There is a new ICM poll in tomorrow’s Guardian showing Labour pulling level with the Conservatives on 37% each:
Conservative 37% (down 1%)
Labour 37% (up 3%)
Lib Dem 18% (down 1%)
This poll is somewhat out of line with other recent (mainly YouGov) polls and as with any poll that seems to show a different message it should be treated with caution until other polls confirm a trend. However, ICM is a respected pollster and along with YouGov has been the “gold standard” for many poll-followers.
The Lib Dems will be pleased and relieved to be on a very healthy 18% share, unlike the crazy Sky News so-called poll reported earlier today.
Sky News are leading on a “poll” which they gleefully report has the Lib Dems down at 8%, with Labour on 24% and the Conservatives on 43%. The reporting majors on the Lib Dems being under 10% and I looked to see the detail as to which credible organisation could have conducted the poll, what weighting was applied and the size of the sample surveyed.
The good news is that it is a respectable sample of over 1,500. However, that is where the credibility ends. This is a “poll” of the Sky News “Panel”. There was no weighting applied, leading to the ludicrous situation that 17% recalled as having voted Labour in the last election (when in fact they achieved 29%). Thus 24% is arguably an improved position for Labour.
The figures also include 13.5% of “dont knows”, “didnt vote” and “not eligible to vote”, which are normally stripped out of the final figures by any reputable pollster. This would boost all the major party shares if the figures were rebased in the normal way. I am not going to attempt to do this but I am sure some reader can do so!
My best advice on this poll is ignore it. It is what we call a “voodoo poll” which appears to have as much to do with gaining a sensational headline as informing the political debate.
UPDATE: The well regarded UK Polling Report now has a comment on this Sky News “Poll”. Whilst he says that it is not strictly a “voodoo” poll, as I called it, he is scathing about the methodology and supports my advice to ignore it!
Today came the surprise news that the Leader of UKIP, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, has resigned as party leader. In what might be seen as a refreshing burst of honesty he described himself as unsuited to the job of party leader and stated that he hadn’t really done a very good job.
In an age of professional marketing of parties and party leaders UKIP has always stood out as a rag-tag collection of Colonel Blimp types or as they were once described “gadflies and fruit-cakes”! Lord Pearson’s admission and resignation will only add to that view.
The party has been very successful in European elections, winning 13 seats at the last Euro poll but has failed to make any break-through at general or local elections. The evidence is that the party is seen as a convenient protest vote in the Euro elections but is not taken seriously at elections that matter in determining local or national government.
Nigel Farage was probably the most plausible leader the party has had but he had problems with some sections of the party and I am told, was frustrated with the lack of team working by some of his senior colleagues in the party. Whether he decides to seek the leadership once again may be determined as much by his physical health, following his appalling plane crash on polling day, as it is by whether he has the spirit for the internal fights that the leadership will entail.