Two new GB voting intention polls over the last couple of days. Opinium in the Observer had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 32%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4% (full tabs are here). Meanwhile BMG released some new GB voting intention figures today: their toplines are CON 36%(-2), LAB 31%(+1), LDEM 7%(+2), UKIP 16%(nc), GRN 5%(nc), and full tabs are here.

The last few polls we had (from ICM, YouGov, ComRes and Ipsos MORI) all had Labour and the Conservatives within a few points of each other. Opinium show a very similar picture, but while BMG do show the Conservative lead falling a little, they’ve still got a five point lead. At first glance I considered whether this could be due to fieldwork dates – perhaps as the negative coverage of the budget and IDS’s resignation faded the Conservatives were recovering? It’s not that though, the Opinium fieldwork is actually considerably more recent that the BMG fieldwork, which took place over Easter. Perhaps it’s a methodological difference, or perhaps it’s just normal random sample error – looking at the broad picture across all the pollsters it still looks as if the gap between Conservatives and Labour has closed right up to a few points.

There was also a new Opinium poll on the London mayoral election. First round voting intention figures are KHAN 35%, GOLDSMITH 27%, WHITTLE 3%, PIDGEON 3%, BERRY 2%, GALLOWAY <1%, DON'T KNOW/WNV 30%. Without don't knows that would work out at Khan 49%, Goldsmith 39%, Whittle 4%, Pidgeon 4%, Berry 3%, Galloway 1% - a solid lead for Sadiq Khan. After reallocating second preferences and taking only those 10/10 certain to vote, Opinium's topline figures are KHAN 54%, GOLDSMITH 46%. Full tabs are here.

132 Responses to “Latest GB and London voting intentions”

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  1. @ Carfrew

    ‘If I mention Thorium on here, the party political buggers tended to go “uh??”

    Out in the real world, to my surprise younger peeps just bring it up unprompted. Someone blogged about it. The other day do one I met just dropped in the concentration in the earth’s crust.

    But they’re not necessarily active in parties. It’s a different thing, it would seem. With slaves to parties, Thorium isn’t on the party menu so they just go “uh..”

    Number of operating thorium reactors worldwide since the last one shut in 1969? 0.
    Number of reactors that may be commercialised prior to 2030 (according to the Indians who are leading the field in trying to resurrect the LFTR reactor concept and move it on from where the Americans left off in 1969)? 0.

    I wouldn’t hang my hat on thorium any time soon as a viable alternative power source.

  2. Oh and a better analogy given peppering me with questions and unfounded allegations then complaining when I respond, is that it’s like you going up to people, asking them the time and then screaming “Why don’t you leave me alone!!!???”


    All very entertaining, especially when there is absolutely nothing happening that could possibly effect polling.

  4. Affect, auto-correct strikes again.

  5. @RMJ

    Don’t leave Allan C. out of it!!

  6. Effect could work too though…

  7. I’ve said all along that “Leave” will win.

    Even if “Remain” are ahead in the polls by 10% that will happen.

    Why? Becuase the old, and those with an axe to grind, are always the most likely to vote. And it is those two groups who want the UK out of Europe.

    Businesses, Greens, Labour, the young, the well-educated and so on and so on….. may want the UK to remain, but they dont get out and vote in the same sorts of numbers.

  8. Football fans, from Aston Villa to West Ham, all know the correct response to “Who ate all the pies” is “We are not currently eating pies, and will not eat pies in the future.”

  9. @Jayblanc

    It is a known scientific fact that all pie-eaters come from Wigan.

  10. “Ah did not have relations with that tax haven”.

  11. RMJ
    I think one of the reasons for low turnout in local elections is the lack of power of local governments. This means that more people tend to think that it’s not going to make much difference who wins…

    Another factor is that party labels are less informative at local level, which often doesn’t leave the poor voter much to go on. Leaflets often provide much information about how voting for X might actually change council priorities. It might help if voters were treated as adults: we know there’s only so much pie to go round, so please stop telling us there’ll be more pie for everyone and everything and tell us who’s going to get a bigger share and who – however much you regret it – is going to be staring wistfully at the crumbs.

    Yet another is that because elections are staggered there’s never quite the sense that one can ‘kick out’ a council that’s screwed up.

    Another may be that fewer and fewer local residents feel they have a stake in their local community. Students are a case in point. Removing schools from local control will only make this problem worse.

    I live in a marginal ward and there’s a close fight for control of the council, so I probably get more local election material than most. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean that I have more information on which to base a decision. Both sides make very similar promises in between flinging mud at each other. It boils down to who you trust and who you consider competent. That’s impossible to gauge from written material and there isn’t much relevant media coverage. If I’m lucky one or more of the candidates will knock on the door, I’ll be in a conscientious mood, and I’ll quiz them on the issues that will swing my vote.

    In GEs I have a much better idea of who and what I can vote for, and for better or for worse that’s got a lot to do with the party system.

  12. @Sorbus

    In Kirklees, we have three member wards, with one seat up for election every year. The fourth year is fallow.

    We miss next year, but then go to a full three seat election every four years. This is fascinating, as like you suggest, there could be a real upheaval. In addition, it really changes the tactical considerations, especially when campaigning for smaller parties.

    There could some negatives. For example, most people complain that they only hear from at election time. If that becomes every four years, it won’t help matters.

  13. RMJ1:
    “absolutely nothing happening that could possibly affect polling”

    You’re right of course, so I apologise to anyone seeking genuine commentary on polling. I imagine the preceding exchanges were as inexplicable and annoying to you as they were to me. Let’s hope for a clean thread soon so we can get back on track and discuss the polling consequences.

    Related to the original point I was trying to make before Seif Eddin turned up, and definitely about polling, I have a question.
    Do we have any evidence on how much local elections are affected by people switching, and how much they are affected by differential turnout?

    To make a concrete example: let’s say the the Labservative Chancellor, Geoff Osmore, produces a budget that is widely condemned as being an “ubershambles”. Shortly afterwards, the Labservatives lose a bunch of council seats to their bitter rivals, the Conbour Party. There will be an average swing from one t’other, say, 10%. Ignoring the fact that there will be special local reasons and variations, is there any evidence to partition that swing into saying, say, there was a 6% swing of people switching from the Labservatives to Conbour, and the other four percentage points came from the fact that dedicated Labservatives were less likely to turn out, whilst dedicated Conbourites felt more motivated than usual?

    The reason I’m interested is that I’m thinking about Corbyn and the local elections. I realise that a lot of people are of the opinion that few will want to switch from Con to Lab (a claim I’ll accept as true, just for the sake of this thought experiment). It is still possible, is it not, that if Con voters feel apathetic for one reason or another, and Lab voters feel motivated, that we might see an effect that resembles “swing”.

    I guess the question is really about churn vs differential turnout, and the answer is going to be “it depends on the election”. But we’re all, I think, expecting Labour to lose seats at the council level in May because of the electoral cycle. But I’ve got a little seed of doubt that it will be as bad as some predict (or hope). I think the low turnout in council elections could mean that highly-motivated Momentum-inspired activism could show up MORE than you’d expect in a GE. In other words, Corbynites might really be pushing to make a stand for their leader now. In a GE I’d say that effect would be swamped by so much other stuff. But many council seats are decided on small majorities, often just dozens of seats.

    I have no dog in this fight: I live in Scotland and it’s fair to say these English council elections mean nothing to me apart from general political interest. Don’t read anything into my descriptions or assumptions about my preferences. My intention here is to learn and see whether from a polling science point of view my instinct is justified or just plain wrong.

  14. Alun009

    Roger Scully on elections in Wales –

    “What I am saying is that the evidence seems to suggest that Welsh Labour have been having some problems getting their vote out in recent years; moreover, those problems seem to have been of greater magnitude in those elections that generally attract a lower voter turnout.”

    While that doesn’t answer your questions, it throws some light on turnout effects.

  15. OLDNAT:
    “Plaid Cymru’s support has thus far always been pretty accurately estimated” [from your link]

    Oh, god. This introduces another effect into the mix, namely the differential turnout accuracy by party. You know, IF what’s being said here is that Plaid voters are good at saying accurately whether they will turn out to vote, I find that believable. Perhaps the lesson is that VI is a confounding variable even for the attempts to correct for turnout. Like, some pollsters will only take 10/10 likely to vote answers for their figures. Perhaps even after you take that, plus previous vote recall, socioeconomic data and all the rest into account, perhaps there’s STILL a problem with certain parties just not turning up. Perhaps parties need weightings, or is that already a thing?

  16. If Labour play their cards right, this Panama stuff (“Tories are enabling large-scale tax avoidance”) could be their equivalent of the Tories’ “Labour caused the crash” argument – a line which isn’t really true, as it deals with global issues beyond the control of any single government, but powerfully emphasises people’s pre-existing negative perceptions.

  17. @Polltroll,

    Yes it’s exactly the sort of ground Labour would choose to fight on I think. It chimes nicely with McDonnell’s recent “tough but fair” approach to deficit reduction.

    Of course, the Panama revelations haven’t told us anything we didn’t already know (at least in a UK context) and the government have taken quite a number of steps to improve the situation, but mood music is everything and as you say it doesn’t really matter if it’s true or not.

    The one unknown is the effect of the Cameron family connection. In normal circumstances one might expect a pretty hard hit, but we’ve been here before to some extent with the Bullingdon/Tory Toff stuff, and it only really seemed to appeal to those who were inherently anti-Tory anyway. But even then, if it motivates people to come out and vote it may help Labour in the headline figures.

    The irony is that there’s probably quite a lot of common ground. I heard Richard Murphy on the radio this morning, someone who often causes my teeth to grind, and found myself basically agreeing with everything he said. He approached from an “I was a Chartered Accountant, I’ve been a company director, I am in favour of fair markets” standpoint. In other words, tax avoidance is actually the enemy of capitalism, not its friend and inevitable dance partner. I think Corbyn and, especially McDonnell, need to present a very nuanced and well-scripted story on this because the “improve the free market by going after the tax cheats” message has a much wider audience than their usual “abolish the free market and roll on the revolution” one.

    A real opportunity to seize the moment and build something they can sell.

  18. OLDNAT:
    And thank you for that link. Interesting stuff.

  19. Alun009

    “Perhaps parties need weightings, or is that already a thing?”

    Dunno if that’s already a factor in turnout weighting (though I seem to remember that some pollsters applied a more severe line on “Others”), but I doubt that it’s a constant.

    Scully does say “recent” elections. The mood music that makes people enthusiastic about voting for “their” party at some times but not others can change.

    SNP supporters appear to be keen to come out to vote at the moment, but things will change at some point in the future, I’m sure.

    Perhaps the current enthusiasm is a function of belief that people can change things in a democracy – which brings me on to –


    Management of Change theory suggests that recognition that something is “a bad thing” changes nothing by itself. Only when people believe that the “bad thing” can be changed to “a good thing” by supporting a particular action, does change come about.

    How many voters within the English political system can be brought to believe that installing another Labour Government (the previous ones having done sod all about the role of the tax havens within the City of London ambit) will achieve more than cosmetic change?

    In Scotland, the Panama Papers have given extra publicity to the long-running scandal of the “ownership” of our land. While Lab/LD made some tentative steps to reform that, and the SNP have taken it further, the real beneficiaries might be the Scottish Greens.

    Not that the SGP will move into government, but a stronger presence might ensure that their promise of further action in the next Parliament can force the SNP to be bolder.

  20. Neil A

    And here’s Richard Murphy’s blog on the topic of how tax havens damage us all.

    Naturally, I particularly liked this bit –

    “This results in the UK suffering what the Tax Justice Network calls the ‘Finance Curse’. This is the equivalent of the ‘Resource Curse’, which is suffered by many countries that have substantial raw material resources, whether they be oil, gas or another commodity. The overinflated importance of that one sector leads to it crushing most other economic activity in the state, whilst its impact on trade arises because of the over inflated value of the country’s currency, meaning that the UK’s productive businesses cannot compete on the world stage because their products are overpriced as a result of the overinflated exchange rate caused by the industry that has created the curse, which in the case of the UK is finance.”

  21. OLDNAT:
    “SNP supporters appear to be keen to come out to vote at the moment”

    I hope so! I’ve been spending enough of time knocking on doors, manning street stalls, delivering leaflets. I hope they don’t all stay at home come election day. Returns are looking fairly good here in Edn Southern, but it’s a tight contest still. Turnout is *really* important for us here.

  22. Careful not to forget what you talked about with them cos if you get confused again and try and blame them it might not be good for turnout!!!

  23. Alun009

    Have you detected how the former “Margo” vote in Lothian might be going on the List vote?

  24. OLDNAT:

    No, and I’m new to the party; she passed away before I even moved to Scotland, so I have no baseline. Her name has never come up on the doorstep, and I honestly don’t know whether there’s much personal knowledge of here in this constituency. It used to be a Lib Dem area, I think. Became SNP in 2011 I think. No idea really how well respected she was in the bad bad streets of Morningside.

  25. Not all referendums get people excited.

    “Netherlands: EU-Ukraine association referendum [today] – exit poll: turnout 29% (below required 30% threshold. But +/- 3% MoE). 64% against the pact”

  26. OLDNAT:
    “turnout 29%”

    Wouldn’t be enough to call a strike. Still, Nige will claim some sort of victory. Funny that he’s been little-heard the past month, but suddenly there he is campaigning in another EU country. The EURef really is looking like a contest everyone is trying to lose.

  27. @Oldnat,

    Yes.. I think that may actually be the weakest pillar of his otherwise pretty solid argument.

    I would want to see some fairly convincing evidence that new jobs would be created to replace the 100,000 or so finance jobs in London that he would happily jettison.

    But on the key issues – honesty, fairness, equality – I think he has it right. I don’t think it’s necessary to believe in some bright post-financial future for the UK to take those things as worthwhile ends in themselves.

    My personal view is that they should get whoever wrote the Fraud Act 2006 to come in and rewrite all of our other laws. In a nutshell. “Did you lie? Did you make a financial gain or cause a financial loss by lying? Okey dokey, off to jail with you sunshine”.

    It seems to me that unless every word of your tax documentation is literally true, to the best of your knowledge and belief, then any tax avoided is tax evaded.

    The primary purpose of the offshore industry seems to be to put the evidence of your tax affairs out of reach, so that you can lie without fear of detection. I can fully understand the right to protect your privacy from the general public, and from your commercial rivals. But I can’t see any justification at all for law enforcement and tax authorities not to be able to get access to every dotted “I” and every crossed “t” of it.


    I make it quits between the both of you.

    On me..

  29. @Allan C.

    Yeah, help your fellow Indy peeps out why dontcha. Anyway, ssshhhh… Don’t interrupt, the SNP activists are bonding!! They should make an app for it….


    Probably my latest comment to carfrew won’t make it past moderation. It was two words long, and it ended in “off”.

    Carfrew: please, leave me alone. Stop talking to me, stop making snide comments about me. Please. This is the last time I ask you nicely.

  31. @ Neil A

    ‘It seems to me that unless every word of your tax documentation is literally true, to the best of your knowledge and belief, then any tax avoided is tax evaded.’

    What wonderful common sense :)

  32. @Rhyfelwyr

    “Number of operating thorium reactors worldwide since the last one shut in 1969? 0.

    Number of reactors that may be commercialised prior to 2030 (according to the Indians who are leading the field in trying to resurrect the LFTR reactor concept and move it on from where the Americans left off in 1969)? 0.

    I wouldn’t hang my hat on thorium any time soon as a viable alternative power source.”


    Well, you’ve left out the accelerated Chinese programme, but yeah, I wasn’t hanging my hat on anything. The fact that Thorium isn’t taken more seriously is one of the reasons I mention it. (Among other reasons, some more obvious than others…)

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