The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is out here. The poll was conducted between Tuesday and Thursday, so was too early ask anything post-Leveson. The topline voting intention figures are CON 29%(-3), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 13(+3).

The UKIP figure of 13% is the highest the party have recorded in any poll, though it’s worth noting that Opinium do tend to give them some of their strongest results anyway. Polls continue to show varied results for UKIP (something I explored in more detail here), with online companies tending to show significantly higher support than telephone ones, but the trend is the same across the board, with even those telephone polls that show lower UKIP support still showing it growing.

50 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 29, LAB 38, LD 9, UKIP 13”

  1. The story goes from bad to worse for Cameron. He is now being attacked in a two pronged attack from the front Labour and UKIP and two from behind his back Boris and Gove.

    Will be interesting to see how the polls go over the next few months as the economy slips backwards and the EU problem wont go away.

  2. After the Hartlepool byelection of 2004, when UKIP narrowly pushed the Tory candidate into fourth place, Kilroy-Silk suggested that UKIP should “kill and replace the Conservative Party”. Farage is now saying that UKIP should replace Lib Dems as the third party.

    An study by Leicester University in 2011 surveyed the opinions of UKIP candidates about where they saw themselves, their party, other parties, and their supporters on a left-right (0 – 10) scale:

    Lab 2.8, LD 2.9, Con 4.9, UKIP 6.5, BNP 8.0

    Farage in his signature convivial style will continue to present his policies as centreground commonsense, while UKIP bloggers continue to discuss which philosophical wing of the Conservative party they should undermine first.

    UKIP have tried to transform the Conservative party into their own image, with some degree of success over the years – and currently Farage calls for a more grown-up leader, “someone like Michael Gove for instance”. In the meantime the next logical step would be for a handfull of MPs to jump ship bringing a slice of their constituency parties with them.

    One can’t help thinking that UKIP may present as a tempting vehicle for a radical right politician who is ambitious for his/her ideas . But then a less humourous, harder edged political stance might not have such wide appeal… also, would UKIP be able to accomodate the tensions which an influx of ideology would bring?

  3. UKIP may be riding relatively high after Thursday’s by-election results, but in all likelihood their second place will represent the party’s high watermark in Rotherham. It is in essence a single-issue party as well as being the exiled Thatcherite Atlantacist rump of the Conservative Party, with globalist economic policies that would hardly appeal to the average voter in Rotherham, or anywhere in fact. UKIP however does in some respects seem to have assumed the protest party mantle once donned by the now electorally crushed Liberal Democrats, but rather than Farage echoing David Steel with a call to “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government!” it would be more appropriate for him to say “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for a few second and third places in the West Country in May 2015!” Although many voters are currently casting around for a political alternative, ultimately they will find that UKIP is unable to provide the solutions that they desire.

  4. (from previous thread)

    Is there any party that actually advocates the legalisation of GM crops?


  5. Billy Bob,

    I think talk of defections is mostly nonsense although they might pick up a maverick or two who has burnt their Tory party bridges. This might give them another burst of publicity but larger than life characters tend to bring more tears than laughter.

    I think Cameron is now in danger territory because he is trying to maintain the middle ground that got the party into government after years in the wilderness but in doing so his party elected the most right of centre screed of candidates in a generation.

    Cameron’s biggest critics aren’t just to the right of his party they are too the right of the country. Many of them like the idea of a deal with UKIP. Because on policy they are closer to them than Cameron.

    I am increasingly seeing UKIP as the Tories Tea Party and having the same electoral consequences.

    The Tories seem to have been struck down with the same ideological virus as the Republicans, a sort of neoconservative fever that results in policy based on nothing more than blind faith.


  6. Speculation about UKIP having a big impact in the next GE and the effect on the chances of a Conservative government misses two things:



    UKIP may win the hearts and minds of right wing authoritarians and frighten the rest of us but they won’t have the donations of the rich, commerce or the trade unions.

    How many candidates could they field? How concentrated will their candidates be in Conservative areas and how many lost deposits will they budget for in Scotland?

    I discount much of the comment as partisan wishful thinking, either from UKIP supporters or from Labour anticipating a Conservative split, or even from journalists thinking they have something interesting to write about.

    They will all be disappointed.

  7. @PeterCairns

    I think I saw a survey, either by a BBC or Channel 4 journalist which suggested current Tory MPs split more or less exactly three ways – a hundred want out of the EU altogether, a hundred want a significant repatriation of powers/renegotiation, and a hundred keep quiet.

    As you say the 2010 intake significantly tilted the balance of the Conservative party to the right (a process that has been ongoing since 2001, they just didn’t get so many MPs elected in other years), The implication is that the Conservative party has only became fully Thatcherite after her downfall, and as a reaction to it.

  8. Tories down to just 29% but it will get a whole lot worse for the govt.

    35,000 NHS staff are to lose their jobs before April 2013. From then onwards the govt are going to be sitting ducks for everything that goes wrong in the NHS and the private companies doing work under the NHS name..

    ‘The economy’ isn’t going to save them. The word is that small businesses have just had a very bad week when it should have been the best of the year. I know a number of small businesses that are going to close once their leases expire in the next year or so.

    A euro-sceptic Labour party would win with ease.

  9. @Blly Bob

    “…The implication is that the Conservative party has only became fully Thatcherite after her downfall, and as a reaction to it…”

    It’s not often I quote Karl Marx, but…“…all great world-historic facts and personages appear…twice…: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce…”


  10. This may be one of the most fascinating political eras since Owen/Williams etc left the Labour Party, maybe longer.

    We have a Labour party leader who seems to make up for lack of charisma with tactical nous and a PM who is almost a reverse image of that, and is becoming less and less popular each month.

    Add the SNP, UKIP and the collapse of the LD base and support, plus the Euro crisis and we have a recipe for a wide range of possible outcomes over the next 2 to 3 years.

    If Cameron is still party leader after the next election I think he will have pulled off a miracle. If he’s not, and the Tories suffer a defeat, then its very hard to see where they go from there. I think they are trying to lead a country that just doesn’t exist in the image they have for it anymore.

  11. Or they could just be leading a country in economic crisis, in a world in economic crisis.

    Events, dear boy, events.

  12. @Neil A

    Which is why Obama could never be re-elected.

    “which is why. Obama could never be reelected…

    But he was, indicating the the electorat understands that governments are constrained by the world economic crisis; it’s what they set out to do or don’t do that leads to their non-reelection, a matter of nouse not charisma.

  14. nous

  15. I can’t open the YouGov breakdowns. Any Leveson stuff there?

    Healthy VI for Lab.

    Latest YouGov / The Sunday Times results 30th November – 2nd December – CON 31%, LAB 44%, LD 10%, UKIP 10%; APP -32

    Nothing earthshaking though.

  16. Obama was badly down on the polls halfway through his first term and it was only after the Republicans got mega-obstructive in Congress and the voters got a look at their candidate that they decided to stay with him

    Labour’s leader has been in plain sight all the time. He may not be loved, but we aren’t going to faced with a billionaire Mormon tax dodging 47% hater promising to cut benefits, healthcare and taxes for the rich as an alternative to, um, well that really.

  17. Managed to open the file with Internet Explorer.

    people appear cynical about our leaders’ motivations with over 50% thinking Cameron’s opposition to statutory control is him trying to preserve a good relationship with the newspapers and over 40% think Miliband is motivated by a desire to undermine the coalition.

    No doubt divided upon party lines, but very healthy cynicism if you ask me.

  18. NICK P

    Reinforced by constant assertions of politicians’ and parties’ cynicism and partisanship in a distinterested and non-partisan presss.

  19. ” disinterested and non-partisan press”

    tee hee

    It’s entertaining to see these journalists report about themselves and their mates. Like Cameron asking Leveson to report to Cameron about Cameron’s behaviour. In hindsight, it was never going to say, “you are dodgy, boss.”

    Apart from the plurality issue which Leveson left alone, he said that relationships between politicians and press had been “too close” and recommended that all meetings be recorded. But did he say what was wrong about these relationships, why they were wrong and where the line in the sand was (and who had crossed the line?).

    Cameron had very clearly overstepped the line wherever it was drawn but Leveson didn’t say so. He seemed to ignore the part of his brief that was to do with press/politician interaction. I can understand him holding back on phone tapping. It’s possible that there is more to say when the courts have finished their work (long grass etc).

  20. I can’t open the tables (they made my computer go pop) but M Smithson has tweeted the leadership ratings:

    Net Approval:
    Cameron -21 (-3)
    Miliband -15 (+5)

    Pure Approval:
    Cameron 37 (-1)
    Miliband 36 (+2)

    No sign if it’s Leveson that’s driving the changes or the by-elections.
    We’ll probably have to wait a few weeks to figure out if damage has been done, or if it’s just a bounce.

  21. Table wouldn’t open with firefox but would with IE.

    gould alone knows why.

  22. Osborne writing in The Sun today, claiming that his big two achievements are reducing the deficit by a quarter and creating a million private sector jobs.
    Given that these two statements aren’t quite factually true, and the situation looks to get worse on both counts in the very short-term (in the long-term, the plan may work), could this damage the chancellor again next budget?

    Also being reported is that the LibDems have agreed to the extra £10bn in welfare cuts in return for an unspecified (as of yet) wealth tax on the rich (although it won’t be a mansion tax).
    So potential damage to the Libs also, once the details of the extra £10bn are announced – benefits for the unemployed are a fraction of that figure, so the ‘pain’ will have to be felt elsewhere.

  23. I’m very intersetd in what the UKIP dynamic might do in a seat like Sheffield Hallam, where the LD’s glorious leader is based.

    He got 50% of the vote last time out…could we see that halved?

    Labour will get a chunk of that. They got c15% last time…could we see that doubled?

    Con got 23%…they might gain some LD voters but they might lose the same amount to UKIP.

    That would make it a very close three way marginal.


    The Tories after going up a bit in the polls, have slipped back a bit. Labour appear to be strengthening their position when you look at the crossbreaks over a period. This week sees the Autumn pre Budget statement and I can see it being pretty miserable in content, with very little to offer any hope for many people. If the world does not end on 21st December 2012, I think 2013 will prove to be an annus horribilis for the government and Europe in general.

    It is interesting that Neil A and other contributors from the right side now talk about a world economic crisis. Before the 2010 election and for the first two years of this Government, both Lib Dems and Tories were blaming Labour for the countries problems.

    In reality politics has very little to do with economic situations. Governments are either unlucky or lucky with the economic climate. The blame for the worlds current problems are Bankers and speculators all around the world, who have been playing a game for the last 40 years, which has ended up with massive piles of debt for most.

  25. Ah Ha!
    Found the polls I was looking for –
    May 2012 (Ashcroft, 2185) Project Blueprint Phase 3

    Conservative voters –
    Never see myself voting UKIP – 58%
    Could see myself voting UKIP – 42%

    2010 Conservatives –
    Never – 50%
    Could – 50%

    For comparison, it was 69/31 for 2010 Cons for Labour and 63/37 for LibDems.

    Project BluePrint Phase 1 (March 2011)
    Con Voters –
    Could see myself voting UKIP – 36%
    Could not – 64%

    Con party members –
    Could – 35%
    Could not – 65%

    2010 Labour voters (Oct 2012 – Ashcroft 1863 Lab voters – Red Alert)-
    Never – 78%
    Could – 22%

    For comparison, it was 79/21 for Conservatives and 65/35 for LibDems.

    2010 LibDem voters in LibDem seats poll (Nov 2010) doesn’t ask about UKIP but does ask about Cons and Labour –
    Never vote Con – 55%
    Could – 43%

    Never vote Lab – 30%
    Could – 69%

    So Labour 2010 voters unlikely to vote for UKIP – despite the argument that they’re ‘just as likely to vote UKIP as Tory voters’ – and Con voters more likely to consider voting for UKIP ‘now’ than in 2011.

  26. Couper FTPT

    “In 2015 we could have Cons (middle right) UKIP (very right) against a united left, which in FPTP is bad news for the right.”

    Also @Neil @PaulC above.

    As I have been saying for 2 years now. We are, in many respects, replaying the mid/late 1970s et seq. The analogies are piling up.

    A global economic crisis made particularly acute at home by idiosyncratic economic policy errors.

    No obvious solution to a dragging problem of economic underperformance.

    A feeling that the consensus of the

    Widespread disillusion with the two main parties.

    A Govt that failed to win a majority last time round, despite facing a woeful main opponent, leading to a politically weak coalition.

    A main governing party that is being dragged away from the centre despite its leadership’s best efforts to keep it there.

  27. @YouGov: Update: Labour lead at 13 – Latest YouGov/Sunday Times results 2nd Dec – CON 31%, LAB 44%, LD 10%, UKIP 10%; APP -32 Ed speaking out in supposrt of Leveson victims may have had a positive effect, perhaps his supporters perceive he is becoming stronger.

    AW, please could you update the chart for VI, I like to follow it…

  28. Couper FPT

    “In 2015 we could have Cons (middle right) UKIP (very right) against a united left, which in FPTP is bad news for the right.”

    Also @Neil @PaulC above.

    As I have been saying for 2 years now. We are, in many respects, replaying the mid/late 1970s et seq. The analogies are piling up.

    A global economic crisis made particularly acute at home by idiosyncratic economic policy errors.

    No obvious solution to a dragging problem of economic underperformance.

    A sense that powerful sectional interests (unions then, finance today) have crippled the economy and need to be brought to heel, although the political task seems appallingly difficult.

    A feeling that the economic consensus of the past three decades has failed us, but no clear vision of the alternative.

    Consequent widespread disillusion with the two main parties.

    A Govt that failed to win a majority last time round, despite facing a woeful main opponent, leading to a politically weak coalition.

    An opposition led by a deeply unpopular, weird looking/sounding politician who played a minor role in the disastrous previous administration and who is seen as an electoral drag even by supporters of their own party.

    An opposition leader who, despite all this, is playing mood music, reminding the electorate that the current politico-economic approach has failed and setting the agenda with broad, vague suggestions of what might replace it, though with no concrete policies.

    A main governing party that is being dragged away from the centre despite its leadership’s best efforts to keep it there.

    The threat for the governing party of the emergence of a competitor party that will suck support away and cripple it in a FPTP system.

    And then there is the way the polls have gone since 1974/2010. The changes in VI for the governing/main opposition/main centre parties are all-but identical.

    No political concensus lasts forever. I sense the inevitable once-in-a-1-or-2-generation tectonic shift coming in the political landscape is coming, but I don’t know what that change will be. I wonder if all political revolutions/re-alignments emerge from eras that share many of the common themes above?

  29. Good Morning All.

    From the last thread; a mention of grammar schools and UKIP and Mrs T.

    More grammar school closures were announced under Mrs T than under any other Education Secretary. Mrs T approved more comprehensivisation schemes than Crosland or Williams. 1970-1974.

    The tory party ran local government in most places after the debacles of 1967-69, even the old ILEA.

    As an earnest young man at the age of eleven in 1966 I noted that when with my Dad canvassing in Wallington the eleven plus was a vote loser with tory middle class voters.

  30. @Squeezedmiddle – “The word is that small businesses have just had a very bad week when it should have been the best of the year.”

    I like the use of ‘the word is….’ in this. Any chance you could specify which word and the source?

    For the record, this small business had an excellent week last week, with two substantial contracts coming in that will keep us running at near full capacity for another 12 – 18 months on their own.

    Let’s try and avoid bland statements that reflect our beliefs, rather than actual evidence.

  31. John Pilgrim @ 7:23

    “distinterested and non-partisan presss.”

    LOL If that’s all he gets after his stance on Leveson he’ll be lucky!

  32. Did anyone see Rees Mogg’s article last week on Ed M?

    It was very favourable and compared him to Attlee; come compliment from a ‘high tory’

    Labour’s lead looks solid and the economy does not look good.

  33. Even more ‘never vote’ polling from Ashcroft –
    Voters by Ethnicity (9835 Dec 2011)-
    A note – this is only a poll of voters in “areas with the highest concentrations of black and minority ethnic residents according to census data.”

    VI was:
    Con 23, Lab 56, Lib 9, Green 5, UKIP 3, BNP 1

    Would never vote Con – 35%
    LibDem – 22%
    Labour – 15%

    White: 35/21/20
    Asian: 29/23/6
    Black: 45/26/5
    Chinese/Other: 24/18/16
    Unfortunately no UKIP question.

  34. R Huckle,
    To be fair to Neil A, I recall that whilst he is a conservative he was more balanced before the last GE than many and recognised the Global nature of the problems in the UK; of course he suggested the Labour Government made matters worse but within fair debating range.

    Colin (for sure) and maybe Ken have acknowledged that DC/GO made a mistake in 2006 when they committed to matching Labours spending plans so some righties on here are being consistent even if arguably the Conservative party leadership are not.

    Your point about the Coalition leadership possibly being judged by some voters to have placed a disproportionate level of blame on the Labour Government as oppossed to world factors yet now blaming world and EU factors is well made imo.

    In think the evidence is clear that Labour have nudged up their lead a little on YG at least when 3 weeks or so it seemed to have narrowed a touch.

    I have been convinced that the coalition dynamics mean the cons VI will not go as low as previous mid-terms as the LDs are not available for those who are cross with the Cons but could never say Lab to a poster and stick reluctently with the cons. (most of these would have gone back to Cons at the GE anyhow).
    So the key number is not the Lab lead but their actual VI and at a solid 42/3% or so they are heading for a comfortable 35-37% at the GE as they experience a reduction in support as the GE approaches.

  35. And a side note on that Ethnicity poll –
    VI for white people only was –
    Con 31, Lab 45, Lib 9 [1], Green 6, UKIP 2%, BNP 2%
    So while support is greater for the Cons, in these seats, there was no real indication of BNP/UKIP support over the average.

    IIRC the pattern for BNP voting follows a pattern that it’s not areas with high ethnic concentrations where voters vote BNP but in the surrounding areas.

    [1] The Libs seem to get 9% in every poll with every group.

  36. NickP

    Re:Sheffield Hallam

    The student vote could well be crucial. Hallam has a huge number of students within its boundaries. Clegg was a darling of the socially liberal student body, but his volte face on tuition fees turned him I to a demon. Sheffield Uni student union has him in their sights. The question is, can they motivate enough students to register in Hallam and vote against him?

    In ordinary times, I’d say “no”, but I can see this becoming a high profile cause célèbre in the run up to 15.

  37. PS. I moved into the Hallam constituency last year, so (along with Mrs Lampton) there’s at least 2 extra non-Clegg votes in 15.


    I agree it is very similar to 70/80s. Even to the point of the Lib\Lab pact.

    Similar to UKIP problems for the Cons – you could look at the rise of the TeaParty in the US – and the problems they are causing for the Republicans.

  39. RE: Levenson

    From a polling point of view I think the Cons may suffer because of the Cameron\Clegg split – as in general parties suffer when they appear divided.

    And Levenson seems to be another screw-up from the gov. They set Levenson up, promised to put into effect the recommendations, but are backing down . And now a Levenson advisor is disagreeing with Levenson – it seems another mess.

  40. @R Huckle

    It is interesting that Neil A and other contributors from the right side now talk about a world economic crisis. Before the 2010 election and for the first two years of this Government, both Lib Dems and Tories were blaming Labour for the countries problems.

    That’s is true. It was Brown’s recession and now, apparently, it is a Global recession.

    However, I do recall Labour doing the same during the 1980’s. A global recession then was blamed on Thatcher. And the Tories did the same in the 1970’s – with the oil crisis. And blamed it on Labour.

    Moral of the story?

    In oppostion, a party – and its supporters – blames everything on the government.

    In government, a party – and its supporters – blames everything on the global situation.

    Reality always lies somewhere in between….

  41. LL:

    Am v disappointed that your Missis isn’t called Mrs. Lefty-Lampton.

  42. Couper2802

    If Shami Chakrabati (of Liberty, not exactly an organisation know for their ties to the conservatives) is coming out against curtailling the freedom of the press I seriously doubt it to save “her mate Dave” and more to do with her opinion that statutory regulation would conflict with they human rights act. This is a field where she is acknowledged for her expertise, which is the reason she was chosen as an adviser.

    If it turns out that there is a conflict here, doesn’t it make Cameron’s more circumspect “we should tread carefully when it comes to statutory press regulation” look a bit more sensible than Milliband’s enthusiatic diving into to water without checking for rocks or the depth of water?

    Then again, even if Shami Chakrabati is right, there always be the “it’s the tories fault” argument for appointing a judge whose recommendations weren’t legally implementable or for not just pushing it through, breaking the Human Rights Act and to hell with the consequences, which seems to be public opinion, I don’t think the public at large are sensible enough to let things like the legality of a position alter their strongly held views.

  43. Although uts a well-known fact that Harry Hindsight and Freddie Foresight are always off somewhere getting legless when you need them, I don’t think either would have been needed in 2010 by the Coalition.

    Whilst plaaying down the world banking crisis and laying everything at Berown’s door may have been good polkitics BEFORE the election, doing the same as a coalition AFTEr the election and also saying, with great precision, how they would turn things around and at what speed, was the most foolhardy hostage to fortune.

    I think the electorate, in general, are more instinctive than thoughtful but even so they will be able to understand that you can’t blame Brown/Labour for one bit of a crisis and then the rest of the world for the next bit.

    Added to that the very monotonous “too far too fast” will stick in the memory, and if it is perceived to be close to the truth will make matters even worse.

    Re Clegg, there is little doubt that he will be targeted in Hallam. Quite possibly Cons could go for UKIP and let Labour decapitate Clegg if they dislike him enough.

  44. excuse typing – been out with Harry and Fred………

  45. @Martyn

    We may as well have that in full, just in case Georg Wilhelm Friedrich gets eggy:

    “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

    Regards etc.

  46. ALAN
    ” I don’t think the public at large are sensible enough to let things like the legality of a position alter their strongly held views. ”
    Or, “If the Law thinks that, Sir, then the Law is a Ass!”
    It’s a change in the present legal position, which allowed Murdoch and his staff to use the law to permit unfair and corrupt action, that any legislation would be aimed at.

  47. I find it somewhat strange with UKIP currently being at 13%, higher than the Liberals that they are not shown in any of the graphs. Almost as strange as the comment from someone stating that UKIP is a single issue party, which obviously shows they have never even bothered to look at UKIP policies which are freely available on the net. Of course because the EU is the biggest ever economic disaster this county has had to face then it will be a major concern but that does not say it is our only one.

  48. Comparisons to US politics are unbelievably lazy.

    For example, Obama hasn’t suffered the full costs of incumbency since late 2010. The narrative after that has been that Democrats blame all the country’s woes on the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Republicans blame all the country’s woes on the Democrat-controlled presidency and Senate.

    The Democrats won the argument, largely due to smartly playing an extremely negative campaign style against an extremely weak and introverted Republican campaign.

    My prediction in early 2010 was that the winners of that election would be the losers of the next. The central issue now, as I see it, is whether or not the country is in a sufficiently good state in 2015 that Ed Miliband doesn’t have to make many hard decisions and can ride a recovery to 2020.

    Even if there’s a strong recovery now, it would have about as much an effect on Tory VI as the 1993-1997 recovery. Once you’ve had a recession early in your time in office and got the blame for it, further displays of economic success make little difference. (An analogy with the early 80s depression doesn’t work, because much of the country blamed that on the inflationary policies of previous governments, so when the economy boomed from 1982-1990 the Tories got the credit from many people.)

    I was glad for his sake that Freddie Foresight didn’t get his head knocked off, but hope that’s the end of it. I expect his missis is pleased at his reduced waist-line, but don’t think I will try it.

    “When the economy boomed from 1982 – 1990”
    Which economic recovery was that, Bill? My painful memories are of BOE base rate being pushed through the roof, mortgage interest at astronomical levels, and middle class houses, plus Thatcher’s sell-off council housing being repossessed by the banks and building societies to a level which introduced a new factor into their collective consciousness, of how to make money out of others despair, never to be forgotten.