• 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 – 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.

     

     

  • Labour Leadership recognition poll

    The contest for the next leader of the Labour Party is heating up in line with the field being narrowed down, with just four candidates left in play. All will confess to much work needing to be done, not just in terms of developing a support (or indeed policy) base, but well, in simply communicating to the electorate who they are, never mind what they stand for.

    They might even argue that right now, it doesn’t matter if potential leaders’ public recognition is low, which it is. The public, of course, do not vote in Labour’s leadership contest: only MPs, party members, and unions are eligible for that.

    But let’s not kid ourselves, just like that walk-in moment for newly-weds as they view their future home for the first time, or indeed that critical first 15-seconds interviewees have to create that “we have to have you here” impression on their job inquisitor, the time is now for party leaders to positively imprint themselves on the people they will depend on to propel them toward destination Number 10.

    Just ask Ed Miliband, or Iain Duncan Smith for that matter. They never overcame the image issues that held them back right from the beginning. Indeed, in the public’s mind, there’s no coming back for leaders who aren’t perceived to have ‘it’. So better make sure you do, starting now…..

    Indeed now is the chance to shine for the likes of Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and even Yvette Cooper, whose highest prize to date was the Department of Work & Pensions brief – and who is also seemingly known as Ed Balls other half (indeed, she was named as ‘Yvette Balls’ by a small chunk of the poll sample).

    On the plus side, politicians who have never particularly basked in public recognition have a clean slate. It is, perhaps, a little more comfortable a journey for Andy Burnham, whose recognition of 23% was easily higher than the rest of the pack. Yvette Cooper followed 6-points behind (17%), with Liz Kendall (10%) and Jeremy Corbyn (9%) a further step behind the pace. For the latter two, low figures are probably to be expected, not previously being high profile figures and/or late entrant to the hustings. They will hope that their recognition in the Labour Beauty Parade – and perceived wider popular appeal to boot – now surge upwards.

    Every respondent was shown a picture of each potential leader, and asked to name them in a free text box. All verbatim contributions were individually assessed, and only marked correct if the surname was correct or spelt only slightly incorrectly such that it was clear that the surname were known. The results are as follows:

    ANDY BURNHAM | CORRECT 23% | INCORRECT: 10% | DON’T KNOW: 66%
    YVETTE COOPER | CORRECT: 17% | INCORRECT: 10% | DON’T KNOW: 74%
    LIZ KENDALL | CORRECT 10% | INCORRECT: 9% | DON’T KNOW: 81%
    JEREMY CORBYN | CORRECT: 9% | INCORRECT: 9% | DON’T KNOW: 82%

    ICM Unlimited interviewed an online sample of 2,006 adults aged 18+ on 19-21st June 2015. Interviews were conducted across Britain and the results have been weighted to the profile of all British adults.