In the preliminary ICM/Guardian prediction for the 2015 General Election – which will be updated after further interviewing tonight, 6th May – the parties are deadlocked, with the Conservative small campaign lead wiped out, with both parties now standing on the same 35%. The poll suggests the following vote shares, compared to their standings last week:
Conservative 35% (nc)
Labour 35% (+3)
Liberal Democrat 9% (nc)
UKIP 11% (-2)
Green 3% (-2)
SNP 5% (+1)
Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)
Other 1% (nc)
The Conservative vote share has been solid for two weeks’, so far denying them any prospect of the much talked about incumbency effect. Any benefit they derive now will be swing, of the very latest kind. In fact it is Labour that moves up in our preliminary final poll, hitting their stride at exactly the right time. Both UKIP and the Greens drop a couple of points compared to last week, both within margins of error but still placing UKIP with a share four times their 2010 level.
This conventional poll element contrasts somewhat with the ‘Wisdom Index’ result, which projects a 3-point victory margin for the blue team. The approach was the most accurate pre-election prediction before the 2010 election, with respondents asked what they think the result will be, rather than how they will themselves vote in it. This time around, the groupthink suggests that the Tories will get the same 35%, but that Labour will only secure 32%. It is the Liberal Democrats who are thought not to fall so far, with the party projected to get 14% rather than the 9% predicted on the orthodox element of the poll. UKIP are predicted to get 10%, as are the ‘net’ of all other parties. The Wisdom projection is:
Liberal Democrats 14%
In other news, personal approval ratings remains largely static, with the Prime Minister moving in a positive direction, up to +14 from +12 last week. Ed Miliband has seemingly had a good week, brushing off ‘Ed Stone’ comments to improve all the way from -29 to -20. This campaign has seen the opposition leader come into his own, and end up with pretty conventional ‘approval ratings’ – certainly on a parr with Nick Clegg (-18) and Nigel Farage (-16).
The NHS is the issue that people have thought about most, with 79% saying they have stopped and pondered over it with regard to their vote intention, with the prospect of further cuts (57%) and squeezed living standard following up in the second rank (51%). The government deficit (48%) and tax rises (46%) then follow up, with the possibility of smaller parties holding the next government to ransom (39%) last on the list of possibilities presented to them. Much has been made of this b the Tory camp in the last week or two, but evidently it is less a concern to people than the tangible impacts that hit them in the pocket, or otherwise directly in their lives.
Finally, the prospect of the next government splits people almost in a four-way tie. A Conservative majority would be well received by 25%, but this is only 2-points more than the 23% who want to see Labour governing on their own. A Conservative-led coalition (22%) also narrowly defeats the alternative of a Labour-led equivalent.
ICM Unlimited interviewed a random sample of 1,560 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 3-6th May 2015. 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. The poll will be updated on the morning of May 7th, with an additional c450 interviews added into the sample already achieved.