The quiet summer rolls on – for once we have a proper silly season with barely any domestic political news. I’m off for the next week, so won’t be updating even if there are any chunky polls to write about. In the meantime Opinium released their regular voting intention poll last night, which continued to show a small Labour lead – CON 40%, LAB 43%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 4%. Full tabs are here.

795 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 40, LAB 43, LDEM 6”

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  1. Peter Cairns SNP

    Thanks for the explanation, I agree i’m old as to the other time will tell which of us is correct.



    Theoretically true, but if the UK really does start doing dodgy deals to import non-compliant food in particular, I’d be surprised if there weren’t at least some checking.

    I’d agree, though, that it’s unclear what HMG wants to withdraw from.


    Agreed, those numbers probably don’t lead to a Labour plurality; plugging just this poll into my regional swing model gives something like:

    Con – 303
    Lab – 283
    LD -14
    Green – 1
    SNP – 28
    PC – 2

    +NI and Speaker

  4. @alec

    The FT article reports that the Japanese government has informed the UK that its priority is to conclude a free trade agreement with the EU and it sees no point into entering any substantive trade discussions with the UK until the UK ‘s trade relationship with the EU is clear. The UK government apparently wanted to get the Japanese to agree to simply replicate the EU/Japanese deal when it is concluded.

  5. Strong signs in the tables that quite a few Lib Dem voters are willing to vote tactically for Labour next time around; that could prove the difference in quite a few seats.

    As a Lib Dem member who lives in a previously safe Tory seat which is now a tight Con/Lab marginal, I may actually have to make a similar decision next time.

  6. @somerjohn

    International transit trade is covered by the UN TIR system in any case.

  7. @toh

    I don’t respond to requests to prove negatives and neither do I respond to requests to disprove other people’s fevered imaginings.

    Re your other point you have said yourself that there will be a short and or medium term economic cost as a result of Brexit and have now said whatever the outcome you will not affected by it. Consequently you must think the cost which others will bear is worth it to achieve your objectives.

  8. The key EU questions don’t seem to be improving for the Cons. All admittedly within MoE but a slight reduction in doing well, matched by a slight increase in doing badly.

    On leaving the EU, again within MoE but switchover from “Right to leave” being ahead to “Wrong to leave”.

    From the last 2 questions on p% of the PDF:

    How well or badly do you the government are doing at negotiating Britain’s exit from the
    European Union?
    Response, 1 Aug, 22 Aug
    WELL, 26%, 25%
    BADLY, 54%, 55%
    DK, 21%, 21%

    In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the European Union?
    Response, 1 Aug, 22 Aug
    Right to leave, 45%, 43%
    Wrong to leave, 43%, 45%
    Don’t know, 12%, 11%

  9. You Poll

    Labour and Tories kneck and keck is interesting to see. it remains my view that neither will break away from each other to any great extent.
    it is interesting that immigration is still by far the most important thing for leavers after brexit with the economy below 30% where as immigration is ranked only as high as fifth (18%) way below the usual brexit, health, economy and housing

    AS to brexit itself it is continued to be seen as going badly. with leavers being equally split about how well it is going but remainers unsurprisingly being very down on what has been going on thus far

    The fact that the DK are around the 25% mark for each of the responses does show it is all to play for though

  10. That was an interesting little interchange between @Colin and @Tony Ebert, and one which rather neatly encapsulates much of the manner of the debate on Brexit. It is typified, in the main, not some much by people disagreeing on what should happen, but more by people being unable to agree on the subject that is actually being talked about.

    The issue over whether leaving the EU mans leaving the single market and customs union forms the basis for a good deal of confusion. People like @TOH, and perhaps to a lesser degree, @Colin, seem to take the view that the referendum vote was to leave everything connected to the EU. @Tony E’s point was that this is not so – one can be out of the EU but in the SM and CU.

    In strictly factual terms, there is no question that the @TOH view of this is wrong – the EU is not the same as the CU/SM, and for the public to have voted on these other options would have meant a different question. However, clearly, they think that the the vote did mean this, but trying to explain to @TOH and others that what they interpreted from the vote isn’t correct is like trying to wade through treacle – they simply aren’t willing to follow normal rules of language and logic and appreciate that there is an alternative and much more accurate view of the facts, instead, insisting on the illogicallity of denying there are such alternatives as hard or soft Brexits.

    We get a similar issue when discussing the EU’s response. One side sees an withdrawing of the privileges of membership as the EU behaving vindictively to the UK, while the other sees this as a natural consequence of leaving the club. Similarly those suggesting some difficulties in Brexit are viewed by some others as being unpatriotic, without any apparent discomfort at the notion that being patriotic still allows many alternative views to be held. The issues themselves are therefore rarely engaged with, as the critical part of the debate is stuck at the point of trying to define the battleground.

    This inability to even get to the starting line for so many discussions doesn’t give me hope that there can be some form of rappraochment after Brexit, or after non Brexit. There seems to be such a fundamental barrier in the mindsets that it does get quite depressing seeing the inability of so many to even speak the same language, let alone agree on the words.

  11. Re Poll (Hurrah)
    Interesting that Lab has slipped vs Con on every one of the issues about which YG asked for views compared with the July poll. Equally, people view Brexit more negatively on virtually all the issues polled (than they did in July)

  12. Alec

    I agree with your statement.

    There is no hope of communication between the sides as each is using a mutually inconsistent set of language and definitions.

    Your example of “I define you to be unpatriotic” is a good one, naturally the other side rejects that premise and so it is pointless to discuss what patriotism means with regard to Brexit.

  13. @Guymonde – I think that is entirely consistent with the notion of Labour’s post election boost unwinding, while Brexit begins to hit choppier waters.

  14. One interesting note from this poll is a 10 point jump in those believing brexit will be bad for the economy. Rather large increase and one that may go well with labours recent policy change over the single market.

  15. My mistake bad for jobs **

  16. BARNY

    I think the key to Labour success will lie in Scotland. They need to probably win around 35 plus seats to have any chance of winning more seats than the Tories at a UK election.

    Ol Corby will have to depend more on Scotland than previous Labour leaders because he’s too far to the left for many middle England voters. Even with a come back in Scotland I can’t see Labour winning a majority though!!

    It is interesting Lib/Dems would vote tactically for Labour. They are masters of the old tactical voting malarkey. How many seats do you think Labour would gain from this?

  17. Hi


    ‘One interesting note from this poll is a 10 point jump in those believing brexit will be bad for the jobs. Rather large increase and one that may go well with labours recent policy change over the single market.’

    This looks to me like a mistake. There is a 10 point jump for that option but the others only see a net 1% change. Looking back at the previous poll the figure was 34% saying it was bad for jobs (for that part of the survey the comparison was with 21-22 June rather than 1 August)

  18. I suspect if polls are still around the same at the next election many previous SNP voters may well vote Labour to hope to get rid of the Conservatives


    Winning Scottish seats will help Labour catch up with the Tories, but they’ll need to win seats off the Tories in England if they want to form a government.

    On the tactical voting, I’ve built a model which makes assumptions about the degrees each party is willing to tactically vote for the others, and it makes a notable difference in seats, mostly in Labour’s favour; now that UKIP have imploded the majority of the third party vote is center or left leaning. My model assumes people may tactically vote for either of the parties that won or came second in the last election, and that the more marginal the seat was, the more likely they are to vote tactically.

    For example, on the current polling average, my regional swing model suggests an election result of something like:

    Con – 292
    Lab – 298
    LD – 14
    Green – 1
    SNP – 24
    PC – 2

    (+Speaker +NI)

    Factor in my assumptions about tactical voting and you get

    Con – 290
    Lab – 304
    LD – 15
    Grn – 1
    SNP – 19
    PC – 2

    (+Speaker +NI)

    Of course the key thing is knowing how many people would be willing to vote tactically, and for which party; the model simply uses my guesswork .

    An awful lot of the 2015 Greens, UKIP and to a lesser extent Lib Dems have already swung away, partly for tactical reasons, and those that are left may well be core supporters who are harder to swing. It’s difficult to tell, but the polling can give us some indication, as it does in this case, suggesting a decent chunk of Lib Dem vote swinging to Labour, probably mostly as a tactical decision in seats that used to be safe but are now marginal.

    There are no real Lib Dem/Labour marginals any more, and the Lib Dem vote outside of their core strongholds has been squeezed to almost nothing already, but in quite a few key seats (including my own), there’s enough there to put Labour over the top. Whether Corbyn is the right man to pitch to them, I don’t know, but Starmer’s plan is a step in the right direction.

    My model also assumes an increased desire for Labour voters to tactically vote Lib Dem in LD/Con marginals such as Richmond Park at the next election; my model suggests the Lib Dems may well lose share of the vote again, while picking up more seats, as FPTP ghettoises them.

  20. Good article on Slugger re the RoI Foreign Minister’s address to the NI Chamber of Commerce this morning re Brexit and some of the British government proposals beginning:

    Simply put, EU Member States will not countenance a partnership which allows the UK to benefit from full EU access while cutting separate deals with countries that don’t share our standards or systems.

    And that has obvious implications on this island. For example, how can the UK expect to maintain an open border, an objective we all share, while asking Ireland and other EU Member States to accept that beef that doesn’t meet European standards can be easily brought into Ireland from Northern Ireland without the necessary controls?

    This simply doesn’t tally with the UK’s other stated objective of not wishing to undermine the integrity of the Single Market and Customs Union and doing nothing that damages Ireland and our political, social and economic interests.

    Continued membership of this Customs Union and Single Market – or something very like it – is the answer. And you have to tell your elected representatives that that is the case.

    I have no doubt it won’t be popular with many here, but it strikes me as stark realism.

  21. @Barbazenzero – again, this is where the understanding of the language is the problem. The approach taken in RoI seems an eminently sensible statement of reality to many people. There is a general assumption in life that you can’t have your cake and eat it.

    However, Brexiters will see this application of the rules of the EU as the EU punishing the UK.

  22. Full Coveney speech available here.

  23. ALEC @ BZ

    However, Brexiters will see this application of the rules of the EU as the EU punishing the UK.

    Sadly true, but at least the YouGov poll is starting to show that they are fewer in number.

  24. Continuing my streak of breaking new polls…

    New ICM poll for the Guardian

    Con 42
    Lab 42
    LD 7
    UKIP 3
    Green 3

    Fieldwork dates: 25-28th August 2017

    Full tables:

  25. VI showing small losses for Lab in the ICM and YG polls today – without any gains for the Tories.

    In the month and a half since the ICM poll, the only change was +1 to GRN and -1 to Lab. Really tiny moe stuff. Overall it’s clear that Labour’s lead has diminished, but it would be interesting to see what VI looks like when we have some polling that fully takes into account Labour’s new stance on transition. Some people think this will benefit them, others think it will hurt them. Either way, a lot of Labour supporters were annoyed at their stance on this issue the last few months which may have made them temporary DKs, which could improve their standing. Alternatively, it might mean they splinter more of their working class support – though as I pointed out yesterday, Labour supporting Brexiters care less about the issue and prefer a more economy-first approach overall. So my gut says this new stance will either be neutral or slightly positive in terms of VI.

    One thing that came out of the ICM polling that could worry the Tories was that less than 10% of their voters would be happy with a divorce bill of £20bn or more. Only £10bn has support from the public, and even then it was split about 40-40 – with £20bn something like 13% supporting, 65% against. Real risk of losing support to UKIP if they can get themselves together (thankfully for the Tories, this looks far from likely). Then again, I think what’s more likely is that their voters will blame it on the EU, rather than on the Government. Unless the government is seen to be capitulating to Brussels in other ways – which could provoke a pro-Brexit backlash against them.

    As parliament is soon to return (next week), things might start getting interesting again, and we might start to see some real movement in polling. It should be noticed though how unprecedented it is for the opposition to be leading in the summer post-election, however slender that lead is. Usually summer recess periods, especially the ones right after elections, provide a boost for the government before the chaos of government begins. If I recall correctly, typically the government would see its polling steadily dive over the next 12 months or so from September. But we live in strange times, so there’s no guarantees.

  26. You wait ages for a poll and then two come along at once. The Guardian is reporting:

    ICM’s[1] latest figures as:

    Labour: 42% (down 1 from Guardian/ICM in mid July)

    Conservatives: 42% (no change)

    Lib Dems: 7% (no change)

    Ukip: 3% (no change)

    Greens: 3% (up 1)

    and tables have just become available:

    [1] Technical details ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 1,972 adults aged 18+ on 25 to 28 August 2017. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. so usual Bank Holiday warnings might apply.

  27. On the subject of the YouGov poll, it’s worth pointing out that it is a week old (f/w 21-22 Aug), following a pattern we have seen of what you might call semi-suppression where the commissioner (in this case the Times) doesn’t report the results when given them and so no obligation on the pollster to report details. Indeed they might not be asked to and could possibly be only putting them out because a later poll is being done and the tardy poll is need for comparison.

    In this case it’s all pretty much no change (the one big difference I found turned out to be a typo) with maybe the slightest loosening of Labour figures as often happens with Oppositions in August.

    One very irritating thing with the tables though is the lack of full percentages including DKs etc and also likelihoods to vote as seen in the previous published poll here:

    without these it’s very difficult to see what is driving changes in voting intention. Hopefully it’s just the interns mucking up when Anthony is away on his hols.

  28. @bz

    Thanks for the link to the Coveney speech and the analysis of the polling on the Brexit negotiations. It will be interesting to see whether polling moves further against the Conservatives as the unreality of the UK Government’s Brexit position becomes more apparent.

    The reported Japanese rebuff on trade talks and their warning about Japanese investment in the UK does seem to indicate that Davis’ remarks in July 2016 below were at best foolishly optimistic

    ” I would expect the new Prime Minister on September 9th to immediately trigger a large round of global trade deals with all our most favoured trade partners. I would expect that the negotiation phase of most of them to be concluded within between 12 and 24 months.

    So within two years, before the negotiation with the EU is likely to be complete, and therefore before anything material has changed, we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU. Trade deals with the US and China alone will give us a trade area almost twice the size of the EU, and of course we will also be seeking deals with Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, the UAE, Indonesia – and many others.”

  29. BARNY

    Many thanks for the link to the new ICM poll.

    Some rather odd questions in there re paying our dues before quitting. I do hope we get a new thread soon on the latest couple of polls with some analysis of the “brexit” questions.

  30. Is this useful to those who wish to debate the question of whether political parties put party before country? FWIW, some may say that it is done routinely in Westminster and in other countries.

    Here is the link

    “But to assume this scenario is possible could well be to underestimate the disruptive force of the European question within the Conservative Party and UK politics. It is, after all, the main reason for the present turbulence and instability. To expect more upheaval is reasonable. It is beginning to become manifest that the bargaining position of the UK with respect to the EU is not as great as some Brexit enthusiasts believed or suggested it might be. For instance, any idea that work on a Free Trade Agreement could be commenced in parallel with exit negotiations and discussion of citizenship has now been dispelled. From the Eurosceptic perspective, the ‘bad deal’ to which ‘no deal’ is supposedly preferable may be coming on to the agenda. Those who share this disposition could come to insist that the UK withdraw from negotiations, particularly when issues such as compensation payments for leaving and transitional periods become prominent. At this point a concerted effort to remove May could begin. If a leadership contest were to occur, others who were less hostile to the EU could consider entry on this platform. Or if May capitulated to pressure and opted for ‘no deal’, it might be the time to challenge her. If any one of these scenarios came about, it would be plain that, in holding a referendum on EU membership, David Cameron did not manage to prevent a more serious conflict in the Conservative Party, but ultimately only postponed it, and possibly made it more pronounced when it did occur.”

  31. Barbazenzero

    Thanks for the link to Mr Coveney’s speech.

    I do not see the EU budging from it’s position on maintaining the integrity of the EU. That means third country status and no eating your cake and still having it.

    It is a matter of time before something breaks the impasse.

  32. pass the rock please

    “Labour and Tories kneck and keck”

    I think you should leave their kecks out of it.

  33. @Roger Mexico

    One very irritating thing with the tables though is the lack of full percentages including DKs etc and also likelihoods to vote as seen in the previous published poll here:

    The analysis I do relies on this missing data. Is it a one off, or a change in reporting?

    AW, can you help with this please?

  34. The root problem is the use of the term “The Single Market” to refer to two different things, to the Internal Market and to the EEA.

    Since the territory of Norway is part of one of these and not the other, the difference is rather pertinent.

    As the Commission prefers the former usage that’s the nearer to being the official one I’d argue, but in UK political circles, and apparently in Ireland too, the latter seems to be more common currency.

    The BBC language is properly nuanced in this regard.

    In the narrow, strict definition of EU legislation, what documents like the Single Market Act call “The Single Market” is what the Treaties call the Internal Market, and that is the territory of the EU member states. You leave that Single Market when you leave the EU, and only a change in the Treaties could alter that.

    Being part of the EEA might amount to a level of participation in the SM that is tantamount to “membership” whatever you want to define that to be, but I’d argue that the BBC is being strictly correct in still calling it access. Those who argue otherwise are rather guilty of what they accuse ToH of doing, making up their own definition in order to support their argument.

  35. @allanChristie

    Labour taking seats from the SNP males no difference to the Tory v the rest position in the Commons although it would take them closer to being the largest party in a hung Parliament.

    So Labour and others need to take Tx from the Tories. Perhaps Labour will at the next election reconsider its advice in 2017 to Labour voters to vote tactically for the Tories where the Tories were best placed to beat the SNP?

  36. Roger Mexico,
    Had a quick look at the ICM you posted. First read the rubric, which says they excluded from consideration anyone who said they are not registered to vote.

    I have potential issues with this. Supposedly it is getting easier and easier to register to vote at the last minute, and it might be that certain demographics are more likely to be in this situation but will register last minute. So they might be creating a bias.

    Their raw data gives a 2% lead to labour, which corrections bring down to level with the conservatives. Don’t know how reasonable the corrections are now, but most polls in the recent election did just this and got it wrong.

    ICM use different age groupings to yougov, but raw data gives labour a lead in all age groups up to 65. Strong conservative leads in the higher age groups.

  37. Hireton
    As I say you were just giving your opinion, no facts to back it up. As to your use of the word “fevered” I just smiled, it’s the sort of childishness I have come to expect from you. How old are you?

    “There seems to be such a fundamental barrier in the mindsets that it does get quite depressing seeing the inability of so many to even speak the same language, let alone agree on the words.”

    I can agree with that, I have always thought your views that Brexit can mean anything other than leaving the EU in full, totally illogical. As you say there is no meeting of minds which is why so much of the discussion here is a waste of everybody’s time.

    “Your example of “I define you to be unpatriotic” is a good one, naturally the other side rejects that premise and so it is pointless to discuss what patriotism means with regard to Brexit.”

    Except that Leavers are supporting a democratic vote of the people to leave the EU which is also supported by the Government of the day. Remainers are opposing the democratic will of the people.

    Good to see a couple of polls. So the Labour lead has gone, and the parties are neck and neck. I think the Tories will be happy with that at this point in time.

    Wonderful day’s cricket. Excellent declaration by Root yesterday led to a tight finish. The West Indies batted very well and dropped catches cost England the match. Sets us up for a splendid finale at Lords.

  38. PETERW

    Thanks for that.

  39. TOH


    I’d have t say that was a very different thing to being patriotic though. I they believe the the country is making a horrible mistake then I don’t see that expressing an opinion is in any way unpatriotic. Part of democracy is retaining the ability to express an opinion and if someone would prefer the the country did not make a mistake it doesn’t mean the don’t have the countries interests at heart. just that they have a fundamentally different viewpoint from yours.

    There is not point trying to correct people with these fundamental differences, their viewpoint is formed from fundamental different viewpoints and your views are as alien to them as theirs are to yours.

    You might well believe that Brexit is in my interest, I fail to agree and see Brexit as something that would have such a serious effect that leaving the country is preferable to enduring it. Your use of terms like “vassal state” only convinces me that our viewpoints are so diametrically opposed that there can be no real understanding of where these viewpoints come from. The gap between us is a wide as it has always been and it will not close in the future.

  40. New thread

  41. The Other Howard: Alan, your example of “I define you to be unpatriotic” is a good one, naturally the other side rejects that premise and so it is pointless to discuss what patriotism means with regard to Brexit.”

    Except that Leavers are supporting a democratic vote of the people to leave the EU which is also supported by the Government of the day. Remainers are opposing the democratic will of the people.

    Democracy allows people to oppose positions which have been previously decided democratically. Otherwise, there would be no point in General Elections.

    Patriotism demands that people are honest when they see their country in danger.

    Essentially, you have no grounds under patriotism or democracy to complain in any way whatsoever that Remainers are the least bit out of order for sticking by their beliefs.

    Your sole recourse is to argue the case on the facts. Speaking of which, what is this nonsense you havge been spouting about having been accused of having a tantrum?

  42. The Other Howard,
    “Remainers are opposing the democratic will of the people.”

    Yougove latest, Leave 42% remain 46%.

  43. @toh

    Oh dear, resorting to ad hominem and still refusing to engage with substantive issues. Still, typical of you.


    Democracy relies on the ability of people to change their mind after all in africa we haev what is called one man one vote once type democracy which means we have Mugabe’s littering the continent. I fear your argument about the will of the people is essentially that.

    if one used the current GE it would mean we should stop fighting and let the government do what it wants since it won, and therefore is the will of the people.

    As a person that whose parent come from west africa you have used exactly the same argument over democrarcy and patriotism that these dictators have used. if you are clear in your arguments then I believe you should be happy that leave won, however you should expect people to oppose you legally and fairly. Remainer’s are not going down and mowing people with machine guns they have an argument and policy based on a set of ideals that you oppose that is all. Their opposition is not a threat to opposition it is the very definition of opposition. it could have been argued that SNP are against the will of the people in scotland, My view they are democratic and whilst the majority do not support independence it is up to them to adhere to their ideals put them n policy and to continue to put them to the people as they like. Likewise labour, LD PC, the Greens UKIP are all in the same boat.

    In simple terms opposition is often opposing the democratic will of the people often by definition and indeed as the Tories found out after they won the election and the omnishambles of their budgets, the will of the people is much more flexible than some people would think.


    I think both are airing the kecks at the moment

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