• 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.

  • The Guardian – July Poll

    On the day in which Brexit Secretary David Davis sits down with his EU adversary Michel Barnier for the second round of Brexit negotiations, his poker hand appears to be somewhat weakened as public support for a possible wildcard exit-without-agreement drops by 7-points, according to the latest Guardian/ICM poll.

    The UK leaving the EU regardless of what happens in negotiations enjoyed majority support back in February when 53% supported this hard line position. Now, however, the public have wobbled, with only 46% saying we should consider doing so. The call for a second referendum based on the outcome of the negotiations gains traction as a result, with 32% calling for one compared to 26% back in June.

    The wobble may be explained by increasing pessimism for Brexit’s impact on the nation. Fewer people now think Brexit will result in positive outcomes for the British economy (29% now saying so compared to 38% in February) or for the way of life in Britain today in general (33% vs. 41% in Feb 17) although no movement is observed on its impact on personal finances.

    Those people whose Brexit smiles have been wiped are not yet ready to go full pessimist though, for the most part saying that Brexit will make no difference rather than bring tangible negatives. This is might be a wobble, but not yet a full capitulation.

    There is very little change in headline vote intention numbers since the beginning of July, with only fractional movement in headline numbers. Labour (43%) lead by a point over the Tories (42%), which represents minor within margin of error movement on the last poll at the beginning of the month.

    Conservative 42% (+1)

    Labour 43% (nc)

    Lib Dem 7% (nc)

    Green 2% (-1)

    UKIP 3% (nc)

    SNP 3% (nc)

    Plaid Cymru 1% (+1)

    Other *% (nc)

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,046 adults aged 18+ online on 14-16th July 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 Campaign Poll 3 – May 28th

    Storm clouds have gathered in this General Election campaign. Rarely can there have been a more tumultuous and stunning sequence of events during a week of General Election campaigning,

    The delivery of a hugely populist Labour manifesto with giveaways for all compared to a policy-light document hitting core Tory voting pensioners in their pockets hardly seems like a fair contest. The fact that the Tories had to quickly U-turn on social care then heaped on the impression of unreliability rather than Presidential-style strength. It might not have done though actually; more people (42%) respect the fact she’s capable of changing her mind and correcting her mistakes than think she can’t deliver strong and stable government (30%).

    But some polls have moved as a result. That said, maybe we should just pump the breaks a little on this Tory collapse narrative. Our poll in today’s Sun on Sunday gives the Tories exactly the same pretty monstrous 14-point lead they had in our poll at the start of last week. If right, that’s a Tory majority in the House of Commons of 126 seats (they currently sit on a majority of only 16 seats). So the Tories are not shipwrecked after the storm, they’ve just had a bad week, and the storm clouds always move on elsewhere.

    Labour have recovered somewhat it’s true, and at 32% in this poll it implies a better performance from Jeremey Corbyn than Ed Miliband managed two years ago.

    But nearly all the fundamentals still point to a strong Tory result. Who would run the economy better? Duh. Hammond and May over Corbyn and McDonnell twice over.

    Who would make the best Prime Minister? Despite a bad look this week it’s still hands-down Theresa May, 48% saying so compared to Corbyn’s 27%.

    What about trust? Well, what have the Romans ever done for us? On defence, the nuclear button, terrorism, the nation’s finances, avoiding a recession, immigration, Brexit negotiations and helping with household finances it’s Prime Minister May over Prime Minister Corbyn every time. He does get a look in on the pretty important future of pensioners, the NHS and schools though.

    And for dessert, what words do the public associate with each leader? For May, top of the list are: strong, intelligent and convincing. For Corbyn, he’s seen to understand people, and intelligence is in there but only in conjunction with being out of touch, weak, dangerous and irresponsible. Probably not the kind of endorsement he’s looking for.

    Polls will go up and down, but despite the apparent improvement in Labour’s position, they are still in second place by a country mile. This leaves the question of what happens next for Labour? With some mutterings about the need for a new Centre-Left party we tested the idea among recent Labour voters. Most of them will stick it out with Labour even with Captain Corbyn still at the helm, or some other handpicked member of the hard Left.

    After Manchester, the resilience and magnificence of the British public has been on full display. Most won’t be cowed in the face of the terror threat. Six in ten don’t fear for their personal safety now any more than they did last week, although 37% (mostly younger members of society) might think twice. The reintroduction of the death penalty might help – a full 65% would approve of it in the case of terrorist acts and for the murder of children, while 58% think it should apply to the murder of on-duty police officers. This has hardly moved from when we last asked it, back in November 2005.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,044 adults aged 18+ online, on 24-26th May 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 Campaign Poll 1: April 18th

    This morning ICM/Guardian published an orthodox poll showing an 18-point Conservative lead. This reflected our position over the last two weeks, but was somewhat behind the brace of 21-point lead polls we saw over the weekend, one from YouGov and one from ComRes.

    Maybe those two polls were the straws that broke Theresa May’s back, and responded with a U-turn on calling an early General Election. ICM immediately set in motion our election planning agenda, generating a Flash poll sample of 1,000 people, completed within four hours of the announcement.

    Voting intentions compared to this morning’s poll are as follows:

    Con 46% (+2)

    Lab 25% (-1)

    LibDem 11% (+1)

    UKIP 8% (-3)

    Green 4% (nc)

    SNP 4% (nc)

    PC *% (-1)

    Oth 1% (nc)

    But how the public respond to the snap election is key to this snap poll, and the PM can take heart from an immediate, positive response. Over half (55%) support her decision with only 15% against. But the pattern of response is not heavily weighted to 2015 Conservative voters – a narrow band of support is found across all the parties (with the slight exception of UKIP, whose supporters may fear what’s coming). Indeed as many (65%) Labour intenders support May’s decision as Tory intenders (64%) which must imply that its core is itching for the electoral fight.

    The public recognises that May needs a mandate of her own, particularly with regard to Brexit. Six in ten (58%) think she is right to have called an early election, with only 17% thinking it wrong given the mandate she already has. A similar number (54%) believe that the situation has changed and the PM is right to have changed her mind.

    And the public are pretty sure that she’s headed to a whopping overall majority. A quarter (24%) think it’ll be over 100 seats, with a further 29% suggesting it’ll be an overall majority but less than that number. With a third (33%) not knowing, that leaves only 14% who think another outcome is likely. It should be noted that 44% of current Labour intenders think the Tories will win some overall majority.

    Brexit will undoubtedly feature strongly in this campaign, but the public won’t treat this as a second referendum. Indeed two in three (67%) will treat it as a normal General Election, with only 17% saying it’s a second Brexit referendum by proxy. This might explain why Brexit is only third on the list of issues important to people (23%) just edged out by immigration (24%) and jobs, prices and wages (25%). For many, Brexit is now priced in – easily the most preferred policy on it to promise Brexit no matter what (36%), with a further wanting it so long as negotiations work out well for the UK (25%). Only 15% want to reverse Brexit, which may dampen enthusiasm somewhat over at Liberal Democrat HQ.

    So we have a 7-week campaign in front of us, and few would imagine that the Tory attack dogs will leave the Labour top team alone, constantly reminding the public of who the nation’s alternative leaders are. Well might they, sitting on a fat margin on economic competence (51% for May & Hammond vs 12% for Corbyn and McDonnell) and approval ratings for the PM of +33 compared to Corbyn’s -48.

    As we enter this campaign it’s clear that Labour have an electoral mountain top climb, and its leadership appears to have left its ropes and crampons at base camp.

    ICM Unlimited interview a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ online immediately after the announcement that General Election had been called on April 18th 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 April (1) Poll

    In the latest instalment of record-setting woe for the Labour Party – who are down a further point from a fortnight ago – their share of the vote has now hit their historical floor of 25% in the Guardian/ICM series. It is their lowest showing in the post-2015 political cycle, and matches only two polls for Labour futility (June and August 2009, when Gordon Brown’s government was at its lowest ebb) in the 34-year series run.

    It’s not so much of a hard landing as we might expect though, as it is cushioned by a 2-point drop in the Tory share. If any consolation can be found, it’s that the Conservative lead consequently narrows to 18-points compared to 19-points last time out.

    The triggering of Article 50 this week may or may not have had a direct impact on the poll shares, but with both of the two main political protagonists down a short rung someone must have taken advantage. ICM polls have been slower to spot rising support for the Liberal Democrats than others, but on this occasion Tim Farron’s party does enjoy a 2-point leap, taking them to 11%, which is their highest from us since January 2015. The electoral conditions do favour the yellow team right now, and maybe at last we are seeing successes at local level elections translating to the national stage.

    Full figures for publication are:

    Conservative 43% (-2)

    Labour 25% (-1)

    Lib Dem 11% (+2)

    UKIP 11% (+1)

    SNP 5% (+1)

    Green 4% (nc)

    Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)

    Other 1% (nc)

    With the UK’s exit from the EU now out of the limbo stage and into the phony war, the headlines have focussed on both sides’ establishment of hard-line negotiating positions, red lines and implied threats to the process. In the end, if a deal is to be made, compromise will have to be found somewhere. So this week ICM tested some ideas that might smooth the negotiating process. Six possible positions were put to the British public, to see what they might be willing to relent on during the two-year process.

    “Not much” is the answer, particularly not cold, hard cash.

    Exit payments of £50b have been bandied about by Michael Barnier, chief negotiator for Brussels, but any UK capitulation on money likely won’t wash with hard-pressed British taxpayer. In fact, only one in ten (10%) are prepared to accept payments equating to less than half of that (£20 billion). One in seven (15%) would stretch to a £10b payment, with a third (33%) prepared to accept a fractional £3 billion in compensation for commitments made by the EU when the UK was a member.

    In case the EU thinks it can divide and conquer, only a single voting sub-group reaches majority support for the £3 billion payment – Lib Dem Remainers (53%) – although Labour Remainers (49%) and the few Liberal Democrat Leavers (49%) nearly join them in the ranks who would find such a payment acceptable.

    When it comes to a £10 billion or indeed a £20 billion exit fee – never mind more than that, the British public appear minded to offer the EU some kind of Chuchillian two-fingered gesture.

    However, other compromises might be in play. Continued but temporary freedom of movement in exchange for a transitional deal that eases the burden of leaving the single market would be acceptable to a majority of people (54%), with all but UKIP voters behind this idea. Leavers (35%) are understandably also less willing.

    Giving preferential treatment to EU citizens who want to come to live and work here over non-EU migrants might also be positively received by the British public, with 48% finding it acceptable (28% unacceptable), but continuing to obey EU Courts of Justice rulings for a few years after Brexit is another compromise that might make the British bristle (34% vs 47%).

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,005 adults aged 18+ online on 31 March – 2nd April 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.