A new Populus poll for the Times shows the Conservatives enjoying to a 20 point lead in Westminster voting intentions, and UKIP overtaking Labour and and Liberal Democrats to establish themselves in second place for the European elections.

Topline voting intentions for a general election, with changes from Populus poll for ITV a week ago, are CON 41%(+2), LAB 21%(-6), LDEM 15%(-2) (note that the Times have taken their changes from the last Populus poll conducted for the Times, a week and a half earlier).

Previously there had been something of a divide between the pollsters, with YouGov and ComRes showing Labour down near 20%, while Populus and ICM showed them up in the high 20s. The lastest Populus poll suggests a further slump in Labour support and brings the pollsters broadly in line, suggesting it is Labour who have most suffered from the expenses scandal. Asked directly who had suffered most from the expenses row 35% said Labour, with only 7% saying Conservative – though 50% said all parties had suffered equally. Asked which of the party leaders was most damaged the contrast was even starker – 62% said Brown, only 5% Cameron, and only 25% said the leaders had suffered equally.

The Times news report doesn’t give support for minor parties, but the maths suggest it is very high. Given the figures for the European elections I’d expect this to include a bump for UKIP and the Greens. Realistically we should expect these to gradually fall in the months after the European elections as publicity and the effect of a PR election fade from memory, certainly that’s what happened in 2004 when we saw exactly the same effect. These polls showing Labour down near 20 are therefore probably quite transitory.

Moving specifically onto the European Elections, Populus’s voting intentions, with changes from their last European poll at the start of the month stand at CON 30%(-4), LAB 16%(-9), LDEM 12%(-8), UKIP 19%(+13!), Green 10%(+5), BNP 5%(+3), so a big boost for all the minor parties. On a uniform swing this would result in the Conservatives winning 28 seats, UKIP 15, Labour 12, the Lib Dems 7, the Greens 4, SNP 2 and PC 1. The BNP would fail to win a seat, though the Times’s report says they are at 8% in the North, so could still gain a seat if their support is concentrated in the North West.

UPDATE: Those big increases in support for minor parties in Populus’s poll suddenly fall into place. It wasn’t necessarily a surge in support; the question asked was different. Three weeks ago Populus prompted only for the main parties, in this poll they also prompted for the minor parties. This runs the risk of over-estimating support for minor parties, almost certainly it is the reason for YouGov overestimating UKIP support back in 2004 (though of course, the mechanics may be different in a poll with interviewer effect).


106 Responses to “Conservatives enjoy 20 point lead from Populus”

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  1. Goes without saying this is Labours lowest ever share in a Westminster voting intention poll since opinion polling began. Beating the previous lowest of 23% (once in a YouGov poll in 2008, and once in a BPIX poll a couple of weeks ago)

    SHocking stuff! And for the Conservatives to still be back above 40% after everything thats happened? Incredible!

  2. My word. Now that I wasn’t expecting. Not with the way the media’s been digging into Tory backbenchers.

  3. UKIP comes second in the Euro election with 19%. I don’t think this is a rogue poll at all – Labour could well be beaten by UKIP on June 4th.

  4. No way. We can’t find 1-in-5 UKIPers in the SW, there’s no way they’re 19% nationally. Rogue.

  5. Others must be doing very well in the national poll as well since the 3 main parties’ totals only add up to 79%.

  6. Tony Woodley of Unite being tremendously critical of the British Government for not doing more to help save jobs at Vauxhall. There does seem a tremendous internal Labour row over this – one wonders if funding will be withdrawn. Even Gordon Brown’s close friend Geoffrey Robinson has been unhappy over this.

  7. The euro poll is going to be difficult to call whoever the pollster is. The real story here is the more reliable westminster voting intention poll, which is shocking!

  8. Now that I think is a lot closer to the true situation, and those Euro figures are roundabout what I expect Dimbleby & co will be reporting next Thursday night. (Let’s pray there will be no Wild West costumes this year!)

  9. I simply cannot believe that the Tories are up in this poll given recent revelations about their MPs, though I can understand why Labour is so low.

    On the Euro poll the UKIP figure looks bloated and the Lib Dem figure looks unrealistically low.

  10. I can’t believe the Conservatives are still on 40%…

  11. i was not thinking this would be the case maybe the toris are getting the message across that they are the one’s that will be best placed tobeat labour not thelib dems who are coming back to normal levels again

  12. There seem to be a succession of these “rogue” polls. At some stage somebody will make a wee “eureka” moment and come to the conclusion that they are right……!

  13. Shocked and stunned at this – believe it’s a rogue but other polls show similar results – very, very worrying!

    How can the Cons be at 41% – have they sampled at Con HQ and Kensinginton?

  14. As I thought Labour sinking down below previous recordings of a high 20’s showing. The Labour fgure can’t be rogue (in Westminster intentions) because now almost all major pollsters agree that labour are strugling on 21-25%- naturally with a margin of error (but remember the pollsters track record has been to overestimate true levels of Labour support!)

    As for Euro elections, the UKIP figure could well be true, and given the populist appeal of Nigel Farage I wouldnt at all be surprised. (They’ve even been on Question Time this week).

    The Liberals that low in euro elections, absolutely; few people are recorded to actually agree with the europhile possition of the Liberal Democrats.

    In short, the only surprise in that poll for me was the low level of liberal support in the westminster poll; but then this poll was conducted before Mr Clegg launched his fight back this week (i think) so that might explain it perhaps?

  15. I guess Chris that one answer may be that voters think all Parties are as bad as each other and so think who might be best to lead the Country out of the mess. On that score Cameron appears to be a decided hit over Brown and of course he looks new compared to Brown who looks old and tired.

  16. I’m in shock.

    I’m long enough in the tooth to rarely be surprised by politics, but next Thursday is shaping up to be a watershed in UK politics. Brown and Clegg are going to have a highly unpleasant period ahead of them. Their parties are going to be baying for blood.

  17. As Mike Smithson over on politicalbetting says a Rogue poll is one which shows an outcome you don’t want. ;)

  18. all polls this month average:

    CON 40.8% -2.3% on april

    LAB 23.8% -4.4% on april

    LD 18.0% -0.3% on april

    OTH 17.4% +7.0% on april

    note: labour did have a slight boost in the middle of may but fell back a week later, the lib dems are about steady and the conservatives have lost the soft vote but held the rest of there vote well, other are up 7% there bet in years at 17.4%

    at an election: my own seat predictions are now very much in line with this sites im only differant by 2 seats more to the tories at a majority of 118

  19. If this stays for next week (and apparently UKIP etc are about to get a battering over the next few days regarding their MEP’s of times past) – what odds a GE by August?

    Not in Mid – late July. I am in Italy and wouldn’t want to miss the fun!

  20. the tories are up because cameron looks like a prime minister and has taken action.

    nobody cares about duck canopies,but kitkats and bath plugs drive them insane

  21. Wow.

    Didn’t see that one coming. I thought the Tories would be in the mid to high 30s with Labour around 23 again.

    I agree with Jamie Smith’s explanation above though – since the expenses scandal broke, Cameron has looked like a PM and Brown has looked like … well, himself.

  22. Personally I’ve hardy even caught sight of Brown during most of this scandal! Alan Johnston had to step up and launch labours response to the crisis instead- things clearly are desperate

  23. Why the surprise about Tories back above 40%?

    Have we even seen Gordon Brown since the expenses stories came out? At the moment all the coverage is on Cameron and he’s doing very well. When his is the face people see on the news, and he is seen to be taking action, of course his support will go up.

  24. Cogload – the last GE in July or August was 1945, and that was very early July. You can enjoy your holiday in peace. September’s possible though….

  25. John Smith, you don’t need to find 1 in 5 for UKIP to make this true, though. More like 1 in 25, but who vote.

  26. Stuart Gregory

    On the figures you mention I have got a Con majority of 124 with Con 387 Lab 188 LD 44 Others 31.

    These figures are from Electoral Calculus.

    What do people think?

  27. I am a huge tory supporter but I’m surprised that they’re above 40% after all thats happended.

  28. The bnp will beat the greens no problem everyone i know is voting bnp

  29. richard whelan- i use all the big calculating names including this sites, the site and programe i use is election calculus, uk polling report and UK ELECT (uk elects closest site is uk polling report)

  30. I have just processed these figures through Electoral Calculus – 41, 21, 15 and they give the Tories a 190 majority, with Nick Clegg losing his seat in Sheffield Hallam!
    This is just more confirmation – if we need it, that Cameron becomes PM with a landslide majority.

  31. last night on here I predicted Con 41 Lab 23. So i’m feeling quite please with this ! Only ICM seem to be out of line with mostl other pollsters who are giving the Tories a lead of 16 / 20 points. As Phillip JW said earlier today it would be probably a good guide to deduct at least 3 points from the figure ICM have been giving Labour !

  32. Couldn’t the explanation for the Tories’ unexpectedly high proportion be that pollsters only count those who say they are certain or very likely to vote? I suspect that the number of prospective abstentions may have risen dramatically. Thus the Tories have 41% of not very many. So their total vote may well fall, even though their percentage goes up.
    As the only opposition party with a realistic chance of toppling the government, they will attract many voters who just think it is time for a change.

  33. Tories at 40%? The answer is simple: the majority of the flipping, tax “avoidance” (allegedly) and funny mortgages have come from the government. Can’t most people see that? I think so.

  34. I think all of us on here guzzle too much of the media coverage. Perhaps Joe Public takes a more detached view?

  35. Speculation. I am wondering whether this is a case of another Labour campaign theme that misses the target. In Crewe & Nantwich, the Labour theme was “Tory toffs”. It missed the target, and the Labour campaign never went anywhere. This time, Labour appeared to have decided on a theme of “Tories retreating from Europe” Again, the theme appears to have missed the target and their campaign seems to be going nowhere. The Blairite ability to find themes that resonate with the public seems to be totally missing from the resident of No 10. Would this be regained with Johnson or Harman?

  36. I rather agree with Jon. We do go on about media coverage too much.

    Let’s take the Greens (I know, partisan), but they have not had nearly as much press as one would expect, I mean, the Greens have got the backing of Joanna Lumley and it has not been widely reported, not on the scale of Frank Carson backing UKIP or Ms. Rantzen backing the Jury Team. Yet, they are on 10% in the polls. I would put this down to the visible presence Greens have had on the ground in their target areas.

    Onto the BNP, whilst there has been much negative coverage in the press, they have appeared in the media almost daily with Nick Griffin appearing on the BBC much more so than Caroline Lucas or Nigel Farage, yet look at their poll ratings. Groups like Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism have been out on the streets and have maintained a visible presence in calling for a ‘no’ vote on the BNP. I think this counts for something.

    Voters tend to remember if they’ve been visited by a member from a particular party. In my area of Sussex we have County Council elections, I have had not one leaflet on these elections from any of the parties standing in my ward (Con-hold, Lib Dem and Lab), so I will not be voting in the County Council elections. They obviously don’t see my vote as being worth it, or they would have made the effort. This could be true to many voters, if they have no idea who is standing, they may not vote. Somehow I expect the number of votes cast in local elections would be far, far lower than votes for the Euro elections.

    Let’s not forget, we still have six days until polling day and we all know another poll this weekend would reveal a completely different story to this one here. I’m not being partisan, the Greens have aimed to return four MEPs and if the 10% is true then we would achieve this, but just a few weeks a go the polls predicted that we would lose most of our seats and UKIP would collapse to four seats, but the crisis in Westminster has changed the political landscape.

    It’s exciting and scary at the same time. This is why democracy is fantastic, and it should be embraced, not derided.

  37. Andy Stidwell

    “This is an interesting search using google insights:

    http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=conservative%2Clabour%2Clib%20dems%2Cbnp%2Cukip&geo=GB-ENG&date=1%2F2009%2012m&cmpt=q

    When you drill down, many of the bnp searches were for ‘bnp paribas’ which is a bank, apparently. The most common search for ‘labour’ was for ‘in labour’ – i.e. pregnancy-related. I didn’t check the others, but the figures should be taken with a massive pinch of salt. It’s quite encouraging that most of the population aren’t as obsessed with politics as we are.

  38. I wonder whether the Greens might beat Labour in both the SE and SW.

  39. Luke. I largely agree with you except that I think the “demonising” of the BNP means their support is understated in the polls. It will be interesting to see if I am right. So much bile is spilled over them ( and I make no comment about the rightness or wrongness of all this – I’m not a supporter myself) that many will feel diffident about “admitting” to a pollster that they intend to vote BNP.

  40. WMA 40:24:18 so this one seems to be out by 3.6 whereas the last one was out by 3.1 the other way.

    Interestingly the Retrospectives suggest that the last 2 YouGov polls were spot-on.

    As others have noted 21 is the lowest Labour has ever polled, and although their lowest on WMA was 23 on the 16th it is striking that no poll in the last month has had Labour higher than 28.

    I’m also watching the Lab:LibDem gap which is 6 on the WMA down from 10 a month ago and 13 2 months ago. Notice a trend?

  41. No problem with the National poll. Seems about where I expected things to be. Labour generally hated and the Tories finally trusted to take over, that is unlikely to change now. Cameron plays the media so well.

    As far as the Euros, most of the electoral junk mail I’ve been getting through the door (and there has been tons!) lately has been dross.

    The only ones to stand out for me were the Greens (very sincere message and recycled paper-nice touch!) and the Tories (they seem to be out spending the others too judging by the sheer amount they send).

    I just don’t see UKIP doing as well on election day. I suspect that the Tories will gain some back and exceed 30% on the day.

  42. Not a word from JIM JAM & Alec I see.

    This Westminster Poll seems about right to me too.
    It reflects the mood in the country

    Euro -wise-anything is possible. The election is a huge protest excercise with no intrinsic meaning or validity in itself..

  43. Both Labour and LIb Dems are lower than I would have guessed. I’m actually looking forward to the polls in July which I’m hoping will give us a more dependable indicator of the General Election result.

    At the moment with the strong emotional reaction to expenses scanal and the impending Euro Election I’m uneasy about putting much confidence in the present polls as an indicator of the future GE result.

  44. Philip,

    I do find that odd. We’ve got Euro and county council elections in less than a week, but you’re more interested in polls over a month away!

  45. Colin – give me a break – it’s a Friday night and even political anoraks have lives to live.

    @Pete B 8.37
    “As the only opposition party with a realistic chance of toppling the government, they will attract many voters who just think it is time for a change.”

    The most sensible comment here I feel. Cameron is winning by default as much as anything else. I agree that Brown’s profile here has been dire, but I’m absolutely certain that if Labour was in opposition the major focus would be on Tory indiscretions and the polls reacting accordingly. It seems that people are responding to duck shelters and moats with amusement, but kitkats and dry rot with outright anger. It’s the price you pay for power.

    What surprises me, and why I credit Pete B’s comments above, is the hit to the LD vote. I think Clegg has left Cameron standing in terms of the reform debate and clearly the Tories have more expenses questions to answer than the LDs, but support gathers around the likely victors.

    The Euro poll is great news for the Greens and UKIP, and also I guess for the BNP. [Like it or not, the BNP represent a strand of opinion that has felt ignored by the political elites]. UK politics has been painfully sterile for far too long and the clamour for reform alongside growing support for parties outside the established groupings can only be good for democracy. Roll on June 4th.

  46. “How can the Cons be at 41% – have they sampled at Con HQ and Kensinginton?”

    No, they sampled ordinary people.

    People filled with anger for Labour and Brown in particular.

    People sickened by the state of this country and who think the only hope of change is a Conservative government.

    People who don’t care about mansion house moats but do care about £8000 TVs and even more about tax dodging and mortgage fraud.

  47. even though this could be a pretty accurate poll i still believe the bnp have more support than ukip i only say this as Ive been around alot of areas in UK and the support for BNP is utterly massive I’m not trying to talk them up but this is really true ! i could well see bnp coming second or third in the EU elections ! giving bnp about 10-12 seats ! i really hope they do as it will sure shake up politics and maybe the main 3 parties will start listening to the public !

  48. “People who don’t care about mansion house moats but do care about £8000 TVs and even more about tax dodging and mortgage fraud.”

    There’s been plenty of tax dodging and mortgage fraud on the Tory side – some rather big ones at that. [‘Servants quarters’ – what’s that all about?]
    It rather makes my point I think.
    ‘I’m sickened by Brown allowing Tory MPs to rip off the taxpayer – lets have Cameron instead’ ? Duff logic, but I understand the sentiment.

    Personally, I’m furious about the lot – why be prejudiced?

  49. Sorry to double post, but I actually think Richard’s last sentence is seriously weird. What on earth is the qualitative difference between fraudulently spending taxpayers money on a moat or a TV? It explains the poll numbers, but don’t let’s try to pretend its logical.

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