But were too many Labour supporters in the sample?
In an interesting ICM poll in today’s News of the World Gordon Brown is rated against David Cameron on a whole series of measures including who would make a “good Prime Minister”.
In spite of what some of the headlines are saying the question of who would make “best Prime Minister” was not put.
This is not a conventional opinion poll; no questions were asked about voting intention; the only options were Brown and Cameron without any reference to the Lib Dems; and the findings were not, as in normal ICM surveys, weighted by past vote recall.
To a question ICM asked about which party those in the survey had considered themselves to be a supporter of in the past the split was LAB 50.1%:CON 31.5%: LD 17.2%. At the last General Election the three parties got:LAB 36.2%:CON 33.2%: LD 22.7%.
Those surveyed were asked “Putting aside your own party preferences I would like to to think about David Cameron and Gordon Brown. Which if the two do you think….”
Telephone polls like this one involve making randomised unsolicited telephone calls with only about one in six resulting in interviews. For whatever reason this approach almost always produces samples that are heavily pro-Labour. To counteract this in its General Election voting intention polls ICM has pioneered weighting findings on the basis of how people said they voted at the last election. This has not happened with this poll.
So on the final two Prime Minister questions Brown polled 43% and 45% against the 50% of those considering themselves to have been Labour in the past the survey. Thus Brown, it could be said, is not even attracting full Labour support.
This is all very interesting but what we really need are proper voting intention questions along the lines of ICM’s “Suppose the Conservative Party were to be led by David Cameron, Labour by Gordon Brown and the Liberal Democrats by Chris Huhne/Memzies Campbell. If there were to be a General Election tomorrow how would you vote, would you vote Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat or for another party?”
Finally – well done to ICM for making the full data-set from this poll available immediately.