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. Someone ( not me this time) mentioned Geert Hofstede in relation to Brexit. I have not remembered more than that.

    Today’s Irish Times carries a letter on Hofstede’s work and the dimension Hofstede finds is common to all countries – “uncertainty avoidance”.

    “Geert Hofstede’s Insights research shows that the dimension “uncertainty avoidance” has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known; should we try to control the future or just let it happen? The uncertainty avoidance index is defined as a society’s tolerance for ambiguity, in which people embrace or avert an event of something unexpected, unknown, or away from the status quo. Societies that score a high degree in this index opt for stiff codes of behaviour, guidelines, laws, and generally rely on absolute truth, or the belief that one lone truth dictates everything and people know what it is.

    A lower degree in this index shows more acceptances of differing thoughts or ideas. At 35 the UK has a low score on uncertainty avoidance which means that as a nation they are quite happy to wake up not knowing what the day brings and they are happy to “make it up as they go along”, changing plans as new information comes to light. The British are comfortable in ambiguous situations – the term “muddling through” is a very British way of expressing this.”

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/love-hate-or-fear-brexit-1.3800543

  2. HAL

    I saw that.This looks a little complicated also.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/brexit/trouble-ahead-amid-talk-of-imminent-brexit-breakthrough-1.3799617

    “Cox wants the EU to make explicit the temporary nature of the backstop on the grounds that article 50 cannot be the basis for Britain’s future relationship with the EU, only for its withdrawal.

    The EU is willing to consider the proposal if it is presented, but two potential problems are apparent already.

    One is that the backstop rests on two separate legal pillars. Its Northern Ireland-only measures are supported by the EU law underpinning the areas of North-South co-operation outlined in the Belfast Agreement. These can be open-ended.

    The UK-wide customs arrangement, on the other hand, is based on article 50, and the EU accepts that it must be a starting point for the future relationship rather than a landing zone. EU negotiators are happy to consider fresh legal assurances that the UK-wide backstop measures – which the British government requested – must be temporary.

    But they cannot offer the same assurances about the Northern Ireland-only elements which matter most to the DUP, whose support the prime minister views as essential to winning over a sufficient number of her own backbench Brexiteers.”

  3. Whispers of a potential Amendment to Recall of MPs Act 2015 being discussed in order to force by-Elections in matters such as these 11 (told to me by a sitting MP).

    That will be interesting if it comes to fruition.

  4. @ ALEC Emotionally, the bit about ‘standing alone against fascism’ has a strong emotional appeal, and while it is correct in a certain, very limited technical sense, it’s beyond obvious to state that in the end, we didn’t stand alone – we were joined by a huge alliance of friendly (and not so friendly) allies.

    Good point. We needed the USA in both World Wars and in those days we had an empire to provide manpower and resources.

  5. @Trevor – if HoC passes the Kyle proposal, EU will extend, whether or not May asks. Once no deal is off the table, May won’t be able to do anything other than vote or revoke.

    The arithmetic is quite simply – majority already against a no deal. once that sinks in, the other choices fall simply into line.

  6. Sam

    Maybe. But it looks like the UK-EU talks aren’t really taking place to make any substantive changes. It is either just going through the motions to prove it can’t be done or it is deliberate time-wasting.

  7. Roger Mexico

    If you compare the Tiggers with the SDP, then clearly they are nowhere. But I think they’re essentially different in a way that might (just might) work out for them.

    The SDP were very top down, dominated by the extremely powerful personalities of Jenkins, Williams and Owen. The Tiggers are really just a collection of vaguely centrist MPs who are so fed up with their parties they’d rather lose their seats than go on supporting them. As you’ve pointed out, Soubs and Umunna are political lightweights, and they’re the highest profile. But they’ve shown courage, and now they are there, demonstrating a now pervasive discontent with the two party system that dominates our politics and perhaps inspiring others. The fact that they’re not charismtic may work for them.

    So what they are is a vanguard. Vanguards usually just get slaughtered. But sometimes they break through, and sometimes they make space for a second charge behind them. We’ll see.

    Sorry about the military metaphor!

  8. If Mrs May has persuaded Justine Greening and Phillip (? BBC spelling) Lee to delay joining TIG by even 24 hours, the whole thing is likely to lose momentum and certainly to lose space in the headlines.

  9. Can’t see that it will make a lot of difference, Richard. If they go Independent on Monday instead of today it will just revive the headlines – might actually be a better ploy.

  10. LEWBLEW

    “A democrat would never say no to another vote. Especially with a more informed electorate. Unless they knew they’d lose. Now that’s undemocratic.”

    I think you have little understanding of democracy. We voted to leave, parliament overwhelmingly voted to accept the result and to trigger Art 50. Therefore, not to leave would be profoundly undemocratic. Once we have left the EU, I have no problem with a future government holding a referendum to re-join as I have posted many times as that would be democratic.

  11. @ the Trevor collective
    Enthusiastically Leave MPs are still a minority in the HoC; you are forgetting the substantial block of MPs that believe the vote must be respected whilst also thinking that Brexit is bad idea for the country – even the LibDems have one of these!

    I’m impressed at the degree of certainty you feel you have about how this will play out – I confess I am totally at a loss to know how this will go!

  12. STEAMDRIVENANDY

    “I wonder if TOH and Co. would be so keen on by-elections if those resigning the party whip were Brexit supporters?”

    Yes I would. If an MP is voted in based on a manifesto which they then then reject, the democratic thing to do is trigger a by-election and stand on their own agenda.

    It’ s really very simple.

  13. TIG’s ongoing impact depends, to an extent, on how well organised they are.

    A proper ‘launch’ campaign would try and string out the impact for as long as possible, ekeing out the resignations, creating maximum concern within Lab and Con parties and maximum anticipation for the media and public.

    My own feeling is that this isn’t as cynically organised as that, though I could be wrong and it seems much more ad hoc. In a way that’s more refreshing and more in tune with both their aspirations and possibly the public mood.

  14. It is interesting looking back at the history of the SDP. Parallels include the perceived extremism in Labour (via an organised subgroup Militant), and the Labour conference policy to withdraw from the EEC. There are plenty of differences, of course.

    The SDP was initially successful, winning by-elections in 1981 and early 1982. The historical parallel essentially stops with the Falklands war in 1982, which led to the revival of Conservative opinion poll ratings, a large Conservative majority in the 1983 general election with only 6 seats for the SDP.

    Barring any sort of repeat of the Falklands war, that does not tell us anything much about the prospects for a new party now. (In fact, the post-brexit political landscape is likely to look more like a parallel universe in which the Falklands war was lost.)

    In 1987, Kinnock had pulled the Labour party back towards the centre ground and the SDP made no more headway. In particular, Kinnock switched Labour policy back to support for membership of the EEC. One could argue that the SDP’s work was done.

  15. As I expected, Javid’s decision on Begum s unravelling quickly.

    Not that Corbyn will get any votes out of this either as people tend to just have a gut reaction [I feel it myself before intellect cuts in] which doesn’t ask the “and then what?” question.

    Millie:

    I wrote a longish reply to your information re Soubry, which inadvertently got disappeared by my incompetence.

    Suffice it to say that a lot of people [bizarrely including women] don’t like women who are intelligent, confident and articulate.

  16. This:

    ” I have sought to bring people back together.”

    from May to the three defecting Tories, evokes a hollow laugh.

  17. “Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity
    to re-rat.”
    — Churchill, after rejoining the Conservatives

  18. @alec

    It seems international lawyers are saying that codicils have no legal effect in treaties.

  19. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    No, sorry. Yes, the country voted to leave, but it wasn’t a legally binding referendum and there was no date or timetable in the question, nor any details about what leave meant. Sorry about that but you can’t decide what it means on your own.

    PARLIAMENT voted to trigger article 50. PARLIAMENT can revoke it if they see fit. Any further referenda would consign the previous to the dustbin, as with all votes.

  20. @RICHARDW
    If Mrs May has persuaded Justine Greening and Phillip (? BBC spelling) Lee to delay joining TIG by even 24 hours, the whole thing is likely to lose momentum and certainly to lose space in the headlines.’

    If nothing else the defections have got the PM worried and she appears to be atleast taking notice of them
    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47321482
    ‘Theresa May has held meetings with leading Tory Remainers, amid speculation about further defections.
    Justine Greening and Phillip Lee say Mrs May has ignored requests from pro-EU Tory MPs in favour of Brexiteers.
    The pair had separate meetings with the PM in Downing Street….
    Mr Lee has said one of the reasons the Tory MPs had decided to quit the party was the access the Brexiteer European Research Group got to the prime minister, who he said had refused to meet his wing of the party.’

    Perhaps this will be a turning point where it will not be the ERG that are calling the shots….or perhaps not
    Either way May can no longer afford ignoring those who want a softer Brexit without consequences

  21. LEWBLEW

    “PARLIAMENT voted to trigger article 50. PARLIAMENT can revoke it if they see fit. Any further referenda would consign the previous to the dustbin, as with all votes.”

    The date was set by the triggering of Art 50.The Government can do that, I am not sure Parliament can. Anyway as I say it is very simple. If art.50 was revoked it would be profoundly undemocratic IMO.

    It really is as simple as that

  22. @THE OTHER HOWARD to STEAMDRIVENANDY

    Politicians don’t resign their seat if they lose/resign the whip because it’s theirs and not their party’s. You might also notice neither Con or Lab won the last election outright so a lot from their manifestos isn’t happening.
    What next, a politician who votes against the party line should resign their seat?! If you aren’t happy with our system perhaps you should rethink your beloved quest for parliamentary ‘sovereignty’.

  23. Hireton

    “It seems international lawyers are saying that codicils have no legal effect in treaties.”

    But these international lawyers are expert in their field. The narrative of a significant number of prominent proponents was that “experts” were not to be trusted, and the view of the drinker in the Saloon Bar of the Podger and Pot, was to be treated with the same or higher degree of authority.

    Consequently, these Leavers should be reassured that a codicil must have equal authority.

    In other words – “It’s the way you tell ’em”.

  24. STEAMDRIVENANDY

    MPs who leave their party should…

    Resign their seat and fight a by-election: 49%
    Continue to serve their term: 28%

    via @YouGov, 20 Feb

    My view is in line with the voters it appears.

  25. LASZLO

    Hofstede

    Stasis

  26. Colin,
    “Your WW2 “example” merely conforms this . The Nazis were prevented from building Imperial Europe by force of arms , by a coalition of the willing-from across the globe.

    The EU model which binds 27 sovereign countries into procedural strait jackets , rather than flexible & willing bilateral & multilateral agreements is not the only way.”

    The EU is simply the best trade deal in the world. It is what all those multilateral agreements aspire to become, and is the logical conclusion of making them. It is utterly perverse to say the aim of leaving the EU trade block is to then create a new organisation amounting to the same thing.

    You compare the EU negatively to managing Europe by force of arms. Isnt the truth that not having to go out and kill or be killed by our neighbours is infinitely preferable to WW3 as a means of settling differences?

  27. The Other Howard,
    “I think you have little understanding of democracy. We voted to leave, parliament overwhelmingly voted to accept the result and to trigger Art 50.”

    Maybe it isnt us who misunderstand. it was a non binding referendum, advisory only, and the advice was distinctly in two directions. Parliament voted powers to allow brexit to take place, it did not authorise it to be done. Many felt May rather foolishly chose to give article 50 notice just when she did, and it was for party advantage in the election she then called. Had she held the election first, it would have been clear she needed to think again about UK strategy in negotiations which would begin after notice.

    The conservatives slogan was ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, but they have reversed this. Obviously all this was wasted time, and still at the last minute we do not have a decision on what course we want negotiations to go in.We are at a position where essentially we need to withdraw article 50 and start again trying to decide what we want, before commencing negotiations with the EU for anything. Its quite insane.

    NeilJ,
    “If nothing else the defections have got the PM worried and she appears to be at least taking notice of them”

    Well…conservative government forced by circumstances to move towards remain. Who’d a thunk it?

  28. I believe if it looks probable that Parliament will succeed in hi-jacking Brexit via the Letwin/Cooper Motion (or any other device), that the ERG or DUP will table a Motion of No Confidence first. The ERG and the DUP abstain and all the opposition parties have no option other than to support it. (the opposition can’t not support the offer of a general election, no matter how cynical)

    May will not only have to step sown as PM, nut more importantly as leader of the Conservative Party.

    Each party at that point will be forced into making a manifesto commitment regarding Brexit which all their relevant candidates will have no other option other than to endorse and support.

    Article 50 will be delayed and polling day will be Thursday, 23 May – a date on which we will also have to field a full slate of MEPs. (It also gives enough time for the Labour Party to erupt into civil war and venemous Court battles as Momentum sets about deselecting huge swathes of Labour’s current MPs – totally distracting it from the election itself).

    Doesn’t have to be the leader of the Opposition or the Leader of the Government to table the motion as#(as many people believe) – there is no written convention.

    (and like my last post, whispered from a sitting MP)

  29. Good evening all from a very mild Winchester.

    That lot who have bolted from their political parties for a plethora of reasons (they claim) ranging from the UK government not recognizing Narnia to ol Corby denouncing flat Earth believers as flatards really should hang their heads in shame.

    They stood on manifesto pledges and were voted in accordingly. Like a mad frustrated suburban housewife who’s 5 mins late for a Yoga sesh, they MP’s are frustrated over the fact the majority of us voted leave the EU morphing project and nothing else. Everything else is just a front.

    It’s not just suburban housewife’s who are frustrated, I’m frustrated with ol Corby wanting to let the IS bride back into the UK!!

    Off with her head…

  30. THE OTHER HOWARD
    STEAMDRIVENANDY

    MPs who leave their party should…

    Resign their seat and fight a by-election: 49%
    Continue to serve their term: 28%

    via @YouGov, 20 Feb

    My view is in line with the voters it appears
    __________________

    Absolutely, mine as well

  31. @adw

    You don’t understand Parliamentary procedure whatever you say.

    Unless the official opposition tables a motion of No Confidence, the Government does not have to provide time for it. If the DUP tabled a motion it would be dependent on the SNP making one of its alloted three opposition days available to it and for that to happen sometime soon.

    In any event, if the Government lost a no confidence vote Labour could form a government in the 14 days before a GE has to be called on the basis of extending A50 and holding a second referendum.

    A50 cannot be “delayed”. The A50 notice period can be extended but only with the unanimous agreement of the other 27 member states.

    Apart from that your “sitting MP” is spot on.

  32. @AC

    “It’s not just suburban housewife’s who are frustrated, I’m frustrated with ol Corby wanting to let the IS bride back into the UK!!”

    In this case I think Corbyn simply wants the rule of law to prevail which must be right. SIAC heard two appeals late last year on the same point at issue in these proceedings and found against the UK Government.

    If the UK Government doesn’t like the law it can try to change it. They can’t simply act arbitrarily because it makes Sajid Javid look hard.

  33. @TOH

    “MPs who leave their party should…

    Resign their seat and fight a by-election: 49%
    Continue to serve their term: 28%

    via @YouGov, 20 Feb

    My view is in line with the voters it appears”.

    I generally agree, unless the MP leaves to become a genuine Independent. Crossing over to another party, or a quasi party should precipitate a byelection..

  34. DANNY

    I wasn’t talking about TRade. I was responding to remarks by Alec about co-operation between countries on matters of mutual interest & benefit.

    It was Alec who invoked the role of Allies in the defeat of Germany in WW2 as some sort of confirmation of membership of the EU.

    You can read my response to him -I have nothing to add to it.

    On Defence co-operation specifically I referenced a piece by Bogdanor who I respect.

  35. RAF
    “If the UK Government doesn’t like the law it can try to change it. They can’t simply act arbitrarily because it makes Sajid Javid look hard”
    ________________

    Ok I accept your point and the majority of the public would probably like to see a change in the law as well.

  36. @HIRETON

    And do you think that the SNP wouldn’t jump at the chance to bring the dreaded Tories down? (They were instrumental in 1979 I recall) They aren’t in a position to turn it down really are they – irrespective of how cynical the reason behind it.

    And do you seriously believe Corbyn can form a government within the required 14 days? Really? I can think of 8 MPs that won’t be supporting it LOL.

    And splitting hairs over delay/extend – it amounts to the same.

    It’s nap on – we will leave on 29 March no matter what, or we will be in election mode before then.

    (Incidentally I know three sitting MPs- two Labour and a Tory, plus one disgraced former Labour MP.)

  37. Apparently up to government members could defy the government to block no deal brexit. The ERG will want them sacked. Of course if they are sacked the only replacements will be the Euro sceptic wing and ERG. If they are moved into ministerial positions more will defect to “The independent Group”

  38. @Allan Christie
    ‘That lot who have bolted from their political parties for a plethora of reasons (they claim) ranging from the UK government not recognizing Narnia to ol Corby denouncing flat Earth believers as flatards really should hang their heads in shame.’

    It seems to me entirely honourable to have stood at the last election believing that the referendum should be honoured, but on subsequently learning the damage that leaving would cause to have decided that the right thing to do is defy the party position for the good of the nation. If that is what they believe, they would be mad to resign and thereby absent themselves from voting in the national interest (IMO) in crucial decisions in Parliament. The truly disloyal are the ERG enthusiasts: respect for the leader of their party? Japan trade deal this year, next year, sometime, never?

  39. @Danny

    “The EU is simply the best trade deal in the world. It is what all those multilateral agreements aspire to become, and is the logical conclusion of making them. It is utterly perverse to say the aim of leaving the EU trade block is to then create a new organisation amounting to the same thing.”

    The EU is becoming a Federal Superstate. The decisive referendum result in 2016 where 60% of Labour constituencies and 70 % of Conservative constituencies voted LEAVE gave the clear message, enough is enough. Yes, we want to trade, but we do not want political and social union.

  40. @adw

    As I said, you still don’t understand what you are writing about.

  41. @ADW

    Whilst I think @HIRETON was pretty accurate in response to your 7:56, I’d add that;

    May will not only have to step sown as PM, nut more importantly as leader of the Conservative Party.

    is quite a leap too – as has been recently demonstrated, she has support of around 2/3rds of her MPs to remain leader, and I don’t see the large conflicting self-interested forces that brought that about being much changed by being forced into a GE.

    And even if everything were suddenly different, and they could change the rules to enable the Tory MPs to elect a new leader in the space of a couple of weeks, that would be politically courageous to say the least.

    Going into a close GE with a new leader who’s probably not nationally known? And going into a GE having just disenfranchised your own membership from their right to pick the new leader? Versus sticking with the known entity who, let’s not forget, still has a polling lead? It doesn’t even seem plausible to me.

  42. It looks like the game is up for May’s negotiating charade as the Tory centrists flex their muscles:

    https://twitter.com/Steven_Swinford/status/1098705855938211840?s=19

  43. David Colby
    I’d forgotten that Churchill quote. Very droll. The only modern politician I can imagine coming out with something like that is Boris. By the way can anyone recall anyone else who was a cabinet minister for two different parties? There can’t have been many. I thought Mosley was one candidate, but when I checked he was only ever a junior minister in a Labour government. He’s one they don’t often mention when boasting about great Labour heroes of the past! :-)
    —————————
    ADW (7:56)
    Very interesting stuff. A refreshing change from all the navel-gazing and pontificating that we get too much of on here.
    If this bit comes to pass:
    “Article 50 will be delayed and polling day will be Thursday, 23 May – a date on which we will also have to field a full slate of MEPs”

    Another factor to come into play is Farage’s Brexit party. I’ve got a feeling it’s more fantasy than reality at present but IF he could get a slate of candidates for the EU elections at least, they could sweep the board (as far as that’s possible with PR!)

  44. Looking at the SDP wins in 1983…..

    Caithness & Sutherland SDP Hold
    Glasgow Hillhead SDP Hold
    Plymouth Devonport SDP Hold
    Ross, Cromarty & Skye SDP Gain from Conservative
    Stockton South SDP Hold
    Woolwich SDP Hold

    I think that their successors will hold Streatham because of the massive Remain vote in Lambeth LBC and possibly Cambridgeshire South.

    Could Chuka Umunna challenge Labour for the London Mayor?

  45. TIG is already having an effect on Labour policy in a similar way to the effect the SDP had on Labour policy towards the EEC in the 1980s:

    “Some senior party figures believe much of the appeal of the 11-strong Independent Group would be neutralised if Labour leant towards backing a referendum.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/21/starmer-pm-is-running-down-clock-so-mps-only-get-binary-choice

  46. @HIRETON

    It looks like the game is up for May’s negotiating charade as the Tory centrists flex their muscles:

    Trouble is, they can’t demand an extension, they can only demand that May requests an extension. And if that request is declined, how do you see things playing out then?

  47. Hireton

    An interesting development.

    It’s always been a possibility that a large group of Tory & Labour centrist MPs would rebel against their more extreme colleagues, and ensure that either the existing deal of revoke would come about.

    At least temporarily, they could form a New Centre Party – which would very appropriately have the same initials as a large car parking facility.

  48. erratum – “existing deal of revoke ” should be “existing deal or revoke

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