Live from Norwich – ICM poll shows close result and Clegg stands by Lib Dem campaign

by Stephen Tall on June 26, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the first constituency poll of the Norwich North by-election campaign, and it shows a close contest in store. Before I give you the figures, though, it should come with two big health warnings. First, the poll’s sample size is very small – 500 overall, and fewer than 300 for the voting figures. Secondly, polls this early in a by-election campaign, and when a polling date isn’t yet known, have proven unreliable predictors in the past. With those caveats firmly in place, here it is (comparisons with 2005 general election result in brackets):

Tories 34%(+1), Labour 30%(-15), Lib Dems 15%(-1), Greens 14% (+11).

The Tories will, I suspect, be disappointed to see their lead well within the margin of error. The Lib Dems, clearly, have a lot of ground to cover in the coming weeks. The Greens will be pleased with their showing, given the poll question prompted respondents with the major parties’ names, but not the minor parties’.

Meanwhile, Green candidate Rupert Read – who wrote that rather endearing and mild-mannered post for Liberal Conspiracy headlined Those FibDems… – is upset with the Lib Dems again, this time for reporting his statements and views. Nick Clegg was unrepentant: “We should and we will run this as a positive campaign, but we also need to be plain and straightforward in explaining the differences between the Liberal Democrats and the other parties.”