Three new polls over the last few days. Firstly, the regular ICM poll for the Guardian has topline figures of CON 43%(+1), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc). Fieldwork was over the weekend and changes are since the start of the month. There is no signficiant change from last month, but it is the fifth ICM poll in a row to show a (very small) Tory lead. The full tables are here.

The ICM poll also contained a couple of Brexit questions. By 43% to 38% people were opposed to the idea of extending the transition period beyond 2020 (as you might expect, this largely split along Remain/Leave lines). On the customs union, 35% of people wanted Britain to Leave the customs union, 24% wanted Britain to stay, 26% wanted a compromise. I suspect many respondents do not have a good idea what the Customs Union is, and that questions like this are heavily influenced by the wording. As it is, it once again splits very much down Remain/Leave lines – the reason that leaving the customs union came up ahead was because most Leavers picked it, while Remainers were more evenly split between staying and a compromise.

Secondly there was a new BMG poll for the Independent. Topline figures there were CON 39%(nc), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 10%(-1). Fieldwork was right at the start of May, before the local elections, and changes are since mid-April. Full results are here

Finally, at the weekend there was a new online Survation poll. Fieldwork was Tues-Thurs last week and topline voting intention figures with changes from April were CON 41%(+1), LAB 40%(nc), LDEM 8%(-1). As regular poll-followers will know, Survation tend to produce figures that are more favourable to Labour than average, so while this poll too shows Labour and Conservative neck-and-neck, it’s very much in line with the trend that most other companies have shown. Essentially, Survation have gone from showing a Labour lead of around 5 points late last year, to showing the parties neck-and-neck now. Companies who were showing the parties neck-and-neck last year are now showing the Tories with a small lead. The overall leads are different, but the trend is the same. Full tabs for the Survation poll are here.

Survation also asked voting intention in a hypothetical second referendum (the only company who regularly publishes this with proper likelihood to vote) – topline figures there were Remain 50%, Leave 50%.

643 Responses to “Latest ICM, BMG and Survation polls”

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  1. Peter cairns,
    “The earnings ratios at a time of record low interest rates are also a concern for me… x9 in London with 5 year rates below 3% compared to x7 in 2006 when interest rates where near 6%, less than half as much.”

    In what sense? In the sense of a possible financial disaster if interest rates rise and suddenly returns on property become negative? A perfect storm of falling values and actually losing money on the rental business forcing sales? This hanging over the UK economy if we had a recession, but were also forced to raise interest rates to attack inflation or defend the pound?

    The redeeming feature of the 2008 recession was that it was world wide. So money could not flee one country which was performing badly. This would not be true if the Uk has its own self made Brexit recession.

    interesting comments on the Chinese historic economy. And it would seem the problem starts at the top, with government, both then and now. The Uk has had cheap labour available and chosen to go that way instead of increasing productivity. But this is not a function of EU membership, and the fundamentals which created those decisions do not seem likely to change post Brexit.

  2. Another Brexit problem. The UK patent policy contradicts the Brexit policy.

    “The government is now committed to leaving the EU, while staying in a system which has direct effect on EU member states, by virtue of EU regulation, involving membership of a court which refers to ECJ interpretations of EU law.

    That contradiction has to be resolved somehow. There are a few options for doing so, none of them particularly palatable.

    The government could fight for patents to simultaneously take effect in EU and non-EU countries, either by unilaterally saying it’ll take on the patent system or by pushing the EU to broaden its scope. Or it might try a sneaky halfway-house solution and try to get the EU to rework the patent deal as a special agreement under an existing European patent convention.

    But this is all elaborate guesswork. The reality is that the government’s current proposals are mutually incompatible and incomprehensible. Its approach to the problem is to say nothing while regularly parachuting new ministers into an area they seemingly have no interest in or awareness of.”

  3. Danny: “The Uk has had cheap labour available and chosen to go that way instead of increasing productivity.

    I suspect it’s not only the cost of UK labour which inhibits productivity (after all, as @TW keeps telling us, labour is far cheaper in eastern Europe), but the relaxed employment laws here, which make it cheap and easy to hire and fire.

    In a business climate that’s oriented towards short term returns, why invest long-term to improve production and productivity, when you can just take on a few more workers for a while?

  4. Sam,
    The patents story is a good example of how the EU is gradually and systematically removing red tape by unifying regulations, but a secret fudge by Theresa and her cakeist philosophy will increase it.

    My friend who is a retired insolvency accountant occasionally mentions that considerable uncertainty exists in that area too.

  5. BZ


    Your previous post seemed to me to assume that I didn’t understand that a pdf link isn’t clickable. I like providing an ultimate source for references, rather than a web page which leaves the reader to hunt for the appropriate link. I usually test the pdf link in a Google search before posting it here , to ensure that it provides the document in question.

    I admit that all of this assumes the reader would think of using a Google Search, without being prompted to do so . But your intervention has helpfully facilitated such a prompt.

    Sorry about my inadvertent use of “BBZ”. I don’t know why-it just slips off the keyboard fingers somehow. I will try very hard in future to remember that you are a singular “B” .

  6. Sometimes the morning papers inadvertently provide juxtaposed pictures or reports which speak silently for a thousand unsaid words.

    One such , this morning is an account of Prof Tendayi Achiume & her “findings” ; and a photo of Meghan Markle accompanied by her mother after having had tea & a chat with The Queen.

  7. “Under the plan, which will be presented to Brussels next week, the government will propose that the UK as a whole maintains in “full alignment with those rules of the internal market and customs union which support north-south cooperation, the all-island economy and the Good Friday Agreement””.

    I came lurking on this site thinking that the above would be being discussed. Has it been discussed and settled somewhere?

  8. ANDREW111

    VAT is neither really a tax on the buyer, nor on the seller, but on the transaction. Both parties suffer the effects of it. Anyway, the suggestion about changing the way that inheritance tax is levied isn’t about trying to protect inheritees and enable them to collect a vast fortune untaxed, quite the opposite. Rather than just whacking the rate of a tax up, we should always be asking whether there’s a way to reform it so that it encourages more desirable behaviour.


    None of that waffle changes the fact that you were bandying about ludicrous claims that the richest 1% have in excess of 27% of national income, whereas in reality it’s a third of that.

    That has nothing to do with NI, which is a tax in need of reform, particularly to apply it to capital gains and retirees. The figures you provided do show, however, that we have a very progressive income tax system. The marginal tax rate on the highest earners, once you factor in employer’s NI, is the same as in Denmark or Sweden. The major difference between us and higher tax economies is that we charge a much lower rate of tax on low and middle earners.

    Addressing your other point, applying CGT to a primary residence is a bad idea; by punishing people for moving home it would stagnate the property market and severely discourage the downsizing which we desperately need. If we want to capture more revenue from property then the way to do it is through higher rates and bands of council tax (or some similar sort of property tax), which would provide an incentive for people to sell homes which are too large for their needs.

  9. @Charles:

    The EU will reject that. It’s proposed backstop makes a nonsense of their “indissoluble four freedoms” mantra. It is willing to pass on that as regards N. Ireland – it promotes the territorial claims of Ireland, whatever the pretence. It is a good demonstration of how a leaving member state will have to submit to extraordinary demands just to get to the negotiating table.

    But, in the EU’s eyes, extended to the UK it amounts to cherrypicking.

    They have greater ambitions for the extent to which the UK stays in its jurisdiction. The N. Irish backstop does not include the common fisheries policy, for example, to say nothing of free movement.

    An interesting point is that the EU added state aid into its Northern Irish backstop. Northern Ireland would obviously come under Irish protection should the backstop apply. But applied to the UK as a whole, crucial government policy will be nakedly controlled by a foreign power who believes we have no choice but do as we are told.

    The fact that the EU will reject such a humiliating and undemocratic solution as insufficient shows the direction of travel in “negotiations”.

    As I always say, Brexit is not going to happen. The question is whether there is a quick kill or a lingering death during the transition period.


    It is certainly being discussed. There are major problems with the idea. First, it will mean that there will be sanitary and phytosanitary inspections at borders.

    It seems to rest on the assumption that electronic checks might eventually lead to an “invisible” border. That assumption is questionable.

    The proposal is time bound which will be viewed with disfavour by Brexiteers and the EU for different reasons.

    Chris Grey has a good take on it. I have to go – sorry for the brevity.

  11. @ Joseph1832 @Sam

    Many thanks for responding so fully to my post, and particular so to Sam who was short of time. If I understand the two of you, there is no way that this is going to stand as a final solution. The question is where it leads. To judge from the link posted by Sam this is uncertain, so that all sides have a reason to regard it with suspicion.


    You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it. I suspect the deleted version elsewhere on YouTube was zapped for containing actual Wimbledon scenes – something they hate unless paid for. The vanilla version I put up has a chance of a longer life.

  13. COLIN

    Fair enough. I have no idea which browser you use, but most modern browsers can display PDF files from the actual source, which shows you the actual URL of the PDF in the page header, that in turn can be copied onto your clipboard and pasted into your comment to provide the “real” link.

    A simple example would be posting the latest YouGov Tracker on EU questions….

    Currently, that’s the third entry down on the YouGov Politics & Current Affairs page in the right hand colum. If you simply click on that link, you should then see the actual PDF in your browser, with the URL displayed in the page header. That URL can be easily copied and pasted into any comment here.

    Right now, the link is

    If you have tried that and failed, let me know which browser and version you are using and I will try to figure out what’s going wrong.

  14. Oldnat

    Taken literally 2% of English people think that losing NI is a price worth paying to get the right Brexit, but losing Scotland is not.

    This is in a way a curious statistic given Scotland’s much greater wealth, both natural and human.

  15. COLIN

    By the way, I should have added that, at least on the Google Chrome and Chromium browsers, there is automatically a download button to enable you to save the file wherever you wish.

  16. There is a longish article in today’s FT on the Leicester garment industry. (Many working for online only retailers.)

    It is a well-researched article, but I bring it up because it highlights how careful one has to be with statistical figures.

    Many of these firms pay £4 an hour to the workers. How they get around the minimum wage rule: worker works for 40 hours at 4 quid, but it is declared as 20 hours at £8. So, the latter one would appear in statistics.

    [Of course, the Leicester garment industry has its unique background, yet one wonders how widespread it is in other industries.]


    Perhaps it’s just that whilst the RoI/NI border is in a faraway island of which we know nothing good whilst accepting a hard border themselves and going back to a red and white flag makes them a little uncomfortable.

  18. LASZLO

    A rather toxic brew of failures in that article. It would seem to show that the problem is not that regulations are too lax, but that enforcement is. The spectre of immigration looms large over the whole situation as well. The work is being onshored, but instead of going to high-productivity factories like the one they spoke to in the article, it’s going to dark ones which use illegal and Eastern European migrants to import the wages and conditions of the developing world into the UK. You’d probably see it rather differently, but to me it’s an example of how, if we want to get rid of the ‘crap jobs’ which occupied such a lot of discussion earlier in the thread, we have to get a grip on the immigration which provides the labour force for them.

  19. Garj

    No, I agree with you. It is migrant labour that enables these companies to exist. My point was really only about stats. With the internet we have all kinds of data instantly available, but it does not make the data good.

    A few years ago I was advising a company here in the NW (a low tech manufacturing company with a stable market for a variety of products, but competing then with outsourced supply).

    The only real solution was a complete restructuring of the product range and the way of selling them (moving to a kind of consignment based pricing model).

    However, it would have meant losing around 200 jobs (all minimum wage, unskilled, or on the job trained). The owner had a “better” idea – he negotiated some subsidy with two local governments notionally for the estate, but really for the wages (effectively reducing the wage by about a quarter in terms of cost to the company). the company survived and continued employing people directly from the job centres. Then because of the squeeze on the budget of the local governments, the subsidy stopped, and the firm ran out of money in weeks. So, it was folded.

  20. @GARJ
    “It would seem to show that the problem is not that regulations are too lax, but that enforcement is.”


    “we have to get a grip on the immigration which provides the labour force for them.”

    Investing in enforcement is not an option?


    It would seem to show that the problem is not that regulations are too lax, but that enforcement is.

    Evidently so, which puts the blame squarely on May’s 6 year reign in the Home Office. Although, to be fair, she wasn’t much worse than most Home Secretaries.

    A pity, then, that the Cons spent the 5 years of the coalition squabbling with themselves over the EU rather than enforcing UK law and using the options which the EU rules on migration allow. Presumably there would have been some costs to their backers which they decided collectively that their party could not afford.

    Presumably, the real debate in their party is whether they retain voters or contributors. May’s cancelling Leveson 2 implies the former.

  22. SAM

    Many thanks for the Kirsty Hughes link. Very well worth a read.

    The last sentence says it all, really:

    Looking on the bright side, chaos is, in fact, the best hope for those who still look for a route for the UK to stay in the EU after all.

  23. LASZLO

    It, and your anecdote, illustrate how broad but shallow the UK’s seemingly strong record in job creation has been. It’s not as simple as saying its solely down to immigration, but it is a big factor.


    “Investing in enforcement is not an option?”


    Absolutely, but that’s not mutually exclusive with trying to take away the labour market conditions which allow these employers (and those which are exploitative but stay within the law) to thrive.

  24. There was a Yougov poll out yesterday which i don’t think anyone has mentioned. For good reason too, all three main parties were unchanged. For people who read too much into a single subsample it was mildly interesting that labour was ahead in scotland but you expect a subsample to come along like that every so often.

  25. Danny,

    “In the sense of a possible financial disaster if interest rates rise and suddenly returns on property become negative?”

    No, in the sense that we seem to have created an unsustainable economic model. it doesn’t require a crash or crisis just the slow accumulation of slow growth and rising costs that squeeze the disposable incomes of working people that drive the consumer economy and the service industries.

    As disposable income is squeezed and we reach a limit to available credit due to high debt, the level of consumer spending which has supported and created much of recent employment growth will fall.

    With falling consumer spending, VAT revenues will fall and as the service industries adapt, jobs created since the banking crisis will fall. Not dramatically but at the same rate as they have risen since the crash.

    With rising unemployment, gradually back toward 6% perhaps 7% consumer spending will be further squeezed as household disposable income falls as overtime is lost, part time second jobs go or wages are squeezed.

    Do we raise tax with a slowing economy, increase or prolong austerity, turn to more debt just when we are getting on top of it.

    Do we raise the minimum wage increasing business costs or raise the tax threshold to put more money in peoples pockets with the impact on tax receipts.

    My concern is that the recovery we have created, which in many respects was the only one we could in the circumstances, is one where the jobs created in the service economy don’t earn enough to sustain that service economy.

    This is no doubt a clumsy analogy but I worry we haven’t recovered so much as being on life support and I am not sure what will happen if the plug is pulled but more importantly I think that while we haven’t died our muscles are wasting.

    When we come out of the coma will be thankful we made it but we aren’t going to like what the doctors say about the state we are in.


  26. Barbaz: indeed. My point, in fact, was that you’d think more than 2% might think that way.

  27. @Frosty

    I agree with your comments.

    The Scottish subsample looks slightly odd, but probably an occasional, slightly off random sample and no more.

    Overall, the pattern is as of late. The Conservatives holding their own, and teh Labour vote softening up a little.

    We do seem to be in a bit of a psephological rut.


    Quite so, although the majority still haven’t been told honestly what a real exit from the EU will have on their pockets. When they find out, some at least may take a different view.

    Obviously some who post here – your TOH namesake is a good example – claim that they will be happy to be in penury as a swap for all the extra sovereignty that HMG will inherit, I have yet to see any evidence that any of the leave campaign have admitted that. Sooner or later some of them will have to.

    The $64,000 question is whether such pronouncements come in time to prevent this collective will to commit self-harm. Sadly, the abolition of Leveson 2 makes it more likely to be later than sooner.

  29. BZ Thanks. I use Google Chrome. Will get back to you if I have problems in future.

  30. @Frosty

    The model I run now give the following for You Gov:

    Con 318 (=)
    Lab 264 (+2)
    SNP 28 (-7)
    LD 17 (+5)

    Groundhog day nearly!

  31. @Laszlo

    And think of these poor sods on zero hour contracts, not knowing what hours they will be getting.

    I think the UK simply doesn’t invest enough in regional developments. All that rhetoric about “Northern Powerhouse”.

    HS2 will just turn the West Midlands into a dormitory for London.

    “Sadly, the abolition of Leveson 2 makes it more likely to be later than sooner.”

    I am not sure I understand how Leveson 2 would have made/make a difference to the coverage of Brexit. Could you explain?

  33. After a typically chaotic selection process Labour have selected Janet Daby for Lewisham East.

    She is pro customs union (possibly even THE Customs Union) and pro Single Market. Has yet to express an opinion on a “People’s Vote” ( I note the Liverpool MPs all broke ranks on that recently)

    Jeremy will not be pleased! This will embolden his Brexit rebels if she sticks to her guns tomorrow morning ( no doubt she will be on the telly)

  34. ANDREW

    Surprised that Daby won. I thought the Momentum preferred candidate Shiekh would win. The three other candidates appeared to be towing the Corbyn line on Brexit. Daby wasn’t. Perhaps the fact Lewisham overwhelmingly voted Remain went in her favour.

  35. EOTW @ BZ

    I am not sure I understand how Leveson 2 would have made/make a difference to the coverage of Brexit.

    Simply to have provided some teeth to prevent the gutter press spreading their venom. Or perhaps at the very least to publish their own contributions to the leave campaign prominently along with the benefits they expect to receive personally on any article arguing for leaving.

  36. Labour will not change policy on a second ref, what would it be on? the W.A?

  37. The government does seem to have made some big changes to its BREXIT policy. As seems often the case the UK media is not very detailed in its analysis. But there is a very, very good article on RTE by Tony Connelly here:

    I recommend reading it.

  38. LASZLO



    One aspect of the tailoring trade, which was formerly covered by a Wages Council Order, was the absence of efficient enforcement. A business covered by a Wages Order could expect to see a Wages Inspector every 13 years or perhaps never. One aspect of the work was to gather information on businesses that were covered so the Inspectorate could put them on record.

    Prior to the abolition of the Wages Councils employers jumped the gun.

    “The Government’s Wages Inspectorate found that more than 7,000 establishments illegally underpaid staff in 1992, but there were only 12 prosecutions for underpayment during the year.”

    That figure is unlikely to be accurate regarding the numbers of employers underpaying staff because of the low number of inspections made.

    “The LPN [Low Pay Unit] fears that the growth in underpayment is a bad omen for low-paid workers in industries such as shops, catering, hotels and clothing manufacture, which had been covered by wages councils. A fifth of vacancies in these industries were offering less than the old minimum rates within two months of abolition.”

    The problem is widespread.

    “Regardless of national laws that set minimum wage rates and stipulate that information should be made available to both workers and employers, research indicates that compliance with wage legislation is often low in the sector. 8, 9 For instance, a study on wages carried out in respect of more than 100 suppliers in ten Asian countries 10 found that nearly one fifth of the observed companies reported having to postpone wage payments, more than half reported underpayment of wages, mostly for overtime, and almost half of the companies did not pay social security contributions. One of the important conclusions of the study is that workers have to work very long hours to earn even the legal minimum wage. This problem is not limited to Asia: a study in the US clothing industry found that 43 per cent of workers did not receive their legal minimum entitlement, and 71 per cent did not receive overtime payment”

  39. BZ

    I lost interest in Leveson after Jeremy Paxman was interviewed, the exchange was:

    Paxman tells Leveson: “What happened in the past is you have got this great brouhaha, there will be an inquiry, there is an inquiry, and it produced some recommendations that are quietly forgotten. I wish you every success not having that fate.”

    Leveson replies: “The one thing I am determined not to do is produce a document that simply sits on the second shelf of a professor of journalism’s study to discuss with his students as yet another attempt that went nowhere.”

    To which Paxman responds: “As high as the second shelf, eh?”

    I did a little research and found that Paxman’s prediction was almost certainly correct.

  40. Sheikh was falsely rumoured to have been a member of Take back the City which would have ruled her out.Labour gs apparently ruled however she was eligible-according to Skwarkbox anyway.

    Daby let it be known she had voted for Jeremy (twice) so left hope she will become a corbynista loyalist.But she is a strong remainer.

    Mind you I remember when Kate Hoey was regarded as a trot when first selected so who knows .

  41. EOTW @ BZ

    I did a little research and found that Paxman’s prediction was almost certainly correct.

    Agreed, which is why Leveson 2 was promised and has now been reneged on by the Cons. It may well have proved to be as toothless as Paxo predicted, but could hardly have been worse than Leveson 1 turned out to be.

    Also, even if Leveson 2 turned out to be equally useless, attempts to force some honesty into the gutter press would not have been dropped. I suppose it does at least ensure that anyone who feels an honest press is a good thing will have good reason never to vote Con.

  42. @Profhoward, indeed. Looks like Brexit in name only may well be on the way. Should that be the case then it will be interesting to see what the papers and Rees-Mogg and co make of it.

  43. @ Brilliant Smith

    Kate Hoey is one of those MPs who is difficult to categorise. You could take her pro hunting and leave stance as a sign she had moved to the right but on many issues she is far further to the left than your average Labour MP. So she voted against Iraq war, voted against renewal of trident, voted against ID cards.

    In many ways, and I vehemently disagree with her views on hunting, she’s actually exactly the type of MP that people applaud- someone who thinks for herself and doesn’t always tow the party line, whether we like what she thinks or not! The fact that her voting isn’t always in the same direction on a standardised left/right axis gives her brownie points I think.

  44. She’s also strongly pro-grammar schools and I think voted against gay marriage. Just a really weird mix, but we could do with a lot more MPs like her who stand up for their beliefs rather than just go through whichever lobby the whips tell them to.

    But then, I think a lot of MPs do end up with generic Labour/Conservative views on most things, just because they spend so much of their time with other members of their party, they pick up mainstream opinion by osmosis.

  45. @FROSTY

    If it even looks like BINO is on the cards Mogg and the ERG will bring May down overnight, I’m hearing the required letters are already in hand.

  46. Not too surprised Daby won. My take is that unity candidates can still beat Corbyn disciples by hoovering up all the Corbyn-sceptics and taking enough votes from the Angela Rayner zone* to take them past 50% of the selectorate. It’s only the unrepentant Blairites who don’t stand a chance at the moment.

    By “Angela Rayner zone”, I mean the sort of people who aren’t particularly factional and are prepared to give JC the benefit of the doubt.

  47. Jim Jam

    2 options on the ballot paper now things are a good deal more clear than June 2016:
    1) Remain
    2) Chaos and confusion

  48. Meanwhile, desperately sad times in Venezuela.

    I doubt Maduro will lose, but even if he does their economy now seems beyond repair.


    If it even looks like BINO is on the cards Mogg and the ERG will bring May down overnight, I’m hearing the required letters are already in hand.

    If you’re correct then it will be interesting to see what the DUP do. They do quite well in undemocratic plurality votes but do not have 50% of the NI electorate who will not consider them kindly if they support a hard border with the RoI. They are undoubtedly nutters, but are they quite mad enough to bring down the Belfast Agreement and likely face an early border poll as a minimum.

  50. BZ

    @” I suppose it does at least ensure that anyone who feels an honest press is a good thing will have good reason never to vote Con.”

    I suppose that anyone who feels the press should not be controlled by politicians & “celebrities” who don’t like critical publicity, will have a good reason not to vote Labour.

    As an aside it is amusing & illustrative that Hugh Grant, stalwart of Hacked Off , is to make a nice fee ( I presume) in a film about the story of the Jeremy Thorpe & Norman Scott scandal.

    Thorpe is dead & can’t say what he thinks about Gran’t portrayal.

    Scott says :-
    “Sadly they’ve also turned it into a bit of a comedy. It’s far too light, given what happened.They showed selected critics the first episode and the producers were pleased because they laughed through a lot of it. But my story isn’t a comedy – it’s about the total destruction of a person.”.

    Still-who cares what he thinks-Grant doesn’t obviously . Its not a film about Divine Brown.

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