This morning’s ICM poll

Today’s Sunday Torygraph excitedly declares that Cameron is now “racing ahead” of Brown, based on their ICM poll.

The topline voting intention figures are Con 38 Lab 32 LD 20 – a Tory lead of six points. Labour’s apparent “conference bounce” is gone. But these figures are pretty much where the polls have been at since May. If anything, the conference season and the turbulent run up to it have ended with the Tories gaining a point or two off the Lib Dems but even that is well within the margin of error. 

Still “Polls show public opinion stable and consistent for months” just doesn’t make a headline.  So the Telegraph focuses on Cameron “surging into a commanding [11-point] lead over Brown” as best Prime Minister. This is the largest lead that Cameron has had over Brown on that measure, though the Telegraph brush over the fact that ICM do not regularly ask exactly that question when they claim that it is “the first time in an ICM survey that Mr Cameron has had such a clear lead.”

Other polls have already shown that Brown has been hit by the media interpretation of the spate of sub-ministerial resignations, so though concerning, it’s not that surprising, and we should wait to see other polls over a period of time to see if the effects are long-term.

Perhaps more important as indicative of a longer-term problem are the ratings on the NHS. The Tories’ 2-point lead is actually no different to that recorded by ICM in May and the apparent collapse of both major parties’ ratings on the NHS is probably partly due to the framing of the question. But back in early 2005, Labour would generally be scoring 35-40% with 10-point leads over the Tories as the party with the best health policy. Now we are dipping under 20% for the first time.

It’s important to point out that – despite Cameron’s three letters – the Tories have not actually seen much benefit from this, it’s just that their core support has held up. Instead, the slice of support Labour has lost on the NHS now distrusts all the major parties.

But it is a serious problem none the less, as the NHS has always been an issue that is at the top of voters’ concerns and on which progressive policies are traditionally popular.

Perhaps the new leader, whoever they may be, should be making a call to Frank Dobson come the first Cabinet reshuffle. Come back, Frank, all is forgiven.

ICM have also now published the internals on their last Sunday Mirror poll. As we suspected, Reid had a one-point lead over Brown amongst Tory voters as the best next leader but had no particular traction among Labour voters.


8 Responses to This morning’s ICM poll

  1. Andrea says:

    The fieldwork was Wednesday and Thursday, so the maximum exposure of DC’s speech

  2. I suspect that what we see is the polls pretty much returning to the place they were in before Conference. The only real question is how Brown personally emerges. However, it is worth noting that though his personal ratings have taken a bit of a hit over the perceived coup plot, the Brown/Cameron voting intention figures don’t seem to have got any worse.

  3. elephunt says:

    Maybe it’s wishful thinking but I suspect this may well be a bounce that is short lived for Cameron.The past couple of week’s local council elections show a dip in Tory support, we even gained a Tory seat in this part of the world last week.

  4. Little Neston? A good result and congratulations to all those who worked on it.

    I was a bit confused by the results I saw though, as they seemed to indicate the Tory vote was up on last time. Had there been a defection, or was the seat won on a by-election previously?

    Other results were pretty mixed – Penrith Carleton was uncontested last time so doesn’t really count as a swing; Spelthorpe though a good result in that we held it wasn’t great in terms of our vote share, which was down 17%; it’s just that the Tory vote share collapsed by even more, with the BNP and Lib Dems both putting up candidates this time.

    We’ll see what this week’s Times-Populus tracker tells us.

  5. Andrea says:

    The tory vote was up (+4.6%) in Little Neston, but the Labour vote even more (+12%). It’s that the Greens didn’t put a candidate this time (they got 11% last time) and the LDs went down.

  6. Andrea says:

    my last comment was about Little Neston

  7. I think the results I saw (on IIRC) got one or other of the vote share figures wrong – the above sounds about right though. Like I said, a good result, but given the local circumstances I’m not sure how wide a conclusion can be drawn from it.

  8. Andrea says:

    I think I know what figures you saw….they confused Little Neston ward with Neston ward and so they got the comparison wrong.

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