• 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.

  • 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.

  • The Guardian Campaign Poll 6

    In a week when the eagerly awaited but already much discussed manifestos drop, Theresa May can head into it confident that her poll lead is largely impregnable. While other polls of late have seen Labour increase its share into the 30s, (beyond the share that both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband secured), ICM still puts Jeremy Corbyn’s party on 28% (which is up one point compared to the Guardian’s last poll earlier this month).

    The question as to why ICM has consistently lower Labour shares than other pollsters is fairly easy to identify – our turnout weighting mechanism is doing exactly the job we intended it to, reducing the power in the sample of those historically less likely to vote in General Elections, and doing the reverse for those typically most likely to vote. Other methodological adjustments do, of course, leave their own imprint – sometimes underpinning and sometimes counter-balancing the turnout weight, but turnout weighting is undoubtedly pivotal to our headline numbers.

    The numbers for publication are:

    Conservative 48% (-1)

    Labour 28% (+1)

    Liberal Democrat 10% (+1)

    UKIP 6% (nc)

    Green 3% (nc)

    SNP 4% (nc)

    PC *% (nc)

    Other 1% (nc)

    Other questions probed the importance of various challenges for the next government. The problem for policy-makers is encapsulated in questions like these, where pretty much everyone thinks everything is important. The NHS (89%), managing the economy (88%), protection from threats (84%) and Brexit negotiations (81%) top the list, but with the lowest scoring area (surprisingly, controlling immigration) at 69%, there’s not much separation.

    However, in a chink of light for Jeremy Corbyn, he is trusted to do a better job on three of them compared to Theresa May: on making a fairer Britain, protecting the NHS and improving the quality of public services. It is only a chink though, as the gap on those three between the two leaders is marginal, and May leads by a distance on other matters including the economy, Brexit negotiations, protecting the public and immigration.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,030 adults aged 18+ on 12-14th 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.

  • Brighton Pavilion Poll

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 1,001 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 27th April-1st May 2017. Interviews were conducted across the constituency and the results have been weighted to the profile of all constituency adults.

  • The Guardian – Campaign Poll 5

    The local council election triumph for the Conservatives has given pollsters much food for thought.

    On one hand, the probable Conservative landslide is now more securely etched onto the electoral canvass, confirming the general picture that polls have been showing since just after the Brexit referendum. However, in recognising that the Tory leads like this – a 22-pointer which is an outright record in the Guardian/ICM series dating back to 1983 – are now underpinned with real votes (even if there are difficulties translating outcomes from one election to polls measuring another), we must also reflect on the fact that the Projected National Share (PNS) from the council elections predicts a closer General Election race.

    First things first. This poll is remarkable, and historic. It puts the Conservatives on 49%, and Labour on 27%, implying that 22-point lead. Not only is the lead an outright record for any ICM poll, but the Conservative share is a record in the Guardian/ICM series. It is only beaten by a 49.5% share that we recorded for the Sunday Mirror in May 1983, when ICM was called Marplan. Also noteworthy is the continued decline of UKIP, now measured at 6%, its lowest share from ICM since January 2013.

    The top line figures are:

    Conservative 49%

    Labour 27%

    Lib Dem 9%

    UKIP 6%

    SNP 4%

    Green 3%

    PC *%

    Other 1%

    So how should we reflect on a 22-point Tory lead when the PNS suggests ‘only’ an 11-point lead (Professor John Curtice estimated the PNS at Con 38%, Lab 27%, LD 18% UKIP 5%). First of all there’s the long established recommendation to look at the shares not the lead. Every point off Labour snaffled by the Tories equates to a 2-point move in the lead, therein making a nice story but somewhat exaggerating the underlying positions.

    Secondly – and this is not meant to be a positive spin story – we can be moderately pleased that in this poll, we exactly match the Labour share, and it’s almost smack on UKIP’s. The story of polls for just about forever has been the over-statement of Labour’s position, so if it’s the case that we’ve solved that riddle, well, it’s a good start. But the jury is very much still out on that and only the General Election will vindicate us, or not.

    Clearly, if we are to take the PNS as the best evidence available of the current state of play, we’re over-stating the Tories and seriously under-representing the Liberal Democrats. This is a whole new experience for the polling profession, well versed as we are in pretty much doing the opposite. With the last two years spent on the development of polling methods specifically devised with the intention of confronting the Labour problem, the question must be considered that we’ve gone too far the other way.

    In the last weeks, we’ve been paying close attention to the individual value of each of our post data collection methodological techniques, to see how far each is actually pushing the vote shares in different directions compared to raw data. Much more on this will be revealed at a later date, but the evidence so far is that the techniques are working in exactly in the ways, and with the relative strengths (for the main two parties) we were looking for.

    Indeed, although this is an exercise in the absurd, if we had applied these techniques to our final prediction poll before the 2015 election, instead of predicting a 1-point Labour win as we did, we would have predicted a much more accurate election outcome.

    But of course we have sought to correct an error that has affected the main two parties, and now we live under significantly different electoral conditions. The performance of the Liberal Democrats in the council elections – at least in terms of vote shares rather than seats – implies we have a new, but real problem with them if PNS is correct. That said, my view prior to 2015 was that we were over-stating the extent of their fall, but in the event we were largely not.

    Some readers may feel my pain.

    It would be rash for a pollster to panic themselves into methodological revision at this point. Too often of late, we have seen last-minute methods moves that worsened predictive performance, and brought associated accusations of herding. It would be wrong for any pollster with their reputation on the line to rule out methodological tweaks, especially if it’s obvious that final poll samples are clearly out of kilter, but better to trust in the methodology than to rush into error.

     ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,038 adults aged 18+ online, on 5-7th 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 2

    The giant Tory lead continues to be steady and stable, with our poll this week showing it at 18-points over Labour, just one down on last week. The Tories do drop a point, now sitting at 46%, with Labour steady on 28% for the third ICM poll running and as it was last Sunday.

    Figures for publication are:

    Con 46% (-1 on last Sunday)

    Lab 28% (nc)

    LD 10% (+1)

    Green 4% (nc)

    UKIP 8% (nc)

    SNP 4% (mc)

    PC *% (nc)

    Oth *% (nc)

    If the headline figures are not miserable enough for Labour, their apparent capitulation in their own key marginals continues to look like a real prospect. On this poll the Conservatives lead in such places by 19-points – slightly out performing their national share –  putting them on the highest figure yet we’ve seen in these crucial constituencies. This would imply wipe-out for Labour, losing to the Tories by such a margin according to these numbers that Theresa May would return to Downing Street armed with an overall majority of at least 132 seats.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,020 adults aged 18+ online on 3-5th 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.

  • The Guardian – Campaign Poll 4

    The “Labour surge” being suggested over the weekend as a result of improvement in a couple of polls is not really being seen in these parts, as our latest Guardian/ICM regular poll returns another 19-point lead in favour of the Conservatives. This matches our poll on the weekend and only reduces the Tory lead by 2-points, from its record setting high of 21-points spotted twice earlier this month.

    The nightmare scenario for Labour of, once again, being over-stated in the polls allied to a worse performance in the marginal seats compared to nationally is still an unsettled prospect – for them and for pollsters alike. We shall see if Labour’s share (28% in this poll but topping 30% in others) drops back from the party’s 2015 and 2010 performances, but it remains true that the Tories hold a commanding 14-point lead in Labour held marginal seats in England and Wales where they have a majority of up to 25%. Numbers like these would be true meltdown territory – such an outcome would yield a Conservative majority north of 140, and put them within touching distance of 400 seats in Parliament.

    Adopting a wisdom of crowds approach to predicting the result in 2017 will not help settle Labour’s queasy stomach. One in three (34%) expect an overall majority of 100+ seats, with another 38% suggesting a smaller overall majority will occur. Bundled together, almost three-quarters of the public are expecting to return with an overall majority. Labour intenders remain somewhat optimistic though, with half expecting their party to be part of a coalition (26%) or indeed to win an outright majority of its own (23%). It’s fair to say that either they, or this and other pollsters, will be quite wrong about things.

    Being perceived as a no-hoper does not help Jeremy Corbyn. As many (15%) are put off voting for him as motivated to do so (14%) by the idea of a crushing defeat , which implies that Labour cannot even find solace there.

    The ‘ground war’ also appears to be going the way of the Conservatives. In terms of impressions gained of the campaign itself, the Tories have a positive impression (+3), but Labour are on -6. The Lib Dems (-7) and particularly UKIP (-12) have campaign work to do. Theresa May has received some stick for failing to respond to press invites or to speak directly to the public, but it looks like a canny strategy thus far: four in ten (41%) think she’s running a good campaign, almost double the number of Jeremy Corbyn (21%).

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 1,970 adults aged 18+ online between 28th April and 2nd May. 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.

  • Guardian Poll – July 2015

    In the July Guardian/ICM poll, the Conservatives retain a solid, if slightly reduced lead of 4-points. They stand on 38% (up 1-point) on last month, with Labour benefitting from some switching to the tune of 3-points, rising to 34%. The Liberal Democrats shed a couple (6%) and UKIP stand fast on 13%. The Greens and other parties drop 1 apiece.

  • Final General Election 2015 Poll

    In the full and final ICM/Guardian prediction for the 2015 General Election, Labour edge into a 1-point lead compared to yesterday, with the parties holding its 35% share but the Tories dropping back 1-point.. The poll suggests the following vote shares, compared to their standings last week:

    Conservative 34%           (-1)
    Labour 35%                       (+3)
    Liberal Democrat 9%    (nc)
    UKIP 11%                           (-2)
    Green 4%                           (-1)
    SNP 5%                               (+1)
    Plaid Cymru 1%               (nc)
    Other 1%                            (nc)

    All the final polls are now in, and if any late swing has been present nearly all suggest Labour to have been the beneficiary (to this point).

    This conventional poll element contrasts somewhat with the ‘Wisdom Index’ result, which projects a 3-point victory margin for the blue team. The approach was the most accurate pre-election prediction before the 2010 election, with respondents asked what they think the result will be, rather than how they will themselves vote in it. This time around, the groupthink suggests that the Tories will get the same 35%, but that Labour will only secure 32%. It is the Liberal Democrats who are thought not to fall so far, with the party projected to get 14% rather than the 9% predicted on the orthodox element of the poll. UKIP are predicted to get 10%, as are the ‘net’ of all other parties. The Wisdom projection is:

    Conservative 35%
    Labour 32%
    Liberal Democrats 14%
    UKIP 10%
    Others 10%

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a random sample of 2,023 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 3-6th May 2015. 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.