Labour’s seven percent lead in an ICM poll yesterday could be enough to put Ed Miliband in 10 Downing Street next year, according to analysis by Mike Smithson of Political Betting.
Smithson points to a pattern in polling over the past couple of decades that makes it seem like ICM polls are especially accurate in predicting the outcome of a forthcoming election.
In August 1996, ICM gave Labour a 12 point lead; the party went on the win the following year’s general election by 13 percent. In August 2000, the party had a 10 point lead in ICM’s poll, and went on to win by nine percent the following year. Then, in 2005, the party won by three percent having recorded a lead of exactly the same figure the previous August.
The fact they are now leading by seven percent this August would suggest they will win by a similar margin next year, which would be enough to give Ed Miliband a comfortable majority.
Yet there is a note of caution: the ICM poll has not been as accurate for the Conservatives. In August 2009, it gave them a massive 16 percent lead over Labour, yet at the following year’s election, their lead was just seven.
Yesterday’s poll is also an outlier – most recent opinion polls have given Labour a much smaller lead, and some have even put the Conservatives ahead.
Nevertheless, with only nine months until the General Election, the Conservatives need to up their game if they are to retain power. Despite being widely mocked and derided, Ed Miliband may yet walk into Downing Street in May next year.