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. @Neil A

    Your view of “what’s best for the country” differs from that of 63% of those who voted. On matters of partisanship, let him without sin cast the first stone.

  2. I know its a bit late but I agree with Sue Marsh and Pam F…. A strong LP in opposition is better than a lib lab arrangement – Nick Clegg et al have shown their true colours… as has the ‘neutral’ BBC. Incidently I saw a good posting by Sue Marsh on the Newstatesman site – I felt quite silly because I was so proud of her, like she’s one of my particular friends!

  3. Gosh that was badly written – let me try again….

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

    There 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 that Vince Cable is made Chancellor and Clegg is made Deputy PM.

  4. @Gary: Hear me out, I never said it was the death of democracy, only that it had the potential to be – I suspect that you probably would get a reshaping of the party system, but it’s not guaranteed. It’s entirely possible that the Tories may pull together in the face of a ‘rigged’ system, especially if Europe was to be thrown into the mix. And history has shown that a Tory party ‘locked out’ of power doesn’t tend to behave itself (read Dangerfield’s The Strange Death of Liberal England to see what I mean).

    Anyways, I thought it was worth making a point that alternation generally works better under FPTP than PR.

  5. ““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.”

    It’s extremely unlikely, with the current three party system, that even under a very unpopular government, the main opposition party would get 50% required for a majority (under PR).

    A long-term Lab-Lib coalition would be a strong possibility IMO (despite the Tory performances in GEs i.e. whether they are the largest party), as both Libs and Lab are centre-left parties. I could only ever see the Libs siding with the Tories if, like the current situation, they were otherwise unable to form a strong, viable centre-left coalition.

  6. All these polls on who should form the next government are pretty stupid and irrelevant. The people have voted and now it’s up to the politicians to take things forward. You can’t have a referendum on every bloody political issue! As for myself, I wouldn’t even have a referendum on changing the electoral system – just do it!

  7. @Gary

    To reach the long term you need to get past the short and medium term. A deal with Labour is something that, in an ideal world, I sincerely desire. But the world is not ideal. Whoever takes power now has no option but to take some VERY unpopular economic measures. And will probably be unelectable for 2 decades. This has been a great election to lose!

  8. @Steve Coberman,

    Labour only wants AV because it would benefit them even more than the current system. Electoral reform, for all parties, is less about ideological positioning, and more about politics (and power) in action.

  9. By the way – lots of Guardian and Independent columnists coming out for a rainbow progressive coalition including Will Hutton.

    Tebbit has come out the other way saying that Cameron should stick to his guns and go it alone, or let Labour and the Lib Dems try and govern. He is very opposed to Con/Lib deal.

  10. @Gary
    “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?”

    Surely a left-leaning coalition would have to include Lab, Lib, and various Nationalists? Would that be more likely to hold together than a staraight Lib-Con deal?

    Also a general point: I have heard it said that there is an anti-Tory majority. Surely there is an even greater anti-Labour majority?

  11. @MATT

    There is no reason why the Lib dems cannot work with the Conservatives, but the latter must change their approach to Europe and other issues. I foresee a split in the Tory party, with the Right wingers joining UKIP.

  12. @Steve,

    What I mean is that if taxes go up sharply and many public sector workers are made redundant, it won’t be because the Tories love tax and hate people having jobs, it will be because that is what is necessary to tackle the massive deficit we have. The best way to achieve that is for a properly mandated government to do it. The only stable government on offer is a LibCon one. Therefore what the country needs is for that government to be formed, quickly, and to get on with the task at hand.

    After all, if it isn’t necessary to deal with the deficit, your incoming Labour government can always hire back the public sector workers, cut the taxes and borrow the money back again. In your heart of hearts you know that if Labour remained in power, cuts and tax rises would follow on a similar scale to anything the Tories will propose.

  13. @PETE B

    “Also a general point: I have heard it said that there is an anti-Tory majority. Surely there is an even greater anti-Labour majority?”

    Erm, no. Because the LIb Dems are basically a centre-left party, not an anti-Labour party. The split is between the centre-left and the centre-right, not between anti-Tories and and anti-Labour.

  14. @Xiby,

    It’s just a personal view, but I’d say that its hard for the small parties to deal with the Tories because the right is much better at uniting than the left. The left always seem to have a sort of “Life of Brian”, Judean People’s Front / Popular Front of Judea feel to them. And the nationalists, let’s be honest, are just holding out begging bowls.

  15. It’s worth noting that GB recently didn’t explicitly say he would offer a referendum on PR – he merely spoke about giving the public a referendum on voting system(s). We can’t be absolutely sure that PR is on the table – he may merely be offering AV or other alternatives. Who knows?

  16. “There is no reason why the Lib dems cannot work with the Conservatives, but the latter must change their approach to Europe and other issues. I foresee a split in the Tory party, with the Right wingers joining UKIP.”

    I think they might this time – but only because of the arithmetic.

  17. @MATT

    It’s Gordie who wants AV, not Labour. There are plenty of people in the Labour Party who would welcome a full PR system, such as STV. Brown has always opposed PR in the past, so this conversion on the road to Damascus seems rather suspect to me. AV is just a variation of FPTP.

  18. @ STEVE COBERMAN

    “To reach the long term you need to get past the short and medium term. A deal with Labour is something that, in an ideal world, I sincerely desire. But the world is not ideal. Whoever takes power now has no option but to take some VERY unpopular economic measures. And will probably be unelectable for 2 decades. This has been a great election to lose!”

    I’m not so sure – I think the Lib Dems, if they ever want to have more than a bit part in British politics, have to prove they can make a difference.

    If they can deliver political reform and Vince Cable can steer the economy through the difficulties of the next 4 years then the Lib Dems may actually get a lot of credit.

    And the next election would be a PR election so they would be almost guaranteed more seats no matter what.

    Even if they are unelectable for 20 years due to their popularity it wouldn’t be the end of the world – at the moment they have been unelectable for nearly a hundred years due to the electoral system and no matter how popular their policies have been.

  19. If the parties were slightly more evenly split (i.e. Labour were 15 seats closer to the Tories), a Lib-Lab coalition would have been an almost certainty IMO. But 307 seats may just be enough to effectively force the Libs into accepting a deal with the Conservatives – as the alternative is a multi-party coalition that may crumble before it reaches the first hurdle.

    In short, I think it’s currently 50-50 as to who the Libs will do a deal with.

  20. I have to say that it is hard to escape the impression that the main reason people here are opposed to a LibDem-Tory government is that it may actually work quite well, shattering illusions about the LibDems and Labour being a sort of left-of-centre Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The dream of PR supporters on the left has been to exclude the Tories from government by preventing them getting absolute majorities. The thought that Labour could get excluded by the same mechanism is galling.

  21. @Marcus Antonius
    “Erm, no. Because the LIb Dems are basically a centre-left party, not an anti-Labour party. The split is between the centre-left and the centre-right, not between anti-Tories and and anti-Labour.”

    I beg to differ. If the Lib Dem voters (as opposed to activists) favoured Labour, why didn’t they vote that way? Left and Right are over-simplistic labels anyway. Free market economics which the Tories espouse, is classic Liberalism. As I understand it, the LibDems are philosophically opposed to a big state, as are the Tories, even if their social policies are closer to Labour’s.

    I am, as always, open to correction.

  22. There’s a lot of nonsense rant on here – the facts are Gordon Brown was unelected, and now defeated, he does’nt even have the grace & dignity to admit that he is the loser & offer to resign when the Conservatives are ready to take over in a coalition or on their own (he is arrogant till the end – as most level headed people in the UK realised he would be if he lost the election).

    The Conservatives will not agree to PR with the Liberals – but will look at making the constituences fairer population wise – which is long overdue and will decrease Labour seats in the future.

    The Liberals cannot push for PR with the Conservatives while we have a national financial crisis – that will look to the electorate that they care more about getting seats than for the UK !

    There was indeed tactical voting going on in certain places – in some areas when the figures were announced it was obvious the Liberals had lent votes to Labour and vice versa – but luckily for democracy the undemocratic tactical voters were not able to replicate their abuse of the political system enough to stop the Tory tide.

    Another reason that the Tories did’nt quite make the seats they needed – which no one else has mentioned on here or on the media – is the way that Scotland deliberately bucked the national trend and went for Labour to keep the Tories out – if as the Tories want, to get rid of 50 parliamentary seats – they should take 50 off the Scots !

    Apart from that – great election night / lots of fun ahead – just what the British wanted & voted for !

  23. @Matt

    Of course you’re right about party advantage. Politics is a cynical game.

    Personally, I like AV. It’s not proportional, and doesn’t represent to be. However, my vote – since I first voted in 1974 – has always been tactical (“vote for whoever has the best chance of beating the tory”). This is a gamble in FPTP, whereas AV lets me do this without the guesswork, and with allowing me to indulge a bit of idealism too.

    I don’t mind the “horse trading” (how I hate that expression!) that PR brings, or the current situation for that matter, but (as a true liberal) I don’t like the potential for patronage and corruption inherent in list systems, and I’m scared of the tail-wag-dog syndrome inherent in pure proportionality (see Israel). Failing AV, I can cope with STV, but not AV+.

  24. @Matt:

    “It’s extremely unlikely, with the current three party system, that even under a very unpopular government, the main opposition party would get 50% required for a majority (under PR). ”

    PR would probably leave the current three party system a distant memory, so such an assertion isn’t really relevant. One of the characteristics of PR is that when there is no combination of parties that appeal to the majority of voters, smaller parties gain support quickly, old parties split, and new parties emerge.

    My betting would be on the eventual emergence of a centrist party formed from the modernising wings of both conservative and labour parties, as well as a few lib dems.

  25. @PETE B

    You are partially correct in that liberalism is basically pro-free market in terms of economics, but British liberalism has tended to be much more leftist than in other countries. The Lib Dems have much more in common with Labour, that is undeniable. Your argument would hold if the modern Labour Party was like it was in the 1970s, but it isn’t. In many ways Labour is a type of liberal party now.

  26. @PETE B

    “Surely a left-leaning coalition would have to include Lab, Lib, and various Nationalists? Would that be more likely to hold together than a staraight Lib-Con deal?”

    I don’t think there is much in it to be honest. I mean – even though the numbers are better for a Lib/Con deal it relies on people such as Charles Kennedy, Simon Hughes and Chris Huhne walking into the lobbies alongside John Redwood, Andrew Rossendale and Iain Duncan Smith.

    These are not exactly good bedfellows so I would expect there would be a lot of division on the right of the Tory party and on the left of the Lib Dems.

    “Also a general point: I have heard it said that there is an anti-Tory majority. Surely there is an even greater anti-Labour majority?”

    Yes thats true. But then there has been an anti-Labour majority ever since 1997. And before that in the 80’s and 90’s there was an anti-Tory majority so it doesn’t really get us anywhere.

    Truth is that in a hung parliament then any amalgamation of parties that can come together to govern have legitimacy.

    Seats are everything. Thats how our current electoral system works.

  27. @Steve Coberman,

    Ironically, despite voting Tory at the recent election, I would rather keep FPTP (or a similar variant, such as AV) and return Labour majorities than have constant hung parliaments under PR.

  28. I know I am really going to piss off my LDem friends here, but it seems the Life of Brian types have left Lab in favour of Lib’s, hence Cleggy’s problems in making a deal with Cameron.

    Now LibDems, don’t pummel me, I still love you all and want to see so joining our big lefty-labour family ;)

  29. @MIKER

    “There’s a lot of nonsense rant on here – the facts are Gordon Brown was unelected, and now defeated, he does’nt even have the grace & dignity to admit that he is the loser & offer to resign when the Conservatives are ready to take over in a coalition or on their own (he is arrogant till the end – as most level headed people in the UK realised he would be if he lost the election).”

    He can’t resign as the Conservative aren’t ready to take over. They can’t guarantee that they can get a Queens Speech through parliament. Therefore they are not yet a viable government.

    If they reach agreement with the Lib Dems then Brown can and will resign but its his constitutional duty to stay until that point is reached.

    If he does anything else then he prompts a constitutional crisis and puts the Queen in an awkward and political position that she doesn’t want to be in.

  30. @XIBY

    Sorted… forget Lib and Lab…. lets have lub ;)

  31. There is a complete misunderstanding here if people think that PR will keep the tories out. If there was a lib/lab coalition which was universally unpopular, surely the only alternative would be to vote tory and we would see a return to high 40 vote shares. The other thing i would like to point out is that if the share of electors per seat was even then where the tories are strong they would have picked up another 20 seats, so under pr there should be a more even distribution of seats around the country if PR was based by region.

  32. Labour have to keep the Tories out in the next week or so. A Cons-Lib deal could be a disaster, even with the current economic crisis and inevitable spending cuts, since the Tories plan to reduce the number of MPs by 10%, as well as changing the electoral boundaries to make them of uniform size. This would make it much harder for Labour to be re-elected in future elections, and much easier for the Tories to get majorities.

  33. I think the Liberal Democrats are going to have to have a long hard think about who and what they really are. They are a fairly broad church, and if the proposed deal with the Tories highlights the fact that in some cases the only thing that unites them is enthusiasm for PR and joining the Euro then they really can’t function, in government at least, as a coherent political party. Perhaps a few rebels peeling off in one direction or another is the price they need to pay to get themselves politically fighting fit.

  34. I note that Clegg talked about Electoral Reform rather than Proportional Representation the last time I heard him.

    I think that before we go about complicating the electoral process, we should sort out the current one. For instance, stop postal votng on demand, as it seems to be so open to corruption. It should just be for overseas voters (such as the army), disabled and very old people. Secondly, sort out why people were turned away this time. Turnout was up from last time, but so was postal voting. Therefore the amount of people arriving at ballot stations should not have been vastly different, Turnout was still lower than in teh 70s and 80s. Was the problem understaffing caused by lack of funds?

  35. “surely the only alternative would be to vote tory and we would see a return to high 40 vote shares.”

    High 40 shares would be unlikely in the modern, three party system (especially, as probably fewer than 45/50% of voters like/can tolerate the Conservative party). They’d also need 50% to get a majority – and, hence, have the mandate to prevent a Lib-Lab coalition from happening.

    I think a Lib-Lab coalition would be the more natural combination in circumstances where it is arithmetically viable.

  36. Mike R: No Prime Minister is ever, ever ‘elected’ in this country other than to their own constituency.

    Other than that your comments are simply partisan. If the Con/LD talks fail to form a government GB is duty bound (from a constitutional point of view) to see if it is possible to form a coalition that would command the confidence of the House. The price for this would almost certainly be his resignation in any case.

    Everything else you say isn’t even argued, it’s just party propaganda.

    Note: I am not a Labourite and in fact voted for 5 different parties over the various elections held where I was.

  37. @MIKE R

    I detect very sour grapes here.

    The plain truth is that there is a deadlock and Brown is perfectly entitled to remain as PM until and unless the other parties form a government. He has that right as the incumbent PM.

  38. @ MIKE R

    “The Sun got the headline right – 59 year old squatter from Scotland in 10 Downing Street – if he cared about Britain he would have conceded defeat / no he wants to hold on as long as he can – yeah he loves Britain – lol”

    Mike – your posts demonstrate a clear misunderstanding about our constitution.

    Please read my previous posts – Brown can’t resign unless there is another party ready/able to govern. That is not yet the case.

    Just because the Sun says something does not make it so. Quoting a newspaper for the illiterate does not strengthen your argument.

  39. @Gary

    I am not saying the Gordon Brown resigns immediately – I am saying for the good of this country, the stock market and pure dignity, the man admits that he lost the election & tells the country he resigns as soon as the Conservatives decide on going it alone or with the Liberals – it’s a matter of grace, honour & dignity – this will reflect very badly on Browns historical records !

  40. Even after the election people are still bashing Gordon Brown. he is upholding the parliamentary conventions long established. More character assasination on the man who is simply trying to do the right thing.

  41. @PETE B

    Correct on all counts, except that having sorted out the voting mechanics we still need a better voting philosophy.

  42. @MIKE R

    I think Brown should resign as Labour leader and PM, and be replaced by someone like Johnson or Milliband. That would make it easier to initiate talks with the Lib Dems. I don’t believe Brown should resign in order to give Cameron a free ride – no way.

  43. It keeps getting mentioned that the Tories would’nt do well under PR – you all seem to forget that the only party that has done well in recent years in the EU national elections with the most seats is the Conservatives under PR / did’nt do the Liberals much good – no reason they would’nt do the same for a normal UK election !!

  44. MATT

    It would depend on the way the vote id proportioned. Under a regional PR system it would be possible to get a majority with less than 50% of the votes. The tories would need to do better in scotland wales and the north of england, much the same as labour or lib dems would have to d betterin the south east and the eastern counties. The point though of my arguement is that the libdems have no record to defend so they are not in a position to lose votes hence their support is relatively unchanged over the last 4 elections. If they formed part of government then voter anger would be against them as well as labour and the only real alternative is with the tory party.

  45. MIKE R

    “I am not saying the Gordon Brown resigns immediately – I am saying for the good of this country, the stock market and pure dignity, the man admits that he lost the election & tells the country he resigns as soon as the Conservatives decide on going it alone or with the Liberals – it’s a matter of grace, honour & dignity – this will reflect very badly on Browns historical records !”

    But that doesn’t help either. Brown has basically said that the Tories have first dibs at forming a govt. If they manage it then they get to be in power and he will resign with no constitutional crisis for the monarch.

    Assuming that Brown admits he’s defeated – what if the Lib Dems say they won’t support the Tories under any circumstances – what then?

    If Brown had already said he had lost we would be straight back into another election.

    That wouldn’t help the markets.

    It would be Browns responsibility to try and form an alternative coalition.

    In fact if Brown tried to resign or call another general election then the Queen has the right to call someone else in if she thinks they might be able to form a govt but if they lost the Queens speech then its straight back into an election.

    Brown has done everything by the book – in fact he has been quite generous in conceding that Cons and Libs have the right to negotiate first when our constituion actually gives the PM the right to try and negotiate to stay in power first.

  46. @Matt
    “the Tories plan to reduce the number of MPs by 10%, as well as changing the electoral boundaries to make them of uniform size. This would make it much harder for Labour to be re-elected in future elections, and much easier for the Tories to get majorities.”

    Oh my goodness! We can’t possibly have the system rigged to be fairer can we!

  47. I have to say this uniform size thing is a bit silly. Look at Na h-Eileanan an Iar on a map – how on earth would you make it any bigger????

  48. @Mike R

    Of course they did well in recent years in Euro elections (and locals too). The opposition ALWAYS do well in “minor” elections in 2nd and subsequent terms of a government. It’s been the same throughout my lifetime (and my political memory stretches back to 1961), and I suspect a lot longer than that.

    And I’m so glad you quoted the Sun. I thought you might have my mother-in-law using the same blog as me, but she always quotes the Mail as biblical truth, not the Sun, so I can exonerate you from that particular crime ;)

  49. @ Gary

    I can see that you are defending GB based on the constitution as it stands – he still has not conceded that he has lost (he could help the speed of a Con/Lib pact by staying out of the picture), instead is throwing out olive branches to the small parties. The stock market and the Pound have been thrown into confusion while he dithers as usual – most of the sane part of the country know that the Liberals will NOT be joining up with Labour – that would be a suicide pact for the Liberals – for the country to see 2 losing parties linked together – both having been rejected by the voters !

  50. @P Brown

    If you think it would be tough with Na h-Eileanan an Iar , think how much tougher with the Western Isles ;)

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