ICM and Ipsos MORI both published their latest voting intention figures last week. Topline voting intentions were

Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 39%(+2), LAB 42%(+3), LDEM 9%(nc)
ICM/Guardian – CON 41%, LAB 41%, LDEM 7%

Fieldwork for MORI was over last weekend, changes are from November. The ICM poll was part of a larger than usual sample of 5000, conducted between the 10th and 19th of January. I have not included changes since the previous ICM poll, as this one was actually partially conducted before ICM’s last poll. Full tabs are here for MORI, and here for ICM.

ICM also asked some questions about a second EU referendum. Asked how people would vote in a second referendum 45% said they would vote to Remain, 43% to Leave. These figures are broadly typical of most recent polls asking about a second referendum, which tend to show a very small lead for Remain. As in most other cases this is not really due to people changing their minds (the number of Leave voters switching to Remain is pretty much cancelled out by Remain voters switching to Leave), but down to people who did not vote in 2016 disproportionately claiming they would now vote Remain. The referendum question in this poll was not weighted or filtered by likelihood to vote.

ICM found 47% of people agreeing with a a statement that “I think the public should have the chance to take a final decision on whether or not to leave the EU in another referendum when the outcome of the negotiation is known?”. The Guardian have strangely written this up as a rise in Labour support for a second referendum, when ICM don’t appear to have ever asked this question before to compare it to. As all regular readers will know, how you ask a question can produce very different results and questions on a second referendum seem to show particular variation depending on how the question was asked (see an example here from Lord Ashcroft, asking the question in four different ways). In this case the question was asked as an agree/disagree structure (a question format that tends to produce a skew in favour of the statement), and characterised it in terms of “giving the public the chance to take a final decision”. My guess is that the higher support for a second referendum here may well be down to wording rather than a change in support, though as ever, we’ll only really know when we see repeats of questions that have been asked in the past.

Turning to other questions in the MORI poll, they asked a question on whether Donald Trump should be invited to Prince Harry’s wedding. Asked straight, 23% of people thought that he should, 69% that he should not. Half the sample saw an alternate question asking about inviting both Donald Trump *and* Barack Obama – this produced a slightly less negative response with 39% in favour, but still 54% against.

233 Responses to “Latest ICM and Ipsos MORI polls”

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  1. Ah – time for another General Election then.

  2. The minimal changes in the polls for months make me think that the whole country is metaphorically holding its breath until Brexit is done and dusted. Can we keep it up for another 3 years? I think it will take some really major event to shift opinion one way or another to any great degree before Brexit’s over.


    I general I think hypothecation is unworkable because there will always be people like Pete B who don’t want to pay anything towards the arts, and people like me who don’t want to pay (hardly) anything towards defence, for example.

    But we do have an opportunity with National Insurance to turn that into a hypothecated tax for the NHS and Social Care. N.I. is already related to these areas, and so hypothecating it might be easier to sell to the public than a brand new tax.

    And the hypothecation advantages remain: that the NHS will stop being a political football and will just be allowed to get on with the job with reasonably secure funding over a longer term.

  4. Toby Ebert

    That would only work in a polity where the same government controlled the structure of NI and the NHS.

    It wouldn’t work with 4 NHS systems in the UK, and the NI tax only a Westminster responsibility. Devolving NI would be required.

  5. @OLDNAT

    Yes, you’re right of course….sorry about being English-centric.

    Maybe it would be worth devolving N.I. for this purpose though?

  6. Suppose that unemployment is 20% and the NHS needs a lot of new funds. Do you raise NI to pay for the increase? Or do you cut NHS spending to fund a reduction in the cost of hiring people?

  7. If rather just ni was scrapped altogether and income tax increased appropriately.

    NI is a mess and is prone to all kinds of dodging/avoidance.


    I was only thinking of N.I. as a suitable name for a hypothecated tax that could be used to fund the NHS in a stable and reliable way. As OLDNAT points out it would have to be devolved but the details of how it was collected and who would be liable to it could depend on the devolved governments.

  9. In my opinion NI needs a complete overhaul. For starters everyone needs to pay something. Everybody is entitled to use it so everybody should pay something towards it. 2% on all income including investment income and all benefits.

    Next, I believe that older people should pay slightly more given that they are more likely to use the system and are generally better off, so a minimum of 4% on all income including pensions after the age of 40.

    Third, any income over say £100k should be taxed at 6% after the age of 40.

    Current primary threshold rate should stay the same, so the maximum anyone would pay on any slice of income would remain at 12%.

    I think this would raise the amount received by the NHS by a significant amount whilst spreading the cost fairly amongst more people, and better off people.

  10. I am the only person who thinks there is a paradox or irony in the Hard Brexit wish for an implementation rather than transitional arrangement.

    Labours’ official position (which means given recent history will be DD’s and May’s in a few months ha ha) is that there can’t be a vote on the deal until the terms of the deal are finalised and that will be after March 30th 2019 by which time the UK has left the EU.

    The paradox is that if RJM had his way and the final terms were agreed by this autumn then a referendum on the terms could be held on those terms with a no vote quite possibly leading to a second in/out ref.

    Hard Brexiteers may be more sensible to accept a transitional arrangement as that makes leaving next year even more nailed on. My guess is that they know this and also know that there is no chance of final deal being negotiated this year and their stance is more to do with posturing and positioning within the Tory party.

    Perhaps they are concerned that during the transition the mood in the UK will swing and the EU would allow a reversal as we won’t have really left, other than non involvement in EU governance. I cant see that myself but what do I know?

  11. AM

    Going on you proposal that people should pay more dependant on use as women aged 20 to 35 cost the NHS twice the amount than men of a similar age should women be paying slightly more.
    Or how about seriously ill people with a life long illness should they pay slightly more or the disabled should they pay a little more,going with your theme of old people paying more does that include the thousands struggling to get by on just the old age pension.
    It seems to me to be rather unfair to ask older people to pay more as they are the very people who through there lives have paid into the NHS without using much of its resources and when they reach a age when they do need more use they then have to pay more in your world for the privilege.

  12. “The paradox is that if RJM had his way and the final terms were agreed by this autumn then a referendum on the terms could be held on those terms with a no vote quite possibly leading to a second in/out ref.”
    @Jim Jam January 27th, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    After 40 years our relationship with the EU is deep and complex. To leave is not simple — not unless you don’t care about the damage you will do. Think in terms of telling all those Yorkshire folk they have to bugger off out of Lancashire. That would upset many and damage much.

    After 18+ months we are nowhere near an agreement of what the final deal will look like, let alone what it will be. Apart from ‘leaving’ there is no consensus. Given the glacial progress it is now patently clear that at the end of two years we will be no nearer. To get to phase II we gave in to all the EU’s demands. So an extension will be needed. And (I’m stunned that so many people don’t get this) it is us that are leaving, not the EU pushing us out.

    The ignorance in the population at large, especially the older folk, about what the EU is and what it does, is frankly disgraceful. When I asked mt father (86) why he voted leave: ‘well we won the war!!!’

    I’ve said before Europe is a necessary 200-year project. From the future this is just a blip. If it is not we all will lose.

  13. A.U – that’s my view and my cynicism tells me that JRM et al know this but are posturing as per the rest of my post.

    It is being reported HMG officials are asking if 3 transition years might possible?

  14. @Al Urqa,

    “Europe is a necessary 200-year project”… ??… what does that mean?!

    Europe has been around for thousands of years, and will be around for thousands of years more. It is more likely that the EU project is a blip in the history of Europe than that Brexit is a blip in the history of the EU.

    Europe is not the EU. A United States of Europe is one possible future of the European continent, but not the only one. If the history of Europe has taught us anything it’s that just when things seem set in stone everything gets turned upside down again.

    In 200 years time, you might see British Isles and Canada in a Union with the USA, Eastern Europe back under the Imperial heel of Russia, a united Scandinavian monarchy in a loose federation with a unified Franco-German-Benelux republic with southern European countries now effectively part of Africa. Who the heck knows? Could anyone in 1818 have predicted where Europe would be now?

  15. “COLIN @
    CROFTY re May and Major.

    I think they are both thoroughly decent people .

    They share the problem of the EU headbanger tendency. Extraordinary really after all this time.”

    That’s no way to talk about Howard.

  16. JIM JAM

    I was Senior New Fred Monitor four or five years ago and it has not the prestigious glamour job that you are maybe imagining.

  17. @Jim Jam – I think we are seeing a creeping process to try and engineer the arch Brexiters within the Tory party to come down with a soft landing. I think that business is holding it’s breath, assured by the signs and compromises to date that we will see little difference after leaving, but the hard liners are still there and pushing back. May was never one of them, despite what some claimed.

    The path that Brexit is taking is now clear, although many don’t to admit this.

  18. ““Europe is a necessary 200-year project”… ??… what does that mean?!”
    @Neil A January 27th, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Schuman and Monnet thought it would take 50 years for Europe to come together. Obviously they were mistaken, it will take much longer. ‘200 years’ simply means long term. Anything that risks splitting Europe back into independent nation states risks taking us back to how Europe has been for over a millennium.

    ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you always got’ as the saying goes. That’s why they decided to do something different.

    The future, and peace, has to be co-operation. The Germans know this more than anyone. The EU is definitely not perfect, but it is a European project created by Europeans, who know their own histories. They won’t give it up easily, even if some of us want them to.

  19. Good Evening All.

    I think the Tories will manage to get UK through BREXIT and continue to rule until 2020 GE

  20. OK, since everyone else has ignored Anthony’s analysis and just carried on from the last thread:

    From the last thread Andrew Myers @ Danny – “!JC going remain would be his best chance of winning I agree”

    So what is wrong with my maths?

    JC going Remain instead of softer leave puts at risk the Lab Leave vote.

    We know in 2017 this was about 1/3 of the Lab vote. So about 13% of the 2017 GB electorate.

    JC going Remain instead of softer leave puts in play:
    (a) Lab Remain voters who were so strong remain they switched to a Remain party last time;
    (b) Remain voters who voted for a Remain party last time but would vote Labour if it was remain.

    We may not know how many there were in this cohort, but we do know these were a subset (and quite probably a smallish minority) of the Remain party vote. Which was about 10% of the 2017 GB electorate.

    So the switch you advocate puts in play 13% of the UK electorate currently in the Labour tally, to seek a (possibly small minority) fraction of 10% of the UK electorate they don’t have in the Labour tally.

    Why is this their best chance of winning?

  21. The thing is, on Brexit, Labour is in the classic conundrum of the marginally more moderate party.

    If we suggest that the country is split about 50/50, then the Conservatives’ relative firm Brexit position may sit, for the sake of argument, at a 60:40 split point on the Brexit side and therefore at an 80:20 split point overall.

    If Labour sits at a softer Brexit position 70:30 overall, it is nearest to 3/4 of the country.

    If Labour moves to a mid Remain position, it is closest to just 52.5% of the country.

    Why would it do so?

    Of course, the simple who is closest “ice cream stall” analysis is not the be all and end all. Salience, enthusing your core, intellectual coherence etc, they all matter. But who is closest matters most.

  22. Pete W,

    Soft leave, giving Remain voters no where to go in most seats in E&W other than waste their vote and potentially let in a hard Brexit Tory, is and will be LP policy for the foreseeable future.

    IMO as we say but my info is pretty solid.

  23. @JIMJAM

    The EU will want a straight answer from the UK government soon on the direction of travel of Brexit. If that is given then, by this autumn, the UK parliament, businesses and public should have a clearer idea of what Brexit is likely to mean. It is possible – maybe unlikely – that this would offer parliament the chance to alter the course of Brexit if Labour remainers and Tory remainers joined with others to oppose the government.

    So far the Cakeist Tendency has prevailed, preventing the UK government from putting forward a Brexit destination that is realistic and achievable. The reason for this is that once Mrs May has chosen a direction of travel she is likely to be attacked by the faction that opposes the direction of travel.

    The EU has been agreeing meantime the negotiating Directives for this stage of negotiations. Once agreed it is unlikely that there will be significant departure from them. The Directives will be published on Monday but a draft on the transition arrangements as far as the EU is concerned has already been leaked to Ch 4.

    Despite the pressure on both sides to reach a deal this could still go haywire, IMHO


  24. I thought someone made a comment on the fact that the MORI poll showed a Con lead when counting all who gave a preference. Sees slide 3 here:


    Can’t find the comment now – maybe it was on the last thread – but it puzzled me so I thought I’d dig in to the figures. A 5% swing on adjustment seems quite remarkable.

    So the first thing you notice is the low stats – only about 350 voters for both Con and Lab. This was not a big poll, unlike the ICM one. From one of the tables, you can reverse engineer the numbers for Voting Likelihood for the Con/Lab voters (sorry in advance for messy table):

    Con Lab
    10 272 288
    9 2 16
    8 32 9
    7 21 5
    6 3 2
    lower 28 25

    ALL 358 345

    So, as the charts show, Con have a slight lead on raw numbers (42/40), but the published figure is made on voters who were most likely to vote (9 and 10s), and that tips the balance. In fact it does more than tip the balance, it’s a swing of 5% – imagine how that translates into MPs!

    So, if you believe such low stats (I’ll come back to that in a moment), then you would have to conclude that the Conservatives just have to re-invigorate their vote. Or alternatively Labour must somehow keep their voter enthusiasm up to retain the lead (difficult over 5 years of opposition).

    This all sounds really interesting, until you look at the ICM poll, which has far higher statistics. If you look at likelihood to vote there, you come to the opposite conclusion. In fact, the count for all voters selecting a party gives a lead to labour (1649 to 1504, I think). And Lab has larger numbers in all categories EXCEPT those that will definitely vote (ie the 10s) where Cons take a lead of 1223 to 1163. So the swing when considering likelihood to vote goes strongly to the Conservatives on this poll (opposite to the MORI swing of 5%), and goes a long way to explaining why the final figures come out level at 41/41 in the ICM poll.

    So the only conclusion you can make from this study is that polls are inaccurate. I guess we knew that already.

    Sorry for the long post, but at least it’s on topic.

  25. Just to try to clarify the last post, since it was a bit messy.

    IPSOS/MORI poll:
    Using all voters giving a preference: Con 42% Lab 40%
    Using only voters with 9-10 likelihood: Con 39% Lab 42%

    ICM poll:
    Using all voters giving a preference: Con 39% Lab 42% *
    Using only voters with 9-10 likelihood: Con 41% Lab 41%

    So using 9-10 likelihood (giving the headline figures) produces a swing of 5% to Lab in one poll, and a swing of 3% to Con in the other.

    Who knows where the truth lies?

    * Not official, just my rough calculation from the tables

  26. AL URQA

    Raise your sites from Brussels.

    In 200 years “Europe” will be the small & remote western extremity of that Economic Giant & Cultural melting pot-Eurasia.


    Over $ 1 Trillion of Infrastructure investment in China’s ” Belt & Road “initiative will bring the sleeping Chinese Giant to life and reverse the passing of economic pre-eminence which moved from Asia to Europe around 1800 AD.

    ” In 1775 Asia accounted for 80% of the world economy. The combined economies of India & China alone represented two thirds of global production. In comparison Europe was an economic dwarf…………..
    ………….By 1880 Western nations boasted more than 350,000 km of train lines. The first railroad in China opened in 1876″

    Sapiens-A Brief History of Mankind
    Yuval Noah Harari

    In 200 years we will all be Eurasians.


  27. Times reporting that May has abandoned her plan to make a third major Brexit speech ( this time on the UK’s objectives for the “deep and special relationship” ) for fear of widening the divisions in Cabinet.

  28. Any polls among Conservative MPs about number of letters with Leader of 1922 Committee ? They need 48 for formal but secret ballot vote of confidence in Theresa May as leader.
    Understand it may be very very near the 48.
    One more miffed MP, one more enforced resignation, oh to have some polling on this.
    Tip: you only need to poll 315 people. No need to poll Theresa May.

  29. Jim Jam,
    “It is being reported HMG officials are asking if 3 transition years might possible?”

    and then 5, and then 10 and then 50?

    Its as I have said before. The most likely outcome of ceasing to be a member of the EU will be the Uk following all the rules, but ceasing to take part in making them. It amazes me that leavers do not see they are acting against their own interest. What is the strategy here?

    Neil A,
    “Europe is not the EU.”

    You can change the name, but a united europe is essential to our future. Everyone here should know that WW3 would destroy life on earth, the wars we see today are just amusements for the big powers. We could all go back to the standard of living of 1000 years ago, and the small state model. But if we want the standard of living we have now, an integrated economy is essential. And states will continue to vie for advantage, the devil take the hindmost. Big will continue to be beautiful. Europe must integrate, and the UK will have to choose which group it wants to belong to. The Chinese empire, anyone?

    “JC going Remain instead of softer leave puts at risk the Lab Leave vote.
    We know in 2017 this was about 1/3 of the Lab vote”
    No, I dont think so. Cant remember which, but the stats I was looking at on probably the poll from the last thread suggested much more like 10%. But it isnt clear whether ANY who voted labour last time would defect if labour goes remain.

    Then, we have to consider that the tories are moving towards soft brexit. As usual the middle ground is getting rather crowded. But the real problem I see for the tories is that the leave vote is itself split, and soft brexiteers might not support hard brexit, and vice versa. Potentially 50% remain beats either 25% HL or SL. If labour loses remain by jumping ship to soft brexit, that potentially and incredibly could leave us with tory 25%, labour 25%, lib 50%.

  30. @Danny

    I think you forgot to put the occasional “In my opinion” in there…

  31. @Colin January 27th, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the link. BRI (Belt and Road Initiative, the new name for the OBOR, One Belt, One Road[1]) certainly is something to watch in the coming decades. I’m not too sure of the central Asian routes, but the has been much money spent on upgrading the Karakoram Highway between Xinjiang (a key Chinese region in many ways) and Pakistan, which is actively being upgraded. (Wow, just wow!)

    And trains already run across Russia to Europe; the absence of international boundaries is why that is now live. I recently finished Craig Murray’s Murder in Samarkand and that, though 15 years old, tells me why the Central Asian routes are decades away. These podcasts are interesting to get more info on the region:


    A couple cover OBOR. They give some idea of the complexity of the region, and the varied animosity to either Russia or China. Any route through the region is therefore difficult to construct, hence why the northern route thruough Russia is the most mature.

    But to your point of 200 years everything will be different, then yep, China will probably be dominant. Another great read on how to understand the geopolitics is Tim Marshall’s Prisoners of Geography:


    Read this and you will understand so much more of the world; and laugh at so many so-called journalists reports — defo recommended!

    [1] The ‘Road’ is actually a set of sea routes. It’s the belt that’s the road. :-)

  32. triguy

    very interesting analysis.thank you.

    generally, why would a polling organisation change the wording of a question?If the significance of polling is to detect movement rather than establish absolutes the change of wording is not helpful. would it therefore be done at he behest of the payers of the polling in order to make better headlines or even to influence actual policy by the result?

  33. Telegraph reporting that unnamed Brexit Cabinet minister says that a weak PM is being forced into a soft Brexit. On the same page it continues to undermine Williamson. Boris on manoeuvres ?

  34. Crofy — don’t get your hopes up.

    Labour will commit to being in a customs union with the EUs customs union but not rule out completely staying in THE customs union should developments enable.

    The Fudgethon will continue.

    NB) If the Guardian think Chris Lesley has any real influence they are sadly denuded.

  35. CrofTy should not get his hopes up either!!

  36. Neil A…
    “I think you forgot to put the occasional “In my opinion” in there…”

    If you believed is was simply my opinion, then obviously I did not.

  37. Danny

    “If you believed is was simply my opinion, then obviously I did not.”

    In your opinion [you should have said]

    Rules is rules….

  38. Government is planning to extend the franchise for the elections that the Senedd is responsible for.


  39. Sorry – don’t know happened to the first bit of that post!

    It should have started “Good to see the Welsh …..”

  40. Re: Al Urqa 10.27 p.m.

    Definitely agree regarding Marshall’s ‘Prisoners of Geography’. Received it as a Christmas present in 2016, and although not as in depth as ‘The Silk Roads’ (Frankopan) it serves as an introduction to the complexities of a post Cold War world.

  41. P.S. For the young among us, the Cold War was a period of stable and easy to understand hostility in which everyone knew which side they were on. Compare today’s Syria! (Or today’s Conservative Party!)

  42. Polling post!
    Mori poll shows modest rise in satisfaction with May. As did the previous thread yougov. I argued this is probably due to events, and the event which has happened is May has pretty much agreed a very soft Brexit.

    I notice though that mori highlight a modest rise for May amongst torys. They liked her soft Brexit stance too.

    Corbyn does worse than May, but they highlight that in arriving at the net score, there are fewer people who disapprove of him than of May. Of course, following that argument, yet fewer are dissatisfied by Vince Cable.

    Public more pessimistic about economic ourlook than one year ago, but more optimistic than they had been end of last year, again presumably following recent developments.

    Party VI fairly typical of recent results. ICM have labour and con neck and neck, but this is after correcting of raw data (I think for dk-doesnt talk about turnout), which shows a labour lead. Interestingly, the raw data gives a labour lead right up to the age of 65. Similarly, sub 65 want to remain in the EU now. Oh those yoof!

    I note ICM ask people how politically interested they are, and there is a modest trend that the more interested, the more likely to have been a remain voter.

    I see they split remain/leave for types of seat, and labour and liberal seats are showing a growth in support for remain, whereas tories are pretty static. remain has made headway overall in marginal seats. That remain has advanced more in lab/lib seats and not tory, might give weight to my suggestion that leadership does count, and the more pro EU your MP, the more he can persuade voters to follow. Since almost all MPs are at least publicly in favour of leaving, that would imply the potential for a modest but significant swing to remain if they start campaigning that way. The hysteresis in the system would currently all be favouring remain, and could flip.

    Fairly strong belief leaving the EU will make life worse rather than better. However the tables generally show the largest single response is for ‘no change’, but of the remainder generally more thinking worse than better. They asked three different better/worse questions, and the strongest belief in worse off was ‘personally’, rather than ‘the country’ or ‘way of life’.

    Interestingly, labour voters felt 4:1 they would be personally worse off after Brexit, whereas tories were pretty much neutral. libs 8:1 felt they would be worse off, UKIP 7:1 better off. (ignoring the no change groups). I think fair to say the economy, and perceptions of the economy remain very important. Hence the renewed propaganda about it.

    The groups most opposed to a new referendum are those whose views align with the result of the last one. No surprise there perhaps, but that rather gives the lie to arguments claiming ‘the existing democratic decision should be respected’, because it was democratic.

  43. JIM JAM

    I prefer ‘Crofy’ myself.

    One issue that has barely been discussed is the role of the Civil Service in respect to Brexit. It does appear that senior civil servants are keen on the softest of Brexits.

  44. Possible outcome is that Brexit will be soft with close ties to EU. However,the UK’s will have choice to change direction afterwards. Hence the next Tory leadership election and General Election will be about UK’s relationship with EU after Brexit. So it will run and run

  45. Matt126,

    That was the thrust of what David Lidington said on Marr.

    FWIW, I think he is a big improvement on Damien Green.

  46. Watching Mr Corbyn on Marr he ruled out a second referendum. It’s hard to see this ever happening when both main parties oppose it.

  47. @ JimJam

    FWIW I agree with you.

  48. Although rumours of her demise have been greatly exaggerated in the past, I think that this time Theresa May is genuinely on her way out. Studied ambiguity/indecisiveness can only take you so far and I think that both wings of the Tory Party will agree now that her time is up.

    I’ve just but a bet on Amber Rudd as the new leader. As neither the hard nor soft brexiteers will accept a leader from the opposite camp, what I believe will happen in the she will run on a joint ticket with a prominent brexiteer. My guess is that it will be Michael Gove as he is both very ambitious and realises that his chances of winning the leadership for himself are negligible. They will probably also get David Davis onside to maintain continuity in the negotiations.

    I can’t see that ticket failing.

  49. @The Monk “I’ve just but a bet on Amber Rudd as the new leader.”

    I think you’ve done your money there Monk. Unless there is another coronation, there is almost no chance of Amber Rudd becoming the next leader IMO.

    1. Firstly her constituency majority is just 346 this weighs very heavily against her as a credible leader taking the Tories into the next GE and beyond.

    2. She doesn’t have a huge following amongst the Tory MPs and would struggle to even make the final two.

    3. The membership is 70% pro-Brexit and will almost certainly vote for a Brexiteer.

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