Fraser Nelson

An ICM marginals poll points to a hung parliament

An ICM marginals poll points to a hung parliament
Text settings
Comments

The News of the World has its expensive and much-awaited ICM poll of the marginals tomorrow. There is some good news for Cameron, and some not-so-good news. First: 66 percent of voters in the marginals agree with the message "it's time for change". Bad news: a surprisingly large number think that Nick Clegg represents that change. A Lib Dem surge means that Tory swing is just 6 percent in the marginals, versus 5 percent nationally. Where is the Lord Ashcroft magic? In James's political column this week, he says the Tories had been so confident about the marginals that they reckon they need a 5-point lead nationally to win, rather than the 8-point lead previously assumed. The News of the World/ICM poll challenges that narrative.

As the NotW says, the LibDems "are up an astonishing 5 percent since January and are now closer than ever to holding the balance of power They have taken 4 percent off the Conservatives in the marginal seats, while Labour have been unable to win any new support." It quotes Martin Boon, ICM’s Head of social & government research, saying: “The latest ICM/NotW poll shows that the Liberal Democrats are powering back into the equation in the crucial marginal seats that will determine who wins this election – largely at the expense of the Tories ... These results have important implications for seats in the next House of Commons, with a hung parliament a real prospect.”

My thoughts about a hung parliament are depicted in the graphic above.

Here's the small print: ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1001 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 7-8th April 2010. Interviews were conducted across the 96 (new boundary) constituencies which are held by Labour where the Conservatives require a swing of between 4 percent and 10 percent to win the seat.  The results have been weighted to the profile of all adults aged 18+ living in the eligible constituencies. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Seat projection: Con servatives - 308; Labour - 248; Lib Dems - 61; Others - 33.

UPDATE:
Anthony Wells take here.