• The Guardian – Campaign Poll 7, May 19-21

    After the delivery of the party manifesto’s, polling over the weekend has indicated a resurgent, if still rather distant Labour Party. ICM has been the stickiest pollster for the Tories, and while we probably still are, our poll today reinforces the impression that Labour have won the short term manifesto battle. They rise to 33%, up five-points on last week, while the Tories drop a point to stand on (a still heady) 47%.

    The Tories have had a flat out bad weekend, and the wind does feel as if it’s suddenly blowing in a different direction, but we’ve seen short term effects like this before, and we’ve seen them dissipate. This is still a massive 14-point Tory lead, and still their election to throw away.

    The headline figures are:

    Con 47% (-1)

    Lab 33% (+5)

    LD 9% (-1)

    SNP 4% (nc)

    PC *% (nc)

    Green 2% (-1)

    UKIP 4% (-2)

    Oth 1% (nc)

    It is almost a whole year since ICM last saw Labour on 33% (June 2016), so it’s a surge that has been a long time coming. However, it does not arise in conjunction with a precipitous Tory collapse, and their 47% remains a number that the party will be wholly delighted with. Electoral Calculus predict an overall majority of 134, with the Tories only just shy of 400 seats. Labour do recover to 177, largely because their polling in their own marginal seats is much improved: a deficit of only 3-points compared to 17-20-points that we have seen in such places on ICM’s recent polls. It’s a step in the right direction.

    UKIP drop to 4%, the lowest online share we have ever allocated to the party. This is partly the result of a methodology change. ICM is able to systematically allocate every respondent to their political constituency via their full postcode, so this week we built into the interview software constituency-level information that precluded UKIP as a party to vote for in those seats where they are not standing a candidate (thus forcing people living in such places to make an alternative choice). We believe this is a good addition to our polling methods; it will explain part of the further UKIP drop but perhaps not all of it.

    ICM interviewed 2,004 adults aged 18+ online, on 19-21st May 2017. 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 Guardian Campaign Poll 6

    In a week when the eagerly awaited but already much discussed manifestos drop, Theresa May can head into it confident that her poll lead is largely impregnable. While other polls of late have seen Labour increase its share into the 30s, (beyond the share that both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband secured), ICM still puts Jeremy Corbyn’s party on 28% (which is up one point compared to the Guardian’s last poll earlier this month).

    The question as to why ICM has consistently lower Labour shares than other pollsters is fairly easy to identify – our turnout weighting mechanism is doing exactly the job we intended it to, reducing the power in the sample of those historically less likely to vote in General Elections, and doing the reverse for those typically most likely to vote. Other methodological adjustments do, of course, leave their own imprint – sometimes underpinning and sometimes counter-balancing the turnout weight, but turnout weighting is undoubtedly pivotal to our headline numbers.

    The numbers for publication are:

    Conservative 48% (-1)

    Labour 28% (+1)

    Liberal Democrat 10% (+1)

    UKIP 6% (nc)

    Green 3% (nc)

    SNP 4% (nc)

    PC *% (nc)

    Other 1% (nc)

    Other questions probed the importance of various challenges for the next government. The problem for policy-makers is encapsulated in questions like these, where pretty much everyone thinks everything is important. The NHS (89%), managing the economy (88%), protection from threats (84%) and Brexit negotiations (81%) top the list, but with the lowest scoring area (surprisingly, controlling immigration) at 69%, there’s not much separation.

    However, in a chink of light for Jeremy Corbyn, he is trusted to do a better job on three of them compared to Theresa May: on making a fairer Britain, protecting the NHS and improving the quality of public services. It is only a chink though, as the gap on those three between the two leaders is marginal, and May leads by a distance on other matters including the economy, Brexit negotiations, protecting the public and immigration.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,030 adults aged 18+ on 12-14th May 2017. 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 Guardian – Campaign Poll 4

    The “Labour surge” being suggested over the weekend as a result of improvement in a couple of polls is not really being seen in these parts, as our latest Guardian/ICM regular poll returns another 19-point lead in favour of the Conservatives. This matches our poll on the weekend and only reduces the Tory lead by 2-points, from its record setting high of 21-points spotted twice earlier this month.

    The nightmare scenario for Labour of, once again, being over-stated in the polls allied to a worse performance in the marginal seats compared to nationally is still an unsettled prospect – for them and for pollsters alike. We shall see if Labour’s share (28% in this poll but topping 30% in others) drops back from the party’s 2015 and 2010 performances, but it remains true that the Tories hold a commanding 14-point lead in Labour held marginal seats in England and Wales where they have a majority of up to 25%. Numbers like these would be true meltdown territory – such an outcome would yield a Conservative majority north of 140, and put them within touching distance of 400 seats in Parliament.

    Adopting a wisdom of crowds approach to predicting the result in 2017 will not help settle Labour’s queasy stomach. One in three (34%) expect an overall majority of 100+ seats, with another 38% suggesting a smaller overall majority will occur. Bundled together, almost three-quarters of the public are expecting to return with an overall majority. Labour intenders remain somewhat optimistic though, with half expecting their party to be part of a coalition (26%) or indeed to win an outright majority of its own (23%). It’s fair to say that either they, or this and other pollsters, will be quite wrong about things.

    Being perceived as a no-hoper does not help Jeremy Corbyn. As many (15%) are put off voting for him as motivated to do so (14%) by the idea of a crushing defeat , which implies that Labour cannot even find solace there.

    The ‘ground war’ also appears to be going the way of the Conservatives. In terms of impressions gained of the campaign itself, the Tories have a positive impression (+3), but Labour are on -6. The Lib Dems (-7) and particularly UKIP (-12) have campaign work to do. Theresa May has received some stick for failing to respond to press invites or to speak directly to the public, but it looks like a canny strategy thus far: four in ten (41%) think she’s running a good campaign, almost double the number of Jeremy Corbyn (21%).

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 1,970 adults aged 18+ online between 28th April and 2nd May. 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 Guardian April Campaign Poll 3

    The latest Guardian /ICM poll has another 21-point lead for the Conservatives, notching up a record 48% share of the vote.

    We added a new cross-break showing how voting patterns break down in the marginal seats, with the Tories on a stunning 48% vs 31% in those seats currently held by Labour on a majority of less than 15%. It is only a cross-break based on 168 voters, and should be treated with much caution, but indicates significant losses for the Labour Party.

    Headline figures:

    Con 48% +2

    Lab 27% +2

    LD 10% -1

    UKIP 7% -1

    SNP 4% =

    Green 3%

    PC 1% +1

    Oth *% -1

  • The Guardian – April Poll (2, pre election annoucement)

    This poll was published just after the Prime Minister announced that a General Election would be called, but ALL fieldwork took place on the Easter weekend prior to the annoucement.

    A second ICM poll, all undertaken after the annoucement was published on the ICM website prior to this publication.

    Vote intention headline figures from this poll are:

    Conservatives 44%

    Labour 26%

    UKIP 11%

    Liberal Democrat 10%

    Green 4%

    SNP 4%

    Plaid Cymru 1%

    Other 1%

     

  • The Guardian April (1) Poll

    In the latest instalment of record-setting woe for the Labour Party – who are down a further point from a fortnight ago – their share of the vote has now hit their historical floor of 25% in the Guardian/ICM series. It is their lowest showing in the post-2015 political cycle, and matches only two polls for Labour futility (June and August 2009, when Gordon Brown’s government was at its lowest ebb) in the 34-year series run.

    It’s not so much of a hard landing as we might expect though, as it is cushioned by a 2-point drop in the Tory share. If any consolation can be found, it’s that the Conservative lead consequently narrows to 18-points compared to 19-points last time out.

    The triggering of Article 50 this week may or may not have had a direct impact on the poll shares, but with both of the two main political protagonists down a short rung someone must have taken advantage. ICM polls have been slower to spot rising support for the Liberal Democrats than others, but on this occasion Tim Farron’s party does enjoy a 2-point leap, taking them to 11%, which is their highest from us since January 2015. The electoral conditions do favour the yellow team right now, and maybe at last we are seeing successes at local level elections translating to the national stage.

    Full figures for publication are:

    Conservative 43% (-2)

    Labour 25% (-1)

    Lib Dem 11% (+2)

    UKIP 11% (+1)

    SNP 5% (+1)

    Green 4% (nc)

    Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)

    Other 1% (nc)

    With the UK’s exit from the EU now out of the limbo stage and into the phony war, the headlines have focussed on both sides’ establishment of hard-line negotiating positions, red lines and implied threats to the process. In the end, if a deal is to be made, compromise will have to be found somewhere. So this week ICM tested some ideas that might smooth the negotiating process. Six possible positions were put to the British public, to see what they might be willing to relent on during the two-year process.

    “Not much” is the answer, particularly not cold, hard cash.

    Exit payments of £50b have been bandied about by Michael Barnier, chief negotiator for Brussels, but any UK capitulation on money likely won’t wash with hard-pressed British taxpayer. In fact, only one in ten (10%) are prepared to accept payments equating to less than half of that (£20 billion). One in seven (15%) would stretch to a £10b payment, with a third (33%) prepared to accept a fractional £3 billion in compensation for commitments made by the EU when the UK was a member.

    In case the EU thinks it can divide and conquer, only a single voting sub-group reaches majority support for the £3 billion payment – Lib Dem Remainers (53%) – although Labour Remainers (49%) and the few Liberal Democrat Leavers (49%) nearly join them in the ranks who would find such a payment acceptable.

    When it comes to a £10 billion or indeed a £20 billion exit fee – never mind more than that, the British public appear minded to offer the EU some kind of Chuchillian two-fingered gesture.

    However, other compromises might be in play. Continued but temporary freedom of movement in exchange for a transitional deal that eases the burden of leaving the single market would be acceptable to a majority of people (54%), with all but UKIP voters behind this idea. Leavers (35%) are understandably also less willing.

    Giving preferential treatment to EU citizens who want to come to live and work here over non-EU migrants might also be positively received by the British public, with 48% finding it acceptable (28% unacceptable), but continuing to obey EU Courts of Justice rulings for a few years after Brexit is another compromise that might make the British bristle (34% vs 47%).

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,005 adults aged 18+ online on 31 March – 2nd April 2017. 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 Guardian – March 2017 poll 2

    It could be worse. Have yourself an awful week and then watch your ratings improve.

    In a week featuring budget u-turns, No 10 and No 11 briefing furiously against each other and the re-emergence of the Scottish independence question causing considerable angst among Conservative pro-union types, we might wonder how much of a dent the Tories should have expected to see in their hefty poll lead?

    Well, none actually, quite the reverse. It’s gone up again, making this poll the most desperate for Labour yet seen from ICM/Guardian in the current political cycle.

    The Tories stretch out to 45% (+1) and Labour sheds 2-points to land back on 26%, a single point higher than their floor in the Guardian/ICM series dating back to 1983. The Tories 19-point lead has been beaten by only three ICM/Guardian polls: two with a 20-point lead (1983 and 2008) and one of 21-points back in June 1983.

    Headline vote intentions are:

    Conservative 45%

    Labour 26%

    UKIP 10%

    Liberal Democrats 9%

    Green 4%

    SNP 4%

    Plaid Cymru 1%

    Other 1%

    It is difficult to think that that there is not further for Labour to fall. ICM’s adjustment mechanism (traditionally and inaccurately labelled the “Shy Tory” adjustment) helps Labour by adding one point back to them by taking one of the Conservatives (Shy Labour?). Without that, this poll would equal the worst ever published by Guardian/ICM.

    So it’s no surprise that the Tories are reportedly ramping up their election planning machinery, and Labour putting themselves on election footing for a potential May 4th General Election. Although Theresa May has repeatedly rejected the idea, if this poll proved accurate and translated into the seats in the way in which Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus suggest, the PM would deliver a whopping 395 seats, a majority of 140 seats going the way of a government currently only in possession of working majority of 17.

    It’s so desperate for Labour that it’s also nearly a ‘full house’ across standard demographics. Only members of non-white communities offer up a Labour lead over the Tories, with DEs tied. When 18-24s split 41% vs 29% for the Conservatives, Labour can only be in some sort of historic mess.

    Despite their difficulties, the budget has not really dented the perceived economic competence of Hammond & May. Indeed, they secure an extra point compared to their pre-budget rating (44% now; 43% a fortnight ago) while Corbyn and McDonnell drop 1-point, to 11%.

    It’s not as if Labour can point to the Tories as being in sole possession of the ‘nasty party’ label – when asked whether each of the main parties was “honest and reputable” or not, (only) 19% said the Tories were but it was still higher than the 13% ‘achieved’ by Labour. UKIP are seen as the most dishonest and disreputable, with 38% saying so.

    Finally, we asked a question on the fairly imminent triggering of Article 50, presenting various words for people to choose from that best describe their feelings as the UK breaks from the EU. ‘Worry’ (39%) is understandably top of the list, with 67% of Remainers saying so. A quarter (25%) are pleased (49% of Leavers) and a similar number (23%) chose ‘relief’ as their primary emotion.

    Remainers may be coming round to the idea though, with 34% of them ‘resigned’ to it, although 19% are still ‘terrified’ by the prospect.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed an online sample of 2,012 adults aged 18+ on 17-19th March 2017. 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 Guardian – March Poll (1)

    The first ICM/Guardian poll of March shows Labour (28%) in slight recovery mode, up 2-points on a fortnight ago, with the Conservatives holding firm on 44% and bang on their 2017 average lead of 16-points. Whether Labour’s upward move is mere sampling variation or some kind of reaction to Stoke and Copeland is not something that we can rule in or out until further evidence emerges.

    The full breakdown of numbers is as follows:

    Conservative 44%

    Labour 28%

    Lib Dem 8%

    SNP 4%

    Plaid Cymru 1%

    Green 5%

    UKIP 11%

    Other *%

    ICM has reconstructed the look of our tables and debut extra cross-breaks in this poll. In particular, we have constructed an interlocking 2015/EU referendum vote so we can look at movement among Remainers/Leavers in light of their previous party support. We will produce aggregated tables based on bigger samples sizes at a later date, but even with smaller samples in this single poll, we can see some evidence to illustrate the conundrum at the heart of Labour’s problem.

    Labour is remaining a bigger proportional share of its 2015 Remainer voter base (82%) than its 2015 Leave base (75%), but in total, the worry that the Liberal Democrats will intrude on its Remainer support is real: 8% of 2015 Labour Remainers say they will defect to the Liberal Democrats (and remember, Labour Remainers as a group are half as big again as the 2015 Labour Leave grouping). As for Labour’s Leavers, (a quarter of whom currently say they will support another party) the threat appears to be more that of a direct traditional Tory incursion rather than UKIP appealing to its working class (perhaps Northern) core support.

    Either way, there is an important strategic pincer movement on Labour’s vote share, that its headline number in today’s poll somewhat disguises. These are numbers that we plan to track with interest.

    As Philip Hammond’s tops and tails his first budget we also asked how the crisis in funding social care should be solved. There’s not widespread agreement, but more people do believe that additional general taxation should pay for it (39%). One in four think that the current funding solution should remain (23%) and only one in ten (10%) would back those needing it paying for it directly.

    A so-called ‘death tax’ has been bandied about as one possible solution, with an additional layer of inheritance tax applied to inherited property ring-fenced for social care provision. This is rejected by the public, with only 28% offering support for the idea and 41% opposed (particularly Conservative voters who might well be upset with a Conservative Chancellor who introduces such a measure).

    However, if Philip Hammond does need to make difficult and challenging decisions against the will of the Conservative support base he can at least reflect on a decisive advantage he enjoys over his Labour opposites on running the economy. Nearly four times as many people (43%) think that Hammond and Theresa May are better able to manage the economy that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, with only a paltry 12% offering support in their favour.

    This is even lower than the 15% that ICM recorded in July last year, and incredibly, is less than half of Labour’s vote share in this very poll. Only 26% of 2015 Labour voters prefer the Labour duo on economic competence to the Tory top team, with 20% of them opting for Hammond & May.

    There is a crumb a comfort though, the 43% who think the Tories are better able to manage the economy is 10-points lower than the 53% they garnered last July – despite the perceived economic terror then on display in the immediate post-Brexit environment, and the surprisingly upbeat performance of the economy since. This one is a bit of a head-scratcher.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,011 adults 18+ online on 3-5th March 2017. Interviews were conducted across Britain 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 Guardian October Poll

    At a lead of 17-points, this is the joint second highest EVER recorded in the dating back to 1992, only beaten by a Gordon Brown crisis of June 2008. The Tories 43% is two-points adrift of its highest share ever recorded by ICM (three times after the 1992 election, Jun-08 and Nov-08 plus 44% on three occasions straddling 08-09). We did have them on 43% back in July this year.

    As for Labour, their 26% has only been ‘beaten’ by 25% in Jun 08 and Aug 09, and the last Guardian/ICM at this level was Sep 09 (the only other time). However, ICM did also put them on 26% three weeks’ ago for a Sunday newspaper.

    In fact though, Labour’s share has only been saved from a record low by ICM’s standard post-fieldwork adjustment techniques, which ordinarily help the Tories. The reason for this is that this week, there are a high number of people who say they voted Labour in 2015 but DK/refuse to say what they will do next time, and our reallocation of them back to the party for they voted for ends up adding two-points back to Labour.

    Labour’s struggles are especially prevalent among women (Tory split 39% vs 52% in favour of women).

    We also see further decline in the UKIP share, possibly prompted by recent fisticuffs and the return of Nigel Farage. At 11% they dip below their 2015 election share for the first time with ICM and it’s the lowest we’ve ever had them on an online poll (although phone polls pre-2015 had them lower very often).

  • Guardian/ICM voting intention poll

    ICM interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,001 GB adults aged 18+. Fieldwork was conducted online on 24-26 June 2016.