Ukip surge to 18% in latest ICM poll: Lib Dems at 11%

ICM: the pollster Lib Dems love and rely on the most. Maybe not tonight, though. Here’s The Guardian’s graph and report:

guardian ukip poll - may 2013

Ukip’s 18% is the best it has achieved with any pollster in any of the surveys logged at UK Polling Report. It is all the more remarkable for ICM, whose careful adjustments for voters who decline to reveal their political preference smooths out the wilder fluctuations of the electoral cycle.

The Tories are plumbing depths they have not experienced in more than a decade – barring a single month in 2002, they have not fallen below 28% since Tony Blair’s political honeymoon in 1997-98. The Liberal Democrats, which typically fare better with ICM than other pollsters, have not fallen below today’s 11% in the series since September of 1997, the immediate aftermath of Blair’s first victory.

Labour’s score of 34% is a miserable platform on which to build an election victory in 2015, and is its lowest since the immediate aftermath of Gordon Brown’s ejection from power in July 2010.

As Tom Clark notes:

While it is the Conservatives who continue to pay the heaviest price for Ukip’s arrival as a major player in national polls, the detailed data confirms that the Liberal Democrats and latterly Labour are also now seeping serious support. Back in April, when Ukip were on 9% nationwide, 10% of Tory voters at the 2010 election had defected to Nigel Farage’s party, compared with 2% of 2010 Labour voters and 8% of 2010 Lib Dems. The defection has now gathered pace: over a quarter of Cameron’s 2010 backers, 27%, had switched to Ukip by May. Some 13% of 2010 Labour supporters have gone the same way, together with 12% of 2010 Lib Dems.

And if this reminds Lib Dems a little of the SDP, here’s another stat that might bring back some memories:

Ukip would be left with no seats at all, its voters left even more under-represented than SDP supporters in 1983 – when the Alliance was left with a mere 23 seats from more than a quarter of the vote.

First-past-the-post: ridiculous, unfair… and quite possibly not such a bad deal for the Lib Dems in two years’ time.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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39 Comments

  • Time to wake up guys LibDems could be a spent force in 2015 dont sit back think you will hold the balance and be Coolition partner by default you wont UKIP will be so embrase EURO In / out Vote for the people who your supposed to represent and do it

  • Neil Christian 13th May '13 - 10:07pm

    Has any one made any prediction about which seats are most vulnerable to UKIPs rise in 2015 on these polling results. I’m taking for granted UKIP won’t win any seats but interested to know who might benefit and where?

  • ^I’m assuming that Boston in Lincolnshire is currently considered a UKIP target after the party’s success there. They made their most prominent gains in several eastern counties. Nigel Farage is from Kent so perhaps he’d eye a seat there to campaign for towards 2015.

    But in terms of “vote splitting”, Labour possibly stands to benefit in a number of marginals it lost last time. Lincoln, Waveney in Suffolk, Great Yarmouth, maybe some of the north Kent/Medway seats.

    IMO the Lib Dems will do better than expected in 2015. Where they’ve done well locally they should be able to hold. Plus if UKIP splits the Tory vote in LD/Tory marginals, there’s only one beneficiary.

  • Well, come on Neil, keep up. The areas that went to UKIP at the County elections, and are generally thought to be most vulnerable, are principally around our coasts, one would guess mainly where people have gone in large numbers to retire. So we can presume that those areas would also provide the support at Parliamentary level.

  • Peter Watson 13th May '13 - 11:05pm

    Don’t panic.
    Someone will be along shortly to remind us that mid-term polls are a meaningless irrelevance and that UKIP will win no seats, Labour will win even fewer in 2015 than they did in 2010. and a victorious coalition with more Lib Dems will have another glorious 5 years.

  • UKIP didn’t win in every South East coastal town. The Liberal Democrats did well in Eastbourne and Labour did well in Hastings. UKIP cleaned up in Folkestone, Thanet, Herne Bay and the rural bits of the Isle of Sheppey. In fact, UKIP won no seats in either Eastbourne or Hastings. Why so? Perhaps it’s because the Liberal Democrats have done a good job in Eastbourne and Labour has done a good job in Hastings, while the two “progressive” parties have failed beyond belief in the others places in the list.

  • A Social Liberal 13th May '13 - 11:48pm

    Tim
    That isn’t a true representation of the facts. The truth is is that those counties in the south of England are most suseptable to a vote for UKIP – only 11 seats were taken by them in the north and midlands. Moreover, it is the Tories who will suffer most from any swing, although the Lib Dems are in for a kicking in the south.

  • Who knows? Maybe the Lib Dems could seek an electoral pact with UKIP in 2015. The condition being, of course, that UKIP should be sure to stand in those constituencies where the Lib Dems face a close contest with the Tories.

  • UKIP has been polling ahead of the Lib Dems in most polls since early March.

  • In 2008, Clegg wrote that it was cowardly to deny a referendum. Fast forward to 2013, and Clegg becomes ‘vote denier’ in Chief. And you wonder why the polls are headed in the direction they are? Seriously, what does it take to wake LibDems from a catatonic state?

  • nuclear cockroach 14th May '13 - 8:29am

    @JD @JB

    “Seriously, what does it take to wake LibDems from a catatonic state?”

    Liberal Democrat voters vote as they do because they are pro-Europe. Why would the Liberal Democrat party change in a way that would anger their voters?

    Nice to see the United Kipper Front bashing away at their keyboards, but get a grip, lads.

  • nuclear cockroach 14th May '13 - 8:31am

    @JD @JB

    “Seriously, what does it take to wake LibDems from a catatonic state?”

    Liberal Democrat voters vote as they do because they are pro-Europe. Why would the Liberal Democrat party change in a way that would anger their voters?

    Nice to see the United Kipper Front bashing away at their keyboards, but get a grip, lads.

  • You can cynically, spin it however you want, but politics is supposed to be there to represent the will of the people. But the loud and clear Lib Dem message, is that LibDems clamour for power, in order to deny, the will of the people.

  • Voters vote LibDem because we’re serious about the issues which face the country – and we’ve got a track record at all levels to prove it!

    Ukip in my part of the world don’t even understand the responsibilities of relevant authorities, so I don’t know how they’ll have any impact even should they get elected.

    So what do polls like this show? Digging down into the datasets the real interest is in the increasing number of floating voters who answer ‘don’t know’ to questions of party identity as they make up their minds based on actual choices, not hypotheticals. These groups are the ones which should be engaged with and listened to as they will prove decisive.

    The rise of Ukip is drawing hysterical responses, but this is nothing but a reflection of the real change happening as tribalism collapses.

  • When push comes to shove the UK population will vote to stay in the EU. We’re actually a very conservative (with a small c) nation and wary of change of any sort. The fear of what we’ll lose will outweigh any possible benefits. Talking to people the vast majority really don’t know what would be best for the country and presented with a choice will either not vote at all or keep the status quo

    Same thing happened with the AV referendum.

  • John Dunn says ‘politics is supposed to be there to represent the will of the people’.

    Just so -but as no one won over 50% of the votes in either the County Council elections this year, the General Election in 2010 or indeed virtually any national set of elections in the last 100 years ‘the will of the people’ is far from clear cut. Certainly at every national electoral test so far UKIP have never come remotely near winning 51% of the vote.

    So what is ‘the will of the people’ John?

  • Paul Holmes,

    the coalition government polled 54.5% of the vote at the 2010 election and agreed a position on Europe that no further powers will be ceded to the EU without a referendum. With respect to your question to John Dunn, has the will of the people not then been expressed in taking the sensible position that requires a referendum if and when it is contemplated that further powers will be transferred to the EU?

  • So what is ‘the will of the people’ John?
    The will of the people, is to be allowed to have a say, (an in out referendum). That is why voters are increasingly, turning away from discredited politicians and cynical ‘vote deniers’, and towards UKIP.

  • Matt Galagher

    I think your point about workers protection is a good one and a very good approach to defend remaining in the EU. One of the best things about the EU is its another counterpoint to government’s absolute authority, along with the law and the electorate. Concentration of power is a bad thing and having it distributed to multiple bodies is a good idea to stop corruption. The only question is if the EU can hold our government to account who’s keeping tabs on the EU?

  • @ Joe : you write
    “the coalition government polled 54.5% of the vote at the 2010 election”
    And within that 54.5% there were young first time voting, students, who learned a very hard lesson. That a politicians pledge has no value post election day.
    I wonder how many of those students will come back for second helpings of LibDem pledges in 2015.?

  • @Joe Bourke – a sensible question but Eurosceptics tend to hold the view that Parliament does NOT represent the will of the people as can be clearly seen by their continuing upset at Parliament’s disinterest in the UK immediately withdrawing from the EU. Hence their desire to bypass Parliament and hold a referendum.

    Unfortunately, though, that does lead to a conundrum – namely, if Parliament does not represent the will of the people, how, therefore, can a decision by Parliament to hold or not hold a referendum be deemed to reflect the will of the people? Presumably, Parliament should hold a referendum in which it asks

  • @Joe Bourke – a sensible question but Eurosceptics tend to hold the view that Parliament does NOT represent the will of the people as can be clearly seen by their continuing upset at Parliament’s disinterest in the UK immediately withdrawing from the EU. Hence their desire to bypass Parliament and hold a referendum.

    Unfortunately, though, that does lead to a conundrum – namely, if Parliament does not represent the will of the people, how, therefore, can a decision by Parliament to hold or not hold a referendum be deemed to reflect the will of the people?

    Presumably, Parliament should hold a referendum in which it asks the people whether they want to have referenda or not. Then, it should probably hold another referendum to ask the people if they’d like a have a referendum on the EU (or possibly even multiple referenda on various aspects of the EU!) Finally, then, secure in the knowledge that Parliament is reflecting the will of the people, it could then hold a referendum on the EU itself!

    In the meantime, of course, all other political issues such as jobs, schools etc would have to be ignored until we all are truly suffering from referenda fatigue…

  • Tony Dawson 14th May '13 - 4:35pm

    @Joe Bourke :

    “the coalition government polled 54.5% of the vote at the 2010 election ”

    Not so. MPs who are members of parties who eventually supported the Coalition Government secured 54 per cent of votes cast. But nobody voted for any government: our electoral system of single member constituencies denies that possibility. Indeed in quite a number of constituencies, parties which might be likely to form a government do not even offer the electorate that possibility. In hundreds of others if they do so in theory it is not in any serious fashion.

  • Further to Tony Dawson – If people had been offered a Tory Lib Dem coalition on terms of the cuts and economic policy which has come about, you could be 95% sure it would have been decisively rejected, probably by 60 – 40 or even more.

  • Tim13,

    If people are offered a joint Tory UKIP candidate in the 2015 election (as some are proposing) campaigning on a platform of aggressive cost cutting, a continuation of the present neo-liberal economic ideology and an EU referendum, can you be 95% sure that the prospect of a coalition formed from such an electoral compact will see such candidates decisively rejected by 60-40 or even more, when their combined poll ratings would suggest otherwise?

  • Andrew Colman 14th May '13 - 7:10pm

    The Lib Dems should make the Tories an offer. They should offer to support an in/out EU referendum on one condition. The referendum should be held in 2014, a year from now but prior to the next election.

    This would have many benefits

    (1) It will help clear the air over Europe, otherwise this discussion is going to go on for year after year with consequent business uncertainty and boredom amongst the electorate.
    (2) If Cameron agrees,. It will scupper his plan to tap in to the annti EU vote in 2015
    (3)If Cameron says no, there will be meltdown in the Conservative party as the Tory Europhile are again denied a referendum
    (4) It will help Clegg’s popularity and restore the Lib Dems reputation as a party of the people
    (5) A year should provide enough time for a pro-EU campaign to grow and be effective.

  • @jedibeeftrix – “This is what 82 per cent of us say we want.”

    Really?

    And, in which referendum, did we determine the will of the people on this then?

  • Andrew Colman 15th May '13 - 11:49am

    The tories claim that they want to renegotate our membership including opting out of the working time directive. Ie Employeess will be able to work for longer than 48 hours per week and no longer have rights to certain benefits such as holidays

    Who is going to be converted by this ? Likely to be limited to a handful on the Tory Right & corrupt businessmen.

    If we do get a majority tory govt, God forbid. By 2017 they will will be in mid term and expect a coallition of non-right anti Europeans and Labour will help ensure that the UK votes to leave the EU. Many will vote anti-eu just because they don’t like the incumbent government along with the many who already don’t like the EU..

  • @jedibeeftrix – “No referendum, just this:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/02/20/Obama-supports-EU-s-totalitarian-social-project

    So, we are resorting to determining the best interests of the UK based on articles on the Internet, are we? The opinions of random journalists now constitutes “the will of the people”, does it?

    If so, then I guess we can dispense with the expense of the next general election and just phone Mr Cantrall and ask him – a US citizen, I presume – what our next set of MPs should be since he is so in tune with “the will of the people”. After all, we wouldn’t want the embarrassment of the electorate possibly disagreeing with Mr Cantrall’s opinions, right?

  • Andrew Colman 15th May '13 - 12:55pm

    jedibeeftrix wrote:
    “Sadly, that is likely insufficient time to assess what the newly converged eurocore will look like, and what effect that will have on the essential sovereignty of britain”

    This statement assumes that the rate of change in Europe will slow down by 2017. This is a “very” bold assumption to make. Europe is always changing , and most evidence suggest that changes are likely to increase rather than decrease (eg effects of resource depletion, globalisation, banking crises etc). Secondly UK withdrawl itself will affect Europe and may precipitate a major change of direction itself (eg a series of copycat withdrawls)

  • Andrew Colman 15th May '13 - 12:58pm

    I remember back in about 2006/7 it was Lib Dem policy to support an in/out referendum on Europe if it were to be held. At the time the Tories were calling for a referendum on the “lisbon Treaty”

  • Joe, sorry, didn’t see your question till now. I think an active, reasonable sounding Labour candidate, or someone with credentials from the Lib Dems would do very well against such a Tory UKIP ticket. It would depend on constituency, and remember we are talking about a potential 70%turnout election.

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