Tonight we’ve something we something unusual: a voting intention poll from Gfk. Topline figures are CON 41%, LAB 28%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6%. Fieldwork was between the 1st March and 15th March, so this is would have been partially before the budget, but it’s nice to have some figures from a different source.

Gfk are the successor company to NOP, who they bought out way back in 2005 (also, as far as I can see, the last time we had a NOP voting intention poll – before 2005 they polled for the Independent, called the general election spot on and then got their contract cancelled). Today’s poll has very little in common methodologically with 2005 of course, that was still the era of telephone polling, today’s poll was conducted online and is weighted by stand demogs, past vote, Brexit vote and political engagement.

186 Responses to “Gfk – CON 41%, LAB 28%, LD 7%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6%”

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    “But I really wouldn’t wheel out Nick Clegg this morning to once again wail about what was or was not said pre-referendum. The British public are agreed that both sides behaved appallingly and the campaign was a disgrace. We don’t wish to be reminded. Move on”

    “I have always quite liked Clegg but he is becoming an embarrassment for the LDs. He is appearing on the verge of being unpatriotic, and that is a certain vote-loser”

    I have to admit, the amount of wailing coming from Nick Glegg would frighten even the most hardened banshee. Every time Glegg speaks it’s almost as if he’s crying.

    As for vote losing…Well, Glegg already did the damage to the Lib/Dems pre-Brexit when he sold half his voters down the tubes over tuition fees for a little bit of power.

    The Lib/Dems can wail wail wail but the fact remains voters, don’t trust them Dems anymore and as one banshee said, “Pack it in Glegg you’re troubling my street cred.

  2. Alec

    Thanks for your reply, i have to say that when I see you calling me sanctimonious I had to laugh, really!!!


    Anyway enjoy your day, I certainly plan to do so, and yesterday Middlesex beat the MCC by1 wicket, it’s all good news so far this morning.

  3. Quite a tough first responses –

    The EU Parliament (which needs to approve any deal) is saying that there will be no trade deal before leaving, and that a transition deal should be time limited to 3 years, with the ECJ overseeing legal issues during this time.

    The transition deal will be on worse terms than full membership, and if UK start to negotiate other trade deals while still an EU member there will be no trade deal.
    No special deal for the city, EU citizens rights to be upheald in full until March 29th 2019, no trade off between security issues and trading relationship.

    The paper mentions an associate membership status similar to the Ukraine arrangement, which gives substantial market access, no EU laws applying in the UK (although presumably regulations must be synchronised) full access to UK markets for the EU and asubstantial payment of around half what we currently pay.

    Something for everyone there, but it’s a pretty tough stance which rather shows who is in control of the negotiations, I feel.

  4. Back on the new YouGov poll May now leads Corbyn by 51% to 13% as best PM, the 38% lead the highest she has recorded. How the government is handling Brexit has also improved with well 33% and badly 37% the -4% gap the lowest i can remember.

    Voters pessimism on the effects of leaving has increased but it has had no obvious effect on the governments standing. If May does a reasonable negotiating job this will stand her in good stead for 2020 IMO.


    “Bit grey this morning but due to cheer up weather wise about 12.30.
    Very good poll for the Tories, 18 point lead, no sign of a downturn and as you say LDs not improving nationally. However I think they could do quite well in strong remain areas in May but i agree with Millie that Clegg is bad news for them for the reasons she gives”

    Good morning to you Howard. Yes, I expect some bright sunshine around 12.30. Indeed a good poll for the Tories and as I said on a previous thread, it looks like voters are giving TM the benefit of the doubt over Brexit, so much so it appears to be impacting on UKIP.

    There is no doubt the Lib/Dems will do very well during May’s elections but small parties normally punch above their weight in local elections. I mean, setting out a budget for painting park benches on the outskirts of Barnstable or delivering free slippers to a goat farmers sick mother in Dartmoor may win the Lib/Dems brownie points in local government but it’s hardly going to impact on their national VI.

  6. Alec

    “Something for everyone there, but it’s a pretty tough stance which rather shows who is in control of the negotiations, I feel.”

    Others do not agree with you.


    Liked your analogies, and yes I agree it won’t help their national polling.

  8. SoCalLiberal

    The zealotry of some of those ICE officials must be terrifying to many – but presumably that is exactly what they intend to do.

    Creating terror in communities can be just as much a tactic of majoritarian democracies as of violent insurrectionists – it’s just the methods that vary, not the intent.

    “Othering” of folk who aren’t part of what the majority like to think of as the mainstream – ie them and their social contacts – is a very dangerous ploy.

    UK officials aren’t so zealous.

    They just rely on tactics like telling EU citizens who have been in the UK for decades, been productive members of the community, married British citizens and brought up families, that they must be “prepared to leave” the UK.

    The purpose is the same, though.

    It’s never too early in such a process to remember Pastor Niemoller’s poem “First they came for ….”

  9. Well as the Brexiteers are in good mood and extolling the rest of us to get on board and all pull together in backing May to get the “Best Deal for Britain!” I thought a rousing song that sums up the mood would be appropriate!

    All join in with the chorus……


  10. Peter Cairns SNP

    I think this is better:-

    “Happy Days Are Here”

    So long sad times
    Go long bad times
    We are rid of you at last
    Howdy gay times
    Cloudy gray times
    You are now a thing of the past

    Happy days are here again
    The skies above are clear again
    So let’s sing a song of cheer again
    Happy days are here again

    Altogether shout it now
    There’s no one
    Who can doubt it now
    So let’s tell the world about it now
    Happy days are here again

    Your cares and troubles are gone
    There’ll be no more from now on
    From now on…

    Happy days are here again
    The skies above are clear again
    So, let’s sing a song of cheer again
    Happy times
    Happy nights
    Happy days
    Are here again!

  11. @TOH – “Others do not agree with you.”

    I think that’s a given, unless we all move to North Korea, but it is instructive to see the not so subtle shift in government position as the great day approaches.

    In the last few days we have had the Brexit minister announcing there will be no cap on immigration as that would be bad for Britain, the chancellor contradicting the foreign secretary and telling us there will be negative consequences, and private briefings indicating an acceptance of the ECJ throughout a transition period among other things, and acknowledging that the idea that no deal is acceptable was a l!e, as many remainers said.

    We are now beginning to see not only where the balance of power sits within the negotiations (and it’s not completely one sided by any means, but the EU side was always going to have a distinct edge, which was obvious to all but the dimmest observers) but also that the governments public position differs from their privately acknowledged situation.

    I’m pretty sure a reasonable deal is there for the taking, but for me, this will be the biggest stumbling point – how to square the extremist wing with a sensible deal. May is now beginning to commence with that process, but it’s going to be hard work. As internal briefings from the EU have recognised, we cannot underestimate the ability of the British press to scupper a reasonable deal.

    One scenario that currently appears fanciful, but shouldn’t yet be written out of the story altogether, is that May actually delivers a reasonably good deal for the country, yet breaks her party.

    Europe has done all manner of damage to British political parties of left and right over the years, and I have an inkling that such ruptures are not yet completely behind us.

  12. TOH

    You are right. That song is more appropriate, as it was composed in 1929 alongside the Wall Street Crash!

    However, I do realise that you will be delighted by the trigger being pulled today, so I wish you well.

    We can both empathise with each other’s positions, while disagreeing as to them!

    Anthony has an interesting article on the YG site

    bringing together the polling on attitudes to leaving the EU.

    For those on both sides, his conclusion should ring true, and provide us with some interesting polling over the next couple of years –

    However, public expectations are very high. People would like both the benefits of Brexit and the benefits of EU membership and a substantial proportion think this is both possible and are confident in Theresa May’s ability to deliver. The version of Brexit that the set out in January met with the approval of most people. The problem for May is very soon those high expectations and ambitious targets will meet with the reality of the actual negotiations and the compromises that are almost inevitable.

    At that point we will begin to see how robust public support for Brexit and confidence in Theresa May really are. Hypothetical questions asked in advance suggest the public agree that “no deal is better than a bad deal” and think Britain should leave the EU even if the deal does fall short of their expectations. Many people are unsure though, and if negotiations do go badly people may be less firm in their opinions than they care to admit to either pollsters or to themselves.

  13. @TOH

    That’s the spirit. I’ve cracked open the Krug early as it’s already past 9.30pm over in Oz where I am at the moment.

  14. @Alec
    Road signs

    It is indeed a home grown problem. The issue is that traffic signage guidance is treated as law. Its not – its guidance.

    Every road sign costs about £300. Many are completely superfluous, others unnecessarily duplicate or confuse, and all contribute to ‘sign fatigue’.

    It actually reflects upon the ‘austerity’ debate. My County Council leader complains about lack of funding for social care, but merrily continues erecting ‘deer crossing’ signs where no-one has seen a deer in years, and which are routinely ignored ( it seems, even by the deer ).

  15. Oh God I feel like a passenger in a plane being flown by a kamikaze pilot who hasn’t even learnt to fly :-(

  16. Valerie

    Take heart!

    If the pilot hasn’t learnt to fly, then the chances are s/he’ll just fall off the flight deck into the sea and not hurt anyone else in the process (except maybe you, unless you jump out quick!)

  17. @Peter Cairns @Oldnat

    It’s okay you can run outside and start singing Rule Britannia while vigorously waving the Union Jack. The song was written by a Scot and the Jack has the Saltire in it!

  18. @Alec:

    It is not tough, it is in places vindictive. “Negotiate trade with anyone else, and no deal.”

    Does no one question why the Treaties are said to ban a departing state from negotiating trade treaties to take effect AFTER it leaves. It is such a one sided principle, you’d expect something that it makes it clear. But there really is not.

    The EU has made it clear that the UK should not concern itself with EU laws taking effect post-Brexit, so why is it so happy with EU law being interested in what the UK does in post-Brexit preparations that don’t involve it?

    Then it demands that we spend money on their security like we’re all still great buddies whilst they do their best to reduce the money we have.

    The EU Parliament thinks this should be like the negotiations for the Versailles Treaty.

    And they have about 40% of the House of Commons committed to supporting them.

    I dare say you are hoping that we are all going to learn to love the EU. Even if it ends in surrender by the UK, it will not end that way. Particularly as the European Parliament would feel free to add conditions such as Euro membership, Schengen membership to our readmission.

  19. Old Nat
    Trouble is other passengers have jettisoned the parachutes and are singing a medley of ‘Rule Brittania, God Save the Queen and the White Cliffs of Dover’!

  20. Reading Conservative Home and LabourList always leaves me thinking how civil this site normally is. Some of the triumphalism today is a bit like CH, only a bit more light-hearted.

    People were pleased to get a ticket on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. When disaster struck access to the lifeboats was on the basis of “first class first”. If Brexit goes wrong (and I hope it does not) I am sure the same will happen again – the wealthy will be OK and the rest of us, or our children, will suffer the pain. Beware and keep your fingers crossed!

  21. @Joseph1832 – “It is not tough, it is in places vindictive. “Negotiate trade with anyone else, and no deal.””

    Please stop talking nonsense.

    The rules of the EU are that member states cannot negotiate trade deals. While we are EU members, and getting all the privileges that entails, we need to stick by the rules. Once we leave, then we can do what we like.

    If you didn’t realise this before, then more fool you I’m afraid. Some of us were trying to explain this, but we were told off by all and sundry for ‘talking our country down’, ‘being unpatriotic’, etc etc.

    ‘Not being a bit dim’ might have been a more accurate description, I would have thought.

    The point is that A50 was drafted by the UK, along with others, we signed up to it, so we accept how it works.

  22. Valerie

    Booking a seat on Imperial Airways Flight 2.0 may have been a mistake.

  23. @Millie

    “Interesting that they are thinking of closing a lot of roads – often a good idea of course. But it won’t be easy: just one formal objection to a closure triggers quite a legal process, I understand. So its quite expensive to close roads.

    Far better to stop putting up pointless and/or duplicating signage.”


    Well in theory, if there are fewer roads, that might mean fewer signs!! On the other hand, they may see it as an opportunity for more signs, organising diversions, warning about potholes… and the new hard borders, they’re prolly going to need some more signs.

    Do you think maybe some politicians are invested in signs? The smoking ban, that led to a lot more signs, didn’t it. Health and safety? More signs. They could at least put summat useful on them, llke the latest poll results, or the cricket score etc…

  24. Old Nat. There are some Scots insisting the pilot turn round- they want their money back :-)

  25. joseph1832,
    “The EU Parliament thinks this should be like the negotiations for the Versailles Treaty”

    It is the Uk which has surrendered….

  26. SoCalLiberal – “Here’s something I’m having difficulty with conceptually. The Tories are the party of business. At least I tend to think of them that way. Leaving the EU will spell massive economic doom. Completely self-inflicted and completely unnecessary. And it will inflict the most harm on a lot of Tory strongholds. I would imagine a lot of Tories being angry and wanting to leave their party. Yet, there hasn’t been any swing to Labour or the Lib Dems.”

    Sounds like you have swallowed whole everything you have read in the Remain press.

    Our trade with the EU has been dropping, and consists mainly of imports, especially imports of food.

    The EU operates a protectionist policy on food, which makes all of it more expensive. For example, there is a tariff on wine from Australia and California, to protect the French.

    The northern coast of Africa has the same Med climate as the southern coast of Europe – and we could start importing fruit and veg from them (and they would benefit from at last being able to sell their stuff to a big economy). And so on and so forth. Once outside, we can buy what we want cheaper from the rest of the world.

    The EU is an out-dated protectionist zone, and I have no idea why people laud it’s protectionism the way they do.

  27. @Alec

    I’m surprised you are out and about – would have thought you would be cowering under the bed-clothes waiting for the sky to fall down. Any. Time. Now. :-)

  28. @Candy – not at all, and I don’t know where you got that idea from.

    This is all part of the picture – those who say, rather mildly, that leaving won’t necessarily b a disaster if we are sensible, but that it will be not as good as where we are now, are characterized as ‘cowering under the bed-clothes……’ etc. It’s all part of the insulting of remainers that @TOH bafflingly fails to see.

    The difficulty I suspect is that leavers are frightened to admit to any doubt, and therefore have to close their minds to any nuances or subtleties, and instead bracket anyone who doesn’t appear to back them 110% as ‘cowering’.

    To be fair, there are some similar types in the remain camp, who struggle to appreciate that an OK future outwith the EU is also possible.

    That is what has made the debate so sterile, and why I suspect there will be a deal of dissatisfaction when the deal is finally struck.

  29. @Millie

    “The issue is that traffic signage guidance is treated as law. Its not – its guidance.”

    This may apply to some signage, but for traffic control signs – including speed limits, no entry signs, no left/right/U-turn, parking restriction plates – these are a matter of law. Signage that does not comply with the regulations renders the traffic restriction unenforceable.

    There are good reasons for a lot of the regulations. Principally, they are there to make sure that the signs are clear, visible, and that drivers can reasonably be expected to see and pay regard to them. It would not be reasonable to be expected to adhere to a speed limit if the signage was unreadable.

  30. @alec

    “Millie – fascinating that you should raise road signs today of all days!
    I recently had a conversation in a pub with someone complaining about road signs and the waste of money, who was blaming it on ‘European Directives’.
    It was quite funny seeing his face as we tracked down the lack of EU regulations on member states road signage and then found the UK’s Traffic Signs Manual (8 volumes, 1200 pages).”


    Yes, can’t understand why Millie’s brought up road signs again. And am impressed with your tracking down EU regs on road signs while in the pub. Who says us polling geeks don’t know how to have a good time??!!

  31. “This may apply to some signage, but for traffic control signs – including speed limits, no entry signs, no left/right/U-turn, parking restriction plates – these are a matter of law. Signage that does not comply with the regulations renders the traffic restriction unenforceable.”


    You don’t happen to be in the pub do you?…

  32. Candy: “The EU operates a protectionist policy on food, which makes all of it more expensive. For example, there is a tariff on wine from Australia and California, to protect the French. The northern coast of Africa has the same Med climate as the southern coast of Europe – and we could start importing fruit and veg from them (and they would benefit from at last being able to sell their stuff to a big economy).”

    Clearly you haven’t noticed how much agricultural produce from Morocco already ends up in UK and other EU supermarkets. That’s hardly surprising as Morocco has had a free trade agreement with the EU since 2000. Here’s some detail:

    “Under their Association Agreement which entered into force in March 2000, the EU and Morocco established a Free Trade Area liberalising two-way trade in goods. They have developed the FTA further through an agreement on trade in agricultural, agro-food and fisheries products and a protocol establishing a bilateral dispute settlement mechanism, both of which entered into force in 2012.

    The Free Trade Area established under the EU-Morocco Association Agreement provides for:

    tariff-free two-way trade of industrial products, together with a selective liberalisation of trade in agricultural, agro-food and fisheries products
    rules and disciplines on non-tariff based trade measures
    a general right to establish businesses and provide services in the other territory
    current payments and capital movements
    common rules on competition and intellectual property”

    Regarding Australian and Californian wine, you might have noticed that quite a lot of Australian wine is sold in the UK. In fact, these were the top 10 wine importers into the UK in 2015:

    1. Australia
    2. Italy
    3. USA
    4. France
    5. S.Africa
    6. Spain
    7. Chile
    8. New Zealand
    9. Argentina
    10. Germany


    Does this strike you as a market controlled by EU protectionism?



    Apposite, but perhaps Nöel Coward’s There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner is even more so, particularly in putting in a mention for Sunderland.

  34. SEA CHANGE @Peter Cairns @Oldnat

    I hope you’re not suggesting that Peter & OLDNAT can walk [let alone run] on water.

    Union Jacks are flown only from certain boats.

  35. @millie
    I wonder what your county council’s road sign budget is as a % of its budget for adult social care.
    I’d be very surprised if it approached 1% and I would recommend a ‘Look out, a squirrel’ sign if it wasn’t so unconscionably profligate.

  36. @Somerjohn

    The EU is applying tariffs to Australian and Californian wine.

    It’s no good saying, “The Aussies are so good they manage to sell here even with tariffs, so what is the harm in gouging them”.

    There shouldn’t be any tariffs at all, and the wine would be cheaper.

    Here is what the Aussies had to say about it in 2015:


    Australian wine is subject to an import tariff on wine entering the European Union, with the rates payable dependent on the alcohol content and container type (see table 1).

    To calculate the equivalent $ per tonne, the landed cost of the wine was held constant and then two scenarios were compared – including and excluding the import tariff. The analysis indicates revenue forgone of between $100
    -$220 per tonne, dependent on the alcohol content and container type. This represents between 35 per cent
    and 73 per cent of the average price of $300 per

    Table 2 illustrates the rates payable in per bottle equivalent in €, £, and A$ terms. In the UK, the average price per bottle is £5.40 per bottle – the tariff, depending on alcohol content, represents between 1.3 and 2.2 per cent of this price

    end quote

    Adding between 1.3% and 2.2% to a bottle is a lot – especially given that the Remainers like to shriek when inflation increases by 0.1%!

    As for North Africa – you are acting like Morrocco is the only country in North Africa. What about Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and so on – there wouldn’t be a migrant crisis at all if they could trade their way out of poverty. But the EU is bent on keeping them poor.

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