This week’s voting intention has Labour up three percentage points to 43%, with the Conservative bumping up by 1 point to 42%. This means that the narrow one point lead for the Conservatives in our last poll has shifted to a narrow one point lead for Labour in our poll out today.
We shouldn’t make too much of these small shifts. Indeed, since the last general election in June 2017, no ICM/Guardian poll has shown a lead of more than 2 percentage points for either Labour or the Tories. This makes it a run of 13 polls where we’d consider the result ‘too close to call’, meaning the lead for either main party is within the margin of error. This is totally unprecedented in the regular polling ICM have carried out for The Guardian over almost 35 years – never before have we had so many consecutive polls where the two main parties have been so close to each other.
However, we can quite confidently say that UKIP would be highly unlikely to win a general election if it were to be held tomorrow, as they slip down one percentage point to 3%. Whilst UKIP have been on 3% in ICM/Guardian polls before, they have never been lower – this is their joint lowest result since we started regularly asking voting intention about UKIP back in 2012.
We’ve asked a new question on which party the public trust most to do the best job in some key policy areas:
|Labour||Conservatives||Neither||Don’t know||Labour lead|
|Protecting people from threats at home and abroad||23%||38%||22%||18%||-15%|
|Negotiating a good Brexit deal for the UK||21%||34%||31%||14%||-13%|
|Managing the economy properly||26%||38%||23%||14%||-12%|
|Ensuring pupils and students get a good education||37%||28%||20%||15%||9%|
|Protecting the interests of pensioners||37%||24%||23%||15%||13%|
|Making Britain a fairer country||38%||25%||24%||13%||13%|
|Improving the public services generally||42%||21%||23%||14%||21%|
|Protecting and improving the NHS||44%||21%||24%||12%||23%|
We’ll be tracking the results over the next few months. The initial results may not be surprising, with Labour having strong leads on the NHS (23%pts) and public services generally (21%pts), whilst the Conservatives lead on the economy (12%pts), Brexit (13%pts), immigration (15%pts) and protecting Britain from threats at home and abroad (15%pts).
We asked a similar question back in January, instead asking which leader, rather than party, the public trusted most to do a good job in each area. The scores from that poll are below:
|Jeremy Corbyn||Theresa May||Neither||Don’t know||Corbyn lead|
|Protecting people from threats at home and abroad||21%||38%||26%||16%||-17%|
|Negotiating a good Brexit deal for the UK||19%||35%||31%||15%||-16%|
|Managing the economy properly||24%||36%||27%||14%||-12%|
|Ensuring pupils and students get a good education||32%||29%||23%||16%||3%|
|Protecting the interests of pensioners||35%||23%||28%||13%||12%|
|Making Britain a fairer country||37%||25%||25%||13%||12%|
|Improving the public services generally||37%||24%||27%||12%||13%|
|Protecting and improving the NHS||39%||21%||27%||12%||18%|
Taking the results of these two questions together, we get the following results on how each party leader’s performance compares to their party’s on the key issues. A positive score is where the leader has a better performance rating than their party:
|May vs. Tories||Corbyn vs. Labour|
|Protecting people from threats at home and abroad||0%||-2%|
|Negotiating a good Brexit deal for the UK||1%||-2%|
|Managing the economy properly||-2%||-2%|
|Ensuring pupils and students get a good education||1%||-5%|
|Protecting the interests of pensioners||-1%||-2%|
|Making Britain a fairer country||0%||-1%|
|Improving the public services generally||3%||-5%|
|Protecting and improving the NHS||0%||-5%|
Corbyn’s personal ratings are lower than the Labour party’s in all of the key areas we asked on. This contrasts with Theresa May, who outperforms her party on ‘improving the public services generally’ (3%pts), with smaller popularity leads over her party in terms of education and negotiating a good Brexit deal. Whilst there are some negative scores, Theresa May’s performance on the key areas is generally within two percentage points of her party’s score. Compare this with Corbyn’s scores – while consistently lower than his party’s, he lags behind especially in terms of the two Labour strengths: improving public services and the NHS (both 5%pts lower).
In short: Theresa May’s popularity is broadly in line with her party’s on the key issues we asked, whereas Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity is consistently lower than his party’s.
Finally, we asked a question on the controversy surrounding Oxfam staff’s use of prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti in 2011, some of whom may have been under-age. Excluding those who don’t donate to humanitarian charities, a majority (52%) of the Great British public say that this news has made them less likely to donate to humanitarian charities such as Oxfam. Only about a third (36%) claim that they are no less likely to donate as a result, while 1 in 8 (13%) say they don’t know if they are less likely to donate or not.
This shows the scale of the task facing Oxfam and the wider sector in light of the scandal. With Oxfam’s chief executive due to appear at a special hearing of the International Development Select Committee on Tuesday, the sheer magnitude of the task ahead to rebuild this loss of trust could not be clearer.
ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,027 adults aged 18+, between 16th – 19th February 2018. 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.