New party leaders normally enjoy a honeymoon in the polls. It’s noticeable for leaders taking over in opposition, on the relatively rare occassion that the party leadership changes hands in government the honeymoon is often remarkable. In the last fifty years there have been three previous occasions when the premiership changed hands between-elections:

  • Wilson-Callaghan, 1976. When Harold Wilson announced his resignation in the middle of March the polls were showing a Conservative lead of between two and five points. The polls immediately following Wilson’s resignation and during Callaghan’s first month in office showed Labour leads of between one and seven points, before returning to a steady Tory lead in May.
  • Thatcher-Major, 1990. Margaret Thatcher was famously removed by the Tory party in November 1990. In the month before the leadership election Labour had an average poll lead of thirteen points. In the month immediately following her resignation and replacement by John Major the Conservatives had an average lead of five points, peaking at 11 points. Over the next few months the polls settled down to an average Tory lead of four points or so.
  • Blair-Brown, 2007. The Blair-Brown handover was a more drawn out affair: Blair announced his resignation at the start of May 2007, when the Conservatives had a poll lead of around six points, and actually handed over to Gordon Brown at the end of June. Through July and August Brown enjoyed an average Labour lead of around five points, peaking in double-digit leads during the Labour conference at the end of September… and their rapid collapse afterwards. The Conservatives were ahead again by October, and remained so for the rest of the Parliament.

Every mid-term change of Prime Minister has been accompanied by a significant boost in polling figures – in the three historical cases, they’ve gone from trailing the opposition to a clear polling lead. The boosts have tended to be comparatively short though – Callaghan and Major only enjoyed a month or so before settling down into a new equilibrium, Brown enjoyed a honeymoon that lasted several months, but that was probably because he was seem to have responded well to the Glasgow Airport attack and Summer floods. There’s no clear pattern as to where the polls settle after the honeymoon: I suppose it depends very much on the leader. Once the honeymoons had passed the change in leader didn’t make that much difference in 1976 and 2007 (in both cases Labour’s position absolutely tanked a few months down the line… but for different reasons), in 1990 though there was a long lasting improvement in Tory support.

So to the current polling position. Today’s ICM poll has topline figures of CON 43%(+4), LAB 27%(-2), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 13(-1) (tabs are here). It follows on from an ICM poll last week showing the Conservatives ten points ahead, a YouGov poll giving the Conservtives an eleven point lead and an Opinium poll giving them a more modest six point lead. All four polls had Labour around or just below 30% and the Conservatives nearer 40%, UKIP down a little from the levels of support they’d been showing before the referendum.

Viewed together it certainly looks like the sort of boost a new Prime Minister normally receives, which is a good reason not to read too much into it. New Prime Ministers receive good poll ratings because they haven’t had to annoy too many people yet – the public can project their hopes onto them and convince themselves they really will be different, really will deliver this, that or the other. Before long, however, the shine will come off and they’ll have to start making compromises and disappointing people. This is one good reason for Theresa May not to plan for an early election (and the mistake Gordon Brown made in not shutting down such considerations) – the current polls look wonderful for her, but on past timescales they won’t necessarily be so rosy in a couple of months time. It’s also a crumb of comfort for Labour… though quite a small crumb.

UPDATE: YouGov have fresh voting intention figures that also show a strong lead for the Conservatives, albeit, not quite as big as ICM’s. Their topline figures are CON 40%, LAB 28%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%. Tabs are here

846 Responses to “Leadership honeymoons and ICMs latest poll”

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  1. @ Rich

    London doesn’t “fund Barnett”.

    The UK government uses the Barnett formula to calculate how much of the revenue raised in Scotland should be returned to the Scottish Government in the form of a block grant, which the SG must then use to cover its expenditure.

    Until this year, the SG had no powers to borrow, so they always had to balance their books, and spend only what was in the Block Grant. Further tax-raising powers will be available later.

    For more than 30 of the last 34* years, the amount returned to Scotland was less than the revenues raised there. In other words, Scotland, together with London and the rest of the south-east of England, subsidized the rest of the UK.

    You may be confusing
    a) the fact that per capita expenditure in a less-densely populated country tends to be higher than in a densely-populated one (Alec has explained just how densely-populated England is) due to accessibility, with
    b)an imbalance between revenue and expenditure.

    (I’m sure you don’t think people in Scotland are not taxed.)

    *The relevant statistics (GERS – Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) have been published annually in arrears since 1992.

  2. @RM

    He discussed at length the likelihood that the rules were at least in part drafted by or with the assistance of lawyers. Which one would have thought would lead one to incline towards a strict readin go what was written.

    Also, it’s not really correct to say that the rules were written to be read by the membership. I suspect that (at least before the current todo) only a tiny percentage had ever looked at them. The “readership” will have been party officials and those charged with running the party. These weren’t a “guide for the member”. They were articles of association, constitution and rulebook.

    It’s all moot anyway. I agreed with the outcome of the judgment, even if not how he got there.

  3. Carfrew

    Not aimed at you, the Scottish debate today is like an episode of the Twilight Zone

  4. @Rach

    Ah, Okies. I haven’t read up on the afternoon’s revelries yet, been clothes shopping at Urban Outfitters and having a chat about music and stuff…

  5. @oldnat et al,

    Listen, speaking sensibly ‘non partisan’ for a moment then, when it comes to children’s services, there won’t be an MP in parliament who doesn’t want to see world class protection for children. Certainly not in this day and age. It’s a lazy narrative to suggest anybody right of centre cares more for their bank balance than they do for people or children’s welfare.

    I just feel, from all I have read over the last weeks on this legislation, it was maybe with noble intent, but it in a small part at least goes back to the guilty until proven innocent ethos which I do think has problems. It’s a potentially huge resource constraint for 99% of parents who don’t want or need it.

    The issue is how do you give the greater protection to the 1% genuinely in need of help as early as possible? (without such a broad stroke solution) of course this isn’t easy, but it’s unfair and lazy to say anybody who disagrees with the proposals is somehow complicit with child abuse or cares not for children. As somebody with a child myself, I would sign up for just about anything that genuinely protected children in need, but I would always have reservations on something that might interfere or ever have the potential to dictate parenting to good parents in loving households.

  6. SNP ruling

    To be fair to the SNP I have no doubt they introduced the Named Person legislation for the best of intentions.

  7. @Roger Mexico @Robin

    Para 50 demonstrates that in the Judge’s own legal opinion the rules clearly provided that Corbyn did not need nominations. It’s only then that he considers what members might understand from the clause. Here is Para 50:

    “50. I have to say that a fair reading of Clause II.B.2 (i) and (ii) reveals a natural and ordinary meaning that seems to me to be entirely clear. My view of their combined effect can be summarised thus: (a) where there is a vacancy for Leader, anyone who wishes to be considered for the position would require nominations from 15% of the combined Commons members of the PLP and EPLP in order to be a candidate in the election; (b) where there is no vacancy (because the Leader is still in place), anyone who wishes to challenge the Leader’s right to continue as Leader would need nominations from 20% of the combined Commons members of the PLP and EPLP in order to mount such a challenge; (c) the Leader would not in that situation (where there is no vacancy) be someone who was a “challenger” for the leadership and, accordingly, would require no nominations in order to compete in the ballot to retain his/her position as Leader.”

  8. On the rule book

    I guess if it is rewritten (although the judge clearly did not consider it necessary), then it will move to open primary, so the sufficient number of support by MPs will be removed (and rightly so, imo).

    It would fit nicely with the movement motion.

  9. Motion should have been notion

  10. @Rich
    “there won’t be an MP in parliament who doesn’t want to see world class protection for children. Certainly not in this day and age”

    I don’t think the people abused by Janner would agree with you.

  11. Rich

    “I would always have reservations on something that might interfere or ever have the potential to dictate parenting to good parents in loving households.”

    Of course. Had the provision of Named Persons been designed to do that, not only would SLab, SLD, Green and Tory MSPs have voted against it – so would the SNP ones!

    I linked upthread to the purposes of the Named Person scheme. Have a look at it. There is nothing in there about wanting to “dictate parenting to good parents in loving households.”

    It does provide a person to go to, however, if things go wrong. Is your child a teenager, and going through a vulnerable period in his/her life and you need to access help?

    If you are an informed soul (which I imagine you are) then you wouldn’t need to go to an NP – you might be able to directly access the most appropriate source of help – or you might not.

    “It’s a potentially huge resource constraint for 99% of parents who don’t want or need it. ”

    I fear that you have misunderstood. Every primary pupil already has a Head Teacher. Every Secondary pupil already has a Guidance Teacher. Most pre-school kids have a Head of Nursery (but sometimes more than one, so having a particular person identified is sensible). Every pre-Nursery child already has a Health Visitor (but there is a shortage of staff here, which needs to be, and is being, addressed.

    These aren’t new jobs – just ensuring that every relevant Service identifies the NP, and lets the parent know who that is.

    The NP has no right to tell parents how to bring up their kids – anymore than they do in their present jobs. It’s silly scaremongering.

    The question of information sharing between agencies is a complex and difficult one. The present system is deficient. The proposed model lacks sufficient clarity and purpose to match Article 8 requirements.

    So the Scottish government will address these deficiencies, bring a new Bill to Parliament, and it is most likely to pass – since the Greens have already said they will accept the necessary amendments to make the scheme ECHR compliant.

    Most of the discussion on this thread about the provision of NPs has been from those furth of Scotland, who probably didn’t even know of the scheme until today’s court decision.

    Rabid comments about totalitarianism (read the court’s description in context – not as it’s portrayed) or Toties hating kids, don’t help much.

    Fortunately, it’s all froth. The Scottish Government accepts the court’s judgement , and will improve the legislation to an acceptable level.

    It won’t solve every problem, but it will bring about a degree of improvement for many children in Scotland.

  12. Alec (if you are around)

    While we disagree on some things, I always welcome your views on energy issues.

    Given the current question over Hinkley point, have you a view on this report that wind energy for the countries around the North Sea is cheaper than nuclear?

  13. And does that wind power report affect this suggestion – as tweeted by “Sam Coates Times

    EDF expected Hinkley Point to get UK gvt approval over subsidy deal tomorrow. Now unexpected UK gvt delay until (at least) September. Wow”


  14. That wind farm story has various problems and some fundamental information and associated costs missing,

    I don’t have the will to post any detail right now.

    ps; I have twenty years experience in the energy market. (in case you wondered. I didn’t go in to economics, I went in to energy). :-)

  15. I am reluctant to comment on proposed legislation which I have not read in full, especially Scottish legislation. There are, however, a number of problems with the single named person idea. It sounds great to have a single point of contact but that assumes that the child, or the parent, finds that person acceptable. In my experience, there are many children who find school to be the problem and would never approach a teacher, certainly not the head teacher.

    In what now seems like a previous life, I spent many hours trying to track down named social workers who were always otherwise occupied when meetings were required. I am afraid that this will also happen under the proposed legislation.

    Finally there are issues of privacy, which has to be balanced with the risks to vulnerable children and the accuracy of information held and shared. I have a feeling that this is yet another clever idea that won’t really work in practice because it adds to, rather than reduces the workload.

  16. Rich

    “That wind farm story has various problems and some fundamental information and associated costs missing,”

    They often do – which is why I asked for some clarification from those on here who might know about that sector.

    It’s a policy that some of those on here [1] who chose to post their opinions on the Named Persons policy might have paused to do.

    [1] I’m not including you fully on that. :-)

  17. @oldnat

    Fair enough, I know very little about children’s services, I’ll admit that!

    The only thing I will say broadly on energy, as I don’t like commenting too much in relation to my job, is that after twenty years in the industry, I am absolutely 100% certain that the correct way forward for energy is to have a balanced portfolio of energy provision. A mixture of carbons, nuclear and renewables. Over time this balance will evolve and change, but to hang your hat on any one area is foolish for a whole variety of reasons that I really care not to go in to in great detail.

    I have read a lot of misinformed stuff over the years on energy, sadly much of it is politically motivated. People completely denouncing nuclear and fossil fuels/carbons in favour of 100% renewables, yet at the same time failing to point out that this path, apart from having less than dubious scalability, would have led to sky high bills for a long long time. Of course over time as renewables gets better and technology improves, the business case improves, but it still has drawbacks. For example, the wind rarely blows to the tune of peak energy demand…

  18. RMJ1

    “I am reluctant to comment on proposed legislation which I have not read in full, especially Scottish legislation”

    Very wise – and, of course, the practical difficulties that you refer to aren’t going to disappear, but neither are they going to be exacerbated!

    The legislation isn’t (and was never intended to be) “revolutionary”. It develops what already happens, but adds some aspects of formality to it.

    You might like to take a look at the response of those operating the pilot in the Highlands –

  19. Rich

    Yep! If I knew lots about energy provision, I would be expounding on it, not asking questions!

    In the longer term, it seems to my inexpert view that accessing renewable energy across Europe makes sense, if its technologically viable.

    Thermal (mainly from Iceland), Solar (mainly from both sides of the Med), Hydro (from places with appropriate geography), Wind and Tidal (mainly from Scotland/Ireland as well as other west facing states) and schemes like pumped storage hydro (as in Norway/Scotland) sound like safer non-carbon sources than nuclear.

    Of course, that depends on politics (self-sufficiency) as well as economics of unit cost – and probably lots of other things I don’t understand!

  20. Prediction time. Out of total boredom at a lack of Scottish Polls VI or indyref voting intentions, I am going to make a prediction based upon crossbreaks and data from the limited YouGov Scottish polling. My guess is Labour Scottish vote has all but gone mainly to the Tories with small amounts to SNP and Greens, looking at the Scottish polling crossbreaks their SP16 voters and GE15 voters don’t seem to like them anymore.

    So my guess is next poll will see Labour low double figures (10-14) & Tories high 20s, SNP up a small amount and Greens with likewise a small boost.

    I am not so sure regarding the Yes % but anecdotally I’d say it will be above 50% excluding DKs but with a high % of DKs.

  21. “Wind and Tidal”


    …and Wave…

  22. @Oldnat – yes, quietly watching, waiting for someone to call my name.

    I suspect that wind power is now effectively cheaper than nuclear, in simple £/kWh terms, although as @Rich says, it’s more complex than a simple price comparison. The issue of managing power supplies in total is a lot more than working out which source is the cheapest.

    I would generally agree with @Rich, in that we need to have a balanced supply, and I wouldn’t personally exclude nuclear from that. All sources have their issues, but wind is certainly overcoming a number of problems it used to have, with costs falling and offshoring helping mitigate intermitency.

    I can foresee further advances for renewables in general, with demand management through smart meters and electric cars, and large scale battery/energy storage, which is getting a good deal of attention, but we will always need other sources for base load, balancing and peak surges.

  23. Somewhat excoriating report on the IMF here, written by the IMF!

    The Eurozone folks effectively captured the IMF and as a result they made some disastrous decisions on the Euro crisis.

    I’m rather pleased that the IMF has now finally caught up with some of the noble posters here on UKPR, who have been saying for ages that the Euro is a defective and potentially disastrous experiment.

  24. @Rich

    “but it still has drawbacks. For example, the wind rarely blows to the tune of peak energy demand…”


    over time, the idea is to have so much installed capacity that even light breezes generate sufficient power. Much of the time you’re in surplus and can sell it…

    Of course, as we develop a hydrogen economy an alternative is to use excess energy to electrolyse water, storing the resulting hydrogen which you can then burn in generators for extra power when needed. Long term, could use surplus power to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and use it to make hydrocarbons.

    But Thorium could give an abundance of course…

  25. @Alec

    have you seen Musk’s Gigafactory?!!

  26. @Rich

    Also as more electric cars join the grid, they can be used to store excess energy too…

  27. Alec

    Thanks. I can see the need for provision for peak surges – especially where the provision is so close to the supply need.

    Wouldn’t that provision be better made via the technology improvements that provide better storage of power – pump storage, hydrogen etc, rather than nuclear which, if I understand correctly, puts out power constantly at a rather high price, as well as leaving the planet with the problem of dealing with the waste?

    Carfrew has added wave power to my list of steady renewables. The more of these that exist will presumably reduce the need for nuclear and/or fossil backup – though good carbon capture should reduce problems with the latter..

  28. “I’m rather pleased that the IMF has now finally caught up with some of the noble posters here on UKPR, who have been saying for ages that the Euro is a defective and potentially disastrous experiment.”


    I don’t think I’ve ever given the Euro a good slagging. Other peeps seemed to have it covered. If I’d known it’d determine nobility tho’…

  29. ” Carfrew has added wave power to my list of steady renewables.”


    And biomass etc…

  30. Carfrew

    And reducing demand by decently insulating existing houses more efficiently than requiring energy companies to carry it out?

  31. Couper

    One of STV’s resident Tory journos, Aidan Kerr has been fed the results of another question in YG’s Scottish poll – this time from Scotland in Union.

    As always with this kind of feed from questions, where we haven’t seen the text, I’ll wait to see the tables before assuming that the feed hasn’t been spun.

    “The survey, conducted by YouGov for the Scotland in Union campaign group, found 32% of Scots think the country should wait for the Brexit deal before a repeat of the 2014 ballot.

    A quarter of those surveyed said they do not want another vote on independence until at least 2030, while 17% said there should never be another referendum and 16% wanted a vote as soon as possible.

    YouGov said 9% they did not know and the remainder said they did not agree with any of those views.”

    By my calculation, that means that, if these were all responses to the same question, then “the remainder” was only 1%, which sounds oddly low.

  32. Old bat

    Is that one question or two separate ones? Im reading as two separate questions

    Q1 should a new Indy vote happen before or after an exit deal

    Q2 should there be an Indy ref?

  33. Old nat

    Im terribly sorry, auto correct is playing silly games with me

  34. @CR @OldNar

    Probably playing fast and loose with ‘a quarter’ probably 23% giving 3% for none of the above.

  35. @OldNat I mean

  36. Oxford Rachel

    No problem! :-)

    Yes. I suspect they are – hence my “if these were all responses to the same question”.

    Any decent journalist would clearly identify the different questions, and provide the relevant percentage responses for all the options to both.

    I doubt, however, that Aidan Kerr has actually seen the YG tables either. All he has done is to publish verbatim a press release from an interest group.

    Sadly. such shoddy behaviour is all too common.

    STV is actually an interesting case. Their on screen political commentators are usually more balanced than the BBC Scotland ones, yet their online presence is hardline Tory Unionism.

    My suspicion is that their advertisers never see what appears in Scottish homes, but can be shown the online stuff to demonstrate that STV is “one of them”.

  37. If its a single question then its a horrible poll, its missing out huge swathes of nuance

  38. OldNat – “as tweeted by “Sam Coates Times – EDF expected Hinkley Point to get UK gvt approval over subsidy deal tomorrow. Now unexpected UK gvt delay until (at least) September. Wow”

    Bargaining chips.

    EDF is owned by the French govt. I guess once they heard that Barnier had been appointed by the EU to handle Brexit negotiations, their board hastened to approve the Hinkley Point deal, in order to get it baked in before the negotiations started. With the expectation that Brexit Britain would be grateful that people were still interested in “investing” – even though it is us that is coughing up a £30bn subsidy.

    Mrs May has kiboshed that by announcing another review. Her bucket of bargaining chips thus starts to fill. I expect if necessary she’ll keep delaying until she gets a deal, and if the EU prove stubborn, she’ll simply scrap the project or award it to someone else.

    She’s a lot more hard-headed than Cameron ever was.

  39. Oddnat

    The oxford v cambridge thing gets a lot of people worked up, especially the academics but the town v gown thing is much more interesting to me

  40. @oldnat

    I suppose some might protest it’s not renewable energy per se, but regardless insulation’s worth doing anyways…

    … though ideally energy companies wouldn’t get to use it to increase their profits instead of passing on savings…

  41. @CR

    Looking online Corbyn is storming this election most CLPs are backing him, it might be possible that post election the plotters will give up and settle down to support him.

  42. Cambridge Rachel

    Sorry if I caused offence. The smiley was supposed to indicate the joke, that the name is wholly irrelevant.

    The “town v gown” thing that I hear about Oxbridge is mildly interesting, though. Is it basically a reference to the class issue – given the University destination of so many English upper class folk (as well as those like Carfrew :-) Yes that is a joke, referring to what he has posted about his early schooling!)

    I didn’t come across that conflict in Aberdeen (with its 2 universities) and I wonder whether the phenomenon occurs in other towns with Universities?

  43. Oldnat

    Definitely no offence! Yes the town and gown thing is partly class and partly a regional thing. I doubt that its as pronounced anywhere else except maybe oxford. The university has an enormous amount of power and influence here which is another factor and I guess in many ways the townies use the gown as a scapegoat similar to the EU in other settings

  44. Lol, don’t worry, my class status is a little bit complicated really. Like my genes and my schooling and, well, me I suppose.

    Town vs Gown didn’t crop up often when I was there, but there was this minor incident by the potato van on the High that wound up in court…

    At my boarding school they were so worried about altercations with locals that we were even barred from the coffee shop. Much to my chagrin…

  45. Only a little bit complicated, mind…

  46. Cooper

    But is possible for corbyn to win every CLP by a margin of 51% to 49%. It might be overflattering! Although it does seem like hes winning by big margins where members are allowed to vote. Also its only people who turn up to the meetings that vote, no way of gauging how the stay at home voters feel.

  47. @Rach

    I think part of it is that the Unis are so tightly integrated into the City centres, dreaming spires everywhere, Colleges scattered throughout. Nothing like a campus. I sometimes wonder if the short terms make a difference too, since students aren’t as omnipresent as elsewhere…

  48. I mean the main examination hall is on the High so you have first years and third years in sub fusc routinely spilling out into the street in the city centre and celebrating – not sure that happens so much elsewhere…

  49. Carfrew

    I like to think that you boarding school types were banned from the town’s coffee shop because you lowered the tone of it so much. :-)

  50. Carfrew

    “sub fusc”???

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