The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 31%(-2), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 10%(-3), UKIP 16%(+1). Changes are from ICM’s poll a month ago which, as you’ll note from the changes, showed a Tory lead. As we’ve seen in the other polling series that showed the Tories ahead or equal last month (Ashcroft, Populus and YouGov), Labour have now clawed back ahead and ICM shows the same – though with a lead of just one point things remain extremely narrow.

The Liberal Democrat score of 10% is not that bad compared to the figures they’ve been receiving in polls from other companies, but ICM normally give the Liberal Democrats their highest scores, so for them this equals their lowest score since way back in 1991 (the Guardian write up refers to it as ICM’s lowest ever for the Liberal Democrats. This isn’t the case, ICM were responsible for the Lib Dems lowest ever score of 3% back in 1989, but this is the lowest ICM have ever shown for them since they switched to phone polling in the 1990s.

The question also asked leader job approval ratings, finding drops for all three leaders. David Cameron’s net rating fell back into negative territory (-5, after +2 last month), Nick Clegg’s rating falls from minus 21 to minus 37, Ed Miliband’s from minus 25 to minus 39. George Osborne’s approval rating is now plus 6, outperforming all the others.


There were two new Scottish polls in the Sunday papers. One was by Panelbase for the SNP, one for ICM in the Scotland on Sunday. The Panelbase poll has topline figures of YES 43%, NO 46%, Don’t know 12%. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 48%, NO 52%. The previous three Panelbase polls asked using this version of the question showed NO leads of five points, so the change here is well within the normal margin of error, but the direction of travel is once again towards YES and is the closest Panelbase poll we’ve had yet.

The ICM poll had topline figures of YES 36%, NO 43%, Don’t know 21%. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 45%, NO 55%. Compared to their poll last month YES are up two points and NO are down three. However last month’s ICM poll was something of an outlier, showing a sharp shift towards NO, and I suspect this one is largely just a reversion to the mean after a freaky poll a month ago. While ICM have messed about with their methodology in Scottish polls this year, a crude average of their leads to date is 8 points. Today’s isn’t that different to the average.


Yesterday we had a selection of ICM polls in Liberal Democrat seats, initially released anonymously but eventually confirmed as having been commissioned by Lord Oakeshott. Oakeshott has now resigned, but left saying that Cable knew about the polls. The political row rolls on, but I’m just going to look at the polls.

Lord Oakeshott commissioned 6 constituency polls. The first was in Twickenham, and only asked about current voting intention. The other five were in Sheffield Hallam, Redcar, Wells, Cambridge and Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey and also asked about voting intention with alternate leaders. The tables are here, here and here.

All six showed the Lib Dems losing (to the Conservatives, Labour or SNP respectively). However, I’m always slightly wary of constituency polls in Liberal Democrat held seats – the effect of incumbency and tactical voting is far higher for Lib Dem MPs, and when you ask a generic voting intention I think many people give their national preference, rather than how they would actually vote in their own constituency. In most seats this is only a marginal difference – in Lib Dem held seats it can be substantial, as repeatedly shown in polls of Lib Dem marginal seats using a two-stage national-then-constituency voting intention questions (see here by Lord Ashcroft, and here by YouGov). It’s also worth noting that ICM didn’t do their usual reallocation of don’t knows according to the party they voted for the last election, and given there are a lot of past Lib Dems now saying don’t know that makes a difference. ICM specifically provided the data necessary to do the calculation ourselves in their tables, and with normal reallocation the Lib Dems would have been ahead in Twickenham and only one point behind in Sheffield Hallam.

The second part of Oakeshott’s polling was to ask how people in those seats would vote with different party leaders, which in these seats suggested they would do better with Vince Cable as leader. This is in contrast to a YouGov poll in the Times today which asked a nationwide sample how people would vote with Vince Cable as leader – in YouGov’s control question asking how people would vote with the existing party leaders the Lib Dems were on 8%, if the leaders were Cameron, Miliband and Cable the Lib Dems would still be on 8%. No change.

That aside, how would you vote if X was leader are incredibly crude tools. When a would-be leader is little known to the public they are as good as useless. Even when the would-be leader is relatively well known to the public, like Gordon Brown was pre-2007 or Vince Cable is now, they are of dubious use.

Essentially, an ordinary poll respondent who doesn’t closely follow politics might know what the would-be leader looks and sounds like, might have a pre-existing positive or negative view, they might have a vague perception of competence or incompetence. What they don’t know is what policies that new leader would announce, what direction they’d take the party, how the media would react to them and so on.

If the Liberal Democrats change leader it probably won’t be the personality and image of the new leader that makes the difference… it will be everything else that comes with it. Would it mean them leaving the coalition? Would it mean them repudiating the coalition and their role in it? Would it mean them opposing some of the policies they supported until now? And what would be the impact of that – would it win back supporters they’ve lost, or risk alienating their pro-coalition supporters too? While the departure of Nick Clegg may be a requirement for a change of direction, the big strategic question for the Lib Dems is really what attitude they take to their record in government – not which politician is voicing it.


As well as the ComRes European poll and the Populus and Ashcroft GB polls, there were also two polls of European voting intention in Scotland this morning. These are both the remainder of Scottish polls whose main referendum findings we saw in the Sunday papers.

ICM in the Scotsman found people in Scotland would vote CON 13%, LAB 27%, LDEM 7%, SNP 36%, UKIP 9%, GRN 7%. That would give the SNP three MEPs, Labour two, the Conservatives one. The Lib Dems would lose their Scottish MEP and UKIP fail to gain one.

Survation in the Daily Record had figures of CON 13%, LAB 26%, LDEM 6%, SNP 37%, UKIP 10%, GRN 6% – producing the same seat distrbution.

Still to come tonight we have the monthly ComRes telephone poll and the daily YouGov poll for the Sun. Anyone would think there’s an election this week.


The monthly ComRes online poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight. Topline voting figures are CON 29%(nc), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 19%(-1), Others 11%. A slight reduction in the Labour lead since a month ago, but still a comfortable lead.

For the European elections voting intentions are CON 20%(-2), LAB 24%(nc), LDEM 6%(-2), UKIP 35%(+1), GRN 7%(+2). This would give UKIP a very comfortable victory indeed next week, and see the Liberal Democrats pushed to fifth place (and on a uniform swing they’d probably lose all their MEPs).

With five days to go until the European elections we’re obviously heading into final call territory, but my understanding is that ComRes have probably got another poll still to come before Thursday’s election. European election polls so far are here.

The Sunday Telegraph also has a new European election due tonight, in this case from ICM, and there is due to be an ICM poll for the Scotland on Sunday too, as well as the usual YouGov/Sunday Times poll. I will update later…

UPDATE: And the ICM European poll is also out. Their topline figures are CON 26%(+4), LAB 29%(-1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 25%(-2). Changes are from the ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph last month (ICM did a more recent European poll for the Guardian last weekend, but that was by telephone rather than online). In contrast to the ComRes poll ICM have Labour ahead and the Conservatives and UKIP in a close race for second place.

UPDATE2: I expect some readers will be hoping for some explanation for the gap between these polls. I’m afraid I don’t have a simple one to offer. Some of it might be down to ComRes using a very strict turnout filter, taking only those respondents who said they were 10/10 certain to vote, something which has tended to help UKIP. ICM’s tables aren’t yet available, so I don’t know for sure what they’ve done with turnout, but if their last online Euro poll is any guide they weighted by turnout (so people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote are counted in full, people who say they are 9/10 certain to vote are counted as only 0.9 of a vote, and so on down). That would still help UKIP, but not as much as a strict 10/10 only policy. However, that really can’t explain the whole of a ten point difference in UKIP support.