Opinium’s fortnightly poll for the Observer tonight has topline figures of CON 33%(+5), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 6%(-3), UKIP 18%(+1), GRN 4%(nc). This is the first time that Opinium haven’t shown Labour ahead since March 2012, before the Omnishambles budget.

Yesterday’s YouGov/Sun poll that also Labour and the Conservatives equal, but of course, we have another YouGov poll for the Sunday Times due tonight or tomorrow morning…


263 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 33, LAB 33, LD 6, UKIP 18, GRN 4”

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  1. YouGov article on Ed

    “Ed Miliband’s leadership rating is the worst it has been since January 2012”

    http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/10/26/ed-milibands-leadership-rating-hits-33-month-low/

  2. Catmanjeff,

    Spot on. What we’re seeing is rather incredible: from mid-2010 onwards, we’ve had perfect conditions for a return to a two-party system, and instead the two-party system is about as weak as ever. Not only have UKIP stepped into the gap of the LDs loss of the “protest vote”, but the Greens are stepping into the gap of the “Not Labour Left”. So the movement has been in the direction of a 5 party system in England, and a SIX party system in Scotland and Wales. (And in Northern Ireland, anything remotely resembling a two-party system has been dead for many many years.)

  3. I don’t see why England should have so few choices, though. If the SNP stood in England, I’m sure they’d do well; people in the North East are almost always fascinated and attracted when I describe the SNP’s policy platform.

  4. BARBAZENZERO

    It wasn’t tongue in cheek-no.

    Since automy in the Scottish party seems to be the issue I assume potential leaders will have to come down on one side or the other.

    I must confess I haven’t thought about this much before-but isn’t there a problem of “centre of gravity” for Labour.

    SNP has many more MSPs than MPs-its interests & centre of power reside at Holyrood. Its MPS are a small bunch of outriders trying to further Scottish autonomy. Central direction works.

    Lab has more MPs than MSPs-its interests & centre of power lie at Westminster. How can Scottish leader hope to counterbalance that-unless total autonomy is granted. In which case Labour may no longer be able t o impose its Westminster centre of interest on them. Labour’s Scottish MPs are either MPs for Scotland-or Westtminster voting numbers for the national Labour Party -aren’t they?

    And in this context, how on earth is a former PM of UK, going to be subservient to a national party leader who has such dire personal ratings.

    But what do I know?-just random thoughts.

  5. They’d just have to change “Scottish” to “British” and become the BNP.

  6. BILL PATRICK

    “I don’t see why England should have so few choices, though. If the SNP stood in England, I’m sure they’d do well; people in the North East are almost always fascinated and attracted when I describe the SNP’s policy platform”
    ______

    Don’t forget my favourite city Liverpool, Salmond almost’s receives a Standing ovation every time he appears on question time there.

  7. @Chouenlai

    It’s mostly hot air on immigration: neither Tories nor Labour seem able to do anything substantive. Not just ‘cos of the EU, but business lobbying etc.

    Gotta hand it to the left though. For once they have a position where Tories are split rather than Labour, and they see it as a golden opportunity to split Labour again several ways from Sunday.

  8. Michael Fallon on Marr this morning suggesting that DC is not trying to restrict freedom of movement but merely benefit tourism. That’s not how I heard it a week ago (anyway, is benefit tourism a real problem?).
    Damage limitation?

  9. Carfrew,

    How many times to certain voters have to vote Lib Dem or Green before they’re no longer considered as basically “belonging” to Labour? The idea that they’re Labour voters who split their votes because of ignorance (and these are often highly educated vegetarian sandal-wearing fruit-juice drinking Grauniad readers!) has been around since at least 1983.

  10. “What is therefore the point of devolution when policy, leadership etc is determined by the Westminster leadership?”

    ———–

    One presumes that if voters don’t like it they can vote for someone else eg SNP…

  11. Or rather, “misuse their votes”.

    At a certain point, one has to just wonder: are there liberal left-wing people who are about as reluctant to vote Labour as they are to vote Tory?

  12. OLDNAT

    There seems to be some bitterness in the current Labour hoo-hah in Scotland, with somewhat nasty briefings to the media eg Paul Hutcheon reports –

    “Ally of Johann Lamont tells me: ‘Margaret Curran’s actions are pointless, as she is going to lose her seat next year anyway’.”

    While that has to be taken in context, we have a SLab insider suggesting that Lab will lose Glasgow East in May.

    (Glasgow East 2010 : Lab 61.6% : SNP 24.7% : LD 5% : Con 4.5%)
    _________

    If the SNP do take this seat and the sort of swing needed was replicated universally then Jim Murphy may be the last man standing north of the border.

  13. Guymonde

    Sunday Times saying that while Merkel will not support Cameron on change to basic principle of free movement, she will over benefit abuse.

    Damage limitation sounds a likely explanation.

  14. @Bill P

    clearly they don’t belong to Labour. The vote was split for years. But after the outcome in 2010 they ran screaming to reunite, but now having achieved a situation where they were united with Tories split, they have themselves split up even more than before.

  15. @Bill P

    “At a certain point, one has to just wonder: are there liberal left-wing people who are about as reluctant to vote Labour as they are to vote Tory?”

    ——-

    Well some of them seem to be taking a “principled” stand and voting according to the manifestos.

    Which is rather bemusing after what happened in 2010. You can’t go by the manifestos. You have to second-guess them.

  16. Or by policy announcements. You have to triple-guess those…

  17. Carfrew,

    Maybe they simply saw Labour as the lesser evil of two Tory parties. Maybe they disagree with Labour quite fundamentally on a lot of policy issues. I don’t know, because I don’t know them, and neither do you.

  18. COLIN

    Fair enough. As someone who has regarded Labour as too centralising since the days of “Butskellism”, I don’t want to intrude on private grief.

    Personally, I can’t see how their problem can be solved so long as “Scottish Labour” is a name purely for use in canvassing and on ballot papers.

    A separate Scottish Labour Party [to use their own preferred terminology] could be an ally to an E&W Labour Party in the way that Scottish Unionist & UUP MPs used to sit and almost invariably vote with the Cons.

    If they do disagree on issues such as devolution, wouldn’t it be in the the public interest for them to be aired in public rather than in [presumably now smoke-free] back rooms?

    BZ

  19. lol Bill, quite dense with straw men there for a short post.

    One doesn’t have to know them Bill, one only needs to know how they vote.

    Obviously they disagree with Labour. Point is, Labour cannot say everything they would like to do, and they would disagree with Tories more anyway.

    My point stands. Having reunited, they have split several ways.

  20. Perhaps some of those on the left have seen how badly cracked the Conservative edifice is and can predict signs of further decay, so it’s okay for them to not to back Labour to the hilt especially if they don’t love them or their current leader, just for the sake of defeating the Cons – it appears they will do that job themselves. And they remember what happened in 1997: they handed Blair a landslide, then another, and he took us off to a war which many on the left really didn’t like. So perhaps they don’t really want Miliband winning outright in case things then get a bit wacky.

  21. @OLD NAT
    Your 10.24am got me thinking. With our Queen being Duke of Normandy, perhaps the Province of Lower Sussex could provide 25 to 40 right wing ( old fashioned Gaullists would do) MP’s, to have seats in Westminster and pontificate on the affairs of Ecosse.
    The Bayeux et Caen question.

  22. @KeithP

    Parties do change you know, if you look at their actions.

    Eg Tories and SSM. And Mili stood against the Syria thing…

  23. @KEITHP
    Do you seriously believe that Miliband as PM would take this country to war? Your jaundiced view of the Conservative party is your opinion and I am sure you will stick to it, but evidence does not support you. Both main parties are struggling, I for example disagree with your view of who is (or will be) struggling most.

  24. opinium very bad for labour…miliband is about to implode. his leadership is a constant issue.

  25. “At a certain point, one has to just wonder: are there liberal left-wing people who are about as reluctant to vote Labour as they are to vote Tory?”

    Yes. It’s considered uncool or shameful to be Labour in some left-wing circles, which I have never understood. I’ve personally been called a Tory, a warmonger, a racist and an “establishment stooge” at various times by them.

    One of the many reasons I consider electing Tony Blair leader to be the greatest mistake the Labour Party ever made. Margaret Beckett isn’t perfect, but she wouldn’t have given rise to the “red Tories” meme that people on the Left like to spout without taking three seconds to consider it.

  26. If there is anyone who has not clicked onto You Gov as suggested up page by OLD NAT, then you should. It is very hard to understand how Mr Miliband can redeem his leadership.

  27. @MrNameless

    “establishment stooge”

    ———

    If it makes you feel any better, I got called an “agent of the status quo”. Repeatedly. For the better part of a week. On this board. By a Labour supporter…

  28. The problem I see with Labour is very simple. In Scotland the SNP will put forward candidates for the GE to fight Tory cuts etc and bash the UKIP threat, meanwhile Scottish Labour MP’S will fight on a platform of anti SNP/Scottish government polices which they themselves have no say on.

    So effectively a Labour MP can be elected on an anti Scottish government platform which they have no say on and sitting in a parliament voting on English only matters.

    The best option for Scottish Labour MP’S is just to find new jobs and stop meddling where they are not needed.

  29. I think the first half of Miliband’s leadership was actually very good; he scalped away at Cameron’s bench like a mad man and really holding them to account for some terrible policies and management of events. His NHS strategy is idiotic though, as is his English vote nonsense.

    The biggest issue? His NHS rhetoric is about a centralised plan but with no plan; meanwhile he wants more power for Cities but has not actual policies he wants to devolve out of his future manifesto to these regions. The NHS strategy also has a big giant submarine missile shaped hole in it so am not sure why he thinks its a good strategy – Scotland and Wales. Expect the Tories to take the fight to Labour in Wales (they could do very well again) and in Scotland Labour to be completely out of place and arguing about an idea they publicly rubbished in the referendum campaign [Scottish NHS being affected by England].

    Hes clearly a good opposition leader but hes not an election winner. Hes kept the party together which is good, I think David Miliband would never have lasted the term. Labour need a big non-London Centralising strategy but the Scottish Labour crisis only highlights that the Labour Leadership sees local power as a threat to its central power structure.

  30. “One of the many reasons I consider electing Tony Blair leader to be the greatest mistake the Labour Party ever made.”

    ———–

    One could argue that not caving to the unions during the oil crisis the way Maggie did until a better situation presented itself was a bigger error. But Blair is up there…

  31. Keith

    Miliband won’t be winning outright or as part of a largest party – it’s unthinkable for any opposition leader to be able to win with such atrocious approval figures, with the real heavy artillery against him still to be launched.

    It’s only down to a unique set of circumstances – economic malaise, the rise of another party on the Right, and the heavily skewed electoral system that he is even in the game. As I’ve said before, and Blair has reportedly alluded to, the British people will not allow him to become PM. Whatever the percentages need to be come May 7, are what they will be. The British people will find a way.

  32. “It’s only down to a unique set of circumstances – economic malaise, the rise of another party on the Right, and the heavily skewed electoral system that he is even in the game.”

    ——-

    Government actions have a part to play in all 3 of those. It isn’t just “luck”…

  33. I do feel that Milliband’s position has weakened quite a bit since mid-September – in particular on account of the party conference fiasco which was essentially self-inflicted. He is simply not being heard at all. Within the next 3 months the moment may arrive when several senior Shadow Cabinet members have to confront him with ‘ Either you go – or we go’.
    I am not holding my breath though – Labour has long suffered from internal paralysis when it comes to dealing with ineffective leadership.

  34. BARBAZENZERO

    Thanks-and I agree.

    You only have to ask the question “what is a Scottish MP for” , to see that the more autonomy Holyrood gets , the more the answer is ” to vote for their party at Westminster”.

    In terms of relative numbers this is only a problem for Labour &it will be interesting to see how it resolves the tension between its part in the ” Vow” to Holyrood , and its need to maintain Scottish votes at Westminster.

    The equation is much clearer for DC-hence EVEL

  35. Good early afternoon everyone.
    GRAHAM:
    I think ‘the party’ even let Lansbury lead ‘us’ until the 1935 GE.

    Do you think that leader who won three GE’s in a row would join ‘the party’ again and become the leader of ‘this great movement of ours’ (TIGMOO)?

  36. PRESSMAN

    ” As I’ve said before, and Blair has reportedly alluded to, the British people will not allow him to become PM. Whatever the percentages need to be come May 7, are what they will be. The British people will find a way”
    _______

    PRESSMAN are we talking about a Coup d’état? I don’t remember signing up to that when I filled in the application form to become one of your foot soldiers!!

  37. As far as I know Tony Blair is still a member of the Labour Party. Some people assume that if he returned they would ride to an easy victory. Such people are dead wrong.

    Tony Blair won the 1997 election because he was seen as a fresh alternative to a tired and collapsing government. He won the 2001 election because he was seen as a safe pair of hands who had done a good job. He won the 2005 election because there was no credible alternative.

    By 2007 the goodwill had more than run out. Had Tony Blair led Labour into the 2010 election they would have come third, at least in vote share, and there would have been a Tory majority government.

    He utterly squandered his early perceptions of honesty, “in touch”-ness and sanity during his ten years in office, and scorched a black mark onto the public perception of the Labour Party, whose most basic principles he betrayed.

    A Labour Party which re-elected him leader would have lost its collective mind, would appear to the electorate to be endorsing a man they regard as terrible (not merely rubbish like Miliband), would see a mass exodus of members and would deserve to – and would – lose the 2015 election awfully.

  38. @ Carfrew

    If it makes you feel any better, I got called an “agent of the status quo”. Repeatedly. For the better part of a week. On this board. By a Labour supporter…
    ————-
    Really; is that me you are talking about? Because IIRC we had a running discussion about fee-taking schools & I said that most of these schools perpetuated the status quo. That can easily be seen from the disproportionate number of their graduates who hold positions of power thereby leading to under-representation of everybody else. Equality & social justice is not well served by such a system. The disproportionate numbers are facts which can easily be checked. So, if that’s what you were referring to, I think I probably did say that by defending an unjust system you were defending the status quo. It was your position on a specific issue which I was referring to, not you as a person. If you felt otherwise, then I apologise for that.

  39. Labour should move its HQ to Brighton or somewhere similar. It would be really funny to have people write: The Labour Party in Scotland, Wales & England is ruled from Brighton. ;-)

  40. Amber,

    You know it’s actually not a terrible idea to have the Party HQ somewhere else. Sheffield is pretty central to the UK.

  41. @Amber

    Yes, lol Amber, that all sounds very good but you are leaving out the bits where you kept going on about me personally being an agent of the status quo and how I’d been programmed or brainwashed and couldn’t see it and had I ever done anything to change things, on and on etc. etc.

  42. CHRIS

    And to you-yes its Grandchild Visit time again-hooray! :-)

    I don’t think it is partisan-I just think its stupid. A Lefty Battle Cry-they hate him-you love him Chris.

    I can understand both points of view-but to call him a War Criminal offends a number of memories for me.

    Have an enjoyable Advent.

  43. @MRNAMELESS

    “You know it’s actually not a terrible idea to have the Party HQ somewhere else.”

    —–

    How about Scotland?…

  44. @Amber

    Also, I did not defend the Public School system. I made that very clear at the time. I just took issue with the idea we were all programmed automatons of the status quo. That was what you went on for days about. Others came in on that, eg Neil and Dartington’s heritage. Lord Michael Green etc.

  45. @COLIN

    “The “Tony Blair ” Game is always unsatisfactory on here.

    It never gets resolved.:-”

    ———–

    Well, it’s not much of a game if it’s over in a couple of minutes, is it?

    Like, if it was a chat about whether Tony Blair was PM.
    Answer: “Yes”.

    Not very challenging…

  46. NEILA

    @”Colin is the one who thinks that G4S should be the policemen…”

    Only just spotted this.

    Well its an interesting idea……..

    The incidence of corruption & producer interest would be down-but marginally I guess.
    Politically motivated Trades Union activity would pretty much stop I suppose.

    But on balance I think it wouldn’t make a lot of difference so inclined to reject the idea.

    Frankly I would settle for any uniform , provided the wearers adhere to the Peelian Principles.

    Prompted by these thoughts to look for the Police Oath of Allegiance, WIKI informs me that it reads :-

    “I… of… do solemnly and sincerely declare etc etc…..”in the office of constable”.

    That it would seem not to bind higher ranks explains a thing or two.

  47. Amber Star (from last night)

    It’s not just Northern Ireland; [outlawing paying for sex] is becoming a normal approach to combat the exploitation of vulnerable women.

    Indeed what better way to protect vulnerable women than taking away their source of income. I look forward to moves to prevent exploitation in the agricultural sector by banning the purchase of fruit and vegetables (admittedly in Scotland this may be thought legally unnecessary).

    The point is that if you wish to prevent exploitation, you tackle the exploitation, you don’t legislate to curtail the activity itself. If you believe the activity itself is bad, you do make that illegal, but this isn’t what is being suggested here (and would be difficult to specify and implement), even though groups such as the Evangelical Alliance, who support this move, would clearly like to move on to do that.

    In fact I suspect such moves, no matter how well-intentioned, end up more making those pushing for them feel better, rather than actually improving the situation. After all buying drugs is illegal and that certainly hasn’t stopped their use being widespread – it just puts more (untaxed) money in the pockets of criminals. Driving an activity underground is not the best way to prevent those engaged in it being exploited – quite the opposite. It may be particularly so in somewhere such as Northern Ireland with a history of a large black economy in the first place.

  48. It is looking likely that Tories will win the most votes, yet Labour the most seats. Why was such an uneven electoral system allowed to evolve? Shouldn’t the Boundry Commission sort it and take away the politics?
    They do it at District level.

    Many of the seats in England have 50% more electorate than many in Wales. Even in my county largest seats are 30%bigger than the smallest.

  49. Good lord, how times change. A Labour voter all my life, I’ve lived in Manchester since 1980, spending 17 years in the public sector as a social worker feeling disenfranchised and neglected by a Tory government.
    I’ll never forget that election night in May ’97 and seeing the likes of Portillo, Rhodes Boyson (remember him ?) toppled.
    There followed a renaissance in Manchester.

    But now I’m being informed that having Tony Blair as leader was a disaster and Margaret Beckett !! would have made a better leader.

    Come on. You’ve gotta be joking.
    Oh and who exactly is going to replace Ed and lead Labour to victory next May?
    If Ed, who I voted for, is replaced then I’ll cancel my membership.
    I can’t be the only Labour Party Member who feels this way.
    BTW, I joined in May 2010 to register my opposition to the Coalition.

  50. Allan Christie @ 11.50 am:

    I think you are mischeivously inventing or exaggerating difficulties for Scottish Labour.

    A good party leader has to organise their troops to cope with the actual circumstances existing meantime. Just as important now, if not more important compared to Holyrood for Labour voters, is what happens at Westminster. Tax and war and foreign relations, especially dealing with the EU, are crucial matters for us.

    So Johann Lamont showed herself to be unsuitable for carrying on as leader, with her statement that the main focus for the Scottish party should be on Edinburgh.

    That would have been true if we had voted YES. We didn`t.

    The SNP have reacted to the new circumstance, with Alex Salmond likely to go back to being a Westminster MP. Johann Lamont did reasonably well in her spell as leader, but was not suitable now, and was wise to resign. SLAB has to deal with realities, and obtaining the best for its supporters.

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