Following the midweek YouGov poll, there are two more polls in today’s papers showing the Conservatives falling back behind Labour in the wake of the cabinet Brexit “deal” and the Davis/Johnson resignations.

Opinum in the Observer, conducted between Tuesday and Friday, has topline figures of CON 36%(-6), LAB 40%(nc), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 8%(+5). Changes are from June. There is also new Deltapoll figures in the Sun on Sunday, which have the Conservatives on 37%(-4) and Labour on 42%(+1) – changes are again on June.

This means we now have three polls conducted since the Davis/Johnson resignations, all of which have shown Conservative support dropping down behind Labour (and for Opinium and YouGov at least, showing UKIP up… I don’t have the Deltapoll figure for UKIP yet, but I expect we’ll see the same there).

Full details of the Opinium poll are up on their website here, and other questions paint a generally negative picture for the government. Just 25% of people now approve of May’s handling of Brexit (down 5 since last month), 56% disapprove (up 11). Her general approval figures have fallen to much the same extent, down to minus 24 from minus 8 last month.

Asked specifically about the Chequers deal, however, the public are evenly split. 32% of people approve of the Chequers plan, 32% do not, 35% are either neutral or don’t know. Support is higher among remain voters, opposition higher among leavers. For those intrigued by the difference between be neutral rating here and the negative rating in the YouGov question mid week, one obvious difference in the question is that YouGov asked people if they supported or opposed the deal based on whatever they had seen or heard about it, Opinium gave a short description of the deal in the question, focusing on Britain following EU rules on goods, avoiding a hard border, collecting EU tariffs and being about to set its own tariffs for non-EU countries. As with any policy, I expect many people’s reactions to the deal are based not upon looking at the details, but taking their cues from political and media reaction to it.


480 Responses to “Two more polls show the Conservatives dropping behind Labour”

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  1. @carfrew
    “So the debate then shifts onto things like the “dilution” of a culture, or the environmental impact of more population, regardless of whether immigrants or not.”

    Well there’s also the problem that actually addressing immmigration requires both spending public money which in turn means higher taxes and stricter laws on various employment and accommodation aspects, none of which sits easily with the conservative ideology.

    As the proliferation of non EAA citizens working in blatantly dodgy car washes and numerous other such businesses shows, the points based system is irrelevant if it does not have any teeth to back it up. Border force, police and councils all need resources to enforce the laws, some of which need rewriting or tweaking to eradicate any grey areas.

  2. And much of that goes back to the whole singapore-on-thames vs belarus-on-trent issue. The political views of many lay people leavers do not match with that of most leave supporting politicians.

  3. Sam,

    The LSE study you link to is persuasive if you ignore Northern Ireland.

    However, the NI problem does destroy the analysis. The basic FTA is not possible unless the UK agrees the backstop; this is not looking likely at present.

  4. @James B

    “Well there’s also the problem that actually addressing immmigration requires both spending public money which in turn means higher taxes and stricter laws on various employment and accommodation aspects, none of which sits easily with the conservative ideology.”

    ———

    Well I addressed that aspect in my post, albeit in passing. Immigration tends to lead to growth, which means more taxes get paid, which means more public money. So immigration tends to pay for itself. It’s not unusual for nations to experience a net gain from immigration, e.g. the rise of the US.

    Indeed there’s an argument that were it not for immigration, we wouldn’t have had much growth at all in recent times.

  5. @James B

    Also, it’s not something the right wing press seem to consider too often, but while immigrants might START off in lowly jobs, they don’t necessarily stay there. They tend to be aspirant and start businesses employing others, or rise up ladders.

    My mum started off doing six months on the shop floor, while she spruced up her command of the language, but she didn’t STAY there, and her son went to Oxford.

  6. @James B

    “As the proliferation of non EAA citizens working in blatantly dodgy car washes and numerous other such businesses shows, the points based system is irrelevant if it does not have any teeth to back it up.”

    ———

    Tell you what James, let’s have a better kind of points-based system! A system that measures contribution over time. Then we can compare how you did and how your kids did, against assorted immigrants!

    Instead of just measuring it before they arrive and have had a chance to build networks and lest the system and contribute.

  7. @BFR

    “Their conclusion was that most people do not want to be responsible for leading an organisation through a difficult decision in case it turns out to be wrong, and psychologically would rather wait until their hand is forced so that they can feel that they had no choice, [I]even if it is a worse outcome.[/I]
    To my mind this explains the behaviour of the government pretty well…”

    ——

    Well quite. And I doubt it is lost on Theresa, what happened to Cameron when he came off the fence, had the referendum, and picked a side.

  8. @Carfrew
    I agree entirely – to be fair to James B I am sure he knows immigrants generate net tax income, but shares my concern that government (particularly this one) is not willing to spend money mitigating the impact of immigration on areas heavily affected – so they get all the costs, but the economy as a whole take the benefit.

    Understandably people affected get pi55ed off about this…

  9. @BFR

    “but shares my concern that government (particularly this one) is not willing to spend money mitigating the impact of immigration on areas heavily affected – so they get all the costs, but the economy as a whole take the benefit.”

    ———

    Yes, I should have mentioned that. And of course it can impact negatively on some employment sectors, driving down wages, but of course government policy can assuage that too.

    There are, of course, other issues. Immigrants might bring new, improved working practices, but that can be a bit destabilising for others. And we’ve talked on the board before now of studies suggesting some people are just wired to have a harder time dealing with foreign peeps, it stresses them more etc., which I don’t think is considered enough, in part because a bit delicate.

  10. I think that growth and the desirability of it is one issue often lost in the immigration debate. It’s undeniable that immigration brings with it economic growth [but by the same token, let’s always acknowledge that it must, by extension, mean economic losses for the donor countries, so can’t be all good] but I think that one of the perceived negatives is precisely that – the growth that it brings.

    This isn’t specifically about immigration or immigrants, but as I’ve continually said in recent years, the current levels of migration to the UK are such that in effect, we need to build a new Southampton every year.

    Collectively that’s a lot of bricks, concrete, busy roads, shopping queues, cars etc. That’s what this kind of economic growth is, but I think that one of the unsettling aspects is the growing feeling of crowdedness and loss of space, raising the question of whether we actually want this growth. This is far more fundamental a question than whether or not immigration is desirable or not. I suspect that if @Neil A was stalking the board this morning, he might agree.

    I have been struck by recent developments around global tourism, and this could be seen as a very similar issue to economic migration. In cities and regions across the world, there are increasing signs of local anxiety regarding mass tourism.

    Everyone acknowledges that it brings money, jobs and economic growth – just like immigration – but yet city after city is now seeing residents campaigning against limitless tourism growth.

    To argue whether tourism brings growth is not relevant – the issue has become whether residents want to see continuous growth with no controls on tourist numbers. In many parts of the UK, we’re seeing a similar undercurrent regarding the migration and growth debate.

  11. Alec,

    Ivan Rodgers is basically saying what I have been saying for a long time and is more or less Labour’s policy. Those cakeist elements in Labours 6 tets are there to allow them to vote against the Government and so that would have something to give up in negotiations with the EU.

    NB) Field, Hoey, Stringer and Hopkins may have issues with Re-selection, although Hopkins suspended of course. At least Campbell (thanks Denis) and John Mann back in the fold.

    Cable and Farron missing as well of course.

  12. @Alec

    I know you have great environmental concerns (as do I), and the general dash for continous growth does largely go against the to scarcity of resources.

    The really, really big problem is a growing population, but the truth is it isn’t more children being born , it’s fewer older people dying.

    How do we balance with the need for some of population to be young, have children (or we all die in 100 years), work and pay taxes with a larger retirred group with high mediacl and care costs?

    How do we stop the drive of people from the poorest parts of the world, hit hard by wars and climate change, naturally seeking a life that is free from war and provides opportunities in richer nations?

    The answer to both is radical change, something short term political systems can’t do, as people won’t like the solutions. People like others to change their lifestyles or pay the price, and not themselves.

    It’s tough.

  13. Correction

    @Alec

    I know you have great environmental concerns (as do I), and the general dash for continous growth does largely go against the scarcity of resources.

    The really, really big problem is a growing population, but the truth is it isn’t more children being born , it’s fewer older people dying.

    How do we balance with the need for some of population to be young, have children (or we all die in 100 years), work and pay taxes vs a larger retired group with high medical and care costs?

    How do we stop the drive of people from the poorest parts of the world, hit hard by wars and climate change, naturally seeking a life that is free from war and provides opportunities in richer nations?

    The answer to both is radical change, something short term political systems can’t do, as people won’t like the solutions. People like others to change their lifestyles or pay the price, and not themselves.

    It’s tough.

  14. Does anyone know how many Labour MPs voted with the Government last night on the amendment with the majority of three, or how many didn’t turn up? I’ve looked for a breakdown of the voting but haven’t been able to find it.

    It looked like a very convenient chance to allow the government to inflict yet another self inflicted shot to the foot and I’m wondering whether Labour whips might have tried to engineer it that way, since a defeat would have actually done the Tories a favour in the long run.

  15. “I suspect that if @Neil A was stalking the board this morning, he might agree.“

    ——-

    If I recall correctly, Neil expressed the view that he would rather see a reduction in the population.

    I don’t know if anyone asked whether this reduction should be achieved by encouraging fewer natives while allowing in more of the aspirant immigrants to improve the gene pool and social/economic contribution etc.

  16. @Pete B @OldNat

    The person you have to blame for the mess that is the Westminster voting system is no less than Sir Winston Churchill. As PM when the Commons chamber was bombed in WW2 it was his government’s decision to have it rebuilt as it was before and deliberately to make it too small to seat the total number of MPs at that time. As all speeches are supposedly addressed to the Speaker, a semi-circular chamber would have been a much more sensible configuration.

  17. @Alec: “It’s undeniable that immigration brings with it economic growth [but by the same token, let’s always acknowledge that it must, by extension, mean economic losses for the donor countries, so can’t be all good] but I think that one of the perceived negatives is precisely that – the growth that it brings.”

    The one that hint immigration inevitably brings is an increase in consumption.

    Whether it increases production depends on lots of things. Areas will often be limited in what economic activity can be successfully undertaken. Others may be full of untapped resources. Some have geographic advantages. Others don’t.

    There is a lump of labour fallacy. But it is also a fallacy to think that there should s a nice, reliable correlation between population and economic growth.

  18. LL
    Agreed. They should bulldoze the whole thing and relocate to the NEC near Birmingham. Much more central, very near airport, motorways, next door to mainline station etc. Cheaper too.

  19. Sarah Wollaston now saying the referendum needs to be re run because of Vote Leave cheating.

    Everything seems to be getting focused now by events and the pressure on leave is growing by the day.

  20. @Catman

    “I know you have great environmental concerns (as do I), and the general dash for continous growth does largely go against the scarcity of resources.

    The really, really big problem is a growing population, but the truth is it isn’t more children being born , it’s fewer older people dying.

    How do we balance with the need for some of population to be young, have children (or we all die in 100 years), work and pay taxes vs a larger retired group with high medical and care costs?”

    ——-

    A growing polpulationd doesn’t HAVE to mean scarcity of resources. It could mean MORE resources. Because more people means a greater number of the people capable of coming up with solutions. More inventions for processes like recycling. More ways to harness the energy of the sun, while making energy use more efficient.

    Longer term we can house large populations on rotating habitats, mining asteroids etc., easing the burden on the earth.

  21. @Catman

    I should add, I don’t see why the elders have to inevitably be a burden either. As it stands, some carry on working, and improving healthcare should allow more of that. Even if they don’t work, they might be encouraged to make more productive investments. Give them summat to occupy them a bit more anyway, rather than barging into me repeatedly at festivals and lining up to glare at me in coffee shops.

  22. @Hal

    Yep.When I posted the link the backstop was still breathing, though comatose.

    What does your intuition say about Brexit now, please?

  23. We will see just how much the remainers in the Tory Party are willing to put their principles before party at approx 18:00 hours today.

    Any predictions for the voting result?

    May has a slender majority with DUP support.

    I expect the DUP won’t want an amendment tying us to the Customs Union.

    So that’s the majority gone.

    However, Labour hard line brexiteers will vote against and there are approx 20-30 of these,

    There so taking the above into account, the nays have a majority of around 15-20.

    But if 20-30 of the 100 staunch remainers join ranks with the ayes….

    My prediction is that they will cave in as their love of party will outweigh their principles.

    Predictions anyone….

  24. Irish Government – “It is fully accepted and understood that there can be no withdrawal agreement without a legally operable backstop ensuring that there will be no hard border”

  25. Global warming will help ease population pressures by melting vast tracts of tundra in Siberia, Canada, Scotland etc and making those places habitable. I assume they have tundra in Scotland.

  26. Pete B

    All areas of Scotland are perfectly habitable at the moment as far as I am aware.

    Midges aside :-)

  27. Leftiliberal

    I’m a bit confused about your Churchill claim re the House of Commons war damage.
    As I understand it when you say his government do you mean the coalition government of the war years.
    Also again as I understand it Parliament was damaged on no less than 14 times by bombs over the war period and the plans for repairs and building reconstruction was carried out by a select committee the only input as I understand it from Churchill was his suggestion that an Arch be reconstructed for future generations to remember the war period.
    Your reference seems to suggest that he deliberately set out to have it rebuilt to small for the then 640 MPs although the reconstruction was a rebuild of the original building which in 1885 held 648 mps in 1918 this had risen to a massive 707.
    However by 1950 it had shrunk from its war time 640 to 625 and over the years to today of 650 it would seem at least for the last 130yrs without any input from Churchill to have served fairly well.

  28. Anyone have any thoughts on how a country such as ours would have to react if there was no immigration and birthrates/ageing and dying continued at the same pace as now?

    One assumes that we would cope somehow: but how?

  29. The EU and Japan have just announced the signing of one of the largest bilateral free trade agreeements ever covering one third of the worlds GDP.

    Seems a pity that the UK is leaving and won’t be a part of it.

  30. £CARFREW
    @Catman

    I should add, I don’t see why the elders have to inevitably be a burden either……..

    Give them summat to occupy them a bit more anyway, rather than barging into me repeatedly at festivals and lining up to glare at me in coffee shops. ”

    You should smile nicely at them and then ask if they like to join you for a latte and a friendly game of Quibblie or Carp [pat pending.]

  31. TED,

    Hoey, Field and Stringer plus the suspended Hopkins for the majority of 3 vote. Not sure if any abstentions.

  32. @Carfrew.

    “Tell you what James, let’s have a better kind of points-based system! A system that measures contribution over time. Then we can compare how you did and how your kids did, against assorted immigrants!”

    You’ve totally misinterpreted my posts and apparently got a bit worked up about it.

    I wasn’t really expressing a personal opinion on the matter, merely pointing out the internal inconsistencies in HMG’s approach to it. The ‘problem’ I was referring to was not immigration but the conservative’s position that they claim to want to lower it but ideologically are opposed to spending the funds or implementing the regulation to do so.

    And, in my addendum, how that is not tallying with views of parts of the electorate so is unlikely to solve their issues.

  33. @RosieandDaisie

    Yes, I might have known you would seize on my misfortune with something really effing helpful Paul! I must return the favour sometime! I’m lucky however in that other people tend to help me out a bit and it’s subsided somewhat anyway since Peak Brexit. Summer 2016 was a real eye-opener.

  34. “Longer term we can house large populations on rotating habitats, mining asteroids etc., easing the burden on the earth.”

    That’s right – the techie’s solution.

    Crap on this earth as much as we like, and when it gets intolerable we’ll go find somewhere else to crap on.

    That is not a definition of sustainable. Personally, I’d rather see humanity leave the Moon, Mars and any other celestial body just as we found them.

  35. @James B

    “You’ve totally misinterpreted my posts and apparently got a bit worked up about it.“

    ————

    Lol, if there was anything “worked up” about my post you could point to it, rather than just projecting, and the points system idea was obviously tongue in cheek.

    In that regard I was challenging your take on the points system, rather than your interpretation of the Conservative approach to spending public funds.

    I was also pointing out that your idea that immigration means higher taxes doesn’t necessarily apply. More spending may be required, but immigration may mean more income.

    You just repeated your argument without taking into account my critique.

    I don’t know that I agree that Conservatives are fundamentally against spending money. Much is spent on infrastructure in the South East, for example, and borrowing has ballooned. How the money gets spent, that’s so,etching else of course.

  36. @Alec

    Well, I was envisaging endeavouring to come up with those solutions BEFORE we make earth uninhabitable. Not waiting till we’ve wrecked it THEN coming up with them.

  37. Why are people getting so uptight about immigration on here today,

    Immigration has been great for this country.

    Any side effect issues such as stress on services etc. caused by rising population levels are the fault of our own governments over the last few decades (of all party’s) in not putting in place sensible policies to ameliorate any negative social effects.

    Please let’s not sucked into this.

  38. @TonyBTG

    We’re not getting worked up about it. We are just exploring all the aspects.

    It may be true governments might have done more, but there’s nothing wrong with us identifying what, and noting that some aspects, e.g. reducing environmental impact, are non-trivial.

  39. Oh, the Malthusian cult is still out 150 years after debunking his theory.

    One of the oddities that is always forgotten about Malthus’s theory is that he advocated the excess consumption of the clergy (not suprising) and the aristocracy. He also advocated having wars (not for the death, but for state expenditure – not surprisingly Keynes considered Malthus his predecessor (but he did the same with Marx, but at least he read Malthus).

    Anyway, the Malthusian cult here is closer to Darlington’s views.

  40. Carfrew

    Ok fair enough.

    Rather than ‘worked up’ let’s just say there are some frank exchanges of views.

    :-)

  41. @Carfrew – “Well, I was envisaging endeavouring to come up with those solutions BEFORE we make earth uninhabitable. Not waiting till we’ve wrecked it THEN coming up with them.”

    Which rather raises the question of why bother despoiling other planetary habitats when we don’t need to.

    @Laszlo – “Oh, the Malthusian cult is still out 150 years after debunking his theory.”

    To be honest, that’s a pretty childish observation. No one here mentioned Malthus, or his theories. That doesn’t mean that densely populated countries might be a bit unpleasant to live in, or that an increasingly global population isn’t harming the environment.

    Have you taken a moment recently to bring yourself up to date on how many species have become extinct or are under threat due to human intervention in the environment? If not, you really. really should, and then you might not be quite so quick to slap out an ill considered post that some might find insulting.

    @Tonybig – immigration (and. more importantly. population growth) has brought many positives, and also along with these, some negatives.

    There are global issues involved here, and more local issues, and managing population numbers and movements is something that we really do need to think about if we are to help preserve what’s left of the environment.

  42. The government have just defeated an amendment to the Trade Bill that would have meant that any free trade agreement would have to be scrutinised by Parliament before it could be ratified.

    Er, excuse me, but wasn’t Brexit all about taking back control?

    Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to check out any future FTA in Partliament first.

    This is all very worrying,

  43. “Whether it increases production depends on lots of things. Areas will often be limited in what economic activity can be successfully undertaken. Others may be full of untapped resources. Some have geographic advantages. Others don’t.
    There is a lump of labour fallacy. But it is also a fallacy to think that there should s a nice, reliable correlation between population and economic growth.“

    ——-

    It isn’t all about increasing production. Immigration can also beneficially increase trade.

  44. TURK

    According to Parliament’s own website:

    https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/palace/architecture/palacestructure/churchill/

    In October 1943, following the destruction of the Commons Chamber by incendiary bombs during the Blitz, the Commons debated the question of rebuilding the chamber. With Winston Churchill’s approval, they agreed to retain its adversarial rectangular pattern instead changing to a semi-circular or horse-shoe design favoured by some legislative assemblies. Churchill insisted that the shape of the old Chamber was responsible for the two-party system which is the essence of British parliamentary democracy: ‘we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.’

  45. @Alec

    “Which rather raises the question of why bother despoiling other planetary habitats when we don’t need to.”

    ——-

    Well I thought I’d done a response to this but it appears to have been evaporated into the aether.

    Suffice to say, that from asteroids to neutron stars, via supernovas, the sun expanding, the Milky Way colliding with Andromeda, and more besides, we cannot bank on remaining on this earth, even if we don’t trash the environment, so we need the capability to live on other worlds.

    Plus it seems there might be need to escape Paul. You can stay here with him if you like.

  46. Tony,

    In addition to the 4 Lab MPs (Hopkins suspended) who voted with the Tories last night only John Mann and Ronnie Campbell are considered possible voters against A Customs Union.

    means if the 14 Tory rebels support HMG loses the vote as long SNP/PC/LD and Lucas all show up.

    I expect less than 14 Tories, though, in the end but hope I am wrong.

  47. @ Carfew

    Everyone (and probably every generation) has different tolerances to loss of Green land but anyone who cares about loss of Green land and overpopulation in general (London unbearable because of numbers be they workers or tourists) doesn’t want any more building on Green land because that will never be reversed whatever bright ideas come along and in any event it is obvious that high density areas results in higher social disorder. So unless we are moving to Mars as the solution it doesn’t help in what dimension you build.

    I suspect environmental issues didn’t have a big influence on anti immigration sentiment (but perhaps another of the sub groups of 2%) that may have led to the Brexit vote but they are an extremely valid reason and perhaps people do see knock on results- housing crises etc. Perhaps, although the non environment response would be to “build more houses” and government may be at fault for not encouraging it, it is also possible that the only places you can build houses are controversial because of the green land issues.

  48. I see that the EU/Japan free trade deal signed today will see the tariff on cars imported from Japan reducing steadily until it reaches zero in 8 years. On many products, tariffs will disappear immediately.

    This sounds like Trump’s sort of bilateral deal. If the EU can do a deal that keeps Japan happy, it should be able to do the same with the USA (or, at least, with a rational USA).

    I see Juncker is meeting Trump soon to discuss trade. I wonder what they’ll come up with?

  49. Jim jam

    Are Farron and Cable in da house?

    If you can’t count on the libdems who else is there….

  50. Some John

    What irony it will be if the EU does a trade deal with the US before we do.

    Lol

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