ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian has topline voting intention figures, with changes from their previous poll, of CON 45%(+3), LAB 25%(-1), LDEM 20%(-1).

The poll was conducted between the 20th and 22nd June. The timing means that the public would have had time to thoroughly digest both David Davis’s resignation and the recent outbreak of sleaze allegations in the Tory party (Caroline Spelman and various MEPs). It does not suggest any have had any effect.

Labour’s level of support is the lowest ICM have recorded, the Tory lead the largest, the gap between Labour and the Lib Dems remains at 5 points. With YouGov, Populus, ICM and BPIX all showing Tory leads of 20+ points and Ipsos-MORI in abeyance while they review their methods, now ComRes are the only pollster showing a Conservative lead below 20 points.

39 Responses to “Another 20 point Tory lead”

  1. Cllr Peter Cairns

    Your post on the previous (BPIX) thread in reply to Mike’s post was a more than excellent reposte to what was a thoroughly worthless and factually inaccurate rant. One of the few ways in which the current Tory lead in the polls could be reduced in the near future would be if more unreconstructed Tories begin to poke their heads more visibly above the parapet spouting this sort of stuff.

  2. Anthony,

    You’ve pointed out very clearly that a consistent 20+ Tory lead seems now to have been established. At what stage i.e. after what length of time would it become effectively irreversible without a dramatic change of policy or leader theoretically in either main party but realistically in Labour? In other words how long have Labour got to reverse this situation before having to change policy/leader to have any hope of providing a realistic challenge in 2010?

  3. For the past nine months I have been following the polls with considerable interest using this website. I note the polls showing the level of support for Labour have become both static and remarkably consistent.Over the last 6 weeks most polls have shown labour to be either 25 or 26 per cent. If Labour raises fuel duty in October I think we may see them sinking even further.

  4. Terrible, terrible poll for Labour. If the Tories are on 45% with ICM, will that equate to their first ever 50% vote share when YouGov come out later this week?

    This looks terminal for Labour now. It appears to me that the public have made up their minds and want a Conservative government. I can’t see any way back for Labour now, quite honestly. The question on the economy tells the story. The public, in vast numbers blame the government for the economy going wrong. That may be harsh, but that appears to be the reality. The public have lost faith with Labour. They could change leader, change polling day, maybe even change the voting system, if they are desperate enough, but it will all be in vain. The games up. Labour are out of luck, out of ideas, out of time and will ultiamtely be out of office.

  5. The danger is, of course, that they could declare a state of emergency, co-opt a couple of Tories and a LibDem, and set up a National Government under emergency powers. Elections would no longer be required. I hope that is a fantasy, but you never know.

    I would like to echo, and expand upon David D’s point above: Has a party ever been this far behind for so long in mid-term and then gone on to win the next general election? I seem to remember that Lady Thatcher was very unpopular before she won her second election (after the Falklands), but was she ever this far behind?

  6. Pete, well, I hope the Conservatives and Liberals would refuse to take part until AFTER elections have been held. As the PM is unelected, I would hope/expect that Opposition would tell him to hold a poll before such a government could be implemented.

  7. I can’t remember the Tories ever consistently sinking to 23%-25%, though I might be wrong.

    The game looks well and truly up for Labour with the economy set to get a lot worse before it gets any better.

    I think we’ll be witnessing a re-run of 1997 in reverse sometime 2009/2010, with ministers losing their seats to great roars of approval up and down the land. It could be pretty spectacular.

    And with the SNP putting Labour to the sword above the border, they could be left with little more than a rump when the dust settles.

    What I think will be fascinating is the Lib Dem versus Labour fight in the North.

    I know it’s a long shot, but what are the odds of a return to Tories v Liberals for the 21st Century?

  8. No surprises to the poll then. I have to admire the optimism of die-hard Labour supporters though, yet I do not see how Labour can come back from this.

    To my surprise the economy has not tanked yet. According to The Economists Panel next year the UK is forecast to have slower growth than this year! This would appear to imply that growth will bottom-out at the turn-of-the-year…!

    With inflation rising – pumping billions into the banking system scares the life out of this monetarist – and public-sector workers preparing to strike, what part of the Government’s programme will appeal to the electorate? Even a decapitation would be unlikely to revive faith into the discredited policies of Labour, but I would like to hear how the supporters of the party envisage a turn-around.


    The problem Labour have with any proportional voting system is this: they are not the largest party in England by votes, and Scotland will not be party to the Union soon. So changing the voting system will not only be desperate but ineffectual. Maybe Mark Senior could give us a view upon how LibDems would vote under an AV system. [I’d suspect at the moment many would vote Tory as second-preference.]

    Peter B,
    As for a state of emergency, I can’t see the Law Lords putting up with that. [Look at the current mess with anonymous witnesses.] However Brown has form when it comes to running away from the electorate.

    And talking of Law Lords, has the speedy judgment regarding Mr Wheeler’s suit been made yet…?

  9. Weighted Moving Average: 46:26:18. The only “crumb of comfort” for Labour is that the Lab:LD gap on the WMA is not getting worse. On the other hand even Labour voters will be noticing that the economy is in a mess and that their leader is utterly incompetent (see the devastating profile in the Guardian about his obsession with minutiae) so I wouldn’t be surprised if Lab support moves towards 20%.

    What seems to have happened is that Lab was hovering around 32-33 between mid-Nov and mid-March and then from mid-March to mid-May dropped to around 26. My guess is we’ll get another shift of 4-8 points in the next few months.

    Unless the Major Donors do the decent thing and put the party out of its misery.

  10. One of the current problems labour may have, IF they stay this far behind coming up to an election is that they will lose so many seats that only the rock solid labour areas will still return Labour MP’s. and these will be areas where the MP’s are not known or tainted with the Brown regime therefore they could struggle to look fresh and new before a 2014/5 election. In a similar way that the Tories struggled in 2001

  11. If ICM are showing this level I expect the next YouGov poll to show Tory support nudging the 50% mark.

    One wouldn’t think the polls could get any worse for Labout but they still are. There is no way back for Labour now and for the next two years Brown is effectively a lame duck PM, if he stays around that long.

  12. Any Scottish figures? I see ‘others’ must be something like 10%? WMA seems to be giving others a pretty consistent 10% which I think will be interesting as the vast majority of that will be SNP I suspect…

  13. on a monthly run the WMA is

    CON 45.1%
    LAB 26.1%
    LD 18.0%
    OTH 10.8%

    if repeated at an election the labour party would have 179 seats, the conservatives would have 411 seats and the lib dems would be on 31 seats with the others on 29 seats, but thats only national swing in scotland this may make things worsefor labour if the SNP keep moving forward like they are doing. any SNP score over about 35-36% and even gordon brown is in trouble. but on the other iseue of national polls, its a bit odd that their is no set standerds within the polling industry one of them ICM dose not put up scotland figures and the others do not split the midlands from wales which it shold be it a differant area it should be but one thing is sure if the SNP do well vs Labour they will most likely hold a vote on scotlands independence some time in 2010/2011.

  14. I think that as i said before there was a tipping point around Christmas where those who were rallying to Labour and squeezing the LibDems to “keep the Tories out” realised it was a lost cause. Since then Labour has dropped from low thirties to mid twenties and the pressure has come off the LibDems giving them some space.

    As with Scotland the argument has now moved on and the issue is who can best oppose the upcoming Tory Government. That’s not a problem for the SNP in fact it’s a gift. It is more of an issue for south of the border as although Labour are the obvious choice the public have lost confidence in the and it’s hard for a government to accept campaigning to be a good opposition.

    Having said that Clegg is very much Cameron “lite” so he’s hardly going to be attacking things like art privatising the Post Office.

    The libdems seem to be as close if not closer to the Tories in policy terms with the orange book than Labour so it hardly bodes well for opposition. It’s the problem with triangulation again; other than go for managerialism ” We’d run it better”, how do you campaign when all the policies put forward by the main parties are broadly similar.

    The Scottish figures are a small sample so all they will show is trend. I’d suspect the Tories to be at around 20%, the SNP to be ahead of Labour both on or near 30% and the LibDems still around or under 15%.


  15. Oh and as an after thought, a committee of MP’s has said that as he is taking up a government diplomatic position in Malawi Jack McConnell should step down as MSP for Motherwell& Wishaw .

    The SNP need an under 10% swing on the 2007 result without Labour having Jacks personal vote and after the SNP saved the [email protected] at Monklands hospital.

    Anyone for a by election……


  16. How long will it be before Labour MPs start getting worried for their jobs and defecting to the Tories?

  17. Cliff, the Tories did indeed bottom out at 23-25% under Thatcher in 1981/82 – the crucial differences being that; it only lasted a few months before their support rose again (before the Falklands War, although after that all previous polls became a complete irrelevance) and, more significantly, Labour was polling at the same level while the SDP were notching 50%. I can’t think of an occasion where this far into a parliament a government or opposition so far behind recovered to win – Harold Wilson would come closest, turning a poll deficit of about 25 points in 1968 to one of about 5 points in the general election of 1970 (having actually been ahead in the polls for the previous four months) – but, of course, that still represented a very bad defeat and a loss of around 70 seats.
    It’s hard to think how Brown, who is not nearly as formidable a politician as Wilson, can turn it round from here. This poll seems to show that no matter what happens in the Tory party, they are still much preferred to Labour by the public – and that’s a dreadful situation for Labour to be in.

  18. Those ‘young turks’ pushing for an election in the autumn were right and Brown was wrong then and consistently wrong ever since. He has made some terrible decisions on taxation and civil liberties and still scuppers electoral reform.

    Those Labour MPs who inflicted Brown on us Labour members without giving us a say, deserve to lose their seats, but it is the public that will suffer from an unreconstructed Tory government.

    Labour MPs have waited another 50 days of more debacle and depressing polls since the bad May results and still not got the message about Brown, so I am beginning to doubt they will get the message.

    My biggest fear is that Labour will recover slightly to 30% and stick with Brown through an inevitable general election massacre.

    Will getting rid of Brown make much difference? Well probably not enough to win the next election – we are too far behind – but remember 12 months is a long time – Labour were ahead in the polls 12 months ago. The economy will get worse – we are not even in a recession yet and may not get one – but impression is everything and everyone can see the rising prices, under the Tories unemployment only decimated a few million lives. Under Labour many will feel some pain and hear about it constantly in the Tory press – easily enough to elect Tories with no discernable policies.

    Even now, the Tories are unlikely to win 50% in an election, so PR would at least save us from another dose of Thatcherism, except this time, without the high tide of equality and union strength to hold them back in 1979 – it will be much much worse.

  19. Nbeale :
    you say ” the economy is in a mess and that their leader is utterly incompetent (see the devastating profile in the Guardian ”

    Thanks for the link – the article seemed more pro-Brown than against him so I can’t see it as “devastating”, and it’s impossible to see the link between his working long hours on detail and the economy being in a mess. Attention to detail isn’t a by-word for incompetence.

    I don’t think Labour can reasonably get rid of Brown before an election (though he might go himself just before one)

    Leaving aside the economy, Labour lost a big personality from its front-line when Blair went. They seem under strength, and in my view would do well to re-shuffle the cabinet and allow one or two more potential leaders to establish themselves.

  20. I am delighted by these polls results but lets issue a note of caution- Labour will not do this badly in a GE in my view okay they got 28.1 (was it?) in the 1983 GE but that I think was an exception as the ‘third’ party was really asserting itself then remember the Cons in ’83 polled less votes than in 1979. Also the Cons need a swing bigger than Tony Blair got to win a majority of 1 so there is still alot to do- we have 2 years ’til an election the economy will have turned ’round by then- can David cameron keep up momentum for 2 years!! I hope so!!

  21. Steve Milne – Will the election have turned round in 2 years.?

    Possibly but certainly not enough to help Labour?

    We are still some months or even a year away from the bottom of the cycle – and even if the economy does turn the corner slightly after that it will not be noticable enough to save or even help Labour – The election is now less than 2 years away even at its longest 5 year date.

  22. From what I’ve read elsewhere, if Labour decides to cave into Union pressure, they’ll be repealing some of the anti-union laws. For goodness sake, that’s the last thing we need, namely industrial relations chaos. At this rate their current poll ratings will seem a triumph.

  23. Fewer heavy-handed ‘equality ‘ laws might help.

  24. I had always pretty much assumed Gordon Brown would go to the very end in 2010, but I just wonder whether they could run out of steam before.
    I know the Tories went to the very end in 1997 but I think there was still this lingering belief/hope on their part that because they had been so dominant, something just had to turn up to avert catastrophe.

    Now, we know that all governments come to an end, and leaving it to the last possible date can make it worse.

    That said, I don’t think the next General Election is a foregone conclusion. Tories, myself included, need reminding that we have the same number of MPs as Michael Foot.

  25. It seems that Tony’s teflon has rubbed off onto the Tories – Interesting the way the Tories are now using the words “boom and bust” about Labour now in media interviews – very clever !!

    The light gets brighter and brighter at the end of the tunnel – but there is a very hard road ahead to get to that light & some great POLLS to come with some ground breaking results.

    As long as free thinking adults on here can be heard without personal abuse – this will remain a great site to monitor those POLLS.

  26. JJB – The Tories went to the last minute in 1992, and won rather against the odds, and some would say against their own wishes as we were nowhere near the bottom of the pit.

    If in 21 months time we are out at the other end (ie with confidence increasing, not necessarily hugely accelerating growth), there’s every chance that waiting until the last minute will at least not make things worse.

  27. John – in terms of the technical definition of the recession, it did end almost exactly around the time of the 1992 election, but the perception was certainly not so – in fact the job losses continued into 1993.
    Major might have got a larger majority if he’d cashed in in 1991.
    You may be right about 2008-2010 – despite all the hysteria in the media, I don’t think we yet know what form or shape this downturn is going to take.
    It may be quite shallow, although the debt levels people have taken on are pretty scary so there is the potential for something massive. But I’d say we’ll get by on very low growth 0.0 to +1.0

  28. JJB I accept that, and I’d say that it’s becoming more likely that the recovery will be “U” shaped rather than “elbow” shaped.

    On debt, the debt levels we had in the early 90’s were even more scary than now, and there isn’t yet an over-supply of empty properties (inc commercial, that is), or large sectors ripe for unemployment, so I don’t 100% share the gloomiest opinions out there. I do hope thosew in a position to take decisions learn from the similarities and the differences from then.

    Major’s soapbox led to positive coverage and gave him wind in the sails. Brown probably won’t try a gimmick like that, but he’ll need a turnaround in his media coverage at the very least.

  29. Johntt also Kinnock was a big liability for Labour in 1992 we all remember that dreadful ‘alriiight’ at that rally!! I believe Labour would have won in ’92 with a different leader. Gordon Brown could recover and I don’t see Labour getting rid of him any time soon- they would look too flighty- and the nearer we get to Spring ’10 the more chance there is he’ll stay!!

  30. Kinnock was a liability when it came to them needing the extra support in 1992 needed for victory, although I think he deserves some credit for the progress from 1983 to 1992, and could someone else – at that time – have speeded up the process….I wonder.

    I think even in 1990-92 the Tories always had a lead on economic comptence, hence, I suspected them to be re-elected.

    It is a little hard to see how Gordon Brown can recover – enough – from figures as bad as this, but nor do I think the Tories are home and dry.

  31. john t t

    …On debt, the debt levels we had in the early 90’s were even more scary than now…

    Hard read yet I recommend Michio Morishima’s The Economics of Industrial Society. It shows – in words and graphics – why no country can contain a private, public and trade deficit at the same time and maintain economic stability.

    Please do not subscribe to the Gary Elsby school of economics. I know that you are more astute!

  32. Sorry for double post. Can Anthony kill version number one…?

  33. ….and two….?


  34. In Guido fashion….

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)

    ….and two….?


    In Guido-speak…,

    You are Billy Connolly, and I claim my £5!

    [Will now expect a modicum of tolerance, as I retire to PB.com et. al. No doubt Anthony will have something more humerous to say on Mike’s blog. Tah-rah!]

  35. We are perhaps making the wrong comparisons – the issue out there is less one of recession and unemloyment and more one of inflation. While we are a long way from the circumstances of the 1970s the dynamic has more parallels with 1977/78 politically and economically (including strikes by public sector workers). The problem with inflation is that everyone is affected but, significantly for Labour, the impact is greatest on the less well off (especially those on fixed incomes). Thus the issue for labour is how to rectify that situation while at the same time protecting the payroll vote and avoiding a full blooded recession. Brown’s room for movement is very limited because of the policy walls built up by Blair – he can’t cut taxes and spending, he won’t increase taxes on the better off and every other source of finance either fuels inflation, pisses off the core vote or both. He is left with public borrowing and/or the Mr Micawber strategy of seeing what turns up.

  36. I have mentioned this before but economic success does not necessarily lead to election victory – hence the Democrats in the USA in 2000 and the Conservatives here in 1997.

  37. Andy D, I agree with you, it’s more to do with the leadership sounding and acting as if they have some idea what to do about it, or perhaps relying on past success.

  38. Fluffy – Sorry I don’t know “Gary Elsby” and was rather hoping that my reference to early 1990s debt (caused by the abandonment by i.a. mortgage lenders abandonment of the 3x salary / affordability tests and the abolition of double MIRAS) might pass without too much scrutiny. I don’t have to read lengthy tomes to make my little points, and I hope you’re not ploughing through them in order to counter.

  39. ‘I have mentioned this before but economic success does not necessarily lead to election victory – hence the Democrats in the USA in 2000 and the Conservatives here in 1997.’

    And the demise of Howard in Australia leaving his party out of power federally and for the first time in about 60 years ALL State governments as well. (If I remember correctly at this moment the highest ranked Conservative in power is the Mayor of Brisbane…).