There was an ICM voting intention poll released on June 16th. Not many people noticed it; the polling companies aren’t shouting from the rooftops about their work at the moment, for obvious reasons. Mostly, they keep doing them so that there aren’t historical gaps in polling data (thus ensuring that graphing trends over time is possible into the future). However, the June 16th one was interesting when you dug into the crosstabs and got to the meat of the data.
Top line is that the Tories are on 37% and Labour on 31% – a 6 point lead. No real surprise there. UKIP are on 13% and the Lib Dems on 8%. So essentially, the whole thing is roughly in line with how people voted in the general election – again, not surprising. Which is why when you look at some of the deeper info contained within, the poll throws up some scary stuff for Labour.
Amongst C1s, or the lower middle class, the Tories have a 12 point lead over Labour (40 v 28%). That’s bad, but not the end of the world. You could look at any number of historical reasons for why the lower middle classes might vote Tory, particularly in a climate such as the one we are faced with. But when you look at C2s, the skilled working classes, The Tories still lead by eight (35 v 27%). In fact, UKIP are biting at Labour’s heels amongst this socio-economic group, just five points behind on 22%. That is very bad for Labour.
Labour is only ahead of the Conservatives amongst one socio-economic subset, that being Ds and Es (taken together in the poll), which are the non-skilled working class and the non-working class. Even here, it’s Labour 34 to the Tories 28 (UKIP on 15), a paltry six point lead.
Basically what I’m saying is that we heard a lot pre-election about how people regard the Tories as only out for the rich and powerful, and that people outside of the A and B classes felt alienated by them. Yet here we are, and the Conservative Party has a commanding poll lead amongst this group of people. Go figure.
However, all that isn’t even the real problem for Labour: it is that their support is now socio-economically bow shaped. They do all right amongst the richest actually (33% of A and Bs support them, slightly higher than their national rating) and amongst the poorest, but in the middle they are getting beaten by the Tories badly, with UKIP, as I say, coming up from behind. Given these are the people who should be their base, that should be very worrying for Labour.
I can hear people with their defensive comments on what I’ve just said already. It’s one poll. Besides, the pollsters don’t know what they’re talking about anyways, right? If there are people out there who wish to take solace in these excuses, by all means. I understand. But I can see the reality behind these numbers and so should those in the higher echelons of the Labour Party.