• 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.

  • 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 7, May 19-21

    After the delivery of the party manifesto’s, polling over the weekend has indicated a resurgent, if still rather distant Labour Party. ICM has been the stickiest pollster for the Tories, and while we probably still are, our poll today reinforces the impression that Labour have won the short term manifesto battle. They rise to 33%, up five-points on last week, while the Tories drop a point to stand on (a still heady) 47%.

    The Tories have had a flat out bad weekend, and the wind does feel as if it’s suddenly blowing in a different direction, but we’ve seen short term effects like this before, and we’ve seen them dissipate. This is still a massive 14-point Tory lead, and still their election to throw away.

    The headline figures are:

    Con 47% (-1)

    Lab 33% (+5)

    LD 9% (-1)

    SNP 4% (nc)

    PC *% (nc)

    Green 2% (-1)

    UKIP 4% (-2)

    Oth 1% (nc)

    It is almost a whole year since ICM last saw Labour on 33% (June 2016), so it’s a surge that has been a long time coming. However, it does not arise in conjunction with a precipitous Tory collapse, and their 47% remains a number that the party will be wholly delighted with. Electoral Calculus predict an overall majority of 134, with the Tories only just shy of 400 seats. Labour do recover to 177, largely because their polling in their own marginal seats is much improved: a deficit of only 3-points compared to 17-20-points that we have seen in such places on ICM’s recent polls. It’s a step in the right direction.

    UKIP drop to 4%, the lowest online share we have ever allocated to the party. This is partly the result of a methodology change. ICM is able to systematically allocate every respondent to their political constituency via their full postcode, so this week we built into the interview software constituency-level information that precluded UKIP as a party to vote for in those seats where they are not standing a candidate (thus forcing people living in such places to make an alternative choice). We believe this is a good addition to our polling methods; it will explain part of the further UKIP drop but perhaps not all of it.

    ICM interviewed 2,004 adults aged 18+ online, on 19-21st 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.

  • 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.