The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is out and has topline figures of CON 28%(+1), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 8%(+2), UKIP 16%(-3). Their Labour lead is resolutely unchanged, but like TNS earlier in the week they have UKIP coming down from their post-local election peak of around 20 points. There’s obviously still a big methodological gulf between different pollsters on UKIP scores, but the trend is starting to be a bit more consistent.

252 Responses to “Opinium/Observer CON 28, LAB 39, LD 8, UKIP 16”

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  1. Presumably the lack of change was the surprise others were predicting ?

  2. Perhaps people outside the South-east don’t see much cheer in 0.6% growth. I wonder what the regional figures for the growth are?

  3. @ Reginald : most cuts and therefore money taken out of the local economy have fallen on the north and other Labour held areas. 0.6% growth mainly in south east.

  4. Surely this means Blues will rack up their votes in Bucks and Surrey?

  5. So long UKIP,was nice knowing you.

    Though tbh even the 10% they’re getting with Yougov is still pretty impressive for a 4th party.

    Huge difference between this and the Yougov and ICM figures for Con. About 5pts.

  6. Reginald – as far as I am aware the ONS do not publish estimates broken down by region in this way.

    The closest thing to regional GDP appears to be GVA (Gross Value Added). The ONS explain the difference here, but essentially it looks like its GDP with the things that can only be measured at a national level stripped out.

    Regional GVA figures appear to be much, much, slower to appear. The latest ones on the ONS site are from Dec 2012, and they relate to 2011 (here). Back then the South East, Northern Ireland and Wales were growing the fastest, London and the North East the slowest. I guess we won’t know about the situation now until the end of 2014!

  7. thanks Anthony, these are interesting to see especially the increases in GVA in Wales and NI.

  8. It’s qualified good news for Labour despite Miliband’s dismal readings, in that it shows that people are not in anyway swayed by the so called positive news agenda being pushed out by certain sections of the media. Good weather, good sporting results, more positive economic news etc. and Labour are holding onto their poll share, more important than the difference between them and the Conservatives.

    Note to Dan Hodges, who after the ICM poll wrote, ‘Labour have hit their ceiling of 36%’ Dan if Labour get 36% they are in, may not be much of a majority but they are there.

  9. I have a nephew who has retired in his prime having made a lot of money in the City of London. Being a fair minded man he pointed out to me that an enormous proportion of the growth in the United States has for some time been concentrated in the pockets of the top one per cent while median incomes have not in real terms grown at all. He said that we had now got the same pattern although we come to this later than the USA. He found it odd that no one was really grumbling about it (well perhaps its another way of looking at the squeezed middle but that idea does not seem to have caught on much). So in the light of posts here about the South East etc it might be wise of Labour to spend at least as much time on who is benefiting from this growth as they do on how little the growth is and how slow it has been to come. And while they are on this, they might look into what all these new jobs really are. From a position of retirement, employment seems to me lot less secure and even meaningful than once it did.

  10. Re GDP 0.6% growth.
    The announcement will have had little if any impact, perhaps at the fringe as the narrative is a touch more positive for the Cons.

    The growth was experienced during Q2 and may be a contributor towards the cons steady rise in the second half of the 1/4. In a odd way VI can be an early measure of growth – not withstanding the discussions about regional disparities and earnings still increasing less than inflation.

    HODGES CLUELESS and I am a Labour pessimist on this site.

  11. I simply have no time for these polsters. They’re methodology appears to have a political bias, like they seek to make a point.

  12. That’s pretty controversial Mr. Webb-especially on this site-with those initials.

  13. As for some of the comments here. It’s Labour hope, not reality. Labour should be romping across the board at this stage. They are hopeless frankly and denial won’t gain you credibility!

  14. ………you’re absolutely certain about the spelling of you surname I suppose………?

  15. mr webb

    “They’re methodology appears to have a political bias, like they seek to make a point.”

    More detail please. I don’t want to be left thinking you’re just trying to make a point.

    The stage is yours to expand………………………………..

  16. Thanks Anthony, I’ll bear your good advice in mind.

  17. @Paul,

    I was being a bit tongue in cheek on the other thread. Only jesting of course.


  18. The Observer has led their piece with an unusual question in its polling that I haven’t seen before about how more positive/negative the respondents are to each political party over the last 12 months.

    The order (positive to negative) was:
    Lib Dem

    Ie- UKIP the one seen to have improved most in people’s opinions and Lib Dem deteriorated most.

    Not sure I hold much by this- it would be difficult for me to compare my feelings for each party this exact time last year with now (except that my feelings haven’t really changed over the course of the parliament). This is also at odds with Anthony’s average polling from this time last year which shows Lab share of vote dropping rather than rising.

  19. Scotland publishes their own GDP numbers:

    Interesting report here on different regional growth rates – basically the UK economy is too London focused driven by government policy, and all other regions miss out.

  20. Anthony Webb

    Different polls do have a in built bias as presented by AW graph the other day. The best way is just look at the polling on the UKPR polling average, that’s probably a much more realistic figure, so no Labour aren’t suddenly 11 points in the lead any more than Lab/Con were evens the other day.

    As to whether different polling companies diliberately skew there findings to appease the different papers who pay them, I don’t believe they do, at least I certainly hope not. I’m sure thay would have to much to lose if thay got found out.

  21. @COLIN


  22. @COLIN


  23. “I was being a bit tongue in cheek on the other thread. Only jesting of course.


    Jolly good – the witty, moral high ground can be a lonely and dangerous place.

  24. Paul – how would you know.

    But you are right?

  25. SHEVII,

    It’s not that odd a question if what you are looking for is mood.

    A lot of research suggests that people are actually pretty unclear about why they choose to vote for a party and are often dodgy of personalities and policies. Looking at how parties are trending might be a way to decern something that better indicates true support than how would you vote tomorrow.

    There is also my old friend Cognitive Dissonance.

    This view is that for many people it isn’t so much about getting the facts so they can decide who to vote for as opposed to finding facts to support who they have already decided to vote for.

    From this perspective understanding what the publics likes and dislikes are could be informative as it could be that a fair share of the electorate will be difficult to sway from the party they favour even if it is doing badly.

    I am a growing fan of much currently being done looking at Emotional Intelegence and Resilience in people and the way in which or rational and emotional decisions far from being Seperated are actually so intertwined that we not only can’t seperated them but don’t even know which on is driving our decisions.


  26. @ Peter Cairns

    If cognitive dissonance is really so important in politics it will presumably favour the conservatives. People will think that so much pain must surely be doing us good. Or have I got the concept wrong?

  27. Anthony (Wells),

    Just out of interest although I can understand if you don’t answer if it is a trade secret, but by now YouGov’s panel data must have been tracking how people change their party support over time.

    In theory you should be able to tell how likely or often the average voter changes support and which party’s supporters do I most and to who.

    I know you have cautioned people in the past about seeing Tories up Labour down as a switch directly from one party to the other and that their is churn across all parties when this happens but can it be quantified.

    How’s about an interesting thread of trends between parties over a parliament, tracking just how people move around the political spectrum or not.


  28. Mr Jam

    “Paul – how would you know.”

    I have done comparison studies.

    Did you know for example that the humour content of any post is in inverse proportion to the number of “lols” used – which means that Mr nomine is the most serious poster here.

    Which is funny really ‘cos I never realised he was either.


    “…Anyone got a good title for the person who heads the team working on that?…”

    Chair of the Joint Interdepartmental Heuristic and Deterministic Communication Optimisation Committee, with special reference to the adoption of a simplified communal semantic set for trans- and super-departmental communication, both within and without the Civil Service (Grade 7 and above).

    The committee will meet monthly in Church House Conference Centre, Westminster, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, London SW1P 3NZ. Discussants will include experts in philology, dialect geography, and the holder of the Chomsky chair in Semantic Linguistics at the University of Oxford. Biscuits will be provided. Keep your receipts for expenses.


  30. Charles,

    Sort of !

    Emotional Conservative voters will be inclined to see austerity as a price we need to pay because they want it to be true. They will also be more inclined to believe that this weeks growth vindicates the Governments policies.

    In contrast an Emotional Labour supporter will be far likely to blame Tory bankers than the last Labour Government for the financial Crisis because that is what they want to believe.

    It’s about the way we selected facts to reinforce our beliefs and reject ones that challenge them.

    Probably the best on going example of it is the US. Battle between Evolution and Intelligent design although you see it all the time in Climate change.

    It is interesting to look at how attitudes to climate change have changed as household fuel bills have risen and people have associated increased energy prices with”ugly subsidised turbines”.

    People seem to have got more sceptical about the evidence when the realised how much it was going to add to their fuel bills.

    If you believe in Cognitive Dissonance then it’s not so much because they have discovered that the evidence is flawed as they are looking for reasons to oppose their bills going up.


  31. “…Anyone got a good title for the person who heads the team working on that?…”
    British Utilitarian Linguistic, Language and Semantics Human Interface Transformer.

    You can just use the acronym for short!


  32. @ Peter,

    That would be very interesting, especially in light of the recently published party membership/funding figures. Whatdaya say, Anthony? Can we persuade you or Peter Kellner to write an article about it? I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to get one of the papers to bite.

    (And we know Labour have declined from their peak earlier in the Parliament, so Mr. Kellner could even tailor it to his favourite theme…)

  33. Peter Cairns I’m vaguely aware of something called confirmation bias which seems similar to what you’ve described. I’ve always associated cognitive dissonance with the theory that women love their babies because it is so painful having them – in other words its a way of dealing with facts that seem not to fit one’s picture of the world (babies are painful) rather than actively seeking out facts that support one’s view. Perhaps in the end they all amount to the same thing. We all twist the facts to suit our preconceptions which is what you are pointing out,

  34. martyn and peter

    just experienced a genuine LOL

    I shall [of course] nick both of them.

    quite like Simplification Czar but it’s too ong

  35. Some selected comments to this article on the guardian site:

    “An 11% lead is good if you actually believe it, these polls have been rather schizophrenic lately”

    “You need to get new pollster, Graun. These guys are all over the place”

    “But but the Tories drew level last week, I saw it here and quoted everywhere else….”

    “Who knows anymore. The public should make their mind up already, next week the Tories will be in the lead no doubt”

    “These polls are utterly ridiculous, they numbers cannot be swinging that much week in week out. Were there not two last week that had the Conservatives and Labour within touching distance?”

    I know Anthony keeps having to explain MOE, house effects and the like, but the Guardian were running with tie last week, and now an 11% lead this week. Who can blame people for losing all faith in the polling industry?

  36. @PaulCroft

    You’re welcome.


  37. @petercairns- it is accepted that the way people process information is coloured by their previous beliefs, whether they trust the person saying it etc. Ashcroft does polling where he tells some that the policy was proposed by Labour, some the Conservatives, some neither. He has found fewer supporting when told Osborne than when told Ballsfor example. Calls it the Conservative effect.

  38. Bugger

    The above a direct response to JTT who wrote a lengthy reply to me on the last thread

    It has no relevance here Anthony so pease delete


  39. @ Charles

    He found it odd that no one was really grumbling about it (well perhaps its another way of looking at the squeezed middle but that idea does not seem to have caught on much).
    People appear to vicariously enjoy the wealth & decadence of others when their own circumstances are particularly bleak. They refuse to see that others having more could be the reason why they have less. Genuine cognitive dissonance or fear of being accused of envy? Nobody seems to know which it is – but I expect a proper study of this phenomenon will be conducted fairly soon because it is a ‘hot’ topic at the moment.

  40. @ Charles

    I understand that you associate cognitive dissonance with some improbable theory about women loving their babies because of the pain of labour.. (??) However, the more typical example is that a smoker continues to smoke in spite of knowing that cigarettes cause cancer.

    Cognitive dissonance is when an individual holds two attitudes which are contradictory or when their behaviour contradicts their attitude. For example, George Osborne mocks Ed Balls for wanting to borrow to invest but berates the private sector for not borrowing/investing and the banks for not lending.

  41. Perhaps I should also have mentioned George Osborne’s own borrowing record as Chancellor.

  42. @Amber,

    I think there is a cultural element as well. My Chinese friend Cong once said he couldn’t understand why British people hate rich/wealthy people so much.

  43. Full blurb about people’s changing perceptions of our Parties:

    “Among voters, 41% reported no change in their attitude to the Labour party, while 20% said they were more positive and 34% more negative. Only 18% were more positive about the Tories while 42% regarded them more negatively.

    “For the Lib Dems just 7% felt more positive about them and 47% more negative.

    “Only Ukip came out well on the year-on-year question: 30% said they had a more positive of Nigel Farage’s party against 25% who view them more negatively than 12 months ago.”
    UKIP, as we know, started from a fairly low base, so it’s easier for them to show improvement.

    The -14% for Labour is bad news for them; the big story about changing the Party’s relationship with the unions hasn’t cut much ice with the public, or so it seems.

  44. i.e. I guess the rich/wealthy envy thing has as much a cultural element to it as anything. I suppose it’s partly down to how different cultures and nations see the accumulation of wealth and how achievable it is for the ordinary person, as well as whether it can be achieved solely through ability and hard work etc. etc.

  45. SYZYGY,

    It isn’t the holding of two beliefs but rather the way in which we reconcile them to get our desired result.

    The smoker who continues to smoke even though he knows it causes cancer can reconcile the contradiction by placing the emphasis on facts that suit, the obvious one being, not everyone who smokes gets cancer followed by the likes of you only live once, I could get hit by a bus, it’s one of the few pleasures I’ve got left and we all die some time.

    Osborne reconciles the different attitudes to debt by maintaining that businesses are investing and create wealth and are efficient will Governments are a drain and inefficient. He may even believe it.

    That may be his attitude to business and government and his belief in small government may make him inclined to see big government as being the problem. What is harder to ascertain in his case is to what extent his attitude is a rational philosophical one our and emotional one based on his attitudes.

    As. I said it’s a mix of both and it is difficult to figure how it effects you let alone someone else. Emotional intelligence is partly about understanding and learning how your emotions effect you so that you can control them and learning to understand emotions in others to better understand them.

    The research also seems to show that emotionally intelligent people are happier, more productive, more successful and make good team players.

    That’s why it interests me as I think we could mostly do with some of it.


  46. Richard

    There you have it in that Gaurdian article, although it could be any paper. The spin the actual paper puts on single poll usually supports the political leaning of that paper, in order to appeal to there reader base, unless such in the case of the Tie it’s so widely reported thay feel obliged to publish even if it is against there political leanings.

    It’s not that a paper falsely represents a particular poll, but by failing to mention all the other polls that show different levels of support because that would undermine the narative of look how well our party is doing, they deliberately set out to give a skewed picture to there readers to make them feel good, back to CD.

    I suppose you could argue that papers select their pollsters on the bias contained in the way they collect there data re AW chart, but I’ve not looked at it that close to see if there’s substance in that view unless anybody knows anything different.

  47. @ Ambi

    Tell him: Not as much as the French do. ;-)

  48. Of course, in some cultures a more socialistic attitude persists too. Despite being nominally a capitalistic country China is now anything but.

  49. *Despite being nominally a communist country*


    “Tell him: Not as much as the French do. ;-)”


  50. @Amber,

    He lives in America now sadly, where I guess the wealthy and rich are worshipped.

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