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. Andrew Myers,
    Three things happened in 2017. The most obvious was realignment of leave and remain behind tory and lab and away from ukip and lib. There isn’t much ukip left, but a tiny bit of lib which might vote tactically remain/ lab.

    A second effect was the large block of don’t know moving labour. I don’t know if the current 20% or so DK are the same people as last time or different, but being DK they are certainly available to be recruited.
    They could be tribal unaffiliates who always vote on issues, or they could be part of a drift between parties as the whole political centre shifts.

    Third, labour had some other policies which were popular and which tories seem now trying to copy. It has proved difficult for tories to translate such rhetoric into policy, however. Their attempt in 2017 at stabilising payments to maintain care for the elderly turned into something of an own goal.

    I still think there is potential in this situation for a major breakthrough by a centre right pro eu party, ie the libs, but as ever that would depend on the major parties making mistakes. The most obvious mistake would be being too supportive of brexit.

  2. alienated labour

    “…not to get their hopes up that some Deus Ex Machina is gonna show up and save them from a socialist Labour government.”

    It is hard to express how happy I am to have a socialist Labour Party to vote for. It’s been a long time coming.

  3. Polls have not really moved for 6 months, easy to get excited over a poll or even 4-4 polls but over time they all revert to pretty much the same – no real movement and both Labour and Conservatives are pretty much neck and neck

    Not sure what would cause any change in that situation, Brexit will trundle along for the next 12 months or more but think people have already factored that in. Am sure there will be more scare stories about Corbyn, but again that seems to make no difference to the polls.

    I suppose a Conservative Leadership election may change things, but even that is by no means certain or if it does happen which way it will effect their support. Both of the main parties seem to be pretty much at their high points and it appears voters do not want to jump from either ship at this time.

  4. 4-4 should read 3-4 polls

  5. @TOH and @Trigguy – ‘Gut feeling’ tells me this latest Survation poll should be taken with care, as I feel any poll with sharp movements should be.

    ‘Gut feeling’ also told me (and many others) that the 2017 election was swung decisively by the youth vote, but sober analysis tells us that this was largely incorrect.

    I think that it’s almost certainly true that gut feeling is a prime motivator in many decision making points in human lives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way to choose a path, nor does it guarantee the most optimal outcome.

    For example, politicians in the US launched a variety of schemes to get potential young offenders to visit long term inmates in prisons as a way to deter them. It was taken up in the UK by a previous Conservative government. Gut feeling tells us that meeting inmates and seeing their lives would turn people from a life of crime.

    Sober analysis found the complete opposite to be true. By putting a human face onto inmates and showing young people that live goes on even in prison, the studies here and in the US showed offending rates actually rose among the participating groups.

    I think it’s also worth noting that the Brexit vote has been typified by a pretty strong correlation to educational levels. We need to be careful here, as educational attainment isn’t necessarily interchangeable with analytical capability, but one possible interpretation of this is that remainers tended to look more at factual data and analyse the options, while leave voters worked more on gut feeling.

    I suspect that this is true to an extent, and I have read some polling data that tends to support this, but we shouldn’t go too far with the theory as reasons for voting are complex and varied.

    However, I do think that one of the problems we are facing in the Brexit negotiations is the unwillingness of the leading leave campaigners to subsume their gut feelings in favour of a more sober analysis in terms of how they foresaw the negotiations.

    Time and again we were told that a deal would be ‘the easiest deal in the world’ because ‘its’ in their interests’. Others applied more analysis and thought and understood this not to be true, and have been proved correct. This may again be a specific case where gut feeling has been found wanting.

  6. Alec

    “However, I do think that one of the problems we are facing in the Brexit negotiations is the unwillingness of the leading leave campaigners to subsume their gut feelings in favour of a more sober analysis in terms of how they foresaw the negotiations.”

    You may be interested to know that I agree with that. They should have recognised as many of us did that the EU is only interested in punishing the UK. They should have taken a much harder line with the EU and prepared to leave on WTO terms.

  7. Interesting to see that most of the Remainers who post here are badly out of touch with the voters in some but not all respects on Brexit. According to the Orb poll in the Sunday Telegraph 67 % think the EU is trying to bully the UK in the negotiations. Only 17% disagree.

    On a second referendum which thankfully is not going to happen 53% would vote to leave and 47 % would vote to stay.

    The Public seem to believe some of the doom and gloom predicted but appear not to be moved by it.

    Have a good day all.

  8. @TOH

    According to the Orb poll in the Sunday Telegraph 67 % think the EU is trying to bully the UK in the negotiations. Only 17% disagree.

    In these negotiations there is no bullying. It’s simply the fact that each side has a hand to play, and the UK’s is much weaker than the EU’s.

    Would you really expect them not use their stronger hand to it’s full?

    If the boot was on the other foot, would you expect the Government to play it’s hand to the fullest if is were strong enough for this?

    It seems plain to me. The was a reluctant, whinging member of a club, and voted to leave. Now stood outside the club in the cold and rain, they seem to expect the club they have just stormed out of to do them a special favour, that isn’t really in the interests of club (as the club sees it).

    It’s not bullying – it’s the EU who holds the aces, when the UK holds twos, fours and sevens off-suit.

  9. If the club analogy is used then a much better example would be; we have decided to leave your club and set up our own because we don’t like some of your rules and you are not flexible enough to modernise. We will settle an agreed bill for what we owe for building the clubhouse and in the future we would still like to play matches against you. However we wish an independent referee to be appointed as yours will of course be biased.

    The eu answer seems to be, p155 off. We won’t play you because you might beat us and we couldn’t take the humiliation.

  10. BBC reporting traces of a ” nerve agent ” found in the Salisbury restaurant !!!

  11. FWIW,

    I didn’t see it as a 20% ish surge for Labour in 2017. The few polls with leads around that level were imo partially
    accurate as a snapshot but did not accounting for the inevitable hold your nose returning 2015 Labour vote.

    I suggested this at the time as unusually in the last parliament the JC affect which energised new (and renewed voters) was balance by many saying never vote Labour while Corbyn leader etc who were always likely to return in the end.

    Moreover, some pollsters down weighted the new and renewed based on previous behaviour by non-voters at earlier GEs and simultaneously did not re-allocate DKs back to Labour.
    Other pollsters did neither or just one or partially recalculated so from the same raw data a 20% lead or 10- 12% ish could be the headline.

    So the real swing to labour from the GE being called to polling day was possibly 4-5% which is very impressive still.

    I agree with those who say a swing of that magnitude is unlikely during the next GE campaign itself as hold your nose voters for both main parties are largely staying put for now and those voting for the first time (or for the first time an many GEs) in 2017 are now calculated in.
    (Although some pollsters are not using 2017 LTV but a hybrid of 2015 and 17 I understand?)

    Assuming a 2022 GE there is plenty of time for a slow movement in one direction or other with Brexit deal success or otherwise (or a view on success or otherwise) and changes of leaders perhaps impacting. I expect though only modest movements during the GE campaign itself from actual starting positions
    The pollsters different LTV and re-allocation models may make the real starting position tough to judge but the movement by pollsters will be modest imo.

  12. ROBERT NEWARK

    The trouble with your “club” analogy is that neither you nor HMG seem to have read A50 before it was triggered.

    A sensible member would have at least have tried to negotiate the treaty changes it wants at the next opportunity before storming off in a huff without a detailed plan which took account of the special issues related to NI and Gibraltar.

  13. Robert Newark: we have decided to leave your club and set up our own because we don’t like some of your rules and you are not flexible enough to modernise. We will settle an agreed bill for what we owe for building the clubhouse and in the future we would still like to play matches against you.

    Fine. But would you then expect to continue to get free entry to their ground, use their facilities and if asked to pay, complain about “punishment”?

    And if it’s a football club we’re talking about, good luck in the cup with your team of one.

  14. @ ALEC – but my point is that an escalation is probably what Trump wants. It is certainly winning him support from unions, democrats, etc. EU are playing into his hands!
    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/04/trumps-steel-tariffs-are-earning-him-cheers-from-democrats-and-unions.html

    UK are now in a tricky position, do we go for a solo exemption (based on being one of the ‘five eyes’ would seem a good idea as narrow and specific). That would risk scorn from EU who are already threatening UK of the implications of going solo. Or do we side with the EU and say we need a deal for whole of EU even if that means UK exports have to pay the tariffs? I’ve posted the trade data before – we’d be putting our necks out for EU27, why should we spend any political capital helping Brussels when they are threatening and seeking to punish us?

    NB EU did nothing for UK in the Bombadier debacle. US ITC ruled in favour of Bombadier thankfully so the issue has mostly gone away (still risk of an appeal or future action).

    @ CMJ / TOH – but the UK is not playing its strongest cards in a threatening manner. Maybe we should!
    – Have we threatened to pull troops from E.Europe (no country is under direct attack so we have no NATO commitment obligation to have troops there)
    – How should we handle the Trump tariffs? Seek a solo exemption or be tied to Juncker’s “we can do stupid” approach (UK net trade with US is broadly even, if we side with EU we are helping EU27 nations who have never done much to help UK)
    – EU even threatened tariffs hikes on UK recently (although that part has been dropped/rewritten), it was even referred to as the ‘punishment clause’. EUphiliacs seem very upset about Trump’s tariffs but when EU threaten that to UK it is simply what we ‘deserve’ for leaving their club?

    As for ‘special favours’ which side has the monster trade surplus in goods and wants free access to UK consumers but wants UK service sector to have reduced access to EU27. Which side is asking the other to coordinate a response to Trump that suits them but would hurt the other? Which side has enjoyed ‘free’ benefit of UK’s armed forces and nuclear umbrella since way back before they even started up as a coal and steel cartel?

  15. I think the “club” analogy is a good one.

    But I think their reaction to a first time leaver is quite complex.

    Our membership goes back decades. Whenever I see Tusk talking about Brexit I really sense a deep sadness . I know he is a rather melancholic chap , but I do -it happened on his watch. And it perhaps gives an indicator of the reaction at Member State level.

    I think that in the Commission there is a disbelief that we think we can improve upon membership of their club .

    This , imo. leads to the search for a Brexit which leaves UK “attached” to the club in some way-a withered appendage , locked away in some EU legal status with no power or influence. Like a dead crow hung on a fence post as warning to the others.

  16. @ SJ – they want free access to our ground!!! We have a massive trade deficit with EU – we should be charging them to play on UK’s pitch (via reciprocal WTO tariffs, CET or higher where they operate as a cartel dumping product into UK market)

    As for team of one. WTO has 164 members – lots of teams to play with!

  17. Particularly in the light of the new Survation poll, the Corbyn speech of yesterday re leaving the single market seems unwise. I doubt that will be popular with many current Lab supporters, although I suppose it might be an attempt to box in the Cons.

  18. CATMANJEFF

    I was just pointing out what the public think. You are in a small minority of voters if the poll is accurate.

  19. @TOH

    I was just pointing out what the public think. You are in a small minority of voters if the poll is accurate.

    Quite frankly I’ve been in a political minority all my life. If I shared the same view as the majority I would be very worried !

    ;-)

  20. ToH logic:

    1. (The UK) “should have taken a much harder line with the EU and prepared to leave on WTO terms.”

    2. The EU says that our red lines if maintained make WTO plus a possible Canada style deal the only available option.

    3. Ergo, “the EU is only interested in punishing the UK.”

    I happen to agree with TOH that if we leave the EU, the best outcome for Europe (of which, we are reminded by brexiters, the UK will still be part) will be WTO and cold turkey (or cold Turkey!) for the UK. But we should then be man enough not to moan about the consequences of what we have chosen for ourselves.

  21. @TW

    I think your analysis of the relative position of the UK position is from a certain point of view, that omits something really important, but subjective.

    The EU is more than an instrument of trade and cooperation – it increasingly has a political dimension. This dimension is highly valued in much of the EU, and is perhaps more important than trade deficits etc.

    Therefore, the UK analysis, which seems to take no allowance of this elephant in the room, is in my view flawed, and this is why the EU sees things differently than the UK does..

  22. @ CMJ – Yes, I think most would agree the EU is essentially a political project seeking ever closer union

    The political elite want that but do the citizens?

    UK are not the only ones who have low confidence in the EU. Of 7 countries asked only 2 are confident in the EU: Ireland (whose model is basically to operate as a parasite on a larger beast) and Spain.

    The Germans, French, Dutch, Brits and especially the Italians are net not confident in the political project.

    https://www.orb-international.com/2018/02/15/confidence-eu-orb-doxa-poll/

    I agree entirely that the EU“increasingly has a political dimension” that is what worries me! The political elite are pushing in a direction that is meeting increasing disapproval. That rarely ends well.

    Merkel appears to have put the brakes on Macron-Juncker’s plans for now but her power is on the wane and she is reliant on the more federalist SPD.

  23. SOMERJOHN
    ” we should then be man enough not to moan about the consequences of what we have chosen for ourselves”

    Or nincompoop enough not to recognise the damage which we may have inflicted on ourselves, not just in general to trade,productivity and incomes, but to specific sources of national wealth which we have given up – for example that of the provision of financial services.
    Hammond on Marr this morning referred to the fact that not only we but the EU as a whole uses and benefits from the City’s services. I am surely not alone in thinking that the income from providing those services will be sought to be taken by France, Germany and others and that denying to the City the passporting which it presently enjoys will be an early step in that direction..

  24. John Pilgrim: Or nincompoop enough not to recognise the damage which we may have inflicted on ourselves, not just in general to trade, productivity and incomes, but to specific sources of national wealth which we have given up

    There’s certainly a lot of nincompoopery about (what a lovely word!)

    But I also think it’s not just in the economic sphere that we lose out. The EU is a noble political project, in which countries have resolved to work together to promote the common good, and avoid the self-harming to which the peoples of our continent had seemed addicted.

    To opt out of such an enterprise, in favour of pursuing narrow national self-interest, is, I fear, to give up a portion of moral authority.

    Of course, many in Britain scoff at such high-minded idealism. Most, probably. It’s a dimension of the EU that has been consistently downplayed in the UK (not least in the referendum campaign). Which is why, I think, so many brexiters don’t understand the continued coherence of the EU and, instead, continually predict its imminent demise.

  25. CATMANJEFF
    “The EU is more than an instrument of trade and cooperation – it increasingly has a political dimension. ”

    Juncker’s vision and that of perhaps half of the national governments of the EU of a political Europe reflects his understanding of the economic and demographic pressures both within the EU and globally which will determine domestic wellbeing in EU member states. It is not, I think, primarily a concern with power or with sovereignty, but would see the EU as providing a tent within which national sovereignties would be exercised but which would equp the EU states to utilise external demographic and trade developments to build their own economies and social security.

  26. SOMERJOHN
    Yes, but seen as sound economics and governance rather than high minded.
    In terms of Labour’s politcy this would reflect their John Smithian and Morrisonian policy of the long haul, rather than – however justified – the mopping up of pockets of deprivation blamed on migrationand austerity by near horizon discriminatory local investment and social measures.

  27. John Pilgrim

    I see the Remainers back to insults again. So typical of the so called elite who think they know best for the British people. So sad for you, you lose the referendum and behave like fifth former’s.

    Somerjohn

    “But we should then be man enough not to moan about the consequences of what we have chosen for ourselves.”

    I actually want a sensible trade deal but I do not think the EU will offer that. I have always been happy to accept the consequences of leaving the EU. It’s what I’ve longed for for more than 40 years and it will soon be less than a year away.

  28. ToH logic (number two):

    I see the Remainers back to insults again…. you lose the referendum and behave like fifth former’s.(sic)

    On a more substantive point: I actually want a sensible trade deal but I do not think the EU will offer that.

    Well, they’ve already indicated a CETA-style deal is possible. Do you think that is not a “sensible trade deal”? Or is it that you think they will withdraw the offer?

    If you want us to be a third country, trading on WTO terms, I can’t see why you should expect to be offered anything more than CETA. Nor, indeed, given your philosophy, why you think we should need such a deal.

  29. TOH

    @”I see the Remainers back to insults again”

    same old-same old on UKPR :-)

  30. TOH
    “I see the Remainers back to insults again”

    I am sorry that you seem to believe my use of the word “nincompoop” was aimed at you.
    Please rest assured that I meant it in reference to people who understand the importance of international financial services to the UK economy but are choosing to ignore them for the sake of some cloudy vision of sovereignty.
    That part of the population who are ignorant of their function and importance should, I think you’ll agree, be excused.

  31. I do wish that some, a few, too many or more (if accurate) would be put before post starring leavers or remainers.

  32. SOMERJOHN

    A sensible trade deal would include financial services and would not require us signing up to a leaving agreement which hamstrings the UK government.

    The EU have actually offered nothing.

  33. starting not starring of course

  34. @ JP – Dutch PM summed up “Juncker’s vision” quite well.

    “when you have visions, go see a doctor”
    https://www.ft.com/content/18eb3400-989b-11e7-a652-cde3f882dd7b

    Regarding “perhaps half of the national governments” you might not be aware that 0/27 voted for Juncker’s vision recently:
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-summit-jobs/eu-leaders-resist-push-for-elected-commission-chief-merging-of-posts-idUSKCN1G72AE

    It seems autocracy isn’t popular with any of the 27 – let alone perhaps half

    Lots of so previous European autocratic leaders have had “visions” – none of them ended well!

    It would be nice if Remainers could occasionally substantiate any of the their views with polling or actual votes (in this case the EU Council 27 Heads of State) – or perhaps the EUphiliac desire for autocratic leadership means the electorate’s opinion and vote can simply be ignored?

    Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time

  35. @TW

    Good to see you acknowledging the primacy of national heads of government in EU decision making. All too often we see brexiters pretending that some group of faceless, unelected bureaucrats has primacy, so well done.

  36. TW

    You are conflating a lot in your 12:33 comment.

    Jim Jam

    I think a starring would be better – actually a few right in the beginning of the comment. It would save time.

  37. ******* (complying with Jim Jam’s suggestion)

    “A sensible trade deal would include financial services and would not require us signing up to a leaving agreement which hamstrings the UK government.”

    That’s a true Mothers’ Day cake.

  38. John Pilgrim

    Pathetic response John, as i say you are just behaving like a schoolboy and accept the verdict of the people to leave the EU. All the moaning that Remainers have done since the referendum has had no effect on the voters to judge by the Orb poll I mentioned above.

    Catmanjeff

    “Quite frankly I’ve been in a political minority all my life. If I shared the same view as the majority I would be very worried !”

    So you are in favour of Fox hunting and against Gay marriage, interesting. I can agree with your minority views on these issues..

  39. TW
    You 12.33 link was to a report on voting on a proposal for an elected Head of the Commission. The contrary of any vote for autocracy.

  40. Laszlo

    “That’s a true Mothers’ Day cake.”

    My wife has just made one and it delicious.

    :-)

  41. Laszlo

    A cake of the variety “It’s a cake because I define it to be cake”

    A deal usually involves both sides agreeing to certain terms. An agreement in which one side doesn’t actually sign up to anything (because “sovereignty”) seems a bit… cakish?

    Fortunately other definitions of the word sensible are available.

  42. John Pilgrim

    should read and should accept the verdict of……………………

  43. Alan

    I thought you were moving to Europe? Time is running out i you want to get established before Brexit.

    Anyway as i have said before i wish you luck.

  44. Survation latest: Lab 44, Con 37, LD 9

    With those numbers Labour would either have an absolute majority, or be very close to one. But it’s most likely an outlier unless/until other polls show similar movement – can’t think of any reason for the sudden movement, can you? (I mean, there are plenty of reasons to hate the Tories, but none that didn’t apply last week.)

  45. @Alec

    I’m all for sober analysis, but to be effective, that needs to include a number of hypotheses:

    It is quite possible that people with higher levels of educational attainment tended to vote ‘remain’ because they were more ready to accept the consensus presented by most of the establishment and media that Brexit would be a disaster; whether they were right to do so remains to be seen and may never be known because the reality of remaining will never be tested.

    It may also be that “people with higher levels of educational attainment” actually equates to “people of higher economic status” and therefore “people who perceive that they have done better as a result of EU membership and the status quo”.

    And of course it may be that “people with higher levels of educational attainment” are more inclined support what is perceived to be international cooperation (the David Goodhart view).

    None of these hypotheses are contradictory and I think there’s pretty solid evidence for all of them.

    As for the ‘leave’ supporters’ view of the negotiations, I think what happened is that many campaigners believed that the EU would put its economic interests (continuation of frictionless trade) ahead of its political interests (ensuring Brexit was bad for the UK ‘pour encourager les autres’). Eventually I think that they will be proved correct, but the EU Commission has proved itself to be quite terrified by the implications of Brexit and has resorted to trying to bully the UK as a result. But in time, I’d expect the national governments of the other member states to ensure a more reasoned settlement.

  46. Further on cakes …

    There will be elections in Hungary in April. After a shock defeat in a mayoral byelection the government is a bit panicky.

    Last week they announced £25 reduction in the heating bill (Because it was “a hard winter”) and food vouchers to all pensioners for Easter (also about 25 quid). The Post Office was ordered that the vouchers must be delivered before the 8th of April.I

    I think Fidesz will still win, but not as easily as it was expected earlier (a reverse in the tendency in Europe) – partly because of higher participation rates, partly because already 4x as many Hungarians living abroad have registered to vote (among them me – for the first time since 1994).

  47. TREVOR WARNE

    That Reuters article is interesting . The battle for “democratic supremacy” in the EU is at the heart of everything.

    I love this quote from the article :-

    “While Parliament is pushing for more power in Brussels as a way of improving the EU’s image as a democratic project, many national leaders insist that they are more representative of people’s wishes than a legislature for which less than half of the electorate bothered to vote.”

    That really says it all.

    As Harry Hill would say-” I like democracy in the European Parliament-I like democracy in the Member States-but which is best ?….. Fiiiight !”

    :-)

    How will they ever resolve this ? The “will of the people” …………but which set of “people” ?

    The underlying “architecture” ( as GV would say :-) ) of the EU is not fit for purpose.

    Mind you-it depends who is defining the “purpose” .

    :-) :-) :-)

  48. TOH

    I fully intend to, my project ran into a few snags which meant redoing a lot of my supervisor’s published work. Back on track now and seemingly headed for a distinction (with the possibility of a research paper in addition).

    Time is somewhat of an issue, although not pressing. I expect to escape before my opponents manage to stop me.

  49. JBOYD

    Interesting post re the EU changing their minds re what you seem to think is punishment. However, the EU27 have been kept informed of and presumably accepted Barnier’s approach. If now some member states wish to change the approach, is it not surprising that we have not even leaks on their changed views?

  50. New thread

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