ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian has topline figures, with changes from last month, of CON 44%(+6), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 16%(-3). The poll was conducted between the 23rd and 25th January.

The poll obviously shows a large and significant increase in Conservative support – the sort of large shift I’d normally urge some caution about if it wasn’t in line with the sort of movement all the other January polls have shown. All the polling companies are now showing the Conservatives back above the psychologically important 40% level, back in a double point lead, and back in an election winning position. Things are not as bad for Labour as they were in the summer, but clearly things are not headed in their direction. There can be no doubt that the tide has moved back against Labour, and we now have to see how far it falls, how this effects the media narrative and if there is anything they can do to turn it around once again.

Some of the comments in the previous post have looked at the cross breaks and concluded that this is the shift in C2 support I spoke about earlier today. I wouldn’t conclude that yet, as I said earlier on, the crossbreaks by class jump about wildly from poll to poll so I’d wait to see a couple of polls before concluding that. That said, while we haven’t the evidence to conclude it yet, it is a likely explanation – ABC1s were strongly Tory anyway, and DEs have hitherto been reluctant to move further towards the Conservatives.

Looking at other questions in the poll, 64% of people think the government’s economic strategy will have no effect or make things worse. Looking at the specifics, the VAT cut and increased public works are supported by 63% and 85% respectively (though as we saw in some of the polls last year, this doesn’t necessarily mean people think they will be effective), less popular is the government’s attitude to banks, 52% support underwriting bank lending, only 43% support the partial nationalisation of the banks (wholesale nationalisation would be less, not more, popular – backed by 40%). Cameron & Osborne are also back ahead of Brown & Darling as the team they’d trust more on the economy, albeit by only a point. I think that is the first time for a while that a question comparing the two teams has shown Cameron & Osborne ahead.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet filled in the UKPollingReport user survey, please take five minutes to do so here.


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Iain Dale is getting excited over the social class crossbreaks in the latest ComRes poll, which show a big Tory lead amongst C2s. I wouldn’t get too het up about it – voting intention in class crossbreaks jumps about wildly from poll to poll because of the small sample sizes, so it’s very easy to cherry pick one that looks nice. However, Iain is absolutely right to focus on the C2s.

The graph below shows the Conservative lead in each social class break in ICM polls since summer 2007 at the height of the first Brown bounce. I’ve used a rolling average of 4 polls to try and iron out the worst of the noise.

graph

As you can see, back in Summer 2007 the Conservatives only led amongst the ABs. After the non-election and the end of the initial Brown bounce all social groups swung heavily back towards the Conservatives, leaving a good Tory lead amongst ABs and C1s, and the parties roughly neck and neck amongst C2s and DEs.

By the start of 2008 the Tories had pretty much sealed the deal with C1s, who have since been as staunchly Tory as ABs. The swing back towards Labour at the end of 2008 seems to have barely affected C1s at all. Similarly, DEs don’t seem to be moving much further towards the Conservatives – in summer 2008 as Labour collapsed into internal infighting they were reporting small Conservative leads, but realistically these are the most solid Labour voters and it doesn’t shift very far into Tory territory.

The movement in 2008 was amongst C2s. As Labour fell apart in Summer 2008 C2s shifted wholesale over to the Conservatives, recording the largest Tory leads of any social group. After the bank bailout it was the same C2s who swung massively back in Labour’s favour.

Have they now gone back the other way? Of course we don’t have an ICM poll since the recent reverse in the polls and, even if we did, as I warned at the top of this post, given the volatility of the class breaks in standard polls, we should never draw any conclusions based on a single poll. At the moment therefore, we don’t know whether the C2s are now swinging back to the Conservatives. What doesn’t appear to the be case however, based on last year’s polls, is that the difference between a hung Parliament and a Tory landslide will largely be down to how the C2s vote.


ComRes’s monthly poll for the Independent has topline figures, with changes from ComRes’s last poll a week and a half ago, of CON 43%(+2), LAB 28%(-4), LDEM 16%(+1). There are no dates yet, but on normal timetables it would have been conducted between the 23rd and 25th.

This leaves ICM as the only pollster still showing a Conservative lead lower than 10 points, and they haven’t published a poll since mid-December (the fieldwork should have been completed today, and we can expect to see the figures tomorrow evening). This however is the first poll since back in September to show Labour falling below thirty percent.

Incidentally, the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dems figures in this poll imply that “others” are all the way up on 13 percent. ComRes do tend to produce very high figures for the minor parties – for some reason they tend to weight people who voted for “other” parties to a far higher figure than other pollsters.

UPDATE: The full tables are here. Two things are worth highlighting – firstly, Brown & Darling’s lead as the team people would prefer to steer the British economy through the downturn appears to have fallen from 19 points to 2 points. Look carefully though – the previous time the question was asked was in a poll for the BBC’s Daily Politics, which wouldn’t have been politically weighted, while this question was. Questions like this are highly correlated with voting intention, so the two questions are not comparable.

Secondly, 49% of people agreed with the statement that “The Conservative team around David Cameron are lightweight”, with 38% disagreeing. This compares to figures in November (in a weighted poll, so entirely comparable this time) of 48% agreeing and 35% disagreeing. There is a slight shift in favour of the Conservatives, but nothing worth writing home about, suggesting Ken Clarke’s return to the Tory front bench hasn’t had an immediate impact on how heavyweight it seems, though naturally, these things can take time to sink in.

UPDATE2: It was actually conducted between the 21st and 22nd January, so the middle of last week.


Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has topline figures, with changes from their last poll, of CON 44%(+5), LAB 30%(-5), LDEM% 17%(+2). The poll was conducted between the 16th and 18th of January.

Clearly it shows a very substantial shift in support from Labour to the Conservatives. Normally I’d advise some caution in any poll showing a big switch in voting intention and advise people to wait to see it confirmed in other polls, but in this case, while the extent of the switch in support is rather larger, the trend is the same as we’ve already seen from Populus, YouGov and ComRes. The boost in Labour support we saw last year appears to have gone into a sharp reverse.

UPDATE: Full tables are here. Interestingly enough, while Populus, ICM and TNS have all shown economic optimism heading back down this month, the MORI poll shows it continuing to rise: net optimism is up to minus 40 from minus 48 last month. In contrast, optimism about how it will affect them personally doesn’t seem to increasing, 49% of full-time workers said they were worried about losing their job, compared to 43% last month.