Incremental improvement in Labour’s position has barely dented the Conservative’s substantive poll lead, which has now settled in the mid-teen range as we approach the new Chancellor’s first Autumn Statement.
The Tories 42% share is 1-point shy of their October haul, but still within touching distance of their record (45%) standing in the entirely of the ICM/Guardian series. Labour do improve by the equivalent point, now on 28% with the gap between the parties narrowing by two, down to 14%.
Despite Nigel Farage’s high profile close association with the US President-elect, his interim leadership of UKIP is not stalling the party’s declining position, its 11% showing equalling its new floor in the online series, down from the 19% highpoint back in June. Mr. Farage’s positive musings about standing again in Thanet South (if there has to be an electoral re-run in the constituency) may be necessary, if the public’s view on his possible elevation to the House of Lords in anything to go by. Only one in five (20%) think the Prime Minister should give him a peerage, with a full 58% rejecting the suggestion. Even UKIP voters in the last General Election have their doubts, with barely of a majority of them (54%) thinking it should happen (although we might speculate that many would indeed prefer to see him installed in the Lower rather than Upper House).
Full figures this month are:
Conservative 42% (-1)
Labour 28% (+1)
Lib Dem 9% (+1)
UKIP 11% (-1)
Green 3% (-2)
SNP 5% (+1)
PC 1% (+1)
Other 1% (nc)
With the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, putting his finishing touches to the Autumn Statement, he will be gratified by the 33-point lead he and Teresa May enjoy on the fundamental measure of perceived economic competence. Half (48%) say that the Tory team are better able to manage the economy properly, compared to only 15% who think that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell would be a better combination. Indeed, even 2015 Labour voters reveal considerable uncertainty on this, with the Labour top two only holding a 6-point advantage over Hammond and May. In comparison, the Hammond & May combination enjoy an 88-point lead among their own voters on economic competence.
It’s hard to think that the current Labour team can change so many minds, unless Brexit undoes the solid impression of Tory economic competence. Their 33-point deficit is worse than any endured by the two Ed’s of Miliband and Balls, who improved on this measure from their low point of a 27-point deficit, but not by any means enough to challenge Cameron and Osborne in the 2015 election.
Indeed, Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings can only be described as abysmal. One in five (20%) think he’s doing a good job (including a chunk of Conservative, UKIP and Lib Dem voters whose observations are probably based on irony) but 54% say bad job, implying a net approval rating of -34. This is a level that his predecessor Ed Miliband did not stoop to until a year out from his electoral defeat (-39 in June 2014) with comparable numbers in his first year in situ being ‘only’ in the negative teens.
There are likely darker days to come for the Prime Minister, but she remains in solid positive territory with a net +22 rating. Hammond drops into negative range (-1) but this is likely only a result of widespread ignorance of what’s he done in his tenure as Chancellor thus far. Tim Farron’s performance (-19) compares to that of Nick Clegg at about the same time in the cycle. The new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (-3) will clearly have to get used to minus numbers after stratospheric positive approval ratings among Londoners during his time as Mayor.
ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,031 adults aged 18+ online. Interviews were conducted on 18-20th November 2016 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.