ICM’s regular poll for the Guardian is out today and has topline voting intention figures of CON 41%(nc), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 8%(+1). Fieldwork ws Friday to Sunday and changes are from the large ICM poll in mid-January. Tabs are here.

The latest Survation poll meanwhile has topline figures of CON 40%(+3), LAB 43%(-2), LDEM 8%(+2). Fieldwork was the previous weekend, and changes are since the start of December. While Labour’s lead has fallen away since the previous poll, I suspect this is largely a reversion to the mean after an unusual poll last time. Full tabs are here.

Survation also ask how people would vote in a second referendum on EU membership (and unlike some other polls that ask this question, weight it by likelihood to vote!). In the latest poll the figures are Remain 51%, Leave 49%.

298 Responses to “Latest ICM and Survation voting intentions”

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  1. TW

    ” I don’t think anyone took the Scottish Parliament Brexit impact analysis seriously”.

    It produced numbers slightly less damaging than the UK ones, yet “no one” took it seriously?

    To condemn sets of figures collated and projected by government statisticians, because of the policies of the Government strikes me as you being very “Rees-Moggish”.

    As to your “from memory the ‘i’ factor was the comical bit. Indyref was going to give a mysterious ‘indy’ boost” seems a somewhat incongruous comment from a Brexiteer.

    What else has the economic argument from the Leavers been than that the UK would see a great economic boost from separating from the EU?

  2. It would be interesting to know how these impact estimates have actually arrived at and by whom.
    I would certainly like to think that there is a team of gurus who could accurately give a pin pointed percentage to how certain areas of the U.K. would lose growth should the U.K. leave without a deal.
    If such a group exist no doubt they have a great future and indeed must have in the past successfully predicted the rate of previous economic decline/growth in the U.K. economy.
    Who needs economists when we have such talented unbiased Whitehall mandarins.

  3. DANNY

    There’s a report out today that there are 700000 people working in the gig economy for less than the minimum wage. Despite record employment levels pay growth remains stagnant, as does productivity. Companies competing in international markets are not generally the ones paying minimum wage, that’s reserved for people doing low-status service jobs in the domestic market. I’m struggling a bit to understand what you’re arguing for anyway – you want to keep high levels of immigration in order to create an underclass of people to do menial work for you cheaply? I was under the impression you were on the left of politics.

  4. Neil A

    Are you completely unaware that immigrants from outwith the EU who want to live in Highland communities, have jobs and businesses and add to the life and economy of the local community, are being removed by the UK Government because their income doesn’t meet the appropriate (for SE England) level?

    Of course regional policies would help – and that’s precisely what all Scottish governments for the last 20 years have been asking for – but the UK refuses that.

    Your fevered imaginings that every immigrant who would like (or has tried to) live in the Highlands is just awaiting the chance to rush down to live in new houses built on your green fields is utterly ridiculous.

    In any case, as the document points out “Procedures that the UK Government has put in place already require employers and public services to check the immigration status of employees and service users. Such mechanisms would help ensure that migrants entering the UK through this route are compliant with the conditions of their visa, including restricting residence to Scotland”.

    Mind you, that is para 102, and I doubt that you reads that far through the paper.

  5. Has anyone yet found a link to the actual Impact Assessment reports that were published, as opposed to the reporting on them? I’m quite curious to have a look.

  6. @Trevor

    “@ Danny – reciprocate. He who blocks first blocks all. He who is blocked need merely reciprocate against the blocker (as all those being blocked would). The key thing is not to take first blood – the others would them simply freeze you out but stay equivalent with each other.”


    in game theory terms, this is known as GTFT, or Generous Tit For Tat.

    If you play Prisoner’s Dilemma, over numerous iterations, Tit for Tat is quite effective. But Generous TFT – where your first move is always positive, and thereafter it’s Tit for tat – is even better because you can avoid getting locked in a loop where you keep punishing each other.

  7. oldnat,
    “Are you including Scotland and Northern Ireland in your proposed analysis of Leave areas being hit hardest?”

    I dont know the answer, i heard the headline of the North of england being hit hardest. The answer will depend upon population densities as well as hit in defined areas.

    Trevor Warne,
    ” reciprocate. He who blocks first blocks all. He who is blocked need merely reciprocate against the blocker (as all those being blocked would). ”

    If we leave the EU we become a third party on their standard terms including quotas and tariffs. Same as they apply to all other non members, i presume. We get to choose our new arrangements, which could be high tariffs to everyone or to none. The EU does not need to take any action against us specifically, we just revert to the status of a non member like any other country.

    We automatically get discriminated against unless the EU makes a special deal with us. Then we have to decide if we want to restrict trade with the whole world. Any special action against the EU would allow them to take action against us.

    The thing is, we and they belong to a supra national organisation called the WTO which sets down rules limiting the sovereignty of the UK. It has its own court which we are bound by. Do brexiteers want to leave it too? Indeed if not, why not?

  8. Neil A

    If you can force a quick by election, and become an MP, then you can get a look.

    As a citizen, your Government has decreed that you can’t see them.

    My Government has published its analysis (which has produced very similar figures) and you can have a look at that


  9. Danny

    If you look at the tweet from Kuennsberg that I posted earlier, you’ll see the impacts on all the UK regions.

  10. @Oldnat

    I understood they’d been leaked?

    Presumably those to whom they were leaked didn’t publish them then?

  11. Neil A

    MPs were given “confidential” access to the report, and behaved as MPs should – they released the information to those that could publish the data so that us poor ignorant worthless people (ie the electorate) could see what their Government’s analysis was.

  12. “If you look at the tweet from Kuennsberg that I posted earlier, you’ll see the impacts on all the UK regions.”

    The headline BBC article also has them:


    No idea how these figures came out, clearly the full report hasn’t and isn’t meant to be released. Would be interesting to know. Hilary Benn noting down numbers on a piece of paper?

    I think the politics of how these get released is more interesting than the numbers themselves, which are probably pure fiction and have a massive MOE (systematic, not statistical).

  13. @Oldnat,

    Thanks for the SG assessment. It’s actually pretty helpful.

    In their apportioning of the expected loss of growth under WTO rules, the assessment states that 26% of that will be due to migration effects, with the bulk of the difference being a result of productivity decline.

    Do you happen to know what exactly they mean by the 26% loss due to migration? Does that factor in overall population level, or is it an estimate for output per resident (in other words, do they think people in Scotland will be less productive, or that people in Scotland will be as productive, but less numerous, or both?)

  14. Trigguy

    It may be that the EU statisticians as well as those working for the Civil Service in both Whitehall and Edinburgh, have all come up with same “pure fiction”.

    After all, they were all using the same data sets that the ONS produces. If these are fictional. then obviously any conclusions based on them will lie in the realm of Dumbledore.

    But since the ONS data is all anyone has to work on (and its numbers are regularly and enthusiastically quoted by lots of people on here) then most posts here are fictional, UKPR is a work of fiction and Anthony is a pseudonym for JK Rowling.

  15. Neil A

    Can’t help with an explanation, I’m afraid.

    My assumption was that the reduction in productivity would be due to an increasing segment of the population being beyond working age, and the loss of markets for key Scottish sectors of the economy.

    I might well be wrong, though!

  16. Oldnat

    Yeah, they may be “preliminary figures” but at the point we need to start making decisions, they are all we have.

    Trying to drive by looking in the rear view mirror doesn’t let you do much apart from say “yes, we have definitely crashed”

    For me they are consistent and unsurprising enough to be “in the ballpark” and based on incomplete information, I can make a more informed decision

    Yes Mogg could come up with figures of +100% GDP and unicorns for everyone and I would be pretty sure I could heavily down weight that additional information

  17. More data from the UK’s “secret” impact assessment coming out.


    This time “New Brexit leak of Government analysis reveals steep costs for UK industries”

    Why is the UK Government so utterly and crassly useless in its management of information?

  18. @neila

    “There is no particular reason to drag in populations from poorer countries to artificially inflate those areas – they will only follow the path of the previous inhabitants, moving to the cities and other areas where there is employment, including England.”

    One of the people Scotland is trying to “drag in” is a teacher for the Western Isles IIRC from Canada but cannot as a visa has been refused by the UK Government.

    It is interesting to see so many conservative minded Brexiteers turning their back on economic growth.

  19. @Oldnat

    Yup I figure demographic mix would have something to do with it. Lower migration would mean a lower proportion of working age (in the short term anyway). But of course a reduction in predicted GDP growth caused by a lower predicted population takes us back into the GDP vs GDP per capita / large population good or bad nexus again.

    It does seem that assumptions about both migration and productivity levels form the lion’s share of the predicted effect. I am keen to understand how that’s been assumed. As you know, I’ve always been in the “Brexit will cause net economic harm” camp, despite voting Leave. But I am reluctant to come to a view on the assessment reports without understand how they came to the conclusions they did.

    The key figure for me, ultimately, would be the net effect on predicted GDP per capita over 30 years, with any reduction in UK contributions to the EU factored in. That is the yardstick by which I would judge how much harm Brexit has caused us.

    Which isn’t to say that I believe that net economic harm means leaving is wrong. My motives aren’t really economic. But of course there would be a level of economic harm at which I might conclude that the non-economic benefits (imo of course) weren’t worth the cost.

    I feel like I’m a long way away from having facts that I could make that judgement on.

  20. @Hireton

    Teacher shortages aren’t restricted to depopulated areas, but I know the case you’re referring to and it seems pretty stupid to me.

    I feel the same way about the recent stories about doctors not being allowed visas due to being lumped in with other “Skilled Workers”.

    Governments can be pretty jobsworth and stupid in their application of rules. I wouldn’t say the solution to dumb decisions on teachers and doctors is unrestricted migration by everyone and anyone though.

    As for growth, I am rather of the view that Greens used to have (before they became rather more Red than Green) that pursuing growth figures was a fool’s errand, and what mattered was a better economy not necessarily a bigger one.

  21. Neil A

    “I feel like I’m a long way away from having facts that I could make that judgement on.”

    Pity that Cameron stampeded the UK into making a decision just so he could try (unsuccessfully) to deal with ideological problems in his party.

    An even greater pity that May rushed to table A50 before the UK Government had reached some compromise on what they were going for – for precisely the same reason.

    Just as Morse’s name was Endeavour, so Cameron’s and May’s should have been Incompetence.

  22. Oldnat

    I think May’s name should be Impotence. She can’t make any move or risk being shot by either side of her party with the more trigger happy those sides get the less she says or does.

    She’s frozen in place and has been for some time while the clock ticks away.

  23. Neil A

    “I wouldn’t say the solution to dumb decisions on teachers and doctors is unrestricted migration by everyone and anyone though.”

    As you will have noted, the Scottish Government discussion paper agrees with you on that.

    Just from the high profile cases that have been in the Scottish press, you would have to add café/shopkeeper and distillery administrator to that list of people that the UK needlessly removed from the UK, or wouldn’t let in to perform valuable work.

    It’s not just that the policy enacted by UK Governments is so inflexible, and that Home Office Ministers and officials even more so, it’s that the policy isn’t based on the economic and social needs of communities, but in trying to quieten the hate agenda of the Mail, and the ideological purity of those opposed to any immigration at all.

  24. @oldnat

    Interesting figures on potential sectoral costs arising from non tariff barriers after Brexit. I wonder if Nissan is dusting off that letter of comfort?

  25. @ ON

    “Why is the UK Government so utterly and crassly useless in its management of information?”

    Well we’re back to conspiracy theory vs cock-up theory again there. I’m sure Danny will say it’s because they secretly wanted the data to be released, while officially saying they didn’t. For some purpose. I’ll let Danny elaborate some time in the future.

  26. @oldnat

    ‘ “As to your “from memory the ‘i’ factor was the comical bit. Indyref was going to give a mysterious ‘indy’ boost” seems a somewhat incongruous comment from a Brexiteer.

    What else has the economic argument from the Leavers been than that the UK would see a great economic boost from separating from the EU?’

    The indefatigable Trev doesn’t seem to have noticed that the Indy White Paper was based on continuing EU membership while the Brexit impact assessment…..

  27. @Trevor –

    “If EU renege on passporting/equivalence+ then we’ll be taking them to court – they know this, I doubt the UK public do. Of course that court is currently the ECJ but it sends a loud message to the World, especially likes of Singapore and NY – you can’t cherry pick who is and isn’t “equivalent” unless one side reneges on the “equivalent” bits. If they try to drop UK, they will either have to drop rWorld or lose a court case (messy though that process would be).”

    Can you explain what you mean here?

    On passporting, to quote the EU 2016 briefing on Third-country equivalence in EU banking legislation, “here is no precedent of passporting rights without full membership of the EU or acceptance of all relevant EU rules and regulations (EEA model). The EU passport as such is not available to
    financial institutions established in third-countries (i.e. a country not being part of the EU or the EEA).”

    The EU can’t therefore renege on passporting – the UK would either be in the EU/EEA or not, and would consequently have passporting rights or not. There would be no court case involved.

    On equivalence my understanding of what you have said is that you are nearer the mark. My understanding is that any decision on equivalence taken by the commission could be challenged by a legal person outside the EU (eg another affected third-country) so long as there is a case to answer. I think you are probably thinking that the UK is (obviously) already equivalent to EU regulations, so refusal to deem us equivalent would be challengeable in the ECJ. However, this only applies to decisions taken by the EC. If they didn’t take a decision, there would be no chance of forcing a case, as inaction isn’t something that can be legally challenged in this case.

    However, two points spring to my mind. Firstly, equivalence is a long way short of passporting. Second, the whole point of equivalence is that we need to make sure we retain sufficiently similar prudential regulation to the EU in the future. If we don’t, they could revoke equivalence and win any subsequent court case.

    However, the main point is that you seem to be conflating passporting with equivalence, both in legal and practical terms. Clarification would be helpful.

  28. Scotland could find a distillery administrator?!

    Is that comparable to organising knees-ups in breweries?!

  29. *couldn’t

  30. @Hireton – “The indefatigable Trev doesn’t seem to have noticed that the Indy White Paper was based on continuing EU membership while the Brexit impact assessment…..”

    Maybe you should have told him that leaving the UK was the shock Scotland needed to wean themselves of deficit spending and imports from rUK, time to get off that tartan sofa and get into shape etc etc…….

    After all, I thought the projections were for naught – it’s all about the reponse.

  31. @Turk

    “Who needs economists when we have such talented unbiased Whitehall mandarins.”

    The impact assessments have been prepared by the Government Economic Service. It would be possible to examine the assumptions etc which have been used if your Government would publish them. Your comment also shows all the depth of understanding of the purposes and interpretation of economic modelling as @trevorwarne.

  32. @Hireton

    I don’t think Civil Servants are exactly infallible, mind you.

    I have heard you rail against “Westminster” numerous times. Yet they become paragons of wisdom when they say something you agree with for a change.

    The Home Office pursued Sexual Offender Treatment Programmes for years, insisting that they cut offending rates. I attended a Prison Service course on them, and pointed out the obvious (that their statistical assessment was a nonsense). 20 years later new research suggests that not only do they not actually reduce re-offending, they may actually increase it.

  33. Neil A

    The distillery could – and did.

    She was Australian, but wanted to live and work in Scotland, so she and her family sold up there and moved here so she could study at UHI on a student visa.

    While they were in transit, the UK changed the rules on post-study work, and though both she and her husband were working, the UK denied their right to remain, on the grounds that neither was earning the UK required amount (as if that figure has any meaning in the Highlands!)

    Joke, if you must, about human suffering – but it does demean you a bit.

  34. @Oldnat

    I am just astonished that noone already in Scotland could be recruited who could do the job.

    Is unemployment really so low up there?

  35. GDP per capita can be useful, but it depends on the question.

    The per capita hides very nicely the demographics of a country, and also it hides the ability of the government to redistribute (or more precisely as EM used to say, predistribute).

    It also hides the problems with the GDP as a measure. it includes amortisation Depending on economic circumstances it can be quite significant.

    More importantly, the whole concept derives from the 1920s when unproductive sectors had a lesser importance.Both statisticians and economist know that the whole national account model is partially tautological, partly contradictory (hence the allocation of unattributed element of the GDP, about 8% of the total).

    So, for example, education appears to be adding to the GDP, when it is consuming GDP (and hopefully adds to future GDP). Banking doesn’t add a penny to the GDP, but it speeds up the circulation. Yet, it consumes the GDP. Real estate doesn’t add to the GDP, but appears to be larger contributor than agriculture.

    Obviously many of these services are necessary, but it doesn’t mean they contribute to the available value. Well, actually they can – if they export. And this is the crux. There are many UK service sectors (banking, filming, professional services, and so on) that are major contributors to the GDP because of their export. But without exporting they put further demand on productivity increase in productive sectors or result in a lower rate of return.

    So, no, the GDP/capita is not a very good indicator for anything without contextualising it, which then lead to better indicators. We actually have them, but nobody likes using it (as they are not part of the “dominant design” and also because they are rather volatile).

  36. Neil A @ Hireton

    “I have heard you rail against “Westminster” numerous times. Yet they become paragons of wisdom when they say something you agree with for a change.”

    The UK’s statisticians are based in Whitehall – not Westminster.

    Westminster is where the UK Parliament is.

    With two Parliaments and Governments, we need to be able to distinguish which one is being referred to – hence “Westminster” and “Holyrood”.

    That will cause some confusion in future, when the UK Parliament decamps to Whitehall, but for now even those in England should comprehend the difference between the seat of their only government and that of their civil service.

  37. @Oldnat

    I think you’ve slightly misunderstood the circumstances of the Australian case if this Grauniad article is correct.


  38. Neil A

    They have had to replace her – but why are you so determined that employment be restricted to residents?

    As it happens, the unemployment rate in the Inverness and Nairn travel-to-work area is 2.1%, so finding a suitable candidate for every post can be challenging.

    You really should rid yourself of many of your preconceptions about Scotland.

  39. @Laszlo.

    Aren’t your criticisms really of GDP per se rather than GDP per capita specifically?

    I readily accept that GDP is a pretty ropey measurement, but it completely loses its meaning when divorced from population size.

    India’s GDP is four times that of Switzerland, but which is the richer country?

  40. “The UK’s statisticians are based in Whitehall – not Westminster.”

    Typical comment from a northerner who doesn’t know anything about the geography of his neighbouring country and slips into lazy assumptions and stereotypes about them!

    Of course Whitehall is in Westminster! But I expect to you anything south of Watford Gap just looks the same.

    Err..or something like that.

  41. @Oldnat – just to be clear, Whitehall really is in Westminster.

  42. Oldnat

    Thank you for the unemployment statistic. That really is pretty impressively low and explains quite a lot.

    My understanding of reading up on the Brains’ case is that she could have stayed if she had been given the job at the distillery, but the offer was withdrawn (not, so far as I can tell, because of anything the Home Office did or said).

    As for why I am determined that employment be offered (at least initially) to residents, well that’s because of my well-trodden penchant for population control. I’d rather exhaust the available supply of labour before adding to it. And if there’s no supply of labour, I begin to wonder about the economics behind that.

    There are areas of SE England (although not London, interestingly) where unemployment is similarly low. The argument usually deployed to combat this is to divert resources away from those areas to areas where there is high unemployment. Could whisky not be distilled somewhere with a few more candidates? Or the salary be set at a level where someone might fancy a move up from the Central Belt?

  43. @Alec

    Touche. Although in fairness Oldnat is right and my language was loose. In my defence, I suspect Hireton is no fan of either the street nor the borough nor the occupants of either.

  44. Neil A

    “I think you’ve slightly misunderstood”

    Agreed – slightly. I was commenting from memory, and that isn’t always 100% reliable.

    As I understand it, one factor in the withdrawal of the job offer was that she didn’t have the required right to stay from the Home Office.

  45. Immigration (and hypocrisy)

    Well we had the efficiency argument above (effects on social services, skills, wages) – if this is the question, then it would be easier to deport the low skilled British people, and if nobody wants them, creating a health insurance system (also proposed earlier) that would eliminate them. It’s obviously not a feasible way (although was tried before), so the argument about immigration is not about efficiency.

    Then we have the political argument – the elites and companies want immigration,people don’t, you can lose elections on immigration,so compromise is made and wrapped up in the rationality argument (for example the point system) – it is wrapping up of a compromise between antagonistic arguments, which is always lose-lose.

    Then we have the territorial dictatorship argument. The country has the right to decide who can come, and how many. What is the country? There is no measure, no benchmarking, it is purely a racist balancing act between the incumbent (who are also descendents of migrants, at least many of them) and the newcommers.

    Then, we have the individually differentiated argument – decision on a case by case basis. Except that there are no criteria for the comparison apart from intuitive declarations.

    The final one is the different rights of the citizens and migrants. Most of the British citizens have never had to pledge allegiance to the country (and I doubt if they signed both pledges required from naturalized citizens), they are biological accidents that makes them to superior to another set of biological accidents, which is an obvious nonsense.

    So, all the rational arguments about immigration are just cloaks of various compromises influenced by prejudices to a smaller or larger extent. Honesty would be nice.

  46. Does anyone know whether the report on which these latest leaks are based was produced by the same people who predicted an immediate recession if we voted for Brexit?

  47. Alec

    Fair point – though when folk in parts of These Islands pronounce “Wales” as if it were a cetaceous mammal, their pronunciation of the first consonant of [The Palace of} Westminster may have contributed to my confusion!

    Despite that, I suspect that the media (and most folk) in Scotland will continue to describe the UK Parliament in “Westminster”.to distinguish it from ours.

    I’m glad, however to learn that even when they go off on their travels, we’ll still be able to refer to it as Westminster.

    What buildings are they planning to use? If MPs just had to cluster round the Cenotaph in the London reSmog, the speeches would certainly be shorter – and no less useful.

  48. Oldnat

    I’d say when most people talk about “Westminster” in England they generally mean the parliament.

    If they wanted to speak of the “Borough of Westminster” then I suspect most would explicitly state it that way to avoid confusion.

    Although it always amused me what cabbies used to call it (I don’t know if it still holds today), “The Gasworks”.

  49. Any philologists out there who can explain why England (outside of Northumbria) opted for the rather complex spelling “borough”, as opposed to the simpler forms used elsewhere – burg, bourg, burgh, durg etc?

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