Opinium’s regular poll for the Observer suggests party support is still static, despite a difficult few weeks for the government. Topline voting intention figures are CON 40%(nc), LAB 42%(nc), LDEM 6%(+1). Fieldwork was between Tuesday and Thursday and changes are from a month ago. Ahead of the budget Opinium also asked about the most trusted team on the economy. May & Hammond led by 36% to Corbyn & McDonnell on 28% (as with the best PM question, the majority of respondents said either None (24%) or Don’t know (12%). Full tabs are here.

Midweek we also had ICM’s poll for the Guardian – that too showed a pretty much static position, with topline figures of CON 41%(-1), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 7%(nc). Tabs for that are here.

A budget is, of course, the sort of major event that can sometimes cut through with the public if it contains something particularly compelling or – more likely – something particularly unattractive. As I’ve often written here, it’s very rare for budgets to result in a boost for the government, but there are plenty of examples of budgets going horribly wrong and damaging party support – they are very much a bullet to be dodged, rather than an opportunity to win support. We shall see what happens this week.


340 Responses to “Latest Opinium suggests the polls are still static”

1 2 3 7
  1. Abolishing student loans could be a vote winner.

  2. Abolishing income tax would also be a vote winner.

    I favour a graduate tax.

  3. Oldnat,

    I don’t think that the solution of having a border in the Irish sea is one that the Irish like either. But it is really an existential issue for the Irish not to have a tariff border. That is basically something that Irish have a red line on. No Irish PM with any political sense will agree to it. The political parties are paying full attention to the issue.

    And the SUN article made that even more true today than last week.

  4. As for what the DUP will do. I am not really sure. They might be persuaded of something by T May. But they will not want to agree tariffs either across the irish sea or across the Irish border. Their voters won’t like such things at a practical day to day level. And the DUP leader has a very long land border on her constituency.

  5. Polldrums.

  6. Lots of budget rumours around and generally look like small moves with slow implementation periods. Hammond is begrudgingly getting the message perhaps?

    However, “dodging a bullet” as AW puts it very much depends on whether you’ve already been hit by that bullet (the collapse of the 20+pt lead CON had back in April).

    What I’m hoping to see:
    – change in student loan interest to CPI (saves typical student 40k of interest payment over their life – see IFS studies, also costs very little as the write off charge (RAB) should broadly offset the lost revenue)
    – moves on housing (seems that is certain but the devil will be in the details – IMHO we need faster action)
    – end of public sector pay cap (although more an issue for pay review boards the message can be sent via the budget with higher funding allocations)
    – small increases in taxes (politically difficult due to the small majority)

    I’m not expecting much but I doubt many other people are either but clearly if CON want any hope of recovering in the VI then they need to do something a little more than spreadsheet Phil tinkering.

  7. Good morning all from a quite mild and dry Winchester.

    The Chancellor will have to drag out quite a big bunny during the budget if he’s to get the ol opinion polls moving in his direction.

    I’m not sure approving the testing of driverless cars will be the top priority for most voters when the cost of living is going up, however the investigation into why so many construction companies are holding onto land when we have an acute shortage of homes in this country has to be welcomed and I do mean an acute shortage of affordable homes.

    The younger generation in this country are constantly told they’ve never had it so easy yet they are set to be worse off than their parents and less likely to own their own home and face increasing unaffordable private rents.

    Thankfully with help from my family I was able to get on the property ladder but I really do fear for the future of many of my peers.

    Doom and gloom over…Had a lovely week in Switzerland with my other half.

  8. Abolishing students loans is probably cheaper than abolishing income rax

  9. PROFHOWARD

    The UK should just offload Northern Ireland onto the ROI. It would save rUK billions on tax and the savings could be put towards more worthwhile causes such as the NHS ,housing and a direct rail link between Winchester and Alresford.

  10. @ WB

    If we’re still going on about NI, I think WB’s anecdote from last night is worth repeating:

    “My wife is a Northern Irish (lapsed) Catholic, she is 49 years of age and grew up through the troubles, she is highly intelligent, Oxford Educated, remarkably balanced about political matters prepared to hear all sides except when it comes to Ireland, then all of her responses are entirely emotional and the reaction is swift and uncompromising, and she is not a SF supporter.”

    This is exactly my experience too. If you swap Oxford for Cambridge and add a little to the age (I wouldn’t like say how much) that fits my wife precisely.

    On a related topic, when people were talking about abstentionism, you have to remember that the people of NI know exactly what they are voting for. Probably more so than any other area in the UK, the voters understand their parties and what they stand for. When they vote for an abstentionist candidate, that’s likely to be exactly what they want.

  11. CON also need to be careful about taking excessive liberties with their core voters (IMHO). This is a poltiical observation, not a personal view!!

    Although all the focus on the GE result was the increase in youth vote, the older segments saw a small drop in voter turnout. Rich retiree towns like Eastbourne (LDEM gain from CON) and North Norfolk (LDEM increased vote share) obvious examples but with the small winning margin in seats like Kensington, Carshalton, etc. the triple punch to pensioners (that has since been scrapped) probably cost CON 4+ seats. London seats are tricky to back-test as Brexit was also an important factor. The x-break on p8 of ICM is tiny but shows LDEM actual seats in E&W might swing to CON in next GE. Conversely a tactical LDEM vote for LAB in seats where LDEM are now in 3rd place (e.g. SW England) represent a bigger number of seats and who wins the marginal centre voter will IMHO be the decider next time (along with the 25-49 demographic).

    You can’t please all of the people all of the time but if Hammond tries too hard to win voters who would never vote CON at the risk of losing more voters from CON then that is politically foolish. I’d like to see the triple lock on pensions moved to a double lock but no is probably not the time to do so from a political perspective.

    Outside of the budget a move to drop student numbers from the immigration target seems a very easy way to help deal with another damaging aspect of CON’s nasty image. IMHo of course

  12. Another vote winner.

    Do away with faith schools. All they do is cause division in society and encourage weird wizards to brainwash kids.

  13. NI. It is worth remembering that CON rely on DUP and DUP have long memories as well:
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/15/corbyn-government-would-be-disaster-for-northern-ireland-says-dup-leader

    I never wanted a C+S deal with DUP as it was always going to come back to bite CON – in terms of both Brexit complications and political damage on the ‘money tree’ issue.

    However, the situation is what it is. Will CON call bluff on DUP in order to move Brexit forward or are 1% of UK (half of NI) going to be the ones that prevent compromise?

  14. HOUSING

    There are plenty of panning permissions for plenty of houses, but it is not in the interests of the housebuilders to build lots of houses all at once. They get much better prices by dribbling a few houses onto the market a bit at a time.

    That’s capitalism. The housebuilders are not suddenly going to come over all socially aware, and just build what is needed.

    There are ways round this, e.g. a land value tax, proposed by LAB. But more radical is the Dutch system, where local authorities compulsorily purchase land needed for housing, at it’s current use value (usually its value as agricultural land). The builders concentrate on the quality of the houses themselves, rather than speculating on land values. This means that the cost of land is a small fraction of the final cost of the house – here the land can be over 50% of the cost of the house – mad!

  15. Tweet from ITV’s Paul Brand: ‘Public polling might put Labour only 2 points ahead of Tories, but one senior Conservative MP told me this week that internal polling shows a 12 point gap. Blue panic.’

    What do folks here think of this?

  16. Alan Christie:

    Perhaps the UK should offload Bournemouth too.

  17. @Jones in Bangor – ‘I favour a graduate tax.’

    When you say that, do you mean that you want fundamental changes to the way student loans work, or that you simply want the government to give the system a more honest name (bearing in mind the current system is essentially a graduate tax already)?

    The impact on graduates is that they will surrender 9% of their earnings above £25k for 30 years (as the vast majority won’t repay their loan before the 30 year time window kicks in). In real terms, how is that any different from a graduate tax (albeit a time limited one)?

    It’s also worth mentioning that the current system actually favours very high earners as their repayments will be high enough to cover the debt inside the 30 years. This essentially means the 9% ‘tax’ only affects them for a shorter portion of their working life.

  18. @Allan Christie

    Whilst I agree that serious efforts need to be undertaken to solve our housing crisis, I’m afraid I don’t share your enthusiasm that an ‘investigation’ will tell us any more than we know already (ie, home developers and construction companies artificially restrict supply and speculate on future price rises through ‘land-banking’).

    We need action against those who do this, not an investigation to reiterate what we already know.

  19. TREVOR WARNE

    If NI is 1% of the UK then the population of the UK is about 200 million.

  20. Enigma

    My own view is that the land-banking thing is not the main problem. It is a more fundamental one to do with a planning system that leads to a lack of supply.

  21. allan c

    I was astonished and disappointed that, as our society became increasingly secular, faith school were not simply allowed to fade away with no new ones permitted.

    That opportunity has long since passed and, sadly in my view, we are on the path back up in numbers and blinkered thinking.

    It should be illegal for young children to be pretty much forced to follow a religion with the active support of the state. It’s bad enough that they are forced to do so by their parents, with no opportunities to analyse or question, but there is not a lot we can do about that side of it.

  22. The polling stasis is basically good new for the Tories at the moment.

  23. Very wise of Varadkar to demand a written guarantee of no border in Ireland. He has to do this.

  24. ITV journalist Paul Brand tweeted this earlier

    “Public polling might put Labour only 2 points ahead of Tories, but one senior Conservative MP told me this week that internal polling shows a 12 point gap. Blue panic.”

  25. Speaking as someone who publishes academic statistical work my advice on this statement:

    ““Public polling might put Labour only 2 points ahead of Tories, but one senior Conservative MP told me this week that internal polling shows a 12 point gap. Blue panic.”

    ..is to ignore it. There is no reason a private poll can have more information than a public poll and there is every reason to doubt a private poll as you don’t know anything about its methods or data.

  26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KFUM5IGhHw

    30 minutes in, Kevin O’Rourke gives an excellent analysis of the situation from Ireland’s perspective. Well worth listening to.

  27. @ PROFHOWARD

    DUP voters in 2017 GE 292,316
    Total voters in UK 32,203,481

    that is 0.9%, which I rounded to 1%

    or if you prefer then 10 DUP MPs out of 650 =1.5%

    If you want to round up to 2% then fine. Should we let 2% of the population dictate Brexit? Tyranny of the minority perhaps?

  28. Trevor – I am talking about NI as a whole about 2million.

  29. Anyway Trevor I see I mis-read you and you were talking about DUP. Apologies.

  30. The DUP do have a very important responsibility to consider the economic interests of all of NI and to try to avoid borders both in and around Ireland as a whole. So I think they and the Irish government do have very strong and important – and quite aligned – economic interests to represent at this time.

  31. ProfHoward

    I agree on private and public polling

    ————–

    If the government fires the CEO of the English NHS, and denies the extra funding from the health service, it could move the polls.

  32. Despite Brexit, I hope we won’t move the Poles.

  33. @ PROFHOWARD – but it is the DUP who want the impossible. Even if you take the full population of NI you are still at under 3% of UK.

    UKPR has been through this issue dozens of times. IMHO, May will have to call someone’s bluff at some point and first up IMHO is the DUP.

    If DUP agree to show their passports on one side of the Irish Sea (since UK-UK it doesn’t need to be both sides) then CTA, 2y transition and shadowing EU regs can kick the can down the road a little and at least get us to phase2 of talks with “sufficient progress”.

    The important issue IMHO is for DD to offer something. Sat their with his inane optimism offering nothing new since Oct is not going to move talks forward. We can all see that the current UK approach to NI is not going to work and I think it is fair to assume that the DUP’s impossible demands are the most likely reason that May+DD haven’t made progress on the NI issue.

  34. Trevor – I don’t think the travel issue is the key one, its the trade one issue that matters economically both to NI and to Ireland as a whole. DUP and Ireland have their leverage for now and and will be wise not to let the opportunity pass to use it – that is the responsibility they have to their electorates economic interests whether they voted for them or not.

  35. There’s an interesting thread here from two excellent Irish economic commentators. The DUP and Irish economic interests are compatible:

    https://twitter.com/kevinhorourke/status/932234611739967489

  36. It’s an old poll now and Lucid Talks haven’t asked the question recently but in their post GE poll they did ask various Brexit scenarios:

    http://lucidtalk.co.uk/images/News/LTJune17TrackerPollPostElections-GeneralReport.pdf

    There is a very clear partisan split. Unionists rank ‘special status’ as their worst preference where as Nationalists rank it first. However, CON are reliant on the DUP so the Unionists have the highest political voice

    Arguably the answer choices paint the ‘special status’ option a little harshly (NI could have FoM with GB if they would just be willing to show passports – from what I understand ferry companies and flights require ID anyway)!

    It would be good to see an updated poll that slightly rephrases the ‘special status’ answer choice. Special status is going to cost the GB taxpayer as EU will clearly want something in return for allowing NI to be in both unions for at least a transition period.

  37. Well now Princess Rachel, doesn’t that concealed 12% Labour lead rather support what you, me and MarkW have been saying for some time?
    Your description of queues of people at the polling stations waiting to vote this woeful shower out, will happen!

  38. @ PROFHOWARD – If the transition and final deal is: EEA+CU in transition for whole of UK with continued special status for NI until such time as technology can create a near-invisible border, regulatory shadowing of relevant EU policies, then taking DUP’s 5 points:

    1/ Whole of UK leaves EU – YES (maybe only in name during transition and a bit longer for NI)
    2/ Economic benefits of UK for NI – YES
    3/ NI’s geography and history – YES
    4/ Best deal fro NI – huge YES
    5/ Not reopen settled political agreements – YES

    The issue is the chicken+egg conundrum. We can’t get to talk about transition, let alone future relationship until we have made sufficient progress.

  39. RJW

    “Your description of queues of people at the polling stations waiting to vote this woeful shower out, will happen!”

    Where i live there will be long queues of people waiting to vote to keep a horrendous alternative out.

  40. @ PROFHOWARD – thank you for the link. RoI clearly have a veto on phase2 (transition and final arrangements), they are giving away nothing by allowing talks to get to phase2. However, since RoI are the biggest loser of the EU27 in a Hard Brexit scenario then they are playing a very dangerous game if they use their veto in phase1.

    UK supermarkets, etc must surely have contingency plans in place for a Hard Brexit and at some point they will consider switching to domestic suppliers (away from RoI). The biggest industry impact, politically and sensitivity wise, is agri-food. It will be difficult for UK to quickly make up for all the RoI agri-food imports but given the UK’s trade deficit with RoI it should be clear that UK producers will gain and RoI producers will lose if delay in talks start the move to reshore supply chains to UK base.

    The whole focus of Remain is always on exports but since we have a massive trade deficit in goods then imports (and reshoring manufacturing/productions) are IMHO being wrongly ignored. Our very low unemployment and reliance on EU labour is the biggest issue I see in a Hard Brexit – we simply won’t have the people to take advantage of the opportunities, unless we get rid of the absurd immigration target.

  41. ToH
    It’s ‘an’ horrendous alternative not ‘a’. (Only kidding).
    As ever ToH we disagree, time will tell which of us is more on the money.

  42. @trevorwarne

    “UKPR has been through this issue dozens of times. IMHO, May will have to call someone’s bluff at some point and first up IMHO is the DUP.
    If DUP agree to show their passports on one side of the Irish Sea (since UK-UK it doesn’t need to be both sides) then CTA, 2y transition and shadowing EU regs can kick the can down the road a little and at least get us to phase2 of talks with “sufficient progress”.

    Dozens of time perhaps but still not enough for you to understand that it is trade ( and actually many other cross-border GFA issues) which is crucial and difficult.

  43. RJW

    i would tell the people in the queue to vote to bring some sandwiches because the polling station will not open until 2022.

    Besides which local polling shows some swing to the tories and some to Labour. Very mixed and unpredictable. sorry to bring you down to reality.
    I am betting that labour does not increase its total of seats at the next election.Other bets are available.

  44. PR

    Is that the same Tory internal polling that put them 20% ahead prior to the GE.
    I’ll think I will go with the pollsters at the moment not that I have much faith in them, but in local council elections since the GE not many of them changing between the two parties certainly not falling to Labour in any number as some might expect ,even the odd Tory victory certainly no sign of any massive landslide to Labour that your 12% would indicate.

  45. @Enigma

    Obviously the figures need to be looked at, but something like a 5% premium on standard and higher tax brackets.

    No “set fdebt figure” and a pro-rata discount for those who drop out, and medical, veterinary and other extended “first” degrees limited to 5 tax premium.

  46. The Other Howard: Where i live there will be long queues of people waiting to vote to keep a horrendous alternative out.

    So if you made your mind up before hand, there would be nothing to cause a queue, which would be good for democracy.

  47. PROFHOWARD
    Alan Christie:
    Perhaps the UK should offload Bournemouth too
    ———–
    Our very fine UKPR poster CHRISLANE wouldn’t be too pleased about the uK offloading ol Bournemouth.

  48. ENIGMA
    @Allan Christie
    Whilst I agree that serious efforts need to be undertaken to solve our housing crisis, I’m afraid I don’t share your enthusiasm that an ‘investigation’ will tell us any more than we know already (ie, home developers and construction companies artificially restrict supply and speculate on future price rises through ‘land-banking’).

    We need action against those who do this, not an investigation to reiterate what we already know
    ———–

    Yes I agree with this but when we have some local authorities sitting on huge swathes of land and not releasing planning consent for future house building then this has to be investigated.

    Private firms and local authorities are just as bad as each other when it comes to land spivs and speculators. The government should step and stop this nonsense one and for all.

  49. PAUL CROFT
    allan c

    I was astonished and disappointed that, as our society became increasingly secular, faith school were not simply allowed to fade away with no new ones permitted.

    That opportunity has long since passed and, sadly in my view, we are on the path back up in numbers and blinkered thinking.
    It should be illegal for young children to be pretty much forced to follow a religion with the active support of the state.

    It’s bad enough that they are forced to do so by their parents, with no opportunities to analyse or question, but there is not a lot we can do about that side of it.
    ——

    Totally agree with you PC. In this day and age it’s a national disgrace that we are actually funding faith schools when we are increasingly becoming more secular.

    Councils seem to be kowtowing to the idea of more faith schools. I accept some areas of the UK have seen quite a dramatic change in demographics over the past few decades but this shouldn’t be a green light to continue with and increase the number of faith schools.

    There is a place for religion but it shouldn’t be forced on anyone and worse. ..funded by the state.

1 2 3 7