ICM have again conducted two parallel polls for the Guardian, one online, one by telephone (tabs). The pattern is the same as last month, on Westminster voting intention the two ICM polls show the same two point lead, although the ICM online poll has a higher level of UKIP support:

ICM Online – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%
ICM Phone – CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%

For the EU referendum ICM have the typical phone vs online contrast. They have a eight point lead for Remain by phone, a four point lead for leave online… a twelve point gap (the average gap between online and telephone polls since the start of April is about 10 points, so ICM is a little larger, but nothing to write home about).

ICM Online – Remain 43%, Leave 47%, Don’t know 10%
ICM Phone – Remain 47%, Leave 39%, Don’t know 14%

Martin Boon’s own take over on the ICM website is, as usual, both honest and somewhat bemused: “The narrative that phone polls are more likely to be right ignores some fundamental flaws in phone methods. Labour supporters are continually oversampled by phone, and that may matter more than those same phone polls missing out on supposedly pro-Remain types, who are disproportionately less likely to turn out to vote. Similarly, what’s lurking under online covers could be equally nasty, and we should not ignore that the fact the UKIP voters are again, as they have long since been, higher in online polls than phone (or indeed at recent elections).”

Incidentally, it’s probably worth flagging up that there are house effects beyond just the phone/online difference. There are differences between different online pollsters too. This is ICM’s sixth online poll in a row to show Leave ahead, and they are clearly showing a small Leave lead. In contrast the majority of online polls conducted by YouGov and TNS over the last six weeks have had Remain very narrowly ahead, it’s not a big gap, but it’s starting to look consistent. When it actually comes to learning lessons from the EU referendum, these smaller differences may end up being the more valuable: without much fuss, pollsters are taking quite different approaches to correcting their methods after last year and the referendum may teach us something useful about what corrections are (or are not) working for online; what corrections are (or are not) working for telephone.

Methodological concerns aside, what does ICM tell us about the state of public opinion? Well both their phone and online polls have the gap between Tory and Labour narrowing, down from five point leads a month ago. In the referendum race the four point leave lead in the online poll is ICM’s largest this year… but that trend isn’t echoed in the phone poll. We shall see if other EU polling this week shows any coherent trend.

There was also a new ComRes online poll at the weekend for the Indy and Sunday Mirror. This had topline figures of CON 36%(+1), LAB 30%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 17%(+1), GRN 4%(nc). On the face of it this is a stronger poll for the Tories, but this is largely methodological – ComRes’s online polls tend to produce the most positive results for the Tories of any company because of their demographic based turnout model. Full tabs are here.

109 Responses to “ICM parallel phone and online polls”

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  1. Latest Google Search results on Loch Ness monster scandal.

    Huffington Post and Scottish TV have both covered the story in the last month.

    I’m still searching.

    More to come.


  2. Colin I would just say that that almost reinforces Obornes point
    He says that recently more coverage has been given-largely as it was becoming more and more difficult to ignore once the police were involved
    All your news items are from this month but even so most are not that prominent for such a potentially huge story
    Prior to this despite the c4 story on it being ongoing for months and months it was almost totally ignored in contrast to the much more minor and local Rahman story
    I have to say I don’t often agree with Oborne politically but he is on the whole a fairminded journalist and often very interesting

  3. TULLY

    He is certainly interesting-and not a stranger to conspiracy theory. !

    On the matter under discussion-I quite like the Guardians’s answer to its own question -“Why isn’t this a huge scandal, across the news everywhere?”

    It is in this interesting article :-


  4. Syzygy

    A succinct description of the electoral fiddle scandal.


  5. Good morning all from a damp miserable WC2N


    “I also liked someone’s description of Boris as “a politically correct Donald Trump”.

    ![1] I get the distinct impression that the Media Elite/Oxbridge Mafia will never forgive him for telling the world about the pigs’s head and so have decided on a sentence of damnatio memoriae”

    I also like the description of Boris as a “political correct Donald Trump”, however can you remind me the storey of the pig’s head again? …….in magna detail ;-)

  6. #story

  7. Colin
    Yes i had read that by the Guardian
    I thought it was extremely weak as I have said why make so much of the Rahman case by comparison plus the fact that the guardian in the l;ast couple of weeks has run at least one story on very dubious evidence
    Also the fact that it may or may not lead anywhere has never stopped the media before
    Its also been argued elsewhere that the IF isnt as big as they imply-certainly Crick has said to his knowledge the tories are very worried about it
    Agree Crossbat set the intrepid bbc onto it !!
    Anyway new thread!

  8. ps allan i was aware of the error thx but i have a disabilty that makes typing v difficult so sometimes i just cant manage correction!
    so please excuse errors punctuation etc -its not cos i’m stupid!

  9. I have always had my suspicions about online polls – they have always had too much a whiff of the self selecting polls that we all have concerns about. and I’ve always preferred phone polls.

    But I can understand why they are preferred by pollsters and their clients as they are cheap to run. But in polling on anything where some of the options will have more enthusiastic/fanatical supporters – I can see why online polls will trend in favor of these options, but how do you correct for this I don’t know.

    At least with voting polls the online polls can correct for too high numbers for parties with enthusiastic supporters based on the G.E. But for the referendum where “Leave” supporters are like to be far more enthusiastic for their choice than “Remain” supporters I don’t know how you do this correction – unless like ICM you run some parallel online/phone polling.

    But even then until we have the referendum you can not say for certain which is more correct. You can have your suspicion as I do – but as a “Remain” supporter I cannot tell if my intuition is just that – or a biased hope from my preference.

    I do hope that ICM run a duel poll as their final poll of the lead up to the referendum so we can finally get the answer.

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