The last Guardian/ICM poll was a record breaker – the first time in almost 35 years of polling that the Guardian/ICM series had recorded 6 consecutive dead-heats between Labour and the Conservatives.
That deadlock – stretching back from the summer – has finally been broken, with the Conservatives up one point on 42% with Labour down one point on 40%. This is still a very close result, and too close to say with any confidence that one side is clearly ahead. Nevertheless it’s possible that, following on from a torrid few weeks of scandals and misfiring Brexit negotiations, images of Theresa May emerging from the first stage of Brexit negotiations may be starting to have a positive impact on Conservative support.
Whilst some within the Conservative party have heralded the first stage of negotiations as a success for Britain, it’s clear that the British public are less enthusiastic about how the Brexit process is going. Only one in five Brits (21%) think Brexit is going well, with a majority (51%) thinking it is going badly. Conservative voters are the most likely to think the Brexit process is going well (39%), more so than Leavers at the 2016 referendum (28%). Whilst those who voted Remain at the 2016 referendum are more likely to think Brexit is going badly than Leavers, it’s worth noting the substantial minority (41%) of those who voted Leave in 2016 that think the Brexit process is going badly.
The public’s current preference is for the UK to leave the EU regardless of the outcome of negotiation (45%), with a second referendum (32%) and a parliamentary vote (10%) attracting less support. But this preference is strongly polarised in terms of 2016 referendum vote: four in five (78%) Leavers want the UK to leave regardless of what happens in negotiations, whilst a majority of Remainers (55%) would prefer a second referendum.
If there was another referendum tomorrow, 46% of our poll’s respondents say they would vote Remain, a slim lead over the 43% who would vote Leave. Overall this marks very little change from the 2016 referendum result, as evidenced by the 91% of 2016 Remainers and 87% of 2016 Leavers not changing their vote choice. Nevertheless, it looks like there may be a slight trend towards Remain benefitting over Leave since the 2016 Referendum. Of those who either didn’t vote or can’t remember their vote in 2016, almost twice as many say they would vote for Remain (28%) rather than Leave (15%) at a future referendum. It’s also the case that those who voted Remain in 2016 are slightly more likely to say that they don’t know how they would vote in a future referendum (6%) compared to 2016 Leavers (2%).
ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,006 adults aged 18+ on 8 to 10 December 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.