Can the blues get a big enough lead over the reds?
For a whole series of reasons I regard the ICM poll each month as the most definitive pointer to the current state of opinion.
- Unlike YouGov and some ComRes polls their fieldwork is carried out over the phone; the firm does not have the sampling problems caused by newspaper readership weightings; and unlike all the other pollsters ICM has a unique weighting structure that puts a premium on the views of those sampled who voted at the last election. Thus those who say they’ll vote next time but didn’t in May 2010 are discounted by 50%.
So what do the June ICM figures, with changes on the general election result, of CON 37 (nc): LAB 39 (+9.3) :LD 12 (-11.6) tell us? Clearly the Lib Dems are going to lose a fair number of seats which will benefit both the Tories and Labour.
But the initial challenge for the blues, which many seem to ignore, is simply holding onto to the mass of Labour gains that were secured last year.
On current boundaries there are about 90 of them – a figure that should be reduced a bit by the boundary changes and reduction in the overall number of MPs.
These wins were picked up with a Tory vote lead over Labour of 7.3%. ICM currently has Labour two points ahead so there needs to be a pretty big change on current numbers simply to get to a standstill position in relation to Labour.
All parties, including the LDs, should be helped incumbent MPs doing Â better than the national swing. But even taking into account this, the likely Â boundary bonus and Lib Dem pickings the blue team needs a significant vote margin over the reds.
We’ll have to wait until the initial boundary proposals in the autumn before we’ll be able to make proper projections but my guess is that at the very minimum a Tory vote lead lead of 5-6% will be required just to stand still.