A quick update on recent voting intention polls. When I last updated in mid-July, there was a clear trend towards Labour across the polling companies, with YouGov, Opinium, Deltapoll all showing the Conservatives dropping backing significantly in the wake of the Johnson & Davis resignations (whether one attributes that to the Chequers agreement or the resignations it is impossible to say from the evidence given they were so close together. My guess is that it is a combination of the two).

The later polling towards the end of July suggested that movement had flattened out a bit – the last four published polls are below:

YouGov/Times (20th Jul) – CON 38%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 6%
ICM/Guardian (22nd Jul) – CON 40%, LAB 41%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 5%
YouGov/Times (23rd Jul) – CON 38%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 6%
Ipsos MORI/Standard (24th Jul) – CON 38%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 6%

As you can see, two had Labour a point ahead, the later two had the parties neck-and-neck again. That clear Labour lead we breifly saw appears to have quickly faded again once the media was no longer focusing on Chequers & the resignations. That’s not to say there is no lasting impact at all. Back in May and June polls were showing a consistent Tory lead – that has gone; UKIP appeared dead in the water, but in these latest polls they are still up at 5% or 6%. Finally, and least noticed, polls showing the Lib Dems breaching double figures are increasingly common. There were five of them in July, compared to just one in June and just one in May.

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.


Following the midweek YouGov poll, there are two more polls in today’s papers showing the Conservatives falling back behind Labour in the wake of the cabinet Brexit “deal” and the Davis/Johnson resignations.

Opinum in the Observer, conducted between Tuesday and Friday, has topline figures of CON 36%(-6), LAB 40%(nc), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 8%(+5). Changes are from June. There is also new Deltapoll figures in the Sun on Sunday, which have the Conservatives on 37%(-4) and Labour on 42%(+1) – changes are again on June.

This means we now have three polls conducted since the Davis/Johnson resignations, all of which have shown Conservative support dropping down behind Labour (and for Opinium and YouGov at least, showing UKIP up… I don’t have the Deltapoll figure for UKIP yet, but I expect we’ll see the same there).

Full details of the Opinium poll are up on their website here, and other questions paint a generally negative picture for the government. Just 25% of people now approve of May’s handling of Brexit (down 5 since last month), 56% disapprove (up 11). Her general approval figures have fallen to much the same extent, down to minus 24 from minus 8 last month.

Asked specifically about the Chequers deal, however, the public are evenly split. 32% of people approve of the Chequers plan, 32% do not, 35% are either neutral or don’t know. Support is higher among remain voters, opposition higher among leavers. For those intrigued by the difference between be neutral rating here and the negative rating in the YouGov question mid week, one obvious difference in the question is that YouGov asked people if they supported or opposed the deal based on whatever they had seen or heard about it, Opinium gave a short description of the deal in the question, focusing on Britain following EU rules on goods, avoiding a hard border, collecting EU tariffs and being about to set its own tariffs for non-EU countries. As with any policy, I expect many people’s reactions to the deal are based not upon looking at the details, but taking their cues from political and media reaction to it.

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…

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