The regular poll from Opinium for the Observer came out this weekend. Topline figures are CON 43%(+3), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 6%(-1). Fieldwork was on Tuesday and Wednesday and changes are since last month. This is the largest Conservative lead Opinium have shown since the election, following the trend we’ve seen from other pollsters of a modest improvement in the government’s position in the polls.

The rest of the survey had a numnber of questions on Brexit. More of the public disapprove (44%) than approve (32%) of Theresa May’s handling of Brexit, but it’s less negative than their perception of how Jeremy Corbyn has handled it (19% approve, 48% disapprove) and they would trust the Conservatives more than Labour to handle Brexit negotiations by 33% to 20% (though a chunky 32% say either none or don’t know).

In a forced choice question between the staying in the single market and ending free movement of Labour, 40% would prefer the single market, 34% would prefer ending free movement, 26% don’t know. As you’d expect, this break is overwhelmingly down Remain/Leave lines – by 70% to 8%, remainers would prefer to stay in the single market; by 60% to 14% leavers would prefer to limit freedom of movement. A more interesting question asks what people think the position of the political parties is, underlying that a large proportion of the public don’t know what the parties stand for – 38% don’t know if the Conservatives prefer the single market or ending freedom of movement, 44% don’t know what Labour think, 48% don’t know what the Lib Dems think (and some that do get it wrong – 21% of people think the Conservative’s favour staying in the single market.

On a second referendum, 37% of people said there should be a second referendum on whether to accept the terms agreed or remain in the EU after all, 49% think there should not (as regular readers will know, this is one of those questions that produce quite varied responses depending on how the question is worded – other polling questions show a narrower split, probably because this question is quite explict about the referendum containing the option of staying in the EU after all, resulting in overwhelming opposition from Leavers).

Full tables are here.


344 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 43, LAB 39, LDEM 6”

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  1. “21% of people think the Conservative’s favour staying in the single market.”

    !!!!!

    They really aren’t paying attention, are they? So it’s the will of the uninformed and largely uninterested people that will shape our destiny.

  2. PATRICKBRIAN,

    “They really aren’t paying attention, are they? So it’s the will of the uninformed and largely uninterested people that will shape our destiny.”

    that’s kind of the definition of Democracy…Rule by majority consent doesn’t require anyone to know much about what they are consenting too!

    Peter.

  3. At the moment that abject shambles of the negotiations has not had any impact on opinion on Brexit, and exists alongside a mild improvement in the government’s position.

    But if I were Corbyn, I would still be anxious for a new election. The alternative is a “TBA Brexit deal”, which keeps Brexit firmly on the table for the next few years.

    But a moderately okay deal will be death to his chances. He will go from being seen by many supporters as the best hope to stop Brexit to the Labour leader who collaborated with the government.

    I think these polls are likely to encourage the EU to play a long game. The last thing they want is to end up with a Tory majority. Far better to enter the open-ended transition period with a majority of the Commons basically in the EU corner. As long as the present Commons sits, the EU can spin out the transition.

  4. @PatrickBrian, PeterCairns

    To be fair, if I’d been asked during the last election, I’d have said that Labour’s policy was to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union. I would certainly say now (and probably would have then) that it was in favour of overturning Brexit.

    In my view, those have always been Labour’s policies – it has just been in search of a politically acceptable strategy.

    I am sure some of the 21% thinking the Tories want to stay in the Single Market were just guessing – but maybe some are just ahead of the curve.

    The really remarkable statistic is that anyone thinks Theresa May is doing well. Unless you think she is a Remain sleeper agent (I don’t, but she might as well have been), it is hard to see the basis for thinking she is doing well. I suspect some just see the question as an extension of supporting or opposing their side.

  5. Joseph
    “He will go from being seen by many supporters as the best hope to stop Brexit to the Labour leader who collaborated with the government.”

    Good point. But I’m not sure the EU will get much encouragement for anything. I think they’ve watched the shambles in the cabinet and given up to be honest.

  6. Public ignorance is staggering…and shameful! What would be the point of a further referendum with blind ignorance reigning supreme? It makes my long held view that political Education is a sad lack in schools curriculums.

  7. Joesph1832,

    “But a moderately okay deal will be death to his chances.”

    An Brexit outcome and all bets are off. since the referendum Brexit has both consumed and frozen normal politics.

    Once we have a deal, hard or soft, good or bad, one way or another the log jam will be broken and all Parties who have spent most of the last five years treating Brexit like Angels on the head of a pin, will need to actually address other things.

    The danger for both Corbyn and May is that neither seems to have thought about or has an answer to the question the electorate will ask….

    “Now What!”

    Peter.

  8. The whole mess of Brexit negotiations can be laid at May’s front door. If, she’d played the strong, decisive PM from the start and faced down detractors, from whichever side, rather than try and balance her Cabinet, we’d arguably be in a much better position, whichever way she’d jumped.

    As it is we’ve wasted the years since the Referendum in a miasma of indecision, which has done even more damage to the country than a strong pull to leave or remain would have ever done.

  9. On another matter, I notice that the sixth in line to the throne recently married an immigrant – over here apparently on a family visa. So one more for the numbers game. Kensington Palace have stated that “Ms Markle will be treated like anyone else”.

    I hope she doesn’t make a mistake in her tax returns!

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/20/a-life-completely-destroyed-by-one-paragraph-322-immigration-law

  10. Of course, in reality, it was the closeness of the result that led to May appointing a balanced Cabinet and in a sense that’s what the population voted for. So, also in a sense, the population got the mess it actually voted for as well. In such a situation it needs a strong willed leader figure to drag the country with them. Sadly we have no politicians of that sort of character, stature or vision these days.

  11. “40% would prefer the single market, 34% would prefer ending free movement, ”

    Strongly suggests EEA membership as a compromise. This option is popular in Scotland, moreover, so would have the advantage of helping with the harmony between Scotland and rest of UK, a factor often overlooked by politicians.

  12. Peter Cairns

    “Consent” can be a very flexible concept in which the UK Government can propose legislation that defines outright opposition as “consent”.

  13. Hmmm.

    Interesting Poll change.

    Don’t understand why though . !

    Its probably due to The Press I expect.

  14. Interesting and significant shift on the single market.

    Combined with reports of support for May among backbenchers and chief whip (in effect blunting the threat from the Mogglodytes to remove her), it does seem to give her the opportunity to move rather than wait for parliament to decide where she moves.

    Combined with the fact that she’s send Boris to the other side of the world, it might well be the opportune time for her to make a decision at last.

  15. @PatrickBrian

    “21% of people think the Conservative’s favour staying in the single market.”

    Probably another very good reason to take these opinion polls with a fairly large pinch of salt. I refer to the good Lord Cooper, ex Tory adviser and once of the Populus parish, when he referred to the polls taken since the last GE as virtual claptrap.

    I would heartily suggest a suspension of all VI opinion polling until Brexit has been concluded. As the ludicrous response above shows, and as Lord Cooper contended, the electorate doesn’t really know its backside from its elbow amidst the current almost comical confusion.

    I expect the next finding will be that 28% of voters think that Jeremy Corbyn is in favour of joining the Euro.

    That said, I’m assuming he isn’t. Maybe he is.

    We need another poll.

    :-)

  16. CB,

    The Daily Mail might suggest Corbyn wants to join with the Rouble.

  17. The slight recent divergence between the Tory and Labour VIs may reflect some skilful short-term tactics by Theresa May, coupled with Jeremy Corbyn`s unpopular and seeming indecision on the SM and CU.

    TM capitalised well on the Skripal poisoning, taking strong action against a UK foe, always good for more votes. And the Tories also managed to delay the Hackitt Report on Grenfell until after the local elections – London voters could well have been affected by Hackitt`s conclusions, but unfortunately the media buried them last week by majoring on whether combustible cladding should be totally banned.

    This short-term Tory gain will soon fade, I believe, as the UK electorate gradually realise how much most of them will lose on Brexit.

  18. “21% of people think the Conservative’s favour staying in the single market.”

    Rather than sneering at their perceived ignorance, perhaps we should consider that voters do not take politicians’ statements at face value, and that some of these 21% take that view because they believe that that is what the Conservatives ‘really’ think. And of course some prominent Conservatives are in favour – e.g. Ken Clarke.

    Whether the poll respondents are right or wrong is a moot point.

  19. Pete B

    “Rather than sneering at their perceived ignorance, perhaps we should consider that voters do not take politicians’ statements at face value, and that some of these 21% take that view because they believe that that is what the Conservatives ‘really’ think”

    A shrewd observation – which I think you have got correct.

  20. Crossbat

    I’d suggest the government doesn’t know its backside from its elbow either and collectively the public understand this.

    By “Conservatives’ favour staying in the single market” if you interpret that as the median member of parliament (on a scale of Ken Clarke to Rees_Mugg). I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually did favour the single market. The median member of the Tory party, not so much.

  21. Unless OPs on brexit omit those who couldn’t be bothered to vote in the referendum itself the figures are fatally skewed.

    Given that that accounts for around 30% of the total immediately, it’s hardly surprising that a large percentage of those polled – assuming that does include all potential voters** – wouldn’t want another referendum.

    It’s like asking those on here if we would like to watch another royal wedding when we didn’t watch the last one.

    So many people have no interest or involvement in politics I really think a way should be found to exclude them from polling on such serious issues.

    [brexit, not the bleedin’ wedding.]

    ** Anthony

  22. ON
    “A shrewd observation – which I think you have got correct.”

    I’m honoured.

  23. Davwel,

    “may reflect some skilful short-term tactics by Theresa May”

    it’s as likely the moon is made of cheese!

    PeteB,

    “Rather than sneering at their perceived ignorance, perhaps we should consider that voters do not take politicians’ statements at face value”

    Except that as Anthony has repeatedly pointed out attempts by Polsters and others codetermine exactly what and why people believe things show that there understanding often lacks focus and detail.

    Of the two options:

    The public make judgements based on emotion, those around them and what they read more than the detail

    or

    That they are actually much more decreeing and can identify things like the internal dynamics of the tory party

    The available evidence points very much to the first.

    Some of course might take that as an insult to the British Public but most studies show that public interest in politics in general and the details in particular just aren’t that great.

    I suppose it could be seen a bit like quantum physics where you can know the energy but not the location or the location but not the energy.

    The more you ask people in detail the fuzzier the result as the split into dozens of views with clear “Yes” or “No”, but really simplify it to say “Should We Leave the EU”; “Yes” or “No” and you get a clear answer but your not sure why!!!

    Peter.

  24. @Alan

    I imagine the median member of the Tory party, bar a few nice old dears, are well to the right of JRM and the ERG.

  25. @Peter C

    The complementary variables are position and momentum, or energy and time.

  26. JIB

    I don’t know why you think “nice old dears” are any more likely to be more internationalist.

    My nan was a “nice old dear” albeit one who held some very racist views.

  27. Carfew,

    “The complementary variables are position and momentum, or energy and time.”

    That’s why I come to this site, to learn new thing….

    From pedantic gits like you !!!!!!!

    Peter.

  28. @Peter C

    I don’t give a stuff if you know or not. I was just filling you in to save you in future from the pedantic gits who might.

    Besides, it’s not all about you. Someone else might want to know…

  29. The simple truth is that Labour’s programme under a Corbyn-led administration would be frustrated, delayed and ultimately probably blocked if the UK remained in the EU or the single market. It might be compatible with membership of a customs union of some kind but that would still be problematic.

    The rules of the EU are not designed to accommodate Socialist governments (hence the humiliation of Syriza): the likes of Tony Benn, Bob Crow and Michael Foot all knew that. Scargill knows it, hence his condemnation of Corbyn over the Referendum.

    It undermines the credibility of the current Labour leadership that they fail to acknowledge this in order to court Left Wing Remainers.

  30. @Peter C

    Btw, you can be discerning, and pay attention to detail, and yet still use emotion tom make decisions. Experts often do.

    In case you dismiss this as pedantry, it’s actually rather fundamental.

  31. Carfrew,

    “Besides, it’s not all about you !!!”

    Now you tell me…

    Couldn’t you have said that years back…

    It would have been a lot more useful than a lesson on quantum physics!

    Peter.

  32. @Peter C

    You still labouring the Quantum thing? Bit pedantic, things have moved on…

  33. Carfrew,

    “Btw, you can be discerning, and pay attention to detail, and yet still use emotion tom make decisions. Experts often do.”

    Very true, it’s just that studies suggest that most people don’t.

    Some people can run 100m in under 10 seconds, but most don’t!

    Peter.

  34. @Peter Cairns:

    “…all Parties who have spent most of the last five years treating Brexit like Angels on the head of a pin…”

    The whole “angels on the head of a pin” thing was a satire by Rabelais. No theologian ever actually did that, but clearly they came close.

    I think our politicians have been nothing so subtle in debate – more like football fans who never see their own team’s dives, and never see their opponent do a clear tackle.

    They would probably be inclined to burn the other side of the debate at the stake, however.

  35. Joseph1832

    I thought it was about 10^63 (assuming angels can’t be any smaller than the Planck length)

  36. @Peter C

    “Very true, it’s just that studies suggest that most people don’t.”

    ——

    Well they suggest people might quite often make decisions emotionally, but that doesn’t mean that in some cases they didn’t try and analyse first.

    Some things are so complicated or lacking in info., that one has little choice but to use intuition. This doesn’t make it irrational though.

  37. Carfrew

    Don’t be too hard on Peter Cairns.

    His Bhoys did well in yesterday’s Cup Final, but his Ghirls went down 9-0 to Hibs in today’s one.

  38. @oldnat

    I’m not being hard on him. I’m just adding to what he said. It’s not like anyone called him a pedantic git or anything…

    Regarding cup finals, it said in the Times, that Roman couldn’t get a visa sorted to watch Chelski in the final.

    From Windrush to WindRussian…

  39. Carfrew

    “Roman couldn’t get a visa sorted”

    The British tribes missed a trick there in 55 BC!

  40. Panelbase English poll

    Seems to be little appetite for constitutional change to reorganise the UK.

    https://wingsoverscotland.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/engfed.jpg

    Keep things as they are 47%
    More federal UK 22%
    Centralise at Westminster 16%

    Hardly surprising, but makes a bit of a mockery of SLab’s regular call for a Federal UK.

  41. Alan

    “I thought it was about 10^63 (assuming angels can’t be any smaller than the Planck length)”

    I think you are making the assumption that angels only a proton and no other particles :-)

  42. Prof Howard

    This ‘compromise’ is what David Cameron tried to get in the ‘re-negotiations’ and the EU flatly refused to even consider it.

    They also even refuse to restrict Freedom of Movement to ‘Freedom to Come and Work’, They insist that it has to include ‘Freedom to Claim ‘in work’ and all other benefits’, as soon as people arrive..

    So that, I’m afraid, was that. The EU had their chance and blew it.

    Largely because they were misled by Remainers in this country, into thinking we would vote Remain.

    And the same thing is happening even now, where, Remainers are inciting the EU into being unco-operative,.on the assumption we’ll take whatever we’re offered

    The Remainers are steadily dragging us into Hard Brexit without Hard Brexiters having to do anything.

    The Remainers are, and always have been, the Hard Brexiters’ biggest asset. It was they that lost the Referendum, not the Leavers who won it.

    If any one of them had had any leadership skills, or credibility, they might just have been able to sway it the other way..

    I voted Leave because in the end I was sick of the sight of the Remainers and their transparent arrogance and dishonesty.

    I was more or less on the fence before and certainly didn’t want a Referendum and was still uncertain, even at the end. But from what I’ve seen since I’m delighted I voted Leave.

    Apart from Ken Clarke,all the Tory Remainers, Labour, and even Tim Farron, voted in Parliament to have the Referendum.

    It’s FAR, FAR, too late to be squawking now. The game’s up. Deal or Deal we Leave in ten months.

  43. Laszlo

    A proton is WAY bigger than the Planck Length, about 10^20 times bigger.

  44. The obvious thing to do with work visas, is to sell them for a high price to applicants who want to come here to work, to set up businesses, to study or even just to live.

    £5000 a year per person might be reasonable, but more if they have previous medical condition that suggests that they might become a burden on the NHS.

    But make coming here on a purchased visa, conditional upon the migrant NEVER being able to claim any ‘in work’.(or any other), State Benefits, or get Social Housing, and if they are caught sleeping rough they get deported back.

    If they want to use the NHS or schools they have to pay..

    The taxpayer would make a packet, and businesses that really need the migrants could have them if they were willing to pay for them.

  45. Alan

    Yes, I know, but if they have matter, they have to keep a distance from each other, unless they end up in a black hole or a spectacular explosion.

    If they don’t have matter, then we would have to revise physics.

  46. What’s all this French nonsense about Rabelais? It was an Englishman (William Chillingsworth who first raised this issue in 1638.

    More importantly, he phrases it as “whether a million angels might not sit upon a needle’s point”. The “head of a pin” is a variable with a wide range (compare a drawing pin and a dressmaking pin), so clearly a flaw in French philosophy.

    The introduction of angels “dancing” is further evidence of corrupt French morals. If the angels were closely entwined in a smoochy dance would result in their taking up less space than if they were break dancing.

  47. Laszlo

    The redundant “have” in the first clause of your last sentence makes your second clause also redundant.

    At least it will in 30 years time, when the Kirk of Scotland predicts it could be “dead”.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16237634.Kirk_in_Crisis__Church_of_Scotland_could_be_dead_in_30_years__warns_top_cleric/

    Perhaps, by then, Christians will be sat on the point of pins in a collection of a religious lepidopterist.

  48. Laszlo

    Well there are particles smaller than a proton with mass.

    Now you have me wondering what would happen to an angel which wandered into the LHC. Perhaps that’s what they’ve been trying all these years.

    Ten years from now we’ll hear “YES! finally got one!”

  49. Alan,

    “Ten years from now we’ll hear “YES! finally got one!””

    I think Philip Pullman is ahead of you on that one!

    Peter.

  50. Ronald,

    “£5000 a year per person might be reasonable,”

    I certainly wouldn’t be a problem for Traffickers, Pushers, Crooks and Con Men, who had the money to pay it and fake entry qualifications, but it might be a lot harder for people with the skills we need.

    Peter.

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