• 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 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.

  • The Guardian Prediction Poll – PRELIMINARY DATA

    So, there we have it. A 12-point victory for the Conservatives is ICM’s preliminary call on our final poll, up from a 7-point victory for David Cameron just two years’ ago, representing a swing to the Conservatives of 2.5% (remembering that both party shares have increased compared to 2015).

    This final poll confirms the pattern that ICM has produced over the last fortnight: a fairly healthy and static (aka strong & stable) Conservative share with consolidation of the Labour bump first witnessed after the manifesto publication.

    Our PRELIMINARY numbers for publication are (based on 1,532 interviews and compared to last Monday’s poll in The Guardian:

    Conservative 46% (+1)

    Labour 34% (nc)

    Lib Dem 7% (-1)

    SNP 5% (+1)

    Plaid Cymru *% (-1)

    Green 2% (-1)

    UKIP 5% (nc)

    Other 1% (nc)

    This compares to the 11-point lead published in The Guardian on Monday, this implying precious little movement in the last few days of the campaign.

    We should note that ICM continues to interview, aiming for another c.500 interviews by the end of the day. The numbers might change, but we would not expect them to do so by much.

    According to Electoral Calculus seat projections. This would yield a Conservative majority of 96, with 373 seats in their possession compared to 199 for Labour (which might be seen by party insiders as a decent outcome). Not so much for the Liberal Democrats though, predicted to drop to only two seats on this modelling.

    Speculation about the polls being right or wrong is ubiquitous right now, with much of it concentrating on closer run polls produced by Survation and Yougov compared to us and ComRes. Intriguingly, a number high profile political journalists continue to predict that the Tories will do better than even our poll is saying (given musings they hear from the ground), so this really has become a nail-gnawing electoral event, rather than the absolute rout that we all were fixed on just a month ago.

    The public, though, may not have been reading the journo’s stuff. Only one in ten  (12%) expects a Tory majority at the 100+  top end of the range, with a plurality (38%) believing it will be secured, but only by double figures. Fewer than one in five (17%) expect a hung parliament, with the great optimists being the 7% who think Labour will secure the keys to Number 10 (18% of Labour voters they Jeremey Corbyn will smash it).

    But whatever the outcome, there’s a strong chance that Corbyn will stay on, according to the public. As many (24%) think he should do so no matter what (a few delighted Tories are included in this number), with the same number saying so only on the basis of a Labour victory. One in five (20%) thinks he should do so, so long as Labour do better than their 2015 showing – although that’s not a very high bar given the return to two-party politics. Beating Ed Miliband’s 31% in 2015 should not present a great difficulty now, given the implosion of UKIP and the Liberal Democrats general malaise.

    So the UK goes to the polls, with voters apparently armed with sufficient information to make an informed choice – 57% say they have been on enough of a receiving end to cast their ballot effectively, with Tory voters more so (72%) than their Labour counterparts (62%). Cynics amongst us may conclude that Theresa May’s policy-light manifesto didn’t take long to consume.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 1,532 GB adults aged 18+ on 6-7th June 2017. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been wighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

  • The Guardian – Campaign Poll 9

    The penultimate Guardian/ICM poll of the 2017 General Election campaign continues where the previous few ICM polls left off. The Conservatives retain an 11-point lead which they saw from ICM through the weekend, following up on the 12-point lead published in The Guardian last Monday.

    Headline vote intention figures are (compared to the last Guardian poll on 30th May):

    Conservative 45% (nc)

    Labour 34% (+1)

    Lib Dem 8% (nc)

    UKIP 5% (nc)

    Green 3% (nc)

    SNP 4% (nc)

    Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)

    Other 1% (nc)

    Compared to other polls over the weekend ours slots in the higher end of the Tory lead range, one point off ComRes 12-pointer. At the other end, Survation revealed a Tory lead of only 1-point. A moderately significant dividing line has emerged between sets of pollsters, largely pivoting on how we treat turnout. This has been widely discussed in polling circles since the Labour ‘surge’, which is at least partially based on younger people and 2015 non-voters saying they will now turnout, and vote for Labour.

    Those pollsters, like us, who show higher Tory leads are implicitly sceptical about the extent of this self-reported turnout. Those with lower Labour leads largely take it at face value. But whichever turnout weighting scheme is applied, the impact is clear – as Sturgis & Jennings of the University of Southampton established in their paper, which was published yesterday.

    https://sotonpolitics.org/2017/06/04/will-turnout-weighting-prove-to-be-the-pollsters-achilles-heel-in-ge2017/.

     

    Vote estimates with turnout weight

    Vote estimates without turnout weight

    Pollster Fieldwork End Date

    CON

    LAB CON CON LAB

    CON

    (%)

    (%) lead (%) (%)

    lead

    ORB/Sunday Telegraph 4th June

    46

    37 9 44 38 6
    IpsosMORI/Standard 1st June

    45

    40 5 40 43

    -3

    Panelbase 1st June

    44

    36 8 40 39

    1

    YouGov/Times 31st May

    42

    39 3 41 39

    2

    Kantar 30th May

    43

    33 10 40 34

    6

    ICM/Guardian 29th May

    45

    33 12 41 38

    3

    Survation (phone)

    27th May

    43 37 6 43 37

    6

    ComRes/Independent 26th May 46 34 12 43 38

    5

    Opinium 24th May

    45

    35 10 42 36

    6

    Survation (internet) 20th May

    46

    34 12 43 33

    10

    GfK 14th May

    48

    28 20 45 29

    16

    Mean  = 10   Mean  = 5
          S.D.  = 4.5  S.D. = 4.9

    The imposition of historical-based turnout probabilities (i.e assuming that behaviours will tend toward the historical pattern) drives down the Labour share and upweights the Tories. Self-reported turnout scales on the other hand – largely employed by those pollsters showing the smallest Labour leads – hardly impact on the headline numbers. June 9th will show which was the better scheme, but the age profile of voters from all General Elections since 1964, courtesy of the House of Commons Library, suggests over-statement of self-reported turnout is likely. For example, it’s hard to reconcile between 38%-54% estimated turnout among 18-24s at General Elections since 1997 with one recent poll, which suggested that 82% of them would turn out to vote.

    But who knows? Jeremy Corbyn has, to common agreement, run a good campaign and has motivated sections of the society who have tended to disengagement. On Friday, we will have the answer on whether he has bucked the trend, or not.

  • Sun on Sunday Campaign Poll 4

    Just vote intentions on this one. 11-point Tory lead.

    Nothing else here to see.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed an online sample of 2,051 adults aged 18+ online on 31 May-2nd June 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.

  • 18-24 Year Old Survey – Hope Not Hate / NUT

    ICM conducted an online survey of 18-24s, on behalf of Hope Not Hate supported by the National Union of Teachers.

    This 18-24 group is of primary interest to the election polls right now, with their actual turnout next Thursday being a crucial indicator of Labour’s strength.

    We post full data, noting the methodological difficulties of conducting vote intentions among a population sub-group. It is impossible to apply the standard suite of techniques (including our turnout probability model) to an 18-24 sample, simply because the necessary weighting target data is not available.

  • The Guardian – Campaign poll 8 (26-29 May)

    Nerves are now certainly jangling in Conservative Central Office, with a Yougov poll last weekend showing a drop to only a 5-point lead, before easing to a 7-point lead. Survation, out with a phone poll this morning, split the difference with a 6-pointer for GMTV.

    This, from an ICM 22-point Conservative lead just three weeks ago.

    We too see a continuing Tory tumble with our latest Guardian poll out this morning, which shows a more comfortable, but still rapidly dwindled 12-point Conservative lead. The Tories have dropped two points since our last Guardian poll a week ago, and one point compared to our Sun on Sunday poll published yesterday. Labour remain stable or are up one, depending on your comparison preference.

    This poll was completed before last night’s leaders’ grilling on Sky/Channel 4.

    The published numbers are (versus last Guardian poll published on 22nd May):

    Conservative 45% (-2)

    Labour 33% (nc)

    Lib Dem 8% (-1)

    UKIP 5% (+1)

    SNP 4% (nc)

    Green 3% (+1)

    Plaid Cymru 1% (+1)

    Other 1% (nc)

    The dramatic shifts in polling numbers have been argued in many places to be a function of a sudden surge in young voters and/or 2015 non-voters, motivated by Jeremy Corbyn’s populist platform including the abolition of student tuition fees and return to state funded grants. The Survation poll this morning revealed that 82% of 18-24s would/already have voted, which compares favourably with the next two older age cohorts and is only a tick below that of the uniformly voting 55+ cohorts.

    Either this requires a full re-writing of the psephological textbook or needs to be viewed with extreme caution. Our own poll suggests that about half that number (44% saying 10/10 certainty of turning out) of 18-24s will actually vote (even when fully unweighted, it was only 50% of them).

    Clearly, this difference does bring to a head the new methodological battleground. Some pollsters, especially ICM, believe that the 10-point turnout scale no longer has value in disentangling voters from non-voters, because the fieldwork process (phone and online) predominately fails to reach the latter who are less interested in politics and by corollary, less interested in answering survey research. ICM stopped phone polling after the EU referendum, partly because we found it incredibly difficult to reach certain demographic groups – especially 18-24s.

    We, along with other pollsters typically reached half or less of the 18-24 target (by phone). We note with interest that Survation did a brilliant job in reaching them though – a full 80% of the target number (up-weighting them takes care of the missing residual). Whether Survation achieved this through full Random Digit Dialling or whether they utilised some targeted sample would be interesting to know, but either way, the great irony about being good at their job is that this success could easily introduce the very skew that kills the poll’s accuracy. If the 18-24s reached are in some way different to the 18-24s not reached, i.e in saying they will disproportionately vote and vote Labour at that – when their wider counterparts will not and do not – it’s likely that the same polling failings of 2015 will be very much embedded in this sample.

    So how pollsters address the turnout issue is now central to what a poll says. We at ICM turnout weight using a matrix that assumes younger people will be less likely to vote than older, and less affluent people will be less likely to vote than the wealthy. This has been the general pattern of General Election’s for an age, and whether you believe our poll findings or those of others will depend on whether or not you think Jeremy Corbyn can actually buck that trend.

    What impact does it have today? Well, if we still used the 10-point scale for our turnout weight, we too would have been looking at Survation-type numbers.

    In other news, the poll assessed how well Theresa May handled the Manchester atrocity, with over half (53%) saying she did well; only 17% saying badly. If Corbyn had been PM and had to handle it, the same number (17%) think he would have done so better than May, but twice as many (32%) think he would have handled it worse.

    Other poll questions include how the campaign has impacted on probability of voting for different parties, with (unsurprisingly given the headline reduction in the Conservative lead) people now less likely to vote Conservative and more likely to vote Labour as a result of campaign action they have seen or heard about.

    Despite May’s problems over the last week, she has a net campaigning impact score of only -2, while Corbyn scores at +2, begging the question: how much does campaign activity really make a difference to national perceptions?

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,002 adults aged 18+ online on 26-29th 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.

  • 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.