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

by Stephen Tall on May 13, 2013

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 Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.