An ICM poll for today’s Guardian puts Labour 5% ahead.  Labour’s lead is down 1% on a fortnight ago but the overall ratings of the parties are very stable.  Most importantly, most of the fieldwork (22nd and 23rd August) was completed before the Liverpool shooting and the Conservative Party’s sure-footed response to that tragic event.  The last few days have seen the Conservative Party acting as a united and effective team with David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith, Nick Herbert, Michael Howard and David Cameron himself all playing vital and impressive roles.

The Guardian has also compiled the results of all ICM surveys taken since Gordon Brown entered 10 Downing Street to analyse north-south voting patterns of 5,039 in total. Here are the Guardian’s main conclusions when comparing the numbers now to the 2005 General Election campaign:

  • Labour’s average vote in Scotland and Wales has fallen by seven points, from 43% to 36%.
  • In London Labour support is six points up; in the south-east and south-west it is one point up; and in the north, the engine-room of Labour’s parliamentary majority, it has risen by two points.
  • In the south-east outside London and the south-west the Conservatives have advanced massively in the past two years, up from 39% to an average of 48%.
  • Cameron’s weakness is in the north, where Conservative support actually appears to have fallen, from 28% to 26%.

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