Date Published: 
Sat, 06/10/2012 - 21:05

Labour have an 11 point lead as their conference comes to a close with 41% to 30% for the Conservatives. Ed Miliband's approval ratings climb to the highest measured in an Opinium survey after a well received conference speech while UKIP lead the Lib Dems 11% to 9%.

  • Ed Miliband's conference speech appears to have gone down well but that may reflect the fact that the fieldwork for this survey coincided with glowing media reviews for the Labour leader
  • 28% approve of Mr Miliband's job performance while 38% disapprove, giving him a net rating of -10%. Both the net figure and the raw approval numbers are the highest Opinium have measured for Mr Miliband since we began measuring approval ratings last year
  • Mr Miliband's raw approval rating is only slightly behind that of Prime Minister David Cameron (30%), an area where the PM is usually far ahead of the Labour leader. Mr Cameron's net approval rating, as it has been for some time, is lower on -21% due to a larger number of respondents disapproving of him
  • 13% of likely voters approve of Nick Clegg in the wake of his party conference while 61% disapprove making his net rating -48%

This week's questions for the Observer focused on David Cameron, Boris Johnson and the Conservative party as their conference begins in Birmingham.

  • In order to compare the appeal of David Cameron and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London who is frequently talked of as a possible leadership rival, we asked respondents whether they had a favourable or unfavourable view of David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson
  • David Cameron's favourability rating helpfully matches his job approval figures almost exactly with 29% viewing him favourably and 50% viewing him unfavourably. In comparison, 51% have a favourable view of Boris Johnson while just 22% have an unfavourable view
  • Just 11% of likely voters have a favourable view of Chancellor George Osborne while 53% have an unfavourable view
  • Even Labour voters have a favourable view of Mr Johnson (36% to 34%) while Londoners have a much more favourable view of the Mayor (53%) than they do of the PM (38%)

As with the Lib Dems and Labour conferences, we asked likely voters if they would be more or less likely to consider voting for the party in 2015 if there was a change of leader

  • 29% would be likely to consider voting Conservative if David Cameron remained leader, only 1% lower than the party's current voting intention figure. If Mr Cameron were replaced by an unspecified replacement then this figure actually drops to 26%, suggesting that Mr Cameron is still more popular than his party
  • If David Cameron were replaced by Boris Johnson then the number likely to consider voting Conservative only rises by 3 points to 32%. The main difference is that while 56% would be unlikely to consider voting Tory under David Cameron, this drops to 48% under Boris Johnson
  • 37% of likely voters can imagine Boris Johnson as Prime Minister while 57% cannot. This is actually slightly better than the figures for Ed Miliband last week where just 28% could imagine the Labour leader being Prime Minister
  • The only region of the country where those who can imagine Boris Johnson as PM outnumber those who cannot is, not surprisingly, London (49% can, 43% cannot)

We asked Conservative supporters (those who would vote Conservative or did so in 2010) who they would like to see replace David Cameron as party leader when the time comes and how they rated the two men, and Chancellor George Osborne, on a range of attributes

  • Boris Johnson is the most popular choice to replace David Cameron, followed by William Hague. 35% chose Mr Johnson with 20% choosing Foreign Secretary William Hague. Just 3% chose Chancellor George Osborne
  • David Cameron was most associated with being able to take tough decisions (44%), showing strong leadership (45%) and being credible (41%) while Boris Johnson was most associated with being able to inspire people (53%) but overwhelmingly being able to attract voters who might not normally support the Conservative party (62%). Just 16% chose David Cameron for what was once seen as his strongest asset within the Conservative party

Topline Voting Intention

  % Change
Conservative 30 +1
Labour 41 +2
Liberal Democrats 9 -1
Other parties 20 -2

Other Parties (breakdown)

  % Change
UKIP 11 +1
Green 4 n/c
SNP 4 +1
BNP 1 -1
Plaid Cymru 0 -1
Other 0 -2

Approval ratings

  % Approve % Disapprove Net rating Net rating (own party)
David Cameron 30% 51% -21% +69%
Ed Miliband 28% 38% -10% +55%
Nick Clegg 13% 61% -48% +25%

Notes to Journalists: 

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,965 GB adults aged 18+ from 2nd to 4th October 2012. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Additional Info: 

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.

Membership Logos