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. We might have another General Election soon apparently.

    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/theresa-may/news/95328/tory-mps-preparing-another-snap

    If we do, I’d advise the Tory leader not to scare the heck out of her own voters and repel all the floating voters.

  2. “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…

    …The taxpayer would make a packet…”

    ——-

    Well if you want to make money, there are a lot more natives than migrants, so if you charged British citizens to work**, you might make rather more.

    (Of course, some might argue taxation is already a charge on working but, you know, details etc.)

    ** not those providing essential services like pollsters, obviously.

  3. @OLDNAT

    “The British tribes missed a trick there in 55 BC!”

    ——–

    Yes, they also failed to see the market potential of selling our football clubs to foreign oligarchs. Of course, this was the days before telly, but that just means they failed to see the market potential of telly. I don’t think they even had polling. Very primitive.

  4. On the basis that Leave ‘only just’ won the Referendum it is surely only fair that we should end up ‘only just’ leaving the EU. This on the basis that if there’d been a landslide supporting Leave we could have cut and run immediately on a Hard Brexit and if there’d been a landslide win for Remain we’d stay in and not rock the EU boat by pressing for reform.

    As it was a fairly close call, then leaving but with close ties seems the logical position, just as if the result had gone the other way with similar percentages, Remaining and pushing for reform would have been the logical way forward.

    The problem is that the EU has a set of ultra red lines to ensure it’s own survival and can’t afford to blur them for us, or anyone else. So out but with close ties, or cake and eating it, is a highly fraught position that is not really tenable for the EU.

    If the alternative is a Hard Brexit, for which there is no mandate, then another referendum, with express points to which the Government is bound, would seem logical. Faced with a choice of Leave with no dea and hang the consequencesl if 66% voted for it or Remain as we are if under that figure would seem a sensible option. And it would help keep the polling industry busy for a few more months.

  5. Maduro wins with 68% of the vote:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-44187838

    He needs to up his game – Putin got 75% recently.

  6. Ronald Olden: 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.

    For crying out loud…. Talk about getting your excuses in early.

    BREXIT MEANS BREXIT. Which part of that do you not understand?

    While you seem to have understood that the UK is leaving the EU, you seem to have either ignored or forgotten the consequences that the EU-UK relationship is at arm’ length.

    Obviously, brexit is not giving you what you want. Well, tough, it is turning out to be pretty much what Remainers expected from the outset. Now your rose tinted glasses are falling off, brexit is not turning out to be what you expected and what do you do? You blame Remainers, because you cannot accept that where we are now is a consequence of you being gullible. It is pathetic. Leavers got us into this mess and as you implicitly admit it is not what you hoped for, you must accept responsibility.

  7. I wonder if our stupid & confused voters understand this ?

    https://twitter.com/ainemichellel/status/998150476469334016

  8. From the Opinium Poll.

    Best for PM-18-34

    TM 32
    JC 28

    Gutter Press ?
    Gutter Poll ?
    Stupid Young People ?
    Meaningless numbers?

  9. @Ronald

    Yes, penalise people for being ill. We only want the healthy ones! Is it Hugo Drax or the other statesman whose name begins with H that you get your beliefs from? ;)

    Make them pay tax but be unable to use the NHS or state schools for free, that makes perfect sense too. They are lesser people after all.

  10. @Thomas

    “If we do [have another GE soon] I’d advise the Tory leader not to scare the heck out of her own voters and repel all the floating voters.”

    Going into the campaign with a 3-point lead I doubt very much there will be the same level of breathtakingly complacency that there was with the 20 point lead!

    Incidentally that 3 point average lead based on the last 6 polls is not far off where we were two years ago under DC before Brexit votes, changes of leader, disasterous GE campaigns and Corbyn bounces.

    I doubted Corbyn would win the next GE then and I still doubt it now. D Miliband would be a different matter.

  11. @Colin

    Let’s play with your very helpful drop-down menu, on the basis that I’m presuming that you want us to reply, that is: –

    Gutter Press ? Maybe. You know what they’re like.

    Gutter Poll ? Never heard of this. Another figment of your fevered imagination, perhaps? Could you link me to such a poll when you do your next Guido Fawkes inspired twitter trawl?

    Stupid Young People ? Are these the ones who voted Labour in 2017 GE? They grow out of it, don’t they? No need to panic.

    Meaningless numbers? Lots of statistics are meaningless, as you well know. Philosopher accountants like yourself are few and far between and their use of statistics is always entertaining.

    :-)

  12. I’ve only been able to find news reports of the new NI brexit poll:

    http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/more-northern-ireland-residents-favour-staying-in-eu-study-11364273171103

    The findings look significant, with support for remain up from 56% in the referendum to 69% now.

    Support for a united Ireland also surges amongst catholics from 28% if UK remains in EU, to 53% if there’s a hard brexit. (Figures for non-catholics not reported).

    If nothing else, this confirms that the border is an issue of high salience in NI, rather than the overblown negotiating tactic it is dismissed as by some posters here.

  13. “”Harry and Meghan’s wedding did more than unite this nation in sympathy and affection for a popular prince and the love of his life. It showed this country is world class.

    This was UK plc on international parade, joining hands with the global community in a way no other nation can match — even the mighty USA.””

    The Sun and Ted Kavanagh telling readers that the UK is world class may take the attention of some from all the problems of our four nations. So the Royal Wedding may have given a temporary small lift to the Tories.

    But happy events should not be made into political ammunition. There were many good things done at Windsor by the organisers, horsemen, musicians, TV staff, etc, but they should not hide the UK`s poor record on class division, education, health, safety e.g. Grenfell.

  14. Davywel: But happy events should not be made into political ammunition.

    Quite, but they may still move VI. The question is, in which direction?

    On the one hand, a boost to national self-esteem and confidence might increase support for brexit.

    On the other, a new awareness and pride in the UK’s standard-bearing inclusiveness might soften attitudes towards immigration, thus undermining one of the main brexit drivers.

    Hopefully there will be in-depth polling to tease this out.

  15. @Colin

    Those sub samples are small and not weighted, thus have a large MOE in them.

    The numbers look strange compared to YG though.

    The last YG poll (similar headline VI) reads as follows (bear in mind they classify 18-24 and 25-49).

    The Opinium poll gives headline VI for 18-34 as Lab 46%, Con 38%.

    The YG poll gives the headline VI as follows:

    18-24 Lab 71% Con 14%
    25-49 Lab 51% Con 31%

    They look very, very different.

  16. “The problem is that the EU has a set of ultra red lines to ensure it’s own survival and can’t afford to blur them for us, or anyone else. So out but with close ties, or cake and eating it, is a highly fraught position that is not really tenable for the EU.”
    @Steamdrivenandy May 21st, 2018 at 7:17 am

    And for good reason. They know that to stop the continent from sliding back into its cantankerous, volatile past what MUST succeed is political union. It started, and remains, with France and Germany, but it must also stretch across the rest of the continent.

  17. A united Ireland would:
    1. remove the border, solving that problem.
    2. meet the democratic will in NI in the EU referendum, while removing an EU remain-voting region from Great Britain,
    3. transfer to Dublin the responsibility for maintaining order in Northern Ireland
    and 4. Stormont would no longer receive an annual £11 billion subvention from Westminster (which might even allow the ‘promise’ on the infamous bus to be kept.)

    If it happened soon, it would probably be followed by a GB general election.

  18. Correction

    @Colin

    Those sub samples are small and not weighted, thus have a large MOE in them.

    The numbers look strange compared to YG though.

    The last YG poll (similar headline VI) reads as follows (bear in mind they classify 18-24 and 25-49).

    The Opinium poll gives headline VI for 18-34 as Lab 46%, Con 38%.

    The YG poll gives the headline VI as follows:

    18-24 Lab 62% Con 18%
    25-49 Lab 51% Con 29%

    They look very, very different.

  19. Al Urqa
    Lisbon Treaty Article 8
    1. The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.

    2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the Union may conclude specific agreements with the countries concerned. These agreements may contain reciprocal rights and obligations as well as the possibility of undertaking activities jointly. Their implementation shall be the subject of periodic consultation.

  20. The NI poll gives some interesting insights into thinking over there, if true. I really don’t know enough about NI politics to have any certainty at all on this, but such a dramatic move seems on the face of it to be not such good news for the DUP.

    One other point of note is the potential effect this would have on the overall balance of sentiment across the UK. With a total vote cast in NI in the referendum of 790,000, and a leave majority across the UK of 1.27m, whatever happens in NI wouldn’t be enough on it’s own to overturn the result.

    However, taken at face value, with everything else equal, this poll represents a total shift in votes of around 220,000, and would bring the leave winning margin down from 51.9% to around 51.5%.

    It really doesn’t take many votes to move to generate a very modest swing of 1.5% in the rest of the UK.

  21. It occurred to me after posting that UK and Russia are both ‘neighbouring countries’ to the EU.

  22. Angels must be positively charged.

  23. “Al Urqa
    Lisbon Treaty Article 8
    1. The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.

    2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the Union may conclude specific agreements with the countries concerned. These agreements may contain reciprocal rights and obligations as well as the possibility of undertaking activities jointly. Their implementation shall be the subject of periodic consultation.”
    @dave May 21st, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Indeed, and that is complementary to the EU’s strategic goal of a highly integrated economic and political area.

    Just to be clear ‘cooperation’ is not part of a hard Brexit. It is us, not them, trying to upset things. The interesting thing is who will win? If we get BINO it will reaffirm the supremacy of the EU over the UK. If we get a more meaningful Brexit, you could say otherwise.

    I think we will get BINO but everyone will tell us it is not BINO!

  24. Here is a l ink to the NI poll.

    https://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/brexitni/BrexitandtheBorder/Report/Filetoupload,820734,en.pdf

    “First, there is substantial and intense opposition to possible North-South
    border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and to
    East-West border checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
    b. Second, there are strong expectations that protests against either North-South
    or East-West border checks would quickly deteriorate into violence.
    c. Third, there is substantial support (a majority in both communities) for the type
    of UK exit that would largely eliminate the need for any such North-South or
    East-West checks, namely for the UK as a whole to remain in the customs union
    and single market.”

    53 % of Catholics voting for united Ireland in the event of hard Brexit is insufficient to make the poll favour a UI.

  25. SOMERJOHN

    I don’t doubt that the eventual fate of the border is a highly emotive subject, and enormously important to Republican voters in NI. Before the issue blew up I doubt that anyone thought that there would be any problems or that anything would change substantially. Of course now there has been a huge amount of fuss, and naturally people are worried about the outcome, I doubt anyone except a handful of Unionist ultras would like to see a properly hard border thrown up. The question is how likely that really is. SF and the Irish government have been working hard to convince people that anything less than total alignment will result in manned customs posts at every crossing and hour long waits for all and sundry. I consider that an exaggeration, and that even without the full technology for max-fac we’d still only see the occasional lorry being stopped. Of course if we crash out, then who knows.

    DAVE, ALEC

    Irish reunification would certainly solve a lot of problems, but there’s no way that May can offer a poll on that, not just because of the DUP, but also because it would be unacceptable to a lot of her party. Corbyn, on the other hand, would probably announce his intention to carry out a border poll within weeks, even without the present crisis.

    DAVE

    There are a number of posters who will insist that the EU’s negotiations are governed by its rules, but the commission’s interpretation is very selective indeed.

  26. Sam

    The Standard Model would also predict the existence of a negatively charged anti-angel.

    What happens when they collide?

    Let there be light.

  27. “an emerging theme was the sense of distance that several Catholics felt from the Republic of Ireland and the perceived lack of affection some Protestants believe Britain has for Northern Ireland.”

    “Only 22% of Catholics would support unity if it made them £3,500 a year worse
    off, but 55% of Catholics would support unity if it made them £3,500 a year better off.”

    “Our attitude survey reveals that 21% of the entire population would vote in favour of a united Ireland in a referendum, and 50% would vote to remain in the UK (others are ‘don’t knows’ or would not vote). ”

    “In our attitude survey there is substantial support among Catholics for the idea of having a referendum on a united Ireland (68% in favour compared to just 29% of Protestants in favour) once the UK has left the EU.”

    “Our attitude survey reveals that opposition to East-West border checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is substantial but not as high as opposition to North-South checks.”

    Our attitude survey reveals substantial support for illegal or extreme protests
    against any North-South border checks, especially among Catholics and Sinn Féin voters

  28. ALAN

    Lucifer?

  29. @Garj – “Before the issue blew up I doubt that anyone thought that there would be any problems or that anything would change substantially.”

    Forgive me, but this one sentence pretty much sums up the levels of ignorance on the leave side.

    The Irish border was flagged up repeatedly during the referendum campaign, let alone in the months afterwards, as an absolutely critical issue. It was dismissed, ridiculed and rejected as ‘project fear’ by leavers.

    The response Blair received when he very carefully introduced the idea of a breakdown of the GFA and a potential return to the troubles if a border was reinstated was instructive, and none too pretty to watch.

    Now, as the intractability of this issue finally dawns on Brexiters, they start to pretend that no one foresaw this outcome?

    Please – do us all a favour. Understand that lots and lots of people knew that this was a killer issue, and that far too Brexit supporters simply ignored the abundant evidence placed in front of them.

  30. And a second poll, commissioned by think tank Policy Exchange ahead of a major conference in London today examining the future of the Union, found that a clear majority of people across the UK are in favour of the Union in its current form.

    There was 68% support in England, 52% in Scotland, 66% in Wales and 59% in Northern Ireland.

    However, the research found concern across all nations – particularly in Northern Ireland – about the impact of Brexit on the Union.

    Fifty-eight pc of people in England, 59% in Scotland, 54% in Wales and 60% in Northern Ireland believe that Brexit has made the break up of the UK more likely.

    Caution is needed towards the poll for Policy Exchange as the NI sample was only 500. But it’s no surprise that it shows how closely nationalist opinion in particular is linked to the consequences of Brexit.

    This from the Belfast Newsletter via Slugger O’Toole

  31. Sam

    I’m not sure there is any mechanism for spontaneous conversion of a particle to its anti-variety. (Conservation of electric charge would seem to prohibit that)

    I suspect the whole story about angels “falling” is fake news from up on high.

  32. ALEC

    Off your high horse please, I’m referring to the voters polled.

  33. Alan

    What about spontaneous combustion – self igniting?

  34. @Garj – accepted, but the point still stands as far as they are concerned. They chose to ignore obvious evidence placed before them. Both they and the leave campaign, who were were very cavalier towards such critiques, deserve no sympathy now this issue has taken centre stage.

  35. GARJ @ ALEC

    In what sense is ALEC being unreasonable in suggesting that the leave campaign ignored the issue of the Irish border?

    Is it not a matter of fact that they did?

    In any event, let’s hope that the DUP have the sense to take account of the new polling.

  36. BZ

    Because when I said “I doubt that anyone thought that there would be any problems or that anything would change substantially” I was referring to voters in NI with regards to the shift in polling pointed out by SOMERJOHN, not to the Cassandras on the remain side who predicted the border difficulties. That’s the point, that the border wasn’t widely flagged as a big problem during the referendum, so it didn’t figure in the average NI voter’s thinking; but now it is, so it does. Try to resist the urge to go around saying “I told you so”; you may well have, but it gets boring after the thousandth repeating.

  37. GARJ
    “There are a number of posters who will insist that the EU’s negotiations are governed by its rules, but the commission’s interpretation is very selective indeed.”
    I was merely pointing out what the EU rules are, with no comment on whether they keep to them, while Al Urqa comments “Indeed, and that [Article 8] is complementary to the EU’s strategic goal of a highly integrated economic and political area” though implementing paragraph 1 of Article 8 with a country which has recently decided it does not wish to be part of that ‘strategic goal’ may give the EU some problems.
    EU’s ‘selective interpretations’ of its own rules may be reasons for leaving.

  38. GARJ @ BZ

    One of those “Cassandras” was Lawson*, who was shouted down by the fragrant Villiers and ignored by BoJo.

    It’s also worth noting that NI voted very clearly to remain.

    * THE Lord Lawson the climate change denier and leave campaigner.

  39. @ GARJ

    “That’s the point, that the border wasn’t widely flagged as a big problem during the referendum, so it didn’t figure in the average NI voter’s thinking”

    I really doubt that. It’s certainly true that many people in England didn’t think about this, but in NI, issues of borders and Irishness are never far from the surface, in my experience. Perhaps if you’ve never been there and talked to people, you don’t realise quite how deeply this sort of issue runs through the NI mentality. I would also know little if it weren’t for my wife being from NI. Even with that relatively weak link to the province, it still meant that for me, the future of NI was one of two major issues that made me vote remain in the end.

  40. Dave: A united Ireland would:
    1. remove the border, solving that problem.
    2. meet the democratic will in NI in the EU referendum, while removing an EU remain-voting region from Great Britain,
    3. transfer to Dublin the responsibility for maintaining order in Northern Ireland
    and 4. Stormont would no longer receive an annual £11 billion subvention from Westminster (which might even allow the ‘promise’ on the infamous bus to be kept.)

    That made me think: if there was a referendum in UK on whether to keep NI or transfer it to RoI, in light of the £11bn pa cost, I wonder what the result would be?

    Especially if that £11bn was rendered on the side of a bus as, “would you rather spend £211 million a week on Northern Ireland or the NHS?”

    That’s a tongue-in-cheek comment, of course, but I do suspect that if the GB-NI union was given the same referendum treatment as the UK-EU one, the outcome would be the same.

  41. somerjohn
    “I do suspect that if the GB-NI union was given the same referendum treatment as the UK-EU one, the outcome would be the same”
    but I suspect the turnout wouldn’t.

  42. TRIGGUY

    Although the border was an issue for NI people , the answers given on the issue, in the debates, were just as superficial whether you were in NI or elsewhere. The debates were largely UK-wide and any on NI telly were very superficial.

    Basically the remain people made some warnings and the leave people dismissed them. And for most people it didn’t get much beyond “there always been a common travel area” (which isn’t really the main issue, the economic border not the persons border was always going to be the issue.

    The BBC in NI with its dumbed-down approach, and commitment to “impartiality”, fell far short in its treatment of the issue.

  43. ” not to the Cassandras on the remain side who predicted the border difficulties.”
    @GARJ May 21st, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    oh for goodness sake just accept it. When the UK joined the EEC so did Ireland. Why?

  44. @garj

    “That’s the point, that the border wasn’t widely flagged as a big problem during the referendum, so it didn’t figure in the average NI voter’s…”

    So the sight of two former UK PM’s, the architects of the ceasefire and GFA, in Londonderry warning about the consequences of Brexit for the border and the GFA and repeated warnings of Remain campaigners do not constitute “widely flagged”. Really ?

  45. AL URQA

    “When the UK joined the EEC so did Ireland. Why?”

    Well, I thought it had something to do with us all taking part in the same round of accession talks (along with Denmark), having previously all been prevented from joining by French intransigence. Certainly, the border was virtually militarised in the 1970s, so it stretches credibility a bit to say it was because of a need to keep it open.

    Accept what, anyway? That the EU has the right to impose its legislation and judiciary on the UK in perpetuity, or to confiscate sovreign territory as a condition of leaving? I’m all for a border poll (though I recognise that there’s unlikely to be one with this government), and if the people of NI choose to leave then that’s their democratic right, but I wouldn’t think it was legitimate for the UK to insist on continuing effective control of the territory if that happens.

    HIRETON

    You (like plenty of others) are wildly missing the point of my post. It doesn’t matter how many people said it, it’s about whether the public paid any attention. Evidently they didn’t. Perhaps the relentlessly negative tone of the remain campaign had something to do with that.

  46. There’s something a little odd about the Opinium sampling. If you look at the Excel table (tab EU1):

    http://opinium.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/VI-15-05-2018-Tables.xlsx

    when they check if and how people voted in the EU Referendum, not a single person replied “No – I was not registered to vote” out of a sample of 2009. And yet you would expect at least 60 in a properly organised sample to be in this group because they have passed their 18th birthday since. They reformatted their tables recently and there’s now no indication of unweighted numbers, whch might give a clue as to what is happening.

    As to the topline figures, it’s worth pointing out that, as with other polls, the movement isn’t caused by Labour voters changing to Conservative. Although the nett Con to Lab change is smaller than last month, it’s still positive. Labour’s fall comes from an increase in DKs and to smaller Parties (a big increase in Greens in particular). These could easily be squeezed back to Labour in a campaign

  47. GARJ

    Surprised that you haven’t responded re Lawson’s interview on the BBC Marr show of 2016-04-10, which can be seen here [appx. 6m20s in].

    Granted that he doesn’t mention cross border tarriffs – presumably not having thought about trade deals, but he does say that the 500 Km border will have to be controlled for people traffic and there will be a need for cross-border co-operation against terrorism.

    For Villiers and BoJo to pretend that’s not what they wanted would be laughable were it not potentially tragic. See IN FACTS Vote Leave heavyweights slug it out over Ireland.

    The last para says it all, really:
    But the situation should be clarified. Despite the fact that campaigners – including Villiers yesterday – cite taking back control of our borders as a central argument for Brexit, they cannot agree what it would mean for our only land border. Many in the electorate – not least the millions in Northern Ireland, or the hundreds of thousands of Irish nationals living in the mainland UK – might want to know such basic facts before casting their referendum vote.

  48. GARJ

    More on the subject from the Irish Times of 2016-04-11 here.

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