ICM phone poll naming Clegg has him holding Sheffield Hallam thanks to tactical Tory voters

ICM phone poll naming Clegg has him holding Sheffield Hallam thanks to tactical Tory voters

ICM have conducted a poll for the Guardian in Sheffield Hallam, seat of Nick Clegg.

Nick Clegg is on course to be saved from defeat in his Sheffield Hallam constituency by a tide of tactical Tory votes, according to a special Guardian/ICM poll conducted in the deputy prime minister’s constituency.

The poll puts Clegg on 42%, seven points clear of his young Labour rival, Oliver Coppard, who is on 35%. Ian Walker, the candidate for the Conservatives , is on 12%.

But Clegg achieves his seven-point lead only because almost half the people (48%) who say their nationwide preference is for the Conservatives are planning to support the Lib Dem.

When ICM asked voters which party they would prefer if they put the local context and candidates out of mind, Labour is out ahead, on 34%, with the Lib Dems on 32% and the Conservatives on 21%.

A couple of caveats, the  sample size for this ICM is 501, half of what we see with the  Ashcroft polls, and on the raw numbers, Labour’s Oliver Coppard is ahead, but looking at the unskewed the numbers is often the route to being wrong as Dick Morris found out when predicting Mitt Romney would win in 2012.

But this polling fits in with my own thinking about the seat, Nick Clegg in this seat is more popular than the national polling indicates.

Clegg’s personal ratings are better on his home patch than in the national polls: overall 48% believe he is doing a good job, five points more than the 43% who believe he is doing badly.

That five-point net positive rating is less than David Cameron’s +14 among Hallam voters, but better than Ed Miliband’s -12 and Nigel Farage’s -20. But none of the national politicians, Clegg included, fare as well as Coppard who scores +19.

The other interesting aspect of this poll is that by naming Clegg it has an effect on the polls, which could render Lord Ashcroft’s marginal polls inaccurate, which don’t name the candidates, and had Clegg losing. This could be great news for the Tories and Lib Dems in England, and the Unionist parties in Scotland if naming candidates is the most accurate way of polling a constituency.

We’re going to find out in a few days time, who is right.

The ICM data tables are available here


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