The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian came out today, with topline figures of CON 28%(-3), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 14%(+3), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(-1). Tabs are here. There’s a movement from Con to Lab since ICM’s previous poll, but nothing that couldn’t be normal margin of error – the broader picture still suggests a very small Labour lead, with no strong trend (in November the average Labour lead was 1.6%, so far this month it’s 1.3%).

This is the first time since September that any poll hasn’t shown UKIP ahead of the Liberal Democrats. The previous one was also ICM, and apart from one unusual Populus poll in July you have to go right back to March to find polls from other company doing the same. ICM consistently show the highest level of support for the Liberal Democrats for methodological reasons. This is largely because of how they handle don’t knows – when people say they don’t know how they’d vote, ICM look at how they voted at the previous election and assume that 50% of them will end up voting the same way. This is based on recontact surveys of don’t knows after previous elections and has made polls more accurate in the past… but of course, we can’t know until May whether that will still hold true under the sort of political realignment we seem to be seeing this Parliament. Without the reallocation ICM’s figures today would have been LDEM 11%, UKIP 15% – so it would have been quite a high Lib Dem figure anyway even without the adjustment.

Ipsos MORI’s month political monitor is also due. Today’s Evening Standard reported some figures, but I assume they are saving up the voting intention figures for tomorrow. The data so far is here, and shows people’s optimism about the economy in general (as opposed to their personal finances) dropping to its lowest since last year. I wrote about similar findings from YouGov at the start of the month, so this does appear to be more than a single poll; people’s confidence in the economic recovery does seem to be faltering a bit.


This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is now up here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 17%, GRN 7%. With Labour and the Conservatives still neck-and-neck this is very much in line with the YouGov polling before the Autumn Statement. Note the level of Green support though, YouGov and Lord Ashcroft have both shown the occassional one-off poll with the Greens ahead of the Liberal Democrats in the past, but YouGov have now produced three polls in a row with the Greens in fourth place ahead of the Lib Dems.

The rest of the YouGov poll had some questions on school nativity plays, free schools (still unpopular) and childbirth which I don’t plan on writing about today, and a few questions on the Autumn statement and stamp duty. Cameron & Osborne have a solid lead on the deficit – 41% trust them compared to 22% who trust Miliband & Balls. However, asked what the government’s policy should be on the deficit people’s views are significantly out of line with the Conservatives’. Only 20% think cutting the deficit mainly through spending cuts should be the priority, 19% think it should be cut mainly through tax increases, 36% think the government should not prioritise the deficit at all and should instead spend more or tax less to try and encourage growth. A reminder, perhaps, that people’s perceptions of who they trust on the economy or the deficit is not necessarily based on what their policies are.

By 77% to 8% people think that George Osborne’s changes to stamp duty are a good idea, and 73% think it is a fair way to increase the tax paid by the better off. Asked the same questions about Labour’s proposed mansion tax by 63% to 23% people think it is a good idea, and by 61% to 25% people think it is a fair way of increasing taxes for the better off. Asked to pick between the two, the stamp duty changes are marginally preferred – 45% think it is a better way of increasing taxes on people with expensive homes, 33% prefer the idea of the mansion tax (as you’d expect, this is largely a partisan affair – Tory voters prefer the stamp duty changes, Labour voters the mansion tax. I suspect had the Conservatives announced a mansion tax and Labour promised the changes to stamp duty the answers would be the other way around).

Opinium also had their fortnightly poll in the Observer, which had topline figures of CON 29%(-1), LAB 34%(+1), LDEM 6%(-1), UKIP 19%(nc), GRN 6%(+2) (tabs here) – there is no significant changes from a fortnight ago. There was also a new Populus poll yesterday which showed a two point Labour lead, wholly inline with the three point average Labour lead the company showed in November. With three companies now having conducted polls since the Autumn Statement there is no obvious short term impact on voting intention… which is very much as we’d would expect!


A couple of interesting YouGov findings in yesterday’s Sun and this morning’s Times. Both had questions about perceptions of the state of the economy, and both showed a stark decline since earlier in the year. Regular readers will remember that there had been a pattern of the public still being pessimistic about their personal finances, but becoming more optimistic about the state of the economy as a whole. That appears to have changed.

In the YouGov Sun poll poll yesterday 25% of people expected the economy to get better in the year ahead, down from 39% in March. 32% expected it to get worse, up from 23% (tabs here.)

A similar poll for the Times RedBox done a day later found the proportion of people thinking the economy was either on the way to recovery or showing signs of recovery was down to 40% from 50% in August, and the percentage of people thinking the economy was getting worse was up from 13% to 22% (tabs here.)

Both questions were run prior to the government’s Autumn Statement, and while I doubt many people actually watch it the media coverage of the economy over the last few days may yet make a difference – either positive or negative. Beyond that, as with most political events, I wouldn’t expect the Autumn Statement to make much difference.


YouGov Sunday polls

There are two YouGov polls in the Sunday papers – one for the Sunday Times (tabs here) and one for the Sun on Sunday (tabs here). Voting intention figures are CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13% and CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14% respectively. The rest of the questions in the two polls mostly cover the state of the economy and the fuss over Birmingham schools.

Looking at the economy first, the proportion of people thinking the economy is improving continues to tick upwards. 49% now think the economy is showing signs of recover (34%) or is on its way to full recovery (15%). This is also translating into people being more likely to think that the government are doing a good job running the economy – 45% now think they are doing well at managing the economy, 44% badly. Just a one percent net positive, but the first time the government have managed a positive since way back in November 2010.

However, at a personal level the public are still pessimistic. More people still expect to be worse off next year than better off (by 34% to 18%), and asked about their own local area in the Sun on Sunday poll people still think there are fewer jobs, people have less money to spend and the shops are less busy.

Moving onto schools, 38% of people now think that schools now have too much freedom and that government should have more powers over them. 24% think the current balance is about right, only 19% now think that schools should have greater powers.

Looking specifically at the Birmingham case, 44% believe there probably was an organised plot to take over schools, 33% think that the schools had gone too far towards adopting a Muslim ethos, but that it was probably not an organised plot. Just 6% think there was no problem. More generally 79% think there is a risk of schools being taken over by religious extremists (34% a large risk in many parts of the country, 45% a lower risk in only a few areas), and 50% of people think the risk is greater in Academies and Free Schools. 55% think the government have not reacted strongly enough to counter the threat.

The idea that schools should try to instil British values in pupils does meet with wide approval, with 79% support. 70% say there are distinct British values than schools can uphold and teach, 21% say that in reality British values are not really different from other countries’ and they couldn’t, in practice, be defined or taught.


This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is here. Topline Westminster voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Net doing well/badly figures for the main party leaders are minus 7 for David Cameron, minus 42 for Ed Miliband, minus 55 for Nick Clegg. David Cameron’s figure is his best since March 2012 (before the Omnishambles budget), Ed Miliband’s his worst since last September. There’s also some notable landmarks in the economic trackers – 45% now think the government are managing the economy well, 45% badly, you have to go all the way back to December 2010 to find the last time those there equal. Asked about the current state of the economy only 36% now think it is in a bad way, the lowest since YouGov started asking this question in 2010. Underneath the distorting effect of the European elections on voting intention economic perceptions do seem to be continuing to shift.

For the European elections voting intention figures are CON 23%, LAB 27%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 26%, GRN 9%. This seems to be where YouGov’s European polling has settled down at over the last week or two – Labour and UKIP in a very tight race for first place, the Conservatives in third, the Greens and Lib Dems in a very tight race for fourth place. UKIP could still come top – their voters say they are more likely to actually come out and vote on the day and if you take only those people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote UKIP would be narrowly ahead (YouGov don’t usually filter or weight by likelihood to vote away from general election campaign polls or final call polls).

Comparing voting intentions in the European Parliament and for a general election, just under a quarter of current Conservative voters and one in ten Labour voters say they are backing UKIP in the European election. Or looking at it from the opposite angle, of those people saying they’ll vote UKIP in the European election, only around half would vote UKIP in a general election tomorrow, just under a third would vote Tory (and that’s the mythical general election “tomorrow”, as opposed to how people’s opinions will actually evolve over the next year.)

Europe and immigration are the only issues where people know what UKIP stand for. 42% say they know what UKIP’s policy is on immigration and Europe (and a majority have at least some sort of idea of their direction), for other issues the figure is 7-8%. Even most UKIP voters don’t claim to know what the party’s policy is on things like education and the NHS… but then, those are the sort of things that drive UKIP support. For people voting UKIP in the European election, 39% say it is because they are unhappy with Britain’s membership of the EU. 22% say is it because of immigration. 14% because they are unhappy with the main parties and 14% say it is to send a message or put pressure on the main parties.

People are now split down the middle over whether UKIP are racist or not – 41% think they are, 40% think they are not. On balance people do, however, think UKIP are deliberately trying to appeal to racist voters – 46% say they are, 30% don’t agree. UKIP’s supporters themselves overwhelmingly reject the charge – 93% of UKIP voters think the party are not racist, presumably explaining why the attacks aren’t damaging UKIP more: the people being convinced that UKIP are racist aren’t the sort of people who were voting for them anyway.

50% of people think the coalition have run out of ideas and things to do, 22% think they’ve still got enough ideas for the last year of Parliament. 44% of people would like a general election this year (including the majority of Labour supporters) 44% would like an election in May 2015 as planned (including the majority of Lib Dems and Conservatives).

Asked generally 30% of people think Nick Clegg should continue as Lib Dem leader, 43% think he should be replaced. However, these are largely people opposed to the Lib Dems anyway – amongst their own voters (a small sample size, given the depths they’ve reached!) 62% think he should stay, 25% he should go. In the event the Lib Dems finish behind the Greens then only 46% of Lib Dem voters would want him to stay, 37% would want him to go. In terms of successors, 20% think Vince Cable would be better, 25% think he would be worse. For Danny Alexander and Tim Farron most of the public say they don’t really know enough about them to have an opinion.

There were also two Scottish referendum polls in this morning’s papers. I’ll post separately on them later.