There is a new ICM poll in this morning’s Guardian. The topline figures, with changes from the previous ICM poll in late June, are CON 38%(-3), LAB 34%(+3), LDEM 19%(+3). That’s a bouncing back for the Lib Dems from 16% in the previous poll and the first survey to show the Conservatives below 40 since Populus after the budget.

On other questions, people are pessimistic about the economy, with 51% thinking it is likely to fall back into recession compared to 43% who think it will not. On the defecit reduction plans so far, 38% think they go too far, 39% think they are about right and 16% think they do not go far enough.

YouGov’s overnight voting intentions were CON 42%, LAB 35%, LDEM 15%. Net government approval was just plus 3, the lowest YouGov have shown it so far in their daily government approval figures.

I expect there will be a lot of attention paid to the difference between the Lib Dem figure in ICM and YouGov. The rather unexciting truth is that it’s probably premature to read much into it at all. The previous ICM poll in June was pretty much in line with YouGov’s, with ICM showing 16% and YouGov 17%. All in all, there have been 5 ICM polls since the election, in 2 cases they showed an identical Lib Dem figure to YouGov, in one case they had the Lib Dems lower than YouGov and in two cases higher than YouGov.

The sheer volume of YouGov’s daily polling means we know their Lib Dem score is averaging about 15%, and if you get a 13% or a 17%, it’s likely just noise. In more traditional polling with just one or two polls a month, you can’t really be sure if something is an outlier or not – there may well be no difference here at all (or perhaps a smaller difference than these particular figures imply).

If it persists over time, then I’ll look at it properly, since it’s certainly plausible that there’s a difference. ICM’s “spiral of silence adjustment” consists of reallocating people who say don’t know to the party they voted for at the previous election, so if a lot of former Lib Dem voters are now saying don’t know, this adjustment will help the Liberal Democrats. In Martin Boon and John Curtice’s article on the 2010 election polls they also said they thought they might have been weighting the Lib Dems too highly, and would be looking at it in the future. So I can think of some theoretical reasons why ICM might show a higher Lib Dem score than YouGov, but on the evidence we’ve got at the moment, I’m not certain they consistently are.

We’ve also got a MORI poll due in the next day or two.

UPDATE: Full tables for ICM are here. For what it’s worth, 2010 Lib Dem voters were slightly more likely to say don’t know to voting intention than former Con or Lab voters… but it wasn’t enough to increase their topline figure. In fact, the effect of the topline adjustment was to decrease Labour’s support by 1 point. There do not, as yet, appear to be any changes to ICM’s methodology from pre-election (aside, of course, from the fact that ICM will be weighting to 2010 recalled vote instead of 2005 recalled vote).

69 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – 38/34/19”

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  1. @TonyOTim

    What was Labour party policy on this at the last election. Oh yes, to increase detention. Enough said!
    Not enough said… Labour activists can make their concerns felt & force a change. I have plenty more to say. 8-)

  2. If anybody is interested further, you can search online for several campaigns to end child detention and detailing the damaging experiences of children at Yarls Wood. These campaigns have been backed by the likes of Barnardos, the children Society and Amnesty.

  3. @ Sue

    The main reason why France and Germany don’t want Turkey to join is because it’s questionable as to whether Turkey is actually in Europe (there’s a whole geographic thingymijig about how much of Turkey is in Europe’s accepted borders – but that all depends on whether you count Russia as part of Europe or not). This whole debate led to speculation, at one point, that a Eurasian Union could be formed in the future (can’t really see the Europhobes going for that)

    Turkey also refuses to recognize Cyprus (or at least the Greek half) and as Cyprus is a member of the EU they’ll have to if they want to join.

    Turkey also have questionable human rights records.

    Economically it would be a good idea, as it is a fast growing economy, but there’s a whole set of rules and points that a country has to pass before they are allowed in. (Though there is a large double standard – see potential Russian application)

  4. @Amber

    “Not enough said… Labour activists can make their concerns felt & force a change. I have plenty more to say.”

    Of course they can. Sorry – this is an issue I get very worked up about, but if I can try to put it a bit more moderately, its a real shame that Labour activists didn’t work harder to produce a change sooner so we didn’t have to have a Tory government to actually change things.

  5. ICM always seemed to poll better for the Lib Dems in the last Parliament, so no change. It always used to be said it was the order they put the questions in (ie not asking VI straight off) helped the Lib Dems as it gave people the change to consider them.

    On the Sunday polls thread I said there was a bit of truth in ATTAD (thanks for the coinage Amber). I reckon that say 5% might be generally supportive of the coalition rather than committed to either particular Party. I think this shows it is true but there’s also the problem for the Lib Dems that they have to keep reaffirming their identity; showing their influence; and pointing to moderation of unpopular Conservative plans. Not easy with little press and media support.

    I can’t seem to find confirmation anywhere about what happens now to Yarls Wood parents. (So much comment, so little facts!) I would have thought that a family with children is hardly as likely to run away as say a single man in any case. Immigration policy over the last few decades seems to be mostly obsessed with producing figures to announce, rather than protecting the vulnerable and helping those who can contribute most to the UK. There’s a typically sad and infuriating case here:

    ht tp://

    I suspect caseworkers for many MPs could produce similar.

  6. Roger –

    ICM do ask voting intention straight off (or at least, they ask likelihood to vote then voting intention, which isn’t unusual. During the election campaign YouGov did the same).

    You are probably thinking of Angus Reid.

  7. Tonyotim – I totally agree. Despite being a politics geek, I only found out about it AFTER Labour lost the election. I was astounded, shocked and disgusted.

    “Personally, I would like to see and end to all detention of asylum seekers unless they are guilty of a crime. Its inhumane,”

    Hear hear!!! It is just salve to the Daily Fail.

    I think Labour undoubtedly lost it’s way on this kind of issue at the end of 13 long years in power. We were far too concerned with what the Daily Fail thought and not with what was right.

    Like Amber, I will be Vociferous, Gobby, whatever, in my suggestions for my party. Some have said the leadership candidates are too much tarred with the past. I disagree, they are all young and I believe once they get their chance, have their own agendas that may well surprise.

    Issues like Yaris Wood should never happen and certainly not under a Labour government.

  8. Billy – I know, but you could argue geographically that the UK is not exactly part of Europe and when it comes to human rights……. well, let he who is without sin.

    I’ve always thought Turkey would be a welcome addition as a moderate bridge to the Middle East.

  9. @ TonyOTim

    And yet this conflicts with how we treat our “own” children. If parents of child are sent to prison, other care arrangements are made for that child, they are not detained with their parents, as that is deemed to be more beneficial and less traumatic to them than locking them up.
    In the UK, it’s usually only one parent who is going into prison. When the child will not have a parent to look after them, there is usually another family member.

    In some cases, very young children do go to prison with their mother, I believe. I will check that out & confirm. 8-)

  10. @SUE -“Issues like Yaris Wood should never happen and certainly not under a Labour government.”
    I completely agree.

  11. Anthony

    I was thinking historically. I’ve a feeling that at one time ICM used to ask eg about party leaders first and this was said to help the Lib Dems. I suppose it’s possible that even asking likelihood to vote first might give a bit of time to consider and so vote for smaller parties. In any case ICM usually seemed to produce better figures for the Lib Dems, though it could also be down to using phone polling for example.


    By the way ignore or not the first seven or so paras in the reference I gave above. The story starts halfway down.

  12. @ Sue

    I know. Personally I’m not opposed to Turkey joining either – but if they want to join they’ll have to recognise Cyprus, which they don’t seem to want to do.

  13. Re: ATTAD

    I wonder what will happen if/when Con/Dem total falls below 50%. Tee hee :-)

  14. Amber Star:

    “Either we are a country that provides asylum in a humane & decent manner or we are not.”
    It is beyond any doubt that irrespective of which parties were in government in an independent Scotland, asylum children would neither be imprisioned nor separated from their parents.

    The former SNP Education minister, Fiona Hyslop, at some personal sacrifice, has implemented the policy of former Labour FM (and ex-teacher) Jack MacConnell.

    That, and the robust position of Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill in support of the Green Party and in his personal emails to me on this issue has persuaded me to vote for independence when the time comes though I do not believe that it is the best way of governing these islands.

    As a result of this correspondence (long before the Megrahi release) I came to the conclusion that Mr MasAskill was a person of compassion and one who would recognise a matter of principle when he encountered one.

    How much of the credit is due to the Founding Principles, procedures and standards of the Scottish Parliament; – to what Keny Macaskill identifies as historic Scottish Values; – or even to the leader of the SNP, I do not know but I want to live in a country in which the whole of government and not just a part of it, is in the hands of ministers with these Principles, these Values with a competent leader who appoints ministers of ability.

    Independence is not the only way to get that, but it’s the one readily available and likely in my lifetime.

    I used to think that Westminster could be reformed; that independence was unnecessary and wasteful and argued with Donald Dewar that Home Rule had much of the cost of independence without the simplicity.

    I was wrong.

    Westminster will not copy the model of the Scottish Parliament this side of independence.

  15. John

    “Westminster will not copy the model of the Scottish Parliament this side of independence.”

    Probably not. But the answer is likely to be “definitely not” the other side of independence.

  16. Paul H-J

    Certainly not in the short term, and only in crisis.

    I wrote a little satire for my SNP friends to show them that Independence per se wasn’t what they actually wanted.

    Set the future, the beneficial consequenses that Nationalists believe would flow from independence had been acheived and an impoverished R-UK, outwith the EU and paying for Scottish electrictity in €’s had become a failed state with a huge ill educated underclass and a tiny rich and powerful elite. In other words, SNP aspirations and present UK trends were extrapolated.

    It ended with a reluctant Scotland (&RoI) annexing the failed state of R-UK at the behest of the Germans with the help of the European army.

    Within my lifetime, the SNP has come from a being a party without a single councillor to being a minority Scottish Government. Had we had a parliament fit for purpose during that time it would not have happened.

  17. @John

    Which is why, whatever one thinks of him, Tony Blair’s revival of the Scottish Parliament ranks as one of his greatest legacies.

  18. RAF

    That’s one way of looking at it. There are people from all parties in Scotland and Wales who doubted at the time that he actually understood what he was agreeing to.

    John Curtice credits Margaret Thatcher with persuading the Scots of the merits of devolution, as one of only three enduring achievements. (The other two were intentional.)

    It must have been the easiest of decisions to appoint Donald Dewar in the Scottish office to deal with John Smith’s two soundbite factlets: “the settled will of the Scottish people” and “unfinished business”

    Donald had it all worked out in every detail by the time he was 16 or 17 years old and had been rehearsing the arguments for at least 40 years.

    David Steel was concerned when Donald complained about the efforts he was having to make to persuade people in London about the merits of the plan, so he asked the civil servants who were travelling with Donald if things were going badly and was reassured that Donald was winning every argument.

    After 40+ years practice he would surely convince anyone with just a periphral interest that he had a command of the issues and that it could be left to him to get on with it.

    I don’t think TB had the time to get too involved, or to listen to Donald. Once appointing Donald to deal with the “unfinished business” the die was cast.

    Given that he had had a plan for which he had been been developing the arguments in favour for 40+ years; had had a debate involving the whole political class; got approval from the Constitutional Convention, parliament, at least four political parties, the trade unions and churches and the overwhelming support from the electorate in referendum, do you think there was a good chance of getting it right?

  19. TonyOtim

    “If anybody is interested further, you can search online for several campaigns to end child detention and detailing the damaging experiences of children at Yarls Wood”

    An SNP list MSP for Glasgow who was well known as a blogger before she was elected is supporting a family which includes a ten year old girl who came to the UK, legally, when she was three. The family have left the abusive father, who has returned home and are now on the point of being deported to Malawi where it is expected that the father will get custody.

    You can read about it on the MSP’s blog.

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