ICM have a new poll in the Sun on Sunday with topline figures of CON 39%(+1), LAB 29%(-1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 14%(-1), GRN 4%(nc). This is the first poll conducted since Theresa May became Prime Minister, so may be expected to show a typical “new leader” bounce in government support (when Brown took over in 2007 and Major took over in 1990 the governing party went from being behind to having double-digit leads). The Tory lead is up a little, but not outside the normal margin of error, that said ICM’s previous poll already had an eight point Tory lead, so they were already at a high base.

ICM also did some hypothetical voting intention questions asking about varous leader match-ups. A control question, asking how people would vote if Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were still leader at the general election has voting intention figures of CON 43%, LAB 28%, suggesting either a significant positive effect from mentioning May or a negative effect from mentioning Corbyn.

Asking how people would vote if Owen Smith or Angela Eagle were Labour leader does not offer any improvement. With Eagle the figures would be CON 43%, LAB 26%. With Smith the figures would be CON 42%, LAB 27%. I should add a heavy caveat here – hypothetical polls like this are popular in advance of leadership elections, but how useful they are is a different question. Respondents don’t necessarily know what the alternative candidates stand for, what they will do or announce, how they may or may not change the party. I add those caveats when the alternative leaders are well known to the public, like Gordon Brown, Boris Johnson and so on. In the case of someone who is as unknown to the general public as Owen Smith, I expect most don’t know who he is or what he even looks like. Nevertheless, the figures will be influential in the debate – rightly or wrongly Corbyn’s supporters within the Labour party will now be able to say there is no polling evidence that his rivals would do any better.

Note that ComRes also have a poll in the Independent/Sunday Mirror, but they are not currently publishing any voting intention figures while they review methods.


The Conservative leadership election is abruptly over while a Labour leadership election begins. No doubt there will be polling on those over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime ICM put out a new voting intention poll today, with topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%.

The eight point lead for the Conservatives is a slightly larger Tory lead than at the general election, and was conducted over the weekend so does not yet account for any honeymoon Theresa May may or may not enjoy. During the leadership election May ruled out the opinion of an early general election, so if she keeps her word she’ll resist the temptation of an early election while Labour are at one another’s throats. If not it may be an interesting result.

ICM rolled out a couple of methodology changes for today’s poll. Firstly they’ve dropped weighting turnout based on self-reported likelihood to vote and replaced it with a turnout model based on demographics, secondly they’ve started weighting by level of political interest – the poll was also conducted online rather than by phone, which seems to be increasingly the case for ICM polls. According to ICM the impact of the changes is typically to increase Tory support by about a point and decrease Labour support by about a point. Full tabs are here.


-->

Two weeks ago ICM produced an unexpected result – they did parallel phone and online polls for the Guardian, and found a five point lead for LEAVE in both online and by phone. A five point lead for leave in an online poll was slightly unusual, but not completely out of line with the then average position of neck-and-neck. The five point lead in the telephone poll was remarkable, given most other phone polls (a) were showing a consistently different pattern to online polls and (b) were showing a robust lead for REMAIN. The poll got a lot of attention, but we reserved judgement a little – it was only one poll, and it was conducted over a bank holiday weekend so perhaps the sample could have been affected.

Today ICM have repeated that experiment and confirmed their earlier findings – their online and telephone polls are painting the same picture, and both have LEAVE with a clear lead. Topline figures by telephone are REMAIN 45%(+3), LEAVE 50%(+5), Don’t know 5% – equating to a six point leave lead of LEAVE 53%, REMAIN 47%. Topline figures online are REMAIN 44%(nc), LEAVE 49%(+2), Don’t know 7%(-2) – also equating to a six point lead for leave. Full tabs for both polls are here.

Following MORI’s methodology switch last week, Martin’s commentary on the ICM website also includes a note about educational weighting. In ICM’s case he says their last two phone polls did have a tendency to have too many people with qualifications… but when they tested correcting for it reduced the weighting efficiency but didn’t actually make any difference to the headline results.


Today we got three more EU referendum polls.

A new YouGov poll for Good Morning Britain, conducted in the middle of last week, echoed the trend we’ve seen towards Leave. Their topline figures are REMAIN 41%, LEAVE 45%, Don’t know/Won’t vote 15%. Full tabs are here.

ICM’s weekly online poll has topline figures of REMAIN 43%(-1), LEAVE 48%(+1), Don’t knows 9%(nc). It’s no significant change from last week, but it consolidates last week’s leave lead. There’s no parallel ICM telephone poll this week. Full tabs for the online poll are here.

Finally there was a “new” TNS online online poll. The topline figures were REMAIN 41%, LEAVE 43%, Undecided 16%. This one is a little harder to interpret than the other two – TNS have made some changes to their methodology, including changing their past vote weighting and introducing turnout weighting and it’s not clear what impact the methodology change had, so we can’t be sure whether the polls suggests any movement in either direction – either way, the fieldwork was completed back in mid-May (full tabs are here).

All three polls show leave ahead, but all three polls were conducted online and most online polls show a close race anyway. What will be interesting is if either online polls do consistently start showing a clear lead for Leave rather than just movement around neck-and-neck, or if other telephone polls echo that ICM phone poll showing Leave ahead.


There are three new EU referendum polls today, a telephone poll from ORB and parallel phone and online polls from ICM.

The ORB poll for the Telegraph has topline figures of REMAIN 51%(-4), LEAVE 46%(+4), Don’t know 3%(nc) – full tables are here. The Telegraph wrote it up as immigration producing a significant swing towards Leave. I would normally have been ready to dismiss that as reading far too much into a poll that was probably just reversion to the mean: if you look at ORB’s previous figures their poll last week may have shown a thirteen point lead… but the two before that were almost identical to today’s figures. Newspapers may want to write that up as “big swing to Remain” followed by “big swing to Leave”, but a more parsimonious interpretation is just “slightly wonky sample returns to normal”.

However, today’s other polls from ICM raise more interesting questions.

ICM once again carried out two parallel polls, one conducted online, one conducted by telephone. So far all but one of these experiments have found a big gulf between phone and online polls (typically online polls show a race that’s neck-and-neck, telephone polls show a lead averaging around 8-10 points). ICM’s online poll found the sort of close race we’ve come to expect, with topline figures of REMAIN 44%(-1), LEAVE 47%(+2), Don’t know 9%(-1). ICM’s telephone poll found wholly unexpected results of REMAIN 42%(-5), LEAVE 45%(+6), Don’t know 13%(-1). Full tables for both are here.

There is nothing unusual about how the ICM poll was carried out that might explain the unusual result, it was done the same way as their previous telephone polls that showed Remain leads of seven or eight points. This leaves us with two obvious possibilities:

Either there has been a genuine movement towards Leave in recent days and the movement in the ICM poll reflects that (suggesting also that the ORB poll is showing more than just reversion to the mean), or…

ICM just got a really wacky sample by polling over the bank holiday weekend, and future telephone polls will revert to the normal pattern of solid remain leads.

Right now we can’t really tell. I will only urge my normal caveats about not reading too much into an individual poll, especially one conducted over a bank holiday weekend (whether or not that makes an actual difference or is “pollster folklore” is unclear. It’s certainly possible to point to clear examples of weird results from polls with bank holiday fieldwork, but it’s possible to point to weird results from polls conducted at other times and bank holiday results that are perfectly normal. While I’d always try to avoid polling over Easter or Christmas, I suspect in reality the Spring bank holiday doesn’t make that much difference to fieldwork). It will be interesting to see if forthcoming polls show a wider trend towards Leave, and if forthcoming telephone polls give any further suggestion that the online-phone gap may be disappearing.