Looking at the rest of the questions in the ICM poll, they are unremittingly dire for the Prime Minister. 45% of people who voted Labour in 2005 think the government are not “working in the interests of people like me”. 71% of people think they have run out of ideas (including 39% of people who voted Labour in 2005). 68% think they don’t deserve to win the next electon (including 41% of people who voted Labour). 68% don’t think they are taking the country in the right direction, 67% think they are more divided than the Tories.

It’s a shame ICM didn’t ask a “time for a change” question, but I suspect agreement would be overwhelming now. The mood seems to have swung decisively against Labour.

ICM also asked whether Brown or Cameron would be better in various circumstances and criteria. On every measure Cameron topped Brown, decisively so in terms of having potential as PM, being able to work with colleagues, and by 6 points on being able to make the right decisions when the going gets tough (the sort of question that would once have favoured Brown) and on honesty.

Finally ICM asked people who compare Gordon Brown as a leader against various past PMs and party leaders. Unsurprisingly people thought Brown was a worse leader than Tony Blair by 22% to 67% and Thatcher by 61% to 34%. More cuttingly, he was also seen as a worse political leader than John Major by 51% of people (36% thought he was better). Still, at least he was narrowly better than William Hague (by 48% to 40%), Charlie Kennedy (by 53% to 34%) and poor old Iain Duncan Smith (by 58% to 28%).

Tuesday also sees what is probably the last poll on the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, this time from ComRes. This must be the most heavily polled by-election for many, many years (perhaps ever – though the days when by-election polls were the norm are beyond my memory) perhaps reflecting both the extreme rarity of a by-election the Tories might win, and the importance the media are suggesting it has for Gordon Brown’s future.

The full figures for the ComRes poll show a Tory lead of 13 points (the shares of the vote are not yet available). This would be a crushing Labour defeat on a swing of about 15% and if media rumours about the Crewe and Nantwich result being a trigger for moves against Gordon Brown are any more than media fluff, he will be in trouble.

While this is much larger than ICM’s lead, it’s actually what we would expect to see – remember that ICM’s figures are based on the projection that many of the don’t knows, who are mostly former Labour voters, will end up voting Labour come the actual election. Their unadjusted figures showed Conservative leads of 12 points and 15 points before the re-allocation. ComRes in contrast don’t reallocate don’t knows in the same way, so their findings are broadly in line – they just made different assumptions about how this will translate into votes at the ballot box.

UPDATE: The full figures are CON 48%, LAB 35%, LDEM 12%. Forget my earlier explanation about the difference between this and the ICM poll being down to ICM re-allocation of don’t knows. Unusually for them, ComRes also reallocated their don’t knows on the assumption that they would vote for the same party they did in 2005. The unadjusted totals would have had a Conservative lead of 15 points.

UPDATE 2: Just for fun (well, actually not just for fun, for £500) there’s a competition on PoliticsHome to predict the majority in the by-election, enter here


ICM have released their first poll since the local elections and it shows not just an increased Tory lead, but as with YouGov the largest Tory lead from the company for many years. The topline voting intention figures, with changes from ICM’s last poll, are CON 41%(+2), LAB 27%(-2), LDEM 22%(+2). The poll was conducted between the 16th and 18th of May.

It is obviously the lowest score Labour have received from ICM in recent years, but it’s also an advance for the Liberal Democrats. ICM normally find a higher level of Lib Dem support than other pollsters anyway, but even by their standards it’s the highest level of Lib Dem support for over a year (compare this with YouGov’s poll yesterday – as usual they showed a much lower level of Lib Dem support than ICM do, but just like ICM it was the highest level of Lib Dem support for over a year).

The ICM poll adopts the methodological changes we saw in their Crewe and Nantwich poll, explained here. The effect this month was to increase the Tory lead by 1 point compared to what it would have been on the old methodology.

Given the collapse of Labour’s support and the big difference ICM’s reallocation of former Labour voters saying “don’t know” has made in their Crewe and Nantwich polls it will be interesting to see how much of the difference between YouGov’s 20 point lead and ICM’s 14 point lead is due to that reallocation.

UPDATE: Not very much of it actually! The re-allocation of don’t knows only decreased the Tory lead by one point.

There is also a new poll in the Independent on Sunday, this time from ComRes – their first poll since the local election. The top line voting intention, with changes from last month, are CON 43%(+3), LAB 26%(nc), LDEM 19%(-1). This is the largest lead ComRes have ever shown for the Tories.

The full tables are here.

The News of the World carries a second ICM poll on the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. Voting intention figures, with changes from the ICM/Mail on Sunday poll in Crewe and Nantwich last week, are CON 45%(+2), LAB 37%(-2), LDEM 14%(-2).

Last week there was a very large proportion of former Labour voters saying don’t know, so it will be interesting when the tables are released to see if the changes are a result of a drop in “Labour don’t knows”. The bottom line is, however, that with less than a week to go till polling day it looks almost certain that the Conservatives will finally break their 26 year failure to gain a seat at a by-election. By-election polling is tricky and polls can be wrong… but when they are it is hardly ever in favour of the Conservatives, and 8% is a decent lead.

Only 4% of people in Crewe and Nantwich said the increase in tax allowances had made them more likely to vote Labour in the by-election, with 24% saying it had made them less likely to vote Labour.