ICM: Labour lead now 6%

ICM: Labour lead now 6%

    Tories static – Lib Dems up 2 at expense of Labour

Today’s Guardian ICM poll with changes on Monday survey by the same pollsters has CON 33 (nc): LAB 39 (-2): LD 22 (+2). The increase for Charles Kennedy’s party is in line with other recent polls. The party, however, sees a decline in its support in the latest daily tracking poll from the British Electoral Study of those certain to vote where the figures are CON 35.3(-0.2):LAB 36.2(+0.7): LD 20.8(-1).

Although they are still 6% adrift this ICM survey is the best for the Conservatives for some time and shows a substantial improvement on the 10% Labour lead that the pollster was recording at the weekend with Michael Howard’s party down at just 30%.

A trend that has been picked up is that the proportion of “don’t knows” has doubled in the past week from 10% to 20% of all voters. According to the Guardian “when they were asked “squeeze” questions to press them on their likely inclination, they broke down as 39% Labour inclined; 29% leaning towards the Tories; and 26% thinking about the Liberal Democrats.”

In many ways the polls are reflective of how the campaign has been going. The Conservatives got off to a good start and then Labour got its act together very well in the first formal week and now thing are moving just a touch back.

What might be worrying for Labour strategists is the switching to the Lib Dems although it has to be said that the party has not managed to return to the dizzy heights of poll shares in the high 20s that it was recording last autumn.

An aspect of the ICM survey featured in the paper is that Labour is winning the battle for postal votes with 17% telling the pollster that this is how they will cast their ballots. This, however, might just be reflective of the groups who get picked up by a telephone survey.

The spread markets are relatively stable. Spreadfair has LAB 359.4 – 360.4: CON 193.5 -195: LD 64.4 – 65.1

Mike Smithson

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