• The Guardian – October Poll

    As the conference season draws to a close, now is usually the best time to reflect on movements in party shares. There’s little doubt which party had a conference to savour, and which had one to cough and splutter over, but as is often the case once the throat lozenge has been swallowed ailments are quickly forgotten and people get on just as they did before, with little having changed.

    And so it is this time around – at least in terms of overall vote shares –  with deadlock between the main two parties in the Guardian/ICM series extending to a third poll in a row. Both sit on 41% share (down 1-point in both cases), so the conference season ends up as little more than a low scoring draw.

    However, with the re-in-statement of the marginals cross-break we can see that the Labour position is stronger in the constituencies that count – those that they and the Tories hold with a lead of up to 10%. In its own marginal seats, Labour’s lead is up to 22-points, but the equivalent position for the Tories is only a 5-five points. If Tory MPs needed something new to worry about, this could be it. On this basis, they’d likely lose a swathe of their currently held marginals even though the overall vote shares are neck and neck.

    But reputations are changing even if headline numbers are not, and Theresa May continues to watch her public standing decline while that of Jeremy Corbyn creeps up. When we last asked the Best PM question back in May 2017 (right at the point when the Tories massive campaign leads began to dissipate), May lead by 21-points over her Labour challenger. Now though, the lead is down to single digits, at only 9-points. Four in ten (41%) do think that May still represents the best PM option for Britain, but Corbyn is up to 32% with potential to climb further given the saintly impression that he has cultivated among diehard supporters.

    At least the PM can write off her conference speech difficulties as bad luck without much lasting damage. With as many people admiring her more (17%) as less as a person for the way she handled things – with most people (57%) not considering anything they saw to be a difference maker, she can easily move on.

    More than that though, she can take heart from the public’s dim view of Tory succession alternatives. With others at he No 10 helm the perceived chances of the Tories winning the next General Election appear to be minimal. For example, one in five (22%) think the Tories would be better off under Boris, but with 43% saying they’d be worse off the net effect of winning under his leadership is -21. Under Amber Rudd it’s -5, Philip Hammond -19, Jacob Ress-Mogg -23, Priti Patel -25 and Damian Green -20.

    Only the next generation is thought to be chances positive for the Tories, with “someone quite young and able who is not currently in government” getting a plus rating of +9. Who that might be is anyone’s guess, but it does appear that the public are calling time on the same old faces fronting up the Conservative Party.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,052 adults aged 18+ online on 6-8th 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.

     

     

  • Sun on Sunday poll – October 2017

    This poll contained two questions, one on whether Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn would be best able to deliver Brexit (May, just, although “Don’t know” came in first) and a second on what the PM should do next after her pretty awful conference week.

    David Wooding’s write up can be found here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4636017/theresa-may-pm-brexit-poll/

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 1,024 adults aged 18+ on 6-8th 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 – 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.

  • Vote Intention Poll – July 22-24th 2016

    In the latest ICM Unlimited poll, the Labour Party share of the vote continues to drop steeply, now down to 27% – a figure not seen (in the ICM/Guardian) series since October 2009. It drops 2-points from our most recent published poll (13-15th July) with the Conservatives up +4 on the same poll, and again at a level not seen since the same October 2009 poll.

    Clearly, the relative calm associated with the handover of power from David Cameron to Theresa May, allied to the current Labour leadership challenge weighs heavily on electors’ minds.

    The shares are:

    Conservative 43% (+4)

    Labour 27% (-2)

    UKIP 13% (-1)

    Liberal Democrat 8% (-1)

    SNP 4% (nc)

    Green 4% (nc)

    Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)

    Other *% (-1)

  • Sun on Sunday Theresa May Poll

    Theresa May strolls into Downing Street with a fresh team and a honeymoon vibe, perhaps confronting big and tricky issues but sure of her position both as the unquestioned leader of the party and with a growing gap over the Labour opposition, embroiled in as great an implosion as any witnessed in modern British politics.

    On core voting intentions, May’s Conservatives increase their orthodox polling lead from 8-points before her ascension last week to 10-points now, just shy of the politically symbolic 40% mark. They stand on 39% (+1), but Corbyn’s Labour sheds another point, now below the equally symbolic 30% mark, polling just 29% (-1). The figures for publication are shown in the first column of the table below:

    But what impact do naming the Labour leadership contenders have on these numbers? The new Prime Minister may smirk as she reads that naming her and her current opposite number, Jeremy Corbyn, pushes the Tories up to stratospheric heights of 43%, while Labour dip further (29%).  Should she be concerned by the Labour challengers, she may smile just a little more when she sees that Angela Eagle pushes the Labour share down to 26%, while Owen Smith does slightly better by securing his party a potential 27%, both short of the number that the much derided current leader polls.

    That may change, of course, as the public come to know more of Eagle and Smith, both in terms of their policy positions and personal characteristics. The full table for comparison is as follows:

     

    Main vote intentions May vs Corbyn May vs Eagle May vs Smith
    Conservative 39% 43% 43% 42%
    Labour 29% 28% 26% 27%
    Liberal Democrat 9% 8% 8% 8%
    UKIP 14% 13% 12% 12%
    SNP 4% 4% 5% 5%
    PC 1% 1% 1% 1%
    Green 4% 3% 5% 5%
    Other 1% 1% 1% 1%

    While May might think that such numbers make calling an early General Election an attractive proposition, the public, on balance, fail to see why she should. Half (50%) think she should carry on until the end of the fixed-term, while 39% believe it would be worth confirming her own mandate.

    Brexit is, of course, a significance challenge for her government, but out of the starting gates the public are most likely to believe she will secure good terms for Britain’s exit (49%), rising to 77% confidence among prospective Tory voters. One in seven (14%) think she’ll deliver but on bad terms, while a similar number (13%) think that she won’t see Britain out of the EU while she inhabits Number 10. The public would like to hear an end to the carping about the referendum result, with 56% saying that they’re bored of the complaints and that the Remainers should get over it.

    The public are realistic about the timeline for Brexit though, with half (52%) thinking we’ll still be in the EU in two years’ time, although most (69%) think the job will be done within five years (69%) and ten years (71%) respectively.

    Access to the free market is more important to people (38%) than free movement of people (10%), but when it comes to the things that May should do, a cap on immigration gets most mentions although getting on with Brexit is thought to be the single most important thing on her to-do list.

    The public would agree that Scotland should remain part of the UK, with only 32% seeing the need for a second Indyref.

    May is seriously thought to have the backing of her party (70% compared to Corbyn’[s miserable 11%, while May looks to the future according to 56% (Corbyn 33%) and has the courage to say what’s right rather than what’s popular (55% v Corbyn 47%). She’s in a different league on being good in a crisis (40% vs 16). Only in understanding people like me (26%) does May begin to struggle, with slightly more (29%) saying it about Corbyn. Only 16% would like to share a pint with May down the pub, with 29% saying that Corbyn would be good company.

    May & Hammond separate themselves completely (53%) from Corbyn/McDonnell (15%) on running the economy.

  • Vote intention poll

    The latest vote intention figures include a number of methodological changes that have been in the pipeline for some time, but needed the reinforcement of a successful outing at the EU referendum before full confidence in them could be established. Given momentous events at Westminster with today’s news that Theresa May is the sole politician left standing in the Conservative’s leadership race (and that the changes had little impact compared to last week’s more pre-changes publication), it seems as good a time as any to introduce them now, allowing an ICM benchmark to be set at the outset of Theresa May’s likely leadership of the party.

    In summary, the ICM vote intention numbers are based on the following:

    1. The release of email invites staggered over a weekend in order to prevent certain types of respondent bed blocking geo-demographic quotas (introduced pre-referendum).
    2. Additional quotas set on voting in the 2015 General Election, allowing for DK/Refusal contributions (introduced late 2015).
    3. Past vote weighting to the 2015 result. The impact of this is negligible, given the application of political quotas as stated in (2) immediately above.
    4. Replacement of the traditional turnout modelling scheme based on the 1-10 probability of actually voting in General Elections. This scheme is no longer fit for purpose in an age of overstating turnout, both in total and relative terms. Instead, ICM has constructed a turnout probability matrix cross-referencing age and social grade, modelled to 2015 actual turnout levels via estimates from various sources, including the British Election Studies (New).
    5. The introduction of political interest weighting, also based on BES numbers (New).
    6. Partial refuser and total refuser post-survey adjustment, both introduced after the 2015 General Election.

     

    The combined impact of these changes is small, compared to this poll but based on last week’s methods, or indeed last week’s pre-change poll but based these methods applied. As a rough guide, the impact is to add 1-point to the Conservatives, while taking off 1-point from Labour.

    The voting figures are:

    Conservatives 38%

    Labour 30%

    Lib Dems 8%

    UKIP 15%

    SNP 5%

    Green 4%

    Other *%