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”

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  1. interesting that so many brexiteers think that losing access to a much larger single market will be economically disastrous, with little apparent credence given to suggestions that much bigger and better opportunities lie elsewhere.

    I refer, of course, to the opportunities open to the Irish Republic if and when it loses easy, tariff-free access to the UK market.

    For instance, the cheddar on sale at my local supermarket in Spain comes from the UK. An easy future win for Irish producers, surely? On a more exalted level, Ireland will surely become the principal English-speaking gateway to the EU for third countries. Not so much in manufacturing as in 21st-century knowledge- and web-based industries.

    I think it will be quite exciting for a future Irish finance minister to create a post-brexit strategy. The opportunities will be legion, and given the legacy of bitterness towards the former colonial power, a realignment away from dependence on the UK will surely be popular. With EU support in things like direct transport links and investment in realigning infrastructure, I reckon a bright future lies beyond short-term difficulties (which of course is the brexiters’ refrain – though so much more realistic for a country with a 5m population in a single market with 450m consumers).

  2. @ TW

    “The issue is the chicken+egg conundrum.”

    Correction…?

    The issue is the chlorinated chicken+egg conundrum.

  3. @Somerjohn – “interesting that so many brexiteers think that losing access to a much larger single market will be economically disastrous,…”

    Yes, rather funny, really. WTO rules will be fine for us, but would a disaster for RoI.

    In truth, it would be pretty tough for RoI, but by and large they have been seen as well behaved members of the EU and appear to have a good level of support. I suspect the EU will be looking at ways to assist, should Brexit go wrong.

  4. StT
    ‘Other bets are available ‘ Yes indeed they are, and I’ll be taking one of those.

  5. This is a review of the book, “The violence of austerity”.

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/book-review-the-violence-of-austerity-edited-by-vickie-cooper-and-david-whyte/

    On Workfare: “In addition to being forced to work for no wages, the breaches of health and safety law that we have uncovered indicate profound attacks on the civil and political status of claimants when they become workers. Benefit claimants, just like all workers and members of the public, are, in law, entitled to the same health and safety protection as regular workers.”

  6. The polls are possibly static because the Tories have lost all they really can to the Labour party, and Labour has few remaining sources of defectors.

    Although the Tories have degenerated in short-order into an utter shambles, Mr Corbyn means that they are still polling higher than Cameron. Corbyn has energised a lot of support, and Labour cannot take for granted that a moderate replacement might not backfire in the short term.

    The difficulty is that Corbyn seems to have been able to attract old-Labour Brexit supporters. This I doubt is due to Labour feigning an interest in carrying through Brexit, but more because he provided a different anti-establishment banner.

    Take away Corbyn, but in Starmer – and Brexit becomes the anti-establishment game in town once more.

    I think things are stagnant because politics is at a Mexican stand off.

    Labour are still hoping that the moment of crisis will come for Brexit allowing them to swing behind remaining. But Corbyn might only go for that if it delivered power… and a Corbyn government is the only thing that might deter the Sourbys of the Tory party from actually having the courage of their convictions.

  7. Since we’ve already started predicting the next election I can predict that I have no idea if there will be huge queues in Barnard Castle or who they will be mostly voting for.

    In sport, politics and life in general the future is largely unknown.

    And I won’t be believing ANY polls for a long while – never mind “private” ones.

  8. On Ireland, I suspect that if they did a precipitate a “no deal”, they’d soon be trying to play an “old friends” routine to persuade us to allow near-frictionless passage of their lorries through the UK to the EU.

    I hope we will point out that we’d have to charge duty on all such imports. And that any system for efficiently allowing refunds is just “magical thinking”. We should also resubmit our offer on citizens rights so the Irish get no privileges above other EU citizens – the same for Maltese and Cypriots, just to show we make no distinctions.

    I appreciate why they are upset. And I appreciate that they still have a lot of old scores to settle against us. But they really haven’t thought this through – either that, or they have absolute compromise that the EU will bring the UK to its knees.

  9. Sorry Paul Croft, I do like rattling people’s cages every so often and a little bit of harmless speculation over polling is, after all , what this site is for. Much more fun than laying waste to each other over Brexit.

  10. @Joseph1832

    “On Ireland, I suspect that if they did a precipitate a “no deal”, they’d soon be trying to play an “old friends” routine to persuade us to allow near-frictionless passage of their lorries through the UK to the EU.
    I hope we will point out that we’d have to charge duty on all such imports.”

    You want the UK to withdraw from the UN TIR Convention and so lose TIR status for UK exporters?

  11. RJW

    “It’s ‘an’ horrendous alternative not ‘a’.”

    Only those whose local dialect doesn’t pronounce “h” at the beginning of the word would need to use “an” in that phrase.

  12. Prof Howard

    Thanks for the link to the RTE article. I’d seen them promote it on Twitter – but hadn’t got round to reading it.

    An excellent description of the state of play.

  13. So, Op cannot find any LibDems in Scotland – or am I incapable of reading the polling results? If I have understood correctly, then I am unlikely to take this polling set up seriously.

  14. ON
    I did say I was kidding!

  15. Really? How have the polling companies changed the way the have collected their data since the election? Have they published any data?

  16. Just catching up with Tony Connelly’s excellent article on the UK’s unwillingness to take the Irish border issue seriously.

    Anyone with a sense of history cannot but smile at the fact that, after centuries of being bullied by the English/British, the boot now seems to be on the other (left?) foot!

    But then some of us have been saying for months that issue of the Irish border was the biggest problem and, as usual, no-one in the south or east of England was paying a blind bit of notice.

  17. Did the Guardian read our discussions about Henry, the vacuum cleaner?

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/shortcuts/2017/nov/19/brexit-vacuum-cleaner-james-dyson

  18. @ProfHoward

    ‘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’

    Agreed. I don’t buy this idea that the big developers are sitting on land. Many commentators do not appreciate that the work required to get from planning permission to the starting of a development is normally very expensive and time-consuming, e.g. covenants, ownership consolidation, reserved matters, conditions, groundworks, contamination, funding. market research, etc.

    Often the consent can be improved, so applicants return to the planning authority with a revised scheme. There is a tendency to get any kind of consent to establish the principle, and things like scale and mass, and then to go back and get something better, or more viable.

    I have a theory that if local communities were able to decide where development took place within their locality, there might not be as much nimbyism as is commonly supposed. Sometimes they are not objecting to the amount of development, but where it is going.

    Perhaps the Chancellor might suggest, even impose increased housing allocations. but allow communities to decide where they should be built.

  19. ALEC
    Does someone at the Guardian read UKPR?
    ——–

    It’s common knowledge that some very important and influential people read UKPR comments section. Some even comment on here. I’m sure SThomas is Joseph Rees Mogg and Oldnat is Sydney Devine. ;-)

  20. Millie

    Not that it is a magic bullet, in any way, but does England also have an annual Housing Land Audit, prepared by the councils as the planning authorities?

    Here’s ours

    https://gis.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/mapsAJP/housingLandAudit/default.htm

  21. @Hireton

    TIR oe eTIR will be essential for Brexit Britain and Ireland.

  22. Allan

    “It’s common knowledge that some very important and influential people read UKPR comments section. Some even comment on here. I’m sure SThomas is Joseph Rees Mogg and Oldnat is Sydney Devine. ;-)”

    And a the odd princess

  23. Kind of getting boring and repetitive but

    @ HIRETON – as you point out NI is complicated because EU will not talk about the transition and final trade arrangements until we have made “sufficient progress”

    @ SOMERJOHN – I’m sure your local supermarket in Spain can switch from UK to RoI for its cheddar.

    The issue that Remainers ignore is the actual trade balances by product type. Sure Spanish supermarkets can switch to RoI but the NET biggest opportunity is if UK producers start producing more of its own agri-food.

    Impact studies conducted by EU and likes of KPMG have been around for months. We’ll get a brief view of UK’s own ones soon as well. I look forward to seeing them as I hope it will highlight the need for EU labour and give May+co the chance to drop the immigration target.

    I know you’ve looked into the cheese numbers as I posted the links before – with some initial mistakes and mixed up time periods I admit, however, the key info was that we have a trade deficit in cheese (along with so many other things) and hence given sufficient energy from HMG and companies producing more at home is a huge opportunity.

    The best gravity is grown at home!

  24. @trevorwarne

    Once again you demonstrate your complete inability to understand ( or even attempt to understand) the Ireland dimension and that the UK has already.set the terms for a trading relationship which means there must be a hard border with the EU.

  25. PR

    Yep you got me!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1X1THe0u7c&list=RD-1X1THe0u7c#t=0

    At least – a number of my pupils considered that I had no father.

  26. TW: I’m sure your local supermarket in Spain can switch from UK to RoI for its cheddar.

    Well, when I said, ‘my local supermarket’ I really meant Lidl – none of the others around here sell cheddar. So if Lidl switches to Irish cheddar for all its continental stores – something like 10,000 of them – that will be quite a lot of cheddar.

    But it was, of course, just an example. I was responding to predictions of brexit doom for the Irish economy. If hard brexit leads to a dramatic fall in UK food exports to EU27 then that’s a huge opportunity for Irish producers of mainly simliar products. And if, with EU help, better direct freight ferry links with the continent are established, then the long-term prospects are brighter when supplying a 450m market than a 60m market.

    However, as I said, the real opportunity for Ireland lies in taking over the UK’s role as main English-speaking gateway to the EU for 3rd countries.

  27. JRM is always courteous Allan.

    I heard a radio 5 interview by the dreadful Emma Barnett who wasted an opportunity of an an extended period with an interesting politician, whose views I generally disagree with, by making cheap attempts to catch him out.

    He remained polite throughout which I think is one of his attractions to people.

    S Thomas could his alter-ego outlet I suppose.

  28. TW: I’m sure your local supermarket in Spain can switch from UK to RoI for its cheddar.

    Well, when I said, ‘my local supermarket’ I really meant Lidl – none of the others around here sell cheddar. So if Lidl switches to Irish cheddar for all its continental stores – something like 10,000 of them – that will be quite a lot of cheddar.

    But it was, of course, just an example. I was responding to predictions of brexit doom for the Irish economy. If hard brexit leads to a dramatic fall in UK food exports to EU27 then that’s a huge opportunity for Irish producers of mainly similar products. And if, with EU help, better direct freight ferry links with the continent are established, then the long-term prospects are brighter when supplying a 450m market than a 60m market.

    However, as I said, the real opportunity for Ireland lies in taking over the UK’s role as main English-speaking gateway to the EU for 3rd countries.

  29. TrevorW
    “Kind of getting boring and repetitive but”

    Well stop [email protected] posting then!

    (Cheap I know, but satisfying nontheless).

  30. As I have mentioned before now, and THEEXTERMINATINGDALEK pointed out at the end of the previous thread, the Belfast Agreement (aka GFA) states very clearly that it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people*.

    Obviously HMG could resile from the Belfast Agreement, in which case all bets on what happens next would be off, but I fear that nothing positive would follow. If they do not, but are unwilling to offer a choice to the NI people on what happens to NI, I don’t see that as helping to appease NI citizens, the RoI or anyone else in the EU27.

    Somehow, I don’t see the DUP being happy for the choice to be public, let alone having the NI electorate voting on it.

    * And of course the electorate voted 56% remain 44% leave in the EU referendum, suggesting perhaps that a majority of them didn’t want their status to change.

  31. ROI

    yesterday i suggested that we might be reading the Irish intervention wrongly. If TM is going to offer 40bn (ignoring the Barnier deadline by the way) and France and Germany have agreed then the ROI will be ignored. Was the intervention a desperate bid to stay in the game before the steam roller hit them?i think that was looking increasingly likely.
    I think a more confident TM has emerged over the last week or so and she is going to take the political hit of the payment but i think the unwritten quid pro quo is the date for brexit enshrined in legislation. Good game as brucie might have said.

  32. PRINCESS RACHEL

    Indeed, we have our very own princess on UKPR :-)

    —–
    JIM JAM

    Actually you’re right. JRM has a rare quality for an MP. He does come across as very polite and remains calm whenever interviewed. I watched him on Question Time along with Alex Salmond and he kept his cool.

    However…along with Robert Peston they both do put you to sleep with their extraordinary long pronunciations of very short words.

  33. ” If TM is going to offer 40bn (ignoring the Barnier deadline by the way) and France and Germany have agreed then the ROI will be ignored.”

    So lets get this right.

    Despite every country having a veto, and all 27 of them agreeing that resolving the Irish border issue is one of the three most important issues, @S Thomas thinks that just two countries need to be happy with only one of the three issues for everything to be ticketyboo for Brexit?

    And there was me thinking that some reality had started to creep into proceedings.

  34. Budget leak

    NI to get extra extra funding.What was it that Bevin or Bevan said about consultants?

  35. s thomas: ROI – yesterday i suggested that we might be reading the Irish intervention wrongly. If TM is going to offer 40bn (ignoring the Barnier deadline by the way) and France and Germany have agreed then the ROI will be ignored. Was the intervention a desperate bid to stay in the game before the steam roller hit them?i think that was looking increasingly likely.
    I think a more confident TM has emerged over the last week or so and she is going to take the political hit of the payment but i think the unwritten quid pro quo is the date for brexit enshrined in legislation. Good game as brucie might have said.

    Really? It must be amazing seeing the world through those brexite X-ray specs.

  36. Alec

    you need to think tactically.

    If ROI thought that there was no deal on the cards why did they need to seek a written guarrantee?it only makes sense if they thought that there was a deal on starting trade talks in the offing and sufficient progress deemed made.
    In one sense the ROI intervention is not a further hurdle to starting a trade deal but a recognition that it is going to happen.

    No doubt you will be rejoicing if i am correct:-)

  37. TO
    No you get quite good vision really.On the other hand if you wear remainer blinkers that does tend to cause its own problems.

  38. @AC

    along with Robert Peston they both do put you to sleep with their extraordinary long pronunciations of very short words.

    You do know that RP has a serious speech impediment, and his delivery style is a way to get over it?

  39. The only thing that is certain is that anything is possible by the next election, the date of which could be any time from early Spring 2018 to June 2022. We don’t know who will be leader of either party or what the final Brexit situation will be, let alone any other factors.

    Given that the gulf between the two parties moved some 30 points in two months it is absolutely pointless speculating at the moment and the only poll I am going to believe is the one that David Dimbleby will present at 10pm on the next election night.

    My guess is that there is not going to be a further Corbyn surge next time, especially if the Tories have a new leader and it will be a very close campaign with regards to the polls – assuming of course, that Corbyn is still leader by then.

    What that screen will show

  40. s thomas: you need to think tactically.

    If ROI thought that there was no deal on the cards why did they need to seek a written guarrantee?

    Because they are darned sure that it is a promise that the British can not put in writing and as such, it collapses any possibility of trade talks. I am guessing, but I think it is done in full cooperation with the other EU countries, precisely because it brings the whole issue of brexit talks to a head and will save a shedload of pu55yfooting [anticipates automod] around in negotiations over having cake and eat it.

    it only makes sense if they thought that there was a deal on starting trade talks in the offing and sufficient progress deemed made.
    In one sense the ROI intervention is not a further hurdle to starting a trade deal but a recognition that it is going to happen.

    No doubt you will be rejoicing if i am correct:-)

    It is those brexite X-Ray specs again. Trade talks are most likely not starting. There is no point. The UK position is to be out of the SM and CU, hence the requirement for the NI border is known. But then the UK position is also to have a deep and special relationship which means having all the benefits of the SM and CU, which means that the British don’t want to negotiate the border yet. I think that the EU have had enough.

  41. The Scottish Affairs Select Committee has published their report on the EU Withdrawal Bill and its implications for devolution.

    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmscotaf/375/37507.htm

    (use the Back button to see the details)

    Though coming from different “endpoints” in the constitutional debate, the views represented by DavWel and myself can find (as so often) common ground in their recommendation that

    “We agree with both the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe that UK-wide common frameworks in currently devolved policy areas should be reached by agreement between the UK Government and the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where relevant, and not imposed by Westminster.”

    Whether those who advocate the dominance of Westminster agree, remains to be seen.

  42. I wonder does anyone else think there is likely to be utter chaos for the UK and Ireland in March 2019, with the EU not accepting that the UK has left but the UK government trying to impose a hard external border.

    To me, knowing Irish people from both the RoI and NI, the present border arrangements in Ireland are sacrosanct, but can only continue if the UK stays in the SM and Customs Union.

    With Brexiteers refusing to compromise and respect the democratic vote in NI and Scotland, these folk will only be realise what has been obvious for 18 months now when chaos develops at UK ports/airports and fighting in Ireland occurs.

  43. As others have endlessly speculated about the Irish border my half penny worth is regardless of what deal or not as the case may be with brexit,the imagined complications of any type of border control will simply not amount to anywhere near the difficulties expressed on these pages.
    If any two countries have a shared history and shared fortunes it’s north and south Ireland even if the EU demand a hard border it’s simply not going to happen especially as Ireland and the UK governments won’t countenance it.
    I’m not saying there won’t be a token border in name for a short period it may even be enforced but like other attempts at Irish border controls it will soon be ignored like many borders around the world.

  44. The Indy have a video snippet from McDonnell on the Irish border this morning on Marr here, including:

    Bringing back a hard border would be a nightmare. It would not be practical anyway.

    We have to have a relationship which is as close to the customs union as we can, because I would not want to see anything that undermines the peace process in particular and all the gains that we’ve had.

    A hard border would undermine that relationship that’s been built up between north and south so delicately.

    The article also covers the Coveney/Johnson meeting in Dublin, with Coveney quoted as saying:

    We simply don’t see how we can avoid border infrastructure, whether it’s on the border or somewhere else on the island if we have regulatory divergence in Northern Ireland versus the rest of the island.

    Johnson is given the last words, with:

    The issues of the Northern Irish border and how it works are intellectually intimately bound up with the questions of the customs union, the single market and Britain’s relationship with those.

    Those questions have been reserved by the [European] Commission for study in stage two of the negotiations. I think, logically, now is the time to proceed with stage two of the negotiations.

  45. Robert Mugabe absolutely caning it, he was supposed to resign on live TV, but instead he said he was going to keep on going! Amazing.

  46. @RJW – reminds me of Gordon Brown in 2010 :)

  47. @ Andrew Myers

    “I am going to believe is the one that David Dimbleby will present at 10pm on the next election night.”

    So you’re expecting another early election then after all. If we have to wait 5 years, it’s likely to be Huw Edwards. Top election trivia there.

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/apr/20/david-dimbleby-to-present-10th-general-election-for-bbc-huw-edwards

  48. @Old Nat

    Yes, England has similar arrangements requiring authorities to demonstrate a five year land supply. Each authority commissions research which delivers this magical number: the process is highly questionable.

    We have Local Plans which typically allocate land in a district for fifteen to twenty years. Once the Plan is in place, or indeed, as it ’emerges’, landowners rush to get those allocations crystallised into consents. This has the unwelcome effect of concentrating consents at the ‘front end’ of the Plans.

    Neighbourhood Plans are a recent introduction designed to give more say to local communities, and this includes recommendations for development sites. But they are subservient to the Local Plans.

    Local Plans can take a very long time to go through: I believe my authority, East Devon, held the record – their last plan took 26 years to get formally adopted. The current one took 7 years.

    Local Plans are weighty documents that deal with all manner of policies, of which housing delivery is only one. It might be better to have site identification and housing numbers dealt with in a separate dedicated document every five years.

    Clearly strategic planning is required at national and regional level, but local allocations within Plans are often decided by three or four councillors and two or three officers behind closed doors. A token consultation is then conducted, before the decision is rubber-stamped by a solitary inspector, who is all powerful. Communities can secure changes, but it normally involves a monumental effort.

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