ICM's Polling Bombshell
As the parties stumble out from the month of self-congratulation and/or internal bickering that is conference season, we’ve got a new voting intention poll to marvel at. It’s the monthly ICM poll done for the Guardian, the data tabs for which can be viewed here. And things – again – don’t look good for Labour. Here are the top 5 things you need to know from this poll.
1. The Conservatives have a 17-point lead. Yes, you read that correctly; no, that’s not a typo. This is ICM’s second highest lead for any party since their records began. In terms of the headline voting intention figures, the Tories chalk up a very high 43% of the vote; Labour are on 26%, the Liberals on 8%, and UKIP and the Greens get 11% and 6% respectively. Below you can see our 4-poll rolling average model: with this latest ICM poll, it gives the Conservatives a 13.25 point lead. And – as has become a routine phrase for us – the model shows that the Tories have been ahead since the May 2015 election.
2. Labour win among young voters…though this is entirely unsurprising. Among 18-24-year-old voters, Labour is on 40% with the Conservatives trailing by quite a large margin on 24%.
3. …But it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately for Labour, this net lead among younger voters is counteracted by two important factors. The first is that the Conservatives take all the higher age categories – even winning among 25-34 year olds, which is quite rare – and they win them with much larger margins. The figure below details the polling leads the Labour and Conservative parties have in each age group: while Labour win by 16 points among the youngest voters, the Tories take all other age categories and their largest lead – 70 points among 75+ voters – dwarfs Labour’s one lead. The second problem for Labour is that the older voters who so overwhelmingly back the Conservatives are the ones who actually turn out to vote at elections. While 78% of voters aged 65 and older turned up at the polls at the 2015 election, only 43% of 18-24s did the same. And in this poll, only 40% of 18-24 year-olds said they were absolutely certain to vote, compared with 74% of voters between the ages of 65 and 74.
4. The Conservatives beat Labour in every single socioeconomic category, including C2 and DE voters. These terrible overall results for Labour have been reflected when we look at voters based on their class. While the Tories, naturally, chalk up a large lead among upper middle class voters (33 points among AB voters), they also win in the C1, C2, and – most worryingly for Labour – DE categories. The graph is below.
5. The SNP wins in Scotland, Labour wins Wales, and the Conservatives win England. While Labour enjoy a considerable 15-point lead over their main competitors (the Tories) in Wales, with 38% of the vote, things don’t look so good in Scotland. While the SNP maintains its vice-like grip on Scottish politics, winning 46% of voters polled, the Conservatives beat Labour to second place quite comfortably: they get 25% while Labour are on 15%. However, it’s the story in England that is perhaps most interesting. Across England as a whole, the Conservatives are on 49% while Labour are on 24%. But when we look at the numbers in the North, Midland, and South, we see the extent of Labour’s challenge. The Conservatives lead by 28 points in the South, 23 points in the Midlands and – devastatingly – 12 points in the North.