• The Guardian Poll – June 2017

    Labour hold a 2-point lead in the first post-election survey, which returns to basic methodological orthodoxies in light of the failure of turnout weighting and political interest weighting.

    This methodology was not a success in (unpublished online) polling immediately before the 2015 election, but would have been if it had been applied at the 2017 election. In light of this, all aspects of our polling methodology are under review.

  • 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 November Poll

    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.

  • Sun on Sunday Theresa May Poll

    Theresa May strolls into Downing Street with a fresh team and a honeymoon vibe, perhaps confronting big and tricky issues but sure of her position both as the unquestioned leader of the party and with a growing gap over the Labour opposition, embroiled in as great an implosion as any witnessed in modern British politics.

    On core voting intentions, May’s Conservatives increase their orthodox polling lead from 8-points before her ascension last week to 10-points now, just shy of the politically symbolic 40% mark. They stand on 39% (+1), but Corbyn’s Labour sheds another point, now below the equally symbolic 30% mark, polling just 29% (-1). The figures for publication are shown in the first column of the table below:

    But what impact do naming the Labour leadership contenders have on these numbers? The new Prime Minister may smirk as she reads that naming her and her current opposite number, Jeremy Corbyn, pushes the Tories up to stratospheric heights of 43%, while Labour dip further (29%).  Should she be concerned by the Labour challengers, she may smile just a little more when she sees that Angela Eagle pushes the Labour share down to 26%, while Owen Smith does slightly better by securing his party a potential 27%, both short of the number that the much derided current leader polls.

    That may change, of course, as the public come to know more of Eagle and Smith, both in terms of their policy positions and personal characteristics. The full table for comparison is as follows:

     

    Main vote intentions May vs Corbyn May vs Eagle May vs Smith
    Conservative 39% 43% 43% 42%
    Labour 29% 28% 26% 27%
    Liberal Democrat 9% 8% 8% 8%
    UKIP 14% 13% 12% 12%
    SNP 4% 4% 5% 5%
    PC 1% 1% 1% 1%
    Green 4% 3% 5% 5%
    Other 1% 1% 1% 1%

    While May might think that such numbers make calling an early General Election an attractive proposition, the public, on balance, fail to see why she should. Half (50%) think she should carry on until the end of the fixed-term, while 39% believe it would be worth confirming her own mandate.

    Brexit is, of course, a significance challenge for her government, but out of the starting gates the public are most likely to believe she will secure good terms for Britain’s exit (49%), rising to 77% confidence among prospective Tory voters. One in seven (14%) think she’ll deliver but on bad terms, while a similar number (13%) think that she won’t see Britain out of the EU while she inhabits Number 10. The public would like to hear an end to the carping about the referendum result, with 56% saying that they’re bored of the complaints and that the Remainers should get over it.

    The public are realistic about the timeline for Brexit though, with half (52%) thinking we’ll still be in the EU in two years’ time, although most (69%) think the job will be done within five years (69%) and ten years (71%) respectively.

    Access to the free market is more important to people (38%) than free movement of people (10%), but when it comes to the things that May should do, a cap on immigration gets most mentions although getting on with Brexit is thought to be the single most important thing on her to-do list.

    The public would agree that Scotland should remain part of the UK, with only 32% seeing the need for a second Indyref.

    May is seriously thought to have the backing of her party (70% compared to Corbyn’[s miserable 11%, while May looks to the future according to 56% (Corbyn 33%) and has the courage to say what’s right rather than what’s popular (55% v Corbyn 47%). She’s in a different league on being good in a crisis (40% vs 16). Only in understanding people like me (26%) does May begin to struggle, with slightly more (29%) saying it about Corbyn. Only 16% would like to share a pint with May down the pub, with 29% saying that Corbyn would be good company.

    May & Hammond separate themselves completely (53%) from Corbyn/McDonnell (15%) on running the economy.