YouGov have released a poll of European Election voting intentions here. This follows the Survation and ComRes European election polls earlier this month, both of which showed the Conservatives and UKIP effectively neck and neck for second place. In contrast, YouGov show UKIP in a strong third place, but still well behind the Conservatives.
YouGov: CON 27%, LAB 38%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%
Part, but not all, of the difference will be down to prompting – the Survation and ComRes polls both had a list of all parties for people to choose from, YouGov prompted only for Con, Lab, LD, SNP/PC and Other… though they do preface the question with some bumpf about the European elections being fought on PR under which smaller parties do better.
In parallel to this poll YouGov also carried out a second poll asking all the parties in a single list, and this one put UKIP at 19%, two points higher. This explains some of the difference between the YouGov and ComRes/Survation polls, but not all of it. Another difference was that YouGov did not filter by likelihood to vote, though looking at ComRes’s tabs this doesn’t look like it made a vast difference. Some of the gap probably just boils down to the wider pattern we’ve seen in Westminster polls of YouGov tending to show some of the lower levels of UKIP support amongst online pollsters, probably a sampling factor of some sort.
The YouGov approach is the same one they used in 2009, when they only prompted for the main parties despite UKIP coming second, and overestimated UKIP support by 1.5%, within the margin of error. In other words, the two-stage prompt got UKIP’s level of support right, despite them being up in second place. Compare this with 2004 when YouGov prompted by all the political parties standing and overestimated UKIP support by 5 points. Peter Kellner has written more about their approach here.
As I said after the Survation and ComRes polls were published, it is probably a bit early for these figures to really mean much anyway. It is extremely unlikely that the main parties will get this much support, if only because of the collection of “other” parties that come out of the woodwork at European election and pick up some support. Looking back at the polls from the 2009 election, UKIP also picked up support from increased publicity and coverage as the election approached, though this time round they do have a higher base of support and coverage to begin with.