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”

1 2 3 4 6
  1. @ Syzygy

    It’s not often that I disagree with you – but addiction is a separate issue not an example of cognitive dissonance.

    I think what Charles may have meant regarding his example is the SOCIETAL cognitive dissonance which demands that a mother love her baby regardless of whether the actual circumstances should invoke such a positive emotion! Thus women with *PND are treated for a mental illness despite their entirely rational reaction to the pain causing little ‘bundle of joy’ which may have ‘ruined’ their prospects of earning a living, succeeding in something which they aspire to etc. – in addition to the physical trauma of pregnancy & birth.

    *Post Natal Depression

  2. @syzygy and @Peter Cairns – Is the truth perhaps that both of you are right. Cognitive dissonance is the perception that some of the ways we behave or believe are incompatible. The theory of cognitive dissonance has to do with the shifts we go to to make them compatible.

  3. @Charles – your ex city nephew has hit the nail on the head. It’s an open secret that the recent pattern in the Anglo economies has been for the significant increase in overall wealth to have effectively been hoovered up by the very wealthy.

    Ed M is onto this already, in his positioning on predatory capitalism and the squeezed middle, but he really hasn’t yet delivered a coherent policy framework as yet that lets people see beyond a few decent speeches and press releases.

    The financial crisis presented a huge opportunity for society to reshape how we perceive the relationships between the citizen and the economy, and we haven’t yet realised just how significant these events have been.

  4. @Amber Star and SYZYGY

    I don’t as it happens believe the theory of women, babies and cognitive dissonance. It just happens that I have seen it used as an example of cognitive dissonance. I do, however, believe that Amber gives an example of something very important – the practice of defining someone as mad when for perfectly understandable reasons they breach some societal or other expectations. I don’t know whether this should be called ‘cognitive dissonance’ or not – whatever – it is clearly something that happens and needs to be thought about.

  5. Isn’t the most significant thing in recent polls not the UKIp differences but the volatility of Con VI versus the relative stability of Lab VI?

    My view, mentioned before is that Cons have a smallish range from upper to lower but it is odd that what I perceive as both are occuring simultaneously – say, 26 to 36

  6. The thing I have noticed is the difference in the polls depending on each pollster’s methodology i.e. Yougov/ICM are showing smaller Labour leads, TNS and Opinium larger ones, with IPSOs Mori and populous somewhere in the middle.

  7. @Charles

    “…I do, however, believe that Amber gives an example of something very important – the practice of defining someone as mad when for perfectly understandable reasons they breach some societal or other expectations….”

    Here’s another example: perhaps the all-time classic


  8. @Paul,

    Yep, the Con VI has undoubtedly been pretty volatile in recent months. The Labour VI despite dropping a few per cent earlier in the year when UKIP were on the rise has stayed remarkably stable in recent months.

  9. The fact that the Yougov poll hasn’t been tweeted yet surely means the lead is around 5-8%?

  10. The data tables are up here:

    Amber, I agree the new question “Thinking about each of the following political parties, would you say you have a favourable or unfavourable impression of each one” is fascinating, particularly when looked at broken down by voting intention and for don’t knows

    Example –
    27% of don’t knows favourable to Tories vs 48% unfavourable
    23% of UKIP favourable to Tories vs 75% unfavourable.

    22% of don’t knows favourable to Labour vs 53%unfavorable
    8% of UKIP favourable to Labour vs 89% unfavourable

    30% of don’t knows favourable to the Greens vs 24% unfavourable
    34% of UKIP favourable to the Greens vs 0% unfavourable

    If the Greens could somehow merge with UKIP!!!! we could have a viable 4th party. Policies don’t seem to matter to many, as long as it is not one of the big 3?

  11. Oops, that last line should have been

    34% of UKIP favourable to greens, 47% unfavourable.

    That makes more sense!

  12. Ambiv – not necessarily as it is for the ST not the Sun.

  13. What is the answer to Alec’s question? Growth is presumably the res.ult in great part of some kind of communal effort. So if the rich are trousering its products why does nobody mind too much?

    In part, no doubt it is, as Alec says, that we lack concrete policies for dealing with the problem. So why spend time worrying about something nobody knows how to fix?

    However, it may also be a psychological problem. My guess is that it’s partly like Amber says that some of the rich add a bit of colour to our lives. David Beckham, the Queen, the Beatles and so on seem rather popular to me, and there is no great clamour to strip them of their gains. And it may be partly that we don’t know or don’t grasp the extent of the disparities. So the wealth of BoB Diamond,or Fred the Shred seems unreal and their behaviour arouses less passion than the person whom everyone claims to know who goes on having kids for the sake of living off the state. And it may be partly fear – what one doesn’t want to do is to get seriously worse off and the delight of defenestrating the bankers is as nothing to the risks such revolutionary behaviour might bring to oneself. And it may be that one does not wish to align oneself with losers and so on.

    So we need some policies and we need someone who can encapsulate the problem in a way that has emotional power as well as the ring of truth,

  14. @Martyn – A classic indeed!

  15. Favorable vs unfavourable by party:

    Cons 35/59
    Labour 40/53
    Lib Dem 23/67
    UKIP 38/47
    Green 40/35

    So Conservatives and Labour are at their peak, and Lib Dems, UKIP and Greens can all substantially increase their share, Greens look like they have the most potential.

    I saw on the LSE poll that the Greens were going to get 11% in the Euro elections. Will the story next year be about the huge Green bounce? Will they become the UKIP of 2014?

  16. @ Charles

    So we need some policies and we need someone who can encapsulate the problem in a way that has emotional power as well as the ring of truth.
    Indeed we do. Regarding political rhetoric, President Obama probably came closest with his: “You didn’t build this…” speech.

    Americans whom I mentioned it to were so ‘stunned’ by this speech that they could barely discuss it for a full 24 hours afterwards. It ran so counter to the narrative of the small government, get-rich-somehow, American Dream that they really did not know what to make of it.

  17. Anthony Webb – it would be best not to respond to him as he is one of the interwebs worst trollers. On another site he accused the ONS as being biased and unionised because it showed negative GDP figures.

    Looks like the polls are settling back down again with the Labour lead settling down 1-2% lower than it was a couple of months ago.

  18. Also telling is the age break amongst the Tories

    Favourable /unfavourable by age range

    18-34 28/64
    35-54 31/61
    55+ 43/54

    They are facing a demographic time bomb, their supporters are dying and being replaced by voters who are very opposed to their policies. Not sure that will have more than a percent or 2 impact for 2015, but I think we have probably already seen our last Tory majority government ever.

  19. @Richard

    “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.”

    Having read that link, I’m changing my ‘undecided’ to ‘yes’.

    …until the next article which says independence will be bad for the Scottish economy. Maybe I’ll just base my vote on the highest scoring of articles.

  20. Richard, I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Parties have bounced back before (nobody in 1983 was predicting another Labour government) and probably will again. I agree it seems as though it’ll be a while before they return and they’ll need to significantly change to do so, but there will probably be another majority Conservative government.

  21. Compare that with age breaks for Labour

    Favourable /unfavourable by age:

    18-34 53/39
    35/54 43/49
    55+ 30/65

    Looks like labours to lose for the next decade or 2 unless they really do something wrong or unless we see the rise of a new party. Ed just needs to sit back and wait for the keys to arrive.

  22. @PC

    Public Regional Acronym Teacher

  23. @Statgeek

    For what its worth I think we are stronger together, but we need a government that is prepared to do some radical things, like close down all government offices in London and move them to areas in need of regeneration, and move parliament out of London completely. It will save on labour costs, reduce unemployment benefit, they can sell the London property to pay down the deficit and it will solve the London housing problem without having to build on the green belt.

    Germany has Frankfurt and Berlin
    USA has Washington and New York
    Australia has Sydney and Canberra

    Why can’t we have London and…

  24. @Richard

    RE: Guardian article

    I notice one chap (Gelion) taking of Labour at 10% for the past 3 years (spoiled more than a little by the comments on politicians, which perhaps gives some credit to Peter Cairn’s comments on cognitive dissonance).

    Even I learned that 60 polls (twelve weeks) is too far back to be of current or future use. 30 polls is a bit better, and 10 polls is fine, as long as there’s consistent polling (which there is not at present).

    To take a three year average and apply it as a present-day argument of future results…sigh!

  25. With respect to the smoking analogy. There’s a chemical addiction with smoking, so I feel it’s a little off to compare it to a conflict of beliefs.

  26. London and Barnard Castle

  27. Why can’t we have London and… Edinburgh; it’s how Canadians, Americans & Chinese already think of the UK.

  28. Apologies Amber. Just got to page two and spotted your post on smoking (addiction).

  29. richard

    “I think we have probably already seen our last Tory majority government ever.”

    Oh dear.

  30. Seems our friend Nigel is going to be addressing a group of right-wing Tory MPs at their conference this year.

    I can’t see any reason why this is being allowed by Conservative HQ. Seems rather like letting the fox introduce himself to your chickens while you’re elsewhere. Not literally of course. You couldn’t put a fox in the Tory Conference because they’d chase it with hounds.

    If he manages a defection, d’you reckon it’ll affect polling? Those thirty Labour defectors (and Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler) helped the SDP back in ’81.

  31. London and Thurso. :-)

    I’m quite in favour of a more federal setup, at least economically. Let the regions of the UK compete fairly for investment. Yes, London is the business capital, but get a look at the rent before setting up a non-high street business. London has advantages for marketing, but less for some logistical set-ups.

    If we had London, Edinburgh, and probably Manchester as economic regional hubs (of different scales of course), we would have a better spread of money, skills, and of course HS2 would have to join between all four.

    Glasgow folk argue against Edinburgh, as would Leeds / Liverpool folk for Manc and so on, but being 50 miles or less for such a place wouldn’t be so bad (job prospects, business set-up opportunities).

  32. Barney has quite good street parking – free for two hours and no traffic warden.

  33. Weren’t Washington and Canberra purpose-built as capitals? We could theoretically build a new city midway between London and Birmingham.

  34. Harold Wilson tried to peddle government departments to different regions back in the 1960s. But you can’t satisfy the beast: you can only feed it.

    So where’s the most rundown marginal constituency?

  35. Private polling by the Tories contradicts the national opinion polls:

    “Private polling for the Conservative party suggests that a tendency among voters to back their sitting MP, particularly if the MP has served only one term, could wipe out Labour’s five to six point lead in national opinion polls. The phenomenon known as “incumbency advantage” would particularly benefit the Conservatives, who had 148 new MPs in 2010, compared with Labour’s 67.

    Polling for the Tories suggests that incumbency advantage is worth up to five points, in effect wiping out Labour’s lead.”

    Is this the same as what we saw in the last US elections – national opinion polls show one party is winning, but we need to be polling at seat level, particularly in marginal seats to get the true picture?

  36. @Richard,

    Er, that maybe what the Times article says, but that’s not what the poll they’re discussing says.

    If the poll in question is the one on The Other Site here, then the incumbency advantage isn’t the size of the blue bar (4%), it’s the difference between the blue and the grey bar ( 4% – 3.5%): ie an incumbent will do approx 0.5% better than his party is doing nationwide.

    Whilst this is not inconsiderable, it’s not as good as they think it is.

    I’m a bit confused by the purply column: what’s that indicate? (the legend is truncated)


  37. @Martyn

    I think that graph is showing what happened to incumbents in the 2010 election, whereas the times article is based on the private poll results.

    I think the purple bar is showing what happened to Tory voters elected in 2005 in the 2010 election – they increased their vote share by around 5% vs the average Tory increase of 3.5%, so that would make a 1.5% increase in the last election.

    This article discusses the advantage in more detail

    It says is can be as much as 5-15% for Lib Dems, so if the Tories have learned how to entrench their new mp’s like the Lib Dems have, and recent polling shows they have now increased that incumbency advantage then the story may hold true.

    There was a Fabian report after the local elections which showed Labour did not do as well as expected in many marginal seats, so it is possible the Tories have learned how to engage voters in marginal seats.

    Need some public polling in marginals to see if it is hype or reality. I wonder who their private pollster was, and if it is one of the polling firms who recently showed a narrowing lead?

  38. More on the first time incumbency advantage:

    “The case that ‘incumbency advantage’ could make a large difference is that at the next election in a constituency which the Tories gained in 2010, the Tories will have benefited from having an MP building up their profile, recruiting volunteers, raising funds and campaigning for five years.

    In addition, the Tories will have received over £150,000 per year in state funding for the MP’s salary, office costs, free postage of letters and a team of staff. Between 2010 and 2015, in the top fifty marginal constituencies which Labour is seeking to win from the Tories, the taxpayer will have provided in excess of £35 million to help the Tories defend their majorities. On top of this, these are all seats where Labour used to have an incumbency advantage (which will have helped them at the 2010 election), but where they are now forced to cope without these resources.”

    It makes sense to me in theory…

  39. @Statgeek

    London and Thurso

    An excellent pairing. I have idiosyncratic reasons for being attached to Thurso and have spent many happy if freezing hours in its municipal camping site. Why do you select it (rather than (say) Wick or Penzance)?

  40. @Amber – Obama’s speech. I haven’t read it in anything other than snippets but I liked enormously the snippets that I read. What would be the ingredients needed to shift the public on this one? A sharp analysis? A ‘narrative’? A presentation that takes account of the fears and aspirations of those who hear it? Policies that are eye catching and might work? I’ve got a family christening today but would be interested in anything that you say about the content of such a drive even if i won’t be able to respond to it.

  41. Another 6 this morning.

    Signs of “feel slightly better” in the responses to economy related questions.

    the article on incumbency bonus over on pb is interesting.

  42. @Colin

    Yes the answers to most of the questions in the latest YouGov poll show encouraging signs for the Tories. It will take time for the improving economic news to have a full impact.

    Looking back on the last few months the Tories have clearly won the Welfare and Economic battles with Labour and put them on the back foot over Europe.

  43. “Do you think George Osborne should remain as
    Chancellor of the Exchequer, or do you think
    David Cameron should replace him with a new

    Previous Poll- 17 remain, 51 replace.

    This morning-30 remain, 42 replace.

    Perhaps GDP numbers do register with voters .

  44. I wonder if the impression of polling instability comes about because we are fixated on the lead rather than on the performance of individual parties. As I understand the MOE of the lead should be roughly (not exactly) twice that of the MOE of party VI proportions. Looking at the polls listed at the front of UKPR we have had over the past months one tie and 3 polls showing an 11 point lead for Labour. These occurred when conservatives and Labour were on 35 each (the tie) 27/38 and 29/40 and 30/41. So if one assumes that the conservatives are on something like 31.5 and labour on 38.5, there’s nothing terribly odd about the Conservatives being at times 35 and at times 28 or in Labour being on 35.. I agree that it feels as if the polls have been all over the place and that 27 does feel low for the Conservatives, but perhaps that’s just because of the juxtaposition of some mildly feakish results in a small sample of results. Over a longer period, however, there obviously has been change.

  45. TOH

    Agree-On economic factors , Cons seem to be gaining ground -and there are some uncomfortable responses for the EM team .

    Would like to see Cons getting 36/37 more regularly now.

  46. @ Colin

    Yes the Tories have picked up a little due to the slightly improved economic conditions, but there is nearly 2 years to go. Much of the improved economic conditions relates to the world economy in general. I have noticed on my travels around the UK a lot of foreigh tourists and some of this may be down to the Olympics creating interest.

    The problem for the Tories in terms of polling is that I am not sure we know the true level of UKIP support. Some polls suggest a higher UKIP figure causing the Tories to drop down to 30% or below. I suppose it depends on whether the pollsters show UKIP next to the Con/Lib/Lab or they are separated.

    There are many events between now and May 2015, which could really impact on polling for all parties. 2014 is going to be very messy with the EU elections and the Scots independence vote. If the Tories came third in the EU elections behind UKIP and Labour, this would really bolster UKIP going into a general election. With Labour it would depend on their share of the votes, as to whether it helps them or not. As for the Scots referendum, I think this will be pretty nasty and time consuming, If nationalists are given a one-off opportunity for independence, they will go for it big time. The NO vote will have to devote more time than they think to protect the union.

  47. R HUCKLE

    @”There are many events between now and May 2015, which could really impact on polling for all parties.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    The GE Campaign is another country from where we are now.

    But momentum is important < I think, the nearer we get .
    And Polls like this one will be encouraging for DC.

    ( assuming he doesn't think too much about the "demographic timebomb" identified last evening which renders all his efforts pointless !)

  48. @Colin

    Yes I am sure the Tories want to see 35/36 regularly. I think, but have no evidence, that there is a proportion, possibly as high as 5% of “shy Tories” who will back the party in 2015.

    @R Huckle

    Yes UKIP may well continue to muddy the water, especially next year.

  49. R HUCKLE

    @”If the Tories came third in the EU elections behind UKIP and Labour, this would really bolster UKIP going into a general election”

    Not convinced of that.

    Two very different elections, with massively different turnout & candidate/voter objectives.

    Is there any evidence that EU election effects carry over to GEs ?

  50. @Colin

    I saw last nights post, LOL. The demise of the Tory party has been forcast longer than either I or I suspect my father before me can remember.

    You right about events though which is why the polls while of interest have very little meaning until just before the election and even then they occasionally get it wrong.

1 2 3 4 6