Campaign Update #1
Given that the Prime Minister has graciously relieved us of the burden of a regular sleeping pattern, we've decided that we may as well start a regular campaign update series. We hope to send this out every morning via social media and give you the top four or five stories we've discovered in the polls the previous day as well as updating you on some longer-term trends we've been tracking.
This will be quite an undertaking for us since we have only a small voluntary staff, but we think this will be a really useful guide to public opinion for those of you who like to follow the polls. Of course, if we didn't think it was worthwhile we wouldn't think of doing project, but the support we've had from you, our readers, since the inception of Polling Digest back in August has been utterly incredible. It's our aim to be your one-stop shop for everything to do with political polling.
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Anyway, onward to the update:
1. Yesterday, ICM published two polls. One was taken between 14th and 17th April, while the other was taken on the 18th, in the four hours after Theresa May had called the election. The earlier poll gave the Conservatives a large lead of 18 points, with the Tories at 44%, Labour on 26%, the Lib Dems on 10%, UKIP on 11% and the Greens on 4%. The poll taken yesterday alone, however, gave the Tories an even larger lead of 21 points: the Conservatives received 46%, with Labour trailing on 25%. Interestingly, in this second 'flash' poll, the LibDems and UKIP switched from 10% and 11%, respectively, to 11% and 8%. The Greens stayed level at 4%.
The result of yesterday's polling announcements? The Conservatives' lead moved up 0.8 points to 17.9 percentage points over Labour. Our seven poll rolling average model is shown below, and the gap between the Conservatives and Labour is just cavernous. 'Outside the margin of error' is something of an understatement...
2. ICM also released a series of approval ratings for the leaders of the four main parties. The results are, by now, nothing out of the ordinary:
The black squares represent the net approval ratings for each of the leaders. The Prime Minister enjoys a positive net approval rating of 33 points. Her opposite number, Jeremy Corbyn, has a net approval rating of -48, meanwhile. This makes the difference between the two leaders' approval ratings an astonishing 81 points. Tim Farron's net rating is -18, while Paul Nuttall's net approval rating is a very low -42, making him almost, but not quite, as unpopular as the Labour leader.
3. A majority of voters back Theresa May's call for a new election. 55% of respondents told ICM they support the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday, with 15% opposing it. 30% didn't know.
4. May and Hammond are, by far, the most trusted economic team. 51% of voters said they prefer the Prime Minister and Chancellor in charge of the economy. Just 12% said they would prefer to see Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell take charge.
5. But there could be some good news for Labour. From Corbyn's interviews yesterday, it seems he might be trying to campaign primarily on issues other than Brexit. Now, while most issue salience polls has Brexit at the top of the list, this ICM poll does suggest that voters aren't completely uninterested in hearing the parties' other messages. When ICM asked voters which the single most important issue of the campaign is, 25% said jobs, prices, and wages; 24% said immigration; and 23% said Brexit. So it's clear that there are other issues to be debated. The problem for Labour is that the non-Brexit issues voters want to talk about aren't necessarily the ones in which Labour has a lead: on immigration, for example, Labour consistently polls far below the Tories.