If I could teach people one thing about public opinion it would be how little most of the political soap-opera actually matters. Lots of the stories that obsess the Westminster media hardly break through to the public at all. Those people who do notice it tend to be the most political, meaning they view stories and scandals through the prism of their pre-existing political support. They believe accusations against politicians from opposing parties and think their misdeeds are awful, but doubt accusations about their own party and give their own party’s politicians the benefit of the doubt. The result is that most political stories don’t actually have that much impact on political support.

The row over Jeremy Corbyn and whether or not he laid a wreath to commemmorate people connected to the Munich Olympic Massacre is a classic example of this. It has been the main political story for the last four days, yet YouGov polling today suggests it will have little impact. Only 6% of people say they are following the story closely, 20% fairly closely. Over half of the public say they aren’t following the story at all all (27%) or are completely unaware of it (26%).

Amongst the three-quarters of respondents who were at least aware of the story people think, by 44% to 21%, that Corbyn has not given an honest account of his attendence, and by 44% to 25% people think he probably did take part in a wreath laying ceremony for some of those responsible for organising the Munich Olympic massacre. However, this does not necessarily mean it has actually damaged Labour, as most of those who have reacted negatively to Corbyn are people who were opposed to him to begin with; most Labour supporters have given him the benefit of the doubt.

Overall, 16% of those who were aware of the story (that’s 16% of 74%, so about 12%) say it has made them think worse of Corbyn, but 68% say it has made no difference (21% because they had a good impression of Corbyn and still do, 47% because they had a negative impression of Corbyn and still do). Even that 16% is mostly made up of Conservative and Lib Dem supporters, who presumably were not Corbyn admirers to begin with. So while this affair may entrench existing negative views of Corbyn among those who already held them, it seems unlikely to do much to reduce his support. Full tabs for the YouGov polling are here.

Meanwhile there are two new voting intention polls from the last couple of days (note they were both conducted mostly or wholly before the wreath controversy).

BMG for the Independent have topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 5% (tabs here)
NumberCruncherPolitics have topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 40%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 5% (tabs here.


Two new voting intention polls out today, one from ICM in the Guardian and one from YouGov in the Times.

Topline figures from ICM are CON 39%(-1), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 6%(+1). Fieldwork was Friday to Sunday, and changes are from a fortnight ago. Clearly there is no significant change from the previous poll, and Labour and the Conservatives remain extremely close. Tabs for the ICM poll are here.

YouGov meanwhile have topline figures of CON 39%(+1), LAB 35%(-3), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 7%(+1). Fieldwork was a little more recent, between Wednesday and Thursday, and changes are from last week. The 35% figure for Labour here is their lowest since the general election. The usual caveats apply – it’s a single poll, so while that could be an indication that the ongoing Labour infighting over antisemitism has knocked their support, it could also just be normal sample variation. Wait to see if other polls show a similar drop before getting too excited. On best Prime Minister May leads Corbyn by 36%(+4) to 22%(-3), with 39% of people saying not sure. YouGov’s regular Brexit tracker found 42% saying Britain was right to vote to Leave, 45% saying it was wrong.


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YouGov’s regular poll for the Times this week shows another Labour lead, with topline figures of CON 36%(-1), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 7%(+1). Fieldwork was on Monday and Tuesday, and changes are from the middle of last week. We’ve now had four polls with fieldwork after the Davis/Johnson resignations – two from YouGov, one each from Opinium and Deltapoll – and all four have shown the Conservatives falling back behind Labour.

YouGov also found 40% in favour of a referendum on whether or not to accept the final deal, 42% of people were opposed – the highest level of support for a second referendum that YouGov have found so far with this tracker.

There was less support for Justine Greening’s idea of a “three-way” referendum between remain, Theresa May’s deal or no deal: only 36% thought that should happen, 47% were opposed. In the event it did go ahead, people said they would vote to stay – on first preferences support stands at Remain 50%, Leave with the deal 17%, Leave without the deal 33%. Once leaving with the deal has been eliminated and second preferences reallocated, the final figures would be 55% remain, 45% leave with no deal.


YouGov have a new poll in the Times tonight conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, after the resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson. It suggests public opinon is breaking against the Chequers Brexit deal, and that public confidence in the government’s handling of Brexit is falling ever further.

Only 13% of people now think the Chequers Brexit deal would be good for Britain (down 1 since the pre-resignation poll at the weekend), 42% think it would not (up 9). 23% think it respects the referendum deal (down 4), 39% think it does not (up 10). Just 13% of people now think that the governemnt are handling the Brexit negotiations well, down from 18% at the weekend.

On voting intention, Labour have reopened a small lead, the first from YouGov since March. Topline figures have the Tories on 37% (down 2), Labour unchanged on 39%. The changes themselves are within the normal margin of error, but coming on top of the YouGov and Survation polls conducted at the the weekend which both showed a drop in the Conservative lead, it doesn’t look positive for them (though that said, an ICM poll earlier today, conducted between Friday and Monday, did not suggest any movement). As ever, it is worth waiting for other post-resignation polls to see if it turns out to be a consistent pattern, or just noise.


The weekly YouGov poll for the Times this morning has topline figures of CON 39%(-2), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 5%(+2). Fieldwork was on Sunday and Monday, mostly on Sunday afternoon and evening. The changes themselves are not signficant, but the disappearing Tory lead echoes the Survation poll at the weekend, and is the first YouGov poll not to show the Tories ahead since back in April. Note also that little uptick in UKIP support. It’s only one poll so may be nothing more than noise, but it’s worth keeping an eye on them.

The answers to questions on the Chequers Brexit deal were mostly negative (33% said the type of Brexit agreed at Chequers would be bad for Britain, just 13% said it would be good; 35% said they would be unhappy if the Chequers deal went ahead, just 19% would be happy.) However, relatively few people had any opinion at all – all the Chequers questions got over 40% don’t knows, only 38% of respondents said they had followed the story very or fairly closely.

However, the vast majority of the fieldwork for the poll took place before Davis and Johnson’s resignations. As well as potentially having an impact on perceptions of the government’s competence and unity, the resignations may well mean that this Brexit development has an impact when others have not. People who may not have noticed a report about yet another tedious internal Tory party row about the intricacies of Brexit may be more likely to notice the story when its Boris Johnson resigning from government because Theresa May has supposedly gone soft on Brexit.

In short, while this and the weekend Survation poll are interesting straws in the wind, the polls to really look at will be the ones conducted after the resignations…

Full tabs are here.