We’ve six months to go until the European Elections, but rather surprisingly we already have the first voting intention poll for them. A YouGov poll for the Taxpayers Alliance/Global Vision has European Election voting intention figures – with changes from the 2004 election – of CON 35%(+8), LAB 29%(+6), LDEM 15%(nc), UKIP 7%(-9), GRN 5%(-1), BNP 4%(-1), SNP/PC 4%. The poll was conducted between the 6th and 8th January.
Taking into account the reduction in seats on a uniform swing this would lead to the Conservatives winning 30 seats (up 3), Labour 24 (up 5), the Liberal Democrats 9 (down 2), the SNP and PC one each and UKIP 4 (down 8). The Greens would lose both their seats, while the BNP would fail to secure one. What isn’t clear from the newspaper report is how the question was asked, and which parties were included in the prompt. Back in 2004 YouGov included minor parties like UKIP in the main question prompt and, as a result, ended up over-stating the level of UKIP support – it will be interesting to see exactly how this question was prompted. Either way, how well UKIP will do is a hard one to predict. At the moment they get practically zero publicity in the mainstream media, so a huge drop in support is not a particular surprise. At the last European elections they received a lot of publicity because of Robert Kilroy-Silk, something that won’t be a factor this time. On the other hand, given their level of support last time the broadcasters may be forced to give them a lot more publicity in the run up to the election.
Accorded to the Sunday Telegraph report 10% of those who say they would vote Tory in a general election would vote UKIP in a European election, which implies that straight voting intention questions were also asked. There are no figures from this is the report, so again, we’ll have to wait for the full tables to see if they were.
The rest of the survey showed the usual Euro-sceptic feeling amongst the general public. Support for British entry into the single currency stands at 24%, with 64% opposed. On Britain’s relationship with Europe 16% support withdrawal, 48% a looser relationship and 22% the status quo. As ever, it is worth looking carefully at polls commissioned by pressure groups and we haven’t seen the wording of these questions yet, but there is nothing particularly surprising. The Sunday Telegraph’s report also says “Conservative support could fall still further if Mr Clarke makes a front-bench return, using his position to make high-profile interventions on European matters”. I have no idea if this is referring to something in the polling – the report doesn’t mention anything – or just the Sunday Telegraph speculating.