The first voting intention polls published since the election was called were in this morning’s papers: Survation for the Mail, Ipsos MORI for the Standard and YouGov for the Times. Topline figures were

Survation – CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN 1% (tabs)
Ipsos MORI – CON 41%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BREX 7%, GRN 3% (tabs)
YouGov – CON 36%, LAB 21%, LDEM 18%, BREX 13%, GRN 6% (tabs).

There’s quite a spread between the results – Ipsos MORI have the Conservatives up above 40, their highest in any poll since August. YouGov and Survation have them in the mid-thirties. Labour’s support varies between 26% in Survation down to 21% in YouGov. All three have the Lib Dems between 18%-20%. This means while the Conservative lead varies, there is a consistent Conservative lead across the board as we start the campaign.

It’s worth noting that that Tory lead is largely down to a split opposition. Even in the MORI poll the Conservatives have lost support since the election (in the YouGov and Survation polls they’ve lost a lot of support). This is not a popular government – in the MORI poll, their satisfaction rating is minus 55 – it’s just that the main opposition have lost even more support. The healthy Conservative lead is down to the fact that the Conservatives are retaining the bulk of the Leave vote, while the remain vote is split between Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the SNP, Plaid and so on.

For as long as this is the case, the Conservatives should do well. If it should change they’ll struggle. If the Brexit party manage to get back into the race and take support from the Tories it would eat into their lead. The other risk for the Tories is if the Remain vote swings more decisively behind either Labour or the Liberal Democrats (or that there are signs of more effective tactical voting, winning seats off the Conservatives despite a split vote). Essentially Boris Johnson needs to keep the Leave vote united and the Remain vote divided.

It is also worth considering how the Conservative lead might translate into seats. In 2017 the Conservative lead over Labour was only two and a half percentage points. You would therefore expect an eight point Conservative lead to translate into a majority, and a fifteen or seventeen point lead to be a landslide. In reality that Survation poll could easily be touch-and-go for a Tory majority and, while the bigger leads would likely get a Tory majority, it may not be landslide territory.

The reason that the Conservatives translated votes more effectively into seats in 2015 and 2017 was to do with the distribution of the vote. The Conservative re-emergence in Scotland meant that Tory votes up there were no longer wasted (but Labour votes increasingly were), the collapse of the Liberal Democrats in the South-West meant that the Tories vote there returned more MPs. If at the coming election we see those trends reverse, and the Conservatives lose seats to the SNP in Scotland and the Lib Dems in the South, then suddenly their votes won’t be translated so effectively into seats, and they’ll need to win more seats off Labour to make up for it.

Right now we have little evidence of how uniform or not the changes in support are, of whether there is evidence of tactical voting (Survation have released a couple of constituency polls they have conducted for the Liberal Democrats showing them doing very well in individual seats, but I don’t think it’s too cynical to imagine that the Lib Dems may have selectively published seats they are doing particularly well in). In the fulness of time I expect we will see the publication of MRP models along the lines of those YouGov conducted in 2017 that may give us a better steer, but I’ll come to that another day.

In the meantime, as we cross the starting line the Conservatives have a clear lead in the polls, but how it translates into seats is unclear. In the polls with the smaller Tory leads, it may not produce a majority at all. Equally, their lead is dependent upon the Leave vote remaining relatively united, and the Remain vote remaining divided, if that changes, the race could end up being far closer.


515 Responses to “The first polls of the campaign”

1 9 10 11
  1. At exactly this stage before GE2017 these were the CON leads in main polls
    ICM: 19%
    Panelbase: 17%
    YouGov: 19%
    Opinium: 16%
    Kantar: 24%
    ORB: 16%

    Actual in general election: 2.5% (Mike Smithson)

  2. @RobbieAlive

    “As E. P. Thompson said (echoing Marx), everyone is aware of other people’s ideologies & blissfully unconscious of their own.”

    I must say, that is really rather good. Hadn’t heard it before either. It sort of plays into the more general point I’ve been making about how important self awareness is.

    @Alec

    You’re right of course, the mockery of the social backgrounds of the English rugby players is silliness and I delved into it, I’m ashamed to say, very much from the wind up perspective. As a solidly middle class ex-public schoolboy, who played Rugby Union whilst there I don’t think I make much of a “class warrior, do I??? Of course, the question of how the lack of some sports in state schools now, rugby union and cricket particularly, effects the participation levels in those two sports, and the social backgrounds of those who predominately play them professionally, is of some sociological interest. Beyond that, however, it is a little silly to mock the England players for any of this. I agree with you on that.

    (Edge of Reason: You’re dead right, as was the other poster on the subject. The Welsh nickname for the England team over the years was “The Nigels”, not “The Jonathans”.)

    @GarJ

    “Meanwhile, there are far, far more seats where Labour losing just a few percent of the vote to the Lib Dems would be enough to turn the seat blue.”

    This is undoubtedly true which makes me think that a lot of Lib Dem inclined voters will see the folly of a Lib Dem vote in these Tory/Labour marginals. I mean, if you really felt Brexit was a major issue for you, and you wanted to Remain, why would you cast a vote that facilitates the election of a Tory MP? Wouldn’t that be a vote to usher in your worst nightmare? Vote Lib Dem in a Lab/Tory marginal and you get a Tory MP. Vote Lib Dem in a Tory/LibDem contested seat and you might well get a Lib Dem MP. I suspect thesde pennies will start to drop as we get deeper into the campaign.

    I’m guessing similar logic applies for Tory voters contemplating a BXP vote in Tory/Lab marginals.

  3. I seem to remember Theresa May in 2017, possibly because of her advisors, was robotic in the way she answered questions on Brexit. It seemed to frustrate both the press and the public and was a reason the Tory lead collapsed as election day approached. Anyone else have a similar recollection?

  4. @Al Urqa

    I had my own variant of Sue, Grabbet, and Runn, using more realistic names, which I put in a sketch I wrote for a gig at uni: Conn, Conn, Rooke, and Swindall.

  5. New thread by the way – good to see AW becoming more active.

  6. Con 338
    Lab 218
    Lib Dem 26
    Green 1
    SNP 46
    PC 3
    DUP 8
    SF 6
    All 2
    SDLP 1
    Ind 1

  7. Report on Twitter

    Big news in NI (and very bad news for the DUP): Sinn Féin agree not to run in three seats – South & East Belfast, and North Down. This gives Sylvia Hermon a clear run and means the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly is almost certain to lose her seat.

    The Remain alliance pact they’ve worked out means the SDLP won’t stand in North Belfast, meaning Nigel Dodds is almost certain to lose his seat to John Finucane, Pat’s son. If Sinn Féin retain Foyle, they’ll have the same number of MPs as the DUP.

    Paddy Power aren’t even taking bets on Sylvia Hermon’s seat anymore

    Anyone confirm?

    Potentially even worse for the Tories if it ends up in a Hung Parliament increases the ‘working majority’ required.

  8. Report on Twitter

    Big news in NI (and very bad news for the DUP): Sinn Féin agree not to run in three seats – South & East Belfast, and North Down. This gives Sylvia Hermon a clear run and means the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly is almost certain to lose her seat.

    The Remain alliance pact they’ve worked out means the SDLP won’t stand in North Belfast, meaning Nigel Dodds is almost certain to lose his seat to John Finucane, Pat’s son. If Sinn Féin retain Foyle, they’ll have the same number of MPs as the DUP.

    Paddy Power aren’t even taking bets on Sylvia Hermon’s seat anymore

    Anyone confirm?

    Potentially even worse for the Tories if it ends up in a Hung Parliament increases the ‘working majority’ required.

  9. @James E . Ah yes i see that now

  10. @LASZLO

    “The extreme right is uniting with the centre right.”

    What is “extreme-right” about BXP?

  11. @STEVE

    “The right wing have taken over British politics”

    Good, look what happens when the left-wing take over:

    -Bankruptcy
    -General strikes
    -Teenage pregnancy
    -Uncontrolled immigration
    -Welfare payments like confetti
    -Political correctness

    Need I go on?

  12. @CROSSBAT11

    “If you want to stop Johnson getting back into Downing Street, and you want to stop Brexit too, it’s time for some serious thinking and quite a few clothes pegs, I think.

    Put simply, the Left need to vote tactically now.”

    Dare I embarrass you and ask why you need to stop Brexit?

    Are you one of those who is going to pretend to care about the economy (with the EU flag painted on your face)?

  13. On the Scotland predictions for Dec 12th, what hasn`t been counted in the likely projections based on past polling and two fairly recent Scotland-only polls, is that some of us are now contemplating voting SNP solely in order to oust a Tory.

    The anger at Johnson`s behaviour and incompetence is everywhere here, and since it seems the LibDem route to shift Tories isn`t certain, then people will vote SNP even if they do not support independence.

    The BBC`s clear bias in doctoring interviews of Blackford and Starmer, and not showing Johnson`s mishaps at the Cenotaph, will have inflamed opinion.

    As for Johnson`s private appearance here and his rash control of the bull that nearly injured a helper, what if Johnson had failed to hold on. The A957 was nearby, and the Johnson bull loose on it, causing a crash, might even have been squeezed on to the end of BBC news bulletins.

    Also promoting a new French cattle breed wasn`t a good idea. But doubtless Dom doesn`t know the difference between heifers and steers, gimmers or wethers. let alone livestock breeds.

  14. On the Scotland predictions for Dec 12th, what hasn`t been counted in the likely projections based on past polling and two fairly recent Scotland-only polls, is that some of us are now contemplating voting SNP solely in order to oust a Tory.

    The anger at Johnson`s behaviour and incompetence is everywhere here, and since it seems the LibDem route to shift Tories isn`t certain, then people will vote SNP even if they do not support independence.

    The BBC`s clear bias in doctoring interviews of Blackford and Starmer, and not showing Johnson`s mishaps at the Cenotaph, will have inflamed opinion.

    As for Johnson`s private appearance here and his rash control of the bull that nearly injured a helper, what if Johnson had failed to hold on. The A957 was nearby, and the Johnson bull loose on it, causing a crash, might even have been squeezed on to the end of BBC news bulletins.

    Also promoting a new French cattle breed wasn`t a good idea. But doubtless Dom doesn`t know the difference between heifers and steers, gimmers or wethers. let alone livestock breeds.

  15. regarding Farage’s accusations of his candidates being bribed not to stand by the Tories.

    Surely some will have taped the phone conversation. Be interesting if it all goes quiet and some Tory candidates don’t campaign too hard.

1 9 10 11

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)