ICM has Lib Dems up three – Labour down three
The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian this morning records a big increase in Lib Dem support at the expense of Labour. The shares are compared with the last ICM poll three weeks ago CON 34%(-1): LAB 32%(-3): LD 24%(+3).
This is a huge boost for the Lib Dems ahead of the local elections less than two weeks away and is the biggest ICM share for the party for two years.
The last time Labour was at the 32% with ICM’s monthly Guardian poll was three days before the party’s defeat in the 1987 General Election. Today’s share for the party is two points lower than the pollster recorded during the low point for the party in modern times – the aftermath of the fuel protests in September 2000.
The other low, though not in the ICM monthly Guardian poll, was, as Anthony Wells of UK PollingReport points out in a News of the World survey just after the Brent East by-election in 2003 when Labour was recorded at 31%.
The BNP are at 2% in sharp contrast to the 7% figure recorded by YouGov last week.
This is the first real polling evidence that Labour is suffering because of the ongoing rows over “cash for peerages” and the NHS cuts.
Even though Labour’s drop means that the Tories are back in the lead again with ICM for the first time since February Cameron’s team must be disappointed that it is the Lib Dems and not them who are benefiting from Labour’s troubles.
Today’s poll will be particularly pleasing for the Lib Dems who had not seen any progress after going through the trauma of the ousting of Charles Kennedy and the leadership race. It will also be a good answer to those in the party who had started raising questions about the leadership of Ming Campbell.
Over the years ICM has established itself as the UK’s leading telephone pollster and has pioneered the technique of weighting its samples by the recalled past vote of those taking part in its surveys. In recent surveys is has been weighting at the levels of CON 32.2%: LAB 38.8%: LD 21.3%. Populus, by contrast, has been weighting at CON 31.1: LAB 40.3: LD 21.3. The difference between these figures and the actual result is to compensate for “misremembering”.
Meanwhile people keep asking me whether they can bet on next week’s local elections. As far as I can see there are no markets open yet. If you are a Betfair customer please email them asking that a market be established.