The latest ICM phone poll finds that the LAB lead is down 3 to just 5 percent

The latest ICM phone poll finds that the LAB lead is down 3 to just 5 percent

CON 1% ahead with men but 16% behind with women

With a record for accuracy and polling innovation going back over two decades the telephone survey by ICM for the Guardian is the polling event of the month. The firm is widely regarded as “the gold standard”.

The latest numbers just published see the LDs edging back up 2 to 15%, the Tories up one with Ukip and LAB down 1% and 2% respectively.

The 15% for Nick Clegg’s party equals the best from the firm for a year and shows a marked improvement from the 11% recorded in May 2012. Ukip’s 6%, although down a notch, is the second highest that Farage’s party has achieved with the firm.

The poll has a big gender gap. The Tories are 1% ahead amongst men but with women LAB is 16% ahead

    ICM also sought to probe how voters reacted to George Osborne’s benefits cap announced last month. There has been quite a split depending on the pollster with ICM now coming up with findings that will please LAB and might concern CON

The firm asked those sampled to choose between two views of the chancellor’s headline proposal. A total of 36% agreed that “squeezing benefits is fair, seeing as wages for workers are also being squeezed”, compare with 58% saying that squeezing benefits and tax credits “is unfair, seeing as it will hurt the vulnerable, including many who people who do work hard for low pay”.

This goes right to the heart of the “strivers versus shirkers” strategy and suggests that the coalition might have it wrong.

The 22% margin might be worrying to minister.

Mike Smithson

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