ICM have released their August poll for the Guardian. Topline voting intention figures are CON 40%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 10%, GRN 4%. Full tables are here.

This is the first ICM poll since the election to feature an updated methodology in light of the polling error. Since 1993 or so ICM have reallocated people who don’t give a voting intention based on how they say they voted at the previous election. Colloquially this is often known as a “shy Tory” adjustment, as when it was initially introduced in the 1992 to 1997 Parliament it tended to help the Tories, though after the Iraq war it actually tended to be a “shy Labour” adjustment, and in the last Parliament it was a “shy Lib Dem” adjustment.

In practice ICM didn’t reallocate all their don’t knows and refusals as many people who refuse to give a current voting intention also refuse to say how they voted at the last election (ICM call these people “total refusals”, as opposed to “partial refusals” who say how they voted last time but not this time). Under the new method ICM are also attempting to estimate the views of these “total refusals” – they are reallocated at the same rate as “partial refusals” but are assumed to split slightly more in favour of the Conservatives, based upon what ICM found in their post-election re-contact survey. The effect on this change on ICM’s headline figures this month is to increase the level of Conservative support by one point and decrease Labour support by one point.

The implication of this adjustment is that at least some of the error at the general election was down to traditional “shy Tories”, that those who refused to answer pollsters’ questions were disproportionately Conservative supporters. However, from being on panels with Martin Boon since the election and hearing him speak at the British Polling Council inquiry meeting I don’t think he’ll have concluded that “shy Tories” was the whole of the problem, and in ICM’s tables they are clear that they “expect to produce further methodological innovations in the future.”

689 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 40, LAB 31, LDEM 7, UKIP 10, GRN 4”

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  1. @Spearmint

    I was going to say I’m surprised but I’m not really because…

    1/ People love novelty. I wouldn’t be surprised if LAB rose in the polls temporarily if he wins.
    2/ A lot of people think the Labour party should be about being way off to the left and the Tory party about being way off to the right. So by that score people think he’d be a ‘better’ Labour leader than somebody that dares to be ideologically impure.
    3/ Related to the above, people like people who are ‘straight talking’.
    4/ He’s been in the news a lot. These things can be name recognition contests.
    5/ Most people hadn’t heard of him before the last month or so, and those who have probably haven’t taken in his policy platform.
    6/ These figures probably reflect as much on the others as Corbyn. i.e. it is quite likely that they could flop too.
    7/ I note that they were shown short videos from Andrew Marr first. Even if they try to be neutral it is likely this skewed things somewhat.

  2. Roland

    I don’t think Corbyn has ever suggested that the UVF or UDA were heroes, or the IRA for that matter.

    But since the British were in league with the UDA/UVF then, by definition, they weren’t at war with those terrorists.

  3. Roland
    You’re getting pretty partisan here….

  4. @Jack Sheldon

    It must be more than that. The backing the polls suggest he is getting from Labour members and sympathisers is on a volcanic scale. They may not follow each and every one of his policies but the change of direction he represents appears to be genuinely popular. Looked at logically, it’s merely a continuation of the SNP and Ukip tides.

    Ephemeral? Possibly. But it appears for now to be real. In fact so real that the usual opinion framers in the print media and the PLP have been caught unawares by a movement that has split asunder their carefully crafted paradigm of the contest.

    Does any of this matter? 5 years from a GE, with an EU referendum (and maybe even another IndyRef) sandwiched in between, the only certainty is that there is no certainty how this will play out.

    You are of course right that Marxism will not come anywhere near to winning a GE, but what if JC compromises enough to offer a modern form of socialism?

  5. Under the old system I used to get three votes -individual member,trade union political levy payer,fabians.

    I assume I now get one -indiv member tho unite did ask me whether I wished to use the affiliated scheme.I ignored their email.

    Question ? do the £3 greens,trots ,nats ,tories only get one or can they get another thru their union.Are the three categories mutually exclusive?.I think we should be told anthony.

  6. Ephemeral? Possibly. But it appears for now to be real. In fact so real that the usual opinion framers in the print media and the PLP have been caught unawares by a movement that has split asunder their carefully crafted paradigm of the contest.

    That’s sounds a bit like the rise of the SNP.

  7. @CMJ

    The parallels are certainly there, although the SNP revolution was much broader based.

  8. By 2020, the 1983 election will have been 37 years in the past.

    In 1983, the 1945 election was 38 years in the past. What was electable in those two elections was very different.

    In 1983, politicians proposing some of the social policy enacted in the last decade would have been put in a straight-jacket by moderates.

    Corbyn would be big, big risk but there is no reason why things should necessarily play out the same way now. The country is as different now compared to 1983 as 1983 was to 1945.

  9. We’ll have to wait for the details of the Survation poll[1], but we already have one from YouGov for London:


    asked Which one of these do you think would be the best leader of the Labour party?

    Jeremy Corbyn 24%

    Andy Burnham 11%

    Yvette Cooper 10%

    Liz Kendall 6%

    None of these 19%

    Don’t know 29%

    Of course nearly half of those asked are NOTA or DK and that even includes 30% of Labour voters (though only 8% NOTA the rest are DK). But it still rather undermines the circular “Corbyn can’t win” arguments (or suggests that none of them can). Presumably all those Guardian columnists who have been peddling this line will become converts (stop laughing).

    Corbyn isn’t just the favourite of Labour voters though (36%, Cooper 15%). He tops the poll for Lib Dems (20%) and UKIP (22%) as well. Conservatives though have the four candidates about equal which suggests that there isn’t a ‘cunning plot’ to push forward the least electable.

    Obviously supporters of rival Parties are more likely to answer NOTA (Con 32%, LD 23%, UKIP 35%), though the DK are surprisingly constant in the 20s. There’s the usual gender discrepancy on DK, though taking that into account Corbyn’s lead is again greater among women.

    The ‘Children’s Crusade’ narrative is again disproved. Though he is less popular with the over-60s, it’s pretty even up to then. And despite all the middle-class taunts, he’s again ahead with the C2DEs (ignoring differential DKs). So the pattern of support is similar to what we saw among the LLVs.

    [1] Their tweet says it’s their “3rd Labour leadership poll” but I can’t find any record of any others

  10. Hi all. It strikes me that Persuading people to vote for you, getting them to overlook previous ill-advised comments and promises on X or Y are core skills for would-be political leaders and JC seems to be pretty good at this!

    The same applies to carrying out policies you don’t really agree with once you get power. There will be 101 reasons why certain “hard left” things can’t be done once in power. (Money, EUcompetition rules. Risk of judicial review etc.) . So JC’s programme in govt. (If it ever happens) won’t be anything like what people are talking about and he has been intelligent enough to talk in terms of vague aspirations.

    Leaders are figureheads who communicate values. Now we know DC well we know he wants to be a 50s Tory like McMillan. So did Blair – it says in his biog. Leaders often don’t end up doing the policies they believe in: eg I doubt Syriza really had in mind the economic programme they will now implement. I doubt that TB in 1997 thought his foreign policy would turn out like it did.

    So , in summary JC is clearly performing best as potential leader and Lab should pick him. He is good at persuading people to vote a certain way and clear about what his values are and they appear to correspond (roughly) with those of his party.

    The policy bit comes (much) later. The mistake the other 3 are making is talking about that now when they should be trying to demonstrate they can actually “lead”.

  11. rivers10
    Thatcher won in 79 for many reasons and trade union reform was a minor reason, you cannot realize how bad 1970s were .

  12. Forge Press article from four Sheffield Labour Students members (inc. yours truly) explaining who they’re backing and why. Thought you might find it interesting.


  13. TOH and Carfrew – round about 6.30 p.m.

    I agree with TOH on the way forward for Westminster on EVEL etc., where there is no knock-on effect via the Barnett Formula. Of course, as I suggested, one way out of that is to get rid of the Formula – something which I expect Osborne and Cameron to do during the next couple of years.

    As for a new Indyref open to all UK voters, I have no idea what the outcome would be. Personally I’d be happy to try it and see what happens.

    And I am not sure who ‘you guys’ are. I am not a member of any political party, nor was I part of the ‘Yes’ campaign. I am merely speaking as I see things from the point of view of someone who is currently living in Scotland.

  14. @Mr Nameless

    Forget Today? Sounds like a forwards thinking publication.

    Btw for what publication have you recently become a scribe?

  15. People have suggested that Blairites like Kendall and Hunt might defect to the Tories but I see that as unlikely, they are more likely to either bide their time in Labour hoping for Corbyn to be overthrown, or possibly make a new SDP style party. However I wouldn’t be surprised if the likes of Frank Field defected to the Tories, seeing as he has recently compared Osborne to Clement Attlee.

  16. Very good.

    The website accessed by clicking my name is one I’ve run as Editor since I was 16. But we decided to get together a big group of contributors and make a proper go and getting some recognition for it, so I’ve spent the last week in the library wrestling with code to make it new and shiny.

  17. OLD NAT
    By definition your idea of a terrorist is not my idea of a terrorist and particularly in a Northern Irish context. I speak about the Irish Republican Army, who undoubtedly were the enemies of the British Army. As an Englishman and a British soldier, I had a very clear picture of who MY countries enemies were. You make your own choice’s.

  18. I don’t know who first came up with the “It would be amazing that Corbyn would win, but loads of amazing things have happened, therefore it’s not extremely improbable that Corbyn would win” argument, but judging by how it has taken the Labour party and the British left generally by storm, I think it was a masterstroke.

    One should never underestimate the effects of what Ludwig Wittgenstein called “a one-sided diet of examples”.

  19. Then again, Mill used exactly the same sort of “reasoning” in On Liberty (“Lots of innovations have been good, therefore we should allow and even encourage innovations”) and that somehow became seen as a classic defence of liberalism, so there is precedent for this type of argument working.

  20. @John B

    I said “you guys” to try and make it easy for ya, and stop likely quibbling, though clearly that is quite hard to stop. But basically it means peeps who keep having a pop at the English, make ludicrous objections re: the Salmond thing then do the same kinda thing themselves.

    In the interests of moving on I shan’t make anything of the irony that you are prescribing what you think England should do re: EVEL!!

  21. Rivers10 -“With Corbyn we don’t now what the future holds, all it takes is one event at the right time and Corbyn could win.”

    The problem with that is that the public are really cautious.

    Rather than hark back to when Thatcher got elected, just look back a few years to 2010 (the electorate then isn’t that different from now, give or take a few deaths and a few 18-year-olds getting the vote).

    2008 was the worst financial crash since 1929. But look how cautious the voters were! Despite the crash and Cameron being personable, they were unsure whether to trust him. In the end they refused to give him a majority forcing him to work with the LibDems.

    If it had been IDS at the head of the Conservatives, the Conservatives wouldn’t have achieved even that, despite the once-in-80-years crash.

    If there is another crash, the same principles apply. The voters might give a safe pair of hands type like Yvette Cooper a go.

    But the idea that they’ll take a massive risk and elect Corbyn is far-fetched. He’s the Labour party’s IDS.

    Voters don’t like taking risks even (or especially) in the midst of a crisis. Faced with an extreme risk like Corbyn they’ll stay with Cameron and Osborne. Better the devil you know.

    Things would have to get to Greek levels (25% crash in GDP and 30% unemployment) before they took the plunge. Unemployment in the UK is currently 5.8%. And even at the height of the crash never got over 8%

  22. Candy,

    It would be amazing that UK unemployment would be high enough to get a Syrizia-style party into power, but it was amazing that Gandhi brought down the British Raj, so Corbyn is the most obvious person to lead Labour.

  23. @Roland

    “My issues with the 70’s has nothing to do with Lancia’s. More to do with being at war…”


    Ah, well, I was just having lighthearted fun with the Lancia thing. But being as you’re flipping it to summat heavy, I think I’ll talk about summat else.

    You into cricket by any chance? Hopefully that doesn’t have any bad connotations.

    I noticed in a Sydney Morning Herald poll, that before the last test, 40% of their readers thought they would lose, 55% thought they would win. Which meant 55% were in for a surprise in the first hour of that test…

  24. (I agree that Yvette Cooper would be Labour’s shrewdest choice. Her problem is that she’s been in exactly the worst election to be the unifying figure of the centre.)

  25. “Leaders are figureheads who communicate values.”


    This is true up to a point, until they try and do summat practical and communicate summat like a pasty tax whereupon it all goes belly up. Or try and eat a sandwich…

  26. “But it appears for now to be real. In fact so real that the usual opinion framers in the print media and the PLP have been caught unawares by a movement that has split asunder their carefully crafted paradigm of the contest.”


    Oh, they get caught out all the time. They didn’t warn me about the storage tax either…

  27. “Forget Today? Sounds like a forwards thinking publication.”


    Eh? Surely a forward-thinking publication should be called “Forget Tomorrow”?


    “Well, the railway franchises are all coming up for renewal in this Parliament, so unless there are a lot of by-elections in Tory marginals Corbyn’ll need to win in 2025 to renationalise them.”


    Maybe if Corbyn pulls things to the left Osborne will renationalise them himself. Helicoptering the money to do so. Then he can sell it all off again and cut out the middleman. More efficient. Kinda like Milo Minderbinder in Catch 22…

  29. Candy
    I think you’re looking at things a wee bit simplistically when you say the public “chose” not to trust the Tory’s with a majority, the Tories inability to form a majority came from several factors examples being an inability to make any headway with ethnic minorities or young people (which cost them a dozen or so seats particularly in London) an inability to stage any sort of recovery in Scotland (this was mainly due to the “Brown Bounce” but again cost the Tories several seats) and a lingering distrust amongst a large chunk of the electorate who simply don’t like the Tories (this kind of screwed them everywhere but the North especially) Throw in the fact that to gain a majority of just one seat in 2010 the Tories would have had to attain a seriously impressive swing thus its not really a surprise they didn’t manage it in 2010. That said the Tories gained 97 seats, that’s an impressive haul given the aforementioned problems. Gains like that would normally give a party a very comfortable majority it was only the sheer pit the Tories where climbing out of after the slaughter of 97 that meant such a swing still didn’t give them a majority If Labour gains 97 seats next time they’ll be laughing

    What you also have to look at are the polls before and after the crash. In 07 it looked like the Tories would do WORSE in the next election than they did in 05 that all changed in a matter of months. The public are not as cautious as people make them out to be, hell UKIP won the EU elections….

  30. Roland

    I’m not really surprised that “as an Englishman and a British soldier” you see some terrorists as your friends.

    Personally, my enemies are those that misuse the apostrophe.

    “You make your own choice’s” ??? Really!!

  31. @Oldnat

    You missed one. “Countries” is wrong and needs an apostrophe. So by your own definition, you’re an enemy of yourself….

  32. @LASZLO

    “One of the few things that worked well in the first two five year plans (apart from a short 18-month wobble) was tractor production. It had to because of the labour shortage in agriculture once collectivisation started to get dizzy. But they were lucky as the Great Depression supplied a lot of qualified engineers from the West.

    Just pedantry.”


    It’s OK, I don’t think it’s pedantry Laszlo, to me that’s useful info. The Soviets could be really quite good at mass production, look what they did with the T34 in WW2. Stalin said quantity has a quality all of its own but the T34 also had more than just quantity, it had sloping armour, a 75mm gun and an engine that worked in the cold…

  33. @Rivers10

    All those people you mention (ethnic minorities, the young, the Scots, the Northerners) constitute part of the public! The public were cautious.

    They were cautious in 2010, wanting to trial Cameron before they gave him any more power. They were cautious in 2015 distrusting the SNP and their plans to wreck the UK. And they’ll be cautious in 2020.

    The idea they’ll suddenly think, eff it, lets roll the dice and live really dangerously, is far-fethed. That’s just not who the British are. And deep down I suspect you know it.

    Terry Pratchett summed it up: “What most revolutionaries fail to understand is that deep down what the vast majority of people really want is for tomorrow to be much like today”

  34. Lazlo and Carfrew
    For what its worth the Soviets seem to have a history of developing very basic and cheap things that while somewhat crude got the job done as well if not better than more expensive alternatives. Look at the Kalashnikov, Semtex or the Soyuz rocket.

  35. I’m just waiting for JC to eat in public, it won’t be a pretty sight, but then again, neither is he, his looks will do him in, sad but true, the media will have a field day, he looks like a loser, IMO, of course. :-)

  36. @ Ken

    I don’t know if he is about to eaten alive (an interesting Christian motif) but to my mind it doesn’t differ which of the four candidate is being served up, because there would be an attempt (well several) to do so with any of them in a not inconsiderable segment of the establishment.

    It won’t be easy with JC though, it could go wrong. Don’t forget his monogram …

  37. @ Carfrew and Rivers10

    The Soviets were pretty good in copying the Fordist industrial model (and had the same labour turnover …), but they took it a bit forward. The T-34 was actually produced by the collaboration of more than 200 companies (unheard of that time). However, the riveting really made an output difference. but they didn’t have enough trained tankists.

    The SU suffered of the same thing that China suffers now: they can design high end of medium technology, they can even translate the design for the workforce, but they don’t have the work organisation (not the workforce) in which it would be produced at a consistent prescribed quality at a large scale output. So, the design was adjusted. It is the work organisation, because China doesn’t suffer of the skill shortages that the SU had in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. It eased after that, yet, the work organisation remained the same …

  38. As history was brought up.

    The following is not about the UK electorate, or JC. I don’t know what will happen, and especially, in the given situation, how he would adjust to the role. It is about the argument of “1983”.

    In 1983 Andropov was the head of the Soviet Union, attempting to solve the problems in a pretty Stalinist way. The U.S. was about to come out from a deep recession. Stasi was warning the East German leadership that without a significant increase in productivity that would enable increasing living standards, there could be an uprising against the regime. Poland was going under, and Hungary marginally avoided it. Romania decided on repaying the debt at any cost. The EU was celebrating the latest addition to the fold: Greece (ok, just at the turn of the two years). The UK manufacturing still accounted for a very significant proportion of the national output, although in manufacturing exports components became dominant. Latin America experienced the worst debt crisis (then), with all kinds of social upheavals, and military juntas. In China the regional differences start to grow that eventually led to 1989. Mass movement of people from the North of England to the South (and abroad) became subjects of songs. It is unnecessary to continue. The whole message of 1983 all over again is completely flawed.

    Of course, it doesn’t mean that JC is right or that it wouldn’t mean a rejection by the populous.

  39. Carfrew

    There is a reasonable intellectual argument (one of those things that Roland has signally failed to comprehend) for not using apostrophes at all.

    However, he probably did not omit an apostrophe after “countries” but simply mistakenly used the plural form.

    Either that, or their are a number of countries which he believes to be “his”.

    These would probably include all the former colonies of the British Empire.

  40. LASZLO…….Extending the vision of JC as lunch, I do think the media will eat him alive, metaphorically, of course, a bearded Leftie as PM, not a chance, still there is a rather touching faith in his, ” niceness ” he’s a sort of Leftwing worry blanket, something to cuddle for comfort, until reality kicks in, I would expect around 2019. :-)

  41. Using “their” instead of “there” is another assault on the English language.

    I have, therefore, voluntarily opted for ritual self-decapitation.

  42. Hawthorn

    RE The ’45 and ’83 elections.

    What was different about them as you say was what it took to get elected/ what was deemed ‘electable’.

    Between 1945 and 1983 the country had moved to the right.

    To me it feels that the country now is more right wing than in 1983. So I don’t think updated versions of the 1983 platform (or ‘retro’ approach as it’s been termed) is best for Labour, and will not be a winning position.

    But we will all have to wait for some real national elections- meaning next spring.

    Even if the opinion polls show Labour tanking or triumphing between now and then we won’t know till actual votes are counted. The local elections and the Scottish Parliament elections won’t be able to be gamed.

  43. @Oldnat

    Whether single or plural, country’s or countries’, it still needed an apostrophe, ‘cos he was using the possessive. “My countries'” (sic) as he put it etc.

    I’m not fussed about the apostrophe thing myself, just wanted to warn ya about being your own worst enemy etc.

    Anyways, let us move on and I shan’t get into the Roland thing either: there’s summat on Soviet-era rocket engines that desperately needs saying…

  44. Singular or plural

  45. Rob Sheffield

    The Welsh Senedd is due to be elected in May 2016 as well.

    As one of the few parts of the UK that still has a greater preference for Labour over other parties, its results will also be worth seeing.

  46. “My countries” (sic) as he put it etc.

    (Autocorrect corrected his quote and stuck an apostrophe in!!)

  47. @ Carfrew

    I told you, there is an IPad conspiracy (joined in by Microsoft and Google).

  48. @ Ken

    I really don’t know and I really don’t think it matters whom Labour choose from the perspective of 2020, because If there is something in the society (or develops), even a centrist would be elected, and a lefty has even more chance. If there isn’t, then not even Ms Kendell would be elected.

  49. @Rivers

    Though the Soviets were at times held back by lack of access to Western markets and tech., they could still produce some excellent high end designs. A notable example is the Mig fighter* that shocked by its manoeuvrability, and the NK33 rocket engine.

    Developed in the late Sixties for their abortive attempt at manned moonshots, this engine used a revolutionary closed-cycle approach**, that the Americans thought pretty much impossible, being so difficult to control the resulting instabilities.

    The design was so efficient it blew away western designs when it was rediscovered after the Cold War, and competes with new designs today that use its innovative design principles.

    By compete with, I mean the actual engines built in the Sixties are used today. They found a load of them in a warehouse in Siberia or summat and ship them to the US for their rockets. Sadly, being so old components are failing so maybe not for much longer, but the design remains very valid.

    * can’t remember the model number offhand…

    ** “what’s a closed cycle?”, I hear y’all cry!! Well, if you compress the fuel mixture before igniting it, you get more power. So common practice is to use a preburner to compress the mixture before injecting it into the combustion chamber for ignition.

    But this is inefficient, because the exhaust from the preburner is vented into the atmosphere, wasting power. If you instead inject this exhaust into the combustion chamber, you don’t waste the power, but this can very easily cause instabilities in the gases in the chamber that are hard to control. But the Soviets found a way…

  50. Corbyn in Scotland

    Reports from his meetings suggest that he didn’t actually mention Scotland or Scottish issues.

    That may not matter to the remnant LiS members, but may well not entice ex-Lab Scots voters to return to the fold.

    However, given that he is probably reliant on rejected LiS MPs for advice on Scottish politics, silence may have been his best policy.

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