ICM’s regular poll for the Guardian today has topline figures of CON 44%(+1), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 8%(+1). Fieldwork was between Friday and Monday, and changes are from a fortnight ago. Tabs are here.

There was also an Opinium poll for the Observer at the weekend, which had toplines of CON 42%(nc), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 6%(-1). Fieldwork for that was Tuesday to Thursday, and changes are from February. Tabs are here.

Both polls also asked questions about how political leaders had responded to the poisoning in Salisbury, finding a similar pattern to YouGov last week. ICM found people thought Theresa May had responded well to the Salisbury poisoning by 51% to 22%, and thought Jeremy Corbyn had responded badly by 42% to 23%. Opinium only asked about approval of May’s response, but 41% said they approved, 20% disapproved.

Neither the ICM nor Opinium poll has significant changes, so I’d be cautious about concluding that the poisoning has had any impact on political support. Nevertheless, if we look at the longer trend in public support it does look as though there has been a slight improvement in the Conservative position – late last year the polls were typically showing a small Labour lead, in the last couple of months they’ve averaged out with Labour and Conservative neck-and-neck. Whether that small change really matters is a different matter, we’re a long way from a scheduled general election and there are some very big “known unknowns”, like Brexit, before we get to one. A couple of points either way at this stage of the Parliament is neither here nor there.


1,127 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 44%(+1), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 8%(+1)”

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  1. After working in my daughter’s garden all day (and a lovely day it was too!) I trawl through the comments, make some replies, then find there’s a new thread!

    Typical!

  2. Well it looks like UKIP are deader than A-line flares with pockets in the knees.

  3. I note that AW doesn’t bother listing UKIP in the summary at all any more. Is that (semi) official confirmation that they are now back to “Others” status?

  4. Interesting information from the FT on business current response to Brexit.

    https://amp.ft.com/content/a7acd37a-2b84-11e8-9b4b-bc4b9f08f381?__twitter_impression=true

    The point about the possible impact of rules of origin on the UK’s food industry is significant.

  5. A one line and a two line comment on the poll itself, then back to the universal obsession.

    Is this a record? Usually there’s a token dozen or two.

  6. “A couple of points either way at this stage of the Parliament is neither here nor there.”

    True, so we may as well discuss more interesting things –

    WB

    I’ve been aware for some time that a specific body of Welsh law has been developing [1] since devolution and that the draft legislation will codify (is that the correct term?) into a more usable format.

    https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/draft-bill-takes-wales-towards-distinct-legal-system-/5065353.article#.WrEsxpfimSA.twitter

    Do you see political implications in that?

    [1] I gather that some clients have been discombombulated by their choice of an English lawyer to argue their case.

  7. Quick point on the parliamentary arithmetic – should the DUP abstain in a confidence motion (and assuming SF don’t turn up at Westminster) then I believe, what with the various withdrawings of the whip and suspensions since the election, it would actually be a tie between government MPs and everybody else. Two of those still suspended are Tories though, so I’d reckon the opposition would be a couple of votes short. An extremely precarious position, but not untenable.

  8. @Peterw

    Polldrums. Nothing worth commenting on.

  9. A Lab MP called John Woodcock has tweeted

    Labour’s NEC has appointed a new general secretary who has said she wants all ‘Blairites’ to leave the party. It feels like a pretty deliberate message we are no longer welcome. I can’t see how this is a strategy for government, but mostly I am just sad.

    Has the new Lab Gen Sec said that? If so, will Woodcock oblige?

    Is there actually a single “Labour Party” in England?

  10. Away from politics I have really enjoyed the latest 6-part series of Shetland.

    Of particular note was the amazing acting of Stephen Walters as Thomas Malone. It really was an outstanding performance.

  11. CROFTY

    Agreed.

    We are avid fans of Scandi tv detectives.

    This was up at that standard-excellent.

  12. Good Poll for Cons-Lab Councillors defecting to Cons .

    Wonder how the triumphant Front Bench Left will fare tomorrow in HoC.?

    Will be watching the benches behind them with interest.

  13. OLD NAT

    “Is there actually a single “Labour Party” in England?”

    I don’t know about that – but I think a “Blairite” *** is anybody who doesn’t believe that the sun shines out of Jeremy Corbyn’s allotment.

    *** Named after Tony Blair who recently resigned as Prime Minister.

  14. I’m a little surprised by these post-Salisbury polls, to be honest. When you look at the disparity in voters opinions on how May and Corbyn have handled the affair, with May the clear “winner”, one would have thought that this would have fed into voting intentions. Instead it’s hardly touched them at all, with any discernible twitch probably accounted for by MOE. According to the Opinium poll, Labour have actually improved by 1 point and the Tory VI is unchanged! Labour took a bit more of a hit in the recent YouGov but nothing that couldn’t be explained away by MOE and the Tories are more or less unchanged in all of them. No bounce at all, despite May enjoying a rare period on the front foot. Strange.

    Conclusions? Probably too early to tell, as Anthony suggests, and I still retain my scepticism about polls generally, but if they suggest anything at all is it is that political opinion is pretty polarised and static. No game-changers in sight and nothing very much is happening to change the political preferences expressed in the ballot box June 2017.

    Game changing political events usually produce violent jolts in opinion polls, but that clearly isn’t the case here. Corbyn may be that sort of rare “marmite” political leader who invites disdain and admiration in equal measure. The more opprobrium he attracts from his arch opponents, the more the faithful love him. Underdog politics in a way, but it’s not entirely unhelpful to him either. The Tories are finding it difficult to knock him out almost as much as Labour loyalists are finding it hard to convince a crucial section of the electorate to go over to him. Emotionally attracted to Labour this section of the electorate may be but they can’t quite yet get over their doubts about Corbyn as a potential PM. Will they one day? Probably the most interesting question in current British politics.

    What do we make of all that? I don’t quite know yet and as a centrist Labour man, Corbyn remains an enigma to me. I keep expecting him to be knocked out by the Tories at any time, with the Labour VI plunging with him, but the old boy just keeps bob bob bobbing along.

    I’ll make some sense of it all one day!

    :-)

  15. COLIN

    With the bonus of a bit of Denmark thrown in as well this time.

  16. Crofty

    “Jeremy Corbyn’s allotment”

    Is his one near to TOH’s ones, and do they share gardening tips?

  17. CB11

    I agree with your confusion. Maybe everything is on hold for the entirety of brexit.

    Certainly the things that people have strong opinions of, in either direction, no longer seem to make very much difference at all.

    Tories under attack for NHS or housing – no effect: Labour under attack for attitude to Russia, or whatever – no effect.

  18. @Crofty – “With the bonus of a bit of Denmark thrown in as well this time.”

    Other than it was actually Norway, I agree with you and @Colin. My only gripe was that in this episode, there was no wind. This is Shetland man! In the first series, they had a scene supposedly just before Christmas, when the children were being picked up from school in broad daylight. Apart from the meteorological gaffs, it’s a great series.

    Incidentally, the Tuesday 9pm slot on BBC Wales has been running Keeping Faith instead. Mrs A and I have been catching up with this on iPlayer, and while different in tone to Shetland, it’s arguably even better. Worth a watch.

  19. ALEC

    Keeping Faith: I’m on episode three at the moment and yes, it’s pretty good.

    [I just thought Norway and Denmark were the same]

  20. ps

    Some of ITV’s crime series are very good now but Marcella is absolutely ORFUL and without a single likeable character or a believable plot.

  21. @Crofty – know what you mean. These forruners all look the same to me. Like the strange folk from Weardale.

  22. SCANDINOIRE IS JUST TAGGART WITH JUMPERS!

    Peter.

  23. *SPOILER ALERT*

    When my wife starting watching Shetland (alone, as I hate all crime drama on account of the ridiculous storylines and comprehensive inaccuracy), I made the comment “I hope it’s not another one of those murder dramas where the big twist is that the policeman did it”.

    *sigh*

    As always, I half-listened to it, like a radio show, whilst facing the other way and using the PC to chat to you fine folks.

  24. The best police dramas I’ve ever seen are “The Cops” and “Happy Valley” by the BBC and “The Wire” by HBO.

    Everything else might as well be about unicorns hunting down The Gruffalo in Middle Earth for the level of actual realism involved.

  25. CB11
    “Corbyn may be that sort of rare “marmite” political leader who invites disdain and admiration in equal measure. ”

    I think one of the major problems the Tories have in landing any blows at the moment is that, with May practically invisible as PM and leader, they have no one less Marmitey to offer as an alternative.

  26. Alec, it is not people like you who will decide the next Conservative Party leadership election.

    Being a suitable PM and being a potential PM are not the same thing at all.

  27. The write-up from ICM:

    https://www.icmunlimited.com/polls/

    is a bit of triumph over hope over experience:

    Last week saw the news dominated by the poisoning of a Russian former double agent in Salisbury involving a nerve agent. In the latest ICM/Guardian poll we asked the British public how well they thought May and Corbyn responded to this attack in their capacities as Prime Minister and leader of the opposition respectively.
    On this issue of national security, our results show a large gulf between the public’s perceptions of the two main party leaders.
    […] Maybe – just maybe – this has resulted in a slight boost for Theresa May’s Conservatives in our vote intention polling. We see the trend from our previous poll continuing, with the Conservatives gaining 1% at the expense of Labour.
    […] We shouldn’t speak too soon, as these are still small shifts in our results. Nevertheless, in the context of recent deadlock in our regular ICM/Guardian vote intention polling, it is possible that this could be showing the start of a small shift away from Labour and towards the Conservatives

    Strangely enough, when Labour jumped three points into the lead last month, there was no similar (tentative) announcements of a new dawn for them.

    Looking at the tables, it’s clear that what movement there is is mainly due[1] to a drop off in the enthusiasm of Labour voters (and a slight increase in that of Conservative ones)

    I suspect ICM’s desire to perceive movement is more due to boredom with the static nature of the polls than cheerleading for the Tories. But it is symptomatic of the collective mindset of the Westminster Bubble that, given the relentless attack on Corbyn over the last month[2], they feel that Labour’s VI ‘ought’ to be in freefall.

    The truth is that it will have had some small effect, though tiny for the amount of effort put in and probably for only a short time. But there’s nothing to suggest anything longterm – except perhaps an increasing cynicism for the media.

    [1] There’s something rather odd going on with the UKIP vote, which goes from 3% in the final figures (after LTV etc) to 1% after ICM’s ‘adjustment’. It seems unlikely that any increase in Con VI are due to squeezing the last few drops of support out of UKIP. Indeed I wonder if the remaining 2017 UKIP vote is mainly an anti-Establishment one and so more likely to go elsewhere (or stay home) than vote Conservative.

    [2] Remember that last period of him saying perfectly sensible things about Salisbury was preceded by a fortnight of all the media assuring us he was really a spy for a regime that didn’t exist any more in a country that didn’t exist any more. Based on absolutely no evidence at all.

  28. I’m genuinely rather interested in the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook story, both as a comeuppance for the tech industry but also as a sign of how the economy is really changing.

    I’m about as far from expert on these matters and it’s possible to be, but I do get interested when I hear the modern adage ‘if something’s free, then you’re the product’. With Facebook’s value worth 10 times Ford (only 9 times now, apparently), it’s clear that information seems to be more valuable than stuff.

    One niggling idea that I can’t get out of my head is that some people currently give over their private information for free to platforms like Facebook, who then make money from it through targeted adverts. We also earn revenue for other people by clicking on online adverts, or by watching ads on TV that other people have been paid to screen.

    The niggling idea I have here is that if we are the product, we are what others are buying and selling, and if we are collectively so valuable, why can’t we sell ourselves? If people want to advertise to us, why don’t we charge them for us to watch their adverts? Can someone set up a Facebook type platform where the users sell their data direct to marketing companies, instead of allowing the tech firm to trouser the cash?

    I can forsee problems. How would ITV make programs if the advertising revenue went to the viewers. How could UKPR survive, if the clicks on ads accrued income for the clickers?

    Still, new business models don’t bother looking after what came before, and that’s the nature of change. I just feel it’s an odd thing that the tech revolution hasn’t yet enabled consumers to become directly engaged with the advertising and marketing revenue stream, but has instead allowed mega corporations to grow fat on the personal data we give them.

    Nothing stays the same forever, and I do wonder if someone will come up with business model that allocates the financial rights back to the consumer.

  29. Crossbat11

    “I’m a little surprised by these post-Salisbury polls, to be honest. When you look at the disparity in voters opinions on how May and Corbyn have handled the affair, with May the clear “winner”, one would have thought that this would have fed into voting intentions. Instead it’s hardly touched them at all”

    I’m sticking with what I said on the previous thread. Corbyn’s pacifist element is pretty much already ‘priced in’ to the current voting intention. The whole issue was flogged to death during the last election so it seems unlikely that this latest stance is going surprise anyone, and if it’s not going to surprise anyone it’s not going to change VI.

    People currently supporting Labour that don’t support him on this issue probably don’t think it’s very important compared to the things they don’t like the conservatives for (NHS, cuts/austerity generally, brexit, etc)

    Corbyn may have a terrible approval rating but so does May and neither party seems to have a viable wide appeal replacement getting any significant coverage.

  30. JamesB: it’s not so much news events change voters’ perceptions of the leaders, it’s more that they change their priorities. National security will have become a more salient issue to the electorate over the past fortnight, and even if Jeremy Corbyn had handled the situation with model statesmanship, those baked-in preconceptions would have dented his polling anyway, just because the news cycle has serendipitously moved onto Conservative home turf.

    But the effect is small – possibly within MoE – and temporary. Nothing to worry about (except possibly relations between the leadership and the PLP, which have been stressed).

  31. I agree with the posts by @Roger Mexico and others.

    The media and Westminster bubble have flogged this Russian story to death and invested a lot of time and effort into it.

    They are desperate (in my view) to see the polls change sharply, so they can justify this to themselves, and show they are on the nation’s pulse.

    It looks more like in the real world that the public live, people have shrugged their shoulders, and basically haven’t really changed their views on Corbyn or May very much.

  32. Alec (11:44)
    Very interesting post. There are some signs that this is beginning to happen. For instance at this site:

    https://freepostcodelottery.com/

    The whole point is that the only revenue is from ads, but a portion of that is paid out to users of the site. There are others.

  33. Polltroll,
    “the news cycle has serendipitously moved onto Conservative home turf.”

    Maybe. The attack on Corbyn was based upon external influence into our political decisions. But now we have Analytica with a business model of influencing electons, using data from social media. This could yet morph into a problem for the tory party. The overall result is likely to be another attack on the probity of all politicians.

    As per post above, I think it likely a number of political attacks which seem effective from the perspective of one side, look precisely reversed from the perspective of the other. Attacks on the Credibility of Corbyn or of Brexit may have the effect of making the respective supporters dig their heels in further.

  34. Re ICM,

    Not huge difference, but I see 17% of leave voters are now registering as ‘dont know’, whereas the figure for remain is 11%.

    The biggest block of former DK/WNV supporters (32%), has now switched to labour, with only 9% going to tory. Not precisely certain which group of DK they are talking about, but I guess these are the DK from before the last election, who flocked to labour. if they are the DK from the last election result, then this must be a bit disturbing for tories.

    Labour seem to have a bigger lead in labour held marginals than tories do in tory held marginals. Suggesting there is more potential for seats moving to labour than the reverse.

    Voters think 2:1 negotiations are going badly rather than well. labour think so 3:1, while torys think they are going well 3:2. Having said that, I couldnt see any of the social groups ICM use to break down results where there is a majority thinking negotiations are going well. Suport seems to come from all over the social caegories, though the two most optimistic groups are 75+ and non white. A curious coalition.

  35. Trevor Warne,
    “We don’t need to go Corbyn, just ‘tweak’ welfare state capitalism and give it a more moral and politically aware face. ”

    There are those who thing Corbyn is merely a tweak to welfare state capitalism. Ted Heath or other post war tories were more socialist than Corbyn, bringing in such measures as free university places and government housebuilding. The campaign is not about Corbyn, but about whether the entire ground upon which both parties set their platform will move to the left. Noises from the tories suggest that it is.

    “totally oppose a 35hr week”
    Arent there studies suggesting most people do little or nothing for a surprisingly long part of the time they are formally working, so that potentially a shorter week in which they work harder could benefit everyone? What we have now is people forced to do a set number of hours, and then conniving to do the minimum work during that time. Time constrained, not achievement constrained? The system provides an incentive for workers to minimise productivity?

    ” I’ve been mocked for saying we need to enhance trickle down but in essence that is all I’m suggesting.”
    Trickle down doesnt work; what we have currently is trickle up. The more the many earn, the richer the few have become.

    ” I think it can be a positive in the medium-long term but it isn’t going to happen by magic – it needs an energetic HMG response to mitigate the risks and ensure we capture the opportunities.”

    Doomed to failure then? The real problem has been pointed out repeatedly, that such a change in government policy as you describe could have taken place any time and does not depend on EU membership. Nor is there any obvious reason why it would change post Brexit, unless the economic consequnces are so awful a change is forced upon us. But in that scenario, all the arguments for having Brexit at all would be undermined by its actual resulting failure.

    “I’m also more comfortable about not needing UFT version of WTO ”

    Unified Field Theory: a theory that describes two or more of the four interactions (electromagnetic, gravitational, weak, and strong) previously described by separate theories.

    Do we have a shortage of physicists because they are all now working for the WTO? Or is it just the failure of the education system? (ie an economic problem not soluble in any way by Brexit)

    Alec,
    ” It’s now entirely up to the EU to determine what kind of border arrangement is acceptable, as they have their backstop.”

    And I think that is the point. The WA formally accepts the UK is not going to leave the EU market arrangements, and places control firmly in EU hands, so the tories no longer have responsibility for delivering Brexit. It is a mechanism to tie their own hands and bring about BINO.

  36. Interesting article in the Guardian today.

    “Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said.

    Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France.”

    EU CAP funded agriculture strikes again!

  37. Good Morning All from a sunny Bournemouth East, which is Number 78 on the Labour target list for the next GE, a fact that is surprising IMO.

    Although the polls may be in ‘polldrums’ I think that a small Tory lead at this stage should be encouraging to them and discouraging to those people who want Labour to be preparing for Government rather than being a receptacle for protest movements primarily.
    The Lib Dem figures look a little high however, I think.

  38. @Alec

    “One niggling idea that I can’t get out of my head is that some people currently give over their private information for free to platforms like Facebook, who then make money from it through targeted adverts. We also earn revenue for other people by clicking on online adverts, or by watching ads on TV that other people have been paid to screen.”

    ——-

    People don’t necessarily realise the power of the information. They think if they do something that registers that they like ice cream, then maybe they’ll get some adverts about ice cream.

    I mean, I’ve bought a few music things from ads that popped up on here. The problem is the ability to profile people from collecting seemingly inconsequential snippets. So they might infer someone’s a neurotic, and then they get a load of fear-stoking ads about migration that others do t see.

    There are lots of “fun surveys” now that assist in profiling people. Maybe they think at worst it means more ads for something, but it can mean a tailored news and ad experience to control their political outlook and votes. And it’s under the radar so hard to challenge.

  39. @alec

    Another interesting aspect of the CA/Facebook story is the role of such firms in elections and referenda, the ownership and control of them, and funding and how all of that relates to electoral law.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/peter-geoghegan-adam-ramsay/dup-donaldson-can-t-remember-why-his-brexit-campaign-spent-more-than-

  40. @Trevor Warne
    @Danny

    ” I’ve been mocked for saying we need to enhance trickle down but in essence that is all I’m suggesting.”

    Trickle down doesnt work; what we have currently is trickle up. The more the many earn, the richer the few have become.

    ———

    Well quite. Capitalism is about the opposite of trickle down, it’s about accruing more and more capital, and the power that comes from having more capital than others.

    There are numerous mechanisms to this end, from keeping wages low, essentials expensive, sewing up markets, buying up competitors, buying up the supply chain, offshoring, giving customers too much nonsense information to deal with, massive avoidance of taxation, dodgy advertising, and much much more!!

    Worse, is when they are allowed to start with regulatory capture and get their tentacles more and more into government, so any hope of reversing trickle down becomes increasingly something for the fairies. Pits more likely they’ll force more trickle up.

    Thus, if one is to keep capitalism, it requires really quite a lot of effort to tame.

  41. CL1945

    Do you feel a bit of Yeats might be appropriate :-

    “changed, changed utterly ”

    Or would that be too apocalyptic ?

  42. @Jonesinbangor – While I have much sympathy with critiques of EU’s farm policy, I think you would need to be a little more circumspect in assigning the decline of French farmland birds to the CAP.

    The question to ask is really whether the same decline would have happened outside the CAP, and in many ways the answer seems to be a resounding yes. We are seeing similar tales from pretty much every other advanced nation, and indeed in less well developed areas, and the culprits appear to be the spread of modern agricultural methods.

    Indeed, there is a case to make that withdrawing subsidies from agriculture could, if not handled carefully, lead to ever more intensification and biodiversity loss, as growers strive for greater efficiency to offset subsidy loss.

    The other point to consider is what the responses to these finding is likely to be over the coming years. The EU’s track record on the banning of harmful products is significantly better than the UK’s own record, and it is often the UK that is fighting against such measures, particularly in agriculture.

    I’m not saying that this will happen, but one element in the EU’s favour is that is generates a large trans national agricultural sector that is to an extent cushioned from global competitive pressures, thus enabling measures to be taken that harm profitability, like banning certain chemical treatments. While some anti EU campaigners claim this is protectionism and means consumers have to pay higher prices, one argument is that while a race to the bottom on standards may yield lower shop prices, we then suffer a range of other problems, including environmental degradation.

    I think this research offers a further depressing note on the alarming destruction going on across farmland, but I feel we need to avoid automatically blaming one specific factor when it appears to be a general issue globally.

  43. OLDNAT
    “Is there actually a single “Labour Party” in England?

    I think that’s a very good question and something I have had thoughts about for some time. I think Labour is clearly split and much deeper than any splits in the Tory party. It will be interesting to see how this develops. It certainly cannot help Labours election chances.

    Crofty
    “Away from politics I have really enjoyed the latest 6-part series of Shetland”.

    I agree with you, my wife and I enjoyed it even though the ending was bleak. A Drama, very much in the in the Scandinavian mould. However for us the best TV by a long way is the Australian
    “A Place to Call Home”, now in its 5th series. It covers all the big issues of the day as they were in the 50s in Australia. Beautifully written and acted.

    CROFTY, OLDNAT
    “Is his one near to TOH’s ones, and do they share gardening tips?”

    Well the sun tends to shine into my allotment so no comparison. Although I admit to a great deal of self belief I would actually worry if the sun shone out of my allotment!

    JONESINBANGOR
    “EU CAP funded agriculture strikes again!”
    Sounds likely although Alec makes a fair point on pesticides in reply.

    On the polls I think there has been little movement so far and I tend to agree that Corbyn’s known attitudes are already locked in. However, it is beginning to look as though the Tories do have a slender lead, time will tell. I cannot remember when the Tories last polled 44%, no doubt somebody knows.

  44. Test

  45. [email protected] Oldnat
    Surely Corbyn’s allotment would be a Communist Plot !

  46. JONES IN BANGOR

    It is truly a catastrophe.

    The finger is firmly pointed at pesticides since the major factor seems to be decline in invertebrates-a major food source.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/catastrophe-as-frances-bird-population-collapses-due-to-pesticides

    The situation is mirrored in other Continental countries like Germany.

    I really believe that Brexit gives us an opportunity to do better than this by interlocking environmental & agricultural policy in a better way.

    What mam has done to global biodiversity is shocking.

    In a global context , as Africa & SE Asia move their booming populations into the Consumerist Society further disaster awaits.

  47. NeilA
    You really are a good cop if your favourite police dramas are The Wire and Happy Valley. Even the villains in The Wire are fully rounded complex characters, Omah for example had me rooting for him every step of the way.
    I noticed that Dan West was in a pasta sauce advert recently. How are the mighty fallen !

  48. RJW “Surely Corbyn’s allotment would be a Communist Plot !”

    ROFL Best posting of the thread so far!

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