Labour leaps to biggest lead with ICM in almost a decade

February 11, 2013 4:14 pm

According to the Guardian:

“Labour has forged a 12-point lead over the Conservatives for the first time in almost a decade, according to a Guardian/ICM poll. Ed Miliband’s party now stands at 41% of the vote, up three points on ICM’s January figure, and the Tories are on just 29%, having slipped back four from 33% last month. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have sunk two points, to 13%, whereas Ukip has inched up three to 9% – setting a new record for Nigel Farage’s anti-European outfit in the Guardian/ICM series. The Labour lead is the biggest – and the Conservative vote-share the smallest – in the polling series since May 2003.”

Here’s how that looks as a chart:

ICMFebruary

Whilst this is welcome, it’s not entirely clear what would have caused such an upswing in Labour’s fortunes over the last month – or as Patrick Wintour notes:

“It is hard to pinpoint a set of events in the past month that justifies a surge in Labour support. Ed Miliband has had a relatively low profile in the new year, while David Cameron has played his populist card on an EU referendum. Those in Downing Street who thought the prime minister’s move would not only quieten the backbenches but lead to a poll boost have been frustrated. Dissent on the Tory benches over Cameron’s leadership and the issue of gay marriage has continued unabated.”

Wintour also points Guardian readers to Anthony Painter’s LabourList piece on the fragility of Labour’s poll lead – which you can read here.

  • NT86

    Wintour has a point. The nightmare scenario would be a repeat of the 1992 election.

    Although trust in Tory competence re the economy is falling in support, it’s still vital to explain to people that it was misleading that spending under Labour sunk the economy. Public spending is essentially national investment. You cannot expect a market led recovery with zero demand in the economy.

    • postageincluded

      Anything could happen between now and 2015 but this just doesn’t feel like 1990.

      For a start, Kinnock’s huge poll lead then was largely a protest against the Poll Tax. Before the Poll Tax blew up Labour and Tory looked evenly matched in the polls; when Thatcher decamped, and the Poll Tax followed, Labour’s lead dissipated – and did so well before the election.

      The current Labour lead in the polls, however, is largely independent of the economy – most of it dates back to late 2010 when Osbornomics had yet to show their inevitable and disastrous effect. And most of that lead consists of ideological defections from LibDem to Labour; Labour voters who had deserted Labour for the LibDems (or even for the SDP!) coming home in disgust. The economy may or may not get better (and no thanks to the current Chancellor or his sidekick Beaker) but the LibDems can’t really undo being part of the coalition, and the several attempts they have made to “differentiate” themselves from the Tories seem to be having on minimal effect. Though Labour could lose some these Prodigal Sons & Daughters, I suspect a revival in the economy isn’t something that would sway them, and I doubt they’d return to Clegg in huge numbers, or that they’d be persuaded to stay by Labour aping Tory policy, as was done successfully in 1997.

      Of course it’s nice to have a temporary boost mid term (if only to rattle the LibCons), and certainly Labour should have a narrative ready to present to the electorate when the time is right and they’re ready to listen. I just don’t think they’re ready to listen yet.

      • robertcp

        Labour is averaging a lead of about 10%. My guess is that Labour’s lead will fall gradually and Labour will be the biggest party in a hung Parliament.

        • Monkey_Bach

          A major question is: How many Lib Dems who have defected to Labour will end up returning to the fold come Election Day?

    • Gabrielle

      1992 is often cited as an example of Labour doing well in the polls and then failing to win the election. For some Tories, it’s a sort of comfort blanket.

      There’s a few things that make today different from the early 90s.

      There was an expectation that the Tories were still the party of economic competence. They managed to disprove that in spectacular style with Black Wednesday and sky high interest rates. An epidemic of home repossesions and companies going bust further tarnished the Tory brand (and it’s never really recovered).

      Some young people actually disenfranchised themselves by not adding themselves to the electoral roll (because they mistakenly thought they could avoid paying Poll Tax by not appearing on the electoral roll).

      The Tory press was a lot more influential than it is now. Nevertheless, the Tories under Lynton Crosby are going to vilify Miliband in the same way as they and their press cohorts vilified Kinnock. The difference is, people take that sort of thing with a very large pinch of salt these days.

      The Tories couldn’t even win a majority against the hysterically maligned (by virtually every mainstream media outlet) Brown government. Since then this government has only distinguished itself by its utter incompetence. By way of contrast in 1992 the Tories had won a handsome majority in 1987, and memories of the winter of discontent were still fairly vivid.

  • postageincluded

    I do love your funny graphics, Mark, especially the ones with just one bar, but usually their more accurate than this one. You’ve got LD amd UKIP swiched. Feel free to delete this to hide your shame.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Les Dawson once said to Des O’Connor: “You became popular and have remained popular by doing bugger all.” To date much the same thing could be said about Ed Miliband’s Labour Party as far as I can see. Eeek.

Latest

  • Comment Scotland We shouldn’t be forced to choose whether we’re Scottish or British – we can be both

    We shouldn’t be forced to choose whether we’re Scottish or British – we can be both

    Less than a month to go until Scotland’s referendum and I’m now sixty meetings into my 100 open air street meetings across Scotland. I marked the halfway point in Glasgow city centre’s Buchanan Street. Hundreds of people joined in. The City Council Leader Gordon Matheson and I enjoyed the good old fashioned politics in the Glasgow drizzle. Fast forward a couple of days and after campaign stops in Bathgate and Linlithgow with Michael Connarty MP, I was off to Edinburgh […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Labour must be the party for the socially excluded

    Labour must be the party for the socially excluded

    This week David Cameron announced an extension of the Troubled Families programme. Since then, the right wing press have come out hard against our country’s poor, marginalised, and socially excluded, repeatedly using the dangerous term ‘underclass’ to describe them. The announcement led to the following headlines: “Rise of new underclass” (The Sunday Times, £), “Underclass ‘costing the country £30bn a year’” (The Times £), and “Revealed, the staggering scale of Britain’s underclass” (Daily Mail). Labour must offer an alternative narrative […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Young people are political, we need to show them politics is worth their time

    Young people are political, we need to show them politics is worth their time

    Energetic. Ambitious. Optimistic. Passionate. Working with young people for nearly a decade taught me they’re the most likely of all age groups to challenge, ask hard question and tell it as it is. But young people are also the least likely of all age groups to vote. Why?Maybe it’s because they get a bad deal from politicians. Since the Coalition came to power young people have been squeezed hard. If you’re under 35 you’re more likely to be out of […]

    Read more →
  • News Under 30? Your wages have dropped by 10% under the Tories, says Leslie

    Under 30? Your wages have dropped by 10% under the Tories, says Leslie

    Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, will today give a speech in which he will outline how young people, in particular those he calls ‘Generation rent’, are shouldering a “heavy burden” under the Tories. He will explain that people under 30 have been “hit the hardest” by Government policy because since 2010 this demographic group have seen a real-term drop in weekly wages of 10%. The figures Leslie will reveal show that the hardest hit are 18-to 21-year-olds, whose earning have […]

    Read more →
  • Featured In Iraq, the UK should only provide humanitarian aid – say LabourList readers

    In Iraq, the UK should only provide humanitarian aid – say LabourList readers

    What do you make of Miliband? Since he became leader of the Labour Party, it seems Ed Miliband has faced unrelenting criticism. Whether commenting on his appearance, the way he speaks or how well he poses for a photo, the media is by no means kind to Miliband. At the start of the summer, Miliband decided it was time to take these criticisms head on. You might remember that his blunt confession: If you want the politician from central casting, […]

    Read more →