Today we’ve had the first two polls asking people about whether they’d support The Independent Group were they to stand candidates.

Survation in the Daily Mail asked how people would vote if there was “a new centrist party opposed to Brexit”, producing voting intention figures of CON 39%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, “New centrist party” 8%, UKIP 5%. In comparison, the normal voting intention figures in the poll were CON 40%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 5%, suggesting the new party could take support from both Labour and Conservative, though it would largely take votes from the Liberal Democrats. Tables are here.

SkyData, who do not typically publish voting intention figures, asked how people would vote if the “new Independent Group of former Labour MPs” were standing, and found voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 26%, TIG 10%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 6%. We don’t have standard voting intention figures to compare here, but on the face of it, it also looks as if support is coming from both Labour and Conservative, though the level of Lib Dem support appears to be holding up better than in the Survation poll. Note that the lower figures overall appear to be because of an unusually high figure for “others” (possibly because SkyData do not offer respondents the ability to answer don’t know). Tables are here.

These polls are, of course, still rather hypothetical. “The Independent Group” is not a political party yet (assuming, that it ever becomes one). It doesn’t formally have a leader yet, or any policies. We don’t yet know how it will co-exist with the Liberal Democrats. As of Tuesday night it only has former Labour MPs, though the rumourmill expects some Conservative MPs to join sooner rather than later.

Nevertheless, it is more “real” than the typical hypothetical polls asking about imaginary centrist parties. Respondents do at least have some names, faces and context to base it upon, and it gives us a baseline of support. We won’t really know for sure until (and unless) the Independent Group transform into a proper party and is just another option in standard voting intention polls.

511 Responses to “Survation and SkyData polls on the Independent Group”

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  1. Existing not exiting LOL

  2. Alec


    The people have spoken – and their voice will be heard.

  3. Speculation on TV that if this desertion continues, Tory and Labour hierarchy may decide together to move to a snap General Election to snuff them out before they get established with the added bonus it will confirm Brexit and put the matter to bed.

  4. @ADW

    Scrub my last thoughts that seems highly possible. So Labour may have to run up colours on Brexit after all.

  5. Danny,
    It is pretty clear that the % Leave in Tory voting intention has gone up, just as the % Remain has gone up in Lib Dem and Lab VI
    The people for whom Leave is a defining issue have mostly left Lab and Lib Dem since the referendum, and vice versa for strong RemainTories. 5% or so think the Tories are too soft and still back UKIP, but they will never go LD or Lab. The 30% of Tories who still prefer Remain and the 30% of Labour who back Leave are unlikely to switch to the enemy in my view. But Labour Remainers may switch to a new Party or the Lib Dems if Labour do not back a People’s Vote when the opportunity arises

  6. Hugo,
    What a very Stalinist viewpoint!
    “we have your votes! No mind-changing is allowed!”

  7. Peterw,
    “I should say by post-Brexit I mean post-outcome, whether WA, no WA or no Brexit.”

    However, whatever happens about the forthcoming brexit deadline, the issue will not be settled at this date. if its brexit we then start trade negotiations, which will still be about what we stay in. If its remain, we then start a further leave campaign.

  8. A misconception about TIG is that it’s a movement with a wing or a prayer of stopping Brexit. I don’t doubt its intention to do so should the opportunity arise, but the Parliamentary arithmetic in this regard is identical to what it was on Friday.

    What it’s doing is positioning itself as a centrist movement which can say “nothing to do with us” as far as Brexit is concerned, should the concern surrounding its effects turn out to be warranted. Obviously you theoretically already have one, but Nick Clegg maintaining a high profile is not conducive to a potential recovery (furthermore such was their collapse outside of former seats that they do not constitute a serious vote-splitting threat in the centre).

  9. A Scots MP has reported Ross Thomson MP to Parliamentary authorities for inappropriate sexual conduct. As the victim of the alleged incident has reported Thomson it now seems inevitable that the authorities will have to investigate him in contrast to their inability to do so over the incident in the Strangers Bar.

  10. YouGov show IG mainly taking votes from Lab, plus some from LD and a few from Con. The polls continue to disagree on where the support come from.

  11. I suspect Wollaston and Allen will be assets for the new ‘party’, but Soubry is a liability.

    I have a lot of admiration for Wollaston, despite her advocacy of a ‘people’s vote’, and I think she could win Totnes again at the next election. I gather that her constituency association were very unhappy with her, so she was likely to be deselected.

  12. CIM

    Some background on Sarah Wollaston’s seat.

    Sarah has a big personal vote, and is liked by Lib Dems and Greens (who are strong here). The local Labour Party is strongly Corbynite these days, but I’m not sure their voters are. Wollaston standing as an independent at the next election (though I’m not sure she will) would split the Labour vote, as well as the Tories, and she might easily win. The Lib Dems on the other hand used to be very strong here (came within 600 votes of defeating Anthony Steen back in the day) and might fancy their chances – I think they’d resist being asked not to put up a candidate. So it’s all up for grabs.

    For myself, being a centrist Labour supporter in a Tory seat, I’ve voted tactically in the past every which way: Green, Lib Dem, Labour. Now I’d vote for Wollaston. Poll of one, I know!

  13. Just seen reports of another poll which excludes the new “group” where the Tory lead has increased to 8 pts.

    No other details, I’m afraid.

  14. via Times Pol Corr

    Con 38
    Lab 26
    *TIG 14*
    LD 7
    SNP/Plaid 5
    Other 11

  15. That’s a Times/YG poll

  16. “Gave me a laugh though, and no i don’t mind paying the level of tax i do as I think it quite fair, especially as I will get a nice tax cut in April along with most people.”
    @The Other Howard February 20th, 2019 at 7:59 am

    So you’re still paying NI. Given you’re age that’s the funniest thing of all.

  17. Are TIG the only political group [apart from Green…] which has a majority of female MPs?

    If so it’s a bloody good sign,

  18. @Oldnat

    “Should the Corbyn/Leonard slate dominate, it might be hard for the likes of Ian Murray and Kez Dugdale to stay SLab.”

    One or two comments I read suggested that the ‘I’ of TIG might put SLab politicians off slightly. It would be interesting to see which (if any) Scot-Con MPs want to put their electorate ahead of their party on the Brexit issue. At one time Mundell would have been inclined, but his post brings him far greater political purpose (for him).


    One interesting thing out of this: We’re seeing some of Con and Lab coalesce into the ‘TIG’, and might well see Con and Lab vote together to kick the TIG into touch.

    Con/Lab coalition vs Con/Lab coalition – Amazing!

  19. If it snowballs then, of course, they could claim third party status.

    {And after that perhaps second party status…. which would be a laugh.]

  20. Rosieanddaisie

    Why is a majority of female MPs a “bloody good sign”?

    Surely the criteria should be ability, not male or female.

  21. hugo

    So you think the centuries of complete male domination was because of the criteria of “ability” ???

    Ability to be a bloke – yes.

    I actually think there are many other elements, other than “ability” [however that is defined or judged] that a politician needs, and think it is perfectly logical that a parliament should, at least approximately, reflect the population of the country it serves.

    So more women first and then a few doggie MPs.

    Daisie is too lazy, so might suit the house of Ladies, but Rose would be alright.

  22. I keep hearing on the news that these defector MPs are “moderates”.
    How is it moderate to fanatically support a foreign supranational authoritarian cabal ?

  23. HUGO

    Westminster voting intention (normal): CON: 41% (-) LAB: 33% (-1) LDEM: 10% (-) UKIP: 4% (-) GRN: 4% (-) via @YouGov, 18 – 19 Feb Chgs. w/ 04 Feb


    I’d be interested in seeing what the YouGov’s MRP model has to say on the ability of the ‘independent group’ to keep their seats at the next GE or in byelections (although they have, scandalously in my view, ruled the latter out). Do they suffer from overly diffuse support, or are there actual constituencies which will return them as MPs?

    MRP couldn’t deal with it at all. There there simply aren’t the data to say what sort of people might or would vote for such a Party. You can make assumptions, but it would be based on wishful thinking. But, as with UKIP and the SDP before them, the reality would almost certainly be that even higher levels of support would fail to deliver the seats, except where there is a strong personal vote.

    For the eight Labour defectors there almost certainly isn’t – indeed many seem to to have a negative one. The reason many of these defected was because they had fallen out with their local CLP and that was often about more than pure politics or support of Corbyn. They may simply have not been seen as effective local MPs and that perception may be wider than the CLP.

    For the Tories (another 100% wrong prediction from me), as others have mentioned Woolaston does have a big personal vote and could probably be elected elected as an Independent under any circumstances. Indeed she might do better without being part of this group – especially with Lib Dem and/or Green support, both of whom are strong in Totnes.

    Totnes is one of those self-consciously weird place that likes to be different and the East Devon Independents are already the challengers next door. And I suspect Woolaston’s falling out with her local party was in part caused by he popularity. They felt she was imposed on them by the public (she was elected in an open postal primary), rather than being their own choice.

    But Allen might also have chance as well. South Cambridgeshire is strongly Remain and the local authority was won by Lib Dems last year. They also won the one Cambridge ward in the seat. So if an accommodation with the Lib Dems (they have already selected a candidate) could be reached, she might keep the seat.

  25. Usual caveats re wee Scots sample, but it might point to a more interesting difference in pattern.

    Without TIG (c/f Feb 3-4)

    SCon 29% (+1)
    SLab 14% (-6)
    SLD 6% (-3)
    SNP 41% (+1)
    Other (Gr 4% : UKIP 3% : Oth 3%) (+8)

    With TIG (c/f with above)

    SCon 26% (-3)
    SLab 13% (-1)
    SLD 5% (-1)
    TIG 8% (+8)
    SNP & others (YG lumps them all together) 48% (-3) though it looks like SNP aren’t much affected

  26. David Colby


  27. Via Britain Elects

    Westminster voting intention (normal):

    CON: 41% (-)
    LAB: 33% (-1)
    LDEM: 10% (-)
    UKIP: 4% (-)
    GRN: 4% (-)

    via @YouGov, 18 – 19 Feb
    Chgs. w/ 04 Feb

    Westminster voting intention (if IG stand candidates):

    CON: 38%
    LAB: 26%
    IG: 14%
    LDEM: 7%

    via @YouGov, 18 – 19 Feb

  28. “HUGO
    I keep hearing on the news that these defector MPs are “moderates”.
    How is it moderate to fanatically support a foreign supranational authoritarian cabal ?”

    Blimey, you do post some utter rubbish.

    Assuming you mean the EU, the UK is a long-standing and senior member of that grouping.

    Voluntarily, and because it benefits us, and others, enormously.

  29. Hugo

    ‘I keep hearing on the news that these defector MPs are “moderates”.
    How is it moderate to fanatically support a foreign supranational authoritarian cabal ?’

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. At least I assume you meant it as a joke.

  30. Putting people in boxes and categories according to physical characteristics has a name.

    It’s called prejudice. And it is not something we want to see in the UK.

    Putting people in boxes and categories according to physical characteristics has a name.

    It’s called prejudice. And it is not something we want to see in the UK.”

    Don’t draw such daft conclusions please. My own attitude is simply a desire to see an end to exactly that – centuries of male domination in which women weren’t allowed to study or vote or do many, many other things, all of which are now taken for granted, as they should be.

    All we look for is for the balance to be redressed and reflect society – particularly in an organisation that actually runs the way society works together.

  32. AL URQA

    “So you’re still paying NI. Given you’re age that’s the funniest thing of all.”

    Of course not, you obviously did not understand the point I was making. see my response to OLDNAT.

    Oh dear! I suggest you read properly before you post.

  33. As so often, especially with YouGov polls it’s often important to look at all the VI, including DKs etc. If you compare the Vi including the TIG from here:

    with the TIG-less one here:

    you see the following changes when you add TIG in:

    Conservative 22% (-4)

    Labour 15% (-6)

    Liberal Democrat 4% (-2)

    The Independent Group 9% (n/a)

    SNP/ Plaid Cymru 3% (-)

    Some other party 7% (-1)

    Would not vote 10% (-1)

    Don’t know 31% (+7)

    So the effect of introducing TIG is to increase the numbers of those uncertain as to how they will vote – which were already at an all-time high before. This seem to hit Labour more than the Tories – though both lose votes to TIG and, as Anthony says in his commentary, the poll was taken before this morning’s defections which might make more Conservative voters (especially Remainers who have previously been very loyal) willing to consider the new group. But it also means that we should be very cautious about quoting headline figures from such polls when 41% of the respondents are not giving a VI and those figures are only based on the remaining 59%.

    This is an interesting contrast with the Survation poll where the DKs went down slightly when TIG was introduced. But Survation actually described the new group as “A new centrist party opposed to Brexit”, while YouGov just gave the information “On Monday a group of Labour MPs resigned from the party to sit as the Independent Group of MPs”[1]. This shows up in the way the TIG here get 12% of those who voted Remain but also 7% of those who voted Leave. The figures in Survation were 12% – and 1%.

    [1] They also asked if people had been following the story: Very closely 9%; Fairly closely 29%; Not very closely 24%; I am aware of the story but am not following it 22%; I am not aware of the story 16%. We often forget that we are in the 9% and most other people aren’t. Of course that also makes these results unreliable.

  34. Remember France 2017! Before the new centrist party LREM, led by E. Macron, was established, the two major parties (Socialist PS and right-of center UMP, later LR) totalled approx.55%. Yet in 2017 their combined score was as low as 26% at the Pres. Election (Macron: 24%) and 22% at the subsequent GE (LREM: 28%). Even now, despite the Yellow Vests turmoil, the latest VI for EE 2019 is LREM 24 (+24 from 2014 EE) and LR-PS 16 [10+6] (-18 in comparison to 2014, when their respective scores were 20 and 14). Remember also thatb France has no PR, but FPtP in 2 rounds… and yet…

  35. @Hugo – “Alec


    The people have spoken – and their voice will be heard.”

    Tell you what – why don’t we ask them again, just to make sure we understood what they said?

    Can’t say fairer than listening to the people, can we?

  36. @Roger Mexico

    As I understand it, the MRP model is able to deal with individual constituency idiosyncrasies such as independents (those with non-negligible support).

  37. So we now have three Tory defections as well as another Labour one. I am sad to see Wollaston go, in many ways a person to admire. No great surprise though, since they are Europhiles.

    As I said when the original Labour defections occurred they would get more respect if they caused by-election since all three were voted in on the Tory manifesto.

    The latest YouGov poll is interesting but I would want to see what the Tory defections do to polling.

    The three defections make the Governments hold on power slightly weaker. How would they vote in a vote of confidence? If against the Government I suspect only Wollaston could expect to be re-elected as she has a strong personal following.

    As for Soubry……….no loss to the Tory party at all.

  38. Seat changes from TIG – quick “split” vote analysis

    From previous thread only Angela Smith (xLAB) is in a marginal “Red” seat. The other 6 would all be LAB v xLAB.

    Joan Ryan (new xLAB) has a 10k majority so it’s just about possible CON win that seat due to split “Red” votes.

    From the CON side. Only Soubs is in a marginal seat that LAB would almost certainly win if she stood against a CON candidate and split the “Blue” vote.

    Of course we don’t really know what policies any of these 11 would stand on other than their strong Brexit view and how much “personal” support they would get but in crude “Blue” v “Red” terms it looks like a 1-1 switch due to the “split factor”

    LAB would take Broxtowe due to Soubs splitting the CON vote

    CON would take Penistone due to Joan Ryan splitting the LAB vote

    NB loads of caveats and assumptions other parties stand as before, etc. LDEM are quite high in Allen’s and Wollaston’s seats so if they stood down and backed those candidates they’d have much more chance of seeing of a new CON candidate.

  39. Alec

    Happy to have another vote… about 40 years.

    Only fair to have the same distance between referenda asking the same question.

    Now eagerly waiting for Soubry to resign so a “people’s vote” can take place in Broxtowe.

  40. Rather than focus on the numbers, or even Brexit, it may be worth looking at the reasons given for the three ex Cons leaving ‘Bluekip’.

    All three of them are bemoaning the Conservatives lurch to the right, not just over Brexit, and cite a deep dissatisfaction with austerity and the defeat on the ‘one nation’ tradition within the party.

    At some point, Brexit will be dealt with, one way or another, and regardless as to whether we leave, the fundamental splits in both main parties will remain. For the Tories in particular, Brexit has brought this ideological split into very sharp relief, with the hard line Brexiters favouring the low tax, de-regulate, free trade, socially conservative wing of the party.

    Labour have problems, but so too do the Tories. These three might as well have said that we’re back to ‘the nasty party’ – a simple message that would really hurt Mrs May.

    Many of felt that the detoxification of the early Cameron period was fake, and so it has turned out to be.

    An awful lot is up in the air at the moment, and Brexit looks like being just the start of the tumult.

  41. @ PATRICKBRIAN – Totnes

    See previous post but a key factor in your seat will be LDEM and Green either pulling out and directly supporting Wollaston or posting “paper candidates”.

    You can run different scenarios but assuming CON are 2/3rd “tribal” then from last GE with no changes, result would be:

    CON: 17,981
    LAB: 13,495
    TIG: 8,991
    LDEM: 6,466
    Green: 2,097
    UKIP: 1,240

    Wollaston would lose her seat but it stays “Blue” due to the split in the opposition vote.

    Now assume LDEM, Green don’t stand and TIG (Wollaston) gets all those votes.

    CON: 17,981
    TIG: 17,554
    LAB: 13,495
    UKIP: 1,240

    Very close!

    PS These are massive assumptions of course, simply showing how important it will be for LDEM and Green to work with the “defectors” rather than split the “Centre-Remain” vote.

  42. I am pleased that three One-Nation Tories have now joined the Independent Group, and from what we heard on WatO, they spoke elegantly at their press conference.

    This should trigger more MP defections.

    But what it ought to do, is make Theresa May come to her senses. She surely doesn`t want to go down in history as the lady who broke up the Tory party, but this seems near inevitable now. Her foolishness in steering to the far Right on Brexit and other policies, and her astounding wooing of Donald Trump, holding his hand despite his known awful behaviour, on her first US trip after he became president, will for ever haunt her.

    Some are saying the IG are a disparate bunch with no leader. But surely this is planned for this starting stage – it leaves the way for a heavyweight such as Hilary Benn to join and eventually become leader.

    But TM has a chance to redeem herself and strangle the IG at birth. She is in Brussels today, and could clearly tell the EU negotiation leads that she has now been forced to compromise by the HoC arithmetic and so she now wants the UK to stay in the SM and CU, to respect the decisions made across the UK in 2016.

  43. Electoral Calculus model allows you to split the LAB vote.

    Using the YG-Times numbers you’d get:

    CON 363
    LAB 164
    SNP 43
    TIG 41
    LDEM 16

    CON majority of 76!!

    Below link gets you directly to those numbers but their model allows you to make your own predictions. Unfort if you tick the split box you can’t get the regional, seat info.

    NB Huge caveats in there of course and their model only allows you to split LAB (although clearly the number have and will come much more from LAB than CON)

  44. @ ALEC – I’m totally up for a GE, that’s a PeoplesVote ;)

  45. “supranational authoritarian cabal”

    Well I didn’t even know Radiohead had a new album out!

    All these flash polls are already out of date as yesterday it was only Labour MP’s resigning so you’d expect Labour to take a hit…..but tomorrow???


  46. A piece from Flip Chart Fairytales on the possibility or otherwise of success by a new political party.

    “Seven Labour MPs have resigned the party whip. It’s not clear what they plan to do next but many commentators assume that the formation of a new centrist party will be the eventual outcome

    Is there a market for a new centrist party though? Nick Barlow thinks not. He wrote a piece on ‘the centrist fallacy’ last year in which he looked at data from the British Election Survey. He found that most people think their own political views are in the centre ground even when they are not. So lots of people might say they would support a centrist party but wouldn’t actually like its policies when it came to an election. He also found that, based on the questions in the BES, the electorate skews to the left on economic issues and to the right on social issues.”

  47. I was very pleased to hear the Tory 3 talk about the very serious effects of this needless Tory austerity.

    I have been out plant recording today and found several Aberdeenshire lanes in a shocking state, with thousands of deep potholes. This is actually helpful to me since I can park in the middle of the road, and check nearby verges – nobody can drive along at more than 5 mph and they have to have a high-clearance vehicle.

    It is so sad that lanes which have been tarred and easily drivable for at least the last 90 years, are now totally ruined, their foundations washing away, and in places streams cutting into their sides. The folk I feel most sorry for are those trying to sell their houses – maybe a quarter of the properties along the damaged lanes are up for sale. But nobody in their senses will buy, with austerity cut-backs to be the biggest ever in the coming financial year.

    But TM is wasting billions preparing for a no-deal Brexit. The fury of our people will last for generations.

  48. I would love for all MPs to do a quiz like the political compass and find out which party (modern or historical) to which they most align. At least that way, THEY would have a clue as to where they should sit in the house at present.

    I’m pretty sure most voters don’t know what modern politicians or parties stand for.

  49. The inclusion of some (ex) Tory MPs into the mix does make IG a fundamentally different proposition. Hard to see how it would entice additional LAB voters – in fact, it will presumably cause some LAB to IG and LAB to DK voters to return to the fold. Of course, we would expect some additional CON to IGs and CON to DKs to emerge.

    Good time to be in the polling business!

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