There are five polls with fieldwork conducted at least partially since the weekend – I don’t know if there are more to come overnight (I think there may be at least one more. ComRes and Survation have both polled during the campaign, but I don’t know if either are doing a final call):

Panelbase (14th-21st May) – BREX 30%, LAB 25%, LDEM 15%, CON 12%, GRN 7%, ChUK 3%, UKIP 3% (tabs
Kantar (14th-21st May) – BREX 27%, LAB 24%, LDEM 15%, CON 13%, GRN 8%, ChUK 5%, UKIP 4% (tabs)
Opinium (17th-20th May) – BREX 38%, LAB 17%, LDEM 15%, CON 12%, GRN 7%, ChUK 3%, UKIP 2%
YouGov (19th-21st May) – BREX 37%, LAB 13%, LDEM 19%, CON 7%, GRN 12%, ChUK 4%, UKIP 3% (tabs)
BMG (20th-22nd May) – BREX 35%, LAB 18%, LDEM 17%, CON 12%, GRN 8%, ChUK 4%, UKIP 2% (tabs

The broad story across the polls is the same – the Brexit party are ahead, Conservative support has utterly collapsed, the Lib Dems are doing well in the mid-to-high teens, and both Change UK and UKIP have failed to shine. There is more variation in the detail, and particularly in how well or badly Labour are doing. Kantar and Panelbase have them not far behind the Brexit party; Opinium and BMG have them down in the teens, YouGov have them below the Liberal Democrats in third place.

This isn’t an election like 2017 when pollsters took very different approaches and the differences are easy to explain. The polling companies aren’t taking radically different approaches – there are some differences in turnout modelling (BMG and Opinium, for example, are taking only those most certain to vote, which will be boosting the Brexit party and Lib Dems), Kantar are estimating the likely vote who say don’t know based on their demographics and answers to other questions, which explains their comparative low figure for the Brexit party (they’d be on 31% otherwise). And don’t overlook simple things like when the fieldwork was conducted – all the polls have been showing a downwards trend in Labour support, so it may not be co-incidence that the polls from Panelbase & Kantar whose earliest fieldwork is over a week old have higher support for Labour.

The bottom line however is that this is a tricky election. Firstly, turnout for European elections is normally low (and one of the problems with polls in recent years is getting too many of the sort of people who vote, and not enough of those who don’t bother). Secondly, most polling companies rely on some degree to weighting by past general election vote to make sure their samples are representative, as how people voted at previous elections normally correlates pretty well with their current vote. An election like this, when an awful lot of people are not voting for the party that they voted for at the last election, will make those techniques less effective. We shall see on Sunday.

In the meantime, several people have asked me about exit polls tomorrow. There won’t be any. The big, offical BBC/ITV/Sky exit poll is only conducted at general elections anyway, but even if they wanted to, they couldn’t do one tomorrow. For the European elections the rules that ban the publication of exit polls until after polls close apply across Europe, so it wouldn’t be legal to public any exit poll until the polls have closed everywhere in the European Union… and some countries won’t finish voting until Sunday night.


1,788 Responses to “European Election polls”

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  1. OldNat

    “Don’t parties use polling agents in your part of the UK?”

    Of course they do. Not only is today’s Trevbot very offensive, he is also very wrong.

  2. The fact that there’s been an exit poll in Netherlands seems to contradict AW’s commentary that nothing can be published until Sunday. Not sure what’s going on there, but sadly we will have to wait. It’s going to be a long weekend, in more sense than one. Actually quite nice that there’s a Bank Holiday on Monday, so we can fully enjoy the Sunday night coverage. Is it weird to look forward to these things?

  3. @OldNat

    “I suppose if you don’t have enough members to mount a presence outside polling places, that is to be expected.”

    I presume your “polling agents” are what we call “tellers” down here. If so, these people, usually from the two main parties, who recorded polling card numbers of individual voters so they could be checked against canvassing returns in the local party committee rooms, have all but gone. Their main purpose was to see if pledged voters were turning out, generating feverish attempts towards the end of the day to door-knock and/or ferry recalcitrant captive voters to the polling stations. It was all part of “getting your vote out” and, in tight races, could be pivotal.

    It used to be the fun of electioneering but it’s all but gone where I live now. The last time I saw it in real action was in the 1997 GE. That election also gave the first glimpse of the Tory Party local organisation beginning to disintegrate. In the 60s, 70s and 80s the Tories were the masters of this ground level electioneering, manning committee rooms and providing tellers, envelope-stuffers and canvassers in their droves. Labour had a lot of boots on the ground in 1997 and I remember us all asking each other “where have the Tories gone?”.

    They’ve never really returned.

  4. Lib Dems in Blairgowrie feel satisfied their base voters came out.

  5. @ BFR – Luckily we still live in a tolerant liberal country where you don’t have leaders of political parties saying things like:

    “B*llocks to Brexit”

    just because they lost a democratic People’s Vote and then the follow up vote by our elected representatives who gave our PM the authority to trigger A50. I’m sure those MPs must have all read and understood A50 as the vast majority of them were then re-elected under manifestos that respected the referendum result and didn’t just say “B*llock” to democracy and People Voting

    oh wait…

    (PS If your Scottish then you’ve been told Scotland voted to Remain in EU which is of course “factually incorrect” but heaven forbid I cast a slur on the intelligence of SNP folk)

  6. @Trigguy

    Not weird. It’s an interest like any other. I can’t say I look forward to any election generally, although the 2015 one held a certain anticipation for me.

  7. Better Iron my Brown Shirt and get off for a last run round my three local Polling Stations/Places!

    Peter.

  8. CROSSBAT11

    Yes I have heard that the Tory party don’t have the numbers to do that , though the Labour party does.

  9. @ NORBOLD – So you have “agents” inside polling stations?

    Please let me know where these polling stations are and which parties are breaking the rules so I can report them to the authorities.

  10. Howdy folks.

    I voted in Batley at about 1800, and from looking at the name crossed off the list, I reckon turnout by that time can’t have been anymore than 10-15%.

  11. Trevor the agents usually sit or stand just outside the polling station.

  12. CB11

    “I presume your “polling agents” are what we call “tellers” down here.”

    Nope.

    I too remember when polling agents (the legal term, under UK law, for those accredited by the returning officer to represent their party at polling places) also operated as tellers as part of the GOTV operation.

    While I’ve never been persuaded that a visible human presence from a party outside a polling place persuades anyone to vote for that party, there is anecdotal evidence (in communities like mine, at least) that parties who can’t demonstrate a public presence may be disadvantaged among voters who haven’t decided how to vote before entering the polling station.

  13. The party polling agents at the polling station ask you for your polling number and strike you off their list, so they know not to go knocking on your door to get you out to vote.

  14. If you can not decide who to vote for – or are uncertain of the best order for candidates (1,2,3 etc) if the system is STV, the polling agent can help give advice.

  15. The polling agents often enjoy a degree of pleasant banter, as their job is quite boring.

  16. @Crossbat11

    It’s only worth having tellers if you have the resources to do more than one ‘knock-up’ *. Labour round our way stopped using them first but just did one ‘knock-up’ from their canvassing records. In theory, it should allow you to move workers from one area to another as you determine that the area is either definitely won or definitely lost, but in practice I have never found that you can be sure enough to do this unless you are pretty sure before polling day.

    *To any Americans reading this, it means knocking on electors’ doors on polling day to encourage those who have not already voted to go and vote for you.

  17. @ Trevor Warne

    Of course Labour must be counted as a “Leave” Party, especially since they spent most of this election negotiating with the other “Leave” party, on how to implement Brexit.

    I am looking forward to watching Farage and the Brexit Party running in a GE and along with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, explaining how they both intend to implement Brexit and re-build the relationship with the UKs largest trading partner.

    Even Trump, for all his threats of tearing up NAFTA, never actually did it and in fact we are about to sign the new agreement, after Canada and Mexico told Trump:

    “Either drop all the tarriffs on steel and aluminium or we will not ratify the revised NAFTA”.

    And right now if you talk to Trump’s base in the US Mid-West they will tell you that the rate at which farmers are going bankrupt is skyrocketing, and as result they are going to be spending over a $ billion in bailouts because the Chinese have simple stopped buying US Soy and a long list of other products.

    So I think a few years in the drivers seat dealing with “realpolitik” might possibly sober up Nigel and Boris, as Trump is finding out that throwing tantrums and issuing threats against the world’s second largest economy is not working very well.

    My advice to Theresa May: Resign now and the let the boys have their hour in the sun and let’s see if they screw things up even worse.

    At least the UK could move from rhetoric to reality. Of course there is the “wee tiny problem” that neither Scotland nor Northern Ireland want to do that and that at least a stubborn 40% plus in England and Wales are not to keen on it either.

    What a bother.

    @ Old Nat

    I thought exit polls were illegal and what’s the url?

    Further if Scotland votes Remain by around 65% in this EU election, does that mean Sturgeon and the SNP will wait for another Indy referendum until after Brexit is implemented or will they claim that since Scotland has now twice voted to “Remain in Europe” – that it is time to leave the UK so as to be able negotiate a continuation of “Remaining in Europe”?

  18. Prof Howard

    That was one function of polling agents. I haven’t seen that used in practice for over 50 years!

    Where any party still has sufficiently accurate records of its support, and the resources to mount that kind of GOTV operation – and probably hasn’t transferred the operation to email/texting etc, it may well still continue.

  19. LeftieLiberal,
    “The sub-samples are small and not necessarily balanced, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many Labour supporters lending the Lib Dems their vote in this election to send Corbyn a message. ”

    Thats the thing though, are these labour supporters lending their vote to libs, or are they modern day social remainers, who had formerly lent it to labour?

    Do we know whether social remainers vote left because their parents did -as in the labour northern heartlands – or as the age stratification of party support might suggest, opposite to their aged tory parents.

    Just how much party loyalty is there in this sort of voter. Considering FPP constrains our vote and would mask a real desire for a different party. Do I recall some survey which said most party supporters do not approve the policies of their chosen party ? More are commited to leave/remain than lab/con?

  20. Canada

    “Scotland has now twice voted to “Remain in Europe””

    Twice?

    2007 : 2011 : (arguably) 2014 : 2015 : 2016 : 2017: (no doubt) 2019.

  21. @ProfHoward

    Please don’t confuse tellers and polling agents because legally they are different.

    Tellers sit (or stand) outside polling stations and may ask voters for their electoral numbers but are not permitted to demand them. The Presiding Officer at the polling station can require them to leave if they do not follow the rules.

    Polling agents are authorised by the Returning Officer on the request of the Agent for a candidate in the election. Officially their role is to challenge anyone suspected of personation, which entitles them to enter polling stations. This is not generally a problem in mainland Great Britain but is in Northern Ireland. It is quite useful though as an Agent in a widely dispersed constituency to appoint Polling Agents to act as sub-Agents on polling day simply because of their authority to enter polling stations.

  22. @ PROFHOWARD – “Trevor the agents usually sit or stand just outside the polling station”

    key word being OUTSIDE.

    @ CANADA – Very happy for LAB to continue to classed as a “Leave” party.

    You say:

    “I am looking forward to watching Farage and the Brexit Party running in a GE and along with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, explaining how they both intend to implement Brexit and re-build the relationship with the UKs largest trading partner”

    So am I, however:

    The US is the single country with which we do most trade, and pretty balanced trade as it goes, and as you say even lil’ ol’ Canada stood up to Trump. Get “surrender monkey” May out and replace Robbins with someone not seeking a Belgium passport and I reckon we could get as good a deal from Trump as you have – maybe better.

    I’m a th!cko Leaver so perhaps I misunderstood that you might be suggesting we’d kowtow back to Brussels to allow Germany continued tariff free access to UK consumers? Why would we do that? We have a 95bn/yr trade deficit in goods with EU – a large part of which is Germany.

    We need protection from, and tariffs upon, those countries that deliberately run twin surpluses (trade and budget).

    However, I can certainly see parts of EU being in trouble when UK consumers adjust to buying non-EU goods and we fix our trade deficit issue, start making more of our own steel, etc. EU countries’ problems are however between their countries’ voters and their own leaders.

    PS I’m surprised you find democracy a “bother” but fortunately plenty of folks still respect democracy here in UK.

    PPS You might want to check how the US is doing. Full kudos to lil ol’ Canada fighting it’s corner but US doing pretty well under Trump. Not keen on the guy or his tantrums but respect much of his economic and trade policy and pretty sure he’ll be looking at Germany next and that is one war we need to be “neutral” in, not cannon fodder for the 4th Re!ch (or Holy Roman Empire v5 if you’re Québécois)

  23. Leftie Liberal

    “It is quite useful though as an Agent in a widely dispersed constituency to appoint Polling Agents to act as sub-Agents on polling day simply because of their authority to enter polling stations.”

    Precisely. In all my years of being a polling agent, I have had to use that authority only once – to prevent a local councillor trying to browbeat a polling clerk into allowing someone to vote for his party.

    Nowadays, SNP polling agents (probably others too) will be able to contact the agent for advice by mobile where problems arise.

    Few difficulties do arise, but when they do it aids democracy when someone is there to help resolve it.

  24. Just in case (and for balance)

    A lot of non-Dutch EU citizens couldn’t vote in the Netherlands (the left-liberals wrote to their home office). Participation rate was apparently 12.5% (of the half a million non-Dutch EU citizens), somewhat (!) lower than the close to 45% turnout.

  25. Meanwhile, the UK’s remnant empire is under even more threat – 116 to 6 vote at the UN that UK must decolonise the Chagos Islands immediately.

    The UK’s glorious allies in its humiliation were Trump’s USA, Israel, Austria, Hungary and the Maldives.

    What a nice bunch of friends.

  26. Interesting study on propaganda in the EP elections.

    https://nltimes.nl/2019/05/23/dutch-fake-news-come-netherlands-report

  27. “@ Terence Weldon

    Do you know how severe the restrictions will be on gossip while the verification/count is going on?”

    No, I don’t know what the formal restrictions will be, but it won’t really matter. My experience of the local count, was that policing any restrictions is pretty well impossible.

    Besides, for these elections, there’s not much point. At each counting station, observers will get an impression of their local results, but no way of knowing how it adds up across their region.

  28. “@ Terence Weldon

    Do you know how severe the restrictions will be on gossip while the verification/count is going on?”

    No, I don’t know what the formal restrictions will be, but it won’t really matter. My experience of the local count, was that policing any restrictions is pretty well impossible.

    Besides, for these elections, there’s not much point. At each counting station, observers will get an impression of their local results, but no way of knowing how it adds up across their region.

  29. Just an passim

    The discretion of law and interpreting the law.

    After the complaint of the German couple of not being able to votr, Those Hamlet entered them in the registration and they voted.

    Take back control or something I suppose.

  30. @ PETER (SNP) – Did someone throw a chocolate milkshake on your yellow shirt, hence now brown, or did the council toilet run out of paper?

    I expect you still might have council run toilets in Scotland – paid for by English taxpayers of course.

    Perhaps you can get “The Sturgeon Youth” to put little “aim” signs up in the urinals if you like – pictures of Boris, Farage etc. Just watch out for the splash back when one of them finally twigs that Scotland is political and economic baggage.

    Perhaps you also keep the polling stations open late to press-gang the drunks in to polling booths and help them put an X in the “correct” box – the one with the National party written next to it. Peer over to the list of names and pick another one for yourself that hasn’t been crossed off yet and buy your man a wee dram down the pub later ;)

  31. @Oldnat

    No longer ruling the waves, the UK can no longer waive the rules. ;)

  32. Now we’ve got past 10, there seem to be some new polls coming out. Here’s a new Survation (sample 2000ish):

    European Parliament voting intention:

    BREX: 31% (+1)
    LAB: 23% (-1)
    CON: 14% (-)
    LDEM: 12% (-)
    GRN: 7% (+3)
    CHUK: 4% (+1)
    UKIP: 3% (-)
    SNP: 3% (-1)

    via @Survation, 22 May

    The wiki page also suggests a new BMG too, I think. At least I don’t remember it being there before. Survation continue to be quite different to the rest.

  33. @Trigguy
    “Is it weird to look forward to these things?”
    By asking the question you have answered it: yes it’s weird.

  34. @Canada: “Of course Labour must be counted as a “Leave” Party, especially since they spent most of this election negotiating with the other “Leave” party, on how to implement Brexit.”

    Labour is a party that a Leave voter might mistake for one that would carry through Brexit; and one where a Remainer might make the same mistake.

    But masses of Remainers flocked to Labour at the 2017 election because they had reason to hope that the reverse would be true, and that Labour was their best hope.

    Personally, I think the Remainers who flocked to Labour got it right.

    Labour is a Remain party in search of plausible deniability. If it were a Leave Party it would have supported the government against the more egregious EU demands – particularly in regards to sequencing, which made a “blind Brexit” inevitable.

    A Leave Party would be anxious that the EU was not given a lesson in how the UK will cave in on pretty much everything. A party that wanted to declare Brexit a failure and reverse it would probably do exactly what Starmer has been doing throughout.

  35. You can get the Survation tables from here:

    https://www.survation.com/daily-mail-final-ep-tables-23-5-19/

    Many, many questions. Too many for me to look at this late at night.

  36. @ OLDNAT (@ CANADA)

    CANADA:“Scotland has now twice voted to “Remain in Europe””

    OLDNAT: Twice?

    2007 : 2011 : (arguably) 2014 : 2015 : 2016 : 2017: (no doubt) 2019.

    ME: WTF!!!

    Please provide links for the wording of these votes that were held that asked Scottish voters if Scotland wanted to “Remain in Europe”

    I’m just a th!ck Leaverb0t of course but I can’t remember Scotland ever having a vote to ask if Scotland wanted to Remain in the EU.

    Maybe in Scotland the (S)NF have already started burning books and rewriting history?

    PS Leaverb0ts are fitted with AI (Actual Intelligence), where as it seems Remainers have AI (Absolute Ignorance) ;)

  37. Terence,
    If counting agents are able to get meaningful samples from known ballot boxes they will have a good idea of how things are going compared tp previous elections. However that is unlikely since the ballots will be verified face down and then votes from different ballot boxes will be mixed up before the counting.

    Towards the end if the ballots are piled up then it may become clear what order the Parties are in, compared to the last EU election and the recent locals

  38. Actually, the BMG probably wasn’t new. Too much happening. But the wiki page lists a Number Cruncher that I don’t remember seeing before.

    Taking a long-distance view of the various recent polls, it seems to me that they’ve migrated into two groups. Survation, PanelBase and Kantar are in one group, with (for example) BXP on 30ish and Lab on 24ish. Whereas all the others go for BXP more like 35 and Lab below 20. There are differences elsewhere, but those are the most prominent.

  39. Triguy

    The Dutch published the exit poll ,because they didn’t take back the control and remained under the rule of Bruasels, I think. Britain is escaping from this rule so it tries to figure out what the rules are and if there aren’t any then create one and blame it on Brussels.

    In any case back in 1994 Brussels suggested two changes to the UK election law. It would have been good. UKIP would have been disqualified in 2015, and Brexit Party basically right after being established. But they didn’t pursue so UK didn’t have to take back the control, it remained controlless.

  40. OLDNAT
    As with place/ station we could again just be in the realm of different words for no real reason, but I think I’d call what you describe “tellers”. They’re the dudes who stand outside getting voter info, traditionally to tie in with the gotv operation, but have no formal standing.

    In England a Polling Agent is a specific formal appointment who can represent the candidate within the Polling Station on issues regarding the conduct of the election but expressly not to collect or convey information. They’re largely unused though I think in those areas where personation is an issue they might appear.

    At least that used to be it when I was more active. I’m s bit ring rusty these days.

  41. There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding polling agents and tellers. (maybe it is different in Scotland?

    A Polling Agent is someone appointed to enter Polling Places and oversee the voting. They are appointed by the election agent and get a letter from the Council allowing them in. I don’t know of many people doing that these days..

    Tellers are people who remain outside the Polling Place and ask for voter numbers on the way in or out. They are not allowed in except to vote themselves. Presiding Officers can ask them to move if they think they are annoying or trying to influence voters.

    In Kirklees telling has disappeared in most places. It is obviously more worthwhile in large polling districts, but it is certainly not worth tying people up sitting there if they can be knocking on doors or delivering polling day leaflets, and it is one more thing to organise including printing out or communicating new lists to people knocking on doors in the evening. Good if you have surplus people as is perhaps the case for the SNP

  42. Peter W

    “Polling Agent” is a specific position, enshrined in UK law, and applicable throughout the UK.

    The actual functions that they perform for their party will vary according to circumstances, as long as they accord with the law.

    The informal terms that seem to be used by some are rather irrelevant.

  43. @Joseph1832

    “But masses of Remainers flocked to Labour at the 2017 election because they had reason to hope that the reverse would be true, and that Labour was their best hope.”

    Pure conjecture old boy.

    My view is they were attracted by Diane’s promises of extra Bobbies and McD’s promises on tuition fees.

  44. @ Old Nat

    I am of course assuming that SNP, SGP, Lib Dem and ChUK support will add up to at least 65% in the count on Sunday, and that Mr Farage will be lucky to walk away with 1 in 5 voters supporting him in Scotland – compared 2 in 5 in England and Wales.

    @ Trevor Warne

    The problem is that the US economy is not doing well and has not done well for years, which is why so many chose Mr Trump for President because he was the “Alt-Right” version of Mr Sanders.

    Problem is, his fixes are hurting more US consumers and workers than helping, as you will find out if and when you implement Brexit.

  45. Andrew111

    There is no difference in Scotland. Polling Agents are defined in UK statute.

    Whether they are used at all, or any variation in the tasks they perform for their party, will depend on how their party operates and chooses to use them.

    I suspect any confusion only lies with those who have not performed the role, and been given the appropriate guidelines.

  46. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones, so feel excluded from discussion of that on here.

    But is “Mel Stride” a GoT character, or a previously unknown MP?

  47. ON
    “Meanwhile, the UK’s remnant empire is under even more threat – 116 to 6 vote at the UN that UK must decolonise the Chagos Islands immediately.”

    What’s it got to do with them?
    ———————–
    Laszlo
    “In any case back in 1994 Brussels suggested two changes to the UK election law. It would have been good. ”

    What were those changes? Disbar any party standing against the EU perchance?

  48. Pete B

    What has the UK got to do with the Chagos Islands – other than a long gone imperial might?

  49. @Canada

    I generally expect the leavers’ tally to amount to 30-35%, but unsure of how much will be Bxp alone. Might be interesting if all Scots leavers vote Bxp, as we can get an idea of what core vote remainers stay with Con / Lab / Lib, as those will be targets for Indyref campaigners to attract to vote Indy or face Brexit.

  50. Re Tellers and Polling Agents and other parties in and around the Polling Station:

    The Electoral Commission Handbook for Polling Station Staff is here: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/175621/Polling-station-handbook-UKPE.pdf

    The section titled “Who may be present in the polling station?” on p8 outlines the role of the Polling Agent. While the Polling Agent is there to prevent personation, it extends beyond that, in that th Polling Agent is permitted to place their own seal on the ballot box at close of poll and observe preparation of the polling station and the initial sealing of the ballot boxes and see that they start empty.

    Polling Agents can be stationed inside the Polling Station and can mark up their own copy of the register as to who has voted, but this role is crucially distinct from that of the Teller.

    The Polling Agent [AIUI] has the right to know who has voted for the purpose of detecting personation, but his marked up copy of the register must not leave the polling station until the poll closes. Polling Agents however can and do report counts of voters at various times to their respective parties. Polling Station staff will provide this information on request.

    The Teller must sit outside the Polling Station, may ask but must not demand names or registration numbers and this information can be taken away from the Polling Station at any time for a Knocking-up operation – which is specifically precluded for the Polling Agent.

    The Polling Agent is a party political role which is superficially similar to the Election Observer, who is neutral. The latter might normally only produce a report without intervening, whereas the Polling Agent has limited powers to intervene on behalf of his party.

    That leaves the Greeter, who is the visible presence of the party outside the polling station and who is not a Polling Agent, although one person may undertake both roles. This requires strict observance of which ‘hat’ you are wearing and remembering to cover up badges etc before entering the Polling Station.

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