A bizarre ICM poll in the Sunday Express – I haven’t seen a copy of the paper, but the PA reports have voting intention at CON 29%, LAB 27%, LDEM 22%, implying that the total “other” vote is up to 22% (including 6% for the Greens, 4% for the BNP and 3% for UKIP).

Reports do not make clear whether this is a general election voting intention question or a local election voting intention question – either way, I’m reserving judgement till I see the tables on the ICM website.

A BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday has voting intention figures for the local elections. Amongst those respondents who lived in areas with local elections who said they were certain to vote in the local elections, the topline figures were CON 35%, LAB 26%, LDEM 23%, Other 16%. Amongst the others the BNP are at 5%, a figure that will undoubtedly be far lower in real life given the limited number of seats the BNP are contesting.

The council seats up for election this week were last contested in 2002 in London, and 2004 elsewhere. Directly comparable figures from those elections are hard to come by, but to give some sort of context the “national equivalent” votes calculated by Rallings and Thrashers at the two sets of elections were CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 27% in 2002 and CON 37%, LAB 26%, LDEM 27% in 2004. As far as I’m aware national equivalent votes are not a straight sum of the votes in contested seats, but a projection based on seats with all three main parties running, so this is not a direct comparison.

BPIX also asked a normal voting intention question, the topline figures were CON 35%, LAB 32%, LDEM 19%.

On the future of the three ministers currently under fire, 45% of respondents thought that John Prescott should resign (42% would like him to stay), 74% thought Charles Clarke should resign (15% would like him to stay) and 55% thought Patricia Hewitt should resign (27% would like her to stay). Amongst Labour supporters the majority wanted Prescott and Hewitt to stay, but wanted Clarke to resign.

Unpublished in the Mail on Sunday (UK Polling Report has been given sight of the full data set for the poll) there were also a series of questions asking people to say which of a series of positive words (likeable, competent, good leader, caring trsutworthy, etc) applied to particular politicians – once again it underlines the contrasting views of David Cameron and Gordon Brown.

Cameron was seen as likeable by the highest proportion of voters of any of the 11 politicians included – 30% thought he was likeable, the next highest being Tony Blair on 21%. 14% of people thought Gordon Brown was likeable. In contrast, Gordon Brown was seen as competent by more people than any of the other politicians listed – 34% thought he was competent, followed by Tony Blair on 22%. 19% thought Cameron was competent. More people thought Cameron was in touch, but more people thought that Brown was trustworthy.

The public perceptions of the two men who will most likely fight out the next generation already seem to be settling into contrasting images: Cameron as likeable and in touch vs Brown, solid, trustworthy and competent.


A new YouGov poll in the Sunday Times asks about all three of the government ministers under fire and suggests that the public want to see the back of all three.

48% of people said they wanted to see Prescott resign, compared to 31% who would like him to stay. This is the reverse of the ICM poll yesterday, though it’s not clear if the ICM poll was conducted marginally earlier.

In regard of the other two ministers, 53% want to see Charles Clarke leave the government, 21% would like him to stay. Asked about the release of foreign prisoners who should have been considered for deportation, 89% of respondents thought it amounted to “alarming incompetence”. 72% of people thought that the governments general handling of crime and immigration was incompetent.

51% want to see Patricia Hewitt resign, while only 19% would like her to stay. Only 7% of people agreed that Hewitt had been correct to describe the NHS as having its best year ever, 72% of respondents thought she had been wrong. Overall, 62% of people thought the NHS was being run badly, compared to 30% who thought it was generally being run well.

The last week has also damaged the Prime Minister himself – 64% of people think he is doing badly as Prime Minister compared to 33% who think he is doing well, the lowest net score recorded by YouGov for this question. In comparison David Cameron has a net score of +20 (apparantly unscathed by the Chameleon ads) and Ming Campbell has a net score of -1, though still has a large number of “don’t knows”.

On overall voting intention the topline figures, with changes from the YouGov poll for the Telegraph a week ago, are CON 35%(+2), LAB 32%(-3), LDEM 18%(+1). “Other” parties collectively account for 15% of support – the BNP make up 6% of that, marginally (thought not significantly) down on the earlier poll, perhaps because the media spotlight has moved elsewhere.

The rise in the “other” support, the proximity of the local elections and the contrasting Liberal Democrat findings from different pollsters make it difficult to draw any firm conclusions about how party support is fluctating beyond noting that the last week has, unsurprisingly, seemed to give Labour’s support a reasonable knock in the week leading up to the local elections.

The poll also included a list of questions about which party would best handle various issues. Unsurprisingly given the week’s news, the Conservatives had a substantial lead on law and order and immigration. On the economy Labour retain their lead. On education the two parties are neck and neck. The biggest surprise was health – normally it is a rock solid Labour issue, but today’s poll found only a 1 point lead for Labour on which party would best handle the issue (26% Labour, 25% Tories). For all the current media focus on law and order and John Prescott’s love life, if the Labour party lose their reputation as the best party to run the NHS they may be in real trouble.

Populus have published the first opinion poll on the future of Charles Clarke as Home Secretary. The poll, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, found that 63% of respondents thought that Clarke should resign over the failure to deport foreign prisoners after their sentences, 32% thought he should stay.

A second poll, by ICM for Newsnight, shows 64% want Clarke to resign, while 25% want him to stay. Amongst Labour supporters opinion is more evenly split – 45% would like him to go, 47% would like him to stay. There is better news for John Prescott – only 37% think he should resign, 57% think he should stay.

A Populus poll for the BBC’s Daily Politics suggests that 47% of people believe that David Cameron genuinely cares about the environment more than most politicians, with 41% disagreeing. However, this hasn’t rubbed off on the image of the Tory party itself – 53% of people agreed that “David Cameron may care about the environment but I wouldn’t trust the Conservative Party to implement policies to help the environment”, 38% of people disagreed.

This is becoming a part of a broad trend for the Conservative party – people do like David Cameron, his approval ratings are still impressively positive (especially by the disasterous standards of Conservative leaders), but it doesn’t seem to be rubbing off at all on the Conservative party yet. 43% of people did tell Populus that they thought Cameron’s focus on the environment meant that the Tory party was really changing, but even then they are cynical about rebranding exercises – 62% thought Cameron was focusing on the environment just to make the Tory party more popular, rather than because of a genuine concern, and subsequent newspaper articles (after this poll was published) about Cameron riding his bike to work, while his briefcase and shoes are chauffeur driven are hardly going to improve that figure.