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. TOH

    Yes-a case of cognitive dissonance perhaps?

  2. The demise of the Tory party?

    1992 was how long ago?

  3. Good Morning All.

    Morning Nick.

    Has the slide in Labour’s lead stopped?

  4. NICKP

    @”1992 was how long ago?

    Two years less than the time between 1974 & 1997

  5. @Colin

    Exactly.

  6. @Colin

    Have a good day, I’m off to the Surrey Hills with my wife for a long walk.

  7. Looking at the medium term data from You Gov, Labour are perfectly solid at 38-39.

    My firm belief is that the data suggests that the Conservatives are largely pulling back supporters from UKIP.

    While some economic indicators are improving, the real economy for many people doesn’t feel any better, and this will remain so for some time. Wages are still falling behind inflation. It is questionable whether the slow economic improvements can provide a substantial feel good factor by 2015 for the Conservatives.

    No sign of game changer here….

  8. Intuitively it make sense that the incumbency bonus will be greater for MPs first Elected for a different party with the one for longer residing MPs already inbuilt in to the numbers. Again intuitively this could be less if the new MP already had a local profile as a council leader or leader of a group on the council; and, also greater where the boost to the organisation is more.

    I recall, however, that Ashcroft has made comments about the push in marginals last time being a one off and that some of the bonus from the extra campaign focus and resources prior to the official campaign not being replicated.

    Not my point but his, that more voters in marginal seats would have been persuaded that the Cons where not ‘the same old Tories’ and that having been bombarded pre-2010 the messages would be less effective in 2015.

    Also, clearly Labour will pour resources in to these seats mainly activists where they have the edge; expecting to hold every seat they do currently – Stockton South for example will be almost like a By-Election being the only Tory held Tory/Lab marginal in the NEast, although Redcar (LD gain form Lab due to Corus closure pre-2010 will see plenty of action too)

    Intuitively these factors make sense also, so where does that leave the new Tory (gain from Labour) incumbent MP relative to the national picture.

    My hunch is some advantage due to profile and some constituents with no strong allegiance helped by the MPs intervention voting for them but not as much as 5% of the Vote, maybe 2-3% equating to a swing of 1-1.5%.

  9. TOH

    And you too-off to see my grandson play The Digger in a Musical.

  10. ‘Ed Balls was one of the people who messed up
    Britain’s economy before 2010; as shadow
    chancellor he weakens Labour’s credibility’.

    Perhaps YouGov could balance their ‘Which of these statements comes closer to your view?’ question with something like ‘George Osborne has messed up the economy since 2010, he should go back to folding towels’.

  11. The demise of the Tory party?

    Can somebody remind me who is in power now..!

  12. Con 33%, Lab 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%; APP -27

    Full YG, perhaps the 2 x 35% where 2 at top of moe in a week, so cons really at 33% ish.
    Re Lab that is 8 in a row 38 or 39 on YG.
    From July 2nd in 6 polls they had 3 x 40 and 3 x 39 so fair to say Lab seems to have dropped 1% or just under 1% in over the month on YG at least.
    Doubt there is one single reason so I don’t intend speculating why and if temporary or not.

  13. Comparisons between the 1974 – 1997 Labour wilderness years, and the 1992 – 201? period of Tory failure to achieve majority rule are, I feel, not as straightforward as some suggest.

    Firstly, the question mark tells a story – in 1997, Labour won with an epic landslide, whereas in 2010, in the most helpful of circumstances it’s possible to imagine for a Tory opposition, they failed to win any kind of majority. We have a Tory MP, but not a Tory government, and this is the first and most important difference.

    Secondly, throughout much of the Labour wilderness years, the centre left was split, first with the SDP, and latterly with the rise of the Lib Dems. I know that characterizing the LDs as ‘centre left’ today is fraught with difficulties, but it is worth recalling that it isn’t that long ago since they campaigned for an additional 1p on the basic rate of income tax.

    The final point is geography. I don’t we have ever had such a geographically concentrated party of government as we have today with the Tories. They used to win around a third of the seats up for grabs in Scotland once upon a time, along with seats in the north and in the leafier parts of northern cities. 2010 did see some advances in Wales, but polling evidence suggests this has returned to the norm, so even at the high watermark of recent Tory electoral fortunes, their ability to reach into marginal territory was extremely limited.

    All parties have no hope constituencies, but Labour has a far greater ability to wind some seats in all regions at least, even if it struggles in certain elections in certain important areas.

    By 2015, there will be an equality of wilderness periods, of 23 years each, so I think again, pointing to the 1974 – 97 period and taking heart from that is misleading – Tories have effectively already had their own 23 years. The central question I suppose, is whether you feel as confident now that you will win and win big in 2015, as Labour did in the summer of 1995. My guess is, probably not.

    The polls tell up currently that Tories will be talking about 28 years without their own government soon, despite the intervening leg up that 2010 should have given them.

    This is absolutely not the end of the Tory party, and anything could happen in the future, but at present the odds are heavily stacked against a Tory majority any time soon.

  14. @rich – really confused now….. Britain is booming though?!?!

  15. @jimjam

    Not sufficient evidence for a fall in Labour VI; three 40s, even in a row, compared with recent 38s and 39s, means nothing.

  16. @Rich – “The demise of the Tory party?
    Can somebody remind me who is in power now..!”

    A coalition, after the main opposition party failed to win a majority.

    At least I think that’s where we are?

  17. I wonder whether in hindsight Lab losing in 1992 was a blessing, compared with the alternative of getting most seats, going into coalition or minority government and then crashing out of the ERM and losing heavily next time out?

    One scenario is that Lab win in 2015, broadly continue the austerity policies, suffer as the current bunch have until about 2019 and then Con win big again. But I don’t see it.

    I think sooner or later we’ll see PR.

  18. One thing guaranteed to make fear and doubt appear in a tribal Tory when discussing these issues is just mentioning 2010. Why didn’t the tories clean up?

    If not then, when? Will they EVER have a better moment again?

  19. I’ve never believed in this ‘demise of the Labour/Tory party’ talk primarily because in Britain we still have largely a two party system. As one becomes really unpopular, it’s almost inevitable that the other will be returned to government in some form.

    That’s why I never believed it when Tories back in 2008-2010 were declaring that the Labour party was over for good.

  20. Was 2010 really the best of circumstances for the Tories? Two things that the public were very aware of, rightly or wrongly, 1 that the crisis was caused by the banks and 2 that the Tory party is traditionally the friend of bankers. Given that, I would say that a Tory landslide in 2010 would have involved the British public acting extremely illogical. A much better argument given the circumstances is that the libdems should have romped home with it in 2010, their best opportunity ever, as they not in govt at the time of the crisis and they were not in any way linked in the public mind with the cause of the crisis

  21. I think the Tories really need the boundary changes to stand a good chance of winning an overall majority. Can any party post Tony Blair really hope to get 40%+ of the vote? Obviously it’s possible, but I think the chances of either Labour or the Tories achieving that vote share over the next 15 or 20 years is slim.

  22. Nothing Ernie? I guess we will have to disagree.
    Perhaps you could take a look at Statgeeks excellent MAD analysis in a week or so.

  23. Of course in the early years of the twentieth century the idea that the liberals would be out of govt for 80 years was a silly idea

  24. ambi

    I don’t think the boundary change rules as laid down by the Coalition will ever happen.

    There will need to be some adjustment, but it will need to be far less partisan and designed to help one party. The issues on how many seats, what numbers the constituency is based on, compulsory voting, linkage to other things need to be decided.

    And even if they did go through, current polling would give Lab a majority.

  25. Labour under Blair was a very rare time….loathe him or love him, he managed to galvanise support and appeal in a way that very few can. He was a great debater and orator. The economy was also growing rapidly (even if it, perhaps, proved unbalanced and unsustainable), there was a strong feeling of optimism in the air. Most felt optimistic about the future.

    2015 couldn’t be more different, and there is no sign that things are going to go back to those days anytime soon…especially with a rapidly aging population, rising health costs (mainly due to the above, as well as the increasing costs of medicine/equipment), rising welfare bills, poor global economic conditions etc. etc.

  26. @jimjam

    Yes, happy to disagree!

  27. @NickP,

    I agree. For the boundary changes to go ahead, the Tories will need to at least form the next government and have near a majority (even then the arithmetic may prove tricky to have it passed, as with recently). But polls currently suggest Labour will win in 2015, either as the largest party in a coalition, or with an OM.

    I don’t think Labour will ever agree to any adjustments – it’s not in their interests. That’s why Labour have historically tried to delay boundary reviews etc. etc.

  28. @Alec,

    and a collation of which parties…

    I wish you would just get on with it and change your background to red! :-)

    Yes the Tories might be having a gradual reduction in vote share over time, but that’s also in part because they were so dominant in the 80s. I have already said I agree that a bad side effect of some policies in the 80s was the damage to the brand in Scotland and large northern cities, which seems to be all but impossible to recover, despite the fact I fail to see what New Labour did for these areas.

    We need to get away from ideology all over the country, and should review the quality of Govts and policy on merit and she the country is on polling day (I.e. is the economy better or worse than when they took over). I have no doubt that Labour could get in from 2015, and even if they struggled again, welfare rocketed, debt rocketed again etc, there would at the end of the 5 years still be the same old people who ‘hate’ the Tories. My grandad used to have a saying that you could pin a red rosette on a donkey in certain areas and they would win comfortably. Perhaps you could say a similar thing about Tories in the south east, it’s a general point of ideology I guess.

  29. @AMBIVALENT SUPPORTER

    If Ed Miliband becomes the PM,then there could be two important constitutional changes-changes to 1)first past the post and 2)party funding.

    He supports AV and wants to restrict election spending and size of individual donations to parties.

  30. Quiz question ( no prize)

    In which national election was there the following result ?

    Labour 44%
    Tory 28%
    Lib Dems 17%

    and who was the Labour leader who achieved this ?

  31. @Smukesh,

    Yep, AV historically has been more beneficial to Labour.

    EM would never opt for PR…nor would Cameron or the Tories. They’d never be able to form a majority government and abolish a system that favours both parties.

    The Libs would, of course, love PR….it would see their arithmetic improve markedly.

    The Tories would, of course, like to keep the status quo but with equalised and redrawn constituencies etc.

  32. *they’d have to abolish a system*

  33. @RiN – I think the answer lies in taking your post and @Ambivalents together. As ‘the other party’, Tories really should have been home and dry in 2010, as most voters really don’t think overly logically about who did what. Polling evidence does tell us that Labour took a large share of the blame anyway, so the polls don’t really support your stance I feel.

    @Ambivalent – like you, I too never accept that once mighty parties are done for. Just look at the Lib Dems now. Nearly a century of irrelevancy, and now in government. Neither Labour or Tories will go away anytime soon.

    However, a two party system does depend on each party having a turn in power. The Tories really do have a problem at this stage.

    I find it interesting to watch how comments on the state of the centre right vote on the current polls have developed.

    Post 2010, I was pointing out that UKIP was the only party that had increased vote share in every recent election (I think someone pointed out the SNP as another that I’d missed, but I forget), when UKIP hit the dizzying heights of 5%.

    Most people, but particularly the more Tory supporting, were very dismissive and said quite plainly that the UKIP increase was natural mid term and would go back to the Tories. I begged to differ, suggesting that as the party has a solid record of increased vote share election on election, the odds were that they would increase their vote by at least 1 – 2% in 2015, and that this would be critical.

    Today, posters are proclaiming the end of the UKIP bounce – and UKIP are on 10%, even with the least favourable pollsters. I really wonder what reaction I would have got on here had I posted in 2010 that 20 months from the next GE campaign, UKIP would be on 10%?

    Nothing is impossible, but there are fundamental problems facing Tories in 2015, coming in from many angles.

  34. CHARLES
    ” the delight of defenestrating the bankers is as nothing to the risks such revolutionary behaviour might bring to oneself. ……….
    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,”

    The issue of an at present grotesque mal-distribution of wealth seems to me to be one that demands not just “policies” but structural and institutional change. So that a response to the “emotional power” and “ring of truth” of a poltical leader would need to be based on an intellectual capability for reform. Its expression would need to be in a form which drew – I suggest, going back to the notion of cognition as a factor in electoral response – on the internalisation, the memory in the muscle, of the experience of good or bad wealth distribution and thus the causes of personal wellbeing and hardship. My guess is that there is widespread rejection of the use of information and financial mechanisms in the hands of a fortuitously placed section of the national community to continuously increase their wealth, and of economic and financial systems which long-since disproved theories of trickle down.

  35. RICH
    I wasn;t complaining – on the contrary, I have been saddled with so many advantages, many of my own making, that I sometimes wonder at not being among the rich and famous. Mrs P would be much happier, but she seems to put up with me.

  36. R Huckle

    Quiz question ( no prize)

    In which national election was there the following result ?

    Labour 44%
    Tory 28%
    Lib Dems 17%

    and who was the Labour leader who achieved this
    ______

    1997 Tony Blair’s landslide? If it is then you have rounded Blair up and rounded Major and Ashdown down.

    43.2% 30.7% 16.8% .

    In any case, with Labour’s leap to the far left with Ed egged on by the unions then I doubt very much we will see this sort of election success from Labour anytime soon.

  37. @ Ambi

    Totally agree with your post about the two party system. It would need exceptional economic circumstances over the next 18 months (or possibly still in the period 2015-2020) for a 3rd party (UKIP) to break through- probably an economy at near collapse. If UKIP don’t make a breakthrough in the next 5 years they will become a wasted vote just as the Greens have Therefore, with only 2 choices it is inevitable that both parties will get a turn. Also, the Lib Dem seats at the next election are likely to take some kind of a hit so that narrows the range for a hung parliament and an alternative 3rd party to make a breakthrough.

    Most of what people are saying about Lab and the Tories over the last 30 years is based on individual circumstances and economic conditions at the time of the elections. Maybe the Tories should have achieved more than 37% in 2010 but an 8 point lead should have been plenty for a majority government and we would not be having this discussion. It is just circumstances over boundary reviews conspired against them.

    Labour only got 35% in 2005 so people are only talking about Tory wilderness years being two elections 1997 and 2001 where they have been much different from the Labour vote. I accept that Tories haven’t achieved 40% for a long time but is anyone here expecting Labour to get that in the near or mid term?

    I think it will be circumstances again that dictate governments between 2015 and the next couple of elections. In 2015 we will not have cleared the deficit let alone started to reduce the debt and it will take a long time to get the debt down from 90% plus of GDP to even 60% of GDP that might just about be acceptable to allow for choices between tax or spending. Whichever party is in power when they have an option to increase spending or reduce taxes is likely to be the one that gets a long run at government.

  38. “It’s patently obvious that a large portion of people who generally complain about unfair distributions of wealth etc, are also people who have for whatever reason a resentment of people who have achieved this through hard work. I get so bored of the championing of socialist systems, when to many people singing its virtues, their hidden definition of social fairness is ‘having a system I can take out far more than I am ever willing to pay in”
    ________

    I’m going to have the above enshrined on a Tea Towel and hang it up in my kitchen.

    Absolutely spot on.

  39. rich

    “It’s patently obvious that a large portion of people who generally complain about unfair distributions of wealth etc, are also people who have for whatever reason a resentment of people who have achieved this through hard work.”

    I don’t think that is “patently obvious” at all. Have you any proof that Alec or I or John Pilgrim or ANYBODY resents people who are wealthy as a result of hard work?

  40. @Allan Christie

    R Huckle

    Quiz question ( no prize)

    1997 Tony Blair’s landslide? If it is then you have rounded Blair up and rounded Major and Ashdown down.

    ————————————————————————-

    Wrong answer. The % shown is the actual result of a national election rounded to the nearest whole number.

  41. r huckle

    I assume it was in Scotland or Wales?

  42. “It’s patently obvious that a large portion of people who generally complain about unfair distributions of wealth etc, are also people who have for whatever reason a resentment of people who have achieved this through hard work.”

    A rich man’s idea of ‘hard work’ is probably very different from that of the less sharp-elbowed folk he has used to make his wealth.

    Spending a lot of time flying about the world on a very comfortable salary selling your company’s services and products would not be seen as very hard work at all by another employee who spends all day and every day working in a steel works in order to simply support his family.

  43. @Allan Christie

    In which national election was there the following result ?

    Labour 44%
    Tory 28%
    Lib Dems 17%

    1997 Tony Blair’s landslide? If it is then you have rounded Blair up and rounded Major and Ashdown down.

    43.2% 30.7% 16.8% .”

    Let me see, LDems rounded down from 16.8% to 17%. Hmmmm……Not so good at the old arithmetic then, eh, Allan?

  44. R Huckle
    I believe the figures relate to the 1994 Euro elections. Labour’s acting leader was Margaret Beckett.

  45. For me the problem with such large disparities in wealth is that it’s evidence that we don’t live in a real free market system, this is also the problem with high profits in the private sector, a free market should be self regulating large consistent profits should increase competition leading to a decline in prices and thus profits, The same goes for executive pay which now seems to be completely divorced from the laws of supply and demand. In short the every widening gap between the rich and poor doesn’t prove that the free market doesn’t work, it proves that we don’t have a free market

  46. “@ Graham

    R Huckle
    I believe the figures relate to the 1994 Euro elections. Labour’s acting leader was Margaret Beckett.”

    Correct !!!!!!!!!!!

    I was just looking back at the EU election results as Colin had asked the question about whether EU election results were any indication of the likely next GE result. In 1994 the EU result really was a good indicator of the 1997 GE result, but for most EU elections, they are lousy indicators.

  47. Rich
    “It’s patently obvious that a large portion of people who generally complain about unfair distributions of wealth etc, are also people who have for whatever reason a resentment of people who have achieved this through hard work.”

    If it’s so ‘patently obvious’ you will have plenty of evidence to demonstrate this won’t you ?

    I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to reading it.

  48. “It’s patently obvious that a large portion of people who generally complain about unfair distributions of wealth etc, are also people who have for whatever reason a resentment of people who have achieved this through hard work.”

    This is not a socialist view of the world. ‘From each according to his ability to each according to his need’ and ”securing for workers by hand or by brain the fruits of their labours’ (apologies if misquoted) were the socialist creeds. Maybe unrealistic in practice, but certainly not decrying hard work!

  49. To give an example of how unfree market we are, consider the former CEO of bp, this is man who caused the company billions of pounds in damage with his “why are you bothering me” attitude but when he was eventually sacked he walked straight into another million pound plus job as a CEO. Now when I was accidentally running a bar(the management suddenly left and someone had to run the place) I wouldn’t hire someone who had been sacked from another bar and no other manager would knowingly do so, it’s just not rational in a free market situation to take that risk, giving people another chance is a nice Christian thing to do but it’s lousy business practice, so why does it happen so often with executives, it’s not like there is a shortage of supply which forces companies to employ sub standard managers

  50. @RiN

    ‘For me the problem with such large disparities in wealth is that it’s evidence that we don’t live in a real free market system, this is also the problem with high profits in the private sector, a free market should be self regulating large consistent profits should increase competition leading to a decline in prices and thus profits, The same goes for executive pay which now seems to be completely divorced from the laws of supply and demand. In short the every widening gap between the rich and poor doesn’t prove that the free market doesn’t work, it proves that we don’t have a free market’
    ————————————————————————–

    As is so often the case Richard, you’ve hit the spot. Furthermore, the Libor scandal, HSBC money-laundering, oil speculation etc indicates not only how the financial sector is rigging the system but also gives the lie to the proposition that the markets are self-regulating and ‘self-cleansing’.

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