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Does the polling “form book” provide any hope for Labour?

July 14th, 2009

ICM Guardian – July 6 1996
CON 30 LAB 45 LD 21

General Election Result May 1 1997
CON 31.4 LAB 44.4 LD 17.2

ICM Guardian – July 15 2000
CON 35 LAB 42 LD 17

General Election result June 7 2001
CON 32.7 LAB 42 LD 18.8

ICM Guardian – July 18 2004
CON 30 LAB 35 LD 25

General Election result May 5 2005
CON 33.2 LAB 36.2 LD 22.6

Comparing the July pre-election polls with what happened?

You hear it all the time that opinion polls this far out from an election don’t tell us anything – there’s a long way to go and all sorts of unforeseen events could take place.

Yet as the above numbers and comparisons of ICM Guardian polls at this stage ahead of the last three elections show the surveys have not been too bad – particularly with the Labour share.

For the most the Labour July ICM numbers have been “out” compared with what happened on polling day at the last three elections has been the 1.2% variance in 2005.

That’s a pretty amazing performance and is one of the reasons why I have so much confidence in ICM which is the only pollster to have operated a consistent methodology since the mid 1990s.

Will what happens at the coming general election change my view? Who knows but the polling record does not look too good for Mr. Brown and his party. In the latest Guardian ICM poll the Labour share was 27%.

ICM polls 1982 onwards

Mike Smithson