Polls by ICM and YouGov both show the Conservatives falling slightly and a boost for the Lib Dems under their new leader. YouGov in the Telegraph has topline figures of CON 41%(-2), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 16%(+2), ICM for the Guardian have figures of CON 37%(-3), LAB 35%(+2), LDEM 20%(+2). The 2 point Tory lead from ICM is the lowest in any poll since back in November.

The ICM poll was conducted last weekend, so before both the lastest on Northern Rock, and Peter Hain’s resignation. YouGov’s poll was carried out at the start of the week, so would have taken in Northern Rock, but not Hain.

While YouGov’s figures are obviously a lot nicer for the Tories and a lot less nice for the Lib Dems than ICM’s, but we should be used to the differences produced by the pollsters different methods. The important thing is that the trend is the same.

41 Responses to “Tory lead faltering in two new polls”

  1. Why would the ICM polls for the Guardian show lower results for the Tories for the forth month in a row [comparing the same pollster’s results for other newspapers]? Could this be a coincidence or are the questions being asked differently or in a different order?

  2. Come on McLabour!!….kill off England!!!.

  3. I don’t know – Sally.
    The ICM polls do seem to be more variable. In the Tories we seem to be suddenly up 3, down 3, and so on.

    But they may be picking up something which is of a concern (to Tories) and I suspect that it is too reliance on scandal driven things in the media, and we need to blend it with more policy releases (although not so specific they are partly pinched and neutralised).

  4. Sorry, it’s not quite on topic but has anyone seen William Hagues speech about Blair as European president? It’s on BBC News website and it’s absolutely hilarious. I almost wish he was leader of the opposition again.

  5. Weighted Moving Average 40:33:17 compared to 42:32:16 a month ago. However the wheels are so clearly coming off NuLab that these minor fluctuations shouldn’t worry the Tories at all. AFAIK every single economically literate commentator has condemned the latest Northern Rock bodge (Katetsky in The Times most of all) and the demise of Hain (2nd resignation from GB’s Government in just over 2 months) makes the claim of “competence” look increasingly threadbare.

  6. I hope these 2 new (well one is 10 days old and the other 5 days old) POLLS don’t get all the “wet” Tories running for cover again – you know who you are !!!

    These are great POLLS for the Conservatives – still in the lead now after 4 months (3 rogue POLLS by ICM are nothing to be concerned about)and both POLLS are out of date – the latest funding row on the news tonight is good stuff – what else lies in the “closet” i wonder ??

    The so called Liberal bounce (which was expected about a 6 weeks ago ) has finally arrived – short lived i am afraid , they will be back down below 15% by March and the 5% gain will drift back to the Tories .

    February predictions – mid to end of February :-

    Conservative average 42% (between 41% to 43%

    Labour average 32% (between 30% to 33%)

    Libaral average 16%

  7. Oops sorry, 3rd resignation – the Lords Chief Whip “brought forward a previously arranged decision to step down”. And with Alan Johnson now joining Harriet Harman under a cloud for dodgy donations, Lord West a laughing-stock, Lord Jones now having Shriti Vadera as a colleague, and the Attorney General publicly disagreeing with the 42 days policy it can’t be long before the 4th resignation.

  8. Assuming of course that the removal of Lord Triesman was a sacking and not a resignation, in which case we have had the 4th already!

  9. No it was a resignation – he was off to become Chairman of the FA. 4 resignations in just over 2 months – what fun it must be working for Gordon. And Tom Scholar off as well…

  10. Not great Polls for the Tories – why is the ICM poll always out of step with the others ?

    However even just a few short months ago Cameron would have been very happy with the YouGov poll.

    I still think the Tories need to be a little more proactive in getting their own messages and policies out there rather than just allowing Labour to self destruct.

    Still, with all the bad news lurking in the background – Northern Rock, donations, plus all the bad news on the economy which there will inevitably be this year its hard to see how Labour can get back on level terms with the Tories, let alone get back in the lead.

  11. The Alan Johnson story is BAD for the Tories if it means the governmnet dominating the news again this week.

  12. KTL – Labour don’t need to get back on level terms with the Conservatives this year or even next year , this is now a marathon race and much can happen in 2 years . From todays news the Alan Johnson story is a non story and will not have any significance next month never mind in 2 years time . George Osborne was on the TV re Northern Rock this morning . He was scathing about the government but his own solution was a load of waffle and unconvincing .
    The general situation is an unpopular government with no enthusiasm for any political party , the Conservative poll leads fail to convert into real votes when people have an opportunity to vote . All to play for and plenty of time for Cleggy to build up support for the LibDems over the next 2 years .

  13. The “closet” (Mike Richardson) must be almost empty if a non-story like Alan Johnson was thought to be worth dredging up. There must be huge packs of journalists (and Tories) ferreting away on these trivia – and none of the “revelations” have been examples of real sleaze. The non-geeky public will just shrug and put all politicians a few more notches down in the unpopularity stakes. (And all those unknown names slavered over by NBeal will not even register at 1 on the political Richter scale)!

    What we urgently need – and will hopefully get over the next year (or two) – is the resumption of some real, serious political argument. Perhaps the darker outlook for the international financial situation will concentrate everyone’s minds (politicians, media and public) on the real and serious issues… or is that too much to expect?

  14. Nothing much in these polls. Note that Adam Boulton is pondering a June election, so maybe our wait for an election will not be long.

    No great news for the LibDems, but nice to see Mark Senior chip-in. One assumes you are an Evertonian or Spurs fan, and believe that the Euorpean Championships are within grasp. Fair-play.

    Steve Bishop, karma. Maybe the Euros will convert Scotland into a minor region of the Nordic-Anglo-Saxon super-state once McBroon completes the surrender process. Four or five such regions will be more managable then the numerous false regions they currently have.

    As for Alan Johnson I don’t think this is a bad as the rest of Labour’s dodgy donations. Why should we not expect Labour to request naive people to hand-over blank-cheques when they have conned the same to hand-over blank ballot-papers for the last five years.

  15. Adam Boulton was quoting “Senior” Labour sources as saying if Livingstone won then GB might call it.
    It’s a terrifying prospect-Ken & The Cronies and Stalin-both back to popular acclaim.It would indeed be “No Country For Old Men”, and time to start “Sailing to Byzantium” with WB Yeats.

  16. Brown to call an election for June? To quote a Scouse expression: “Yer avin a larf!?”

    No chance. Brown wasn’t brave enough to stick the knife in to Blair in over a decade, he wasn’t brave enough to call an election in his honeymoon. The notion of an election this year is the dream of Tories, not Gordon.

  17. “Weighted Moving Average 40:33:17 compared to 42:32:16 a month ago. However the wheels are so clearly coming off NuLab that these minor fluctuations shouldn’t worry the Tories at all.”

    Sorry, I may be a Labour supporter but even I know the Tory lead should be going UP and not down with the nightmarish past 4 months for the government.Even a static Tory lead would be of some concern to the Tories. I’m not happy about these polls obviously but ICM and Yougov are the two pollsters I trust most, I suspect the real picture is somwhere inbetween the two figures with a Tory lead of around 5%-the way the media is at the moment I’ll snap your hand off for that polling position. I’m not daft enough to think the comments here have any weight with the general voting public so you can take it at face value when I say the voters still haven’t ‘got’ Cameron the way they did with Blair in 1994/5. I also think the current donations row has ,somewhat surprisingly, damaged all parties and the public’s perception of politicians.Hence the rather lukewarm attacks from the Tories and LDs on the issue.

    A June election? Will depend on what the polls are like in May.Brown stated he wouldn’t call an election this year but he won’t be able to ‘think’ about an election again without immediately calling one.

  18. Is there really a choice these days, all politicians and parties appear to be contending for the middle ground that causes least offence to the percieved majority.

    Perhaps if there was an option for “None of the above” on our ballot papers dissatifaction with all of the present parties could be registered more effectively.

  19. The don’t reflect private polls….

    (and yes I apologise that this will no-doubt infuriate everyone trying to work out what level of credence to give this post) – lets just say that Mike Richardson is pretty close to the mark).

  20. Why should private polls be any more accurate than the published ones?!

  21. Joe James is right, the Tories cannot rely on the rather suspiciously regular drip feed of allegations and revelations (which as John H points out are increasingly insubstantial) to sustain their poll lead. They have to establish a clear change of identity and direction to finally split with the negative associations of the past – like him or not Tony Blair achieved that with New Labour in the 1990s. It wasn’t the sleaze and scandal of Major’s Tories which sank them, though it didn’t help, it was the presence of a realistic government in waiting. A strong leader, a strong front bench team and a sense of direction that appealed to the electorate far more than that which Labour had in the 70s and 80s, or even 1992.
    Trying to win based on a series of relatively insubstantial competence and corruption issues cooked up by sympathetic group of bloggers and newspapers is no way to win a democratic election, and no foundation for a popular mandate to govern.

  22. I would give absolutely no credence to “Anonomous” – and Mike Richardson is gazing hopefully into a crystal ball.
    Personally, I am also very unimpressed by mere political abuse, such as Colin’s “It’s a terrifying prospect-Ken & The Cronies and Stalin-both back..” or “Why should we not expect Labour to request naive people to hand-over blank-cheques when they have conned the same to hand-over blank ballot-papers” from the appropriately names Fluffy Thoughts.

    As I said a few messages back, what we all need is to return to some serious political argument about the future needs of the country, and to stop treating politics as a branch of show business, with more concern with trivia than substance. But then I am a very ancient person, who remembers the “good old days” when at least the broadsheet and TV political commentators thought they had a duty to discuss and explain the real issues, even if (in the case of the newspapers) from a partisan viewpoint. But maybe I’m just a grumpy old man….

  23. “Anonomous
    The don’t reflect private polls….

    (and yes I apologise that this will no-doubt infuriate everyone trying to work out what level of credence to give this post) – lets just say that Mike Richardson is pretty close to the mark).

    January 27th, 2008 at 6:18 pm”

    Hi Mike……


  24. I see no reason to believe any Anonymous poster, especially one who can’t even spell the word :S

  25. JohnH
    I am not THAT old but am grumpy. I expect I hold quite different views to you, but we can agree on you last para.

    Not sure that NuLabour supporters can complain about the media [or lack of it], when their man Alistair took the dark arts to a whole new level.
    As a Yorkshire woman, I can honestly say he is an export I take absolutely no pride in.

  26. As for a June election..if Ken wins…No chance. Though I expect many Tories who think it will take 2 jumps to power would welcome it.

    As far as I can tell, every time Cameron is on TV, his polls go up. Every time Gordon is on, his polls go down. Not sure how you make it through an election campaign by being invisible.

    I confess to being a bit confused by the Alan Johnson donations ‘scandal’. I understand it was broken by the Mirror! Odd. Very.
    Is Balls having a word in their shell-like and knocking off his rivals in case Brown is left wounded [or dead – politically speaking] after a June election?

    Brain is right about the problems with ‘thinking about an election’. The trouble is that if others are speculating about it, they will ask, either him or senior figures and he doesn’t deny it immediately, he is back where he started.
    Any change from what he has already said will result in him being seen as changing his mind or going back on what he has said previously[dithering etc]. They will re-run all the footage of the awful Marr interview.

  27. John H

    I am sorry my shorthand upset you -let me rephrase it in terms which you might find more acceptable:-

    “Ken & The Cronies”=the tendency of Mr Livingstone to avoid accountability whilst wasting/spending taxpayers’ money on highly selective causes which he personally espouses…or if you like all that Simon Jenkins writes about in today’s Sunday Times.

    “Stalin”=reference to Vince Cables joke=reference to the many many many articles and analyses focussed on the Centralist/Top Down/Micro-managed/Nanny State/approach to the governance of UK as epitomised by Gordon Brown’s general approach.

    Regards to one grumpy old man from another.


  28. Of course, if I were a REALLY grumpy Tory hater (perish the thought), I’d be gloating at the “revelation” that Conway MP has been slipping thousands of pounds to his son. Now that’s a bit more like proper (Tory) sleaze. But, unfortunately, it will also register in the public mind as just another politician with his snout in the trough, and cause another unfair slur on politicians in general.

  29. Talk of a June election is nonsense not least because Brown pretty much ruled out a 2008 election in order to kill of discussion once and for all. With local elections in May unlikely to signal the type of Labour lead that might tempt Brown, I can’t see any basis for it. The idea that a Ken victory might serve as a prompt is also ridiculous. Ken’s very appeal is that he is not just the Labour candidate in London. If he wins (as I think he will) it will be in spite of the Labour party not because of it.

    As for these polls. There is little point focusing too much on the exact figures of one indicidual poll(either to support or debunk the data provided). What is clear is that the Tory lead has dipped slightly from its high point but by and large the three parties are fairly static at Con 40, Labour 33, Lib 15, give or take a few points. That gives hope for all parties but it still makes Cameron the happier party leader right now. What I would caution the overzealous Tory is that it wouldn’t take much (a 3 point swing to Labour) for the Tories to panic wildly as their lead evaporates. Not saying it will happen just that the British people are not sold one way or another and there is a very flabby soft floating vote in this country that is very much up for grabs.

  30. Arnie

  31. “That gives hope for all parties but it still makes Cameron the happier party leader right now.”

    Yes-agreed Arnie-keeps them all on their toes too, which is a good thing.

  32. Sally,

    A Balls coup would be hilarious. I keep a passing interest, what with him being my MP, and he looks uncomfortable every time I see him on television; I genuinely can’t imagine him leading a political party.

    I’m pleased to see a bit of a rise for the Lib Dems, I think Nick Clegg’s appointment has resulted in a bit more press coverage and people have now remembered we exist. Personally though I’d like the Labour-Tory gap to widen, if it’s close then both parties will present it as a straight choice between them to voters and we’ll be squeezed; if there’s a clear winner then people will be more inclined to look to us as principled opposition.

  33. I apologise for encouraging some consensus here!

    Actually I have to admit to being somewhat more interested in the US primary contests which have produced two thrilling races. Any chance of a Super Tuesday article Anthony? I appreciate you have better things to do but here’s hoping.

  34. very poor results for the Conservatives if they hope to win an election in two years. This is the depths of mid-term for the government. During the Thatcher Major era the government would be routinely 20 points down at this point in the cycle.

  35. JohnH

    Just read the Conway stuff-what an idiot.
    That’s £25k of taxpayers’ money-I hope DC takes a very tough stand with him.

  36. The YouGov poll seems to give the Others 10%, rougly in line with most recent polls. By contrast, the ICM poll appears to squeeze “Others” to 8%.

    As a large proportion of Other respondents is made up of SNP supporters North of the border, I suggest that anybody wanting to see why the ICM poll might be out of line should enquire about the geographical distribution of the people sampled and the breakdown of responses by “region”.

    The differences between the YouGov and ICM polls appear to be within sampling error, however.

    This post reflects previous points I have made on this site about issues raised by the Other category for interpreting national opinion polls.

    Turning to the causes of the reported figures, there currently appears to be little movement in the polls, and these two appear not to be out of line. The raise in Labour figures might be explained becuase the Westminster executive is now in operation again after the New Year, even if not doing anything very inspiring. On the other hand, the opposition are probably holding any major initiatives for a better moment.

    The Liberal Democrats might have hoped for a better “bounce” following the election of their new leader. In particular, Clegg’s first weeks at Prime Minster’s Question Time seem to have had little impact (certainly not by comparison with Vince Cable). As first impressions are important, these polls may not be good news for him.

  37. The detailed data for the ICM and 2 Yougov polls are now on their websites .
    The Yougov Mayoral poll sample size is rather low only 339 . There is something wrong with the detailed data compared to the last poll . In the previous poll Boris led Ken in the over 55’s but this time Ken leads Boris by a substantial amount . The other age groups also have an apparent clear volte face in who is leading .
    The ICM comparison with how people voted in 2005 is most interesting . LibDem retention is the highest for some considerable time . Just 8 switchers to Labour with 7 switching in return and just 9 to Conservative with 4 switching from Con to LibDem . Cleggy seems to have won back the majority of those who had recently been saying they would vote Conservative .

  38. Frederic – ICM polls are sampled and weighted to to correct proportions of people from each region. 9% of their sample is made up of people from Scotland, the same as every other pollster.

    Mark – I suspect the something wrong is just very low sample size. Take out the 100 people who were won’t votes or Don’t Knows and there must be all of 240 voting intentions. In each age bracket the numbers are embarrassingly low.

  39. Anthony , no I don’t think that is the explanation . in every age group the one who lead in the previous poll now trails by a similar amount , I would guess their figures have been transposed .

  40. Could be. Stranger things have happened.