Tories take record 9% lead with ICM
After a 24 hours which has seen biting criticism from inside his party at the plans to increase the number of women Tory MPs the ICM Guardian poll for August is out this morning and shows that his party in in a position where it could just have a working majority after the next election.
The headline figures with changes on last month are CON 40% (+1): LAB 31% (-4): LDEM 22% (+5). So the main driver of the change has been a big switch from Labour to the Lib Dems with the Tory share advancing one point. But that small increase takes Cameron’s party above the 40% mark for the first time in an ICM poll since 1992.
The new leader’s relationship with parts of his party is such that you almost think that the people who will be most upset by today’s numbers will be the hard-liners who daily vent their anger at ConservativeHome.
For David Cameron this survey, from the pollster which has traditionally shown lower Tory numbers, will provide reinforcement as he seeks to answer the growing band of critics of his change programme. They might not like the direction that Cameron is taking them but they cannot argue with the numbers.
Labour’s 31% share is, according to the paper, at a 19 year low and could not have come at a worse time for Tony Blair as he plans his return from his Caribbean holiday. Of all the monthly polls ICM is probably the one taken the most seriously and these figures will provide more ammunition for those who want a change at Number 10 now.
For Ming Campbell the poll movement to the Lib Dems will reinforce his position ahead of next month’s party conference. There’s little doubt that the Lebanon war has played a big part in shaping opinion and the Lib Dem leader’s surefootedness on this and other foreign policy issues is holding him in good stead.
A factor which will impact on left of centre politics over the next few weeks is that the Guardian takes its own poll as almost gospel and hardly ever acknowledges any other pollsters or even other surveys from ICM. Its coverage, especially on the Labour leadership, as we enter conference season is likely to be shaped by these figures.
All the UK political betting markets might be affected including the General Election ones, the Blair departure date and who will be Labour leader.