There have been no voting intention opinion polls since the election, and they would be pretty meaningless anyway – until there is a new leader for the Conservative party they are not going to give much of an indication of how the parties stand. There have been a few political opinion polls though.

YouGov conducted a poll immediately following the General Election, publihed in the Telegraph. The poll dealt mainly with the electoral system and the future of the Conservative party. When asked about the fairness of the electoral system, just over half of YouGov’s respondents said they thought the present system was unfair, and that it should be changed. 37% thought that it was just the way the system worked and we should accept it.

YouGov actually asked the question twice – the first time giving the low proportion of seats won by the Liberal Democrats as an example of possible unfairness in the system, the second time giving Labour’s over-representation compared to the Conservatives as an example of possible unfairness. While the overal levels of support and opposition to each question were identical (53% pro-reform, 37% anti), the breakdown by party support does suggest there may have been some partisan motivations amongst respondents. When told about Lib Dem under-representation 42% of Conservative voters though it was “just the way it is”, when told it was their own party suffering from the present system, 62% suddenly decided the system needed reform. Similarly 32% of Labour voters thought the system was unfair when told about the Liberal Democrats’ position. When they learnt the present system worked to Labour’s huge benefit, the proportion of respondents saying it was unfair magically fell to only 26%. Lib Dem voters were predictably the most in favour of electoral reform, but even then, they were marginally more in favour when asked about it working against the Lib Dems than in favour of Labour.

YouGov also asked the first “who should be the next Tory leader question?”. As of yet it tells us almost nothing – 47% of people said they didn’t know, and a further 18% said none of the above when given a limited list that didn’t include David Cameron, George Osborne or William Hague (who, while he has ruled himself out, I suspect would have received some support in such a poll). For what very little it’s worth, Ken Clarke came top with 16%, everyone else was in single figures, although amongst Conservative voters David Davis was also at 16%. I suspect this indicates rather more about the lack of public knowledge of senior Conservative figures than anything else. Still, this is the first such question since Michael Howard announced his resignation and I suspect it’s the first of many.

NOP’s poll in the Independent also concentrated on electoral reform, as part of the Indy’s ongoing pro-reform campaign. NOP found a particularly high level of support for “bringing in proportional representation (PR) so that the number of MPs each party secures matches its votes more closely” – 62% in favour and only 17% against. This is rather underminded, however, by a second question where 57% of people told NOP that it was right that Labour won a relatively large majority on the back of only 36% of the votes. John Curtice explains the contradiction: “Our willingness to give contradictory responses to survey questions about electoral systems suggests that relatively few of us have thought through the trade-offs involved the choice of an electoral system or have firm views on the subject.”

Finally, the No Campaign has published figures from an ICM poll carried out on their behalf on the EU Constitition. The headline figures are 54% No, 30% Yes. As we’ve seen in the past though, exactly how you word the question makes a real difference to polls on the EU constitution, and I don’t know exactly how this poll weas worded yet. Some of the newspaper reports also suggest that there were some other interesting questions included in the poll – I’ll update this once I’ve found out more details.

Right now, of course, the more immediate question on the EU Constitution is whether or not the French will ratify it, from a large “Yes” lead at the beginning of March, the French No campaign moved into a strong lead during April. By the beginning of May, the French Yes campaign had moved back into the lead, but in the last week their No campaignhas once again edged into the lead. The full (I think!) list of the campaign polls so far are here


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