• EU Referendum Tracker

    UK ministers continue to step up the rhetoric on EU reform this week, as the Chancellor uses his speech in Berlin to outline his priorities for Britain’s relationship with Eurozone members. The initial reaction in Germany appears to have been favourable, with German chancellor Angela Merkel expressing a clear desire for Britain to remain in the EU, and saying that British demands can be met “where justified”.

    By contrast, the headline poll results remain consistent week-on-week: again, the ‘IN’ camp is slightly ahead, with 54% in favour of the UK remaining in the EU, while 46% are opposed.

    An interesting, but so far little-discussed aspect of the polling data is the gender difference on the referendum question. It’s clear from previous analysis that there are significant divisions in attitudes by age, social background and party affiliation: as seen in previous polls, younger voters, those from higher socioeconomic grades, and Labour and Lib Dem voters are all significantly more likely to back the UK’s continued membership of the EU.

    The contrast between male and female voters is less pronounced, but our polling has consistently shown a significant gap when it comes to undecided voters, with the proportion of women saying they don’t know generally around ten percentage points higher compared to their male counterparts. More broadly, the implication is that targeting particular sub-groups may be less about reaching those with already strong views, and more about establishing where there is most scope to influence the final vote.

  • EU Referendum Tracker

    On the whole, support for both sides remains fairly stable this week, with little movement on the key referendum question. 54% are in favour of remaining in the EU, while 46% are opposed, providing an 8-point lead for the ‘IN’ camp.

    We’re seeing the prime minister starting to challenge the arguments in favour of Brexit this week, perhaps in response to the publicity surrounding the launch of the Vote Leave campaign. At a summit in Iceland later this week, David Cameron will outline his views on the implications of the referendum, dismissing the ‘Norway model’ for a relationship with the EU, and emphasising that there will be only one referendum, with its outcome a definitive decision on Britain’s future in Europe.

    At this stage, however, it seems unlikely that engaging with the campaign arguments will produce any real shift in public opinion. While a rejection of Norway’s approach may rule out one option, it gives us little sense of what Britain in a reformed Europe would look like, and what Cameron hopes to accomplish. A more concrete agenda will be needed to provide an indication of public views on potential EU reforms.

    If speedier access to the data is needed please email jennifer.bottomley@icmunlimited.com

  • EU Referendum Tracker

    More than a week on from the launch of the Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave campaigns, the associated initial rush of publicity has partially subsided, with impressions from learned residents in Westminster Village suggesting that the former was somewhat slower out of the starting gate than the latter. But battle lines are now drawn; each side has sketched out their overall position, outlined their main arguments, and presented their key backers.

    Despite their perceived presentational sluggishness, we suggested last week that the most recent burst of publicity had likely given the IN side a temporary boost – and this seems to have proved the case, as we see the gap narrow again this week, falling from ten to six percentage points. Remain In stand on 53%, with Leavers attracting 47% in the latest ICM tracker question.

    Campaigns on both sides will be now be preparing for a stronger, more heated debate once British negotiations with the EU become more concrete. With a full fifth of the electorate remaining undecided, there remains potential for a large-scale shift in public opinion depending on what the Prime Minister is able to secure. ‘Not much’ is both the hope and expectation of Brexit campaigners, but at least this phase of the debate may now be getting underway sooner than expected. Last week, prompted by increasing pressure from European leaders, David Cameron agreed to present a list of British demands ahead of re-negotiations on Britain’s status in the EU.

    Cameron will now be obliged to draw up a clear list of priorities for negotiation – something he has previously refused to commit to, likely keen to avoid a potentially embarrassing u-turn in the event of failure. The full list is likely to be presented to the European Council in November, ahead of an EU summit to discuss the British question at the end of the year.

    For now, we know the list is likely to cover a range of key areas – not only restrictions on EU migrants claiming benefits in the UK, but also enhanced national sovereignty, and increased competitiveness in business.

    Naturally, it is the migration issue which is key to public opinion, and the question will be whether any possible concessions from the EU will be enough for the prime minister to bring the electorate with him. There are likely to be suggestions from many that the demands presented are unambitious, and don’t tackle the fundamental problem; any settlement, then, must be convincing in terms of its scope and the benefits it brings.

    For David Cameron, the hope will be that voters’ lack of confidence in the EU will be compensated by their confidence in his government, and in the deal he is to negotiate for Britain. Prioritising the right issues will be the crucial first step in building this confidence.

    Next week, ICM will put some of these priorities to the test of public opinion – more details to follow in the next EU referendum digest.

    If speedier access to the data is needed please email martin.boon@icmunlimited.com

  • EU Referendum Tracker

    Across a weekend in which the official IN campaign Britain Stronger in Europe launched under the leadership of Lord (Stuart) Rose, ex-retailer chief of Marks & Spencer, both sides are now on the field of play, although perhaps equally showing an initial lack of certainty about formations. The Out campaign, of course, has three separate players currently vying to be chosen by the Electoral Commission as the main striker, while the spine of the freshly launched BSE team appears to heavily feature some of the faces (and arguments) from the Britain in Europe lobby, which back in the day rather underwhelmingly sought British entry into the Single Currency.

    Press coverage of the BSE launch was pretty extensive, and often significant coverage is alone sufficient to provide something of a poll boost, if only as a reminder of the existence of the case/campaign – and if only for a short time. So might it be here. In comparison to the ICM poll last week conducted on behalf of Vote Leave, when 53% opted to Remain In and 47% for Brexit, this week the Outers drop back a couple of points to 45%, with Remain In obviously benefiting in an equal and opposite direction (55%). At this point, most pollsters would remind people about statistical tolerances, which this is movement is inside of, but which does feel intuitively right.

    In the digest last week we focussed somewhat on the split among 2015 Conservative voters, who seem to be front and centre swing voters in this contest. This week, they split in favour of Brexit to the tune of 43%, versus 38% opting to Remain In (in contrast to the 1-point Remain In lead amongst Tories last week). Supporters of all other parties break strongly enough for one side or the other to think they are something of a sideshow.

    If speedier access to the data is needed please email martin.boon@icmunlimited.com

  • Guardian Poll – October 2015

    The latest Guardian/ICM poll for October reveals shows that far from causing Labour to haemorrhage voters, the new leader Jeremy Corbin has a little electoral traction. Gaining 2-points compared to last month, Labour now stands at 34%, a figure which matches that post-election high point. The Conservatives hold firm on 38% with UKIP on 11% and the Liberal Democrats on 7%.

    In effect the conference season has played out to a nil-all draw, with standings exactly as they were in mid-Summer.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a random sample of 1,002 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 9-11th October 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 means.

  • EU referendum poll for Vote Leave

    Commissioned by Vote Leave to coincide with the launch day of their campaign to secure Britain’s exit from the European Union – and conducted immediately after the Prime Minister’s speech at the Conservative Party conference – the latest ICM Unlimited tracking data shows that Remain In cause (53%) enjoys only a marginal lead over the Leave campaign (47%).

    This lead has widened slightly since the weekend, when the ICM tracker showed a statistically insignificantly different 52% vs 48% lead for Remain In.

    The data shows clear splits amongst the public. Battle-lines will be drawn by age, with the young (Remain In) lining up against the old (Leave), and the affluent (in) lining up against poorer members of society (Out).

    But perhaps the real battle will be for the souls of 2015 Conservative voters, who split right down the middle on EU membership, pretty much as the party itself has over the last few decades. With UKIP likely having stolen the more hard-core leaver element on the Conservative right, the remaining 2015 Conservative voters split 42% in favour of staying in, with 41% opting to leave. With a further 17% of 2015 Tories undecided, the referendum may depend on the nature and extent of concessions that David Cameron can dangle in front of his own supporters in advance of the referendum date.

    Indeed, the public very much recognise that: the Leave campaign surges ahead (54% would vote to leave), and 2015 Tories even more dramatically (63% in favour of Brexit) IF the Prime Minister returns empty handed from Brussels on the matter of the supremacy of European law over British law.

    Despite currently trailing slightly, the Leave campaign can also depend on a higher level of engagement and interest amongst its support base. On an enthusiasm scale out of 10, those saying they want to leave the EU average 7.3 / 10 compared to only 5.6 amongst those currently opting to Remain In. This could be a real cause for concern for protagonists in favour of the status quo – if, as this implies – it will be harder to get out their vote out.

    Leavers might also take note of the way in which the electoral landscape is formed. Polling has long since identified three basic component parts toward EU membership, with a one-third chunk of the electorate fully supportive of the EU, a similar number solidly for Brexit, and a third somewhere in the middle. But there is more nuance to the way in which the floating third break down, with more of them (representing 20% of the public) preferring the sound of exit but staying their hand because of the economic fear factor, and the remainder genuinely not knowing or caring. It doesn’t take much of an intellectual leap to believe that whichever side can be more convincing on economic progress, wins.

  • EU Referendum Tracker

    The first EU referendum weekly poll tracker of October shows the gap narrowing, with Remain In dropping to its lowest level (42%, down 3-points) since December 2013, when an earlier iteration of the question was used.

    This drop in support occurred during a week in which doubts emerged about the extent of possible reforms that David Cameron might be able to secure from the EU in advance of the referendum, with the PM himself refusing to rule out a Brexit if other European leaders fail to grant him the concessions he wants.

    The Leave campaign(s) (38%) are not the primary beneficiaries, however, with DK (20%) picking up the full 3-points instead.

    After DKs are excluded from the calculation, the race is tightly locked at 52% for Remain In, and 48% for Leave.

  • Guardian Poll – September 2015

    The latest ICM/Guardian poll shows a slight drop in the Conservative (38%) share of the vote, with newly elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn enjoying an immediate honeymoon boost of 1-point (32%), which of course, is most likely to be a function of normal sampling variation.

    Full poll numbers are:

    Conservative 38% (-2)
    Labour 32% (+1)
    UKIP 13% (+3)
    Liberal Democrat 8% (+1)
    Green 3%
    SNP 5%
    PC 1%
    Other 1%

  • Guardian Poll – August 2015

    Conservatives (+2) breach the political symbolic 40% mark, the first time they have done so since Jan 2012. With Labour (-3) hanging around their election showing (31%) the 9-point lead represents the largest in the ICM/Guardian series for them since Jan 2010, and their biggest in government since May 1992 (courtesy of Number Cruncher Politics).

    Had ICM retained the pre-election adjustment process, this poll would have shown the Conservatives on 39% and Labour on 32%.

    While Labour fights for a leader and its soul, the Liberal Democrats continue to languish in single figures (7%), with UKIP on 10% and the Green on 4%.

  • Guardian Poll – July 2015

    In the July Guardian/ICM poll, the Conservatives retain a solid, if slightly reduced lead of 4-points. They stand on 38% (up 1-point) on last month, with Labour benefitting from some switching to the tune of 3-points, rising to 34%. The Liberal Democrats shed a couple (6%) and UKIP stand fast on 13%. The Greens and other parties drop 1 apiece.