I don’t usually comment much upon the “others” scores in regular voting intention polls – there’s various reasons for that: support for them is so low that movement from month to month is hidden away by rounding, for the SNP and Plaid you really need proper Scottish and Welsh polls to get anything meaningful, and for minor parties like UKIP, the Greens and BNP their support has little impact, whether any of them breaks through to win seats at Westminster depends far more upon them getting concentrated support in particular constituencies (as Caroline Lucas did in Brighton) than their overall support.

Nevertheless, the comparatively high levels of support for UKIP last week produced some comment, so I thought it time to have a better look at the figures. The graph below shows a four-week rolling average for the others in YouGov’s Sunday Times polls (obviously a rolling average of all YouGov’s daily polling would be better… but would take 7 times longer to type into a spreadsheet!)


As you can see, there is an overall upwards trend, but different patterns for the different parties. The BNP’s position is largely unchanged from last Summer, with no obvious trend up or down in their support. The SNP & Plaid (YouGov do not separate them out in GB polling) have a rise in support, particularly in the run up to the Scottish and Welsh elections last May – very much in line with the increase in SNP support that we know happened at the time from Scottish polling.

The Green party have a clear upwards trend in their support, though total levels remain very modest. By far the biggest increase is for UKIP, who have gone from around 2% last July to around 5 or 6 percent.

One can only speculate about the reasons. It seems a fair assumption that the increase in the last week is due to the issue of Europe moving up the agenda (though it’s worth noting that UKIP’s support is not always based on the issue of Europe – in past polling we’ve seen that issues like immigration are more important). I’d suggest other factors could be support from the disgruntled right of the Conservatives, and perhaps more significantly, the Liberal Democrat entry into government meaning the Lib Dems are less available as a vehicle for protest votes from those opposed to the main two parties, and that other parties have the opportunity to pick up these votes.

258 Responses to “Growing support for “other” parties”

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  1. Anthony.

    Many thanks for your very fine work here. I find these resources so valuable for my work in the classroom with my a level students in Politics

  2. Very interesting Anthony, but I have n utterly off the point point.

    Gavin Essler on Newsnight has just raised the obvious question. Is there a possibility that there will be a military coup in Greece?

    More to the point, is it remotely possible to have the level of austerity required and for democracy to survive?

  3. One not unrelated point from tonight’s trackers. ‘Europe’, defying all your lectures on salience last week, went up from 18% to 29% in the ‘country’ issues and even from 7% to 13% in the ‘you and your family’ issues.

    On paper these are very high figures, but I think they actually confuse two different worries. One is the ‘traditional’ anti-Europe feeling, no doubt encouraged by the referendum debate. The other is fears about the crisis in the Eurozone and its effect on the British economy. I think it’s the latter which has been responsible for a lot of the rise, particularly in the ‘you and your family’ figure.

    Of course the two reasons aren’t independent, particularly in the minds of voters, but I think it’s the Eurozone problem that people see as important at the moment. In some way they seem more realistic than the politicians or the media.

  4. Anthony

    Interesting post. Of course, while YouGov conceals the weighted VI in their Scottish poll, we can’t really tell anything, can we?

    Not that I’m suggesting that you are concealing anything, of course. Oops! Yes I am! :-)

  5. Hmm. 3% doesn’t sound like much, but 3% of 8.5% is 35%, which is a fair VI.

  6. Looks to me like the actual heading of AWs thread starter should be:

    “Growing support for UKIP”

    Could it be that ATTAUK (add together Tory and UKIP) could be a far more relevant (and potent) force at the next GE than the fanciful (and wonderfully onomatopoeic) ‘LALA’ ?

  7. I carried out my own Scottish sample and properly weighted the poll. 30% of correspondents were overweight and 90% of them voted Labour.

  8. Statgeek

    It makes little sense to combine SNP & Plaid in the first place, or to bother graphing parties standing in only one part of the UK against others which pretend to be GB wide.

    Of course, concealing more useful data allows the pretence that the SNP and Plaid are “UK” parties, and of little significance.

    Damn! I did it again. :-)

  9. Allan Christie

    Well, that makes a change from using newspaper readership as a weighting factor in Scotland!

    Obesity may well be just as useful. :-)

  10. OLDNAT

    It’s much more accurate. ;)

  11. Allan Christie

    You may well be right!

  12. @Rob Sheffield – ” …add together Tory and UKIP”

    Ukip stand down their candidate where there is a eurosceptic (Tory) candidate in place.

    They have a high threshold for who qualifies as eurosceptic though, but no doubt it is a consideration in marginal seats.

  13. Oldnat, is it just me or are you an SNP supporter? :p

  14. Alex Harvey

    People of all parties and none have been less than complimentary about YG’s use of newspaper weightings.

    However, if wanting to see open publication of polled data, instead of it being hidden is an attitude restricted to the SNP, then I’m happy to plead guilty to that, while wondering what others have to fear from the publication of the data.

    You may want to ask Anthony about, the morality of such action. he’s not talking to me. :-(

  15. OldNat

    Don’t be so paranoid, YouGov obviously mislaid a batch of polls when they converted over the weekend – the ST poll is gone too. No doubt they’ll reappear when they get things sorted out (and they can find a nice pretty picture for Scotland)

    More to the point the trackers all seem to have reverted to the first of September.

  16. Roger Mexico

    My psychiatrist says I’m not paranoid (he used another word that I didn’t understand). :-)

    My point seems fairly simple, and nothing to to do with YG’s inability to update its site properly – such incompetence is fairly standard!

    Maybe people can point me to another example, where VI has been collected, cross breaks constructed according to it, but in the published table, the VI data has been deliberately wiped,

    I haven’t seen such a thing happen previously, but I am more than happy to be given examples of where it has.

    The nearest equivalent I have seen is when YouGov failed to publish any tables for the Conservative Home poll on the SCon leadership election, although CH itself published a partial table.

    I’ll go back and tell my psychiatrist that I am actually paranoid, if anyone can give me similar examples which don’t affect Scottish politics. :-)

    If such practice is common, that should be a fairly easy task.

  17. OldNat

    Looking at the SoS article they don’t mention the general Scottish VI either. I suspect your compatriots are back to their frugal ways of doling out polls a wee bit at a time. In that case YouGov only put up the tables for the parts that have been published. They usually try to update them later but don’t always get them right.

    No doubt the Scotsman will still be eking out the Sunday joint till the end of the week.

  18. Roger Mexico

    I expected the Scotsman to carry the VI on Monday, but no. On Tuesday, but no. On Wednesday, no.

    It seems reasonable to assume that if the VI had been poor for the SNP, then they would have been trumpeting that by now.

    That isn’t actually the point I’m making, however. It isn’t unusual for papers to suppress VI data that doesn’t suit their purpose.

    My beef is with YouGov, who published the independence question table, with VI cross breaks, while suppressing the weighted VI.

    My question remains, therefore, Can anyone to direct me to examples where this has happened on other questions?

  19. OldNat

    I assume YouGov would suppress the weighted figures because otherwise other media outlets could use them before the Scotsman who had paid for them. In the past they’ve certainly done this with Scottish polls. How long they would wait for the Scotsman to publish is another matter – because it was the SoS, I would imagine they’d have to wait a week.

  20. Roger Mexico

    If it were that simple, wouldn’t you have expected Anthony to have given me a brief reply to that effect?

    If parts of a table need to be suppressed for the reason you suggest, then doubtless there will be multiple other examples of such practice.

    Surely, someone, somewhere, can identify other examples? I have never seen such, but doubtless there will be multiple examples, if you are correct.

  21. @OLDNAT

    If the Scotsman isn’t publishing, it’s probably because they didn’t get the result they wanted.

  22. @OLDNAT

    Found a couple:

    Facebook poll article:

    h ttp://www.gallowaygazette.co.uk/news/scottish-headlines/45_for_independence_facebook_poll_1_1930606

    Scotland on Sunday:

    h ttp://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/politics/rise_in_scots_backing_split_from_uk_1_1938295

  23. @ Old Nat

    “If it were that simple, wouldn’t you have expected Anthony to have given me a brief reply to that effect?”

    Are you feeling a little neglected?

    “My psychiatrist says I’m not paranoid (he used another word that I didn’t understand). :)”

    Lol. Conversations that begin with “well my therapist says” are almost never good ones. :)

  24. Anthony,

    Do yougov count Green Party of England and Wales and Scottish Greens together?

  25. Two big news stories already this morning –
    Ministers to offer an ‘enhanced offer’ to unions over pensions, to avoid strike action.
    Which will be seen as a victory to the unions and a defeat for the government.
    Let’s just hope the ‘enhanced offer’ is good enough.

    And the Archibishop of Canterbury has finally commented on the St Pauls Occupation.
    The new line from the church is that ‘it’s easy to be right in hindsight’ which is an implicit apology but also says that a ‘financial tax’ (robin-hood tax) would advance the ‘moral agenda’ of the protesters, which is implicit support of the protesters’ agenda.

    Yet again that puts the CoE in opposition to the government (which is often true of any political stripe) – which is an awkward situation to be in.
    The government now have to walk the line between ‘politely dismissive’ and ‘rudely dismissive’, which is a difficult one.

    And yougov drops back to 35/41/9/6 – showing that the 39/41 was an outlier and we’re back to polldrums.
    It should be a slightly worrying figure for the coalition (except for the LibDems, who’re restored to their 9 – from 8) – as this would probably be 35/42/9 under the old method, which is the same as our old polldrums for Labour and the LibDems, but -2 for the Tories (which seems to have gone to UKIP + Others).

    A stable 35 is the Tory’s worst ‘stable’ position over the past year, which is starting to show a decline in support from their right wing. [1]
    While the argument will be ‘Ah, they’ll come back home, they won’t let in Labour’ tactical vote argument (which is true to some extent), it’s the same ‘head in the sand’ argument Labour had to the LibDems.
    ‘Ah, they won’t vote LibDem and let in the Tories!’.
    As soon as UKIP reach a critical mass point, and the right-wing is fed up of Cameron, there would be larger switching (a split) to UKIP.
    But – that would be good news for the (right)-Liberals and Liberal Conservatives as they could officially form a coalition, without the Tory right-wing which puts off so many Labour-Con voters.
    It’d be a new Left (Lab)/Centre (Con-Lib)/Right (UKIP) realignment of British politics with the Con-Lib coalition holding all of the ‘hung parliament’ cards after every election (for the elections that they don’t gain a majority).

    [1] This is implied by the lack of growth in the Labour VI – if it was the Tory’s ‘left-wing’ (closer to Lab) we would probably see Con > Lab switching.

  26. Oh – and I completely forgot the news of the plunging stock markets.
    While markets, obviously, haven’t opened yet, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of confidence (although the emergency meeting in Greece should give some temporary stability).
    While the ‘Greek question’ is up in the air, the stock markets decline – if we don’t get a referendum until next year, continual decline (which inevitability leads to a crash) is something that the stock markets can’t afford.

    Will be interesting to see what pressure the Sarkozy/Merkel team put on the Greeks to change their mind.
    We could see the battle between economics and democracy really burst out in to the open.

  27. The enhanced offer on public sector pensions is essentially a “higher” offer on accrual rates and the ceiling on the liability of central funds to pay.

    Higher than what? No lower figure exists except in the Treasury’s master plan. Any future Government could change these things at will stating “we can’t afford them any more”.

    The big sticking point will be the increase in contributions coming at the end of 2 years of pay freeze. They would be massive withdrawal from what would still be a good scheme, simply because people can’t afford the extra.

  28. The daft thing is that all the Government needs to do is delay its pension reforms….introduce increased contributions over a longer period, review the accrual rate in tem years again, perhaps delay the switch from final salry to average for an extra couple of years, agree to a formula based on valuation of fund with teachers…they can have all the reforms, what has hamstrung them is announcing all of them in advance including the timetable, which effectively means any negotiated change looks like weakness.

    It might have made chane much more likely, but it more or less guarantees industrial strife. That probably looked good as Thatcher v Miners idea a while back, but just at the moment any loss of activity is going to be a disaster for the economy.

    Cameron could do a deal and do his usual, “I have listened, things have changed” spiel. But I have a feeling he won’t. The strikes could be a good smokescreen enabling him to blame public service workers for the economic problems.

    I don’t want to strike. I just want my already modest pension. People are scared and angry, including me. A deal could be done, but the negotiation needs to be between union and Government not on the BBC, in the Telegraph and by media soundbite.

    Trust has pretty well dissolved.


    “Could it be that ATTAUK (add together Tory and UKIP) could be a far more relevant (and potent) force at the next GE than the fanciful (and wonderfully onomatopoeic) ‘LALA’ ?”

    It would be nice to think so :-)

    3 or 4 points will be important if your forecast of a fairly low & inflexible gap between Cons & Lab is correct.

    But how many more Con seats will it provide?

  30. “the Archibishop of Canterbury has finally commented on the St Pauls Occupation”

    Anglican cathedrals are largely soveriegn, this explains why AoC would not be interfering in decision making, or be seen to intrude into the unfolding of the cathedral’s varied positions through resignations… though a public warning against taking legal action to evict protesters was issued to St Paul’s from “a former media advisor” of the AoC on Saturday.


    ““the Archibishop of Canterbury has finally commented on the St Pauls Occupation”

    ………..and on Government taxation policy it seems.

    He should stay out out things like Transaction Tax.

  32. The Times reports a surge of investment in the London property market by high net-worth Spanish & Greek investors over the last year.

    Rats & sinking ships -or prudent flight to Safe Haven ……depending how you see it :-)

  33. A couple of interesting observations. Firstly on growth. Over the last year officially GDP growth of 0.6% has been recorded. Over the same period we would expect to have seen population growth of around 0.4% if the ONS projections are accurate.

    This means that ‘real’ growth adjusted for population is a tiny 0.2%. That’s really pretty frightening. The Telegraph is quoting a Deutche bank analysis showing that the UK recovery is slower than after the Great Depression and the slowest for 100 years.

    Second point of note that people may already have picked up on, but the esteemed Dr Eoin Clarke, formerly of this parish, was named by Polly Toynbee in her column in Saturday’s Gruaniad. She quoted reserach he had complied showing the most shoplifted items were now cheese and babymilk as evidence of poverty affecting criminal behaviour.

  34. @Colin – “He should stay out out things like Transaction Tax.”

    I could be mistaken but I’m sure I recall you suggesting it was fine for religious leaders to comment on government policy when Labour was in power.

  35. Religious leaders can comment on anything they like, but with each partisan statement they may find their “choir” shrinking.

    Ultimately “politics” is everything in life. To try and dissect one part of life from another is futile.

    Perhaps the Humanist Society should suggest a tax on the land holdings of wealthy religious organisations….

  36. On the EU I found the poll in the Guardian (last week) to be interesting.

    Although it showed 49% wanted the UK out of the EU (from memory) it also showed a large % (30?) who did not want that. And that latter figure – given the current conditions – surprised me. Higher than I had seen before and – seemingly – growing.

    There was a lot of comment on the poll in the Guardian about withdrawl from the EU being a guise to make Britiain into a ‘sweatshop’. This was largely based upon the Conservative claim and repeated by Cameron – during the debate – that they wanted to repatriate Employment and Social laws rather than the whole EU package.

    I think a lot of people on the left are starting to see EU withdraw as being that: a repeal of better working and environmental conditions.

    And that may explain the growing “Stay in” figure.

  37. Oldnat – “If it were that simple, wouldn’t you have expected Anthony to have given me a brief reply to that effect”

    Anthony’s barely checked the site for the last couple of days – been flat out on a big project (for work, not for the website, so don’t get excited). I’ve dropped by about 4 times just to moderate naughtiness.

    We withhold the weighted bases for VI occassionally. These days it’s normally because the VI question is for a different client but asked on the same poll (in which case, we obviously don’t want to give client two’s data to client one, but there is no harm in giving them the crossbreaks), in the past it’s also been when the sample size is too small for the voting intention figures to be useful (e.g. when we do a rapid turnaround poll of 500 people for the Sun).

    I wasn’t involved in the Scotsman poll at all, so can’t comment on that one.

  38. RobS
    “the fanciful (and wonderfully onomatopoeic) ‘LALA’ ”

    Fanciful? And yet Rob, and yet.

    Despite us being in uncharted political waters, despite Coalition, despite the EU woes, despite the “worse that the 30s” recession, despite an uncharismatic Labour leader, despite exceptionally high “Other” VI, average LALA VI STILL doesn’t drop below the 49-50% figure that has been its baseline for the past half century.

    I’ve still not heard a convincing argument why the LALA VI should suddenly move significantly outside the tight band that it has stayed in throughout my lifetime.

  39. The rise of the, ‘others’ (especially UKIP) is making it very difficult to see how either of the two main parties can actually win a majority at the next GE.

    The news that the Tory rebels have formed a caucus, (a party within a party) is very bad news for Cameron. What happens when they elect a leader, their own manifesto, (out of the EU etc) and start sniping at and then directly opposing the ConDem gvernment?

    A confrontation, a split, and then Cameron leading a National Government composed of the Cameroons, Libdems and kept in power by the tacit support of the Labour Party? A few months ago, that would have seemed fanciful, in a few months time it may be a reality.

  40. More and more the Greek president’s decision to “go to the people” for approval looks to me like a bri;;iant strategem.

    It means either the end of the Euro (at least for Greece) or a euro deal that spreads the pain amongst all the countires instead of trying to inflict austerity on a few. My money is on the first, followed rapidly by other countries.

  41. It makes no sense to combine the SNP and Plaid Cymru from a poll perspective. While Westminster commentators like to look on them as “The nationalist bloc” but the two parties are completely separate in terms of organisation, membership and whatnot. Their policies are only superficially similar, and most importantly of all their electoral histories can be and have often been completely different; at the last Scottish parliament / Welsh assembly elections for example the SNP made massive gains while Plaid lost two seats. Conflating the two obscures this and makes the polls meaningless for anyone wishing to gague the success of one or the other – an SNP/Plaid increase, as this poll shows is going to be an average of the two. Assuming that SNP support is up while Plaid support remains the same, or is down, this poll exaggerates support for Plaid while underestimating it for the SNP by conflating the two.

  42. NickP.

    The more I look at it, it seems like the ONLY strategy possible.

    It would be utterly untenable for Papandreou to impose on his people the level of austerity required by last week’s deal without the people having bought into it. That would, very likely, have led to social and political breakdown.

    This way, he has a chance to air the arguments and put to the people the (extremely tough) consequences of going against the deal. He has a chance to let the people, begrudgingly, buy into the deal.

    It’s high-risk for Sarkozy & Merkel, because they no longer look as though they are in control of events. But that is not Papandreou’s problem right now. His bigger one at the moment is preserving democracy in Greece.

  43. @Nickp – I think he’s realised it isn’t going to work for Greece (still debt to GDP ratio of 120% AFTER a 50% default and 9 more years of austerity) and he’s decided to force the issue to find a less bad solution for his country.

    It is also grimly amusing to see the fear in the other Euro leaders faces when confronted with the idea of democracy.

  44. Alec, yes indeed.

    I’ve always been pro-European, but just now I am turning sceptic, and I’m very sympathetic to the Greeks.

    I’ve been on the end of the “blame the bloated over paid public sector for everything” over here and it makes me angry.

    Yeah there will be plenty of pain to go round for us all.

  45. By the way Alec, the BBC are reporting that “fracking” probably caused recent earthquakes up north.

    Can we afford NOT to frack?

  46. Greece (probably) gave the world democracy.

    So it’s fair and appropriate the Greek people should give their view in a referendum.

    If we were in their position, I imagine we’d say enough of this b*****ks, it’s time to tell the EU to F-off. (All in Greek, of course.)

    Incidentally, how soon would a referendum be held?

  47. Absolutley shocking by Mr Papendreou. Cant take the responsiblity himself, so shoves it on the Greek public, not all of whom will have much of a clue about public finances.

    Recklessly irresponsible, and hopefully given his majority of 2, and rebellions coming, the referendum bill wont make it through the Greek parliament.

    Its all irrelevant unless Italy get there act together anyway…

  48. MikeN- originally the referendum was going to be in January IIRC, but there are now suggestions it could be as soon as December.


    To put this debate regarding matters which occurred 70 years ago to bed, I would say this. No political party in any European nation could have been serious about stopping Hitler, without a major spend on defence. We came within a hairs breadth of defeat as it was. Had Labour’s parsimony regarding defence spending been the actual reality, we would have needed to stay neutral in 1939 and wait for Hitler’s arrival when it suited him.

    There is, quite correctly, much mention of Ernest Bevin in your posts on this matter. Be aware, that I have always praised that man to the sky’s as a man and a statesman, many a time on this board. However, one man, even a Bevin, does not atone for the general lack of practical action from Labour, against NAZI Germany in the late 30’s.

  50. Anthony’s very interesting comment regarding UKIP attracting voters, due to their policy on immigration and just not just anti European matters, makes my previous comment , “the middle class BNP” seem more correct and less harsh.

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