Political Polling – 8th January

8th January 2013

  • Labour are on 41%, the first time they have passed 40% since the end of October, while the Conservatives rise to 31% after over a month of being on 29%
  • UKIP drop back to 12%, ending their Christmas period surge but still putting them five points ahead of the Lib Dems who drop to 7%, the lowest figure Opinium have ever recorded for the party

Both coalition leaders have seen an improvement in their approval ratings with David Cameron’s net rating overtaking Ed Miliband’s for the first time since April 2012 (the two were briefly both on -17% in September).

  • The number approving of the PM’s job performance jumps to 36%, up from 32%, while the number disapproving drops from 52% to 50%
  • Ed Miliband’s ratings are practically the same as those recorded over December with 26% approving, 41% disapproving and a net rating of -15%
  • Deputy PM Nick Clegg sees his approval rating rise to the highest figure since April with 17% approving, 58% disapproving and a net approval rating of -41%

In advance of David Cameron’s much hyped “Europe speech”, this week we asked respondents a few questions about the European Union, Britain’s place in it, and whether the government could really “renegotiate” the UK’s membership.

  • Likely voters were not optimistic about the government’s ability to renegotiate the return of powers from Brussels while remaining members of the single market.
    Respondents were told that rather than choosing between the status quo and full withdrawal, some people have talked about the possibility of negotiating with the other members of the EU to change the terms of Britain’s membership. They were told that this may involve attempting to return powers delegated to the EU back to the UK government while still remaining a member of the single market
  • When asked how likely it was that the government would be able to achieve this outcome, 25% thought it was likely while 47% thought it was unlikely
  • While Labour voters were more likely to say unlikely (48%) than likely (20%), even Conservative voters were split on what is likely to become their party’s policy, 37% deeming it likely and 39% unlikely
  • 69% of UKIP voters believe that a successful renegotiation would be unlikely while just 18% think it would be likely

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements regarding Britain’s EU membership and returned some mixed opinions.

  • 48% agreed with the statement “I would be more likely to vote for a party if they promised a referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU or withdraw” while just 16% disagreed. 56% of Conservative voters agreed compared to just 35% of Labour voters. Fully 88% of UKIP voters agreed with this statement while just 1% (one single respondent) disagreed
  • 41% agreed that being a member of the EU is a price worth paying if it benefits the economy while 30% disagreed. Even Conservative voters agreed with this statement with 41% agreeing. The figures were even higher for Labour voters (50%). UKIP voters, perhaps unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly disagreed (67%) while just 9% agreed
  • 57% agreed that the UK’s national interests are fundamentally different from those of most EU countries while 14% disagreed. This statement proved more popular with Conservatives (66% agreed) than Labour voters (47% agreed). 89% of UKIP voters agreed while just 2% disagreed
  • 59% agreed that the government should concentrate on more immediate issues like jobs and the economy rather than our relationship with the EU while 15% disagreed. Europe’s increased salience among Conservative voters was clear here with only 49% agreeing compared to 71% of Labour voters and 68% of Lib Dems. UKIP voters were comparatively split with 37% agreeing, 36% disagreeing and 23% not taking a side
  • 53% agreed that the UK should withdraw if it cannot negotiate a significant return of powers from the European Union while 19% disagreed. 65% of Conservatives agreed vs. just 39% of Labour voters. 89% of UKIP voters agreed while, perhaps surprisingly, 3% disagreed
  • Respondents were evenly split on whether leaving the EU would have a significantly negative effect on the UK’s economy. 34% agreed and 33% disagreed while 24% neither agreed nor disagreed. There was, again, a clear party split with Conservative voters disagreeing by 42% to 31% and Labour voters agreeing by 46% to 20%. UKIP voters, unsurprisingly, had a more optimistic view with only 8% thinking leaving the EU would damage the economy and 71% disagreeing

Topline Voting Intention

  % Change
Conservative 31 +2
Labour 41 +2
Liberal Democrats 7 -1
Other parties 21 -3

Other Parties (breakdown)

  % Change
UKIP 12 -3
Green 2 -2
SNP 4 +1
BNP 1 n/c
Plaid Cymru 1 +1
Other 1 n/c

Approval ratings

  % Approve % Disapprove Net rating Net rating (own party)
David Cameron 36% 50% -14% +79%
Ed Miliband 26% 41% -15% +41%
Nick Clegg 17% 58% -41% +46%

Voting Intention Tracker

Voting Intention Tracker inc. UKIP

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,964 GB adults aged 18+ from 8th to 11th January 2013. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Interview Method and Sample

This survey is conducted online by CAWI (computer aided web interviewing), using Opinium’s online research panel of circa 30,000 individuals. This research is run from a representative sample of GB adults (aged 18+ in England, Scotland and Wales). The sample is scientifically defined from pre-collected registration data containing gender, age (18-34, 35-54, and 55+), region (North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humberside, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West, Wales, and Scotland), working status and social grade to match the latest published ONS figures.

Opinium also takes into account differential response rates from the different demographic groups, to ensure the sample is representative.