• Beyond the Westminster Bubble: What people really think about immigration

    Immigration is often cited as one of the British public’s top concerns, particularly in the context of Brexit. However, new research conducted by ICM on behalf of Open Europe shows this ‘concern’ doesn’t mean that people simply wish to ‘pull up the drawbridge’. This large scale survey of 4,000 16+ adults reveals a more complex and nuanced set of attitudes than is often portrayed by the media.

    Click here to read Open Europe’s report: https://openeurope.org.uk/intelligence/immigration-and-justice/beyond-the-westminster-bubble-what-people-really-think-about-immigration/

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 4,000 adults aged 16+ online, between 22 August and 4 September 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.

     

  • Sun on Sunday, Christmas Poll 2017

    Excepting the fact that most of the fieldwork was conducted before the Government was defeated in a Commons vote on Wednesday evening, the EU deal negotiated by Theresa May appears to have strengthened her position – at least for the time being. Her own personal leader rating has improved in relation to Jeremy Corbyn, the Tories are only 1 point behind Labour in the polls, there is no clear frontrunner to replace her as Tory leader and a majority think she should continue as PM to at least the end of Brexit negotiations.

    Moreover, amidst splits in the Government over policy towards the EU, half the country including a majority of Remainers and Tory voters believe the Government should just get on with the job of leaving the EU, while there is public confusion around the Labour party’s position on Brexit.

    However, danger lurks around the corner for Mrs May since the public feel the divorce bill is too high, they support a ‘meaningful vote’ for parliament on a final deal and are split on whether the exit date should be extended in the event of no deal. One thing is clear – 2018 is shaping up to be as equally momentous as 2017.

    Click here to see the Sun on Sunday article: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5156114/theresa-may-brexit-poll-support-conservative-party/

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,004 adults aged 18+ online, on 12-14 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.

  • Sun on Sunday, Nov-Dec 2017 Poll

    Amidst the cold of the British winter, the country is gearing up for the marriage of Prince Harry and his American girlfriend, Meghan Markle, at Windsor Castle in May. Predictably, there has been extensive domestic and international media coverage of the engagement, prompting many commentators to suggest that it may lighten the spirits of a country still polarised from the aftermath of the EU referendum.

    New polling by ICM for the Sun on Sunday among a nationally representative sample of the general public suggests that most people think the royal wedding will be a positive thing for Royal Family itself and among the population as a whole. Seven in ten (71%) people believe it will lead to a general ‘feel-good factor’ for the Royal’s and six in ten (59%) say the same about the general mood of the country.

    However, people are split in terms of whether they think the couple’s marriage will be a boost for British businesses: 40% say it will lead to a feel-good factor for the UK economy and 42% say it will not. Moreover, fewer people say that the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Markle will lead to a feel-good factor in the Conservative Government (26% compared to 41% who say not) as well as themselves personally (33% vs 53% who say not). Overall, the research suggests that it will lighten the spirits of the nation but will not necessarily benefit them materially.

    The results of our poll also show support for the wedding in the content of Ms Markle being an American actress, of mixed ethnicity and a divorcee. The majority of the public agree (63%) that it makes the Royal Family look modern and more in touch with most British families (just 11% disagree) and that the couple will make great ambassadors for the UK and its people (61% agree and 9% disagree). While some have suggested that the glitz undermines the traditional respectability of the Monarchy, this is not a view widely held: twice as many people disagree as agree that it makes the Royal Family more like showbusiness than a serious institution (48% vs 22%).

    While Theresa May will be disappointed that the royal wedding is unlikely to give the Tories a bounce in the polls, they trail Labour by just a single percentage point with the Conservatives on 40% and Labour 41% if a general election was held tomorrow. Labour are unchanged and the Conservatives down one point since ICM’s most recent poll for The Guardian, conducted last weekend.

    Moreover, when set against fraught Brexit negotiations with Brussels for agreeing a transition deal and long-term trade arrangement, Mrs May will be pleased to lead Jeremy Corbyn (by 40% to 32%) when asked who would make the best prime minster. However, in a sign of how difficult things have been for the Conservatives since the general election, Mrs May’s lead over Mr Corbyn has fallen from 21 to 8 points since May.

    It’s also the case that Mr Corbyn is perceived to be doing a better job as Labour leader than Mrs May is performing as prime minister. Corbyn registers a +3 score, with 41% describing him as doing a good job including 79% of Labour voters: in contrast, the PM records a -18 rating, with 32% of the public and 70% of Tory voters stating that she does a good job.

    Vince Cable has work to do to get himself and the Lib Dems noticed. Not only do more people think he is doing a bad than good job (31% versus 19%), but his support among his own supporters is lower than for any other party (62%).

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,050 adults aged 18+ online, on 29 November–1 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.

  • The Guardian – November 2017 Poll 2

    Last week’s budget was one of the most important for a governing party in recent years. On the one hand, the Government was seeking to restore some semblance of stability and direction following the general election debacle and the disappointing Tory party conference. On the other, Philip Hammond required a strong budget to shore up his own allegedly unsecure position amidst clamouring from Tory Brexiteers for him to be replaced.

     

    Set against this context, the results of the latest Guardian/ICM poll present a glimmer of hope for the embattled chancellor and his prime minister. Philip Hammond and Theresa May are perceived to be better able to manage the economy than the Labour pair of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (36% versus 28%), reinforcing the broadly positive reception to the speech from many in the blue camp at Westminster.

     

    That said, Downing Street will be concerned that the 8 percentage point Tory lead on economic competence is lower than the 13 point gap recorded last month (39% vs 26%) and significantly lower than the 31 point lead enjoyed in March (42% vs 12%) when the Conservatives were riding the crest of a wave before the general election.

     

    Nonetheless, the budget may have done enough to steady Tory nerves, especially since the top two parties remain level pegging in terms of voting intention. 41% of the public say they would vote Labour if there was a general election tomorrow and the same proportion (41%) would vote Conservative, unchanged from earlier this month and the sixth successive Guardian/ICM poll where no party has been in the lead.

     

    The background to this, of course, is the hotting-up of Brexit negotiations, with discord between Dublin and Westminster about the status of Northern Ireland and Theresa May under pressure from Brussels to increase Britain’s financial offer. If the PM is determined to follow public opinion on this issue then she should note that the majority of people think it is unacceptable for the UK to pay an exit fee of £20billion or more as a one off or in instalments as a form of compromise (£40 billion (71%), £30 billion (67%)  £20 billion (28%)). By a margin of 50% to 32%, the public believe Britain should pay £10 billion, considerably lower than the figure being talked about by the EU officials.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,029 adults 18+ online on 24th-26th November 2017. 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.

  • The Guardian Poll – November 2017

    Tony Blair casually observed last week that Labour should be doing better in the polls, given the government’s current travails, for which he received a certain amount of opprobrium.

    But he’s right about one thing – the polls are not moving. Indeed, the current stasis is no better reflected than by the observation that the stretch of neck-and-neck standings has reached five consecutive polls. Only one more such poll is needed to match the record of six in the ICM/Guardian series, when Labour’s (then) 5-point lead in August 2003 did not waver until the following February.

    So it seems that there is currently an inverse relationship between the intensity of the political environment, and polls’ ability to move. We can only speculate that the public may have stopped watching, believing that current performance and events are dull in comparison to the politics of 2016, or even 2015.

    The state of the parties in November is as follows:

    Conservative 41% (-1)

    Labour 41% (-1)

    Lib Dem 7% (nc)

    SNP 4% (+1)

    Plaid Cymru *% (nc)

    Green 2% (nc)

    UKIP 4% (+1)

    Other *% (nc)

    It could be, of course, that the public have stopped watching because of a fingers-covering-the-eyes reaction to some MP’s alleged sexual conduct. In a scandal some are calling worse than MP’s expenses, the number of MPs being accused and investigated by their party for inappropriate sexual behaviour seems grow by the day. This prompted us to ask about what ‘activities’ might be deemed acceptable, or at least not career ending.

    The response coming back from the public is pretty clear: clean up or face the consequences, which might well be politically terminal. Only “having an affair” or “occasionally propositioning people for a date/sex” might be thought to be remotely acceptable, but pretty much all other types of behaviour are considered unacceptable if not career ending.

    Top of the latter list is “propositioning people for sex who are employees or much younger”, with 73% saying it should result in political dismissal. Not far behind is “repeatedly propositioning people for a date/sex” (64% saying it should be career ending). Having porn on a House of Commons computer (54% career ending) is likely heap further worries on the shoulders of Damien Green, and Stephen Crabb’s path back to the front benches won’t be made any easier given 50% think “sending sexually explicit text messages” should be similarly viewed.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,010 adults aged 18+ online on 10-12th November 2013. 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 – October Poll

    As the conference season draws to a close, now is usually the best time to reflect on movements in party shares. There’s little doubt which party had a conference to savour, and which had one to cough and splutter over, but as is often the case once the throat lozenge has been swallowed ailments are quickly forgotten and people get on just as they did before, with little having changed.

    And so it is this time around – at least in terms of overall vote shares –  with deadlock between the main two parties in the Guardian/ICM series extending to a third poll in a row. Both sit on 41% share (down 1-point in both cases), so the conference season ends up as little more than a low scoring draw.

    However, with the re-in-statement of the marginals cross-break we can see that the Labour position is stronger in the constituencies that count – those that they and the Tories hold with a lead of up to 10%. In its own marginal seats, Labour’s lead is up to 22-points, but the equivalent position for the Tories is only a 5-five points. If Tory MPs needed something new to worry about, this could be it. On this basis, they’d likely lose a swathe of their currently held marginals even though the overall vote shares are neck and neck.

    But reputations are changing even if headline numbers are not, and Theresa May continues to watch her public standing decline while that of Jeremy Corbyn creeps up. When we last asked the Best PM question back in May 2017 (right at the point when the Tories massive campaign leads began to dissipate), May lead by 21-points over her Labour challenger. Now though, the lead is down to single digits, at only 9-points. Four in ten (41%) do think that May still represents the best PM option for Britain, but Corbyn is up to 32% with potential to climb further given the saintly impression that he has cultivated among diehard supporters.

    At least the PM can write off her conference speech difficulties as bad luck without much lasting damage. With as many people admiring her more (17%) as less as a person for the way she handled things – with most people (57%) not considering anything they saw to be a difference maker, she can easily move on.

    More than that though, she can take heart from the public’s dim view of Tory succession alternatives. With others at he No 10 helm the perceived chances of the Tories winning the next General Election appear to be minimal. For example, one in five (22%) think the Tories would be better off under Boris, but with 43% saying they’d be worse off the net effect of winning under his leadership is -21. Under Amber Rudd it’s -5, Philip Hammond -19, Jacob Ress-Mogg -23, Priti Patel -25 and Damian Green -20.

    Only the next generation is thought to be chances positive for the Tories, with “someone quite young and able who is not currently in government” getting a plus rating of +9. Who that might be is anyone’s guess, but it does appear that the public are calling time on the same old faces fronting up the Conservative Party.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,052 adults aged 18+ online on 6-8th October 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.

     

     

  • Sun on Sunday poll – October 2017

    This poll contained two questions, one on whether Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn would be best able to deliver Brexit (May, just, although “Don’t know” came in first) and a second on what the PM should do next after her pretty awful conference week.

    David Wooding’s write up can be found here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4636017/theresa-may-pm-brexit-poll/

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 1,024 adults aged 18+ on 6-8th October 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 – September Poll 2

    If you’re Theresa May, good news is pretty hard to find right now, but some heart can be taken from a modestly positive response to her speech on Friday, in which plans were outlined for a 2-year Brexit continuation in payments to the EU in return for access to the single market. Four in ten (41%) supported the idea, rising to 58% of Remainers. A third (31%) do oppose, but a majority of Leavers doing so is not quite present (48%).

    Estimations and expectations of her performance continue to tumble though. In a direct head-to-head against Jeremey Corbyn on nine measures that we last tested earlier this year (14th May) the Prime Minister is trusted less now on each of them compared to then then. On negotiating Brexit, her lead over Corbyn has dropped from +34 to +14 with only 32% saying they trust the PM to do the best job on it.

    On the crucial issue of economic performance, the PM’s lead has halved to only +14, with 37% saying she’d do the best job compared to 23% believing Corbyn would.

    The Labour leader is in front on four areas of policy, including making Britain fairer, improving public services, the NHS and helping students. Indeed, on fairness, May’s lead earlier this year has gone in stark reverse, from a double-digit advantage to a double-digit deficit.

     

    May-17 Sep-17
    Negotiating a good Brexit +34 +14
    Managing the economy properly +28 +14
    Making Britain a fairer country +19 -15
    Improving public services generally -2 -16
    Protecting and improving the NHS -3 -18
    Controlling immigration +29 +19
    Ensuring students and pupils get a good education +4 -8
    Protecting people from threats at home and abroad +30 +18
    Protecting the interests of pensioners +1 -14

    Party share of the vote has fluctuated around neck-and neck over the past few months, and to little surprise Labour edge into a 2-point lead this week, possibly as a consequence of higher profile reporting during its conference weekend. Labour leads with 42%, with the Tories on 40% and the Liberal Democrats on 8%.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 1,968 adults aged 18+ on 22-24th September 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 September Poll

    The idea that the public are sleep-walking into the potential breakup of the UK as a result of Brexit conditions is evidenced by the latest ICM/Guardian poll.

    While a (slim) majority would be “disappointed” to see either Scotland (51%) or Wales (56%) leave the Union, Northern Ireland’s grip on public consciousness on this matter is much more precarious, with only 42% saying they would be disappointed in this particular outcome. Many are indifferent (36%) to the prospect of the Province leaving to join the Republic of Ireland, while a fifth (22%) say they would be actively “pleased” to see it go.

    With a quarter (23%) of people living in England saying they would be ‘pleased’ to see Scotland’s independence and 14% of them pleased to see Wales leave the Union, the driving force is not necessarily Nationalist sentiment in either nation (although it is evident).

    Separately, in a re-run of questions asked last July, public expectations on the economic and financial implications of Brexit continue to reflect a pessimistic view, partially offset by higher levels of positivity about a potentially changing environment in which people live (for which, we probably need to read: fewer immigrants).

    Vote intentions remain very static, with both of the two main parties on 42% share of the vote.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,052 GB adults aged 18+ online, on 8-10th September 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 Poll – August 2017

    If the political parties approached the Summer with only a wafer-thin gap between their respective vote shares, they approach the new Parliamentary session with not even that between them. Both parties now stand on 42% apiece, a deadlock last witnessed in March 2016.

    This represents precious little movement since July, with Labour shedding a single point but the Tories and Liberal Democrats unchanged. (this poll being the first since Vince Cable grasped the leadership of the party). Figures for this month are:

    Conservatives 42%

    Labour 42%

    Liberal Democrats 7%

    Green 3%

    UKIP 3%

    SNP 2%

    Plaid Cymru *%
    Other 1%

    With Brexit negotiations the focus of continued melodrama after EU negotiator Michael Barnier reportedly told the UK to get serious, a response that involves some compromise over the ‘exit fee’ figure that the UK is willing to tolerate might be in order. In a partial repeat of a question we asked back in April on how much money the public would grudgingly agree to provide in order to exit the EU, 41% now believe that a figure of £10b would be acceptable. In April, only 15% agreed to that amount, although on that previous occasion a lower figure of £3b was presented to respondents, the absence of which now may explain some of the variation in response on this occasion.

    With 40% still saying £10b is unacceptable though, this is a clearly a difficult sell to the British public.

    And as for higher offers, the British public would likely be pretty intransigent. Only 18% would view a £20b offer as acceptable, and fewer than one in ten (9%) could contemplate a £40b pay off. Opposition to higher offer rises to as high as 75%.

    Separately, the question of President Trump’s State visit to Britain is back on the agenda. If he comes, indifference would likely characterise the reception he’d get. One in four (27%) would not care either way, with similar numbers accepting the case for a visit without being pleased (26%) or being upset but unwilling to do anything about it (20%). About one in ten would think about or actually demonstrate against the President, but slightly more (13%) say they would be pleased if he came.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 1,972 adults aged 18+ on 25-28th August 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.