ICM’s latest poll from the Guardian is out, with topline figures of CON 43%(+2), LAB 26%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 11%(-3), GRN 6%(+2) – changes are from ICM’s last poll, conducted for the Sun on Sunday in mid-September.

The seventeen point Conservative lead is the largest that ICM have shown in any poll since October 2009 (the Guardian cites it as the largest since 2008, but I think that’s because they are looking at the ICM/Guardian series of polls – the 2009 poll was one for the News of the World).

The size of the lead is likely flattered by the timing – it was conducted over the weekend, so the Conservatives could have expected some sort of boost from Theresa May’s first conference as leader. It’s also worth noting that ICM do tend to produce some of the most pro-Conservative voting intention figures – they have adopted a substantial number of changes since the polling errors of 2015 (switching to online, weighting by political knowledge, reallocating don’t knows differently and modelling turnout based on age and social class) which tend to produce the most pro-Conservative figures. That’s not to say they are wrong – in 2015 all the pollsters understated the Tory lead, so it’s very likely that in correcting those errors, changes will me made that produce more Conservative figures. We won’t know for sure until 2020 whether pollsters have gone too far in those corrections or not far enough.

In this case, even before the turnout weighting ICM would have been showing a very robust 14 point Conservative lead (and the reallocation of don’t knows actually helped Labour). Whatever you did with this data would have produced a huge great Tory lead – it’s the combination of a new Prime Minister, a Conservative conference boost, and a distracted opposition. Full tabs are here.


610 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 43, LAB 26, LD 8, UKIP 11, GRN 6”

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  1. In your analyses, you always seem to find a reason why this poll isn’t actually reflective of how unpopular Corbyn and Labour is at the moment, why it is reflecting some passing phase and not the new normal. Given Labour has been significantly behind for a long-time now, I think you need to accept that there has been a shift.

  2. AW doesn’t have to accept anything. He’s been at this game a long time.

    In psephology, true wisdom lies in skepticism.

    Big changes can happen, but they are the least likely option of those on offer.

  3. Apparently the female subset of this poll has the following figures:

    Con 52%
    Lab 22%
    LD 7%
    UKIP 7%
    Green 6%

    https://twitter.com/matt_dathan/status/785463585539579904/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

  4. It continues to surprise me how well Labour and UKIP are holding up, considering the state they are both in. Also, the LibDems static though they are picking up one or two council by-elections.

  5. AW

    Thank you for the comments I see that you also have picked up on ICM tending to be the most pro Tory polling numbers recently.

    Somerjohn

    TOH: re interesting Jamie Dimon comments. How about this one?

    I know all about it, and a number of bankers have said the same.

    I just thought his comments on the risks to Eurozone were interesting. Brexit is not just about what happens in the UK it’s also about the EU and problems they have as i have posted a number of times.

  6. Anthony,
    The last ICM poll published on 26th September had figures of:
    Con 41 Lab 26 UKIP 14 LD 8 Grn 4.

  7. TOH,

    ‘Brexit is not just about what happens in the UK it’s also about the EU and problems they have as i have posted a number of times.”

    That will be why the Euro has gone from just under 70p this time last year to near 91p now, 5p short of it’s all time high.

    Clearly the worlds money markets are dumping the doomed Euro for the safety of Sterling!

    Peter.

  8. I’ve a question, if anyone knows top-of-mind – where are most Tory votes coming from, compared with GE last year?

    And where are the Labour votes going?

    Will look at the data myself tomorrow if need be.

  9. It continues to surprise me how well Labour and UKIP are holding up, considering the state they are both in.

    Ditto. I can only assume that (a) people aren’t taking the VI question literally (that if there were a GE tomorrow… bit) or (b) there’s a segment who’ve decided that as that bunch of incompetents don’t stand a chance of forming a government it’s OK to vote for them as per usual, or to stop the Tories getting too smug/complacent/raving fascist.

    In the case of UKIP, despite their proportional status as third largest party in most constituencies a FPTP vote for them is still essentially a protest vote.

  10. I agree with AW’s analysis.

    Speculating for 2020, I think that this poll suggests that the Tories have a considerable underlying lead right now, and it’s somewhat likely that they’re win a majority in 2020. However, there are still nearly four years to go, and much can happen, so we shouldn’t put any significant confidence in such speculations.

    May seems to be pulling off the rather impressive feat of superficially making a big U-turn, without actually making a big U-turn, AND not getting into trouble for being regarded as making a U-turn. As with her tenure as Home Secretary, it’s clear she’s not getting into trouble, and I’m not sure quite how she’s managing it.

  11. Sorry.

    In the case of UKIP, despite their proportional status as third largest party, in most constituencies a FPTP vote for them is still essentially a protest vote.

  12. Kester Leek,

    Tory vote retention from 2015 is very high, plus a chunk of 2015 UKIP voters. They’re getting a smaller chunk from 2015 Labour and Lib Dems.

    The Labour vote isn’t that far down from 2015, and seems to be going pretty evenly towards the Tories, UKIP, and Lib Dems.

  13. FPT:

    The most creative proposal I have seen for London’s projected housing requirements is from a British planner who is a masterplanner in a Middle Eastern city who says make Thamesmead, which is London’s largest brownfield site iirc, into an ultra-high density neighbourhood as used elsewhere.

    That is a density of 160 units/acre. Or 3x that of the Barbican.

    Then that alone would provide more than 50% of London’s projected housing needs … 250k units. I can see the attraction, as London is the place to try continental style living.

    https://andrewlainton.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/if-londons-green-belt-is-inviolate-you-have-to-redevelop-thamemead-for-350000-dwellings/

  14. A simpler explanation for why Labour and UKIP don’t drop lower. like the libdems is that for a number of reasons their is a floor to their support.

    In the case of Labour even with corny seen as ineffective or being blasted by the press and a Party at war with itself it is still probably the case that about 1 in 4 want a labour Government and will vote for it even if it is a lost cause.

    Look back a decade or so to before the Iraq war,the era of Howard, IDs and Haig when Blair seemed untouchable but still about one it three wanted a tory government and would still vote for it.

    I suppose it’s why the betting odds are so different from the polling numbers. Labour may be on 26% to the Tories 43% but I think the odds on them winning an election tomorrow would be a lot less than 4/7.

    Like Anthony there are caveats due to high profile events that can distort a single poll and house effects too but I tend to take them as read unless they are significantly out from the norm.

    The figure that struck me as odd if it is true is the one from a few weeks ago that suggested that 23% think Brexit will only be fulfilled if all EU nationals currently in the UK go home.

    If it’s true and about 1 in 4 want to send everyone back then what kind of society are we.

    Peter.

  15. “If it’s true and about 1 in 4 want to send everyone back then what kind of society are we.”

    One that’s rather different to that which lives in the imagination of most politicians, the BBC etc.

  16. @Peter Cairns

    That’s a very exact ‘roughly a year ago’ though, being the lowest point since the credit crunch. A less cherry picked statement would be the euro’s gone from ~85p to ~90p, and from ~ $1.40 to ~$ 1.12, and the pound from ~$1.60 to ~$1.24

    Meanwhile the Hungarian Forint has gone from $0.45 to 0.37
    The Polish Z?oty from $ 0.32 to 0.27
    Romanian Leu .3 to .25
    Swedish Krona .16 to .12
    Norwegian Krone .17 to .12
    Swiss Franc $1.10 to 1.02

    EU is struggling, and proportionally most (but not all) of the £s fall is the same general EU loss.

  17. Sad to see, but the rather naff trend of trying to frighten people by pretending to be clown has spread from the US and is now increasingly being seen over here.

    In fact, it could be even worse in the UK. Over there, a terrifying clown character is making a run for the Whitehouse, but over here, one of our major parties has already elected one.

    Where will all this end?

    :)

  18. Pete B,

    It is a bit like you say I think.

    On the one hand you have the oft quoted “you can’t talk about immigration without being branded a racist.” and on the other a steadfast refusal on the part of the political parties to acknowledge that it would appear so many want some sort of repatriation.

    I have been on lots of doorsteps over the years talking to voters at elections.

    Unfortunately more often than not when immigration comes up those that are willing to talk about, it insist they aren’t racist and resent being called it, if they talk about immigration.

    However and this has always struck me as The Elephant in the Room, give them the space to express their views and pretty soon you find yourself listening politely to stuff that is quite clearly racist.

    They don’t see it as such or think they are, but it often boils down to, it’s because they are different and not like us. If pressed on exactly whey that is a problem or why it matters they tend to just say because it’s not right and they don’t like it.

    They simply feel that it’s not right that different people from them are here, because their different.

    Now I find that odd and a bit disturbing and really don’t think they are racist or xenophobic as such so much as uneasy and uncomfortable with change.

    I just don’t quite know how to describe it. I kind of think that one mans small c conservative is another racist. One mans traditionalist is another Ludite.

    Anthony has often, more eloquently than me, talked about the way in which people are often not really sure or struggle to articulate why they hold certain views or vote a particular way and think this is a good example of this.

    Peter.

  19. Wood,

    Go to the BBC News Web page;
    Click on business, go to markets;
    Click on currencies. Dollar/Sterling comes up first, but you can switch to Euro/Dollar then scroll down to Pound and then select 12months.

    That gives you the Year highs and lows.

    You can use 70p to 90p if you want and call it 6p till and all time high, but it makes little difference.

    There is no sign the markets think the Euro is failing or going to. They may think the EU will pump money into it and it might rise, but they aren’t abandoning it, quite the opposite.

    Peter.

  20. Peter C
    Wise words. I heard John Mann on the Sunday Politics saying that the Shadow Cabinet should actually get out knocking doors so that they can gauge what ordinary people are thinking. On the other hand, after Emily Thornberry’s notorious tweet perhaps they’re better staying in London.

    “They simply feel that it’s not right that different people from them are here, because their different.
    Now I find that odd and a bit disturbing and really don’t think they are racist or xenophobic as such so much as uneasy and uncomfortable with change.”

    I’m not saying it is right or wrong, but I think it is a perfectly natural feeling that if you have lived in an area all your life and have seen it change from a homogeneous area where nearly everyone shares the same culture and language to one where many shop signs are in a foreign language, many people don’t speak English (or even Scots!), people wander round in outfits that you only used to see in books, and many of them are hostile to the indigenous people, then yes, many people will feel uncomfortable. When our laws are prejudiced in favour of the newcomers that adds to the problem.

  21. Peter Cairns

    I can relate to that description, I have several people in my family who would fit the bill as outrageously racist once they start speaking their opinion. Other than that they are quite pleasant and normal people. Of course they would be horrified to be classed as racist.

    I do think this is quite a typical thing for people in the country as a whole (although from the perspective of only seeing one small corner of the country)

  22. Wood,
    “Norwegian Krone .17 to .12
    Swiss Franc $1.10 to 1.02
    EU is struggling, and proportionally most (but not all) of the £s fall is the same general EU loss.”

    Switzerland and Norway aren’t in the EU.

  23. @PeterCairns.
    Point I’m making, TOH saying the UKs problems aren’t just it’s own, but substantially weakness in the EU, you respond by comparing UK to EU currency…which by simple logic will exclude EU weakness.

    Responding to ‘both A & B are shrinking/have shrunk’ with
    ‘Lol no, A has shrunk relative to B [snark and rhetoric]’ is a basic logic fail.

    Second point, that (by sheer coincidence) within that misleading comparison, you happened to pick the starting point as the euros post credit crunch low. Other than making stuff up, you could not, even with many many typewriters and almost as many monkeys, have come up with a response that was more misleading or less a rebuttal.

  24. Peter Cairns,
    “The figure that struck me as odd if it is true is the one from a few weeks ago that suggested that 23% think Brexit will only be fulfilled if all EU nationals currently in the UK go home. ”

    Was that 23% of Leave voters, or 23% of voters in general?

    It could be that some don’t necessarily want this to happen, but think that was what was being voted on.

    Agreed though that a significant minority will be unhappy when they find out EU citizens that are already here can stay permanently. What they will do politically is a cause for concern, especially if UKIP finds work for idle hands post-Brexit. Any party built on a scapegoat rather than policy is going to look for more scapegoats when they can no longer blame EU membership.

  25. “We won’t know for sure until 2020 whether pollsters have gone too far in those corrections or not far enough.”
    And you won’t know then, either, because if the polls are wrong again, you won’t know whether it is because the ‘corrections’ are too large or too small, or whether there is another source of error you are unaware of, or just a sampling error towards the extreme end of the range. Even if the polls are right, it may simply be that the ‘corrections’ have been counterbalanced by some other effect.
    If a prediction is correct within an MoE of a few percent, that is the best you can hope for. If the margin of victory is less than that, you may be lucky and get it right.
    More frequent elections might allow correction factors to be tested.
    Suppose turnout at the next general election rises to say 85%. What does that do to polling predictions?

  26. @Edge Of Seat

    I know that, but they’re both overwhelmingly linked. I’d have gone on to other european currencies if I could be bothered..

  27. Edge of Seat

    Voters in general I believe.

    A list of situations was given and responders asked to say in each case if they thought that meant the terms Brexit were not fulfilled.

    It might be a case of people thinking it was like a menu and “I can have that as well?” as opposed to believing it was part of the referendum.

  28. >The figure that struck me as odd if it is true is the one from a few weeks ago that suggested that 23% think Brexit will only be fulfilled if all EU nationals currently in the UK go home.

    Can anyone provide a link to the poll/survey for that number.

    I haven’t seen it.

    Cheers

  29. Wood,

    TOH has consistently pointed to the problems in the EU and the collapse of the euro, so I just reminded him that the markets aren’t taking the same view.

    As to my figures;

    “Other than making stuff up, you could not, even with many many typewriters and almost as many monkeys, have come up with a response that was more misleading or less a rebuttal.”

    The figures I gave for the Euro/Sterling are correct, even if you don’t like them.

    it’s no surprise that two of the currencies you quote aren’t in the EU and two others want to join the Euro, although the Poles have cooled a bit recently.

    “which by simple logic will exclude EU weakness.”

    Th idea that the strength of the Euro excludes the EU’s weakness is nonsense, if the problems of the EU were as manifest as some believe and it was a worry to markets it would inevitably impact on the currency, it has on ours.

    The strength of the Euro, how much it is traded and the amount held by Central Banks, all better than for sterling shows that globally the EU is seen as strong.

    What the Euros strength shows is that the financial system still has confidence in the EU and euro despite it’s problems.

    Peter.

  30. @Wood

    “Other than making stuff up, you could not, even with many many typewriters and almost as many monkeys, have come up with a response that was more misleading or less a rebuttal.”

    ——–

    Ah, you obviously missed the time Peter and I were discussing the price of oil…

  31. @Peter C

    “They simply feel that it’s not right that different people from them are here, because their different.

    Now I find that odd and a bit disturbing and really don’t think they are racist or xenophobic as such so much as uneasy and uncomfortable with change.”

    ———-

    There’s possibly more than one factor lying behind this. One, is the research I’ve mentioned on here before now, that I came across a couple of years ago in the New Scientist, which showed people unconsciously objectifying people different to them. They automatically tend to see them more as objects.

    Related to this, is the research showing that people tend to have best friends who are genetically more similar to them, even if they are foreign.

    And of course, when people are more different, its going to require greater empathy to make it work, so those who are more empathetically challenged are potentially going to find a normal relationship with foreign peeps difficult.

    It’s not all bad, because the objectification thing can result in peeps sometimes preferring foreigners as leaders because are perceived a less likely to have favourites, hence more likely to be objective and impartial.

  32. If petrol does go up by 5p a litre, that might start a few interesting thoughts.

  33. @Peter Cairns

    I think that was a pretty fair description of attitudes towards immigration. Many people would be aghast to be termed racist, but nevertheless use terminology that others would regard as unacceptable.

    My big concern is that ‘immigration’ has become a catch-all word to describe quite a disparate group of concerns. In particular, I am one of, I suspect, many, who are not alarmed by immigration at all ( rather welcome it in fact ), but are very worried by excessively rapid population growth. But I never hear a politician or commentator use the term ‘rapid population growth’ to describe the current challenges to housing provision, infrastructure and the protection of the countryside. Instead they choose the term ‘immigration’, which in a technical sense has nothing to do with these issues.

  34. Carfrew,

    “There’s possibly more than one factor lying behind this.”

    I’ve heard it described as the “Tyranny of the Amygdala”

    We are genetically hard wired to react to change, particularly things that are out of the ordinary.

    The brain filters out the mundane and looks for things that might be a danger or an advantage. If you can tell the difference between a Mountain and a Mountain Lion you survive if not your genes don’t get passed on.

    It’s the Amydala that triggers the flight or fight response. A really useful technique for staying alive.

    But reel forward a million years and go to a supermarket and then you finer out all the background noise until two shelf stackers speak in Polish.

    Your brain will ignore all the other conversations in English but the Polish one will stand out because it’s different. Not only that it will trigger an emotional response that alerts you.

    It’s very subtle but the effect is in part to make you feel that their are more foreigners than their actually are and that their is something not right about it.

    To what extent it is the reason for peoples feeling rather than just adds to them i am not sure.

    I think in part it is that too much change unsettles us because we want stability.

    It may even be that as we get older, much older that our species has historically lived, the more vulnerable we become physically the more we grow to fear the unknown.

    If you are old and weak you want to start running before the rest of the herd as they will run faster.

    So it could be that at least in part we are all victims of the way our brains have evolved.

    Peter.

  35. @Peter C

    “I’ve heard it described as the “Tyranny of the Amygdala””

    —————-

    Ah, I wasn’t thinking of that. This fear of change thing you describe is a bit different from the objectification thing, and so it’s possible they may combine to make the effect more powerful, along with empathy issues etc.

  36. Millie,

    Last election UKIP used the phrase; “It’s about space not race” and I thought it would get more traction than it did.

    On the positive side it does reflect a real concern that many have and on the negative it would give those who really don’t like foreigners an excuse to stop them coming here.

    That we have been happy to take all the economic benefits of immigration but skimped on dealing with the pressures is largely our own fault.

    For the last thirty years we have voted largely for free market low tax Parties in one form or another and the consequence of that is under investment in public facilities.

    So when the pressure builds and a recession comes along at the same time, the work left undone in the good years becomes apparent.

    We blame politicians but, we the voters didn’t give the ones who wanted to increase taxes and build social housing a look in.

    We point the finger at immigration, but not at the fact that the largest pressure is the rise in single person households and people living in accommodation larger than they need.

    I lived for a while in a flat in the area where my parents grew up. Old red sandstone tenements in Glasgow.

    In their day they had a one bedroom flat with three kids and my elderly mother in law. Most of the flats around them were the same. When we lived their only one couple had a child and almost half were single people.

    So if “up the Close” you have four floors and two flat aa floor, in the fifties it would hold close to 40 people, now it might have only a dozen. The same housing but a third of the people, or put another way, we need more than double times the houses for the same number.

    Peter.

  37. Peter et al

    Agreed about certain innate developments in the human brain BUT like most social thinking, “othering” can have both negative and positive consequences, so we can be manipulated into focussing positively or negatively on differences.

    Raising fears about “others” is easy to do, which is why it so dangerous for politicians and media to reinforce the fears.

    While the strategies proposed a the Tory Conference were not, in themselves, xenophobic, they did feed into a perception that disliking foreigners was OK.

    That contradicts the movement towards greater social tolerance that we have seen over the last few decades.

  38. Where do posters feel the polls would be if Remain had won through in June? Presumably Cameron and Osborne would still be in power. Would the Tory right be ripping into them still? Would Labour have still tried to dethrone Corbyn?
    Would Farage still been UKIP leader? Would UKIP polling be a lot higher than it is now?

    It’s been an extra-ordinary few months.

    As for the latest polls they are dreadful for Labour. The damage has been done to Corbyn and I expect a more senior figure within the party to challenge him inside the next 12 months.

  39. Peter Cairns

    It might be due to a lack of suitable housing that people aren’t marrying and producing enough kids. Hard to say which is the cause and which is the effect (I suspect there is a level of co-integration happening here). “You can’t raise a child here” seems like a powerful narrative.

    It’s certainly a factor which is one of the theories behind the low birth rate in Tokyo with a lot of very small living spaces and cost of “upgrading” to something suitable for a family is prohibitive.

  40. Mike Pearce

    What do Labour do when he wins again?

  41. PETER CAIRNS (SNP)

    Your comments are normally more thoughtful than that.

    The £ is bound to have a period of ups and downs as we go through the Brexit process. As you well know I fully expected that, so I see little point to your post.

  42. Good Evening All.
    AW: Many thanks for the ICM poll.
    Labour and Lib Dem figues look high, for my untutored brain, now coming to the end of 39 years in the classroom, as OLD NAT may know (smile).

    It looks as though the social movement led by Corbyn is not yet getting through in terms of votes. He did tweet that he was proud to have appointed three women to positions as Secretary of State in the Foreign Office, the Home Office’ and Attorney General’s Office.

  43. Chrislane1945

    Can he appoint secretaries of state as leader of the opposition now? Or did I miss something dramatic and we now have Corbyn as PM?

  44. Alan

    I dont think that’s a given. If the polls are even remotely as bad as this next summer then I believe there will be some realism seeping through the party. Owen Smith was not a strong contender. A Dan Jarvis or a Keir Starmer would be. I don’t think Corbyn would necessarily beat either of them.

  45. PETER CAIRNS (SNP)

    Looking at comments to others it seems you were actually trying to make the point that the Euro is strong and stable and there is no threat to the long term future of the EU from its’ currency.

    If you really believe that then I think you are living in la la land. As has been pointed out to you there is lot’s of evidence that the Euro potentially unstable and a threat to the future of the EU because of the imbalance between EU economies.

    and no I’m not going to dig out all the references, off to watch University challenge.

  46. Mike Pearce

    I don’t think it’s a given but if they have another go he’ll set up the narrative that it’s these constant challenges that is stopping him being able to get his message across (which will be enough for some people) I think the last challenge was a mistake, if you are going to knife someone you better be sure of finishing the job. Knifing him and only then looking around to find someone to finish him off and only coming up with Owen Smith was a mistake. It could only work if that person CAN finish him off. Owen Smith was not that man, and never looked like being.

    The last challenge had no hope of success and never looked as if it might.

    Another one within a year would seem a bit gratuitous and if that failed Labour really would be stuck with him (and who knows for how long?)

  47. If the polls continue like this I can’t see how Labour would fail to at least try and remove the leadership next summer. The trouble is that quite a lot of people now don’t believe polls and so are unlikely to be swayed by their evidence: performance at the local elections next year will therefore be more important.

    I rather like all these polls as they give me such an alternative viewpoint to everything I see in general political discourse, which is almost 100% Labour and current leader supporting. I don’t share those opinions, but then I keep very quiet about politics except on here as there’s no point in inviting abuse from those with passionate conviction.

  48. “Last election UKIP used the phrase; “It’s about space not race” and I thought it would get more traction than it did.”

    ————

    Yes, well, it might be getting uncomfortably close to the “living room” thing at the risk of invoking Godwin.

    it’s amazing how the same old propaganda cliches resurface…

  49. “If the polls continue like this I can’t see how Labour would fail to at least try and remove the leadership next summer.”

    ———–

    Hell, why not, trying to remove the leader seems to be their main preoccupation these days, playing Whackamole with Corbyn, may as well make it an annual event…

  50. @Carfrew,

    Heaven Forfend! Of course “living room” was specifically for a particular race, if you remember. Take that out of the equation, plus remove the intention to forcibly acquire it from your neighbours, and you have something a whole lot less troubling.

    There really is a desire to treat anything that gets within a thousand miles of discussing immigration as one small step short of genocide. No wonder half the country feels alienated by the chattering classes.

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