A quick post about the YouGov poll in Friday’s Times. Topline Westminster voting intention figures are CON 19%, LAB 19%, LDEM 24%, BREXIT 22%.

These are obviously startling figures, unprecedented even. There are historical examples of third parties taking the lead (Cleggmania, for example, or the early successes of the SDP-Liberal Alliance), but I don’t think there are any when the Conservatives and Labour were both pushed out of the top two.

However, even leaving aside the traditional warning that this is “just one poll”, this is one poll conducted in the immediate aftermath of the European elections. Part of what we are seeing is a boost for the Liberal Democrats and Brexit party from doing well in the Euros, getting lots of media coverage and looking like winners. Under normal circumstances we would expect that boost to fade in time (though a success for either of them at the Peterborough by-election could potentially keep it going).

Realistically though, we’ve got several weeks of coverage of the Conservative leadership election ahead of us, followed by the media circus around the elevation of a new Prime Minister. The media agenda will move back towards Labour and the Conservatives, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t seem one or other of them move back into the lead.

Nevertheless, it’s a remarkable poll, and like the election results last week, again brings home the extent to which Brexit is tearing apart the party identities, loyalties and assumptions that have traditionally underpinned our electoral politics. Our party system really does seem to be straining under the pressure. I don’t expect it to break just yet, but looking ahead we still have Brexit itself to deliver (or not, as the case may be). There is almost certainly plenty more political instability to come.

10 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 19, LAB 19, LD 24, BREX 22”

  1. That was quick!

  2. “Realistically though, we’ve got several weeks of coverage of the Conservative leadership election ahead of us, followed by the media circus around the elevation of a new Prime Minister.”

    While too nice to say it, Anthony hinting that the BBC will loyally play its part in maintaining whatever remains of the status quo.

  3. Blimey, this is like the proverbial London bus!

  4. LD and Brexit Party represent Remain and Leave.

    That is where the divide now lies within the UK.

    Whilst it is v likely that the Tories/Labour will resume leads, it is not a given.

  5. Oldnat

    You and Anthony Wells raise a valid point.

  6. A truly remarkable poll – but consistent with a steady, continuing trend before the EU elections, with LD consistently improving on previous results.

    Voters like to back a winner. With the uttere shambles at present in both major parties, its no surprise to me that some of those who previously wrote off the LibDems as “no-hopers”, are suddenly seeing their attraction.

  7. David in France

    “within the UK.”

    Well, within a bit of it, so technically you are correct.

  8. Better put this staggering poll back up as we’re switching threads, that last one must be close to a record for the lowest number of posts.

    Britain Elects
    Westminster voting intention:

    LDem: 24% (+6)
    Brex: 22% (+4)
    Con: 19% (-5)
    Lab: 19% (-5)
    Grn: 8% (+2)


    Chgs. w/ 17 May

  9. Thanks, as ever, to Anthony – this time for a double shift.

  10. As a political scientist I believe that using the May 2nd local government elections results was a reliable predictor for the Green Party in the May 23rd European Election regions. Below are numbers from some of the 52 English communities where the Green Party succeeded in obtaining 15% or more voter support in the European elections, with the comparable May 2nd result after where available

    Brighton & Hove 1st 35.5%/1st 34.1%
    Stroud 2nd 28.3%, .9% behind Brexit Party
    Exeter 2nd 27.2%, 1.1% behind Brexit Party
    Norwich 1st 26%/2nd 30%
    Sheffield 2nd 24.8%/3rd 22.5%
    Cambridge 2nd 23.6%/3rd 15%
    Mendip 3rd 22.8%/3rd 13.1%
    Bath & North East Somerset 3rd 20.6%/4th 9.3%
    Lancaster 2nd 20.5%/3rd 22%
    York 3rd 19.9%/3rd 17%
    Warwick 3rd 18.7%/3rd 22.5%
    Manchester 3rd 18.5%/3rd 13%
    Forest of Dean 2nd 17.7%/3rd 21.7%
    North Somerset 3rd 17.4%/5th 3.9%
    Wirral 4th 17.2%/3rd 17%
    Trafford 4th 17%/ 3rd 12.6%
    Worcester 3rd 16.7%/3rd 11.9%
    Southend on Sea 3rd 16.2%
    Babergh 3rd 16.2%/3rd 22.3%
    Leeds 4th 16%/4th 11.6%
    Herefordshire 3rd 15.9%/3rd 13.3%
    Liverpool 4th 15.3%/3rd 13.4%
    Malvern Hills 3rd 15%/ 3rd= 11%

    Based on these and other results I have seen so far I would predict that anyone thinking the Conservatives or Brexit Party are going to form government after the next GE are living in fantasy world. The Conservative Party is now, having seen the Progressive Conservatives melt down in Canada in 1993, basically on life support:


    Things could change, if the message to the Conservatives and Labour is heeded, but my experience of the British Conservatives is that they very slow learners and Corbyn, from what I can tell, has not taken to heart the message voters sent him either.

    I also think the polling by Panelbase for Scotland was basically pathetic, projecting the Labour Party would get double the amount of support they did and the Green Party half the amount they obtained.

    This is not the first time Panelbase screwed up and I find them quite unreliable. As I predicted the SGP did not get less than what it obtained overall in 2014, though it’s best result in Edinburgh, where it rose from 4th to 3rd place, was 2.2% lower than 2014.

    In politics support for political parties can turn on a dime, and if and when the Conservatives return to the realities of the 21st century instead of the Nineteenth they might get a look in again.

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