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. @Rich

    “We need to get away from ideology all over the country”

    “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”

    http://andsoithascometothis.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/facepalm-over-animal-ags-stupidity.jpg

  2. @Rich

    That’s something the well off and wealthy always say. That there’s a jealously of succees.

    Even if this is true (and I doubt it really) why should it have a bearing on redistribution arguments?

  3. For the Tories to win outright in 2015 is an up hill struggle, but winning out right is not only a problem for the Tories.

    Labours share of the VI which seems is nearly always discribed as solid at 38-39% is no more solid than the Tories at 32-33%, as we approach the GE those figures will close and are indeed closing as time goes by, it wasn’t that long ago Labour were polling 40%+ with a lead of 10-12% the norm and it has to be said many on these pages predicted that by this time in the cycle the lead would be in the plus 15-20% but here we are with just 6% between them.

    Labours landslide in 97 was based on sleeze in the Tory party who had been in power to long and lost there way, coupled with TB’s ability to look and sound a confident and dynamic leader in stark contrast to JM

    Whether Labour supporters like or not EM is not seen in the same way as TB in 97, perception is everything and for one reason or another the public have not taken to him and time is running out for him to change that perception.

    Now it’s certainly possible to win with a unpopular leader, but it’s also much easer to lose with one. people on these pages may look at politic’s closely, but the general public don’t, and it may come down to, if the polls close as I believe they will, which leader the public trust the most, which may just put Labour in uncertain waters.

  4. I can’t see how you can have a free market withour free movement of labour.

  5. @Charles

    Why London and Thurso? I have the occasional inclination to peruse the UK’s transport system on Google maps, and am keen on a Scottish HS2-esc plan, linking up the cities (including Inverness and Perth).

    I got to looking at how long it would take to get from Thurso to London, and realised there’s an extra long route, due to the strange way of the rail layout (it’s probably true of Wick too).

    It wasn’t a serious post, but was highlighting the sheer remoteness of those places (trains can take up to 20 hours!).

  6. @Shevi – “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.”

    To be honest, you’ve rather made the case for one of my original points there. Labour got a very healthy majority indeed on 35% of the votes. The Tories would not.

    Partly this is boundary bias, which will be resolved over time whatever happens, but that only explains part of the problem. I believe the bigger issue is the geographic concentration of votes.

    Tories have a fundamental problem, which they have had now for a very long time, in that there are large areas of the country where they have no hope of winning a seat under FPTP.

  7. Barnard Castle has a good bus service to Darlington.

  8. On attitudes to wealth distribution; the response that wealth is connected to hard work and the left are only envious is very sloppy and lazy thinking, in my view.

    The biggest negative impacts from the recent three or four decade long upwards transfer of net wealth has been on the middle classes – those people who generally spend a life time working hard and ‘trying to get on’. as they say. This is the group that has seen living standards stagnate most.

    As others have pointed out, the increase in the wealth of the super rich has had very little to do with hard work, but far more to do with governments altering tax and regulatory systems to benefit those who possess wealth.

    The other point that I think is worth making is that we have a battery of social science research that shows us negatives such as crime, mental health conditions and stress are all statistically related to wealth inequality, with these negatives affecting the very wealthy in highly unequal societies. There really is an argument that such people would be better off having slightly more equality with those around them, as the risks they face increase proportionate to the wealth disparity in which they exist.

  9. @Turk
    “Now it’s certainly possible to win with a unpopular leader, but it’s also much easer to lose with one. people on these pages may look at politic’s closely, but the general public don’t, and it may come down to, if the polls close as I believe they will, which leader the public trust the most, which may just put Labour in uncertain waters.”
    ——————————————
    Very profound stuff , especially about “trust” – and I look forward to reading your evidence if you would please post it.

    Meanwhile please have a shufty at the Yougov poll for 22-23 Juiy which asked questions about the qualities of party leaders. On the question about whether respondents thought a particular leader was honest the % were :-

    Dave 13
    Ed 16
    Nick 10

    So your assertion is rubbished by YouGov.
    Having said that none of the leaders score well.

  10. Alec

    Agreed. Going back to miners as a specific example, no-one would think it would have been right that they should work hard all week and then be paid far less than others doing far easier work. Yet, of course, they were and were, apparently, “holding the country to ransom” by asking for better pay

    I remember a friend who was Director of the Parks and Rec. Dept in a large London borough saying he felt overpaid as if he was offered either that job or working in a steel mill, both for £15000 pa, he’d have still worked as director cos’ it was easier and he enjoyed it.

    I hope Ed M will have plans to at least reduce inequality somewhat; it was sad that it increased under Blair for me.

  11. PAUL
    It also has an international classical guitar festival, which to my mind qualifies it as a fitting setting for balanced government. On the other hand, Edinburgh has a lot going for it and would make some compensation for not getting a yes vote.

  12. The great irony for the left and right of our times is…..recent crime statistics across the developed world contradict those left wingers who say greater wealth inequality undoubtedly results in more crime…and those right wingers who say that increasing family breakdown/changing family and traditional societal structures results in more crime.

    Unless, of course, you don’t trust crime statistics…or admit that although the above are factors, they are much less important than first thought or many claim.

  13. @John Pilgrim and Paul Croft,

    I love the classical guitar! I spend hours listening to guitar tracks all the time….love anything composed by Barrios or played by John William/Julian Bream.

  14. Paulcroft

    They couldn’t have been holding the country to ransom or if they were then anyone who follows the laws of supply and demand is equally guilty, they were aware that the free market fundamentals made their labour more valuable than the pay they were receiving, but they were expected to take a below market rate for the good of the country, which is kind of a crazy commie idea

  15. @Turk
    ‘Labours share of the VI which seems is nearly always discribed as solid at 38-39% is no more solid than the Tories at 32-33%, as we approach the GE those figures will close and are indeed closing as time goes by, it wasn’t that long ago Labour were polling 40%+ with a lead of 10-12% the norm and it has to be said many on these pages predicted that by this time in the cycle the lead would be in the plus 15-20% but here we are with just 6% between them.’

    I would point out that some polls continue to give Labour a lead in excess of 10%. Also whilst the gap probably has narrowed, there is nothing that says that this is a trend that will continue right up to polling day. ‘Swingback’ has already happened and may not extend beyond wher things are now – on the other hand it may go a bit further! The fate of the Callaghan Govt is relevant here. Labour would quite clearly have done significantly better at a general election held in late 1977 and at any point in 1978 than it actually did in May 1979.

  16. Consider, the miners won in the 70s because the market forces were with them but lost in the 80s because market forces were against due to deliberate build up of stocks before the strike and imported subsidised coal

  17. Paul – no it doesn’t the last one back is about 9pm.

  18. JP

    Yes, the festival would be a huge bonus for a seat of government. It also means I’d be around to give advice to them up here.

    Only problem is I may move to St Ives in Cornwall, taking the Barney Fest with me but, cunningly, giving it a new name – such as The St Ives Guitar Festival [top of me head] – so second seat of govt may have to move South-West to continue enjoying the cultural benefits.


  19. Paul – no it doesn’t the last one back is about 9pm.”

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That is WELL before bedtime up here.

  20. Regarding the ‘death of the Conservatives’.

    I analysed the dis-proportionality of UK general elections (post war).

    I took the the number of seats won by each party, and compared this to the number of seats they would have won should they have won the number of seats proportionate to their vote share. The differences were calculated and weighted to the number of seats on Parliament to level things out.

    Next I correlated this value ‘Non Proportionate Factor’ to the size of the non Labour-Conservative vote.

    This is the link to the graph:

    ht tps://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDWmJFRzFTbWYyakk/edit?usp=sharing

    The correlation is a very strong 0.96.

    The top three most dis-proportionate elections were 2005, 1983 and 2010.

    So with a combined Labour – Conservative VI of around 70 %, I would argue that both parties are in what looks like a long term decline, and with FPTP we will keep having very disproportionate GE results.

    I also think that the chance of any party winning a vote share of 43% – 44% looks unlikely.

    In conclusion I think that both Labour and the Conservatives are dying.

  21. I mean well AFTER bedtime obviously.

    8 pm is typical.

    With Scots, Welsh already having their own thingies a secnd one would have to be in England – we don’t even have ONE of our own so two shared seems right.

  22. @Paul,

    Seriously, you make a good point around fishermen etc, and you might be surprised to find I do agree wage inequality is out of hand, but what frustrates me is that it often appears the most vociferous anger to this comes from those not doing much work at all.

    In addition, we have tied ourselves up in knots over differing and conflicting arguments. Take the Unions, some of the top officials campaign on these sort of issues, yet then are fine taking a six figure salary the equivalent to about 20 of their members annual pay.

    On the opposite side of the fence, we have the ludicrous position where politically senior MPs, shadow cabinet members, PM, EM all have to look appalled at the thought of pay increases, yet by any possible barometer of market pay, they are grossly underpaid. Frankly, the PM should be on about half a million to a million, minimum. £140k or whatever it is laughable. I think the head of my local council earns well over that to make decisions like deciding whether the bins go out weekly or fortnightly. It’s not exactly renewing trident!

    I think we are actually in a mess on pay, so I do have agreement with some on here, but lets not demonise people who work hard and work their way up the ladder or in to different social classes, it’s called aspiration and its a good thing.

  23. turk

    “‘Labours share of the VI which seems is nearly always discribed as solid at 38-39% is no more solid than the Tories at 32-33%”

    Again this just saying “stuff”. Where is there any evidence to back up either point of view.

    That leaves aside the fact that you are misquoting what others have said re the 39% for Labour, which is simply that it HAS been the case for a fairly long while. As I pointed out recently, it seems to be Tory fluctuations – especially BETWEEN pollsters – that cause the differing leads at present.

    Many of those, as Alec points out, are sub 30 and give double digit leads.

  24. Rich

    How many people are there that want to be prime Minster? According to strict supply and demand laws the prime minister is grossly overpaid

  25. @Paul @Turk

    Looking at the last 35 You Gov polls, the Conservative mean is 31.80%, standard deviation of 1.41.

    Labour’s is a mean of 38.94%, standard deviation 1.06.

    That means that Labour’s VI is more stable.

  26. rich

    the salaries we pay mps etc is ludicrous, especially when you think what is needed to become one – you can hardly set about it while doing another job and as a newcomer you will get a marginal and if you win it you could be out of work in 4/5 years, however well and hard you work.

    Pay should be set my a committee including “normal” people [me for example] and accepted. Second job rules and imits should be set – they can’t be banned otherwise we would have to start on all other workers or someone writing a novel in their spare time.

    pAul

  27. The problem is that there are too many people getting huge salaries for doing next to nothing….or in some cases, doing damage.

    I’ve absolutely nothing against wealthy or rich people as long as they have earned it….wealth inequality is a great thing if those at the top have earned it through talent and hard-work. It should also be open to anyone regardless of background etc.

    The problem is that the banker/CEO pay thing has gone crazy.

  28. @ Rich

    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 hope you got some enjoyment from writing such nonsense. I notice that you use the word “hidden” because, of course, you are a mind reader & know the ‘secret’ thoughts which all these social democrats are thinking!

    But this is a polling site so…

    1. I don’t think a poll of the chronically ill, injured or people with disabilities has ever been done asking them whether they’d prefer to be well rather than ‘take out far more than I am ever willing [able] to pay in’.

    2. Has a poll of the unemployed been done, asking whether they’d prefer to be working? Probably not, because the outcome is too obvious.

    3. Has a poll of pensioners been done asking: Would they swap their pensions for the opportunity to be young again? I think the poll has not been done because, once again, the outcome is probably a foregone conclusion.

    It is entirely sensible to say that it is “fair” to have pooled, collective responsibility (a socialist system) for happenstances which lead to people being disadvantaged & the number of people who believe in that system because they consciously want to ‘take out more than they put in’ is probably so small that there is no point even polling about it.

    Regarding taking out more than they put in from the perspective of the wealthy – once again I will quote President Obama: “You didn’t build this.” People who make fortunes are often doing so on the back of collective endeavours. Without the space programs, without widespread literacy, how much would Bill Gates have made from Windows? Bill Gates took out so much more than he put it – but at least he seems to acknowledge that – unlike you, Rich who finds the people who enabled it to be “boring”.

    Therefore, I say again that your assertion – regarding the “hidden” motives of people who champion social systems – is ridiculous.

  29. Also, if you believe in the free market then you have to admit the possibility that a cleaner can earn more than CEO if the supply/demand equation demands it. If you can’t accept that then you are no believer in the free market

  30. rIn

    “They couldn’t have been holding the country to ransom ”

    No, I never said they were. Had they been there would have been a ransom note. Keep up please.

  31. In short, I’m not against wealth inequality per se….as long as there is a good safety net and those at the bottom are protected (and their standard of living improves over time), and they have the opportunity to rise to the top through education, hard word and talent. Also, those who earn mega salaries need to have earned this privilege through genuine talent and hard work.

    My main concern is how a lot of CEOs etc. these days seem to be earning mega money and frankly don’t deserve it.

  32. R Huckle

    @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
    _______

    Yeah I just read your answer ( 1994 Euro elections. Labour’s acting leader was Margaret Beckett).

    Would never had got that in a million years.

  33. NORBOLD

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

    And to think arithmetic was one of my strongest areas at School.

    Indeed I stand corrected!!

  34. amber

    lovely, heart-warming post.

    there is far, FAR too much daily mail, shallow-but-easily-swallowed stuff going around and it is not nice.

    my best friend, the italian guitar virtuoso Giulio Tampali was telling me recently that, aside from looking after his family and having a good guitar, money held no interest for him at all and I love [and share] that attitude.

  35. Ambi

    That’s all very well but it contains a preconceived idea of where the top is and where the bottom is, an idea that we have inherited from the feudal system

  36. Paul

    I wasn’t arguing with you I was adding to your comments

  37. CMJ

    Thanks and interesting. Woud be even more apparent if the other polling sites were included I guess?

  38. @amber,

    Using words like nonsense and ridiculous is just trying to make your own views morally superior. I agree with Paul C we have to stop this language just because we have different views. Your choice examples to fit the narrative arnt really fair, as given your political views, you won’t be choosing anything from the other side of the fence…..

  39. Amber

    That Obama speech was a rip off of Elizabeth Warren and was no where near as good because I suspect he doesn’t actually believe it

  40. RIN,

    In this context, top and bottom refers to income and income only. You will always have a state of affairs where some people earn more than others; hence, there will always be a top and bottom of the income scale.

  41. @Paul

    I use You Gov due the sheer number of polls using the same methodology. Once you get to 30 + sets of statistics, any conclusions become more reliable.

    I haven’t checked the others.

  42. On PM’s salary

    What is the value of all the perks ?

    All travel costs whether by road, rail, sea or air, home above the shop as well as massive country retreat, 24/7 personal security, home decor paid for (& not at B&Q prices) and probably others that I haven’t considered.

    The security cost alone is probably in the region of £350,000 each bodyguard & the PM has at least 2 on every journey he undertakes.

    The salary potential when he has been kicked out of post is enormous – as Blair has proved – so comparisons with Council CEO’s is pointless.

  43. @Ambi

    “My main concern is how a lot of CEOs etc. these days seem to be earning mega money and frankly don’t deserve it.”

    Said CEOs might say the same of some benefit claimants. It’s such a subjective subject. As one post mentioned, the coal miner works hard and takes more health risks than others, and gets less, but the simple fact is that if one can generate more income for a company, one is paid to stay and keep generating said income.

    It might not be fair, but live isn’t fair. My cat’s inclination to occasionally remind me that a field mouse should have been more careful tells me that.

    The original idea of a system to prevent the worse off of society from suffering illness and death due to misfortune has become one of nicer carpets, Sky telly and beer.

    While there are some that need the welfare system to prevent the worst, there are many that do not need the excesses that it might bring. What we really need is a system that sorts the needy from the chancers.

  44. Is ‘Panelbase’ a recognised polling organisation ?

    I haven’t heard of them before but somebody has put a link to them elsewhere & they have only published 10 since 04/04/2011

    http://www.panelbase.com/news/

    Anybody know anything about them ?

  45. @ Rich

    Using words like nonsense and ridiculous is just trying to make your own views morally superior.
    —————–
    Not morally superior, intellectually superior. And, to be precise, that my comment is superior to your comment, not that I am superior to you as a person.

    But perhaps you have read my “hidden” thoughts & are telling us all what my ‘true’ motives for using those words are. ;-)

  46. “the number of people who believe in that system because they consciously want to ‘take out more than they put in’ is probably so small that there is no point even polling about it.”

    It’s worth adding that a typical phrase is “We’d all like to be able to do that” and the answer is no we bloody well wouldn’t.

    Take the appalling who was jailed for killing his children in a house fire: who would seriously want to to live where he lived, like he lived?

    I used the word shallow earlier because the slightest ook at situations like that will show that, uness we want to ive in a society where the chilldren of such families beg in the streets, ALL the aternatives would cost more money.

    As it happens jail – now the only choice and which most people will welcome – is doing just that anyway.

  47. TURK

    “Labours landslide in 97 was based on sleeze in the Tory party who had been in power to long and lost there way, coupled with TB’s ability to look and sound a confident and dynamic leader in stark contrast to JM”

    “Whether Labour supporters like or not EM is not seen in the same way as TB in 97, perception is everything and for one reason or another the public have not taken to him and time is running out for him to change that perception”

    “Now it’s certainly possible to win with a unpopular leader, but it’s also much easer to lose with one. people on these pages may look at politic’s closely, but the general public don’t, and it may come down to, if the polls close as I believe they will, which leader the public trust the most, which may just put Labour in uncertain waters”
    _________

    Absolutely agree. I have said on many occasions the election may come down to which party has the more trustworthy leader and even who has the more charismatic leader.

    Ed is no Blair and doesn’t command the middle England vote unlike Blair.

    Taking away the Iraq war then Tony Blair was the sort of UK leader who appealed to me and one I would vote for.

    I didn’t mind New Labour under Blair but the party of today has an air of grievance politics and 80’s rhetoric about it which for me is off putting.

  48. Statgeek

    But why should a company pay 1 million for a CEO when another person is willing to do the same job for half the price, it doesn’t make sense, even if you say that the guy who earns the million is worth twice as much, where is the evidence? There is no shortage of people wanting to be CEO’s we can say they deserve their high pay but I fail to see how we can say it’s justified by market forces, in the same way we can say that cleaners deserve more pay but with current market conditions they are not able to command higher wages

  49. @ RiN

    That Obama speech was a rip off of Elizabeth Warren [could be, or perhaps she made a speech which convinced him]
    …and was no where near as good because I suspect he doesn’t actually believe it
    [wow, we have a liberal lefty who can also read minds; is there no end to the talents of the people who comment here?!] :-)

  50. Paul

    Lol

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