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.