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ICM has yet more poll gloom for Gordon

May 24th, 2006

Brown haggard.jpg

    Poll shows the Tory lead more than doubling with him as leader

Today’s monthly ICM poll in the Guardian has with changes on last month CON 38%(+4): LAB 34%(+2): LD20%(-4). This is in line with the trend of other recent polls showing the Tories moving forward although Labour has a better showing than the recent Populus or YouGov surveys.

When the voting intention question was asked with Brown named as leader against Cameron’s Conservatives and Campbell’s Lib Dems the shares were with comparisons from the last similar poll in March CON 40% (+3): LAB 31% (-6): LD 19% (nc). The 9% Tory margin compares with the 10% in Populus two weeks ago.

This is the tenth poll in a row from the three main pollsters where the Tories do better against Labour when the Cameron-Brown voting intention question is put.

    There can be no getting away from this any more for the harsh polling reality is that Brown is not the right leader to fight a General Election against Cameron.

In March the boss of ICM, Nick Sparrow, confirmed to me that the firm applies the same turnout and past vote weighting calculations to this question as it does to its main voting intention question – so you can make a direct comparison between the two sets of figures.

According to the Guardian report “Labour voters – unlike the wider electorate – rate Mr Blair more highly than the chancellor as someone with wide appeal, someone prepared to take a stand on difficult issues, and someone more likely to make them vote Labour…Only 85% of people who say they would vote Labour in a general election with Mr Blair as leader say they would stick with Labour under Mr Brown, although the party would pick up support from other parties including the Lib Dems”

What makes this poll particularly depressing for the Chancellor is that Labour’s vote drops by three points when the Brown-Cameron voting intention question was put. In most other polls when this was asked Labour have stayed almost the same or shown a slight increase – it is just that the Tory figure has increased more.

These findings could not have come at a better time for Tony Blair who is under increased pressure from many in the parliamentary Labour party because of the reliance on Tory support to get controversial provisions of the Education Bill through.

    How can the Brown camp argue for an early change over when presented with these poll findings? At the very least it makes the prospect of an uncontested Labour leadership election that less likely.

In the betting my punt at 18/1 on Alan Johnson to be Blair’s successor looks even better. It’s now 13.5/1. It also could see changes on the Blair departure date market where I expect the 3.1/1 on him being their at the end of next year to tighten.

Mike Smithson






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