The Conservatives are ahead once again in the latest Guardian/ICM poll. They are two points ahead on 34 per cent – but that’s a five point drop since their surprising 39 per cent last week. Labour has dropped one point to 31 per cent. Two of the smaller parties have seen their vote increase, with Ukip on 11 per cent, up four points on last week, and the Liberal Democrats on 10 per cent, up two points.
Last week’s ICM poll was clearly an outlier — few believed that the Tories had jumped into majority territory — but Conservatives will still be pleased that this poll has them ahead. But be aware that this lead is within the margin of error. The Observer/Opinium’s poll yesterday put the Conservatives steady on 36 per cent, Labour on 32, Ukip on 13, the Lib Dems on eight and the Greens on five. On the other hand, yesterday’s Sunday Times/YouGov poll has Labour three points ahead on 36 per cent compared to 33 per cent. Some of the differences last week were put down to methodology but according to our poll of phone polls, the Tories are on 33.5 per cent and Labour on 33.3 per cent. Our average of online polls has the Tories slightly further ahead on 34 per cent. At the moment, it’s still all too tight to spot any trends.
ICM also asked the public how they felt about ‘forced choice’ for any post-election deals and a Tory-led government is just about the favourite at present. 41 per cent would support a Conservative government propped up by the Lib Dems, DUP and Ukip, compared to 39 per cent who would back a Labour government propped up by the SNP. For a coalition, voters are divided. Equally, 41 per cent would prefer a second Lib Tory/Lib Dem coalition or a Labour/Lib Dem coalition.
It’s worth noting that the ICM polling was conducted between Friday afternoon and Sunday, after the manifesto launches and opposition TV debates. Therefore, it appears that neither main parties have gained any momentum during the last week of campaigning. Lord Ashcroft’s latest national poll, which had both parties tied last week, is out at 4pm so we’ll see if he has found any movement.
UPDATE: Lord Ashcroft also has the Conservatives ahead in his latest national poll. He puts the Tories up one point on 34 per cent, Labour down three points to 30 per cent, Ukip on 13, the Lib Dems on 10 and Greens on four. These changes are all within the margin of error but Conservatives will be rejoicing at the news of two polls in one day with them ahead. The question Conservative HQ will be wondering now: has cross-over finally been reached?
In his focus groups this week, Ashcroft asked about the favourite TV programmes for each of the leaders. For David Cameron, the respondents thought he has ‘an EastEnders fetish’ as ‘that’s how he gets his idea of what ordinary people are like.’ Nick Clegg would watch ‘something soft and fluffy’ such as Countryfile or Antiques Roadshow. Ed Miliband would watch Panorama while Nigel Farage would only watch British comedies — such as Only Fools And Horses. ‘He models himself on Boycie’, apparently.