Last week I wrote about the unusual YouGov poll showing a four point Conservative lead and said I personally thought it was more likely to be statistical noise than the first sign of the Conservatives opening up a lead in voting intention.

However, at the weekend we also had a new poll from Opinium that had topline figures of CON 42%(+2), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 7%(+1). Fieldwork was Tues-Thursday and changes were from mid-January (tabs). This morning’s Independent reported partial figures from a new BMG poll that apparently had Labour and Conservative equal on 40% each – this would be an increase of three points in the level of Tory support since the last BMG poll in December.

The government have done little to endear themselves to the public in the last few weeks, nor have Labour done much to lose support. There is no obvious reason for movement in the polls, so I’m still a little sceptical (in themselves the changes are within the margin of error, and it’s perfectly possible for random chance to spit out a couple of polls that just happen to show movement in the same direction). Nevertheless, it’s possible we’re seeing some movement in the government’s direction. If we are, what should we make of it?

This far from the next timetabled general election voting intention polls have very little predictive value, all the more so when we have a known unknown as large as Brexit looming ahead of us and at least a fair chance of a change of Conservative leader before the next election. However for better or worse, mid-term voting intention is the barometer that we tend to use to measure how well the government and opposition are doing against each other, and that is reflected in the morale of the political parties and media perceptions of how well or badly they are doing. If it turns out to be genuine it may bolster Theresa May’s position a little, and may put Labour on the back foot, but we shall see.


536 Responses to “Latest Opinium & BMG polls”

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  1. SAM

    I really don’t think the ‘the UK chose to leave the EU’ argument makes much sense, other than as a kind of excuse for petulant refusal to discuss future relationships. Europol may be an EU body, but there is nothing which precludes us making payments and working towards remaining members, or associate members. The claim that you have to be in Schengen to be part of it is nonsense – there are numerous members who aren’t, including ourselves at present. Most importantly, the EU arguably has more to lose than us by freezing the UK out of security cooperation. If they wish to cut their nose off to spite their face then they can, but to pout and say it’s our fault because we’re the ones who chose to leave doesn’t get anything done. It’s bordering on childish.

  2. @Trevor Warne – “Firstly, your lack of understanding of the Swiss economy is disturbing (chocolate and cuckoo clocks!??)”

    I think this is what some remainers refer to as ‘humour’, although I’m not sure of the technical term for this?

    Yes – fully agree that there are different tyoes of Brexit. Some of us on here have been saying this for a good long while now, but other leavers, such as @TOH, insist on telling us that there is only one way to Brexit and we’ve already voted on it.

  3. Colin,

    There has been an issue of a Labour activist in Liverpool raising, I think, £20K to challenge the party regarding including transwomen on AWS’s if they wish and receive appropriate nominations . I believe she has been suspended, maybe expelled, adding to the bitterness and accusations of closing down dissent which may be justified, I don’t know but if true would be a cause for concern.

    My local GC discussed this last month as I and others asked for it to be covered. Not one person spoke out against the policy which could be group think and those with alternative views keeping quiet I suppose. I think not. and our MP who is a women was strongly supportive.

    My take, FWIW, is that the worries about pervy men using GRA to access women only areas for nefarious purposes is overblown and genuine concerns can be addressed within the law.

    NB) With Justin Greening gone there are doubts over GRA being introduced in England. Scotland is set to go first but I am not sure if Wales has devolved powers in this area.

  4. JJ

    It is “you’re very kind ” actually – not “your”.

    See me after class.

    LFC is – obviously – love from Crofty.

    [I’m very generous with it.]

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………

    Alec: I think TW demonstrates, regularly, the dichotomy between being humorous and being right wing.

    En el otro mano they do seem to chuckle a lot – but, again, not at things that are actually funny.

  5. I can’t believe the subject of trans people creates so much heat about nothing.

    Here’s a simple plan (fully supported by me !)

    1. Let people define themselves as they see fit.
    2. Everyone else respects that decision.
    3. Butt out of anyone elses decision on how they define themselves.

  6. CMJ,

    That is the LP position but some women, including high profile ones, disagree.

    The speculation is that Labours lower scores recently could be women and this row may be part of the reason.

    NB) Roger questioned to notion in an analysis posted last night, or said inclusive yet at least, to paraphrase.

  7. JIM JAM

    Thanks

    If there is damage to Labour VI-I suspect it wont emerge from the activist meeting attenders-it will occur in the much larger group of Women who tend to the Left politically & therefore supported Corbyn.

    Anyway-we will see as the Polls roll on.

    On a more general note , as I said, I think Identity Politics of the kind JC is so wedded to has within it the seeds of its own destruction. The Life of Brian sketch was very perceptive on this issue.

  8. In conversation with a colleague about the Conservative Party and its approach to Brexit we considered that, up until now, it has been a bit like a Schrodinger’s cat scenario. Using the terminology of hard/soft Brexit at the moment the government’s policy is still in the box with the quantum particle emitter so that the policy is, simultaneously, in favour of a hard and soft Brexit, however the speeches due over the next few weeks will (or so it is promised) open that box and the paradox will resolve in to one or the other.
    The question is, how will both the losing wing of the Conservative Party and the Labour Party react to whatever strategy is announced, as that surely will have impact on the polls.
    A further, and I think very interesting question will be how the EU reacts: if the policy is for a soft Brexit but the EU digs in, causing the risk of a hard Brexit how will that impact on Polls? In the alternative, if the Conservatives go for a hard Brexit stance the EU will have very little to say (save that NI becomes a serious problem).
    It seems to me that if some of the research is correct and we have now entered a realm of identity politics based on being a socially liberal Remainer or a socially conservative Brexiteer, none of these scenarios is likely to alter VI.
    If that is the case the Labour Party strategy, if that’s what it is, of concentrating on domestic issues and muttering under their breath about Brexit, at least has the benefit of attempting to attract voters from across these identities. The problem for the Conservatives is that being in Government does not allow them to “mutter” about Brexit, but surely any political strategist worth their salt would be considering broadening the Domestic agenda work to attempt to influence VI?

  9. CMJ

    I can’t say that such an incredibly loose arrangement would make sense to me, if the intention is that what an individual decides is their sexual identity over-rides all other considerations.

  10. I suppose at some point in the very near future it will be sh1t and fan time for both government and opposition on brexit.

    That should be very entertaining and might make polling interesting.

    I am assuming there will be a big push by Labour for the locals and it’s possible that a number of Tory supporters will refrain from voting at all.

    But, as always, WDIN?

  11. WDIK

    …..unless you meant What Do I Need ?

  12. CMJ
    I have no problem with anyone dressing how they want, however ridiculous they look (Insert man with pink beret or one who dresses in a party frock) but to just allow them to barge into women only spaces, without the full approval of those women, is just wrong. There are some very vulnerable women out there; maybe they have previously been subject to serious abuse by men, who only feel secure in a women only environment. Their rights must trump those of a tiny minority, who don’t want to be bothered with a full sex change and who just don’t want to conform.

    Those who genuinely believe they are in the wrong body will have the full operation. It’s not a lifestyle choice and must not be allowed to become one.

    Labour go down this route at their peril but fortunately for the Conservatives, Justine Greening sacked herself recently.

  13. ROBERT NEWARK

    @” It’s not a lifestyle choice and must not be allowed to become one.”

    I agree.

    The Feminists are expanding that somewhat to say that it demeans & further marginalises the status of Women.

    I agree with them .

  14. ROBERT

    Its a trend not limited to UK :-

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/feminists-bash-male-born-trans-woman-elected-head-of-womens-group-hes-not-a

    A big test for those on the Social Liberal side of politics.

    Interesting phenomenon of our increasingly self indulgent times……………some might say :-)

  15. @Enigma

    It isn’t just Leavers who didn’t like the way that Juncker got the job. My complaint was not that he wasn’t elected (he was the EPP’s spitzenkandidat), and the debates that others across Europe saw were between the spitzenkandidaten of the various groups. This was not dissimilar to what we had in the 2010 GE.

    My gripe was that the EPP and the S&D, being the two largest groups in the EU Parliament, decided to stitch up the election in advance by agreeing between themselves to support the other Group’s candidate if they won more seats in parliament. Because between them they had a small overall majority, they could disenfranchise all the other MEPs. Now Juncker wants the Parliament to set this agreement in stone for next year and future elections.

    How would we have reacted here, if after the Commons had agreed to dissolve Parliament, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn had appeared together and said that they had agreed that whichever of their Parties had the most seats in the Commons would form the next government even if they had no overall majority. I don’t think our voters of whatever political persuasion would have reacted well, yet that is exactly what the leaders of EPP and S&D did, resulting in Juncker becoming president with just over 29% of the votes cast for the EPP.

    @All
    In response to AW’s comments, I am going to suggest a new rule for posting responses when opinion polls show changes. I call it the “Goldfinger” rule after the James Bond villain Auric Goldfinger, who said “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” If we refrain from getting excited about changes until at least three consecutive polls have shown similar trends, it should improve the signal-to-noise on here.

  16. Robert Newark

    Yes you could put on a frock and get on to an All women shortlist. The steps are quite simple.

    1) join the labour party
    2) go to labour party meetings presenting as a woman
    3) be careful to present as a woman in your everyday life, questions will be asked if someone from the labour party sees you pretending to be a man
    4) go leafleting presenting as a woman
    5) now that you have been presenting as a woman for a least a year you have either got used to sexual harassment, people gawking at you, random abuse etc and hopefully not been physically assaulted, you are ready for the next step which is seeking nominations to the all woman shortlist.
    6) assuming you have friends in the labour party that accept you as a woman and are willing to nominate you, you should be ready for the hustings where you present your case to the local membership. Goodluck

  17. LEFTIE

    @” I call it the “Goldfinger” rule ”

    I call it Jim Jam’s Rule here on UKPR where-if memory serves-he first
    propounded it.

  18. @ Leftie Liberal
    “How would we have reacted here, if after the Commons had agreed to dissolve Parliament, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn had appeared together and said that they had agreed that whichever of their Parties had the most seats in the Commons would form the next government even if they had no overall majority.”

    Er is this irony?! That’s what happened, more or less; except the DUP, who, with SF, refuse to form a government in their own country, forced one through here.

  19. Colin

    You are quoting hardline religious bigots, the sort of people that think burning people at the stake is a bit soft. Going back to Monty Python (though to be honest i dont have much time for that bunch of upper middle class [email protected]) “no one expects the spanish inquisition” but we all should cos it’s a basic right wing trait

  20. @CMJ

    How would you resolve the conflict between these two “rights”:

    1. The right of trans women, including those still physically male, to assert their gender identity and not suffer discrimination
    2. The right of rape victims to not be traumatised by exposure to male genitalia in women-only spaces such as changing rooms, certain health spas or resorts, etc.

    ?

  21. @Crofty

    Can I have some of that LFC please.

  22. Alec

    ” but other leavers, such as @TOH, insist on telling us that there is only one way to Brexit and we’ve already voted on it.”

    Exactly so, there is only one way , we have voted on it and all the signs are that we are leaving. TW is like you Alec, completely wrong.

  23. PRINCES RACHEL

    @”You are quoting hardline religious bigots,”

    I’m not quoting anyone-just providing links to articles.

    @”the sort of people that think burning people at the stake is a bit soft.”

    Oh-I think we know where those sort are headed -in droves just now. And you will probably get to meet more of them than me.

    @”” bunch of upper middle class [email protected])”

    I see old habits die hard ………..”Princess” :-)

  24. @Robin

    The right of rape victims to not be traumatised by exposure to male genitalia in women-only spaces such as changing rooms, certain health spas or resorts, etc.

    ————————————————-

    I would change this to the right of ” all women not to be traumatised”.

    I don’t particularly want to have a person who is physically male next to me in the shower at the local swimming baths. And what if perchance they became aroused?

    You cannot make simple rules from something so complex.

    I remember someone saying previously that men must always ask women if it’s okay before they touch them. Even if it’s just to lightly touch their forearm .

    If a man, I didn’t know, came up to me and said “I want to touch you, if that’s okay”, I’d make myself scarce pretty quickly.

  25. Jonesinbangor,
    “no way Tories nor Labour want something as damaging as EU Ref 2”

    well I’d agree, but they might have no choice.The alternative would be for parliament to unilaterally announce no brexit.

    Dave,
    “Most Remain-favouring politicians I have heard say: “I respect the referendum”

    I saw a tv show the other day, where the barrister addressed the judge who had just ruled against him, ‘with respect, my lord…’. The judge replied, ‘whenever a barrister says that it means with no respect at all’. lots of lawyers become MPs.

    wb,
    “… the Conservative Party and its approach to Brexit we considered that, up until now, it has been a bit like a Schrodinger’s cat scenario”

    very nice. though i have never seen such an experiment discussed where the experiment is performed once, but the first experiment then initiates a second quantum box, which likely sets off a third, and so on.

    “surely any political strategist worth their salt would be considering broadening the Domestic agenda work to attempt to influence VI?”

    So how does that go around the cabinet table? brexiteers who believe brexit will be an economic success would presumably resist relaxing spending limits, because they see no need. Remainers who want to remain, presumably supported the existing austerity program and believe in it, so why would they change either? Doesnt May have a history of being about the only conservatives to speak out for more income equality, and she is inextricably tied up.

  26. Colin,

    Was Howard (the initial very polite LD one that necessitated To and Prof prefixes) and I who initially proposed the 3 in a row rule of thumb but decreed that 4 was more appropriate after a few occasions when 3 in row proved to be pure chance.

    The Goldfinger label was added later by a convert to our paradigm.

    Rachel – 100% right an imposter trans-man would have no chance of getting anywhere near a nomination.

  27. imposter trans-woman of course, oops, was not Freudian honest.

  28. @ DANNY

    “The alternative would be for parliament to unilaterally announce no brexit.”

    Well if it reaches that point we will probably either have a vote of confidence in HMG to force it through, or have an immediate General Election if it falls.

  29. PR
    Thanks for the advice but you will be relieved to know that I have no intention of becoming a politician. All women shortlists are in my view, and the view of many women, an affront to women.

    If a woman can’t win a nomination without being protected from 50% of potential candidates, then she’s not the best candidate.

  30. https://www.ft.com/content/0c5c74bc-151e-11e6-b197-a4af20d5575e

    The above url is from May 8, 2016. Gove ruled out the Single Market.

    He did not mention the Customs Union.

  31. Apart from the recent Momentum v New Labour antagonism in the Labour Party I wonder if an even deeper divide might be simmering away?

    For instance on one hand you have the extremely social liberal types, espousing gender equality and fluidity and other things; but on the other Labour seems to appeal to immigrant communities, and Muslims in particular, some of whom have extremely socially conservative views, such as arranged marriages and disapproving of homosexuality. There have been cases of Labour politicians addressing meetings where men sat one side of the room and women the other. Will these very different viewpoints meet at some point? The results could be interesting. It will be a bit like matter meeting anti-matter.

  32. @ Danny

    “very nice. though I have never seen such an experiment discussed where the experiment is performed once, but the first experiment then initiates a second quantum box, which likely sets off a third, and so on”

    I think that’s called a thermonuclear reaction! Hmm! I think you may be on to something :-)

  33. ‘Another test for the Social Liberal ” Elite ”’

    This is a Brexit/Farage/Johnson propagandist tag which conveys no meaning & equates with other reactionary twaddle, eg. “PC gone mad”. An attempt to divert attention from the fact that the UK is run by an elite which is neither social or liberal.

  34. Identity Politics:

    This is actually based on a philosophical argument on the Left between traditional Marxist economic determinism and Gramscian thought on cultural hegemony.

  35. Cont:
    Gramsci thought that a coalition of the oppressed (minorities etc.) and the working class could overcome cultural institutions used to maintain power in capitalist societies. That culture uses ideology not coercion to propagate its own values and which become “common sense” values maintaining the status quo.
    This contrasts to dialectic materialist or determinist Marxism which imagines that there is an inevitable path by which the proletariat through socialism will eventually arrive at communism.
    Add in to the mix British Labour Party traditions that involve radical religion, syndicalist and working class aristocracy trade unionism and the social democrat element too, and it can be seen that identity politics is both a means of achieving power within internal structures and a way of differentiating policy imperatives.

  36. ROBERT NEWARK @ PRINCES RACHEL

    If a woman can’t win a nomination without being protected from 50% of potential candidates, then she’s not the best candidate.

    Surely, except in NI & Scotland, the problem is the medieval plurality voting system in use for most UK elections.

    Even with the unproportional AV/IRV system, the electorate could be given a choice of candidates for each party.

  37. If you can define yourself as who or what you like, it does open up a lot of possibilities…

  38. cont:

    This took off in the Labour Party in the 1980’s as a challenge to monetarist economics and to overcome the cultural hegemony to which, it was felt, the Wilson/Callaghan Labour government had given in.

  39. Sorry for the continuations trying to work out what was modding my full post

  40. Good Afternoon All from a windy Bournemouth.
    WB.
    Hello to you.
    New new Labour seems not to be doing very well now if it is expected that the Opposition Party thrives at times of Government weakness.
    I think Corbyn’s hero Leo Trotsky whose reputation he wishes to rehabilitate went to the 1918 post Tsar Russian Assembly and ordered the murder of hundreds of delegates as they had to be consigned to the dustbin of History.
    As for the argument you correctly state is the case between traditional Marxist economic determinism and Gramsci’s ‘thought’ on cultural hegemony; I found people talking of little else in the pub last night. Chomsky was added to the crisps as well.

  41. Tbh I really think that the media attacks on Momentum and the constant conflation of ordinary LP democracy with a ‘hard left’ Momentum takeover is more likely to have effect on LP polling than rows over transitioning.

    FWIW I think Princess Rachel hits the spot with regard to justifying consideration for an all women shortlist. However, ‘Putting on a frock’ sounds horribly dismissive and doesn’t begin to describe the difficulties there must be in transitioning from one’s biological assignment.

  42. “An attempt to divert attention from the fact that the UK is run by an elite which is neither social or liberal.”

    ——–

    They’re not all that elite either…

  43. Personally it’s of complete indifference to me how people wish to identify there sexuality. I have my set parameters of what I consider is normal anything outside that is of no interest to me.
    Do I object to certain demands of transgender individuals who identify as female/male when it comes into conflict with other individuals who consider for instance a man dressed as as a woman shouldn’t have a automatic right to use a female toilet yes I do ,based solely that if the majority of women feel uncomfortable with that happening then they have the right to complain about it and not have there sensitivity’s overruled by the don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings brigade.

  44. The focus on Gramsci and cultural or social liberalism in the 1980’s gave succour to the rightward drift of Economic policy. So, the accommodation thought process went along the lines that we (Labour) may be adopting more market based policies but we are championing the cause of the oppressed and discriminated against hence offering a clear distinction with the Tories.

    So Social and Economic liberals could easily vote Labour but Cameron changed the dynamic by moving the Cons to more socially liberal positions.

  45. @ chrislane1945

    I am a great admirer of Chomsky, who of course is so committed to free speech that, despite his left wing views and his Jewish heritage, was prepared to stand up and say that Faurisson (a holocaust denier) was entitled to express that view: a true believer in Voltaire’s dictum “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

  46. @WB

    I’m a great believer in “no prior censorship”. I will defend your right so say what you want, and will then seek redress in the courts :)

  47. “I really don’t think the ‘the UK chose to leave the EU’ argument makes much sense, ” @ GARJ

    It is not an argument but a statement of fact. The UK, having decided to leave the EU, leaving the Single Market and Customs Union, makes some kind of customs controls inevitable.

    “The claim that you have to be in Schengen to be part of it is nonsense – there are numerous members who aren’t, including ourselves at present. Most importantly, the EU arguably has more to lose than us by freezing the UK out of security cooperation. If they wish to cut their nose off to spite their face then they can, but to pout and say it’s our fault because we’re the ones who chose to leave doesn’t get anything done. It’s bordering on childish.” @GARJ

    This is from the link I provided.

    “Prime Minister Theresa May has previously said she wants the UK to retain its security co-operation with Europol post-Brexit.

    And a number of countries that are not part of the EU, such as Norway, Switzerland and the US, have operational agreements with Europol that allow access to intelligence.

    But Europol itself say this does not equate to formal membership, which means these countries do not have a say over operations and decisions.

    Europol also points out that such agreements take a number of years to negotiate.

    Every EU member state, plus 14 other nations, has staff in the Europol headquarters in The Hague

    One precedent that might act as a future model is Denmark, an EU member but no longer in Europol.

    In December 2015, Denmark voted in a referendum against more integration of security operations.

    In May this year it formally left Europol, but an agreement was reached that allowed the Danish police and Europol to continue to share information and analysis.

    Denmark is able to participate in Europol board meetings, but it has only “observer status” and no decision-making rights.

    Could a similar agreement be made with the UK?

    Europol seems to think not. In a statement, it said: “The agreement between both Denmark and Europol is based on the fact that Denmark is a full member of Schengen [group of countries that allow passport-free travel] and has implemented all EU data protection standards.

    “It therefore allows for a sufficient level of co-operation, including the exchange of operational data and the deployment of liaison officers.”

    Prof Alan Woodward, a British cyber-crime expert and adviser to Europol, said the issue of the UK’s future relationship with Europol needed to be resolved sooner rather than later.

    “I very much hope that a solution is found to allow the UK to remain active participant with Europol – simply because it is in everybody’s interest,” he said.

    “Europol is the best organisation to tackle cross-border law enforcement issues, especially in cyber-crime.”

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