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”

1 2 3 4 5 18
  1. You can have a socialist society that encourages enterprise and aspiration.
    DC argues you can have a Tory society that supports the vulnerable.
    We have in recent memory three examples:
    Lab of the 70s – Unworkable socialism
    Con of the 80s and early 90s – Unworkable conservatism
    Lab – til now. – A marriage of socialist ideals with pro-business, pro-aspirational ideology.

    The ball is now firmly in Cameron’s court to show us that the best of conservativism can be married with a genuine compassion and commitment to good infrastructure.

    We’ll see…..

  2. Decision: ?Churchill.. Yes he was the one who turned the troops on the miners in South Wales in the National Strike of 1926. That’s no man to respect. Those men were my family,

  3. Pam F

    And during the Banking crisis,the liberal democrats & labour Party,sided against the Conservatives to give Liberal millionaires at the BBC a pay rise.

    was this fair?

  4. @Pam

    You are just miles off the truth Pam.

    If the Owners/Entrepreneurs of our free capitalist society don’t start-up/run/expand their businesses then there are no jobs for the workers to work and earn money to live and of course pay taxes!

    Its as simple as that! :o

  5. I do wonder if the Tory grandees will put a stop to the Con/Lib pact. DC needs it or he’s out.

    The difference between Blair’s modernisation and DC’s is that TB forced his party forward, with a good number being split or marginalised. This never happened in the Tories.

    I think Lab/Lib missed a trick by concentrating on DC, just like Con did with TB. Basically, he seems a nice enough guy. Reasonable. Decent. Not like the old Tory/Labour Party. Concentrate your fire on John Prescott/Oliver Letwin etc etc and see your votes increase.

    Thatcher did so well politically as people remember the Winter of Discontent. Labour then became unelectable. Same as under Blair. Two recessions, Black Wednesday, corruption etc, then political in-fighting put paid to any Conservative victory. If the Tories can’t learn to stop their lurch to the right (I don’t envisage much of a fight in Labour – it’s more about personality), they runh the risk of the Nasty Party coming back to people’s minds.

  6. A discussion about Socialism vs Conservatism is boring, partisan and pretty pointless as no-one is going to change any minds here.
    The gossip about the knives being out for DC in the Tory party however. That’s more like it.

  7. Astoundingly, I have a comment on the polls!!!

    The 48% and 51% above who would like to see a Con minority government include good Lab gals like me, who think the best outcome for Labour would be to have a strong opposition to a minority Con government. :)

  8. @Ben

    You said “…I disagree, [it should be] winner should take all…”

    But FPTP has delivered unto you a hung parliament. Under the present system, CON has got to compromise with LIB to get a stable government, else go it alone and get a government that’ll last…oooh, let’s have a look.

    In 1974 Harold Wilson’s minority Government went it alone with 301 LAB MPs against 333 non-LAB MPs (not including 1 speaker). It lasted eight months.

    In 2010 a putative David Cameron minority Government will have to go it alone with 307 CON MPs against 337 non-CON MPs (not including 5 Sinn Fein abstainers and 1 Speaker).

    How long do you think it’ll last?

    Oh, incidentally, we’re in the middle of a full-blown sterling crisis, a busily-gestating debt crisis, and Europe’s imploding. So, y’know, no pressure…

  9. Sue: agree with you Labours best role in opposition.
    Just looked on the BBC site, it says a senior Lib has said Clegg should get out of these talks and go and talk with Brown.
    Meanwhile the Tories are divided too according to the Observer.

  10. One thing that can be said is the two party duopoly seems broken. For instance 35% didn’t vote for the big two and in such a scenario FPTP is deeply flawed and so many people feel their vote carries little weight and the real election is decided by a select band,. There was no chance of my Labour Mp being under pressure and turnout was relatively low at 54%, whereas in some constituencies where there was a real contest it was often at least in the 70s. Hopefully the Liberal Democrats can have some influence and whilst the economic situation is of vital importance Nick Clegg must press for a referendum on PR before agreeing to any formal deal. Think it would be very difficult to deal with Gordon Brown though, considering the national vote.

  11. @SUE – “The 48% and 51% above who would like to see a Con minority government include good Lab gals like me, think the best outcome for Labour would be to have a strong opposition to a minority Con government.”

    Me too. My biggest fear was a Labour version of the 1992 election where the Tories won only to be out of power for a long time.
    I am now expecting a rejuvinated Labour to be back in power with a real majority after less than one term.
    In my completely partisan opinion, of course ;)

  12. @Sue Marsh
    See, this is why I hate party politics. I float* as I want what’s best for the country. Partly what’s best is PR but I’d be quite happy with either a Lab/Lib or Con/Lib pact. Both Con and Lab are fairly close. If Lib could stop some of their more hair-brained pet schemes and concentrate solely on the economy and other important areas, then that, to me, is more important than who “won”.

    * nope, not Natural Law Party ;@)

  13. I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but based on turnout at this election, the BNP would have got about 10 MPs in a truly proportional system.
    If their supporters knew that a vote for them was no longer wasted, it could well be more.
    Are PR supporters ready for a situation where deals may have to be struck with extremists of various types?

  14. Starchief – Sadly I LOVE party politics :)

    I can’t help it, it’s in the blood.

  15. Can we talk about Ashcroft spitting fire now? :)

  16. @ dominic

    “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).”

    This is exactly the problem with PR. You just want to rig THAT system as well to get the outcome you want. If you favour proportional outcome, there can be no threshold, anything else is a farce.

    All you are really trying to do here is allow the LDs to hold the balance of power but nobody else! And this is meant to be fairer?

    If you want PR, you WILL get UKIP and BNP guys probably having massively disproportionate influence to their number of vote. I live in Australia and almost all the time some nutter from Tasmania hold the whole country to ransom – it is what happens in PR systems, if you support PR you need to support the outcome.

  17. @ DT 2010

    Would this be the same Winston Spencer Churchill who, like Gordon Brown, never won the popular vote?

    Godwins law. It really does work! :)

  18. As a Labour supporter I’d like to see GB step aside and allow a Tory minority government to take over.Whatever deal Cameron can strike is up to him. I’m not happy with Labour losing 100 seats and still being in power.I’m a socialist, but more importantly I’m a democrat. When your time is up you leave the stage.

  19. Julian – It would be a nice little sub-plot to watch a cross Ashcroft.

  20. Yozza – Couldn’t agree more. Eoin might say all defeats are equal, but some are more equal than others ;)

  21. @Pete B

    You said “…I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but based on turnout at this election, the BNP would have got about 10 MPs in a truly proportional system. If their supporters knew that a vote for them was no longer wasted, it could well be more. Are PR supporters ready for a situation where deals may have to be struck with extremists of various types?…”

    Yes. Any other questions?

  22. Yozza, read the posts on the first page – it would be extremely problematic for GB to step aside before the composition of the next government was settled. He is saving the Queen a lot of embarrassment by remaining in office for now.

  23. “What exactly is unfair with PR.”

    It involves a lot of behind closed door dealing which the electorate has no influence over. This is not democratic either, especially if a sizable minority of voters (i.e. Tory voters) can be totally ignored by a centre-left coalition deal. In theory, a Lib-Lab coalition deal could be purposely forged to last for decades, meaning that a significant proportion of the electorate is left without a voice in practice.

    I think Kyle made some valid points. Whilst FPTP suffers from many weaknesses which are well-documented, it does allow governments to operate with a sufficient enough mandate to govern effectively. PR would result in so many compromises having to be made that we would be left with a mish-mash of political reforms and legislation. This would devalue all policy pledges and manifestos, as many key policy promises would not be given the go-ahead. Given the current economic crisis, this is the last thing we can afford at the moment.

    In conclusion, no voting system is perfect. They all have their flaws. It is ultimately down to which system you think is the weakest.

  24. @Martyn
    So it would be ok for (say) Labour to do a deal with BNP that brought back the death penalty? Or perhaps for the Tories to do a deal with Socialist Workers or equivalent to nationalise the banks?

    Is this the kind of thing that happens in foreign parts? I’m only asking because I don’t know.

  25. @Sue
    @Yozza
    I think Labour are just being cunning in strengthening NC hand in the negotiations with DC.
    IMHO:
    Best result for Labour would be a Con Lib Coalition to carry out the cuts , with one major opposition party campaigning for schools , NHS etc.

    Next best would the LibD being sidelined . Then at next election Labour can argue LibD vote is a wasted vote.

    Worst thing would be Lab to negotiate a coalition with NC which fails to get PR . Result Tories sweep to power at next GE.

  26. These scare arguments against PR based on the fact that BNP might get elected an such simply do not make any sense. First of all, pretending these people do not exist does not mean they are not there. I would prefer to get them exposed and let them hang by their own rope, then simply pretend that all is well on Engalnd’s fair grounds. Well they aren’t. If in fact BNP do actually get elected by wide margins, we might aswell have to accept that we are actually quite insular and bigoted as a nation.

    In the end, any argument based on the what ifs of fear simply do not make sense. The argument with Pr and FPTP is this.

    At the moment, if in my constituency 49.999% vote for person X, those votes, which could be in the thousands would actually have no value. This means that not all votes and opinions are counted, hence the democratic deficit. True Democracies are built on the notion of one person one vote, over here we have a one vote majority=100% vote.

    Now it is true that by and large FPTP has the tendency to provide one party governments, and thus more stability (not entirely true, as internal party struggles, especially in parties as big as ours). On the other hand with PR you get more collaborative politics, and an added measure of checks and balances on the powers that be as Party X can not go it alone without the public’s attention. This is where the opinion divide is.

    Do you want a more stable government at the expense of democracy?

    -or

    Do you want more collaborative government which truly represents the will of the people, albeit with a greater danger of instability?

    For a thousand reasons, I subscribe to the latter. People who subscribe to the former have their valid arguments which aught to be respected, and in some instances heeded and properly assessed, but the democratic deficit we face in this country, on a number of levels:

    – an electoral system that disenfranchises people
    – an electoral Commission from Liberia
    – a media that has no shame or ethics

    etc etc etc.

    We definitely have our strengths, and not all is broken with Britain, even though we like to think it is, but our democracy needs a breath of fresh air.

  27. Julian Gilbert – You’ll love this, very juicy

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/09/liberal-democrat-tory-coalition-threatened-eurosceptic?CMP=twt_gu

  28. YOZZA “As a Labour supporter I’d like to see GB step aside and allow a Tory minority government to take over.Whatever deal Cameron can strike is up to him. I’m not happy with Labour losing 100 seats and still being in power.I’m a socialist, but more importantly I’m a democrat. When your time is up you leave the stage.”

    Brown can’t quit – not yet – not without knowing that Cameron can actually get a Queens Speech passed. He has to stay and perform his constitutional duty – which at the moment is caretaker PM – while Cameron and Clegg stitch something together.

    If they fail he has to try himself. If they succeed he will resign.

    It really is that simple.

    He can’t quit and leave us without a working government.

  29. @Matt

    I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Under a FPTP House of Commons with, say, ~900 MPs, a lot (tho’ not all) of the disproportionality goes away.

    A ~900 MP (say 999 to be on the safe side) HoC would alleviate many of my concerns about disproportionality. Would you be content with this compromise?

  30. So… er… Correct me if I’m wrong, but the YouGov poll basically found that at least 62% of people polled don’t understand how the UK Constituent works, and don’t know that Brown *can’t* resign until there’s a clear successor government.

  31. “In theory, a Lib-Lab coalition deal could be purposely forged to last for decades, meaning that a significant proportion of the electorate is left without a voice in practice.”

    Well, if they governed badly, voters would refrain from keeping them in power. I can’t think of a single PR system that has produced a coalition that has stayed in power for decades.

  32. MARTYN

    A thousand MP’s?

    They would need a much bigger chamber.

    Interesting idea but I’m not convinced it would get rid of disproportionate results.

  33. @Matt (11.22)

    “In conclusion, no voting system is perfect. They all have their flaws. It is ultimately down to which system you think is the weakest.”

    Matt,
    Well it seems that 27 out of 30 European countries believe that FPTP is the weakest as they have all chosen PR systems. One of the other FPTP countries is Greece – need I say more about single party government enabling corruption.

  34. Also peeps

    seriously? a debate about ideology? now where is that going to get us? That debate is as old as language itself, if not earlier, lets not waste time in arguments which can’t be won, ideas which can’t be sold, and values that can’t be forced.

    I am a very ideological person, and would like to think that I can explain my socialism with cognitive and reasoned arguments. But if I am honest with myself I would accept that 50% of my ideology is based on a number of feelings that fail to be transmitting through words. Leave ideological discussions to the great orators, poets and visionaries amongst us, only they can change people as this stuff is simply unsellable. Simply accept that their is more than one ideology out their, and let people make up their own choices, the rest is pretty much a waste of time.

  35. @Parag

    Indeed, there is an argument that it would be to Labour’s long term benefit to allow a Con/Lib pact to take the brunt of the blame for cut.Personally I think if you have more votes and seats than any other party you are entitled to govern. Believe me I wish it were Labour with 300+ seats.If Labour tries to hang on we’ll end up with another election within a year and a massive Tory majority.

    @PBrown
    Cheers, I was commenting more on the Labour Party making overtures to the LDs about hanging on.I don’t think we have the moral authority to hang on .We’ve lost.

  36. @Pete B

    You said “…So it would be ok for (say) Labour to do a deal with BNP that brought back the death penalty? Or perhaps for the Tories to do a deal with Socialist Workers or equivalent to nationalise the banks?…”

    The death penalty and bank nationalisation are political decisions. Political decisions are best taken democratically. PR is a good (tho’ not the only way) way of ensuring legislators are elected democratically.

    So the short answer is yes.

    The long answer is “yes, but…(string of safeguards including a written constitution)”. But for the purposes of this conversation, the answer is yes.

  37. I liked the last thread better. The standard of debate there was 100 times higher than on this one.

  38. YOZZA

    Our current system has nothing to do with moral authority and everything to do with parliamentary majority.

    Its a system that needs to change.

    But in the meantime Labour, if they can stitch together a coalition, have every right to govern.

    Labour and Lib Dems would have over 50% of the vote so their coalition would also be electorally legitimate – in fact it would be more legitimate than the previous Labour majority based on 36% of the vote.

  39. Just a minor point to add to the PR debate that I don’t think has been made yet…

    By and large, democracies tend to survive best if the government alternates between two or more parties/coalitions. If one bloc consistantly wins elections and forms a government, alternation does not occur and democracy could be threatened by one of two developments:
    1. The governing party uses its established position to effectively set up a one-party state.
    2. The opposition party (or to be more accurate, its support base) comes to the conclusion that it cannot ever win in the current system, and refuses to take part in it.

    When either of these things happen, democracy runs into serious trouble. With regards to the UK, I think the second is far more likely than the first, but even that would place us in danger.

    If we were to switch from FPTP to PR, the current party system would most likely not produce alternation in government . A progressive majority would exist in every parliament for the forseeable future – and I can easily see this pushing the conservative minority into becoming a reactionary one, with potentially devastating consequences for our democracy.

    In practice, I suspect that PR would lead to a re-alignment of the party system, most likely with either Labour and the Tories shifting away from the centre, or producing splinter-parties, which would effectively bring about a new equilibrium in the party syste,. It’s still worth noting though that FPTP, for all its faults, does succeed in bringing about alternation of government.

  40. It seems to me that the strength of FPTP is that a situation such as we have now is quite rare. When you vote, you normally know what you are voting for, even if your party later betrays its manifesto.

    With PR, it would seem likely that the sort of situation we have now is much more common. Indeed many commentators on the TV have been saying that this is normal in Europe and we are unusual in making a fuss about it.

    The problem is that it gives more power to politicians. The deals are all done behind closed doors. For instance, if we end up with a Con-Lib agreemnet of some kind, there will be many voters on both sides who will be absolutely disgusted at whatever compromises are reached

    At least with FPTP you will normally know what you are voting for. That is not the case with PR because of all the deals that have to be made without reference to the voters.

  41. @Gary

    You said “…A thousand MP’s? They would need a much bigger chamber. Interesting idea but I’m not convinced it would get rid of disproportionate results…”

    Dear Lord in Heaven above! We have a sterling crisis, a humungeous debt crisis, the Euro’s collapsing, we’re at war in Afghanistan,Greece is going nuts, we’re running out of everything, and the new Daleks are rubbish…

    …and you’re worried about the cost of an extension!

    Get sixty-odd brickies, plasterers and sparks in, we could get it done in six months: three months if you pay them in cash.

    More seriously: yes, some of the disproportionality remains, but given the antipathy of many CON folk to PR, and their avowed committment to accountability-democracy-transparency, I thought I’d suggest a compromise they’d feel honour-bound to accept.

  42. @SIMON M

    I think you misjudge the long term effect of a more proportional system, Simon.

    We would have a division of the main parties – the Tory Party may well split between the Thatcherites and the One Nationers, Labour would split between the socialists and the Blairites. There would be other groups such as the Greens and UKIP that would also have a say.

    The reality is that an unpopular progressive coalition would lose support and the right-wing parties might gain support and enable a right-wing coalition.

    This wouldn’t be the death of democracy. It would be the beginning of real choice for the electorate.

  43. Those that don’t vote, for whatever reason, shouldn’t be included in the equation, even if you accept that they might not have voted because of the system.

    They COULD have voted for a party that proposed a different system and given them a mandate (or a much stronger mandate)

  44. Can anyone tell me the overall turnout figure?

  45. As a labour-leaning LibDem I hope to hell Clegg lets Cameron have his minority goverment. Abstain on the Queen’s speech and the budget, and wait for the election next March, which the conservatives (having raised VAT to 25% and put a million public servants out of work) will lose.

    A coalition or formal arrangement would be death to the party. You’d need to be 90 to have memories of National Liberals (2) in 1931, and older yet for National Liberals (1) in 1922, but a liberal coalition in goverment means only one thing: schism leading to entrenched tory rule.

    And a quick message to Sue Marsh: I think you owe me a bottle of wine ;)

  46. @STEVE COBERMAN

    But what about PR Steve?

    Surely Clegg has to get something on PR or he has failed.

    The Lib Dems may not get a chance like this for another 36 years.

  47. @RCWhiting

    You said “…Can anyone tell me the overall turnout figure?…”

    As of this moment, 29,653,638 voted, a turnout of approx 65.1%.

    See->news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/election2010/results/

  48. @Gary

    Cameron can’t deliver PR. He can’t even deliver the bare minimum: a referendum on AV. He probably wants to, but the dinosaurs won’t allow it. He’s already a nasty smell under their nose, having failed to deliver the “certain” victory.

    And the Libs won’t accept less than the bare minimum. Hence my expectation that it’s best to let Cameron swing on his own rope.

  49. @Neil A

    Take this with a pinch of salt, but you have to ask yourself this?

    Why is it so hard for any one party to make a deal with Cameron? but basically all others in parliament are ready to talk with Labour?

    I mean even the DUP are showing an interest in working with Labour. Now isn’t that something ;)

    [Actually there’s a failing obvious answer to that – if Cameron does a deal with the Lib Dems he doesn’t need any other party, so they have no negotiating power over him. If Brown does a deal with the Lib Dems he would still need the support of lots of others, hence they would have power. There will be some ideological factors there… but a whole ton of realpolitik- AW]

  50. @ STEVE COBERMAN

    If you don’t then Cameron can deliver PR then why should Clegg prop him up and not try and get PR through a left-leaning progressive coalition?

    He might be a political price for it in the short term but the long term benefit of getting PR would surely be worth it? And he could demand the Vince Cable is Chancellor and he is made Deputy PM.

1 2 3 4 5 18