morris. He made clear that he defected as he felt Labour had moved into moderate Tory territory and he liked Tony Blair.

    The other thing I remember was his very odd nicotine yellow hair.

    To my mind there is a very wide difference between “wet” Toryism (which I believe is pretty close to Blairism and is at least tolerable) and what the Tory party is today.

  34. @ Norbold

    Wonderful satire.

    But I don’t know if it really works in Clackton … I mean to cheer you up.

  35. I’m mesmerised how the same lines given by various Labour people are interpreted so differently in the newspapers.

    But I tend to agree with Rivers10 on the rebellion. I think it’s a dangerous time to ask for your p45. One has to eat …

  36. Mass defections from the Labour Party are a bit unikely. I suppose that if things got really toxic – deslections of Blairites, etc. – then there is a possiblity of an SDP Mk 2. But the history of start-up parties isn’t very encouraging because of FPTP so things would have to get pretty bad for today’s crop of career politicians to risk it.

  37. A Blairite splitting would be committing hari-kiri.

    They would be more likely to just quit UK politics like Purnell or Miliband Snr.

    “I’m a quitter, not a fighter” ;)

  38. All is not lost for the Blairites. Suppose Corbyn wins and his elected deputy is Stella Creasy.

    People overlook that Creasy is a Blairite – but she appears to be popular across the Labour party because of her payday loans campaign (very hard for Corbynites to accuse her of being a “Tory”).

    Anyway, Corbyn throws in the towel because being Labour leader is just too much hard work at his age, and Stella Creasy then becomes leader. Everyone just nominates her (say it’s too close to the next election for another contest) and bingo, the Blairites are back.

    How apposite that you mention hari-kiri. I have already suggested that the swell of support for Corbyn is like the last flight of a Japanese fighter squadron. “It will do no good, what’s more we know it will do no good, but we will go through with it anyway”.

  40. Old Nat – welcome back to the subarctic. Yesterday on BeebScotlandshire they were showing folk still skiing up in Glen Coe. Coldest summer in 30 years— and all because of too much snow over last winter in the eastern States, leading to a layer of fresh water on the north Atlantic in May which meant that…. etc.

    Regarding the polling – any sign (in your opinion) of an opposition revival before next spring’s Holyrood elections?

    Carfrew – your greeting to Old Nat implied that the Carolinas are in Canada. I think you may find that they both (i.e. the Carolinas) left the Commonwealth almost two hundred and thirty years ago…..

  41. I agree with the Monk. Labour will continue, patching and pretending until Corbyn is replaced. Then someone will have lead them back. However, back to where is a good question.

  42. JOHN B
    Also Canada is a bit nippy for enslaved Africans.

  43. Roland

    You are thinking of Kamikaze, a tactical tradition of the Tory right.

    On the economy; I would not expect a major recession to necessarily help Labour. It would pole-axe the Tories though as the only reason a lot of people tolerate them is their perceived ability to run the economy.

    The right tolerate their current social liberalism as they think they can run the economy.

    The centre tolerate their running down of public services as they think they can run the economy.

  44. Hawthorn
    Thanks for pointing all that out. Especially the bit about Divine Wind,
    there is certainly plenty of it about. So in summary, everybody thinks Osborn can run the economy, except about 20 left wingers on UKPR.
    Christ that boys good.

  45. I doubt many Lab to Con MP switches but certainly I see a few voter switches. For a start, Corbyn can easily be got rid of, so no need for MPs to go. But what does that leave? Dissatisfied troublesome members or people leaving to the far left parties. Blue Labour voters having switched during Blair or from the LDs wavering on whether to return to a party that wants to be far left. Plus voters that didn’t trust Milliband/Balls on immigration and the economy being even more doubtful that members won’t get their way during the parliamentary term.

    There is no way Corbyn could unite the SWP to the SDP. Only Cooper would have the vaguest chance of that (well, the highest numbers anyway). Kendal is too right for Red Labour and Burnham too left for Blue Labour. But at least they’d get some. Corbyn’s game is to change Labour, not change the government.

  46. @ Roland

    I don’t really want to see Osborn with the oar in his hand when China goes under.

    As a matter of fact I don’t want to see the event – can they wait that 30 years that are probably (hopefully) left for me?

  47. Roland

    A lot of people obviously think Osborne can run the economy, which is the pertinent question for a polling site. The question is whether that belief will survive a major recession (if one occurs).

    It didn’t with Brown, rightly or wrongly.

  48. @John B

    No, it implies I misread Carolinas as Canada.

    I got roped into a pub quiz recently and there was a question about the Carolinas, and I got it right. I know, amazed me too. For only the second time in history, I actually knew the answers to some pub quiz questions but no one listened to my answers. It was like being on this board…

    Afterwards I was admonished for not selling my answers to them harder. I hate pub quizzes…

  49. @Laszlo

    “As a matter of fact I don’t want to see the event – can they wait that 30 years that are probably (hopefully) left for me?”


    In thirty years there’s prolly time for them to do it to you twice, or maybe even squeeze in a third at a pinch…

  50. Hawthorn
    There have been a number of very strenuous denials, from Labour supporters on this board alone. They occur when the tone sounds
    like they really want to see a full on financial calamity, just to damage the Tories. If this is what the party of Bevin, Gaitskill and Atlee has come to, you have my sympathy.

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