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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    Thanks. I remember them saying that.

  2. @ Colin – I can only crudely run the numerical possibilities and new elections look unlikely to resolve the matter IMHO. AfD 3rd is a problem so either need SPD collapse to boost Merkel so she can join with just the Greens (or just the FDP if that is recoverable) or FDP become 3rd party and Schulz does a U-turn.
    Minority govt would seem less risky from my crude model’s opinion

  3. Now a run off between Dublin and Paris – Dublin got 13 votes, with 10 for Paris

  4. GARJ

    What an interesting post to Peter Cairns.

    I was particularly interested in your penultimate paragraph.

    Our village housing obligation will give rise to very substantial CIL payments to the PC. Even if the NP is junked & their CIL % falls a tad, the sums of money involved are a multiple of the PC;’s annual precept.

    I know that these moneys are once off payments, and that their utilisation is circumscribed by rules on spending & reporting. But when I look around local villages & see the housing obligations they also have, this is going to be a tsunami of money to small groups of individuals who have only been used to funding the Parish Clerk’s salary , and cutting the grass on village verges.

    Frankly I wouldn’t trust our PC with Petty Cash-let alone the CIL funds they are about to get.

    Any thoughts on this ?

    With regard to your suggested use of CIL for actual house building-CIL guidelines on spending list things such as :-
    ” transport, flood defences, schools, hospitals, and other health and social care facilities , play areas, parks and green spaces, cultural and sports facilities, academies and free schools, district heating schemes and police stations and other community safety facilities. ”

    ie Infrastructure.

    Are you proposing a change to the CIL regs?



    BBC tv reporter opined that Merkel is unwilling to go Minority. She would be reliant on piece by piece support, and couldn’t sustain a coherant policy programme.

    His betting was a new election.

  6. Paris :-(

  7. Paris – after another draw!

  8. @ COLIN – maybe it’s a bluff to hope FDP return to talks? That seems even less likely though. If you voted FDP or AfD last time you’d surely vote that way again. FDP probably do even better? If Merkel goes again for same result (or worse) then she’s running out of options. If she then goes minority govt route it looks very weak?

    Whatever happens it is a delay and we don’t have time to wait IMHO.

    Surprised about little news on the inner cabinet talks.

  9. OldNat

    Yes, relocation to Amsterdam and to Paris.

    But Gregg’s still has pasties. I thought this is what post-Brexit Britain ( UK – depending on NI) was about. Oysters will be back in the Lancashire hot pot, Pickling herrings and making candles will again be banned in seaside private establishments (this is in the deed of our house) – the control is taken back.

  10. Colin

    “Are you proposing a change to the CIL regs?”

    I use the term CIL pretty loosely, just as a fixed charge on developed area. I think that planning needs to be torn up entirely and rewritten from first principles anyway, so yes. I’m generally in favour of giving local government a bit more leeway over how to use funds raised by that kind of thing, so long as it didn’t simply put all of it into day-to-day spending. There has to be proper oversight (most likely from further up the council), but if your village decided it wanted to put its share of the funds raised towards buying up properties to let at affordable rates, building a new primary school, tarting up the village hall, or acquiring a neighbouring field to parcel up into building plots, that should be at its discretion. I’d even go so far as to say that it might not be a bad idea to allow a set portion of CIL funding to go towards localised council tax rebates or compensation for the nearest neighbours of the site, so as to deal with some of the ill-will towards development.

  11. The Electoral Commission is to investigate Vote Leave’s referendum finances – in particular its £625,000 donation to a student campaigner – as it says it has reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed.

  12. Laszlo

    Is all candle making banned – or just tallow candles (a very smelly process involving rendering down animal fat)?

    As to herring, they were fished out of west coast waters a long time ago, so you would need to import them from Scotland.

    Even if the Thames herring stock recovers, there will be so many hungry folk in London, that they would hijack the herring convoys to Liverpool.

    I’d suggest growing herbs for the herbal poultices that NHS England will need to replace those nasty EU drugs

  13. Reports that the Exiting EU Cabinet committee has agreed to increase the UK ‘s leaving payment offer to £40bn if EU agrees to commence trade talks in December and also that ECJ could have a role in overseeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK post Brexit.

  14. Which demonstrates that they have either not spotted the elephant in the negotiating room that is Ireland or are pretending not to have done

  15. Norbold’

    You are Dianne Abbott and I claim my £10!


  16. “”Theresa May’s policy chief has stepped down just days ahead of the Budget as he warned the party does not have a “coherent economic programme”. 

    George Freeman called for Chairman Patrick McLoughlin to be replaced and demanded a major shake up to stop the Tories from becoming known as the party of “nostalgia, hard Brexit, austerity and lazy privilege”.”” ex DTel

    I am surprised that we aren`t discussing the latest Tory resignation, and the evidence therein of in-fighting.

    Instead we have in-fighting here about planning between folk who normally appear sane and shrewd. Admittedly, it`s a divisive subject, staff and councillors coping with many diverse pressures, and has some political aspects like on the needs for mix of housing types to avoid social divisions.

  17. Given the shifts among the EU Exiting Committee, this seems an appropriate theme for them, as they are “reviewing the situation”.


  18. DAVWEL

    George Freeman called for Chairman Patrick McLoughlin to be replaced and demanded a major shake up to stop the Tories from becoming known as the party of “nostalgia, hard Brexit, austerity and lazy privilege”.”” ex DTel

    I like the irony of a public school and Oxbridge-educated venture capitalist calling for the resignation of an ex-farmhand and miner, so as to make the Party look less posh.

  19. Stella Creasy on good form in the HoC just now, showing how leaving the Single Market is going to much increase the bureaucracy that UK exporters will face in trying to trade with the EU 27.

    No wonder many of us think this is madness, and an explanation of why the Tories are so divided. It`s needless red-tape, not useful red-tape.

  20. Roger:

    Well spotted.

    But I doubt that the two halves of the DTel`s sentence are linked. McLoughlin was doubtless good for the image of the Tory party, but he wasn`t nimble or shrewd enough to cope with, or solve, its present divisions.

    The brighter more-intelligent ministers ought simply to halt Hard Brexit.

  21. Breaking: UK withdraws British candidate from election to UN International Court Of Justice. Huge diplomatic blow for UK. 1st time no UK judge on ICJ since set up in 1946 (BBC)

    Anyone know why? Are the separatists planning to withdraw from the ICJ as well?

    All legal decisions now to be taken by the Witan?

  22. Or maybe UK prefer to humiliate themselves by withdrawing their candidate, rather than be even more humiliated by a demonstration of just how little influence they have in the world?

  23. Oldnat

    I’m interest to know why you seem to have such a low opinion of the country you live in.
    Living here in the US people have respect for the UK as they do for there own country ,they see us as friends with a shared heritage,it seems odd that people who have never visited the UK show it more respect than you seem to do.

  24. LizH

    Thanks for the link.

    It’s sad that the “dirty politics” which served Britain so well for so many years, has lost its power. :-)

    Maybe there is more than a little truth in Prof Boyle’s identification of the core problem.


    (It’s an observation not infrequently made by commentators from outwith England. Less seldom by an eminent English scholar.)


    Many thanks for the link.

    Blighty waives the rules yet again, it seems.

  26. Turk

    For those people it’s probably precisely because they have never visited the UK!

    The view you articulate isn’t even universal in the USA – as I know from many years of visiting it.

    However, I’m quite prepared to believe what you say of the views of the Texans with whom you associate.

    I remember far left (when that term meant anything) acquaintances being very enthusiastic about the Soviet Union – till they went there outwith sponsored visits.

    It’s not clear why you consider seeing the UK as just another middle-sized state, with no particular reason to have great influence in the world as a “low” opinion.

    Seeing it as it is, and not through retrospective imperial goggles, just seems “appropriate”.

  27. So Lab voted with the Tories to take UK out of the Customs Union.

  28. The US does really not have a “shared heritage” with the UK – its population is far more diverse than britain with Italians, jews, germans, hispanics, Irish, Chinese and west africans – among many others – all playing a fundamental role in the creation of its culture – to be honest its more accurate to say Cultures – plural. Yeah – Britain played a role too – but as part of a much bigger tapestry.

  29. @ DALEK – if we’ve bumped the cash offer to 38-40bn (depends on the rumour outlet), compromised on the remaining citizens rights and then make it clear that NI can not be solved until we know transition and final arrangements then that is a very generous offer – pleasantly surprised the inner cabinet agreed that and we haven’t had 48+ CON back bench kick off (yet?)

    The details are a little sketchy but it does sound like a take it or leave it offer with lots of strings attached. Agree to move on to phase2 at Dec meeting and give us a fair transition and final deal or the offer is withdrawn. Personally I’d rather spend the money at home but let’s see how it plays out in the next few weeks.

    If Merkel wants to go for new elections telling her electorate that they are having to fill the black hole left because EC wanted to punish the UK then on her head be it.

    If Barnier+co. turn the offer down, quite possibly blaming NI issue, then May is going to need to hold her nerve and start looking quite serious about a min.deal outcome with visible plans in action else risk 48+ MP target being met for a leadership challenge. IMHO of course!

  30. @ OLDNAT – LAB have learned the abstain trick. Soubs voted with LAB but awaiting full breakdown.

    Apparently some LAB VI actually believe Corbyn wants to stay in the EU (or in EU in all but name) – ahh bless their little cotton socks :-)

    All great ammo for SNP IMHO. I just hope Nicola plays the timing well – a little early just now I think. However SLAB are ELAB so for sure start banging that drum nice and loud.

  31. A number of folk on Twitter pointing out that May is actually getting a “red,white and blue” Brexit.

    Sad that the separatist PM never noticed the colours of the Dutch and French flags.

  32. COLIN
    BBC tv reporter opined that Merkel is unwilling to go Minority. She would be reliant on piece by piece support, and couldn’t sustain a coherant policy programme.

    maybe it’s a bluff to hope FDP return to talks? That seems even less likely though. If you voted FDP or AfD last time you’d surely vote that way again. FDP probably do even better? If Merkel goes again for same result (or worse) then she’s running out of options. If she then goes minority govt route it looks very weak?

    It’s difficult to know how much is posturing in all this. Merkel could probably survive as a minority (maybe with the Greens) simply because there are a lot of options available to pass any particular vote. It would be tiring but possible. And she only has to look to the UK to see that the electorate aren’t always keen on new elections being called for no particular reason.

    It might put pressure on the SPD to reform the grand coalition, but they seem too wounded by that and they’re using the AfD as opposition as an excuse. They obviously feel that things can only improve if there’s a new election. They had a burst of popularity in the Spring that put them level with the CDU/CSU gaining from all other Parties – they may be hoping for a repeat.

    I’m not quite sure what the FDP are playing at, and as said before I could see that backfiring for them – especially if Merkel pins the blame on Lindner for the collapse in talks. The whole thing may just be Merkel signalling that she’s not going to give them any more concessions (I suspect they’re angling for tax cuts), but it could be that the Lindner feels that they might better and is resolute. Certainly his walk-out of the talks seems planned.

    But the FDP’s vote is always fragile and they could end up losing safety-first votes to the CDU and protest votes the AfD and maybe even the Greens. Polling suggests that the latter are doing best from the negotiating period.

    I suppose it’s possible that voters may desert the AfD – though it’s not likely, especially as so many of their new voters didn’t come from the established Parties anyway. And they increased their vote during the last election campaign so it’s a high risk for the other Parties.

    Still at least it may serve as a lesson to the more Brexit-obsessed in government and media that not everything is about them and that not every European eye is constantly fixed on them to see what they will do. Except perhaps the eyes of the vultures.

  33. ON @ 9.47 pm

    Have you figures on Labour votes on the Customs Union preparatory bill?

    TW suggests abstainers.

  34. Trevor Warne

    “SLAB are ELAB”

    You really don’t understand the dynamic, or the belief system, or the politics.

    Some are “UKLab” or “BritLab”. Those who have come up to work here temporarily might be ELab. Some are actually SLab – but have chosen the “work with the dominant neighbour” meme that has (for centuries) been a legitimate stance in Scottish politics.

    There is a danger that you might come across as one of those fools in the Unionist press here, or Guido Fawkes, who are excited that Leonard supports the English football team!

    Of course he does. What else would he do? Copy Gordon Brown to curry favour with the elemental misanthropy of some England supporters?

  35. GARJ

    Thanks for that.

  36. DavWel

    I’ve only seen the figures for those voting for good sense –

    SNP 34 : Lab 28 : LD 6 : PC 4 : Con 2 : Grn 1 : Ind 1

  37. Since it was Iain Murray’s amendment, it will be interesting to see how the 6 other SLab MPs voted.

  38. Garj

    I did type Garj but autocorrect decided that Gary was better!

    Apart from that your talking mince!!!!


  39. Tory whipping

    No not a reference to GO but to the first rate operation being run by the tory whips on the withdrawal bill.In a government that has not always been..ahem..a paragon of competence this part of it is excelllent.
    early days and crunch time tomorrow on fundamental rights and exit date thereafter but would not bet against them pulling an unamended billl through Committee.

  40. S Thomas

    Unfortunate that you don’t give equal credit to the Labour whips who are doing so much to ensure that the UK is unsullied by any arrangements with those damned foreigners!

  41. I suppose Merkel watched this BBC series, so she knows something about the FDP :-)


  42. OldNat

    Sorry, it’s too late to properly respond to your satire of my attempted satire.

    But just for the record:it was tallow candle in the deeds :-)

  43. Laszlo

    Re tallow candles that makes sense.

    I recommend installing hives of bees in your living room to feed off the fragrant herb flowers in your bedroom, so that you can sell beeswax candles and herb honey to the few with surplus disposable income.

    Bee stings may be a problem, but everyone has to make sacrifices in Brexit England.

    In return, you can purchase pre-pickled herring. If there are supply problems, i can arrange for some to be smuggled to you. :-)

  44. Peter


    You are Dianne Abbott and I claim my £10!


    No, but we are good friends…


  45. Nor old,

    Well there’s a first……someone who makes Dianne Abbott look good!


    (For the easily offended or politically correct that’s a friendly dig at Norbold not misogyn!)

  46. I am surprised at the lack of insight – well, not really – of some BBC and broadsheet reporting on the ending of Robert Mugabe’s presidency. While The Times and others have reported on the “dismay” of the population at his failure to accept his dismissal in his statement yesterday, its effect in relation to a desired constitutional outcome sought by the Army generals was explained lucidly by a woman Zimbabwean constitutional lawyer to the BBC correspondent. The consequence of his declining to accept dismissal in a statement presided over by the generals removed the possibility of such an acceptance being regarded as made under coercion.
    The consequent process of impeachment means that his removal will have been brought about not by a coup but by a constitutional process, which can also lay down legally the actions arising from a formal removal from office for reasons of misuse of power, including that of retrieving wealth judged to have been unconstitutionally amassed in office, and his and Mrs Mugabe’s prosecution – or, as seems likely, at least in his own case, humane treatment, in the interests of a national reconciliation.
    The latter is badly needed in the light of criminality in aspects of behaviour of ZANU officials or supporters, or their opponents over the years since Independence, similar to that experienced in South Africa (and N.I)- and now of interest in the actions of both countries in seeking the return of several million Zimbabwean work and asylum seekersnow in S.A. and the reinstatement of Zimbabwe in international recognition of the legitimacy of its government, aid and investment and trade.

  47. Good morning all from on board the 07.21 Winchester to Waterloo.

    I’m hoping the pigeons at Trafalgar Square haven’t bolted across the channel when I go to feed them at lunchtime.

    Everything else appears to be bolting from poor ol London toon.

    It’s not good.

  48. S THOMAS
    Tory whipping

    I’m hoping this isn’t another scandal!

  49. TW. “if we’ve bumped the cash offer to 38-40bn (depends on the rumour outlet), compromised on the remaining citizens rights and then make it clear that NI can not be solved until we know transition and final arrangements then that is a very generous offer”

    If Ireland veto the talks progressing as they have said they will until the border is resolved then the Brexit Bunch can offer them the moon on a stick and free lollipops forever.

    The Eu can make up the money between themselves perfectly painlessly and couldn’t care less if our economy tanks as a result, they have spelled out their position very clearly and have no reason to concede anything to

    Ireland is the only issue that absolutely has to be resolved and it cannot be done with money. Talks progressing are tied to the Brexit Bunch coming up with a workable solution, and since it is impossible to achieve given the Brexit Bunch’s current position talks cannot progress, and we will crash out to keep Mauritania company on wto terms. And it will serve us right.

    Since it was our government that has decided to interpret the result of a non binding referendum in a way that cannot be achieved they are not being unreasonable in asking the Brexit negotiators to explain how it is to be achieved.

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