ICM / The Guardian interviewed 1,372 people who watched the live TV debate between the leaders of seven parties: David Cameron (Conservative), Ed Miliband (Labour), Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Natalie Bennett (Greens) and Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru).
Among all seven party leaders, Ed Miliband was judged to have ‘won’ the debate by a whisker from David Cameron:
Ed Miliband – 25%
David Cameron – 24%
Nigel Farage – 19%
Nicola Sturgeon – 17%
Nick Clegg – 9%
Natalie Bennett – 3%
Leanne Wood – 2%
However, on a forced choice between Miliband and Cameron, the vote split is split 50-50.
ICM also asked a series of characteristics of David Cameron and Ed Miliband to those who watched the debate. Again, there is a split with Miliband leading on four attributes and Cameron winning on another four.
Miliband is ahead in terms of:
- Will govern in the interests of the many, not the few (+22)
- Understands people like me (+17)
- Is more spin than substance (-4)
- Has changed the party for the better (+3)
On the other hand, Cameron out performs Miliband on the following:
- Will be more respected around the world (+32)
- Is good in a crisis (+24)
- Is decisive (+19)
- Is backed by his party (+18)
Both leaders are level pegging in terms of being perceived to have the courage to say what is right rather than what is popular.
ICM interviewed 4,115 adults aged 18+ online on 30 March – 2 April. All agreed to watch the ITV Leaders’ Debate, and to complete a second interview immediately after it finished, which 1,372 did in the first few minutes. The data on both waves were weighted to the profile of all GB adults, including to recall of 2010 General Election voting. In essence, the post-wave data is ICM’s best guess on what a representative sample of the voting population would say had they all watched the programme.
ICM / Guardian interviewed 1123 people who watched the debate between Cameron and Miliband, with the Prime Minister edging the outcome by 54% to 46%. Cameron also shaded things having the better arguments and actually answering the questions, as well as being more convincing and appealing.
However, on empathy issues, such as understanding people like me and doing what’s right rather than what’s popular, Miliband won out, and there is hope for the Opposition leader who held his own and managed to swing a small number of undecided his way.Download report
The latest Wisdom Index, which reveals what the people think the election result will be rather than how they will vote in it, has produced a single point lead for the Conservatives on 32%, with Labour on 31%. Predictions for UKIP are plummeting, down three-points since Christmas to 13% and now trailing the Liberal Democrats on 14%.
ICM interviewed an online sample of 2,002 people aged 18+ on 18-20 March 2015. 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.
With the General Election no more than six weeks away, the lead that the Conservatives somewhat surprisingly established in last month’s poll is confirmed, but at a lower level. While the Conservatives hold firm on 36%, Labour re-coup some lost ground (+3) with UKIP again on 9% but the Greens falling away back to more routine levels (-3, now on 4%). It is, however, the Liberal Democrats with most to be concerned about. Nick Clegg over the weekend suggested that his private polling was showing something different to published polls, which might give him some succour to offset the misery of the worst ever LD showing in the history of the Guardian/ICM series. His party stand on 8%, having never before received a single figure score in this polling series.
This is seriously worrisome for the Liberal Democrats in its own right, but remembering that ICM’s adjustment methodology is currently helpful to the Liberal Democrats makes the party’s standing potentially even worse. The full figures this month are:
Con 36% (nc)
Lab 35% (+3)
LD 8% (-2%)
UKIP 9% (nc)
Green 4% (-3)
Other 8% (+1)
George Osborne will herald the coalition policies and performance in his final budget of the parliamentary cycle this week, and he does in in a generally positive economic context. Six in ten (61%) members of the public are optimistic about their family’s finances, with only 38% not confident. At +23, this mirrors the January score and remains in solidly positive territory that has only been beaten in the early years of this century, when economic boom time was present around 2002.
What would the public like to see the Chancellor do this week? Well, top of the shopping list would be an increase in the personal allowance (25%) effectively a tax cut for all earning over £11,000 per year – this represents a 9-point increase in the proportion of people wanting to take this approach compared to pre-budget 2014 (16%). Second on the list is a cut in VAT (20%; 2014: 19%), with other desirable policy options including slowing the deficit cuts (19%; 2014: 19%) and to a lesser degree paying down the government’s debt (10%; 2014 7%).
The public would also respond positively to a cut in household bills, the type of measure that Labour Ed Miliband has been proposing. When asked to choose between energy-type issues that are important to people when thinking about who to vote for, the public solidly opted for a drop in household fuel bills (62%), with a drop in fuel duty now less important (13%) given that petrol prices are back close to the £1/litre mark. What the public seem to be much less affected by, however, is climate change, with only 24% thinking about it as a vote game changer – evidence (if any were needed) that the power of wallet trumps concerns about future global problems.
Much has been made of leader’s approval ratings, with Ed Miliband now being accused of failing to appreciate the concerns of his core supporters on the basis that his house enjoys two kitchens. While that might be true, Miliband has little need to worry about it – his rating of -24 is not good, but better than David Cameron’s -40 (not quite his record low on this measure, which stands at -43 in Nov 2013). The Labour leader might be more worried that Cameron edges him on having the courage to say what’s right rather than what’s popular (-21 vs -26), and being trounced on the perception of being good in a crisis (-7 vs -42).
As has long been expected, the polls are edging the Tories way, with more Tory leads of late than Labour leads. While this poll essentially has the parties neck and neck, the Conservatives will be pleased that their score for the second month running matches their 2010 showing, but this election is nowhere near won, and it looks set to be the tightest to call in a generation.
ICM research interviewed a random sample of 1001 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 13-15th March 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.Download report
In the latest BBC Wales poll, the proportion of people seeking more powers for the Welsh Assembly has dropped by 9-points, down to 40%. This still confirms the overall picture that around half of Welsh people want more from the Assembly, with the other half content with it as it is (33%) or powers retreating either partially (4%) or more fundamentally toward abolition (13%).
In general though, there does appear to be some affection for the Assembly, with more Welsh people having respect, trust and confidence in it to improve things than any level of government. This may explain why 44% want more AMs in it, with or without a compensating reduction in Welsh MPs or local councillors.
Party leaders were also the focus of this poll, with David Cameron’s personal rating (34%) on being the best potential Prime Minister for Britain out-scoring that of Ed Miliband (23%) in one of the latter’s heartland communities. Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage hardly made the charts.
Other questions focussed on the performance of Welsh local councils, whether the Welsh Government should pay for university students studying in England (61% think it should), whether the UK should remain in the EU (63% think it should), and what should happen to Severn Bridge tolls (50% think they should be set to cover costs and maintenance only).
ICM interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ living in Wales. Interviews were conducted by telephone between 19th and 26th February 2015.
The February Guardian/ICM poll will certainly set the political cats among the pigeons, with a stunning +6 move for David Cameron’s Conservatives pushing them into a 4-point lead over Labour, after a 3-point deficit last month. The week began with the Tories under some pressure over what appears to be a scandal involving HSBC advising rich clients (and Tory apparatchiks) to avoid tax, a problem which in turn gradually began to drag Labour in as we conducted fieldwork.
This does push the Tories’ bar somewhat higher than seen of late – they have not been on the giddy heights of 36% since July 2013, and have not seen a lead like this since their 5-pointer in January 2012. It’s come at the right time for them – the only question is whether it’s their first Swallow of Summer, or simply a brief thaw in the Winter’s frost.
But it is not Labour where the Tories have made in-roads – although Miliband’s party sheds one-point (32%), it is UKIP (9%) and the Greens (7%) both of whom drop 2-points this month. We may be seeing first signs of a pricked polling bubble, with keen eyes now on both minor parties as campaigning heats up. Perhaps we should not be surprised to see more of this as the campaign evolves (see: Research-Live for more on polling bubbles: http://www.research-live.com/blogs/election-blog-bursting-the-polling-bubble/4012895.article ).
The issue that will most impact on the way people vote remains the NHS, with 31% saying so this month, as they did last. However, ‘jobs, prices & wages’ has moved in second place (17%) above immigration (15%) which drops 4-points.
But it is the question of tax, or more to the point the avoiding/evasion of it that has exercised political minds’ this week, and on this Labour do appear to have the edge. One in three (35%) so think they are best placed to force wealthy individuals and companies to pay their tax, some distance ahead of the Tories (20%). But blame on this is not really laid at either party’s door: tax advising bankers get the public rap, with 32% saying they are to blame when rich people fail to pay their tax. The wealthy individuals themselves do not escape censure (22%), but the current coalition (17%) and the last government (13%) are a step behind in this blame game.
Wealthy tax dodgers should be treated more harshly than benefit cheats (52% vs 42%) although there is a fairly intuitive party divide on this. Labour voters very much agree with this (65%) but Conservative voters are more inclined to disagree (48%) than agree (42%). One in three people (34%) admit they would use legal loopholes to dodge tax if they could, although 61% consider themselves up-standing tax-paying citizens. What the public can agree on though, is that whoever is in power, tax dodging would carry on, with 67% agreeing that politicians and big business are too closely wrapped up together for any government to make a difference on this.
Talking of big business, its views on politics may only influence the vote of one in five (21%) with most people (70%) saying business’ views would not influence their vote.
ICM Unlimited interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 13-15th February 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.
An online poll from ICM on behalf of The Guardian looks at the public’s view on whether and how leader’s debates before the next General Election should be shaped.
Then public are enthused that they take place (64% say it’s important they do), and that both a live TV debate and a digital only debate are good ideas.
Six in ten would like to see a well-stocked cast list, including the leader of the Greens, who had become David Cameron’s sticking point, but only 9% want to see Cameron vs Miliband only. If one leader failed to turn up, an empty is thought best placed to represent them (38%).
The first Guardian/ICM poll of election year reveals the Conservatives are once again drawing closer to their Labour opponents after December’s relatively large gap, although still 3-points behind which, if replicated in a General Election, would likely see Labour winning a relatively healthy number of seats to emerge as the biggest party. Labour stands on 33% this month, as they were last month, but the Tories edge up 2-points to return to the (still) worryingly low 30% threshold at which defeat would beckon.
The story though remains the rise of the smaller parties. While UKIP drop back to 11%, the surging Greens establish a new benchmark of 9% in Guardian polls, with the SNP also scoring highly in the small Scottish element of the sample. Collectively, the 27% for smaller parties equals the record set in the Guardian series for ‘net’ others. The Green party have been shooting upwards in various polls of late, with 11% spotted within one recent poll, likely riding the wave of popular support for their inclusion in Leader’s Debates before the General Election, should they happen.
Conservatives 30% (+2)
Labour 33% (nc)
Lib Dem 11% (-3)
UKIP 11% (-3)
Green 9% (+4)
Other 7% (+1)
The NHS easily leads the way as the primary battleground for votes, with 31% citing it as policy area that will most concern people. With Ed Miliband threatening to ‘weaponise’ the NHS this week as a campaign tactic, criticism for his choice of words may well not bother him given the centrality of the issues to people. The NHS is currently suffering from some serious breakdowns across the country, and the public recognise its in need of some pain relief. One in three (36%) thinks it’s on its last legs and a further quarter (28%) think it’s merely ‘struggling in some places’. At least the Tories can console themselves with the fact they may not lose the blame game on the NHS, with 52% attributing rising A&E wait times to budgetary pressure that would occur under any government rather than coalition policy (38%).
Conversely, the Conservatives will be concerned that the issues of choices listed by David Cameron are much less important. Immigration is second on the list (19%) but Cameron will try to avoid the issue for fear of stoking UKIP coals. Jobs, prices and wages will dominate the Tory agenda, but it settles in third place (14%), well ahead of education (8%).
But it’s easily understood why the Tories want to focus on the economy. Rising economic confidence generally underpins support for government, and the 61% now confident about their financial future is a full 9-points higher than the 52% recorded this time last year. Combined with the record gap that Osborne and Cameron enjoy over Balls and Miliband on ability to run the economy (22-point lead with 37% saying the Tory duo are better able to manage it) and the Conservatives are well placed to out-fight Labour on the economy.
ICM Unlimited interviewed a random sample of 1,002 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 16-19th January 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.