Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ice-cold ICM poll sends chill down Tyrannical Theresa's spine

I'm just back from the SNP manifesto launch in Perth.  I don't suppose I learned anything that I wouldn't have done from watching on TV, but there was that unmistakeable frisson of excitement in seeing superstars like Brian Taylor and Alan Cochrane in the flesh.  I also took some photos of Murdo Fraser abandoning the last vestiges of his dignity by leading a Dad's Army-style "protest" outside the hall - I'll have a look later and see if they're worth sharing with you.

Meanwhile, we have a new GB-wide poll from ICM...

Conservatives 45% (-1)
Labour 33% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 8% (n/c)
UKIP 5% (n/c)
SNP 4% (n/c)
Greens 3% (+1)
Plaid Cymru 1% (n/c)

The Scottish subsample is : SNP 43%, Conservatives 26%, Labour 22%.  That's reassuringly normal after Survation served up the SNP's worst subsample of the campaign last night (albeit based on a particularly tiny number of respondents).

Some people (including journalists who should know better) have an irritating habit of regarding only one poll as important - the last one they saw.  So we'll undoubtedly hear that this ICM poll has got the Tories back on track with a 12-point lead, and that Theresa May is once again heading towards a three-figure majority, etc, etc, etc.  That ignores the fact that ICM have clearly emerged as the most Tory-friendly pollster in this campaign, and that 12 points is the lowest gap they've shown since the election was called.  The direction of travel strongly suggests that any new poll from YouGov would be likely to continue showing a relatively tight race, possibly on the fringes of hung parliament territory.  As none of us will know until election night which polling methodology (if any) is the correct one, all that today's poll does is underscore the increasing and genuine uncertainty over the outcome of this election.

19 comments:

  1. Jings James! Just how much "flesh" were Taylor and Cochrane showing? No! Dinnae answer that! It'll fair pit me aff ma tea.

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    1. That has put me off me tea. :)

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  2. seen on twitter

    "Murdo Fraser is the Sean Clerkin of the British Resistance"



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    1. Clerkin but without the happy demeanour

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    2. Or the political influence. Clerkin was responsible for Subwaygate, which probably had a big effect on the 2011 Holyrood election. The biggest impact Murdo Fraser will ever have on anything is annoying a few dozen people on Twitter.

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  3. Murdo is Jimmy from the Rise and Fall of Reggie Perrin - even has the same shaped head.

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  4. These figures don't really reassure me.

    Assuming that the swing to Tories are uniform across the whole nation (a big assumption, I know), then any swing at all is going to lose the SNP the 3 Borders constituencies.

    Calum Kerr is clinging on by his fingernails. Any swing to Tory in Berwickshire is going to lose him his seat. He is almost assuredly gone.

    And if the Tories go beyond 25% they will take Dumfries as well as Angus Robertson's seat at Moray.

    If they get to 26% they will take Perth and N Perthshire (Pete Wishart's seat).

    Beyond that they start to take seats in Aberdeenshire, Perthshire and Edinburgh.

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    1. I agree that it's very hard to see how the Tories don't take Berwickshire - if they almost took it when they were 35% behind the SNP nationally, they should be a shoo-in now. Some of the other seats are looking like uphill struggles, but none of them are lost causes.

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    2. Eh? How on earth do you figure that out?

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    3. Is that question directed at me or Robert?

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    4. That was to the original post

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    5. But surely it's "the percentages, stupid". In our case the percentage wanting IFW (Indie fae Westminster).
      I'm a Yes-Leaver but I hope and believe that Angus Robertson will hold on in Moray. I'm a Yes-Leaver but I can't understand if pro-Indie people are going across to the Tories. Better to have put up a Real Nationalist candidate.

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    6. We're not abandoning hope for Berwickshire just yet, though Calum's majority was only 328 in 2015. This comment from a friend earlier today could be the sort of thing not showing up in the polls: "On the bus from Duns to Berwick this morning. Two elderly ladies get on at Chirnside. Their chat was about the Corbyn/May "debate" on tv last night. Both women saying how they would always vote conservative, but the fiasco they think May will make of Brexit, and the awful way she comes across and them concerned about the Care cap and thinking about their families future. Both now NOT voting Tory. I chuckled to myself."

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    7. James, yes indeed, I agree that Berwickshire is almost certainly gone.

      I also agree with you that other seats are not a foregone conclusion, given that lots of local variations do matter; it's a bit ropey in places, though.

      "Anonymous": I "figured that out" by just assuming that the swings to Tory are uniform across Scotland.

      That is obviously not a good assumption because swings are never uniform, there will be geodemographic clusters which are more prone to Tory-voting than others.

      So if a national swing to Tory is 10% in Scotland, then that is an average. But actually that reality won't be a uniform swing and each constituency starts with hugely different pre-existing Tory support.

      So that swing will be far larger in places like Perthshire and smaller/non existent in places like Caithness, Sunderland and Easter Ross.

      The good news from that is that in some places the Tories won't be a threat at all. The bad news is that where they are a threat, their support is concentrated and thus pose a REAL threat.

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  5. I'm taking what reassurance I can from the fact that Calum Kerr has been a first-class MP since he was elected. He seems tireless, and has even been attracting Tories who say they'll vote for him because of his personal qualities. Add to that the fact that his opponent, John Lamont, is clearly an ambitious bench-warmer whose main focus seems to be on a) getting out of Holyrood and b) his expenses sheet, then Calum may be in with a bigger shout than overall polls suggest.

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  6. I did a yougov poll yesterday. VI, certainty to vote (1-10 - I'm a 10 as I've already voted!), named candidates in constituency.

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  7. The Tories in Scotland reduced to a small protest group.

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    1. and thats them at height of their 'resurgence'

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  8. The border has never been an SNP happy hunting ground as the people there have stronger British identity and agricultural way of life. Rural areas in general have always had a strong if not misguided history of conservative support. However things are changing and it doesnt take much for them to swing either way but i do feel May is a car crash and that the polls are coming back to the SNP and mid to high 40% is now a likely outcome which would see a few caualulties but not as many as the unionists would have given them a modicum if success.

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