• 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 – February Poll 2

    The latest Guardian/ICM poll is not unprecedented, but only three other polls in the monthly Guardian series dating all the way back to May 1983 (when ICM was Marplan) have produced a larger Conservative lead, and two of those were just days apart before the June 1983 General Election in which Margaret Thatcher humbled Michael Foot.

    The only other poll that had the Tories in such a commanding lead was in June 2008, as Gordon Brown wobbled his way toward the financial implosion associated with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the ‘election that never was’.

    Not uncharted waters then, but few people would be familiar with heady Tory leads of this size, which is based on the following numbers:

    Con 44% (+2)

    Lab 26% (-1)

    UKIP 13% (+1)

    Lib Dem 8% (-2)

    Green 4% (nc)

    SNP 4% (-1)

    PC *% (-1)

    Other 1% (+1)

    Labour is within touching distance of its floor, one-point below its current standing of 26% (25% having been witnessed twice, in June 2008 and Aug 2009). The Conservatives do still have some way to go before they match their high point of 47.5% in May 1983 (or if you prefer just the ICM part of the series since 1989, the 46% they achieved in May 1992).

    The poll contained three additional questions, one of which related to the role of Speaker, John Bercow, who has come in for some criticism for various behaviours that have not sat well with some members in the Commons. Asked if Bercow is doing a good job and should stay, 30% were able to agree, with most support emanating from Labour voters (43%). Slightly more though felt the opposite: 32% think that the Speaker should go because of partial behaviour – rising to 44% and 58% of Conservative and UKIP voters respectively.

    Donald Trump is another figure who splits the British public, although on this occasion the question is whether he should enjoy a State visit to Britain, or indeed any visit at all. One in five (18%) think he should be barred entry to the country, but many more (37%) think that he should be allowed to visit, but not given the full State visit treatment.  A further third (32%) do think a State visit is appropriate, with UKIP voters dominating voter splits on this matter (65%).

    Finally, the question of how EU nationals are dealt with within the Brexit process looks set to remain contentious, with four in ten (42%) believing that their status should not be confirmed until or unless UK nationals living in other EU nations are given the same right. Almost as many (41%) adopt a much softer view, saying that guaranteeing their right to remain here is the right thing to do, and may even be helpful with wider Brexit negotiations.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,028 adults aged 18+ online on 17-19th February 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 – February 2017

    It is now seven months since the EU referendum sent shock waves through the British and European political classes, but in that time the public have seemingly settled on a moderately stable impression of the state of the parties. The average score for the Conservatives in the Guardian/ICM series is 41%, which they narrowly overshoot in this latest poll (42%).

    In an equal and opposite reaction, Labour finds itself on 27% today, a point below their six month average score of 28%.

    Only the Liberal Democrats (10%) are currently moving things along in a positive direction, finding double figures in consecutive polls which puts them 2-points above their own post referendum average showing (8%). UKIP (12%) are in moderate decline.

    The headline figures compared to the last Guardian/ICM poll in January are:

    Conservative 42% (nc)

    Labour 27% (+1)

    Lib Dems 10% (nc)

    UKIP 12% (-1)

    Green 4% (-1)

    SNP 5% (+1)

    PC 1% (nc)

    Oth 1% (nc)

    Brexit has occupied the public’s thoughts in other ways though – in particular, on how it will manifest itself in terms of national and personal finances. If ever a question exposed the cleavage between two sets of voters this is it. Although there is only a 5-point difference between those who think Brexit will have a negative impact (43%) on the British economy compared to adopting a more positive interpretation (38%), this obscures a huge divide between Remainers and Leavers. Four in five Remainers (81%) think the economy will falter but seven in ten (70%) Leavers believe it will power on.

    But this doesn’t necessarily morph into similar views on personal finances, with a majority (54%) believing themselves to be insulated from Brexit trade winds by saying that it will make no difference to their own finances. Leavers (69%) are particularly settled on this view. Three times as many people do think that Brexit will have negative consequences for personal bank accounts though, with 34% saying there will be a downside, compared to only 12% who think positive benefits will come their way. Remainers, as we might expect, are particularly pessimistic are their own prospects, with 60% of them fearful of their financial future.

    But the referendum was about more than just economic viability, something reconfirmed by the 41% who predict a positive Brexit-related impact on the general way of life in Britain. A third (36%) deny this, with the views of Remainers and Leavers once more in stark contrast. Three-quarters (73%) of Leavers think things will change here for the better, but almost as many (69%) Remainers think Brexit will have a detrimental impact on the British way of things.

    In other news, the public are even more pessimistic about the chances of the Labour Party returning to power in the near future. Back in September, 36% thought that Labour could win the 2020 (16%) or 2025 General Election (20%), but this has fallen back to 33% now (2020: 15%; 2025: 18%). The proportion who think that they won’t return to power until 2040 at the earliest (or never will) has nearly doubled from 6% last September to 10% now.

    However, Labour’s core voters remain optimistic about their chances, with 41% believing that power is within their grasp at the next General Election, although this is 2-points lower than the equivalent September score (43%).

    Finally, in light of the debate about the ideal level of closeness that Theresa May’s government should adopt with new American administration, a preference for a diplomatic and balanced stance emerges (57%), with Britain being unafraid to be either critical or supportive as necessary. One in five (19%) believe a more hostile position should be adopted, with 15% believing that a trusted partnership would be the best option.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed an online sample of 1,984 adults aged 18+ on 3-5th February 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.