So far we have had six opinion polls since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, from Ipsos MORI, Deltapoll, Opinium, ComRes and two from YouGov (one for the Sunday Times, one for the Times). Voting intentions from them all are below.

YouGov (30 Jul) – CON 32%, LAB 22%, LDEM 19%, BRX 13%, GRN 8% (tabs)
Ipsos MORI (30 Jul) – CON 34%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BRX 9%, GRN 6% (tabs)
Deltapoll (27 Jul) – CON 30%, LAB 25%, LDEM 18%, BRX 14%, GRN 4% (tabs)
YouGov (26 Jul) – CON 31%, LAB 21%, LDEM 20%, BRX 13%, GRN 8% (tabs)
Opinium (26 Jul) – CON 30%, LAB 28%, LDEM 16%, BRX 15%, GRN 5% (tabs)
ComRes (25 Jul) – CON 28%, LAB 27%, LDEM 19%, BRX 16%, GRN 4% (tabs)

The trends across all these polls are very consistent – compared to pre-Johnson polling everyone shows the Conservatives gaining support (up 10 points in Deltapoll, 8 in MORI, 7 with Opinium, 6 or 7 in YouGov, and 3 with ComRes). In each case support for the Brexit party has dropped by a similar amount, while support for the other political parties remains broadly consistent. While in practice things will be a little more complicated (people will have moved in and out of don’t know, likelihood to vote will have gone up and down and so on), you can fairly characterise it as Johnson’s leadership immediately winning back a chunk of support from the Brexit party.

While The Conservatives will no doubt take some cheer from being ahead again in the polls, they should perhaps not take too much. The polls show them back at around 30% – where they were in March – as opposed to figures in the high 30s or low 40s that they recording at the tail end of last year. Boris Johnson has not magicaclly repaired all the damage they have suffered in the last few months – primarily it would seem because they are still losing a significant chunk of their 2017 support to the Brexit party. The fact they are ahead again is as much because of the splitting of the anti-Brexit vote between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. In the early months of this year Liberal Democrat support was around ten percent and Labour were mostly in the thirties; now the Liberal Democrats are typically in the high teens and Labour normally in the twenties.

Secondly, it is very much the norm for a new Prime Minister to receive a boost in the polls. They normally come to power with a flurry of announcements and activity (and that often contrasts with the drift of whatever moribund government they’ve just replaced), their natural supporters once again project all their hopes and dreams upon them, and a fair chunk of the media are normally treating them as the messiah. It happened with John Major, Gordon Brown, Theresa May and now Boris Johnson. Generally speaking those factors don’t last, and neither does the boost – though the temptation is always to think this time is different. Gordon Brown narrowly avoided calling an election during his bump, aborting just before his lead collapsed; Theresa May’s boost in the polls stretched on far, far longer than expected, finally tempting her into an election before rapidly deflating. One probably shouldn’t get too excited about this one either – more important in terms of public support will be what happens in terms of Brexit in September, October and November.

(A couple of quick notes on methodology. You’ll note the usual big gap difference between pollsters in terms of Labour support – with YouGov and Ipsos MORI showing lower Labour support than Opinium and ComRes. My best guess, which I’ve written about elsewhere in more detail, is that this is to do with how and if pollsters weight for past vote. Secondly, I should flag up a methodology change from MORI – previously they hadn’t been including the Brexit party in their question wording for the voting intention question, resulting in lower support. This month MORI included the Brexit party in the prompt for half the sample – presumably in order to see how much difference it made.)

2,419 Responses to “The Boris-Bounce so far…”

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  1. @TURK

    We spend far to much time on these pages thinking of brexit as party political debate left v right and certainly that’s how politicians wish us to think of it, but whether that’s true of the public’s view of brexit remains to be seen.

    In fairness I believe that the public tend so see this mainly as a social conservative versus social liberal approach. So some of the sort of arguments that split the Tory party (gay marriage comes to mind whereby a majority of Tory MPs voted against marriage equality)

    Brexit falls in to this sphere. So in certain respects it is not seen as a classic left right issue. It is often for want of a better set of terms a protection of tribe versus an acceptance of other tribes sort of thing, which is why you hear term take back control. What is interesting it has also co opted somethe social liberal tag lines such as freedom (Widdicombes emancipation declaration comes to mind)


    I spent around 3 years in Ireland and Norther Ireland and what is interesting about the problem of Brexit is that in truth a significant minority of ujnionists support the backstop such is the level of support that any vote on accepting the back stop in Northern Ireland would be carried. Indeed I have not seen a poll that would state otherwise

    What I have found interesting is that we have a situation that in HoC the majority view of NI is not even represented in parliament and that view has skewed brexit.

    My belief was that backstop was nothing but an issue for Northern Ireland due to GFA. it should hve been put to a plebiscite and thus be taken out of the hand of people that do not represent a majority opinion in the province.

    The GFA could be used as cover for this but I suspect that May losing the election in 2017 made this difficult to get through parliament.

    The problem is that the DUP has always put itself in a position that stands in opposition to SF no matter what it is. It is inane but it is the politics of the region bypassing the politician should have been the way to go with respect to that part of the WA.

    However that said I believe the Irish border issue is a smoke screen for the fact that in truth the Johnson needs a win. The letter sent to Tusk pretty much offered no solution to the Border issue and in all fairness this path to the WA has been pretty logical steps considering the issues pertaining it.

    I suspect that even if the EU say ok no backstop there will be no agreement because the issue that the backstop is trying to solve has not been solved and looks like not being solved.

    If we just put a border in the Irish sea this would have been over in March and we would have left with no deal because the PD is not worth the paper it is written on.

  2. Interesting analysis from IPPR North (of England) looking at historic and planned transport expenditure.

    Without wishing to advocate any particular restructuring of how England runs its internal affairs, it does look as if the North of England gets a pretty poor deal when planning is done in London.

    £3,636 per capita is planned on London, compared to just £1,247 per capita on the North

    planned transport investment on London is therefore 2.9 times higher per capita than on the North

    planned transport spending on London is 7.0 times more per capita than on the North East (£519) and 7.1 times more per capita than on Yorkshire and the Humber (£511
    per capita). The North West is set to receive more than the England regional average, at £2,062 per capita, but this is still far less than London.

  3. @garj – as a follow up to my last post, just to be clear, I was commenting on the narrow point that the backstop is incompatible with the GFA. It is, and this isn’t a problem. The EU seem to be genuinely quite shocked that Johnson is spouting such patent rubbish.

    On other areas, we can agree. The fact that Johnson and the DUP previously accepted the backstop and now don’t says a good deal about them, but that doesn’t get us anywhere. The WA was rejected three times by parliament, and that is the reality.

    A compromise does need to be reached, if we are to avoid no deal, and that means something from both sides.

    The obvious next move in a sensible world is for the UK to finally unveil the fabled ‘alternative arrangements’. The backstop is only a problem if it needs to be invoked, and if Johnson is sure it doesn’t need to be, lets see what makes him think that.

    It’s likely that some kind of time limit could be discussed, but my guess is that this brings us to the nub of the issue. May was happy with close alignment, in which case the border issue is much less substantial. Johnson has packed his government with right wing, low regulation free marketeers, which will signal to the EU he wants to diverge. So we need a clear path out of the backstop, even if this does end up time limited.

    Such delicate issues are usually resolved through tough negotiations, and where there is some element of respect and trust between the two sides. You don’t have to like your opposite number, but trusting them to a degree at least, does make diplomacy easier.

    Unfortunately, we are stuck with Johnson. Probably the least principled and trustworthy leader it was possibly to elect.

    It’s going to be a problem.

  4. @garj – “I’ve always argued that the backstop goes against the GFA, as have the unionists to my knowledge…”

    I’ve just watched a video of Arlene Foster welcoming the Joint Report in December 2017 as it doesn’t place a border down the Irish Sea.

    Your knowledge is clearly limited.

  5. ALEC

    “You are parroting a l!e.”

    And you are parroting parrot prejudice porkies and propaganda.

    Parrots [most are called Polly] just tend to busy themselves squawking: “My name’s Polly” and this is, almost always, true.

    As a conversational opening it’s absolutely fine of course but, when you come back with:

    “Oh hi Polly, my name’s Paul; how are you?” and they squawk back:

    “My name’s Polly” then one reaches a conversational cul-de-sac.

    Which is oddly reminiscent of brexit and backstop “negotiations” I suppose.

  6. garj,
    “Where are NI’s MEPs”

    I think you will find that leavers have demanded there cannot be any…..

    “that government is no longer in power.”

    Actually it is….. Same MPs.

    ” The backstop removes the UK’s sovereign right to determine its own trading status”

    Ah, perhaps we are getting to the heart of the problem here. The backstop does not remove Uk sovereignty any more or less than would a new trade deal with the US, China, or anyone else. So what you are saying is you believe the Uk should make no trade deals with anyone, and presumbably withdraw from any we have.

    Thats quite doable, though I suspect a massive wave of national unrest as living standards fall would mean it could not be made to stick.

    But its a good thing we are clear you, and presumably other leavers require the Uk to have no trade deals. Brexit trade deals with anyone.

  7. Its possible to argue the backstop goes against the GFA (because it changes NI’s position somewhat) and its possible to argue that not having it goes against the GFA (because it changes NI’s position somewhat). A SM+CU type Brexit (more-or-less as Labour propose, for example) is the only type of Brexit, I think, that does not in some way go against the GFA.

  8. @Hal

    “No Deal No Way”

    I think most people thought we wouldn’t get to no deal, but I fear that’s what we’re going to get.

    Both sides digging in. It’s a bit like the First World War, not in a military sense, but in an economic sense.


    I think you are being rather optimistic. What everyone seem to suggest is that long term self preservation means that we will get a deal and that deal would be what May has agreed.

    I keep going back to the problems for each side in backing down:

    For the Tories the real problem is Johnson ‘is their last best hope’ People who have been moving over to the BXP are mostly Tories in shires who are constantly asking their Tory MP’s why we haven’t left yet. He has to leave before November since blaming remainers will not cut it. He can only fail since he has set himself up as the leaver in chief. So coming back with a WA that looks and smells like May’s is going to be a difficult sell there isn’t enough Labour MPs and the are too many DUP MPs that would make it impossible to get it through. it is why no deal is seductive. It solves three problems

    1. We can say he has delivered
    2. It basically puts everyone in a quandary
    3. he can sell optimism at the GE

    His base will not care about recession or falling pound before it is too late or in any case it was those intransigent EU and remoaners.

    For the EU the problem is pretty clear the UK want to diverge and thus any divergence would either need some equivalence or exception. Once you grant one exception you get into the regime of granting more and more essewntially the idea is for the UK to push and pull the EU as it was able to do when in was in the EU. I cannot see how the EU can allow that. Consider the fact the the UK was taken to court (ECJ) over the equivalence of financial services regarding bonds not being equivalent enough (In the UK bond cannot be haircut without specific agreement so basically you cannot default indeed Greek debt crisis is what sparked the debate for example much of the argument about greeks deal)

    Basically I cannot see Johnson wanting to be limited in any way and I suspect his view is that people are prepared to suffer in order to get the idea of ‘freedom’.

    I am not sure that there is much in the way of political gain in order to get seats in a GE. suspect the fallout from this will much later down the road

  10. Garj,
    ” The issue at stake is to do with whether or not a couple of hundred businesses, or potentially even fewer (perhaps only dozens if NI or the UK remains part of the single market for agri-food), will have to complete online customs declarations. That’s it.”

    No. This is not about simply the letter of the GFA but the spirit. This is not and never has been about the letter of the agreement, which might be precisely defined by reference to an international tribunal. Its about what the Irish want, and the implicit as well as explicot terms of the peace deal. EU membership is one of the implicit terms.

    “Outside of a few nutters nobody really believes that NI isn’t going to have some sort of special arrangement in order to minimise border issues,”

    That might be true, but the latest (august) government leaked reort on ‘no deal’ envisages a hard border will be inevitable.

    ” I do think that May, Johnson, and the rest of Tories and UK negotiating team were very naive not to see what the EU was trying to sign them up to with paragraph 49.”

    No. May conducted negotiations as they had to be conducted given the conservative red lines and the EU red lines. The negotiated agreement is the result.

    Had she simply refused to agree EU red lines, then the result would have been no deal at all. You or others migth consider that preferable, but it was important she explore what sort of deal was possible given the limits set by both sides. Now we have it, it seems to be universally despised and agreed to be worse than full membership. An important step. We have spent two years trying to decide what the UK wants, and it does not want that.

    ” I didn’t know that Ireland’s exports to UK were only 12 % of their total, ”

    The problem might be that with UK transport gridlocked, the Irish are unable to move goods through the Uk for sale in Europe. EU working on providing more direct ferries. I doubt Dover etc would be best pleased if their trade moving irish goods is lost.

    “It appears that the EU is playing into Johnson hands .
    Every time Mr Tusk speaks for the EU it’s to say no to what seems on the surface to be a reasonable request for more flexibility over the backstop.
    It’s difficult to gauge public opinion but I would put money on the British public growing a little weary of perceived intractability by Tusk and co.”

    Dont see it myself. Before Brexit referendum even began, the position of the EU was clear. They re-stated their preconditions for ANY trade agreement immediately after. Nothing has changed. Throughout, leave have claimed the EU would not stick to its position, but they consistently have. They have never done other than give clear notice to the UK what its choices are.

    “Johnson will play on that perception”
    I’m sure he will. But May also did this. Didnt do her much good.

  11. New thread!

  12. @jonesinbangor

    Contrary to what the partisan British analysts are saying, Boris has actually offfered the EU a way out, namely to take the backstop out of the withdrawal agreement and put it into the political declaration, perhaps calling it something else so that both sides can save face. If cool heads prevailed, the EU should take the offer. They won’t move though until they are convinced the House of Commons can no longer block a no deal Brexit.

  13. @garj

    “…because the EU is intent on imposing the backstop rather than dealing with the issues in the trade talks where they belong…”

    The issues were to be dealt with in the trade talks. The backstop – which the EU27 sees as potentially unduly advantageous to the UK – is the insurance policy in case they couldn’t be. If the issues are as easily solved as you and Brexiters say, there is little risk for the UK in it.

  14. @mbruno

    “Contrary to what the partisan British analysts are saying, Boris has actually offfered the EU a way out, namely to take the backstop out of the withdrawal agreement …”

    No he hasn’t, he has actually said the backstop should go.

  15. Mbruno,
    ” If cool heads prevailed, the EU should take the offer.”

    But why? Why take an offer which would have an outcome worse than ‘no deal’?

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