• The Guardian – February 2018 Poll

    The past week has seen the ‘Westminster bubble’ absorbed by the infighting, Brexit policy confusion, and potential leadership challengers to Theresa May’s Conservative government. Yet the British public remain largely unmoved in their overall voting intention. Comparing to our mega-poll released just over a week ago, the Conservatives remain unchanged on 41% and Labour slip down just one point to 40%.

     

    Last Thursday the Lib Dems had a surprise council by-election win over Labour in Sunderland, where they saw their vote increase by 49.5 percentage points to claim the Pallion seat formerly held by Labour. Whilst this is not replicated in our nationally representative polling, we do see their vote share bump up by one percentage point, from 7% to 8%. UKIP and the SNP remain unchanged on 4% and 3% respectively.

     

    However, the main story coming through in this poll mirrors much of the sentiment picked up in the Guardian/ICM Brexit mega-poll published just over a week ago: the British public are becoming more and more negative towards how Brexit is going. Brits think Brexit is going badly, and are far from agreement on which politician could make a better job of it.

     

    Back at the start of December, we asked how the Brexit process of the UK leaving the EU was going – only 21% of the British public said it was going well, with 51% saying it was going badly. Two months later, only 16% of the British public think the Brexit process is going well, with an increased majority (53%) now thinking it is going badly.

     

    These figures make especially concerning reading for the Tories, as now fewer than a third of Conservative voters think Brexit is going well (32%), down from almost 2 in 5 (39%) at the start of December. Indeed, it’s hard to find one substantial group of voters who think the Brexit process is going well. It may not be surprising to see that only 12% of 2016 Remainers think Brexit is going well, but it seems stark that even amongst 2016 Leave voters, less than a quarter (23%) say Brexit is going well.

     

    The only solace that Theresa May could take from these results is that voters are not clear on which politician they would prefer to be in charge of Brexit. We asked respondents to tell us if they agreed or disagreed with the Brexit views of Tony Blair, Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove, Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, and Keir Starmer. None of these politicians enjoyed ‘net positive’ support for their position on Brexit. In short, for each and every one of the politicians we asked about, more of the British public disagree with their Brexit views than agree with them.

     

    Of the politicians we asked about, Boris Johnson attracted the most support for his views on Brexit. However, only 32% of the British public say they agree with his Brexit stance, which in turn is only one percent above agreement with Theresa May’s Brexit views (31%), while a similar proportion (30%) of the British public say they agree with Nigel Farage’s views on the sort of Brexit the UK should adopt. By comparison, Jeremy Corbyn’s views on Brexit win the agreement of 23% of the British public – although many more (39%) disagree with him.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,021 adults aged 18+, between 2nd – 4th 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.

  • 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.

  • The Guardian – November 2017 Poll 2

    Last week’s budget was one of the most important for a governing party in recent years. On the one hand, the Government was seeking to restore some semblance of stability and direction following the general election debacle and the disappointing Tory party conference. On the other, Philip Hammond required a strong budget to shore up his own allegedly unsecure position amidst clamouring from Tory Brexiteers for him to be replaced.

     

    Set against this context, the results of the latest Guardian/ICM poll present a glimmer of hope for the embattled chancellor and his prime minister. Philip Hammond and Theresa May are perceived to be better able to manage the economy than the Labour pair of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (36% versus 28%), reinforcing the broadly positive reception to the speech from many in the blue camp at Westminster.

     

    That said, Downing Street will be concerned that the 8 percentage point Tory lead on economic competence is lower than the 13 point gap recorded last month (39% vs 26%) and significantly lower than the 31 point lead enjoyed in March (42% vs 12%) when the Conservatives were riding the crest of a wave before the general election.

     

    Nonetheless, the budget may have done enough to steady Tory nerves, especially since the top two parties remain level pegging in terms of voting intention. 41% of the public say they would vote Labour if there was a general election tomorrow and the same proportion (41%) would vote Conservative, unchanged from earlier this month and the sixth successive Guardian/ICM poll where no party has been in the lead.

     

    The background to this, of course, is the hotting-up of Brexit negotiations, with discord between Dublin and Westminster about the status of Northern Ireland and Theresa May under pressure from Brussels to increase Britain’s financial offer. If the PM is determined to follow public opinion on this issue then she should note that the majority of people think it is unacceptable for the UK to pay an exit fee of £20billion or more as a one off or in instalments as a form of compromise (£40 billion (71%), £30 billion (67%)  £20 billion (28%)). By a margin of 50% to 32%, the public believe Britain should pay £10 billion, considerably lower than the figure being talked about by the EU officials.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,029 adults 18+ online on 24th-26th November 2017. Interviews were conducted across Britain 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 – 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 – October Poll 2

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,022 adults aged 18+ online on 20-23rd 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.

  • The Guardian – September Poll 2

    If you’re Theresa May, good news is pretty hard to find right now, but some heart can be taken from a modestly positive response to her speech on Friday, in which plans were outlined for a 2-year Brexit continuation in payments to the EU in return for access to the single market. Four in ten (41%) supported the idea, rising to 58% of Remainers. A third (31%) do oppose, but a majority of Leavers doing so is not quite present (48%).

    Estimations and expectations of her performance continue to tumble though. In a direct head-to-head against Jeremey Corbyn on nine measures that we last tested earlier this year (14th May) the Prime Minister is trusted less now on each of them compared to then then. On negotiating Brexit, her lead over Corbyn has dropped from +34 to +14 with only 32% saying they trust the PM to do the best job on it.

    On the crucial issue of economic performance, the PM’s lead has halved to only +14, with 37% saying she’d do the best job compared to 23% believing Corbyn would.

    The Labour leader is in front on four areas of policy, including making Britain fairer, improving public services, the NHS and helping students. Indeed, on fairness, May’s lead earlier this year has gone in stark reverse, from a double-digit advantage to a double-digit deficit.

     

    May-17 Sep-17
    Negotiating a good Brexit +34 +14
    Managing the economy properly +28 +14
    Making Britain a fairer country +19 -15
    Improving public services generally -2 -16
    Protecting and improving the NHS -3 -18
    Controlling immigration +29 +19
    Ensuring students and pupils get a good education +4 -8
    Protecting people from threats at home and abroad +30 +18
    Protecting the interests of pensioners +1 -14

    Party share of the vote has fluctuated around neck-and neck over the past few months, and to little surprise Labour edge into a 2-point lead this week, possibly as a consequence of higher profile reporting during its conference weekend. Labour leads with 42%, with the Tories on 40% and the Liberal Democrats on 8%.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 1,968 adults aged 18+ on 22-24th 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 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 Poll – June 2017

    Labour hold a 2-point lead in the first post-election survey, which returns to basic methodological orthodoxies in light of the failure of turnout weighting and political interest weighting.

    This methodology was not a success in (unpublished online) polling immediately before the 2015 election, but would have been if it had been applied at the 2017 election. In light of this, all aspects of our polling methodology are under review.