• The Guardian – August 2018 Poll 2

    ICM-Guardian Poll - Visual FINAL 23-08-18

    The race to Westminster

    The summer parliamentary recess is usually a time when political news dries up and is replaced by the frivolous and the outlandish, in keeping with the ‘silly season’ tradition. This has not been the case this summer. The annual estivation period of politicos and journalists was interrupted by the ongoing sagas of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia within the Labour and Conservative parties, respectively. The dearth of other distracting stories proved to be a curse as Labour’s anti-Semitism definition rows, and Boris Johnson’s burqa comments stubbornly clung on to the front pages of newspapers for days on end. With both parties mired in unseemly and depressing controversies, and with little to distract the public’s attention, one would think that the polls may show some interesting shifts. Not so. Both parties remain evenly matched on 40%, with Labour unchanged from two weeks ago and the Tories up 1 percentage point.

    The Lib Dems and UKIP are still ominously waiting on 8% (up 1) and 6% (no change) respectively, seemingly ready to pounce if either of the main parties leans too heavily one way or the other on Brexit. As we move ever closer to the March 2019 Brexit deadline, by when negotiations with the EU must reach a conclusion, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the fortunes of both the Lib Dems and UKIP – one doubts that their support will not change between now and then.

    Party % Change*
    Conservative 40 +1
    Labour 40 0
    Lib Dem 8 0
    SNP 3 -1
    PC * 0
    Green 2 -1
    UKIP 6 0
    Other 1 0

    *Change from the last poll two weeks ago, 3-5 August

    Brexit Negotiations

    Our further polling this week shows that pessimism is increasing regarding the likelihood of the negotiations between the UK and the EU concluding successfully before ‘Brexit Day’ on 29 March 2019. Since April, the proportion of those that think Brexit will be concluded satisfactorily has fallen from 3 in 10 (28%) to under 1 in 5 (18%). For the first time since we polled this question, the percentage of respondents who think that the negotiations will not conclude successfully in time  is above half, with 60% now thinking this way (up from 47% in April).

    Worryingly for the Conservatives, this swing is particularly pronounced amongst Leave voters and those who intend to vote Tory at the next general election. Whilst, back in April, ‘Leavers’ were evenly split on whether the negotiations would be successful (36% yes, 36% no), these figures now stand at 23% and 54%, respectively. The story is much the same for those who intend to vote Tory at the next general election, with 44% now thinking that the talks will not be resolved satisfactorily (up 12 percentage points) and around a third (32%) thinking that they will (down 13 percentage points).

    These dramatic shifts would seem to back up the narrative that the Chequers plan has not gone down well with the public, and perhaps also reflects exasperation at the stasis with the EU and disagreement within the governing Tory party that has characterised the four months since this question was last asked. Ironically, the results of this question are likely to hearten both UKIP and the proponents of a second referendum.

      October 2017


    April 2018


    August 2018


    Negotiations will conclude satisfactorily 30 28 18
    Negotiations will not conclude satisfactorily 45 47 60
    Don’t know 25 25 22

    The Tories after May

    For the final additional question on this week’s poll, we ran an updated form of a question that we last asked in October 2017. This question reveals what respondents think would be the impact of different Tory leaders if Theresa May were to be removed.

    Unsurprisingly, Boris Johnson proved to be the figure that divided opinion the most. While a higher proportion of respondents (27%) said that the Tories chances would be better with Boris at the helm than with any other of the named candidates, a higher proportion (45%) than any other (save Gove – also 45%) thought that Boris would worsen the Conservatives chances of success at the next general election.

    Following Trump’s victory and the unexpected performance of Jeremy Corbyn in the last general election, Boris may not be too concerned about his divisiveness. The consensus and triangulation techniques of the late 1990s and the early 2000s seem to have been replaced by bombastic confrontation and inflated rhetoric. If this is a route to electoral success, Boris may well find himself in as good a position as any to capitalise.

    Within these top-line findings, the difference between those who intend to vote Labour and those who intend to vote Conservative is dramatic. Only 14% of those who intend to vote Labour think that the Tories chance of success in the next general election would be improved with Johnson in charge, compared to over 2 in 5 (41%) of those who intend to vote Conservative.

    Jacob Rees-Mogg, like Johnson, is a candidate whose impact is judged positively by a much higher proportion of Conservatives and UKIP voters than of those who intend to vote Labour or Lib Dem. 65% of those who intend to vote UKIP think that Rees-Mogg would boost the Tories chances, as do just under a quarter (23%) of Conservative voters. This compares to only 7% of those who intend to vote Labour and 11% of those who intend to vote Lib Dem.

    But could the Conservatives be led at the next general election by someone who has not fully emerged yet? Despite the (potentially preventative) differences in the political systems of the UK and France, the dream of a Macron-esque figure taking the political scene by the scruff of the neck still holds appeal for some voters who currently feel politically homeless. The results indicate that there is some optimism regarding the effect of a quite young and able person who is not currently in government. A quarter think that s/he would improve the Tories chances, and a relatively low 1 in 5 think that such a leader would worsen the chances. Results are not consistent across parties, though. Whilst 31% of those who intend to vote Labour and 38% of those who intend to vote Lib Dem think that such a Tory leader would have a positive effect on the Conservatives’ chances, Tory voters themselves are much more restrained, with only 16% thinking chances would be improved.



    Ultimately, though, when it comes to the net scores, current Prime Minister Theresa May will be able to take heart. None of the named candidates have positive net scores, suggesting that the public do not think that any of the current crop of potential leadership contenders would improve the Tories’ chances at the next general election if s/he led the party rather than May. Only Ruth Davidson comes out with a modest deficit (-7), with Boris (-18), Rees-Mogg (-19), and Javid (-18) all grouped behind her. Gove (-38) and Hunt (-34) fare even worse, with the public judging them electorally toxic even compared to Theresa May. Only the unidentified ‘young and able’ outsider has a positive net score (+5). These figures make worrying reading for the Tory party, suggesting that an improved electoral performance on June 2017 is currently not within reach.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 2,021 adults aged 18+, between 17th and 19th 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 – 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:



    41% (-1)


    40% (nc)


    9% (+1)


    3% (nc)


    *% (+1)


    3% (nc)


    3% (nc)


    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 – 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.

  • Sheffield Hallam Constituency Poll

    A new poll conducted by ICM for The Guardian shows Nick Clegg is on course to hold onto his seat in Sheffield Hallam. When respondents are presented with named candidates, the topline results are as follows:

    • Ian Walker (Conservative) – 12%
    • Oliver Coppard (Labour) – 35%
    • Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat) – 42%
    • Peter Garbutt (Greens) – 3%
    • Joe Jenkins (Ukip) – 7%
    • Other 2%

    However, a different picture emerges when respondents are asked to only think about the political parties:

    • Conservative – 21%
    • Labour -34%
    • Liberal Democrat – 32%
    • Greens – 4%
    • Ukip – 8%
    • Other – 1%

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a random sample of 501 adults by telephone in the political constituency of Sheffield Hallam on 1-3rd May 2015. Interviews were conducted across the constituency and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults living there. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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  • Guardian Campaign Poll 2 – April 2015

    The second ICM/Guardian campaign poll very much sees a reversion to the mean after last week’s shock 6-point lead for the Conservatives. This week, they fall back to 34% (-5), still 2-points ahead of Labour (32%). The Liberal Democrats recover slightly to 10% (+2) and UKIP return to more routinely seen levels of late (11%). The full numbers are:

    Conservative 34%
    Labour 32%
    LD 10%
    UKIP 11%
    Green 5%
    Other 8%

    As if to prove the narrowness of this race, Labour actually hold a 1-point lead on the past vote weighted data, which is reversed with interest when ICM’s turnout weighting is imposed, pushing the Tories out to a 3-point lead, (reduced to 2-points after partial refuser adjustment). This election remains too close to call.

    In an interesting twist, we can view the extent to which each party can depend on its stated support. We asked intenders for each party whether they were certain they would vote that way, or whether they could change their mind. After turnout weighting, we can see the kind of voting patterns that have featured at previous elections emerging again. Conservative voters are most solid, with 73% saying they will vote for the party. Labour supporters say the same to the tune of 68%, a similar number to UKIP (65%). Labour’s possible wipe-out in Scotland is further supported by the fact that 95% of SNP voters are certain of their intention. The same cannot be said for the Liberal Democrats though, whose tumble into or near single figures may not stop where it is. Only 54% of its stated intenders say they are certain to vote for the party. The Greens may also fall away, with only 47% of their voters showing certainty.

    In general these levels of certainty are lower than they were before the 2010 election. Then, ICM returned to pre-election respondents to ask them how they actually voted, with 87% of Tories saying they did do what they said they were going to do, 86% of Labour intenders and 74% of Liberal Democrats. Voters from smaller parties fared much less well, with only 42% of Green intenders saying they did end up voting for the party, for example. Other smaller parties at the election suffered a similar fate, and we might expect more of the same this May.

    This week has seen the publication of party manifestos, and for the most part the public approve of them. Cutting income tax via the personal allowance is clearly a highly populist measure, with 89% backing the Tory proposal. Labour’s ideas on zero-hour contracts are also appealing, with 82% behind the measure. Seven in ten (71%) approve of the Tories inheritance tax proposals, while over half (55%) approve of UKIP’s cap on skilled and unskilled immigrants and an identical number approve of Labour’s abolition of non-dom status (55%). Allowing housing association tenants to buy their property at a subsidy gets the support of 56%.

    In the potential chaos of a fully hung parliament, if forced to choose the public would just about prefer a Conservative-LD coalition (41%) over a Labour-SNP alternative, although the public is completely split on who the Liberal Democrats should go in with if it were just down to their backing for either Labour (41%) or the Tories (41%).

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a random sample of 1,003 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 17-19th April 2015. 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.

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