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. Sue – dead right.

    I recall the first time I met a trans-women in the late 90’s in my then very conservative male dominated business and it would be mendacious to pretend I was not aware.

    My view was that to put up with all the vitriol and some physical discomfort she must have been very certain of the desire to change sex and probably needing to do so psychologically; accordingly I admired her resolve.

    Putting on a frock type remarks are rather sad and lazy at the very least.

  2. If you are bored with Brexit — who isn’t — I recommend tne middle-brow entertainment of Spielberg’s The Post; at its centre is Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon papers — known to old timers. Ellsberg, Wiki says, devised a paradox which tested utility theory.

    You are presented with a bag containing 90 balls — 30 def Red: & 60 yellow & black, the latter two in unknown proportions. You make two visits to the bag, drawing once each time.
    Gamble 1: (a) Draw Red = £100. OR (b) Draw Black = £100.
    Gamble 2 (a) Draw Red or Yell = £100 OR (b) Draw Black or Yellow = £100.

    You have 4 choices (a) (a), (b) (b), (a) (b). (b) (a)

    Which choice do you make & which confirms utility theory?

  3. @ ChrisLane1945

    Your last post reminded me of a legal anecdote I once heard

    In Ireland in 1910 an English High Court Judge was sent to preside over a trial in small country town. The dispute was over a strip of land no more than a foot wide and ten feet long. One party, an absentee Englishman, was represented by an eminent Kings Counsel, the other party a local man who, maintained his little patch of garden was being encroacched upon, was represented by a newly qualified ,but local boy made good barrister. At the outset of the trial the Kings Counsel said “My Lord, I call upon the maxim de minimus non curat lex* and ask to dismiss the claim”. The judge truned to the young barrister and asked “well, has your client not thought about that maxim” to which the reply came in a soft Irish brogue “Sure My Lord, as you can no doubt imagine, in the small bucolic hamlet from which my client hails, i have no doubt that they discuss very little else.

    * The court does not deal in trifles.

  4. @ Carfrew
    “They’re not all that elite either…”

    No. I watched Heseltine interviewed by S Curran on BBC Parl. I didn’t go for everything the old fox said but what a class act compared with the current shower.
    My environment pals tell me Hezza devised a structure of regional redevelopment which was coherent: destroyed by Pickles/Shap the day they became Local Gov ministers in 2010, ably assisted by V Cable.

  5. @Robin

    “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 :)”

    That of course is your right but defamation, which could be the only form of legal action which is applicable, is defined as “any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person’s reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.” If it is just mindless abuse it will not be regarded as defamatory so, on that basis

    Yah! Boo! Sucks to you matey!! :-)

  6. What is the UK government’s Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement or BATNA?

    “Before you meet the other party in a negotiation you need to work out in detail what your objectives are and, as important if not more so, what are you options if the deal you want is not available. In a word, what are your alternatives?”

    The UK government does not know its BATNA from its BUM (Brexit under May).

  7. @RobbieAlive

    Are you allowed to wait to make your second choice until you’ve seen the result of the first?

    Is this with or without replacement?

    Is £100 a lot to you, or a trifle?

  8. CL1945

    @” I found people talking of little else in the pub last night. Chomsky was added to the crisps as well.”

    :-) :-) :-)

  9. Turk
    “… the don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings brigade.”

    But some women’s feelings would be hurt. So it seems that the more of an ‘oppressed’ minority you are, the more your feelings count. So a woman’s feelings trump a man’s, a trans woman’s trump a woman’s, and presumably a dwarf trans woman’s would trump a ‘normal’ trans woman. It’s quite a complicated hierarchy to keep track of, but presumably the higher up the hierarchy you get, the more your feelings can be hurt.

  10. @sam:

    Daniel Finklestein made the same point about the BATNA issue.

    The EU is quite casual about no deal – no transition means effectively no deal, and they threaten to embrace that if we even ask to discuss questions of consultation.

    Back in the U.K., any other ali of no-deal is portrayed by Labour and other Remainers as a threat to the EU. The opposition has worked to make sure our BATNA is as bad as can be – and it was always awful, only to be contemplated as you have to walk away or accept a diktat.

    The EU’s demands for a free trade agreement – they get to supervise our economy, even things outside EU law like tax rates – may make no deal look not so bad. Apart from the threat to aviation and to cancer patients, which our friends have left on the negotiating table.

  11. On the polls, I can think of reasons why the polls could turn against Labour. But they involve issues beneath the notice of most voters.

    A voter could easily be repuls d by Labour’s courtship of Barnier at the time of rising EU threats. But I really doubt if voters are looking that hard.

    So I think nothing is going on in terms of voter intention.

  12. PeteB

    Couldn’t agree more , the trouble is the more this position prevails the more detached people become from the real “needs” of minority groups and the more disenfranchised they become with the idiots mainly politicians who think that any of this is in the least bit important to the majority of people in the U.K.

  13. Sygyzy
    “from one’s biological assignment.”
    Never did one. I dropped biology in the 2nd year.

    Agree with your 3.14. Don’t care what people do In private and within the law. I will respect the choice anyone makes. Just respect mine and don’t force a minority view on the majority, or demand special treatment.

  14. WB

    I always enjoy your comments, but not on Gramsci. If you read the Prison Notebooks, you wouldn’t make such an interpretation of communist thoughts.

    Oh, and in spite of the numerous leftist (aka liberal) academic articles, Gramsci accepted and adhered to economic determinism (read his stuff on Fordism), and Marx never underestimated cultural hegemony (even if didn’t call it as such) – c.f., among other things his comment about the accursed lack of demand by the lower classes. Even a certain JV Stalin wrote about the cohesive force of hegemony about 20 years before Gramsci.

    Just Gramsci is a socially acceptable reference, and the desire to limit equality to legal equality (as in the Declaration of the rights of men), thus avoiding the basic problem of exploitation (that labour creates more value than the wage but has no control on the use of the difference) created an academic urge to find a postmodernist interpretation of the work of an imprisoned communist leader.

  15. That’s what I said Laszlo or thought I did in ref to the Labour Party.

  16. @PETE B @TURK

    I have a feeling from your posts that you two don’t take the problems of disadvantaged minorities very seriously. Perhaps you have never been in such a minority yourselves?

    How about asking your female relatives about their experience of sexual harassment? their answers might surprise you…….just a thought.

  17. Colin


    I think of it all as one word so K doesn’t work and W wouldn’t be sufficient.

  18. @Pete B, Turk, Robert N

    “But some women’s feelings would be hurt. So it seems that the more of an ‘oppressed’ minority you are, the more your feelings count. So a woman’s feelings trump a man’s,”

    ” the trouble is the more this position prevails the more detached people become from the real “needs” of minority groups and the more disenfranchised they become with the idiots mainly politicians who think that any of this is in the least bit important to the majority of people in the U.K.”

    “I respect the choice anyone makes. Just respect mine and don’t force a minority view on the majority, or demand special treatment.”


    Er there are about 1,000,000 more females than males in the UK. Clearly, from the moans above, you all consider yourself as part of an oppressed minority. Why don’t you take your own advice and stop whingeing.

  19. Joseph1832

    Labour is not immune from criticism but it is the Conservative government that has brought us to where we are.

    The piece to which I linked raises the possibility (or is it likelihood) that writing down the terms agreed on the NI / Ireland border will prove impossible with the end result being the prospect of no transition. If so – what then? No deal or do we backtrack and stay in?


    “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.”

    And yet you are seeking online endearments from ME – a bloak wot you’ve never met.

    Oh well….


  21. And to think that a hundred years ago we we enthused by this slogan:

    “Votes for wimmin [well – some of them anyway.]”


    I agree.

  23. CROFTY


    my mistake -I thought it was an ACRONYM-ie an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words .

  24. Seem to be a lot of old stories being linked again recently.

  25. With regard to the trans women discussion, are there similarities with this?:

  26. @Crofty

    Well you know

  27. Jim Jam

    “That’s what I said Laszlo or thought I did in ref to the Labour Party”

    Indeed, you did.

    Apologies. I try to read all (well with exceptions) comments, and sometimes I just respond there and then without reading the responses to a comment (especially when I’m likely to be interrupted with some duties)..

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

    See me after class.

    And then:

    En el otro mano they do seem to chuckle a lot

    Well, it is “la otra mano” actually – not “el otro” (mano, oddly enough, being a feminine noun).

    Though I’ve never heard a Spanish speaker use that phrase. “Desde otra perspectiva,” or “por otro lado” ring truer.

    As they say, see me after class.

  29. What we women are like – flighty.
    I’m surprised we ever got the vote.

  30. JJ

    Your place or mine?


    I was shocked when it happened.


  31. COLIN

    “my mistake -I thought it was an ACRONYM-ie an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words .”

    It was.

    Just not the way you spell them.

  32. Anyway, time we had some posts about brexit.

    I think it’s a rotten idea.

  33. @Valerie

    “If a man, I didn’t know, came up to me…”


    You’re not ruling out women you don’t know then…

  34. CROFTY

    OK-just random letters then.

    RLTIL ?

  35. @JIM JAM

    “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.”


    As it happens, I shared a house with a colleague who was a sociology lecturer in the Eighties and he was given to dropping Gramsci into the convo. It was definitely a thing.

    It’s possible that Gramsci might have been seized upon by some of the Liberals who were taking over the party, as a means of trying to justify it in socialist terms.

  36. Could meet in Gainford Crofty

  37. This is getting like Tinder. For Boomers!!

  38. SAM

    I read the link the first time, thanks. Posting most of the article here does nothing to convince me further. The simple facts are as follows:

    Europol has associate members which are not part of the EU.

    The UK currently complies with all the necessary data protection standards and other relevant regulations.

    UK involvement in Europol is of great benefit to both the UK and the EU in reducing crime and saving lives.

    In the context of those three simple facts there is every reason why it would make absolute sense for the UK to continue to be a part of Europol, and no reason why it should be particularly difficult for us to do so (number 2 makes years of negotiation rather unnecessary). Continuing UK involvement in Europol is just a case of both sides agreeing that it would be a good idea and getting on with making it happen. Instead the UK says it would be a good idea and the response is ‘yeah, well you’re the one who wants to break up’. Yes, it’s a fact that the UK chose to leave the EU. Well done for noticing. So what, now you won’t talk to us?

    Something similar goes for customs. Everybody knows there will be some barriers. The UK knows that we won’t trade as openly as when we were EU members. We know that UK products sold into the EU will have to comply with the relevant standards. Whining about the fact that the UK created this mess isn’t going to get it cleaned up. There is mutual benefit to be had from a trading relationship. Instead of constantly reminding us that it won’t be as good as when we were part of the club I wish the EU could just try to get on and make the best of the situation.

  39. Shulz steps down.

    Zuma refuses to step down.

  40. A brief thought on trans women and all-female shortlists:

    I think that someone going to the lengths of pretending to be a woman is not the likely way for this situation to be abused. All women shortlists have long been a subject of controversy, with many local parties reacting angrily to them in the past. I can easily see a situation where a local party with a high profile and popular male member who would have been the likely candidate gets an AWS imposed on it. In that instance the man in question could simply declare himself a woman, his friends in the local party could put him on the shortlist, and he could win the nomination as candidate. There wouldn’t really be a question of him ever presenting as a woman or pretending to be one, he would campaign as the representative of a local party resisting central diktat. Sure, the national party might well have to step in before it got that far, but it would cause an awful lot of stink.

  41. Garj – in a novel maybe but not real life.

  42. I think anyone who imagines for a second that men would really pretend to be women to side step all women short lists have truly let their minds disappear down a rabbit hole.

    I can’t believe the utter nonsense around this issue.

  43. Might be worth it to sidestep modding…

  44. Colin

    You left out (from the resignations and non-resignations) that the Dutch foreign minister resigned as his statements did not correspond to the truth.

  45. JIM JAM

    I don’t know about that. Peter Law won Blaenau Gwent after standing as an independent because the party imposed an AWS. Cynon Valley cause a great deal of upset in the local party a couple of years ago when they said they’d refuse to participate in the selection process (though that sort of resolved itself when Ann Clwyd decided not to retire). All women shortlists have caused ructions in the past, it would seem more likely for things to play out that way than for a male candidate to masquerade as trans in order to get selected.

    That doesn’t mean I have a problem with trans women being allowed on AWS, by the way. I don’t particularly believe in AWS anyway, the need is a good deal less pressing than it was back in 1997.

  46. @Robbiealive

    “My environment pals tell me Hezza devised a structure of regional redevelopment which was coherent: destroyed by Pickles/Shap the day they became Local Gov ministers in 2010, ably assisted by V Cable.”


    I recall from debates elsewhere at the time, folk pointing out to things that made Hezza’s approach quite enlightened, though I confess my memory is failing me in terms of specifics.

    To be fair to Osborne, who some people remarked was visibly shocked in parliament when announcing a particularly sobering set of growth figures, he did subsequently change tack somewhat. Hence investments in Graphene, Genetics etc.

    Of course, Vince changed tack the other way…

  47. Apparently the German federal government informed the bureaucrats in Brussels that it is considering making local public transport free of charge (it has currently around 50% subsidy) to combat air pollution.

    Isn’t Brexit great? When the UK government (or the the three governments of the countries and the UK government of it is a devolved matter) introduced similar measures and won’t have to send a letter to Brussels, like the one about A50 that cost a thousand quid.

  48. Garj

    “I wish the EU could just try to get on and make the best of the situation.”

    Isn’t that exactly what the EU is doing?

    It’s not their job to define what is best for the UK in the situation that the UK has created, but what is best for the EU.

    It’ the job of the UK Government to “make the best of the situation” that the UK has created for the UK.

    I look forward to finding out just what the best that they can achieve turns out to be.

  49. GARJ

    Like you I don’t need reminding what the article says. According to it, this is why Denmark can be part of Europol but not UK: “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.”

    As to the rest of your post, it is one way of looking at things. The EU has the stronger negotiating hand and is more likely to get its way. It did compromise in Stage 1 indicating that a deal is important to it also, if more on its terms than that of the UK. That is not to say a deal will happen.The fudge on Ireland remains but can’t remain a fudge

  50. At the risk of being boring, do people think the last half dozen polls are accurate ?
    Do people think that VI is mostly stable or highly volatile at the moment ?
    The only national test on the horizon is the locals in May.
    Possibly a few by-elections for as yet unforeseen reasons in the Autumn.
    Thus the polls have only one real test this year (assuming no out of the blue snap General Election – or even more unlikely second referendum and that is not on political party lines).
    Are people in the polling group less focused in the sabbath years. More likely to be ‘whatever’, ‘meh’ or protest.
    Will these locals be the last chance to send signal to government before Brexit deal ?
    Will the locals be mainly on local issues in different towns ?
    Are the pollsters and polling group in the zone or just coasting because they are unlikely to be called out by a proper election ?
    I await your wisdom and insight.

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