Quick update on recent polls – ICM in the Guardian have topline voting intention figures of CON 43%(+1), LAB 42%(-1), LDEM 7%(nc) (tabs are here). Voting intention remains as static as it has been for the last eight months or so.

The rest of the poll was sadly agree/disagree statements, but for what it’s worth they don’t suggest any particular impact from Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn’s speeches on Brexit last week. For Theresa May 30% agreed her speech made her position clearer, 35% disagree; for Jeremy Corbyn 32% agreed his speech made his position clearer, 31% disagree. I suspect in both cases this is actually a third of people who had an idea of the party position (or are giving a partisan pro-party answer) rather than a third of the country who have actually become more enlightened.

659 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 43%, LAB 42%, LDEM 7%”

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  1. @ Alec
    “creeping normalization of outrageous behaviour.” Another straw person/distortion. If the activity is condoned by extremists, or their apologists, but not by the mass of decent people, then nothing has been normalized.

    “I’m assuming the distinction here is that it might have been used in the kitchen of a house in Salisbury, so technically not ‘on the streets’, which is a distinction I just find incomprehensible.”

    If a heinous crime is committed you naturally ask — what are the facts of this crime: who was put at risk.
    Eg., presumably you are able to distinguish between an assasin shooting someone in a kitchen and someone blasting away with an assault weapon in a street. Both activties are heinous but the consequences may be different.

  2. @ TOH

    “Gut feel appears to be the key something I realised years and years ago.”

    Sounds like an interesting program, what was it? I might try to search it out. On your comment above, are you just saying that people mainly use gut feeling to make decisions (I wouldn’t argue what that), or that gut feeling is the right way to make decisions? If the second, I’d have to say that there are many areas (particularly in maths and science) where gut feeling is generally a very bad guide, and often just plain wrong. Take the classic Monty Hall problem for example.

  3. Trigguy

    It was on BBC4, last week.

  4. See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUJHZxgHm64
    @dave March 10th, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Thanks. Very interesting.

    But the line I enjoyed the most:

    “I’ll be talking to Henry Bolton. Henry Bolton — who’s he?”

  5. “COLIN

    Yep. !”

    Yep x 2.


    You have an extraordinary ability to miss the point.

  6. Trigguy

    I was amused and posted it to Somerjohn because he seems to think that Brexiters used emotion to vote as they did while Remainers are the only ones whoi can be analytical. As a Brexitier i used both of course.

    On your question emotion , gut feel and analysis all have their place in decision making and I agree that gut feel alone would not make for good science although I would suggest that gut feel has often produced the spark of the idea that was later proved by careful anatysis.

  7. @ TOH

    Thanks, got it. Michael Mosely is usually worth watching.

    You’re almost certainly right on science inspiration, but there are probably as many bad ideas as good ones come about like that. The trick to being a good scientist is not to let a preference for a particular idea cloud the scientific method of verification. Sounds easy, but surprisingly difficult in practice.

  8. howard

    I can’t remember the phrase I used to describe the sequence but in musical expression ….. ah !!! I’ve remembered, and I think it’s a guddun …….. one often finds oneself using what I refer to as informed intuition.

    In other words the feeling of what is “right” arrives faster than one can analyse the reasoning behind that feeling. Again, in music, one can confirm the ideas by subsequent analysis which helps to fully inform the decisions [often very small details] that one has made.

    Obviously the same thing happens with just about everything, including sport etc.

  9. Trigguy

    Science and music.

    Musicians [especially guitarists….] “tut” at their errors when trying new fingerings etc.

    One of the best classes I ever had was with a superb player who pointed out that we were engaged in the same type of experimentation – ie “does this work?” – as scientists, and that we needed the same level of dispassionate observation as they demonstrated, not frustration at things going wrong.

  10. “@ TOH

    Thanks, got it. Michael Mosely is usually worth watching.

    You’re almost certainly right on science inspiration, but there are probably as many bad ideas as good ones come about like that. The trick to being a good scientist is not to let a preference for a particular idea cloud the scientific method of verification. Sounds easy, but surprisingly difficult in practice.”
    @trigguy March 10th, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Not all gut feelings are correct. You should read Thinking, Fast and Slow. Then you will be better able to discern:


  11. TURK


    There was I thinking the EU had been trading with China Russia Saudi and the Philippines for years are they less unsavioury when the EU does it then.”

    :-) :-) :-)

    I think the answer is “yes” !

  12. Gut feeling vs evidence based policy?


  13. @ RJW LeftieLiberal
    Good your article on Orwell is being cited! Brittain must have been stung by Orwell’s criticism of her Seeds of Chaos &, as you showed, played fast and loose with the evidence to persuade her readers that Orwell — who could not answer back — had recanted re the ethics/effects of bombing: when he not done so.
    This is not to say, re @ LeftieLiberal, that I agree with his views on bombing. He was as you say v cold-blooded: & it is hard to take statements such as “you do less harm by dropping bombs on people than by calling them Huns” & his view that war’s perversion of truth is worse than the fact it kills people: as we all dies anyway!

    All this, I guess, was part of the wider debate between Orwell & the pacifists, whom he excoriated as “objectively pro-fascist”. This debate is a complex subject but can I raise one point.
    We hear little from O in the year before WW2 because he was in Morocco for his health & out of touch. But in letters, eg to H Read, in January ’39 , he opposed the coming war and the “fascizing processes” that would inevitably occur in the War. But once the war started he was wholly on side: & eg in 1941 in “No, Not One” he stated the opposite “If one clings closley to the ‘those who fight facism become fascism themselves” formula, one is simply led into falsification.” Orwell was clearly never a pacifist but his opposition to the war seems part of that “we can’t trust the National Government with power” etc.
    Anyway I enjoyed yr excellent article & the stimulus to re-read O. It may be too much to say he was “the wintry conscience of his generation” but he is still read when his battalions of critics have largely been forgotten


    @” presumably you are able to distinguish between an assasin shooting someone in a kitchen and someone blasting away with an assault weapon in a street. Both activties are heinous but the consequences may be different.”

    I think he probably is-but unlike you, I’m guessing he appreciates the difference between a bullet & this sort of stuff :-



  15. Brexiteers here have kept quiet about the outrageous treatment of a sufferer from prostate cancer that Hireton gave a link for at 2.28 pm.

    That is the sort of injustice resulting from hard-line attitudes to immigration that ought to be highlighted by campaigners such as 38 Degrees, and if necessary supported by civil disobedience. I.e. People certifying the person has long been in the UK without them having actual documents, and NHS Staff giving the treatment and worrying about payment afterwards.

  16. @Colin, Turk, ToH

    I’m baffled that you think that pointing out that other EU countries have been trading with China, Russia etc is some kind of killer point.

    As I would have thought was clear, I was talking about our relatively greater reliance on these countries, and their goodwill, when we are “open to the world” and more reliant on it for our livelihood. While “beggars can’t be choosers” might be a bit provocative as a choice of illustrative epithet, “those who are eager to sell can’t be too picky about their customers” should do the trick.

    This was all in the context of explaining why there seems to be a lot less criticism of Russia, Saudi etc than you might expect given what they get up to.

  17. @Robbiealive (and others)

    “Another straw person/distortion.”

    No it’s not. Read my post carefully.

    People like Trump and Farage, as well as a fair few on the left, have tried to deflect attention from Russia’s appalling record, and I’m not talking about the recent events in Salisbury – I made no connection between them and Russia and I have no evidence that they were behind it.

    I was making a general point about how far Russia has sunk below normal international moral standards, and how some people choose to ignore or downplay this.

  18. Alec

    “how far Russia has sunk below normal international moral standards, ”

    I actually think it is much deeper.

    We have the head of UN recommending the elected head of a state had a psychiatric examination (probably right)
    We have have Russia fighting the Chechen war in Syria
    We have the US supporting Islamist extremists in Syria
    We have negotiations between the US and China for a latent partitioning of Pakistan
    We have Macron condoning anything that suits French business
    We have the Hungarian Prime Mnister declaring the UN as a subversive organisation
    We have a Brexit induced sale of any weapon the Saudis want.
    We have those Burmese forgotten
    We have those Ukraiinians forgotten
    And it seems that elimination of journalist is just a matter of things.
    And so on …

    To be honest it’s not much different from the 1970s.

  19. Robbiealive
    Glad you enjoyed the article, I’ll keep you up to date as to any further developments. I must admit I’d forgotten about it after it was published in 2011, so it came as a pleasant surprise to see it being cited in further work.

    The attack on Brittain was interesting in that he did not play ‘the jingo’, no allegations of lack of patriotism etc. Austere and cold blooded but not inhumane or inconsistent in the way that Britain sought to suggest in her post-mortem response.

  20. @Davwell,

    How is the fault of Brexiteers that a UK resident who is not from the EU is struggling to prove his right of residency in the UK?

    I have every sympathy with the gentleman, and there is clearly a major issue with the record-keeping in relation to the wave of immigration into the UK from the 1960s onwards. I believe the government should set up an investigation team specifically to dig into the history of people in such circumstances (rather than requiring them to prove it themselves through solicitors). If the investigation establishes that someone has genuinely resided in the UK for most of their life, Permanent Residency should be granted.

    But what’s it got to do with Brexit? Or is this one more example of that “all my enemies are the same, every evil in one neat package” phenomenon I keep moaning about?

  21. Neil A: But what’s it got to do with Brexit?

    I expect it’s the view that once you let the anti-immigration genie out of the bottle, this is the sort of sort of treatment that is more likely to arise. So the link is presumably indirect: the thinking being that the brexit vote legitimises, to an extent, anti-immigrant feeling and behaviour.

    I’m not necessarily making that link myself; just saying I can see what this case might have to do with brexit, albeit indirectly.

  22. TW

    It seems the EU are using a two string approach,

    1 To try and get an exemption
    2 To go through WTO to get approval for certain action to deter the tariffs.

    They ARE going by the book, to go by the book you need to have a list of retaliatory tariffs to be able to ask the WTO if they are fair and proportionate.

    I don’t think they have sacrificed anything. Other countries concerned by his unilaterally raising of tariffs have said the retaliation was an option, the EU just has been more prepared, with lists of products which would have an impact.

    Highlighting areas in which the US does benefit from trade with the EU and which can be impeded if the Orange Bozo keeps down this path isn’t unreasonable.

    You are of the impression the only way out is to give up “Small Wins” every time Trump has a tantrum. The EU is big enough to play hardball with him and jointly smarter than his unilateral decision making at 3am after watching Fox News.

    There is another option which you discount of hurting him in areas where it hurts his votes. Which doesn’t involve rolling over every time he needs a popularity (or ego) boost. What might cost in the short term has the long term benefit of Trump not coming back to try the same trick once you have shown you can hurt his vote and that he has to choose between “Win-Win” or “Lose-Lose” take his favourite “Win-Lose” off the table and make him play another game.

    Part of what the EU is doing is calling the monitor (WTO) but if that doesn’t stop him peeing in our pool, peeing in his pool might get it through to him (or at least the Republican Party) that it’s turning into a “Lose-Lose” situation.

    It seems we are pretty far away on this with you defining things to be true which I don’t accept, so it’s not surprising we come to different conclusions.


    I accept you’re saying it’s not your view, but really putting this one in a Brexit context is hard to defend.

    This unfortunate situation is a consequence of the British Nationality Act 1981 which was a product of the Tories’ genuflection to the immigration fundamentalists in the 1970s to repel the rise of the National Front.

    This left plenty of British Subjects who were Commonwealth Citizens but UK residents with suddenly ambiguous status, which unfortunately the gentleman here failed to regularise.

    The Home Office reaction to this failure is overbearing to the point of grotesque, but it ain’t about the EU.

    I know this site tries to see everything through a Brexit prism. but really this ones a ridiculous reach. We were barely in the EEC when this one happened, and the EU was but a twinkle in the Commission’s eye.

  24. Crofty

    “You have an extraordinary ability to miss the point”

    And you sir have an extraordinary ability to only see yours.

  25. Anyway, with due respect to all from other relevant and non-relevant points of origin, must go and sink a few to celebrate the outcome of the six nations.

    I know I have been sanctimoniously precious at times on here about how trivial national identity should be. And it is. But sport’s trivial too. So sue me.

  26. PeterW:The Home Office reaction to this failure is overbearing to the point of grotesque, but it ain’t about the EU.

    As I think you recognised, I wasn’t saying that this particular case was directly about the EU. I was just outlining the linkage that I thought the original poster might have in mind, by way of being helpful.

    However, since the topic of 1950s/60s/70s Commonwealth immigration, I do actually suspect that for many people it was a determining factor in their referendum vote.

    It was, of course, and as you say, absolutely nothing to do with the EU. But, regretfully, I’m pretty sure that if polling were carried out on the topic of, “who or what is responsible for the number of black and brown people in Britain today?” the EU would score higher than “Britain’s colonial legacy” Just a hunch, and I’m pretty sure no polling exists on this.

  27. Neil A @ 6.18 pm

    I defend myself totally against your claim that not treating for a cancer a long-resident UK person who hasn`t regularised his citizenship is not being affected by Brexiteers condemning immigration in all its manifestations.

    Much reducing immigration and scare stories about large numbers coming to the UK, played a big part in the referendum campaign. And we had posters depicting non-EU people on their way.

    This government is scared to allow people who have every moral right to be here to stay, as has been obvious by how they have only gradually moved to having the date of leaving the EU as the end point for qualification for staying, for EU workers. Making our doctors and nurses fear for their continued right to be here has been really sad behaviour, and I am sure most Tories have been ashamed of it. But it`s happened because of pressure from Hard Brexiteers.

  28. The Mirror is reporting a Survation poll that has Labour 7 points ahead tonight.

  29. Davwel

    I completely agree with your post of 8.26 . It cuts both ways though. Brexit has opened my eyes to how the Home Office treats all long term residents from all parts of the world who haven’t “regularised their status” : the appalling “hostile environment”. How about a “compassionate environment” for a change? I never used to take much notice, but now I know just how hard the Home Office make life for so many people – and the rights we have lost (for example, to marry and bring to live here someone you fall in love with in another country). Stories like this make me very ashamed to be British.

  30. @Cloudspotter

    LAB 44 (+1)
    CON 37 (-3)
    LIBD 9 (+1)

  31. Something other than Brexit.

    Britain Elects
    Westminster voting intention:

    LAB: 44% (+1)
    CON: 37% (-3)
    LDEM: 9% (+1)

    via @Survation
    Chgs. w/ 29 Jan


  32. Re: Survation

    Interesting movement, still need to see more evidence to be sure that represents a Labour lead (as the most likely explanation is we are seeing a sample from one of the 5% tails)

  33. Very pleasing poll for Labour. It gives me a lot of heart to know that the company that best predicted the results of the last election have been the one showing the most consistent Labour leads.

    Obviously it’s mid-term, but if the Tories are going to fritter away their support they need to be making new, and original, political arguments that address the concerns of working people who have long suffered under the seemingly endless austerity the Tories have presided over. Desperately searching for some Gotcha! moment of scandal rather than making serious political arguments hasn’t helped the Tories one bit in the last few months, why they persist with it I have no idea. Perhaps it’s just the first instinct of the Tory right to revert to Cold War anti-socialism when their backs are against the wall, the Tory comfort zone, but it’s clearly not getting through.

  34. Yes, interesting. One poll does not a movement make, but even so, I think the Tories will be getting a bit nervous. Only time will tell, but the May locals are really shaping up to be a potential critical moment. Or maybe not.

    That Rochester by-election result was a bit of a shocker the other night. While it’s expected that the Conservatives will lose ground in London and similar places in May, if they’re also losing ground in the traditional Tory areas, they might have some hard thinking to do.

  35. Also I saw an article today citing an internal Labour poll putting them on 30% in Scotland, 4 points behind the SNP and 6 above the Tories.

    I will post the link in a subsequent post, since links often trigger moderation in my experience, but I have to say after many years of political activism I have never once laid eyes on secret polls like the one here. I’ve campaigned in seats where we’ve been given (quite selective) constituency polling, but clearly the big national polling requires a level of seniority I’ve never possessed, so I do treat rumours of their results with the appropriate caution.

  36. shock_poll_shows_labour_rapidly_gaining_on_snp

  37. Thanks Patrick for your support @ 9.08 pm

    I`ve put up Hireton`s link again, for posters to see how badly the Home Office is behaving. It wouldn`t surprise me if some Hard Brexiteers had positions in the Home Office that allowed them some freedom to set policies.


    A thing that irked me in the report was the hospital expecting people to have passports, and their not having a passport being firm evidence that they weren`t genuine residents. Whereas having records of paying income tax, VAT, etc wasn`t good evidence.

    There must be lots of us aged 60 plus who don`t have passports.

  38. The 7 -point Labour lead with Survation should not come as much of a surprise given their last three polls in Nov, Dec and Jan showed labour leads of 6, 8 and 3 points respectively. It’s really something of a reversion to the norm for a Survation poll. I’d draw two conclusions from it:

    1. Overall, the polls have barely moved for the past 8 months.
    2. Post GE 2017, there are still some very pronounced ‘house effects’ with Survation being the most Labour-friendly pollster.

  39. Are they assuming a high turnout amongst the young? I suspect there might be disappointment in this area in the next election as the novelty of Corbyn will have worn off and the penny will drop that the wiping out of debt is not costed or deliverable.

    I think Labour could achieve this result with Starmer leading against May for the Tories, but any other configuration will result in a much closer finish.

  40. You might Andrew and it is only one poll but Survation got LTV more or less right in 2017 and in their published one in 2015 so deserve respect.

  41. Oops in their unpublished one in 2015!!

  42. Yes, Survation was pretty close in 2017, and their unpublished one predicted the Tory win.

    While it’s probably highly unsettled, it would be interesting to see YouGov’s model (it is probably highly stable, but at the same time with high variation (the intra-set variables are probably unevenly distributed) – it would give some certainty, especially on Brexit effect on VI. The way in which the model worked clearly showed a reduced effect and moreover a highly distributed one, thus a marginal effect. Of course, 8 months can change those, but I expect them to be marginal and slightly in Labour’s favour.

  43. Andrew Myers

    I really don’t think it matters of it’s JC or Starmer. I don’t think it matters how Brexit goes (except, of course, if it is a disaster,like leaving the EU in a recession). What matters in getting that lead (in the region that @ChrisLane thinks necessary) is the slightest practical evidence that some of the Labour promises could be implemented (one is enough) or that the government is actively sabotaging common sense solutions.

    Labour right now (how long, it’s a different matter) has the privilege of pushing the benchmark of their proposition to the future. Unlike the Tories, there are no real differences in this in Labour.

    [Because Brexit seems to be dominant, apart from Orwell, of course, here – the Tory MPs belong to distinct sets in terms of Brexit, which are made fuzzy by their commitment to other Tory policies. Labour MPs belong to various fuzzy sets in terms of Brexit, but these are simplified by the homogeneity of their other commitments). This gives Labour an upper hand as it allows their leadership to move the boundaries of the fuzzy sets, while the same thing cannot be done for the conservatives.]

    Apologies for the stuff in the brackets – I’m not quite there to verbalize it properly.

  44. Encouraging poll for Labour from Survation. Just to add Survation are not more Labour friendly than other pollsters. Based on the 2017 GE they are simply more accurate than the others,

  45. Laszlo – agreed, and if the next election campaign is like any other aside from 2017, the Tory position will crystalise and the opposition advantage will disappear. Anyone thinking that there will be a 20 point surge for Labour (or indeed the Tories) during the next campaign will be sorely disappointed, I suspect.

  46. @Andrew Myers
    As Number Cruncher has repeatedly pointed out, the supposed ‘youthquake’ in the 2017 election was mythical, with the surge being amongst the 25-44s – younger than me but well out of nappies.
    Of course, these semi-codgers could also decide not to vote next time around (as indeed could real codgers, and then where would the old codger party be?)

  47. @Andrew Myers

    Yougov polling showed only 17% of 18-24 year olds thought Corbyn would cancel all the debt.

    (Can’t find the tables to see how many are voters from other parties besides Labour who want to be able to have an attack point on Corbyn.)

  48. @Andrew Myers

    “Anyone expecting a twenty a 20 point surge will be sorely disappointed”

    I would say that depends on the starting point. Corbyn is a veteran campaigner, and one of the good things about the chaos and turmoil of contemporary British politics is that our activists are now battle-hardened and experienced – I’ve met plenty of people in their early 20’s who’ve campaigned in 2 general elections, two Labour leadership elections and the EU referendum! Once we get out and about campaigning our vote share will increase, but by how much depends in large part on the starting point.

    I’m also very happy with how the locals are going. In some areas of Leeds I campaign in we have more people out and about meeting the public, on the doorstep, doing leafletting and stalls etc than we managed in the General Election!

    I know it’s the habit of people to tie the fortunes of a political party to transient things, in our case usually manufactured scandal from the tabloid press or Guido, but much more dull things such as how many activists you can turn out for routine local elections and how good they are on the doorstep.

    Anyway, if you fancy a scoop Jon Lansman is gonna be standing down in his bid for Gen Sec over the weekend. Apparently a deal has been worked out – Formby will see that the democracy review will be safe and mandatory reselection will be supported, which has been seen by Lansman as a gesture of goodwill, plus I think on both sides there’s a desire to detoxify the contest and keep the Unite-Momentum alliance intact. The people who got their hopes up about this being a watershed moment for the Labour party should take from this not to get their hopes up that some Deus Ex Machina is gonna show up and save them from a socialist Labour government.

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