We are a year and a half away from the European elections, but the recent rise in UKIP support in Westminster polls has brought some attention to them, meaning we are already seeing voting intention polls for the European elections. ComRes have an online European elections poll in the People tomorrow, and Survation had one in the Mail on Sunday last weekend. Whether they mean anything at this stage is a different question, but here they are for the record.

ComRes/People – CON 22%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 23%, GRN 5%, Others 8%
Survation/MoS – CON 24%, LAB 31%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 22%, GRN 6%, Others 6%

Both show Labour topping the poll – what we’d expect given their strong lead in the Westminster polls and the mid-term nature of the elections. What will get more attention is that both polls also show the Conservatives and UKIP closely placed for second place – Survation had the Conservatives narrowly ahead, ComRes UKIP narrowly ahead.

The other questions in the ComRes poll seem to show a slight movement towards support for the European Union since ComRes last asked them in October 2011. The percentage of people agreeing that EU membership was a costly mistake fell from 54% to 48%, people disagreed with the statement that they’d vote in favour of withdrawal by 42%-33%, when in October 2011 it had been evenly balanced at 37%-37%. I’ll write more about this tomorrow…

This weekend we are also due the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll and, assuming they are sticking to their current timetable, the fortnightly Opinium/Observer poll.

UPDATE: Opinium’s fortnightly poll for the Observer has topline figures of CON 31%(+2), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 12%(-3) – Observer write up here.

45 Responses to “First European Election polls”

  1. Comres/Sun People Euro Election voting intention poll: Lab 35% (+19 on 2009 vote), UKIP 23% (+6.5), Con 22% (-6), LD 8% (-6), Green 5% (-3)



  2. Is this high for a UKIP euro poll? Have they ever polled this high?

  3. Wire –

    Polls for the last European elections are here: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/european-elections

  4. While wee sub-samples aren’t exactly meaningful! I can’t resist mentioning that Tories are behind UKIP in Scotland according to ComRes. :-)

    SNP 39% : Lab 31% : UKIP 13% : Con 8% : LD 7% Oth 2%.

  5. When it comes down to the doorstep campaign on an in out vote, the EU is so easy to create scare stories and wind people up about. I do it all the time in the pub. Getting people to despise the EU takes very little, once you talk about immigration, massive costs and the gravy train. Bring it on, I’m ready!

  6. AW,

    Thanks. I see this figure is thus the highest ever foR UKIP. They can go higher: but much depends on Cameron’s speech this month and the fall-out from it.

  7. Interesting the apparent slight move towards supporting staying in the EU.

    What is interesting about the current EU debate is how the majority of the press is hugely anti-EU, but the CBI and other business groups pro-EU. Will make for a interesting contest if a referendum does.

    Another interesting fact: in the ComRes poll, the broadly pro-EU- parties (Labour, Green and Lib Dem) lead the broadly anti-EU parties (Tory/UKIP) by 48% to 45%.

  8. I keep saying it but EU exit talk and Cameron’s attempted management of his party in that regard is – as Nigel Farage might say – a cul-de-sac for them.

    It isn’t going to happen and we’d be far better off as a nation trying to be more amenable and flexible; since we are not a part of the single currency and yet we are not wanting to leave the Union, why not be sensible and pragmatic instead of stupid and divisive.

  9. By the way, the long sentence in Lord Heseltine’s interview with the Times regarding discussing a referendum about something undecided, where the process hasn’t yet begun etc etc etc etc was, in my view, a briliantly composed hatchet job on the whole idea.

  10. I’m sure I read on here a while back some sort of polling that suggested UKIP were limited to around 15%-20% maximum on the GE vote. Something along the lines of a question such as ‘would you ever consider voting… UKIP’.

    I’m not sure how this fits in with very high numbers willing to vote for them on European Elections. Maybe this a single issue, maybe I read the original poll wrong or has the increased publicity for UKIP actually increased their potential voter base?

  11. @ Chris Lane 1945

    Opinium’s fortnightly poll for the Observer has topline figures of CON 31%(+2), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 12%(-3)
    That LDEM 7%; a bit on the high side? ;-)

  12. Oiche maith duit to you AMBER STAR.

    I agree with your analysis, Amber, as I normally do. Probably sampling error, IMO.

  13. Borrowed votes Shevii.

    Was even a UKIPn catch phrase at the last Euro Election.

  14. AW

    I enjoyed this comment:

    “this was a voodoo survey giving implausible results which were then wrongly reported.”


  15. SHEVII
    UKIP was second place in 2009 with 16.5% of the vote (16.1% in 2004, 7% in 1999).
    So it’s not a huge leap for them – they do better in EU elections because it sends a strong message from people who want to leave the EU (but don’t actually support UKIP) and because turn-out is much lower than normal.

  16. Are there serious chances pf Clegg and/or Alexander being unseated in 2015?

    What would need to happen? [apart from them coming no better than second]

  17. UK will never leave the EU, it’s too much fun being obstructionist and winding the other countries up and if it’s one thing Brits like it’s winding up the French.

  18. Paul is this referring to Cleggy’s comment that he sees himself as Lib Dem Leader and MP for Shef Hallam after 2015.

    I almost choked on my Weetabix, the chance of him retaining one of those titles after 2015 is unlikely, both: near impossible.


    “UKIP was second place in 2009 with 16.5% of the vote (16.1% in 2004, 7% in 1999).
    So it’s not a huge leap for them – they do better in EU elections because it sends a strong message from people who want to leave the EU (but don’t actually support UKIP) and because turn-out is much lower than normal.”

    Add in the fact that it’s a PR election (hence small parties aren’t considered to be a wasted vote) and that the turnout is closer to local election levels than to general election levels (hence small parties get a greater share), and you’ve got the complete explanation of why UKIP’s vote share is so much higher in European Parliamentary elections.

  20. Just wondering if/how they could be targeted.

  21. To be fair GreenChristian if their share of the vote has increased 1.5 times from 16 to 24 that is a fairly big jump. If eurosceptic tories move over to UKIP they could take over Labour.

    I said long ago I thought UKIP might win the Euros in 2014, then still fail to win a seat in 2015

  22. Watching Question Time from Thursday, and found a kindred spirit, the man who set up the big issue is basically agreeing with me on everything and when they asked him his political leaning, he said exactly what I say, that I dont fit into the left or the right because like most people I want some from one and some from the other.

  23. Also he said what I say about the miners, it was right to close down failing industries but rather than leave those people on welfare they should have been invested in so that they could be productive in other growing areas of the economy.

  24. Back in 2010 and 2011, YouGov were attracting flak for producing VI % scores for the LDs consistently below those of other pollsters. Mike Smithson at PB even for a time maintained an alternative to the UKPR polling average, so concerned was he that the emphasis on YouGov polls was undermining the LDs position.

    Now (with the exception of ICM, for very obvious reasons) YouGov tend to be more towards the top end of the range for LD VI. There’s no sign of a LD revival with the other polling companies.

    Very strange. Why should there be changes over time in the relative house effects of different pollsters when measuring LD VI? Any ideas, anyone?

  25. Phil – house effects can and do change over time, because they are normally the effect of methodological differences and rarely as straightforward as “pollster X weights party Y more highly”.

    To give a straightforward example, ICM reallocate some don’t knows to the party they voted for last time round. When they introduced this around 1993 there were more former Tories saying don’t know so it favoured the Conservatives, and the ICM house effect would have been to show higher Con scores. By around 2003 it had changed, there were more former Lab voters saying don’t know so the ICM approach started to favour Labour.

    That’s simple to measure and understand because the impact of ICM’s re-allocation is very straightforward. Other methodological differences are often far more difficult to measure and their effects more difficult to see. For example, my best guess about the reason YG tended to show lower Lib Dem scores than other pollsters was that it was something to do with weighting by party ID rather than VI, and something to do with weighting using data collected in May 2010 rather than at the time of the survey. The exact impact of this though is difficult to measure, and while its impact could change over time as different types of Lib Dem voter react differently and false recall evolves, it is very difficult to measure.

  26. SW cross breaks on ComRes are interesting (n=100) even with the usual health warnings that must apply:
    Lab 26%, UKIP 33%, Con 25%, LD 6%, Green 7%

    In the GE it was Lab 15%, UKIP 5%, Con 43%, LD 34%, Green 1%.

    If UKIP were to top the Euro poll there in 2014, and the LDs come 4th or 5th in their strongest region, the implications for tactical voting in 2015 might be what?

  27. Was it really expected that Labour would be topping this poll? And by so much?
    Very bad news for Cameron on these numbers, and bound to get worse for him with quote in tomorrows paper “We would be mad to leave the EU”. He cant go back on that one!

  28. @AW

    Thanks for the reply. I was interested in the way things had evolved since 2010, rather than between successive GEs, where clearly the very different contexts would make a big difference. Yours seem very plausible reasons and they offer potential insights to help evaluate polling methodology e.g. how does false recall change over time, and do the measures used to try and take it into account really do what they say on the tin (to borrow a somewhat overused phrase). I was also wondering whether the evolution of the YouGov panel might have something to do with it, in that as new people join you won’t have any data from them actually recorded in 2010. Presumably that could be tested for by splitting the samples in two and seeing whether the pre and post 2010 panel produce different results.

  29. Amber – what a strangely unenlightening article. I dread to think what anyone who didn’t already know that the amendment seeking to amend the Electoral Registration Bill to stop the process now is different from the eventual vote to implement the changes would make of it. I fear they’d go away thinking the PM can use the Parliament Act to implement the changes.

    The only new info I think it tells us is that if the Lords amendment gets passed on Monday the Conservatives will seek to overturn it when it returns to the Commons.

    The stuff about the Parliament Act is odd. Sure, they could pull the Electoral Registration Bill and reintroduce it next year to get it through under the Parliament Act, but there probably wouldn’t be any need to… the Bill itself should pass without too much problem and by next year the Boundary Commissions will have reported and their recommendations either accepted or rejected, depending on how the vote on the actual implementation goes.

  30. @ Anthony

    I am ever so glad that you read & commented on the Telegraph article about the boundary changes because I didn’t ‘get’ the bit about the Parliament Act & I was going to ask what you thought of it but I didn’t want to bother you so late on a Saturday night!

    Thanks for elucidating. It will be very interesting to see what happens.

  31. YouGov Sunday Times
    Con 31 Lab 44 LD 11 UKIP 8

  32. Special VI for YouGov (the ‘parents’ subsamples are so small, I won’t bother) –
    People who wish to stay in the EU (727) –
    Con 25, Lab 51, Lib 15, UKIP 1
    People who wish to leave (846) –
    Con 36, Lab 34, Lib 9, UKIP 17

    Referendum question –
    Remain in – 36 (+5)
    Leave – 42 (-4)
    By Party –
    Con 33/51
    Lab 48/34

  33. How would those polls breakdown seats wise, how may would Labour gain etc, is it poss. to do that with MEP’s?

  34. We ain’t leaving.

    Solid lead; you can postulate that it is amazingly good given Labour have not yet revealed pollicies and therefore has potential for consolidation or ditto and may slip.

    I think the former and that they will also reinforce their front bench before 2015.

    Lots of disasters awaiting Cameron with little upside in sight I feel.

  35. I think the SNP making a deal and voting with the Tories on boundary reform could be catastrophic for them.

    Willing to risk a Tory Government in order to further independence? Too cynical for most in Scotland?

  36. David
    Survation’s Chief Executive posted on twitter that using Survation’s poll, the seat changes would be –
    Lab 23 (+10), Con 17 (-8), UKIP 16 (+3), LD 8 (-3), Green 3 (+1), SNP 2 (NC), PC 1 (NC), BNP 0 (-2)

    So the ComRes poll would likely see slightly higher Lab gains.

  37. Sunday Times quotes Steve Hilton lecturing in USA.

    Only 30% of Civil Service time is spent on policy implementation.

    40% on implementing EU regulations.

    30% on “random” administrative stuff.

    And we wonder why nothing ever gets done in this country.


    Yes I merely going to comment that the Parliament Act can only be used to stop a bill. The government is merely seeking the votes to implement new constituencies under an existing Act of Parliament. As I understand business it will need majorities in both houses in implement the commission’s revision. Without that consent I do not see how the government can proceed.

    In theory it could do this by a second Act Of Parliament itself but that would need to be placed in the queen’s speech and invoked as likely for use of the Parliament Act. The downside of that strategy is the coalition is meant to agree all Bills in the queen’s speech & LibDems could technically be defeat such an attempt at primary legislation by an amendment to the Gracious Address in either house.

    No either the government has the votes in both houses or it doesn’t.

    I cannot see why the Lords we reconsider its vote if the Conservatives managed to cobble a majority in the lower house. The whole point of the LIbDem action is to assert their voting rights in both houses. After all the coalition is itself the first government to exercise a practical working majority in the upper house. If the LibDem peers vote down a motion once they must surely do so again.

  39. Colin:

    ” ‘Nothing’ ever gets done in this country ”

    Pardon ??????????????????????

  40. @NICKP

    And a reminder of how they voted with the Tories on the no-confidence motion that lead to the Thatcher governemnt.

  41. New thread

  42. The trouble with the EU debate is that very few people are actually saying what the issue is.in specifics.

    I have negative views about EU beaurocracy but then I have to question where I am picking those views up from. Colin mentions some stats above but I am sure they are not quantified in any scientific way and if we are talking about Civil Service departments as opposed to the whole public sector then the whole job of the civil service is researching, preparing, proposing and scrutinising possible legislation. So they key question is whether that legislation is helpful or necessary.

    My issue with the EU is feeling a bit divorced from democracy and simply being too big to be effective with a lot of bargaining going on among vested interests. This was always the old Green Party argument against being in Europe (you couldn’t accuse them of being xenophobic) but they seem to have changed their policy since the 1980’s.

    The only specific big issue I can think of is not having control over immigration and while I see there is a benefit in immigration I do worry about an overcrowded country and the inability to decide yourself what the level of immigration should be.

    Like Paul said a yes vote to leave the EU is not going to happen. The left feel put upon by the right wing bias in most of the newspapers but that will pale into insignificance for UKIP and right wing Tories when they see big business pressure come to bear during a referendum. In fact everyone talks about EM having to match a referendum commitment should Cameron make one. He might be as well to call their bluff and see whether the Labour coffers fill with donations from big business.

  43. Thank you tingedfringe

  44. So Nearly 70% of those polled show a preference for parties who wish to remain in the EU.

    Why don’t I think this will be the media’s headline analysis?