• 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 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 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 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 1

    In a poll conducted for the Sun on Sunday, a slight fightback is recorded for Labour, but not to the extent identified in a couple of other polls. Indeed, this lower Conservative lead is a largely based on ICM’s methodological adjustment, which returned 2-points to Labour directly from the Tories as part of the Partial Refuser adjustment. Without that, it would have been “as you were”.

    Headline figures:

    Con 47%

    Labour 28%

    Lib Dem 9%

    UKIP 8%

    Green 4%

    SNP 4%

    PC/Oth *%

     

     

  • ITV Poll for Peston on Sunday

    In a poll undertaken in the middle of last week  and published by Peston on Sunday on ITV, the headline numbers were:

    Con 48%

    Lab 26%

    LD 10%

    UKIP 8%

    SNP 4%

    Green 3%

    Plaid 1%

    Other 1%

     

    This 22-point Conservative lead is the highest ever recorded by ICM. Quite a thing.

  • The Guardian April Campaign Poll 3

    The latest Guardian /ICM poll has another 21-point lead for the Conservatives, notching up a record 48% share of the vote.

    We added a new cross-break showing how voting patterns break down in the marginal seats, with the Tories on a stunning 48% vs 31% in those seats currently held by Labour on a majority of less than 15%. It is only a cross-break based on 168 voters, and should be treated with much caution, but indicates significant losses for the Labour Party.

    Headline figures:

    Con 48% +2

    Lab 27% +2

    LD 10% -1

    UKIP 7% -1

    SNP 4% =

    Green 3%

    PC 1% +1

    Oth *% -1

  • The Guardian April (1) Poll

    In the latest instalment of record-setting woe for the Labour Party – who are down a further point from a fortnight ago – their share of the vote has now hit their historical floor of 25% in the Guardian/ICM series. It is their lowest showing in the post-2015 political cycle, and matches only two polls for Labour futility (June and August 2009, when Gordon Brown’s government was at its lowest ebb) in the 34-year series run.

    It’s not so much of a hard landing as we might expect though, as it is cushioned by a 2-point drop in the Tory share. If any consolation can be found, it’s that the Conservative lead consequently narrows to 18-points compared to 19-points last time out.

    The triggering of Article 50 this week may or may not have had a direct impact on the poll shares, but with both of the two main political protagonists down a short rung someone must have taken advantage. ICM polls have been slower to spot rising support for the Liberal Democrats than others, but on this occasion Tim Farron’s party does enjoy a 2-point leap, taking them to 11%, which is their highest from us since January 2015. The electoral conditions do favour the yellow team right now, and maybe at last we are seeing successes at local level elections translating to the national stage.

    Full figures for publication are:

    Conservative 43% (-2)

    Labour 25% (-1)

    Lib Dem 11% (+2)

    UKIP 11% (+1)

    SNP 5% (+1)

    Green 4% (nc)

    Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)

    Other 1% (nc)

    With the UK’s exit from the EU now out of the limbo stage and into the phony war, the headlines have focussed on both sides’ establishment of hard-line negotiating positions, red lines and implied threats to the process. In the end, if a deal is to be made, compromise will have to be found somewhere. So this week ICM tested some ideas that might smooth the negotiating process. Six possible positions were put to the British public, to see what they might be willing to relent on during the two-year process.

    “Not much” is the answer, particularly not cold, hard cash.

    Exit payments of £50b have been bandied about by Michael Barnier, chief negotiator for Brussels, but any UK capitulation on money likely won’t wash with hard-pressed British taxpayer. In fact, only one in ten (10%) are prepared to accept payments equating to less than half of that (£20 billion). One in seven (15%) would stretch to a £10b payment, with a third (33%) prepared to accept a fractional £3 billion in compensation for commitments made by the EU when the UK was a member.

    In case the EU thinks it can divide and conquer, only a single voting sub-group reaches majority support for the £3 billion payment – Lib Dem Remainers (53%) – although Labour Remainers (49%) and the few Liberal Democrat Leavers (49%) nearly join them in the ranks who would find such a payment acceptable.

    When it comes to a £10 billion or indeed a £20 billion exit fee – never mind more than that, the British public appear minded to offer the EU some kind of Chuchillian two-fingered gesture.

    However, other compromises might be in play. Continued but temporary freedom of movement in exchange for a transitional deal that eases the burden of leaving the single market would be acceptable to a majority of people (54%), with all but UKIP voters behind this idea. Leavers (35%) are understandably also less willing.

    Giving preferential treatment to EU citizens who want to come to live and work here over non-EU migrants might also be positively received by the British public, with 48% finding it acceptable (28% unacceptable), but continuing to obey EU Courts of Justice rulings for a few years after Brexit is another compromise that might make the British bristle (34% vs 47%).

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,005 adults aged 18+ online on 31 March – 2nd April 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.