The snap ICM poll following the second Salmond-v-Darling debate shows a convincing win for Alex Salmond. 26% think Darling won the debate, 65% think Salmond did, 9% didn’t know. Tabs are here.

In the ICM poll following the first debate last month the large majority of existing YES voters thought Salmond won, the large majority of existing NO voters thought Darling won, don’t knows were pretty evenly split – hence a Darling victory. In second debate poll existing YES voters almost all thought Salmond won, only a bare majority of NO voters thought Darling did, the small number of don’t knows favoured Salmond – hence the Salmond victory.

Will it have any impact on voting intentions? Well, that’s a different question. Amongst the respondents in the survey there was no difference in the NO lead before the debate and the NO lead afterwards, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much. Remember that the instant verdict poll gave the first debate to Alistair Darling, yet of the four polls since the first debate only one showed significant movement toward NO, two showed modest movement toward YES, one showed significant movement toward YES. Instant reaction debate polls do their job of crowning a debate victor… but they don’t necessarily do a good job of predicting the impact.


There are two new Scottish polls in Sunday’s papers, an ICM poll for the Scotland on Sunday and a Panelbase poll commissioned by the Yes campaign. These are only the second and third polls that we’ve seen conducted wholly after the debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, the first one from Survation suggested a significant move towards NO, but these two paint a different picture.

Taking the Panelbase/Yes Scotland poll first, topline figures are YES 42%(+1), NO 46%(-2), Don’t know 12%(+1). Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 48%(+2), NO 52%(-2). Changes are from the Panelbase/Sunday Times poll in July. Compared to last month it’s a slight move towards YES, but is not particularly significant by Panelbase’s standards: their penultimate poll also had YES on 48%, and they’ve have YES on between 46-48% since March.

The ICM poll in the Scotland on Sunday has topline figures of YES 38%(+4), NO 47%(+2), Don’t know 14%(-7). Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 45%(+2), NO 55%(-2). It’s a bigger NO lead than Panelbase are showing, but the same modest movement towards YES. As with Panelbase, it’s not a massive change from the longer term trend – so far this year ICM have had YES between 43% and 48%, and YES 45% is right in line with the average of all ICM’s Scottish polls this year.

So, two polls, both show a modest movement towards YES since last month, but neither a significant shift from the longer term trend. What it does mean though is that the movement towards NO in Survations’s post-debate poll has not been echoed in other companies’ polls.

(Incidentally, I’m on leave this week, having a break before the long slog to the general election, so expect light blogging for the next few days)


The August ICM poll for the Guardian is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 31%(-3), LAB 38%(+5), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 10%(+1). It’s a much higher Labour lead than ICM have shown of late, their polls for the last few months have been showing Labour and Conservative essentially neck-and-neck. As ever, don’t read too much into a single poll, it might be the start of a broader Labour increase… or may just be normal sample volatility.

The poll also asked how people would vote with Boris Johnson as Tory leader, and found the Tories on 34% (3 points higher), Labour on 37% (one point lower) and UKIP two points lower. This is different from the conclusion to the YouGov poll at the weekend that showed virtually no change from a Boris leadership, but it appears to be the result of slightly different approaches to asking the question. Compared to their standard question, bot h YouGov and ICM found Labour’s lead reduced by three points when you asked how people would vote with Boris as leader. However, the difference is that YouGov also asked a control question of how people would vote if the leaders remained Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, and that also reduced the Labour lead by 2 points, accounting for much of the apparent “Boris difference”.

That said, I wouldn’t take “How would you vote with X as leader” questions too seriously anyway. People are rubbish at answering hypothetical questions, and here we’re expecting them to say how they’d vote with X as leader without knowing what changes X would make, what priorities and policies they’d adopt or anything else about what an X leadership would look like. They can be useful straws in the wind, but really, they are no more than that.

UPDATE: Meanwhile the Sun have just tweeted the daily YouGov poll: CON 33%, LAB 37%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%


A week ago co-incidence spat out three polls with seven point Labour leads within 2 days. This weeks little clump of Monday polls has produced rather more typical polls from Ashcroft and Populus, and a more unusual one from ICM.

Lord Ashcroft‘s weekly telephone poll has topline figures of CON 32%(+5), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 7%(-4), UKIP 14%(-1). The Conservatives are up five, but it looks like something of a reversion to the mean after last week’s unusual poll that had that the Tories down 6. Full tabs are here.

Secondly is the twice-weekly Populus poll, which has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. Tabs for that are here.

Finally there is the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian here, which has topline figures of CON 34%(+3), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 12%(+2), UKIP 9%(-7!). The narrow Conservative lead looks unusual, but is actually pretty typical of ICM’s recent polls – their last three monthly polls have now shown the Conservatives and Labour effectively neck and neck (a two point Tory lead, a point point Lab lead, now a one point Tory lead). More startling is that sharp drop in UKIP support, down 7 points and into single figures.

The drop in this particular poll is unusually large but it does fit into a broader trend. The expected pattern of UKIP polling around the European elections was for their support to peak after the inevitable burst of publicity following the European elections and then decline again. That’s pretty much happened. Lord Ashcroft’s polls had them peak at 19% just after the Euros, and they’ve now drifted down to 15%. YouGov had them peaking at 17%, now they’ve fallen back to 12%. ICM had them up to 16% after the Euros, now down to 9%. Populus they didn’t really have much of a post-Euro boost for UKIP anyway, only going to up 15%, but in their last couple have had them at 12%. ComRes, Survation and MORI haven’t shown UKIP coming down from their post Euro high yet, but none have polled in July yet… time will tell if they follow the trend.


This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here, with topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.

The biggest chunk of the rest of the survey covered the ongoing historical child abuse story. Three-quarters of the public think that it’s probably true that some senior political figures were involved in child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, and that there was a deliberate cover up. They are more divided over how well the current government have responded to the allegations – 34% think they’ve handled it well, 41% badly. 44% of people say they have at least some confidence in the inquiries under Baroness Butler-Sloss and Peter Wanless to fully investigate the matter, 44% do not. 56% would rather see a full public inquiry.

More generally 46% think questions about historical child abuse are being asked in a proportionate and measured way and there a genuine questions to be asked, 29% think it risks becoming a rumour-led witch hunt of retired politicians.

Interestingly, and perhaps reflecting their general suspicion towards the establishment, UKIP supporters are by far the most likely to believe there was a cover up (90%) and have by far the least confidence that the inquiries will get to the bottom of them (26% – compared to 67% of Conservatives and 65% of Lib Dems).

The other new poll is today is a Scottish ICM poll in the Scotland on Sunday. Topline figures with changes from last month are YES 34%(-2), NO 45%(+2). Excluding don’t knows it works out at YES 43%(-2), NO 57%(+2). The movement is towards NO, but it’s within normal margins of error and appears in line with ICM’s longer term trends. Looking back the YES score (excluding don’t knows) in ICM’s monthly Scottish polls this year have been 46%, 43%, 46%, 48%, 43%, 46% and now 43%. That looks to me like just random variation.