• The Guardian – September 2018 Poll 1

    Some commentators have decried the war over words in both main parties that that burst into full-sight over the weekend. But while competing Brexit, leadership and party priorities simmered to the surface, ICM were busy polling whether the British public had substantively changed their position on Brexit.

    If there was another EU referendum tomorrow, how would you vote?

    We asked this question in both January and April this year – both times finding the slimmest of leads for Remain over Leave. Yet at the third time of asking, we have seen a slightly bigger shift, with Remain creeping up one percentage point to 46% and Leave slipping down two percentage points to 42% from April.

    Let’s not get over-excited about these figures – these are still small shifts in numbers, and the result is still considered well within the margin of error. Nevertheless, this is the largest lead for Remain we’ve seen across the three times we’ve asked the question this year. And, when excluding those who prefer not to say, don’t know and wouldn’t vote, the results of this question do catch the eye. If an exact repeat of the 2016 Referendum were to be held tomorrow, this poll predicts an exact reversal of 2016’s result – with the country split 52% to 48%, but this time in favour of Remain.

    We also re-asked a question that was also featured in our Brexit mega-poll in January, and last asked back in May. Asking on the likely impact of Brexit on personal finances, the economy and way of life in general, we see a similarly grim appraisal overall from the British public as observed in May and January.

    Brexiteers may take solace from the fact that there are no huge negative shifts at the overall level. But scratch the surface, and there looks like there might be something interesting happening among those who voted Leave in 2016. Leavers are still more positive than negative about the aspects of Brexit we ask about, but the gap between those who are positive and negative about the impact of Brexit on the way of life in Britain today in general has narrowed by 8 percentage points since the start of the year. Even more strikingly, the equivalent gap has narrowed by 10 percentage points when it comes to the impact on the economy.

    So while the country remains strongly polarised along the same lines as the 2016 Referendum, there are small signs that Leavers’ initial optimism maybe, just maybe, might be fading at the margins.

    And what for the impact on our headline voting intention figures?

    It’s a story of slight but not significant changes. With the Tories up two points to 42% and Labour down one point to 39%, what was a dead heat in our last poll three weeks ago turns into a three percentage point lead for Theresa May’s Conservatives. Percentage point changes on our previous poll are in the table below in brackets.

    Conservative

    42% (+2)

    Labour

    39% (-1)

    LibDem

    8% (nc)

    SNP

    3% (-1)
    PC

    *% (nc)

    Green

    3% (+1)

    UKIP

    4% (-2)
    Other

    *% (-1)

    We still haven’t seen the two main parties break out of a three percentage point bind of each other in a Guardian/ICM poll since the 2017 election. The wait continues.

    On 23rd June 2016, a referendum was held on if the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union.

    If there was another EU referendum tomorrow, how would you vote?

    • For the UK to Remain in the EU (Jan: 45%; Apr: 45%; Sep 46%)
    • For the UK to Leave the EU (Jan: 43%; Apr: 44%; Sep 42%)
    • I wouldn’t vote (Jan: 6%; Apr: 5%; Sep 6%)
    • Prefer not to say (Jan: 1%; Apr: 1%; Sep 1%)
    • Don’t know (Jan: 5%; Apr: 5%; Sep 5%)
    Impact of Brexit on the British economy
    January May September
    2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers

    Positive impact

    9% 58% 9% 56% 11% 52%

    Negative impact

    75% 12% 77% 10% 75%

    16%

    Makes no difference

    6% 19% 7% 18% 7%

    19%

    Don’t know 9% 11% 6% 15% 7%

    13%

     

    Impact of Brexit on your own personal finances
    January May September
    2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers

    Positive impact

    5% 23% 7% 23% 9% 22%

    Negative impact

    53% 10% 54% 9% 56%

    11%

    Makes no difference

    27% 55% 29% 53% 21%

    54%

    Don’t know 15% 12% 11% 14% 14%

    13%

     

    Impact of Brexit on the way of life in Britain today in general
    January May September
    2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers

    Positive impact

    9% 62% 9% 63% 11% 57%

    Negative impact

    66% 8% 70% 5% 68%

    7%

    Makes no difference

    15%

    22% 14% 21% 12%

    23%

    Don’t know

    8%

    8% 7% 11% 9%

    13%

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,051 adults aged 18+, between 7th – 9th September 2018. 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 – August 2018 Poll 1

    Brexit: Deal or No Deal?

    Brexit infographic V3.2

     

    Click here to view the above graphic as a high-quality PDF.

     

    This week’s headline voting intention results are broadly in line with two weeks ago (20th – 22nd July) with Labour enjoying a slender one percentage point lead. In other words, it’s still level pegging which may be a positive thing for both of Britain’s two big parties, with the Tories fighting a civil war over the EU and Labour embroiled in accusations of anti-Semitism.

     

    That said, of the two leaders, Theresa May is perhaps likely to be disappointed that Labour’s poll rating has not been more dented by the anti-Semitism issue given the damaging publicity it attracted last week and over the weekend. It represents the second successive poll where Labour has enjoyed a lead over the Conservatives, the first time since December-January.

     

    If anything, the main parties – including the Lib Dems – have slipped back a little at the expense of Ukip which is polling at its highest level since 12-14 May 2017 when it last recorded 6%. It represents a continuous improvement for the party since the nadir of 16-18 March this year when it sank to just 1%.

     

    Conservative

    39% (-1)*

    Labour

    40% (-1)

    Lib Dem

    7% (-1)

    SNP

    4% (+1)

    PC

    *% (nc)

    Green

    3% (nc)

    UKIP

    6% (+1)

    Other

    *% (nc)

    * Change from previous poll in brackets

     

    We also asked a new question in order to tease out the nuances surrounding public opinion toward the UK’s ongoing negotiations to leaving the EU. The overall results are set out below including a net ‘UK leaves with a deal’ category to aid our analysis. Key findings show that:

     

    • When asked what is best for the country as a whole, more people say that the UK should leave with some sort of deal rather than without a deal (42% vs 16%). Three in ten (31%) believe it would be best if the UK stayed in after a second referendum.
    • When asked what would be worst of the country as a whole, over two-fifths (43%) of the public state leaving the EU without a deal.
    • There are subtle but important differences in opinion between what is best for the country and for them personally. For instance, a higher % believe staying in the EU is best for them personally than it is for the UK overall (36% vs 31%).
    • Whether for the country or personally, a Canada style deal is seen as more beneficial than the prime minister’s Chequers plan or a Norway style arrangement.
    • The majority of Brits believe that Brexit will actually happen but there is uncertainty about the precise outcome. Just under two-fifths (37%) state the country is most likely to leave with some form of deal but a significant minority (27%) think there will be no deal. A further quarter say the UK will leave but with a deal unresolved or that Brexit will be delayed. As many as half (50%) say the UK staying in the EU is least likely to occur.

     

    A. Best for the country as a whole B. Worst for the country as a whole C. Best for you personally D. Worst for you personally E. Most likely to happen F. Least likely to happen

    UK leaves without a deal

    16% 43% 18% 43% 27% 18%

    NET: UK leaves with a deal

    42% 13% 36% 12% 37% 18%

    The UK leaves the EU on time with a deal along the lines set out in the Chequers plan

    (10%) (5%) (10%) (4%) (16%) (6%)

    The UK leaves the EU on time with a ‘harder’ version of Chequers more like a Canada style free trade deal

    (22%) (4%) (17%) (5%) (10%) (6%)

    The UK leaves the EU on time with a ‘softer’ version of Chequers more like a Norway arrangement

    (10%) (4%) (9%) (4%) (11%) (5%)

    UK leaves but with deal unresolved

    3% 9% 3% 9% 15% 6%

    Brexit is delayed

    8% 7% 7% 6% 14% 8%

    UK decides to stay in EU after second referendum

    31% 29% 36% 30% 7% 50%
    TOTAL 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

    100%

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,049 adults aged 18+, between 3rd and 5th August 2018. 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 2018 Poll 2

     

    It’s been a busy two weeks in politics since our last ICM/Guardian poll. Cabinet resignations, Trump’s visit to the UK, a series of nail-bitingly close Brexit votes, the breakdown of pairing MPs on maternity leave in those votes and Labour’s ongoing antisemitism row are just some of the stories that have dominated the political news over the past fortnight.

     

    But in this maelstrom of political news, public opinion polling can provide a refreshing insight on what impact – if any – these stories are having on the British public at large.

     

    When it comes to our headline voting intention, we are seeing some noteworthy shifts. While we wouldn’t consider these statistically significant, in what has been a generally deadlocked political climate, we can see a shift in our polls which is larger than what we have been used to of late.

     

    What was a two-point lead for the Conservatives has completely evaporated over the past two weeks, and has turned into a one-point lead for Labour. And while we have seen an aggregate three percentage-point swing in vote share from Tories to Labour, we shouldn’t ignore UKIP – who continue their slow and steady progress from the previous poll, up another percentage point to 5%.

     

    There has been some speculation that events of the past few weeks have confirmed the current Conservative government as pushing a soft Brexit in the eyes of hard Brexiteers, hence the gain of UKIP at the Conservatives. On this poll alone, it’s simply too early to tell if this is the case. But should we see UKIP’s vote share increase further in our next poll at the expense of the Conservatives, then we may need to revisit this analysis.

     

    The results are shown in the table below, with percentage point changes from our previous poll in brackets.

     

    Conservative

    40% (-1)

    Labour

    41% (+2)

    LibDem

    8% (-1)

    SNP

    3% (nc)

    PC

    *% (nc)

    Green

    3% (nc)

    UKIP

    5% (+1)

    Other

    1% (nc)

     

    However, the below may illuminate some of the shifts in headline voting intention. We’ve brought back a tracker question we last asked in January on which of the two main party leaders the public trust most to do the best job in a range of key policy areas.

     

    While most of the scores haven’t shifted much over the past half a year, one result grabs the attention immediately – the public’s trust in Theresa May being able to negotiate a good Brexit deal for the UK has collapsed. It used to be the second strongest area for May compared to Corbyn on the areas we’ve tested, beaten only by protecting people from threats at home and abroad, but now it falls to her fourth strongest area. Whereas over a third (35%) of Brits trusted May to successfully negotiate Brexit at the start of the year, now it’s only one in four (26%). It wasn’t too long ago – back in May 2017 – that almost half (47%) of the public trusted May most to do the best job of negotiating Brexit. To see this proportion collapse to just over a quarter (26%) on what’s considered the biggest issue of the day could explain some of the pressure exerted on her leadership coming from within her party in recent weeks.

     

    The only consolation for May’s supporters is seeing Corbyn treading water in his perceived ability to successfully negotiate Brexit, with only 18% trusting Corbyn over May.

     

    When couched in terms of negotiating Brexit, there seems to be a public appetite for someone else entirely. We’ve seen those who trust neither May nor Corbyn to negotiate a good Brexit deal jump from 31% in January to 44% in this poll. This now means that, more than in any other area we ask, a large slice of the British public tend to trust neither May nor Corbyn on Brexit. So for as long as Brexit remains the major political issue at stake, we shouldn’t expect rumours of leadership challenges to Theresa May to go away any time soon.

     

    The other point worth noting is that trust in May to protect and improve the NHS has improved since January – with around one in four (26%) now trusting her over Corbyn on the NHS, compared to around one in five (21%) back in January. While Corbyn still leads May with almost 2 in 4 (38%) trusting him more to protect and improve the NHS, it’s possible that the promise of additional NHS spending – funded by that controversial ‘Brexit dividend’ – has had the effect of boosting May’s perceptions as a safe custodian of the NHS.

     

    The headline results to this question are below, including historical data for the difference between the two leaders scores in previous polls.

     

      Theresa May Jeremy Corbyn May lead Jan-18 Sep-17 May-17
    Protecting people from threats at home and abroad 38 19 19 17 18 30
    Controlling immigration 34 18 16 15 19 29
    Managing the economy properly 35 22 13 12 14 28
    Negotiating a good Brexit deal for the UK 26 18 8 16 14 34
    Ensuring pupils and students get a good education 29 33 -4 -3 -8 4
    Protecting the environment 23 29 -6 -4 n/a n/a
    Protecting the interests of pensioners 24 33 -9 -12 -14 1
    Making Britain a fairer country 25 36 -11 -12 -15 -1
    Protecting and improving the NHS 26 38 -12 -18 -18 -3
    Improving public services generally 23 38 -15 -13 -16 -2

     

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,010 adults aged 18+, between 20th – 22nd July 2018. 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 – June 2018 Poll 2

    This week we looked into the ‘Brexit dividend’, and Theresa May’s claim that it will be used to fund a sizable amount of the £20billion additional funding announced for the NHS.

     

    There are two ways of reading these results. On the one hand, half of the British public believe that the Brexit dividend exists – 50% believe there will be extra money available as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

     

    However, it’s also true that most of these people believe that the Brexit dividend will not be as much as the Prime Minister has suggested – more than three-fifths of those who anticipate a Brexit dividend think it will work out as less than May has suggested.

     

    Public scepticism on the Brexit dividend is compounded when you take into account the 3 in 10 Brits who do not think there will be a Brexit dividend. This means that there’s a clear majority of the British public who do not believe that any savings from leaving the EU will be enough to pay for May’s increased NHS spending. With 3 in 5 expressing this view, we can see that the government have yet to convince the British public that Brexit will provide the promised additional funding for the NHS.

     

    As has become expected in the deadlocked party-political climate over the past year, there are no significant shifts to report in the headline figures in our latest Guardian/ICM poll. The Conservatives fall a further percentage point to 41%, leaving them just one percent above Labour on 40%.

     

    Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping an eye on the Lib Dems in these polls. This is the first Guardian/ICM poll since the Lewisham East by-election, where the Lib Dems increased their share of the vote by 20 percentage points, claiming a quarter of votes cast. There’s nothing quite as dramatic in our national voting intention results this week – but by increasing their share by one percentage point to 9%, the Lib Dems reach their highest peak in any Guardian/ICM poll since the last general election. As ‘Brexit day’ looms ever closer, could it be that the Lib Dems’ positioning as unambiguously pro-EU is finally starting to pay off?

     

    The figures are below, with percentage point changes versus the previous poll in brackets:

     

    Conservative

    41% (-1)

    Labour

    40% (nc)

    LibDem

    9% (+1)

    SNP

    3% (nc)

    PC

    *% (+1)

    Green

    3% (nc)

    UKIP

    3% (nc)

    Other

    1% (+1)

     

    Speaking of Brexit day, we re-asked a question on how the public would feel if Brexit negotiations failed to reach agreement by the end of March 2019 and the UK left the EU in a hard Brexit. We last published data on this question in October last year.

     

    Prompted to choose up to two options from a list of possible emotions, the results make some intriguing reading. A lot of measures are broadly consistent with last year (those saying they would feel excited, terrified, or pleased). Yet there are big declines in those saying they would feel worried (down from 50% to 38%) or confused (29% to 15%) if Brexit negotiations failed to reach agreement by the end of March next year. Maybe this could in part be explained by a perception of reduced uncertainty around Brexit and transition periods as we near the Article 50 deadline – but it’s also true that we see declines in the those saying they would feel either proud (11% to 7%) or furious (24% to 17%) if this were to happen.

     

    Overall we see a small decline in the proportion of the British public expressing at least one negative emotion in answer to this question (down from 62% to 59%), with a very small increase in those expressing positive emotions (20% to 22%).

     

    Excited (Oct: 11%; Jun 2018 11%)

    Terrified (Oct: 12%; June 2018 12%)

    Furious (Oct: 24%; June 2018 17%)

    Worried (Oct: 50%; June 2018 38%)

    Proud (Oct: 11%; June 2018 7%)

    Confused (Oct: 29%; June 2018 15%)

    Pleased (Oct: 14%; June 2018 12%)

    Other (write in) (Oct: 6%; June 2018 3%)

    I would feel nothing (Oct: 13%; June 2018 13%)

    Don’t know (Oct: 8%; June 2018 8%)

     

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,013 adults aged 18+, between 22nd – 24th June 2018. 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 – June 2018 Poll 1

     

    The past fortnight has seen an excitable Westminster village react to rumblings of cabinet dissent and possible threats of resignation from Theresa May’s team as the Brexit process nears a crunch phase. And those rumours of a leadership challenge to Theresa May never quite seem to go away…

     

    But how does Theresa May stack up against her opposite number at the despatch box, Jeremy Corbyn? We asked over 2,000 members of the British public to choose between the Labour leader and the Conservative Prime Minister on a range of key leadership characteristics. And the results demonstrate the stark difference between the leaders in the eyes of the public – not just in terms of their politics, but also in their personal style and perceived qualities.

     

    The results are shown below, excluding those who answered ‘don’t know’ (ranging between 20% and 32% of respondents):

     

    Jeremy Corbyn Theresa May May Lead
    …is more likely to take tough decisions 35% 65% 30%
    …is more competent 40% 60% 20%
    …is the stronger leader 40% 60% 20%
    …is more intelligent 42% 58% 16%
    …is more trustworthy 49% 51% 2%
    …is more likeable 53% 47% -6%
    …is more likely to understand people like me 57% 43% -14%
    …is more likely to stand up for what they believe in 58% 42% -16%

     

    There’s a strong lead for May being more likely to take tough decisions, with almost twice as many choosing her over Corbyn on this characteristic. 3 in 5 of those expressing a view also think she is more competent and the stronger leader when compared to Corbyn. An only slightly lower proportion (58%) think she is more intelligent than Corbyn.

     

    Corbyn’s leads are more moderate in size. The same proportion of those expressing a view who think May is more intelligent think Corbyn is more likely to stand up for what he believes in (58%). A similar proportion (57%) think Corbyn is more likely to understand people like them. By a slim margin, a majority of the respondents in our poll who expressed a view think Corbyn is the more likeable of the two leaders – achieving 53% to May’s 47%.

     

    But it seems the country is pretty much evenly split in terms of which party leader is more trustworthy, with 51% of those expressing a view choosing May, compared to 51% choosing Corbyn. Given the topicality of trust in politicians, we thought this question deserved extra analysis.

     

    1 in 3 respondents (30%) answered ‘don’t know’ to this question – the second highest proportion of don’t knows across all the attributes we tested. And it’s it’s worth keeping an eye out for where these ‘don’t knows’ are coming from, which we take a look at below.

     

    While there is a negligible difference between remainers and leavers on this question, and only a small difference on 2017 general election vote between Labour and Conservatives (25% vs. 22% don’t knows), bigger differences appear when combining the two factors.

     

    Generally, those that support a party also have more favourable views of its leader – at least when compared to the opposition. So it’s not surprising that those who voted Labour are more likely to think Corbyn is trustworthy and those who voted Conservative think the same about Theresa May, regardless of EU referendum vote. Indeed Theresa May scores higher among Tory leavers (77%) than Conservative remainers (70%). These are fairly healthy proportions on both scores – but maybe, just maybe, that slightly higher score from Conservative leavers could be seen as a vindication of May’s message discipline when routinely insisting that Brexit really does mean Brexit.

     

    Corbyn scores fairly well among Labour remainers, of whom 73% think he is more trustworthy than May. But this score drops by a full ten percentage points to 63% when asked of Labour leavers. And at least part of this could be ascribed to the increased proportion of don’t knows – almost 3 in 10 Labour leavers (29%) don’t know which leader is more trustworthy, compared to less than 1 in 5 Conservative leavers (19%).

     

    Considering Corbyn is often considered to be closer to the Leavers within the Labour party, this may seem a slightly surprising conclusion. May, a remainer in 2016, is considered more trustworthy among leavers within her party compared to remainers. Corbyn, often considered ambivalent at best on the EU, is considered more trustworthy by the remainers in his voter base – with Labour leavers more likely to refuse to say they don’t know who is more trustworthy, even when comparing him against a Conservative Prime Minister.

     

    Overall there’s little change in our headline VI figures. We’ve narrowly missed out on ‘three in a row’ when it comes to identical polling figures for the three main national parties at Westminster. But with the Conservatives dropping only one percentage point to 1%, this is a poll well within the margin of error compare to our last published Guardian/ICM poll a fortnight ago. So we’re pretty much back where we were two weeks ago.

     

    The figures are below, with percentage point changes versus the previous poll in brackets:

     

    Conservative

    42% (-1)

    Labour

    40% (nc)

    LibDem

    8% (nc)

    SNP

    3% (nc)

    PC

    *% (-1)

    Green

    3% (+1)

    UKIP

    3% (nc)

    Other

    *% (-1)

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,021 adults aged 18+, between 8th – 10th June 2018. 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 – May 2018 Poll 1

    This is the first Guardian/ICM poll conducted since the Local Elections which were held across much of England on the 3rd May. While there has been the usual post-mortem and debate on the results and what they mean for the state of the parties, the absence of any large shifts between the main parties lends some corroboration to our polling results which have been largely deadlocked since the 2017 General Election.

     

    Our latest headline voting intention figures maintain the 3 percentage point lead for the Conservatives over Labour from our previous poll. Make no mistake – this is still a small lead in polling terms, and should not be overstated. However, this poll makes it five consecutive ICM/Guardian polls in which the Tories have led Labour. Our polling has consistently reflected an entrenched political environment since the 2017 General Election, but it’s possible that the Conservatives have opened up a miniscule lead over Labour in the past couple of months.

     

    The figures are below, with percentage point changes versus the previous poll in brackets:

     

    Conservative   43% (+1)
    Labour   40% (+1)
    LibDem   8% (nc)
    SNP   3% (nc)
    PC   *% (nc)
    Green   3% (nc)
    UKIP   3% (-1)
    Other   1% (nc)

     

    With Theresa May reportedly under pressure to extend the Brexit transition period beyond the end of 2020 to allow time for new customs arrangements to be introduced, we wanted to see what the public thought of the issue. While views are fairly evenly split, more of the British public oppose (43%) than support (38%) extending the Brexit transition period beyond 2020. These views are polarised along party and EU Referendum lines: two-thirds (67%) of 2016 Leave voters and 3 in 5 (62%) of those intending to vote Conservative oppose extending the transition period, whereas three in five (59%) 2016 Remain voters and almost half (49%) of those intending to vote Labour support extending the transition period.

     

    Given recent cabinet tensions over the future of Britain’s reading relationship with the EU, we also tested which of three potential options comes closest to the public’s view on the best customs option after Brexit. Out of the three statements tested, the statement that coming closest to the public’s view is that ‘it is very important to leave the customs union properly, so the UK can strike its own trade deals’, selected by 35%. Around a quarter selected each of the other two options – remaining in the customs union (24%) and a compromise along the lines of the customs partnership (26%) with the remaining 15% saying they don’t know.

     

    And this poll will make even better reading for those close to Boris Johnson, considering that a clear majority of those planning to vote Conservative (56%), as well as 2016 Leave voters (61%), say that leaving the customs union comes closest to their view. By contrast, 2016 Remain voters and those planning on voting Labour are more evenly split between remaining in the customs union and a compromise solution. While remaining in the customs union attracts more support from both of these groups (36% of Labour voters and 42% of Remainers), it falls short of majority support from either constituency.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,050 adults aged 18+, between 11th – 13th May 2018. 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 – March 2018 Poll 2

    May: there be signs of a strengthening Theresa?

    Last week saw the news dominated by the poisoning of a Russian former double agent in Salisbury involving a nerve agent. In the latest ICM/Guardian poll we asked the British public how well they thought May and Corbyn responded to this attack in their capacities as Prime Minister and leader of the opposition respectively.

    On this issue of national security, our results show a large gulf between the public’s perceptions of the two main party leaders.

    A majority (51%) of the British public think Theresa May has responded well. This is in stark contrast to Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings, with only 23% thinking he responded well in his capacity as leader of the opposition. Two in five (42%) think he responded badly to the attack, approximately double the one in five (22%) who think May responded badly.

    Even when looking at Labour voters in isolation, Corbyn cannot claim a majority who think he responded well to the attack (46%). On the other hands, Conservative voters are highly supportive of May’s response, with more than four in five (83%) thinking May responded well in her role as Prime Minster.

    Maybe – just maybe – this has resulted in a slight boost for Theresa May’s Conservatives in our vote intention polling. We see the trend from our previous poll continuing, with the Conservatives gaining 1% at the expense of Labour.

    Conservatives: 44% (+1)

    Labour: 41% (-1)

    LibDems: 8% (+1)

    SNP: 3% (nc)

    We shouldn’t speak too soon, as these are still small shifts in our results. Nevertheless, in the context of recent deadlock in our regular ICM/Guardian vote intention polling, it is possible that this could be showing the start of a small shift away from Labour and towards the Conservatives. We’ll be watching the next few polls closely, to see if this develops into anything more than a small blip in an otherwise unprecedented period of far-too-close-to-call polls.

    To top off a poll that may add a small dose of positivity to those around Theresa May, there is evidence that some of the public’s negativity surrounding Brexit may be easing. We re-asked a question on how well or badly the Brexit process is going, with results shown below. Crucially, the vast majority of our fieldwork was carried out in advance of yesterday’s big announcement on Brexit transition, and so we can take these results as indicative of public opinion before the announcement.

     

    Overall, how do you think the Brexit process of the UK leaving the EU is going? December 2017 February 2018 March 2018
    Net: Well 21% 16% 19%
    Net: Badly 51% 53% 47%

     

    Since we last asked the question at the beginning of February, the proportion of the British public who think Brexit is going badly has dropped by 6 percentage points, from 53% to 47%. This is the lowest proportion we’ve seen for Brexit going badly since we’ve started asking this question, and means we can no longer claim that a majority of the British public think the Brexit process is going badly. Nevertheless, Brexiteers should keep the sparkling wine on ice for the time being, as still fewer than one in five (19%) Brits think Brexit is going well. There’s still a very long way to go before the British public are ready to hold up Brexit as a success.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,013 adults aged 18+, between 16th – 19th March 2018. 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 2018 Poll

    The past week has seen the ‘Westminster bubble’ absorbed by the infighting, Brexit policy confusion, and potential leadership challengers to Theresa May’s Conservative government. Yet the British public remain largely unmoved in their overall voting intention. Comparing to our mega-poll released just over a week ago, the Conservatives remain unchanged on 41% and Labour slip down just one point to 40%.

     

    Last Thursday the Lib Dems had a surprise council by-election win over Labour in Sunderland, where they saw their vote increase by 49.5 percentage points to claim the Pallion seat formerly held by Labour. Whilst this is not replicated in our nationally representative polling, we do see their vote share bump up by one percentage point, from 7% to 8%. UKIP and the SNP remain unchanged on 4% and 3% respectively.

     

    However, the main story coming through in this poll mirrors much of the sentiment picked up in the Guardian/ICM Brexit mega-poll published just over a week ago: the British public are becoming more and more negative towards how Brexit is going. Brits think Brexit is going badly, and are far from agreement on which politician could make a better job of it.

     

    Back at the start of December, we asked how the Brexit process of the UK leaving the EU was going – only 21% of the British public said it was going well, with 51% saying it was going badly. Two months later, only 16% of the British public think the Brexit process is going well, with an increased majority (53%) now thinking it is going badly.

     

    These figures make especially concerning reading for the Tories, as now fewer than a third of Conservative voters think Brexit is going well (32%), down from almost 2 in 5 (39%) at the start of December. Indeed, it’s hard to find one substantial group of voters who think the Brexit process is going well. It may not be surprising to see that only 12% of 2016 Remainers think Brexit is going well, but it seems stark that even amongst 2016 Leave voters, less than a quarter (23%) say Brexit is going well.

     

    The only solace that Theresa May could take from these results is that voters are not clear on which politician they would prefer to be in charge of Brexit. We asked respondents to tell us if they agreed or disagreed with the Brexit views of Tony Blair, Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove, Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, and Keir Starmer. None of these politicians enjoyed ‘net positive’ support for their position on Brexit. In short, for each and every one of the politicians we asked about, more of the British public disagree with their Brexit views than agree with them.

     

    Of the politicians we asked about, Boris Johnson attracted the most support for his views on Brexit. However, only 32% of the British public say they agree with his Brexit stance, which in turn is only one percent above agreement with Theresa May’s Brexit views (31%), while a similar proportion (30%) of the British public say they agree with Nigel Farage’s views on the sort of Brexit the UK should adopt. By comparison, Jeremy Corbyn’s views on Brexit win the agreement of 23% of the British public – although many more (39%) disagree with him.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,021 adults aged 18+, between 2nd – 4th February 2018. 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 – Brexit Mega Poll

    A nation (still) divided

    A landmark ICM/Guardian poll, released today, shows a nation still starkly divided along the lines of the 2016 EU Referendum.

    ICM interviewed a representative sample of over 5,000 respondents across Great Britain. This is more than twice the number of interviews usually conducted in the regular ICM/Guardian polls, and five times the number of interviews often achieved in other polls. The increased sample size not only allows for a greater confidence in the statistical reliability of the overall results, but also allows for a more detailed analysis of different groups within the British population.

    If there was a referendum tomorrow, 45% of our poll’s respondents would vote Remain, compared to 43% who would vote leave. This result is similar to when we last asked the question in early December (8th -10th, which recorded 46% Remain versus 43% Leave), and so lends weight to the claim that the British public may have become slightly more pro-Remain since the EU referendum. But these shifts should not be exaggerated – on the results of this poll of 5,000 the result of a second EU referendum would be far from a foregone conclusion.

    The possible slight shift towards remain cannot be attributed to Leavers changing their mind. The vast majority – 9 in 10 – of those who voted either Remain or Leave in the 2016 referendum say they would vote in exactly the same way in a second referendum, and the numbers swapping sides effectively cancel each other out. Any growth in Remain support seems to be coming from those who did not vote or cannot remember how they voted in 2016, with twice as many of these people saying they would vote Remain (27%) as Leave (14%) in a future referendum.

    There are also different implications for the two main Westminster parties. When asking respondents to recall their 2016 EU referendum vote, those with a Labour MP in England and Wales were more likely to have voted Remain than Leave, whilst the opposite is true for those in a Conservative held constituency. Fast-forward to a hypothetical second referendum, and the pro-Leave lead in Conservative held seats has held remarkably steady, staying exactly the same at 7% points.  Yet the pro-Remain lead in Labour held seats has shown substantial growth over the same period. In safe Labour seats, the pro-remain lead has doubled from 4% points to 8% points, whilst in marginal Labour seats, the Remain lead has tripled from 3% to 9% points.

    Whilst any gains for Remain sentiment could be attributed to increases in Labour held seats and amongst those who didn’t vote in 2016, the overall picture emerging from this poll is clear: the British public remain entrenched in their views on Brexit. This divide holds true for perceptions of the likely impact of Brexit, as shown in the tables below. A majority (58%) of 2016 Leavers think Brexit will have a positive impact on the economy, contrasting with three quarters (75%) of Remainers who think it will have a negative impact. A majority (55%) of those who voted Leave think Brexit will make no difference to their own finances, whilst a similar proportion (53%) of Remainers think Brexit will have a negative impact on their personal finances. When asked on the impact of Brexit on the way of life in Britain in general a similar divide is apparent, with 62% of Leavers thinking Brexit will be positive but 66% of Remainers thinking Brexit will be negative.

     

    Impact of Brexit on the British economy
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 32% 9% 58%
    Negative impact 43% 75% 12%
    Makes no difference 13% 6% 19%
    Don’t know 13% 9% 11%

     

    Impact of Brexit on your own personal finances
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 13% 5% 23%
    Negative impact 30% 53% 10%
    Makes no difference 41% 27% 55%
    Don’t know 16% 15% 12%

     

    Impact of Brexit the way of life in Britain today in general
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 33% 9% 62%
    Negative impact 36% 66% 8%
    Makes no difference 19% 15% 22%
    Don’t know 12% 8% 30%

     

    On support for a second referendum, more agree than disagree that the British public should have the chance to take a final decision on whether or not to leave the EU in another referendum when the outcome of the negotiation is known (47% vs. 34%). Perhaps unsurprisingly this support was split along 2016 lines, with a majority of 2016 Remainers agreeing with the idea of a second referendum (70%) and a majority of Leavers disagreeing (59%). Nevertheless, there are possible signs that opposition to a second referendum amongst Leavers could be softening, as a quarter (25%) of those who voted Leave in 2016 agree that the public should have the chance to take final decision on whether or not to leave the EU in a second referendum once negotiations conclude. This figure is higher than the 14% of people who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum who disagree with the idea of holding a second referendum.

    We also included our standard vote intention figures in this poll. These show the Conservatives up one percentage point from the previous poll, now matching Labour on 41%. The Lib Dems are on 7%, UKIP on 4%, whilst the Greens and SNP on 3% each.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 5,075 adults aged 18+, between 10th – 19th January 2018. 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 – November 2017 Poll 2

    Last week’s budget was one of the most important for a governing party in recent years. On the one hand, the Government was seeking to restore some semblance of stability and direction following the general election debacle and the disappointing Tory party conference. On the other, Philip Hammond required a strong budget to shore up his own allegedly unsecure position amidst clamouring from Tory Brexiteers for him to be replaced.

     

    Set against this context, the results of the latest Guardian/ICM poll present a glimmer of hope for the embattled chancellor and his prime minister. Philip Hammond and Theresa May are perceived to be better able to manage the economy than the Labour pair of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (36% versus 28%), reinforcing the broadly positive reception to the speech from many in the blue camp at Westminster.

     

    That said, Downing Street will be concerned that the 8 percentage point Tory lead on economic competence is lower than the 13 point gap recorded last month (39% vs 26%) and significantly lower than the 31 point lead enjoyed in March (42% vs 12%) when the Conservatives were riding the crest of a wave before the general election.

     

    Nonetheless, the budget may have done enough to steady Tory nerves, especially since the top two parties remain level pegging in terms of voting intention. 41% of the public say they would vote Labour if there was a general election tomorrow and the same proportion (41%) would vote Conservative, unchanged from earlier this month and the sixth successive Guardian/ICM poll where no party has been in the lead.

     

    The background to this, of course, is the hotting-up of Brexit negotiations, with discord between Dublin and Westminster about the status of Northern Ireland and Theresa May under pressure from Brussels to increase Britain’s financial offer. If the PM is determined to follow public opinion on this issue then she should note that the majority of people think it is unacceptable for the UK to pay an exit fee of £20billion or more as a one off or in instalments as a form of compromise (£40 billion (71%), £30 billion (67%)  £20 billion (28%)). By a margin of 50% to 32%, the public believe Britain should pay £10 billion, considerably lower than the figure being talked about by the EU officials.

     

    ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,029 adults 18+ online on 24th-26th November 2017. Interviews were conducted across Britain 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.