• The Guardian – September 2018 Poll 1

    Some commentators have decried the war over words in both main parties that that burst into full-sight over the weekend. But while competing Brexit, leadership and party priorities simmered to the surface, ICM were busy polling whether the British public had substantively changed their position on Brexit.

    If there was another EU referendum tomorrow, how would you vote?

    We asked this question in both January and April this year – both times finding the slimmest of leads for Remain over Leave. Yet at the third time of asking, we have seen a slightly bigger shift, with Remain creeping up one percentage point to 46% and Leave slipping down two percentage points to 42% from April.

    Let’s not get over-excited about these figures – these are still small shifts in numbers, and the result is still considered well within the margin of error. Nevertheless, this is the largest lead for Remain we’ve seen across the three times we’ve asked the question this year. And, when excluding those who prefer not to say, don’t know and wouldn’t vote, the results of this question do catch the eye. If an exact repeat of the 2016 Referendum were to be held tomorrow, this poll predicts an exact reversal of 2016’s result – with the country split 52% to 48%, but this time in favour of Remain.

    We also re-asked a question that was also featured in our Brexit mega-poll in January, and last asked back in May. Asking on the likely impact of Brexit on personal finances, the economy and way of life in general, we see a similarly grim appraisal overall from the British public as observed in May and January.

    Brexiteers may take solace from the fact that there are no huge negative shifts at the overall level. But scratch the surface, and there looks like there might be something interesting happening among those who voted Leave in 2016. Leavers are still more positive than negative about the aspects of Brexit we ask about, but the gap between those who are positive and negative about the impact of Brexit on the way of life in Britain today in general has narrowed by 8 percentage points since the start of the year. Even more strikingly, the equivalent gap has narrowed by 10 percentage points when it comes to the impact on the economy.

    So while the country remains strongly polarised along the same lines as the 2016 Referendum, there are small signs that Leavers’ initial optimism maybe, just maybe, might be fading at the margins.

    And what for the impact on our headline voting intention figures?

    It’s a story of slight but not significant changes. With the Tories up two points to 42% and Labour down one point to 39%, what was a dead heat in our last poll three weeks ago turns into a three percentage point lead for Theresa May’s Conservatives. Percentage point changes on our previous poll are in the table below in brackets.

    Conservative

    42% (+2)

    Labour

    39% (-1)

    LibDem

    8% (nc)

    SNP

    3% (-1)
    PC

    *% (nc)

    Green

    3% (+1)

    UKIP

    4% (-2)
    Other

    *% (-1)

    We still haven’t seen the two main parties break out of a three percentage point bind of each other in a Guardian/ICM poll since the 2017 election. The wait continues.

    On 23rd June 2016, a referendum was held on if the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union.

    If there was another EU referendum tomorrow, how would you vote?

    • For the UK to Remain in the EU (Jan: 45%; Apr: 45%; Sep 46%)
    • For the UK to Leave the EU (Jan: 43%; Apr: 44%; Sep 42%)
    • I wouldn’t vote (Jan: 6%; Apr: 5%; Sep 6%)
    • Prefer not to say (Jan: 1%; Apr: 1%; Sep 1%)
    • Don’t know (Jan: 5%; Apr: 5%; Sep 5%)
    Impact of Brexit on the British economy
    January May September
    2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers

    Positive impact

    9% 58% 9% 56% 11% 52%

    Negative impact

    75% 12% 77% 10% 75%

    16%

    Makes no difference

    6% 19% 7% 18% 7%

    19%

    Don’t know 9% 11% 6% 15% 7%

    13%

     

    Impact of Brexit on your own personal finances
    January May September
    2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers

    Positive impact

    5% 23% 7% 23% 9% 22%

    Negative impact

    53% 10% 54% 9% 56%

    11%

    Makes no difference

    27% 55% 29% 53% 21%

    54%

    Don’t know 15% 12% 11% 14% 14%

    13%

     

    Impact of Brexit on the way of life in Britain today in general
    January May September
    2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers

    Positive impact

    9% 62% 9% 63% 11% 57%

    Negative impact

    66% 8% 70% 5% 68%

    7%

    Makes no difference

    15%

    22% 14% 21% 12%

    23%

    Don’t know

    8%

    8% 7% 11% 9%

    13%

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,051 adults aged 18+, between 7th – 9th September 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.

     

  • The Guardian – July 2018 Poll 2

     

    It’s been a busy two weeks in politics since our last ICM/Guardian poll. Cabinet resignations, Trump’s visit to the UK, a series of nail-bitingly close Brexit votes, the breakdown of pairing MPs on maternity leave in those votes and Labour’s ongoing antisemitism row are just some of the stories that have dominated the political news over the past fortnight.

     

    But in this maelstrom of political news, public opinion polling can provide a refreshing insight on what impact – if any – these stories are having on the British public at large.

     

    When it comes to our headline voting intention, we are seeing some noteworthy shifts. While we wouldn’t consider these statistically significant, in what has been a generally deadlocked political climate, we can see a shift in our polls which is larger than what we have been used to of late.

     

    What was a two-point lead for the Conservatives has completely evaporated over the past two weeks, and has turned into a one-point lead for Labour. And while we have seen an aggregate three percentage-point swing in vote share from Tories to Labour, we shouldn’t ignore UKIP – who continue their slow and steady progress from the previous poll, up another percentage point to 5%.

     

    There has been some speculation that events of the past few weeks have confirmed the current Conservative government as pushing a soft Brexit in the eyes of hard Brexiteers, hence the gain of UKIP at the Conservatives. On this poll alone, it’s simply too early to tell if this is the case. But should we see UKIP’s vote share increase further in our next poll at the expense of the Conservatives, then we may need to revisit this analysis.

     

    The results are shown in the table below, with percentage point changes from our previous poll in brackets.

     

    Conservative

    40% (-1)

    Labour

    41% (+2)

    LibDem

    8% (-1)

    SNP

    3% (nc)

    PC

    *% (nc)

    Green

    3% (nc)

    UKIP

    5% (+1)

    Other

    1% (nc)

     

    However, the below may illuminate some of the shifts in headline voting intention. We’ve brought back a tracker question we last asked in January on which of the two main party leaders the public trust most to do the best job in a range of key policy areas.

     

    While most of the scores haven’t shifted much over the past half a year, one result grabs the attention immediately – the public’s trust in Theresa May being able to negotiate a good Brexit deal for the UK has collapsed. It used to be the second strongest area for May compared to Corbyn on the areas we’ve tested, beaten only by protecting people from threats at home and abroad, but now it falls to her fourth strongest area. Whereas over a third (35%) of Brits trusted May to successfully negotiate Brexit at the start of the year, now it’s only one in four (26%). It wasn’t too long ago – back in May 2017 – that almost half (47%) of the public trusted May most to do the best job of negotiating Brexit. To see this proportion collapse to just over a quarter (26%) on what’s considered the biggest issue of the day could explain some of the pressure exerted on her leadership coming from within her party in recent weeks.

     

    The only consolation for May’s supporters is seeing Corbyn treading water in his perceived ability to successfully negotiate Brexit, with only 18% trusting Corbyn over May.

     

    When couched in terms of negotiating Brexit, there seems to be a public appetite for someone else entirely. We’ve seen those who trust neither May nor Corbyn to negotiate a good Brexit deal jump from 31% in January to 44% in this poll. This now means that, more than in any other area we ask, a large slice of the British public tend to trust neither May nor Corbyn on Brexit. So for as long as Brexit remains the major political issue at stake, we shouldn’t expect rumours of leadership challenges to Theresa May to go away any time soon.

     

    The other point worth noting is that trust in May to protect and improve the NHS has improved since January – with around one in four (26%) now trusting her over Corbyn on the NHS, compared to around one in five (21%) back in January. While Corbyn still leads May with almost 2 in 4 (38%) trusting him more to protect and improve the NHS, it’s possible that the promise of additional NHS spending – funded by that controversial ‘Brexit dividend’ – has had the effect of boosting May’s perceptions as a safe custodian of the NHS.

     

    The headline results to this question are below, including historical data for the difference between the two leaders scores in previous polls.

     

      Theresa May Jeremy Corbyn May lead Jan-18 Sep-17 May-17
    Protecting people from threats at home and abroad 38 19 19 17 18 30
    Controlling immigration 34 18 16 15 19 29
    Managing the economy properly 35 22 13 12 14 28
    Negotiating a good Brexit deal for the UK 26 18 8 16 14 34
    Ensuring pupils and students get a good education 29 33 -4 -3 -8 4
    Protecting the environment 23 29 -6 -4 n/a n/a
    Protecting the interests of pensioners 24 33 -9 -12 -14 1
    Making Britain a fairer country 25 36 -11 -12 -15 -1
    Protecting and improving the NHS 26 38 -12 -18 -18 -3
    Improving public services generally 23 38 -15 -13 -16 -2

     

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,010 adults aged 18+, between 20th – 22nd July 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.

  • The Guardian – February 2018 Poll 2

    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%
    Controlling immigration 20% 35% 31% 14% -15%
    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%
    Controlling immigration 19% 34% 33% 15% -15%
    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%
    Controlling immigration -1% -1%
    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.

     

    Download tables here

     

  • The Guardian – Brexit Mega Poll

    A nation (still) divided

    A landmark ICM/Guardian poll, released today, shows a nation still starkly divided along the lines of the 2016 EU Referendum.

    ICM interviewed a representative sample of over 5,000 respondents across Great Britain. This is more than twice the number of interviews usually conducted in the regular ICM/Guardian polls, and five times the number of interviews often achieved in other polls. The increased sample size not only allows for a greater confidence in the statistical reliability of the overall results, but also allows for a more detailed analysis of different groups within the British population.

    If there was a referendum tomorrow, 45% of our poll’s respondents would vote Remain, compared to 43% who would vote leave. This result is similar to when we last asked the question in early December (8th -10th, which recorded 46% Remain versus 43% Leave), and so lends weight to the claim that the British public may have become slightly more pro-Remain since the EU referendum. But these shifts should not be exaggerated – on the results of this poll of 5,000 the result of a second EU referendum would be far from a foregone conclusion.

    The possible slight shift towards remain cannot be attributed to Leavers changing their mind. The vast majority – 9 in 10 – of those who voted either Remain or Leave in the 2016 referendum say they would vote in exactly the same way in a second referendum, and the numbers swapping sides effectively cancel each other out. Any growth in Remain support seems to be coming from those who did not vote or cannot remember how they voted in 2016, with twice as many of these people saying they would vote Remain (27%) as Leave (14%) in a future referendum.

    There are also different implications for the two main Westminster parties. When asking respondents to recall their 2016 EU referendum vote, those with a Labour MP in England and Wales were more likely to have voted Remain than Leave, whilst the opposite is true for those in a Conservative held constituency. Fast-forward to a hypothetical second referendum, and the pro-Leave lead in Conservative held seats has held remarkably steady, staying exactly the same at 7% points.  Yet the pro-Remain lead in Labour held seats has shown substantial growth over the same period. In safe Labour seats, the pro-remain lead has doubled from 4% points to 8% points, whilst in marginal Labour seats, the Remain lead has tripled from 3% to 9% points.

    Whilst any gains for Remain sentiment could be attributed to increases in Labour held seats and amongst those who didn’t vote in 2016, the overall picture emerging from this poll is clear: the British public remain entrenched in their views on Brexit. This divide holds true for perceptions of the likely impact of Brexit, as shown in the tables below. A majority (58%) of 2016 Leavers think Brexit will have a positive impact on the economy, contrasting with three quarters (75%) of Remainers who think it will have a negative impact. A majority (55%) of those who voted Leave think Brexit will make no difference to their own finances, whilst a similar proportion (53%) of Remainers think Brexit will have a negative impact on their personal finances. When asked on the impact of Brexit on the way of life in Britain in general a similar divide is apparent, with 62% of Leavers thinking Brexit will be positive but 66% of Remainers thinking Brexit will be negative.

     

    Impact of Brexit on the British economy
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 32% 9% 58%
    Negative impact 43% 75% 12%
    Makes no difference 13% 6% 19%
    Don’t know 13% 9% 11%

     

    Impact of Brexit on your own personal finances
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 13% 5% 23%
    Negative impact 30% 53% 10%
    Makes no difference 41% 27% 55%
    Don’t know 16% 15% 12%

     

    Impact of Brexit the way of life in Britain today in general
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 33% 9% 62%
    Negative impact 36% 66% 8%
    Makes no difference 19% 15% 22%
    Don’t know 12% 8% 30%

     

    On support for a second referendum, more agree than disagree that the British public should have the chance to take a final decision on whether or not to leave the EU in another referendum when the outcome of the negotiation is known (47% vs. 34%). Perhaps unsurprisingly this support was split along 2016 lines, with a majority of 2016 Remainers agreeing with the idea of a second referendum (70%) and a majority of Leavers disagreeing (59%). Nevertheless, there are possible signs that opposition to a second referendum amongst Leavers could be softening, as a quarter (25%) of those who voted Leave in 2016 agree that the public should have the chance to take final decision on whether or not to leave the EU in a second referendum once negotiations conclude. This figure is higher than the 14% of people who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum who disagree with the idea of holding a second referendum.

    We also included our standard vote intention figures in this poll. These show the Conservatives up one percentage point from the previous poll, now matching Labour on 41%. The Lib Dems are on 7%, UKIP on 4%, whilst the Greens and SNP on 3% each.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 5,075 adults aged 18+, between 10th – 19th January 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.