There are two post-election polls in tomorrow’s papers. A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times found 62% think that Gordon Brown should concede defeat, wih 28% thinking he is right to wait to see if the Conservative and Liberal Democrat negotiations fail. Asked who should form the next government 48% of respondents thought there should be either a Conservative minority or a Con/LD coalition. 31% favoured a Lab/LD agreement.

62% said they supported a change to a more proportional system, with only 13% supporting FPTP. You can get a lot of variation in FPRP v PR survey questions depending upon how the question is asked, but if this question is a repeat of one of YouGov’s previous electoral reform questions it is probably a big jump in support for electoral reform.

ICM also have post-election poll. They found similar preferences on who should form the government, 51% wanted a Conservative minority (18%) or Conservative/LD coalition (33%) and 32% wanted a Lab/LD coalition. ICM however found considerably less support for electoral reform – 48% supported PR, but 39% supported sticking with FPTP.

889 Responses to “ICM and YouGov post-election polls”

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  1. As Prime Minister, Gordon Brown should stay on as the talks are going on for the stability of the Country. If the talks come to nothing, he should then resign and let David Cameron take over as a Minority PM.
    [snipped – AW]

  2. I don’t think GB’s presence in No. 10 is required for stability. If he resigned and DC was asked to form a government he would have until the Queen’s speech to do so anyway, until then he can be a PM without a majority just as easily as GB can. If he does a deal with Clegg by the QS he will be PM, if he doesn’t he will still be PM, so why doesn’t Brown just go now?

  3. While I too take Ambers posts with a grain of sand, I only ment that attemping to form a government with only 29% of the vote regardless the situation is quie undemocratic. I am sure that many aright winger would agree with me. He should only stay on until something is decided.

  4. I agree with Amber.

  5. Having taking a look at the rules of the site, I admit that my comment may have gone a bit to far. It was posted in the heat of the moment and I had better withdraw it before all the Labour lot Crucify me.

    Sorry for breaching the Non Partisan rules of this site though I am not the first to do so.

  6. Imagine the respect gordon brown could have received if he would have stood down from word go and said
    “although there is no clear winner…it is clearly apparant that the people do not wish me to govern…….”
    the question i ask myself is,is he staying on for the good of the country or for the chance of forming a coalition.

  7. Kyle’s post isnt that bad – come on, let’s not turn this into something like Comment is (Not) Free

  8. The problem with PR is the British mindset.

    We have grown up with Election night,sometime during the night the person who has lost concedes & we get a new PM within hours.

    PR or any other such system has one floor that will be hard for the UK electorate to tolerate.

    Confusion!,sometimes for weeks after,with a single country this works,and if they are used to it,we however are 4 countries in one constitutional make-up.

    PR will be defeated in a referendun anyway in my opinion.

    A tweaked FPTP system will win the day in my opinion.

  9. A government has to exist. If Brown decided to take off and leave now it would leave the Queen in an extrememly uncomfortable and embarrassing position. She would be inviting someone to form a government while having no idea whether they had the confidence of parliament or not, or whether they would be able to get her speech through or not.

    Politicians are united in their desire to avoid embarrassing the Queen, so not even Tory politicians are calling for Brown to go before it becomes clear who will do a deal.

  10. @DecisionTime

    I agree FPTP on reformed, larger constituencies that are fewer in number with a PR top up

    I really cant see why the Tories would object to this – would have made 2005 a very different result for them

  11. There is an interesting difference in support for PR. 48% – 62%. What is the difference between the questions asked by ICM and YG? Either way, the largest group support change. The “Take Back Parliament” protests and petition (30,000 signatures in 48 hours) suggests there is quite some support for it too.

  12. @Julian Gilbert

    No I hate PR. See my last post I already have due to the non Partisan comments rule. Yes I went too far but I am not the first to do so. You Labour lot flout the rules all the time.

  13. I also find the argument that Scotland has PR,as an example,or the EU Elections ridiculous.

    I mean no disrespect to Scotland,but they can go weeks without deciding their Governmentt and nobody outside the UK cares.

    The money markets have no interest in PR for the Scottish parliament or PR for the EU Elections,they care very much about the UK Election however.

  14. RE Gordon. As sitting PM he could not resign until he had ensured that an alternative government could be formed. He enabled this to happen by giving Cameron and Clegg support of civil servants. This has been explained. He has been quite correct to do so, though there is no outright winner and the constitution states that in such a scenario he would have the first chance to form a government,

    Why are people sggesting arrogance when this is the only sensible option? The talks between the other parties are taking long enough. He will step down as PM soon as something is sorted out. It is likely he will also step down as Labour leader, though this will not be immediate in my opnion, and he will give the new PLP time to settle.

    It is tiresome to read and hear these pointless attacks on the prime minister.

  15. For those of you still claiming that Brown is constitutionally prevented from resigning.

    “A change of Prime Minister may be necessary because of the resignation, death or dismissal of the incumbent”

    “In such cases it is the duty of the government as a whole to resign and of the Queen to send for the leader of the opposition or, when a government resigns as soon as the results of the general election are known and Parliament still stands dissolved, the person who was the leader of the opposition in the House of Commons before the dissolution; he will normally accept office as Prime Minister, but in an exceptional situation may prefer to advise (as Baldwin advised in 1931) that a coalition government under another person be formed.”

    Constitutional and Administrative Law 7th edition (Smith and Brazier) pages 174-175

    It indicates the Prime Minister may resign at any time whether or not there is a clear successor.

  16. KYLE DOWNING – “No I hate PR”
    Now I’m confused. If you hate PR, why would you be upset if someone became PM on 29% of the vote? Or 36%?
    I suspect it’s not the % you’re upset by, but the party they belong to.
    More intelligent thinking please!

  17. In the frame of the prospect of a (now more and more implausible) Lab/Ld alliance, the question rises whether there are EU countries where the first party in number of votes (and in number of seats, since the various electoral systems, apart from FPTP, do not allow for a case where the second, let alone the third party have more seats than the first). The answer is yes: Sweden and Latvia. In 2006, the Swedish Social Democrats got 35% of the votes and the center-right Moderate Party 25%. Yet the president of the latter, F. Reinfeldt, became PM thanks to an alliance with 3 minor center and center-right parties. The Reinfeldt government is a stable one, but it is expected to lose in the forthcoming GE, since all polls predict a majority of the 3 center-left parties (SD, Greens and Left), due mainly to the surge of the Green vote. It has to be noted that in Sweden the SD have never lost the 1st place, a unique case in all EU (albeit not in all Europe: the second example is Norway’s Labor).
    In Latvia, where the political landscape is extremely fragmented, with no single party receiving more than 20%, the government is formed by the second party (LZS, a coalition of centrists and greens) and the third party (New Era, center-right), that polled 17% and 16% respectively in the 2006 GE. The PM belongs to New Era. The first party (TP, center-right, 19%) is now in the opposition, after its pulling out of the former coalition government. The Latvian gvt is now a minority gvt, pending GE in a few months. All polls predict that the center-left Harmony will be the first party (in 2006 it came fourth, with 14%), but it will also need two or three partners to form a government
    Everywhere else, the PM belongs to the first party, that governs either on its own or in coalition with minor parties. These coalitions are more or less stable, except in Belgium (linguistic controversy and possible split of the country, new GE in June), the Netherlands (Labor pulled out over the Afghanistan mission, new GE in June) and Italy (due to in-fighting within the party of the relative majority, the Berlusconian PdL).

  18. Decision time 2010

    I think that the PR in Scotland actually works out for them. It elects fewer members and if Scotland only used FPTP, Labour would be in power forever. PR in the whole of the UK however, would be counter productive and could see the likes of radical fringe parties have a foothold of power. But with the EU. I agree. Too large.

  19. FPTP is like football.

    All these people tampering with the rules all the time.

    FPTP like football has served us well for 100’s of years.

    leave it alone.

    I am not saying FPTP can’t be made better,but the concept is fine.

  20. Julian Gilbert

    I am a strong proponent of FPTP, therefore in my opinon, Labour has lost this election in terms of votes. 50% to me is irrelevent as it would never happen.

  21. Decision time 2010

    I agree with you. I think that FPTP is the best method. It is not perfect but nothing is. It is just that in Assemblies that elects smaller members, it dose help to have a form to stop political domminance. It is nice to see someone besides me who like FPTP.

  22. “I am a strong proponent of FPTP, therefore in my opinon, Labour has lost this election in terms of votes. 50% to me is irrelevent as it would never happen.”
    There is no logic IMO to your position. 36% is OK to become PM but 29% isn’t? Why?
    As to 50%. It can happen if there is a system to make it happen. Some countries have presidential elections where there are two elections. The first eliminates all except the top two candidates. The second is a run-off. The person with more than 50% wins.
    I’m not proposing this system by the way. But it wasn’t me who was upset by the idea of a PM having ‘only’ 29%. :)

  23. I find all this anti Gordon Brown stuff distasteful.

  24. The main problem here is people just don’t understand how politics works. Some misconceptions…

    ‘Brown was unelected’ – he was! As MP.

    ‘He was never elected as PM’ – he was! By the MPs.

    ‘Brown was never elected as PM by the electorate’ – who was? Thatcher wasn’t, Blair wasn’t, Churchill wasn’t. The electorate doesn’t elect the PM. We elect MPs. Then our MPs elect the PM through their party. That’s how it works!

    ‘Brown should go NOW!’ – he can’t! That would leave us without a government. We need one every single day to function, especially when there is a crisis.

    ‘Cameron could take over if Brown went now’ – he can’t! The Tories have to be able to get their Queen’s Speech to go through to take over. At the moment, they don’t have that ability.

    ‘Cameron should take over as a minority’ – he can’t! Unless DC comes to an agreement with the Liberals (or Labour), he can’t get his Queen’s Speech through. An agreement has to be reached first.

    ‘Brown shouldn’t stay on’ – he won’t! Either Lib/Con will come to power and GB is gone, or Lib/Lab will come to power and Brown steps down. The likelihood of a GB premiership lasting any significant amount of time is negligible.

    ‘Labour doesn’t have a mandate’ – no-one does! It’s a hung parliament. Whoever gets a majority through negotiation gets to be in charge.

    ‘A Lib/Lab pact doesn’t have a majority’ – it does! Not a big a one as Con/Lib but with no Speaker, 5 Sinn Feinn’s not attending and remembering that the SDLP and Alliance are really just alternative names for Northern Ireland’s Labour and Liberal parties, they have enough, plus the Ulster Unionist woman also indicated she would side with Labour. No nationalists or Greens required. Just the normal Labour/Lib Dem whips.

    And I’m not a Labour-ite. But this is the way politics works in the UK.

  25. Kyle Downing,

    So you’re against FPTP in Scotland because it would make it easier for Labour to win, but your like FPTP in Westminster because it makes it easier for the Tories to win?

    I’ll admit that I only support AV because it would be good for Labour, but will you make a similar admission?

  26. @Kyle
    I for one dont mind your comments in the least.

    as a supporter of GB I enjoy people calling for him to go as you can almost feel their seething frustration . Its just so funny. I hope he just goes on and on.

    I think Labour know that by GB staying on it has completely ruined the election for all their foes , who were expecting to savour the humiliation of Lab coming in 3rd with less than 200 seats.

    Now there is real fear at the back of their minds that they have been outwitted once again.

    In the end I think NC is not big enough to do a deal with Labour even if it would be the best thing for his party, so I think that we will end up with a DC minority govt.

    But in meantime , its all very exciting..

  27. Mike – of course Brown *can* resign now, he cannot be prevented against his will from resigning (well, I suppose the Queen could refuse to accept his resignation, but in practice he couldn’t). As P Brown says above, it would put the Queen in a slightly awkward position as negotiations between Cameron and Clegg have not yet come to a conclusion, and there is the potential for negotiations between Clegg and Labour should they fail – who is most likely to command a majority in the house once negotiations are concluded is unclear. The Palace would probably rather not run the risk of being seen to jump the gun.

    The Palace will want the transition to be as smooth as possible, they will not wish the Queen to have to invite Cameron, only to have negotiations break down and having to invite someone else a few days later. Neither would they want to risk the Palace being seen to be partisan in anyway. I expect their preference for a smooth and orderly transition would have been conveyed to Downing Street and the offices of Cameron and Clegg.

    Aaah. Intelligence at last. Thank you. ;)

  29. Whether or not FPTP is kept or not, they first need to sort out the number of MPs. Firstly, most people agree that 650 MPs is far too much. Something closer to 400 would be more appropriate.

    Secondly, Scotland and Wales have far too many seats. If you do some simple math, this is the number of citizens (not votes or voters) per constituency in each country:

    England:- 92193
    Wales:- 72577
    Scotland:- 85797
    Northern Ireland:- 93626

    How unsurprising it is that the countries which support Labour get more seats. Here’s what would happen if Wales and Scotland had the appropriate number of seats:

    CON: minus 1 seat in wales
    LAB: minus 9 seats (3 scotland, 6 wales)
    LD: minus 1 seat in scotland

    Oh, what a surprise. This is not some rounding error anomaly. Wales have 40 seats when they should have 32. Scotland has 59 when they should have 55. That’s quite a difference. Personally I could only support PR if there was an English parliament to go along with it.

  30. There is every logic to my position actually. The guy with the most votes wins. Simple as that.

    Cameron got 37%
    Brown got 29%

    Cameron wins. No second place for winners. I hope that is simple.


    I made no such suggestion. No. It is not eaiser for the Tories to win in Westminster. Cameron needed a 7% swing for a majority. You call that easy? No system is perfect.

  31. “Firstly, most people agree that 650 MPs is far too much. ”

    I don’t. The more the merrier.

    I suppose it is only a massive coincidence that the changes you advocate are ones that would benifit the Tories, but you say nothing of the scandal a disproportional parliament.

  32. All this anti-PR talk of what the markets think, british culture and the fact we won’t have instant results all disregard the fundamental problem with FPTP. It’s undemocratic.

    A cornerstone of democracy should be that all votes are equal and at the moment they clearly are not. Whilst it might be a bit of a culture shock for the British people and politicain’s it wouldn’t take long for us to get used to a more European style of stable coalitions.

    Personally I would like to see STV but with relatively small number of candidates per constituency (perhaps 3) to prevent massive fragmentation and seats being given to the extremists but vastly increase the proportionality of the houses of commons and the equality of peoples vote.

  33. Kyle Downing,

    Cameron needed a 7% swing because his party lost the previous election so badly. Under a fair system he would actually have to get a majority of the votes in order to get a majority of the seats.

    In an election where more than 60% of people voted for left-of-centre parties and less than 40% votes for right-of-centre parties, how can the most rightwing party in parliament possibly claim a mandate to govern?

  34. Agreed, thanks Starchief!

  35. I find the idea that someone “hates PR” a strange concept. Hate is a powerful word.

    In my opnion Proportional Representation is exactly what the electorate have asked for – not a majority government by any individual party. For someone to say they “hate PR” do we assume that they hate or despise the electorate?

    I suspect in this case what is meant is that PR is disliked because of the fear that it may result in having to listen to people who may have different views than your own, rather than imposing ones own views on others because the electoral system has given power to a political party which does not have a mandate i.e less than 50%. Simply hating something because you don’t get your own way is rather infantile.

    Somehow we have to find a way to govern in a much more representative way. I do hope if Clegg goes into coalition with the Tories he does not sell out. the electorate and his partty will not stand for it.

  36. @AdamG
    I dont think most people do agree we have far too many MPs.
    Surely we have had these many for many years.
    As the Population of the country increases surely there is a case for more Mps not less.
    Also the number of issues which the MP is called upon to help in is increasing.
    I feel that there is also a case for more MPs in Scotland and Wales as they have further to travel and often the areas they cover are a lot more ;-)

  37. Kyle, for goodness sake – cameron didn’t “win” because he cannot command a majority……..yet!

  38. Labour did try to get English regional parliaments but it was rejected by the NE England. If they couldn’t get it there, no chance elsewhere.

    There’s also the ‘England voted Conservative’ argument. Not all of it. If you’re saying, ‘why should England be ruled by the Celts’, then why should Northern England be ruled by the South?

    If you do want regional parliaments, then the Conservative AND UNIONIST Party is the last one that will give it. Lib Dem is more of a federalist party, so join them and campaign. There’s a good chance you’ll get it in a manifesto.

    Money matters: Scotland gets proportionally more money than England but also gets LESS than they produce. So money actually flows outside of Scotland rather than to it.

    Also, geographically, not all of England gets the same money (likewise the other countries). Regional differences (quite rightly) see an unequal share.

    As for seats, well, it is a union of countries into one kingdom. Not the same as one state.

  39. @KYLE – “There is every logic to my position actually. The guy with the most votes wins. Simple as that.
    Cameron got 37%
    Brown got 29%
    Cameron wins. No second place for winners. I hope that is simple.”
    But Cameron didn’t win the most votes this time. Labour and LD’s have more percentage wise. That’s the flaw in your logic. In a hung parliament no-one has a mandate. (see STARCHIEF’S excellent post above)

  40. The poll showing that 62% don’t want Brown to continue as PM makes things very difficult as far as the prospects for a Lab / LD coalition is concerned.

    Interesting fact: the combined vote for Labour and the LDs is 1% less than the combined vote for Labour and the Alliance in 1983.

  41. Jakob: you’re wrong because not all LD voters are left of centre. I voted LD myself but I would prefer a Conservative government to a Labour one.

  42. There is every logic to my position actually. The guy with the most votes wins. Simple as that.

    Cameron got 37%
    Brown got 29%

    Cameron wins. No second place for winners. I hope that is simple.

    So by your logic, Attlee should have stayed on as PM in 1951, Heath should have stayed on as PM in 1974, and Al Gore should have become US President after the 2000 Election?

  43. Jakob

    60% didn’t vote for the Labour party though. Or the Whigs for that matter. You could argue that 53% voted against Tony Blair in 1997. In fact, percentage terms are irrelevent. It is just the way that the cookie crumbles I am afraid.


    Sorry about that partisan comment I made a little while ago. I should have known better and it was very stupid of me. My own personal feelings got in the way of sensible discussion.

  44. “FPTP is like football.”
    An interesting analogy. Since you have mentioned and compared the two, I will say this.
    Have you noticed in football tables that the more powerful clubs become more so season after season, and the weak become weaker and go out of business or fail. I do not think that the majority of football clubs see that as fair. Should our politics be run so that those parties in power become more and more powerful at the exclusion of all other poltical points of view? Hardly.

  45. Bobby

    Pretty much, yeah. But unfortunatly, the system says otherwise.

  46. I have devised a new electoral system that is guaranteed to deliver strong and stable government that will keep the markets happy.

    First everyone votes like normal. Then we give all the seats to the Conservative Party.

  47. What about 50 constituencies of equal size each electing 10 MP’s by PR (with a threshold of 10% to achieve before you could elect an MP to avoid minor party dominance).

    The winning party nationally, even if just by 1 vote would then get 3 extra MP’s from each constituency.

    On current result that would give (roughly)
    Con 320 (36% +150)
    Lab145 (29%)
    Lib 115 (23%)
    Others70 (12%)

    37% would give a majority of 9

    but landslides would be avoided as 50% would give a majority of only 74

    Opportunity for strong government, but proportional and strong oppostition. Also regional balance as winning party would draw from across the whole UK rather than just traditional powerbase.

  48. @JAKOB
    LOL :)

  49. Julian Gilbert
    There is flaw in your logic as well. Cameron DID win the most votes. The anti Tory vote was split. Labour and the Whigs are two seperate parties. Even together they can’t form an overall majority.

  50. The parties have beome so used to FPTP that, even with a hung parliament, they’re still thinking of ‘winning’ and ‘losing’.

    From what I can see (this isn’t my personal view, just what I believe happened):
    Labour has been reasonably sound economically most of the time they have been in but have run out of steam, plus corrupt (not just Labour but been in charge of a corrupt HoC).
    Lib Dem appear to be fair, with some good economic ideas but just too ‘liberal’ on crime and immigration.
    Tories are harder on crime and immigration but people still remember the 4M unemployed, 15% interest rates, Black Wednesday, two recessions etc, so cannot be trusted financially.

    So, I think if you asked the electorate, “would you want to continue with the politics of recovery under Labour, with the Tory policies on crime/immigration, plus some of the Liberals economic ideas, whilst they stop pet projects like tax breaks for millionaires or ID Cards”, the answer would be overwhelmingly YES!

    And it’s only this “there must be a winner” mindset that’s stopping this.

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