The Guardian Prediction Poll - 7th June 2017

So, there we have it. A 12-point victory for the Conservatives is ICM’s preliminary call on our final poll, up from a 7-point victory for David Cameron just two years’ ago, representing a swing to the Conservatives of 2.5% (remembering that both party shares have increased compared to 2015).

This final poll confirms the pattern that ICM has produced over the last fortnight: a fairly healthy and static (aka strong & stable) Conservative share with consolidation of the Labour bump first witnessed after the manifesto publication.

Our PRELIMINARY numbers for publication are (based on 1,532 interviews and compared to last Monday’s poll in The Guardian:

Conservative 46% (+1)

Labour 34% (nc)

Lib Dem 7% (-1)

SNP 5% (+1)

Plaid Cymru *% (-1)

Green 2% (-1)

UKIP 5% (nc)

Other 1% (nc)

This compares to the 11-point lead published in The Guardian on Monday, this implying precious little movement in the last few days of the campaign.

We should note that ICM continues to interview, aiming for another c.500 interviews by the end of the day. The numbers might change, but we would not expect them to do so by much.

According to Electoral Calculus seat projections. This would yield a Conservative majority of 96, with 373 seats in their possession compared to 199 for Labour (which might be seen by party insiders as a decent outcome). Not so much for the Liberal Democrats though, predicted to drop to only two seats on this modelling.

Speculation about the polls being right or wrong is ubiquitous right now, with much of it concentrating on closer run polls produced by Survation and Yougov compared to us and ComRes. Intriguingly, a number high profile political journalists continue to predict that the Tories will do better than even our poll is saying (given musings they hear from the ground), so this really has become a nail-gnawing electoral event, rather than the absolute rout that we all were fixed on just a month ago.

The public, though, may not have been reading the journo’s stuff. Only one in ten  (12%) expects a Tory majority at the 100+  top end of the range, with a plurality (38%) believing it will be secured, but only by double figures. Fewer than one in five (17%) expect a hung parliament, with the great optimists being the 7% who think Labour will secure the keys to Number 10 (18% of Labour voters they Jeremey Corbyn will smash it).

But whatever the outcome, there’s a strong chance that Corbyn will stay on, according to the public. As many (24%) think he should do so no matter what (a few delighted Tories are included in this number), with the same number saying so only on the basis of a Labour victory. One in five (20%) thinks he should do so, so long as Labour do better than their 2015 showing – although that’s not a very high bar given the return to two-party politics. Beating Ed Miliband’s 31% in 2015 should not present a great difficulty now, given the implosion of UKIP and the Liberal Democrats general malaise.

So the UK goes to the polls, with voters apparently armed with sufficient information to make an informed choice – 57% say they have been on enough of a receiving end to cast their ballot effectively, with Tory voters more so (72%) than their Labour counterparts (62%). Cynics amongst us may conclude that Theresa May’s policy-light manifesto didn’t take long to consume.

ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 1,532 GB adults aged 18+ on 6-7th June 2017. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been wighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

5th June 2017 Poll Results

The penultimate Guardian/ICM poll of the 2017 General Election campaign continues where the previous few ICM polls left off. The Conservatives retain an 11-point lead which they saw from ICM through the weekend, following up on the 12-point lead published in The Guardian last Monday.

Headline vote intention figures are (compared to the last Guardian poll on 30th May):

Conservative 45% (nc)

Labour 34% (+1)

Lib Dem 8% (nc)

UKIP 5% (nc)

Green 3% (nc)

SNP 4% (nc)

Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)

Other 1% (nc)

Compared to other polls over the weekend ours slots in the higher end of the Tory lead range, one point off ComRes 12-pointer. At the other end, Survation revealed a Tory lead of only 1-point. A moderately significant dividing line has emerged between sets of pollsters, largely pivoting on how we treat turnout. This has been widely discussed in polling circles since the Labour ‘surge’, which is at least partially based on younger people and 2015 non-voters saying they will now turnout, and vote for Labour.

Those pollsters, like us, who show higher Tory leads are implicitly sceptical about the extent of this self-reported turnout. Those with lower Labour leads largely take it at face value. But whichever turnout weighting scheme is applied, the impact is clear – as Sturgis & Jennings of the University of Southampton established in their paper, which was published yesterday.



Vote estimates with turnout weight

Vote estimates without turnout weight

Pollster Fieldwork End Date





(%) lead (%) (%)


ORB/Sunday Telegraph 4th June


37 9 44 38 6
IpsosMORI/Standard 1st June


40 5 40 43


Panelbase 1st June


36 8 40 39


YouGov/Times 31st May


39 3 41 39


Kantar 30th May


33 10 40 34


ICM/Guardian 29th May


33 12 41 38


Survation (phone)

27th May

43 37 6 43 37


ComRes/Independent 26th May 46 34 12 43 38


Opinium 24th May


35 10 42 36


Survation (internet) 20th May


34 12 43 33


GfK 14th May


28 20 45 29


      Mean  = 10   Mean  = 5
      S.D.  = 4.5    S.D. = 4.9


The imposition of historical-based turnout probabilities (i.e assuming that behaviours will tend toward the historical pattern) drives down the Labour share and upweights the Tories. Self-reported turnout scales on the other hand – largely employed by those pollsters showing the smallest Labour leads – hardly impact on the headline numbers. June 9th will show which was the better scheme, but the age profile of voters from all General Elections since 1964, courtesy of the House of Commons Library, suggests over-statement of self-reported turnout is likely. For example, it’s hard to reconcile between 38%-54% estimated turnout among 18-24s at General Elections since 1997 with one recent poll, which suggested that 82% of them would turn out to vote.

But who knows? Jeremy Corbyn has, to common agreement, run a good campaign and has motivated sections of the society who have tended to disengagement. On Friday, we will have the answer on whether he has bucked the trend, or not.

18-24 Year Old Survey - Hope Not Hate

ICM conducted an online survey of 18-24s, on behalf of Hope Not Hate supported by the National Union of Teachers.

This 18-24 group is of primary interest to the election polls right now, with their actual turnout next Thursday being a crucial indicator of Labour’s strength.

We post full data, noting the methodological difficulties of conducting vote intentions among a population sub-group. It is impossible to apply the standard suite of techniques (including our turnout probability model) to an 18-24 sample, simply because the necessary weighting target data is not available.

Download tables from:



2nd June 2017 Poll Results

Sun on Sunday

Just vote intentions on this one. 11-point Tory lead.

Nothing else here to see.

ICM Unlimited interviewed an online sample of 2,051 adults aged 18+ online on 31 May-2nd June 2017. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

What's really happening with Labour in the polls?

Suddenly, the polls seem to be all over the place. Why do different opinion polls show different results? And how do we know which one is right?

It should not have come to this.

The Tories were serenely sailing along, oblivious to the need to connect with the public or outline much in the way of tangible policy. Just put your faith in Theresa May, they said, who is not Jeremy Corbyn, they reminded us, and all would be well with the world.

That was just one week ago.

A swathe of populist free-for-all policies and one U-turn later and, on Friday, YouGov struck fear into Tory souls with a 5-pointer.

Is it an outlier? Probably. Should we take serious note of it? Probably not. Does it indicate a pretty solid direction of travel? It certainly does.

In anticipation of a numerous “Polls apart” headlines, I have to report that ICM’s poll in the Sun on Sunday had a 14-point Tory lead. Just to confirm, if your numeracy levels need some help, that’s not a 5-pointer: it’s 14 points, and it’s the same number that our previous poll had a week earlier. Big enough for a Tory majority of 126.

But the polls are narrowing—we had a 20-point Tory lead no more than ten days ago—and suddenly can, justifiably, be said to be all over the place.

What on earth, I hear you ask, is going on?

Changes since 2015

Polling models have changed radically in the aftermath of the 2015 General Election. In fact, that polling miss was mulled over once again at the British Polling Council/National Centre for Research Methods conference only last week.

At the conference, the numerous methodological changes enacted by all firms of pollsters in preparation for 2017 were outlined—not least by myself, on behalf of ICM.

Truly, as Sir Bob Worcester used to say about ICM—without as much vindication as he would have were he to say it now—we’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

Here’s a quick walk-through of changes that have been made to the Guardian/ICM poll since 2015: we’ve switched from phone to online data collection; doubled our sample size; introduced a range of new quotas and weights; radically overhauled our turnout modelling; and introduced a post-data adjustment, that reallocates people who we know nothing about politically.

It’s a pretty radical set of methods.

But there’s a catch; one which relates to that penultimate change. For were it not for the particularly strong turnout model employed, we too would be showing something very close to YouGov’s 5-pointer, rather than the 14-pointer we have.

Polls apart

It’s true that raw data can be moved materially from its base scores, and the strength and direction of the movement entirely depend on the intellectual and practical beliefs of the pollster in charge.

ICM’s view, which has been so long-held it pre-dates even my own 22 years in situ, is that polls intrinsically inflate Labour’s share—there’s more evidence of this than a stick can be shaken at—and finding ways to mitigate that problem is the responsibility of the polling agency.

So, to summarise, YouGov are softer on turnout than ICM and have a 5-point Tory lead. ICM is probably the hardest polling firm on turnout and we have a 14-point Tory lead.

These differing numbers can be attributed to the philosophies and choices made by individual pollsters, rather than the raw data we collect. Of course, in many cases the combined effects of all tools at our disposal work to bring us together; today, we see that they have driven us apart.

The cat among the pigeons

But the raw data we collect is, actually, the core problem. After 2015, the British Polling Council Inquiry identified “unrepresentative samples” as the cause of the polling miss, and all us pollsters have tried to address this problem in different ways.

The difficulty is that nobody really understands why the samples were unrepresentative, and if the problem is too complex to understand, you can bet the solution might be directed towards the wrong root cause. That’s a terrifying prospect in a close election; it’s not so much of one if a landslide is still the most likely outcome.

This is why YouGov’s poll is the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons. This was to be a cruise control election, in which our new methods would not be seriously tested, as there was only one winner in serious contention.

The idea of an unexpectedly close election, in which both May and Corbyn are predicted to be the next incumbent of Number 10, is just too concerning for pollsters to contemplate.

Original article published in Prospect Magazine on 28th May 2017 -


28th May 2017 Poll Results

Storm clouds have gathered in this General Election campaign. Rarely can there have been a more tumultuous and stunning sequence of events during a week of General Election campaigning,

The delivery of a hugely populist Labour manifesto with giveaways for all compared to a policy-light document hitting core Tory voting pensioners in their pockets hardly seems like a fair contest. The fact that the Tories had to quickly U-turn on social care then heaped on the impression of unreliability rather than Presidential-style strength. It might not have done though actually; more people (42%) respect the fact she’s capable of changing her mind and correcting her mistakes than think she can’t deliver strong and stable government (30%).

But some polls have moved as a result. That said, maybe we should just pump the breaks a little on this Tory collapse narrative. Our poll in today’s Sun on Sunday gives the Tories exactly the same pretty monstrous 14-point lead they had in our poll at the start of last week. If right, that’s a Tory majority in the House of Commons of 126 seats (they currently sit on a majority of only 16 seats). So the Tories are not shipwrecked after the storm, they’ve just had a bad week, and the storm clouds always move on elsewhere.

Labour have recovered somewhat it’s true, and at 32% in this poll it implies a better performance from Jeremey Corbyn than Ed Miliband managed two years ago.

But nearly all the fundamentals still point to a strong Tory result. Who would run the economy better? Duh. Hammond and May over Corbyn and McDonnell twice over.

Who would make the best Prime Minister? Despite a bad look this week it’s still hands-down Theresa May, 48% saying so compared to Corbyn’s 27%.

What about trust? Well, what have the Romans ever done for us? On defence, the nuclear button, terrorism, the nation’s finances, avoiding a recession, immigration, Brexit negotiations and helping with household finances it’s Prime Minister May over Prime Minister Corbyn every time. He does get a look in on the pretty important future of pensioners, the NHS and schools though.

And for dessert, what words do the public associate with each leader? For May, top of the list are: strong, intelligent and convincing. For Corbyn, he’s seen to understand people, and intelligence is in there but only in conjunction with being out of touch, weak, dangerous and irresponsible. Probably not the kind of endorsement he’s looking for.

Polls will go up and down, but despite the apparent improvement in Labour’s position, they are still in second place by a country mile. This leaves the question of what happens next for Labour? With some mutterings about the need for a new Centre-Left party we tested the idea among recent Labour voters. Most of them will stick it out with Labour even with Captain Corbyn still at the helm, or some other handpicked member of the hard Left.

After Manchester, the resilience and magnificence of the British public has been on full display. Most won’t be cowed in the face of the terror threat. Six in ten don’t fear for their personal safety now any more than they did last week, although 37% (mostly younger members of society) might think twice. The reintroduction of the death penalty might help – a full 65% would approve of it in the case of terrorist acts and for the murder of children, while 58% think it should apply to the murder of on-duty police officers. This has hardly moved from when we last asked it, back in November 2005.

ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,044 adults aged 18+ online, on 24-26th May 2017. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.