This is the first Guardian/ICM poll conducted since the Local Elections which were held across much of England on the 3rd May. While there has been the usual post-mortem and debate on the results and what they mean for the state of the parties, the absence of any large shifts between the main parties lends some corroboration to our polling results which have been largely deadlocked since the 2017 General Election.
Our latest headline voting intention figures maintain the 3 percentage point lead for the Conservatives over Labour from our previous poll. Make no mistake – this is still a small lead in polling terms, and should not be overstated. However, this poll makes it five consecutive ICM/Guardian polls in which the Tories have led Labour. Our polling has consistently reflected an entrenched political environment since the 2017 General Election, but it’s possible that the Conservatives have opened up a miniscule lead over Labour in the past couple of months.
The figures are below, with percentage point changes versus the previous poll in brackets:
With Theresa May reportedly under pressure to extend the Brexit transition period beyond the end of 2020 to allow time for new customs arrangements to be introduced, we wanted to see what the public thought of the issue. While views are fairly evenly split, more of the British public oppose (43%) than support (38%) extending the Brexit transition period beyond 2020. These views are polarised along party and EU Referendum lines: two-thirds (67%) of 2016 Leave voters and 3 in 5 (62%) of those intending to vote Conservative oppose extending the transition period, whereas three in five (59%) 2016 Remain voters and almost half (49%) of those intending to vote Labour support extending the transition period.
Given recent cabinet tensions over the future of Britain’s reading relationship with the EU, we also tested which of three potential options comes closest to the public’s view on the best customs option after Brexit. Out of the three statements tested, the statement that coming closest to the public’s view is that ‘it is very important to leave the customs union properly, so the UK can strike its own trade deals’, selected by 35%. Around a quarter selected each of the other two options – remaining in the customs union (24%) and a compromise along the lines of the customs partnership (26%) with the remaining 15% saying they don’t know.
And this poll will make even better reading for those close to Boris Johnson, considering that a clear majority of those planning to vote Conservative (56%), as well as 2016 Leave voters (61%), say that leaving the customs union comes closest to their view. By contrast, 2016 Remain voters and those planning on voting Labour are more evenly split between remaining in the customs union and a compromise solution. While remaining in the customs union attracts more support from both of these groups (36% of Labour voters and 42% of Remainers), it falls short of majority support from either constituency.
ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,050 adults aged 18+, between 11th – 13th May 2018. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.