• 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:


    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.