This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun was the first conducted wholly after the Eastleigh result was known, so is the first time we can look for any obvious effect on voting intention. Topline figures are CON 31%, LAB 40%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 12%.

The twelve point score for UKIP is the highest that YouGov have ever shown, so there is a fair chance that it is a reflection of the Eastleigh by-election, but equally, it’s only a very small reflection. I half expected a bigger impact, after all, a good by-election performance that creates the impression that a party is a serious contender has in the past had a noticable effect – look at the polls after Brent East for example. Perhaps it would be different if UKIP actually won a seat.

Yesterday also saw the release of the latest TNS-BMRB poll, conducted mostly (but not entirely) after the Eastleigh result. Topline figures were CON 29%(nc), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 11%(nc), UKIP 14%(+2). Once again it’s an increase for UKIP, but nothing really significant (in the case of TNS-BMRB it is not a new high for them as they had one poll last year with UKIP at 16%).

383 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 40, LD 12, UKIP 12”

1 2 3 8
  1. Lab over 40% but only just.

  2. UKIP share of By election results for Feb 2013:

    Eastleigh 27.8%
    Beaver 18.8%
    Berrylands 7.1%
    Pensby 11.6%
    West Harrow 7.8%
    Cromer Town 18.2%
    Castleford 17.1%
    Broomfield 19.7%
    Perton – did not stand
    Dawley 17.6%
    Gainsborough 24.2%
    Berry Hill 18.4%
    Wormholt 5.8%
    Village 10.3%

    In the majority of actual election results, UKIP is getting a much higher percentage of the vote than national polls suggest. They seem to be taking votes mostly off the conservatives. The May elections will prove interesting, the Conservatives look like they will be wiped out if the above results are repeated. Yougov has a poll suggesting more voters willl move to UKIP if they think they can win. After May, will voters still believe the Tories can win? Will there be a tipping point where people start believing UKIP CAN win? When will polling companies change their methodology to account for the rise of UKIP in question prompts and weightings?

    PS Thanks for including the UKIP share now on the voting intention tracker.

  3. I think UKIP only have to put on a little more support nationally to start actually winning seats. The places where they might squeak a win are where there is no other party clearly well ahead – ie a marginal, thus lowering the bar needed for a surge to win.

    If their vote really is coming in large part from the Conservatives, that’s dangerous for them, being as they need to hang on to as many marginals as possible.

  4. UKIP – Milliband’s Greatest Ally for the race to Downing Street.

  5. Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as predicting a UKIP-initiated “wipeout” of conservative councillors at the next local elections, UKIP is certainly the wildcard this time round. Last May UKIP arguably came nowhere, but with the recent by-elections UKIP has suddenly got a lot more attention than before. Okay, they’ve had this much attention before and never really got a foothold in local elections, but that was before the replaced the Lib Dems as the anti-establishment party.

    So, crucial question: can UKIP put up a decent national campaign for the May elections? And if they do, what effect will it have? Very, very unpredictable.

  6. Does seem like the tory message of “vote ukip get labour” will have some legs

    I suppose ukip would counter with “vote conservative and get god knows what”

    Maybe I shouldn’t give up my day job to become a slogan writer, lol

  7. In the shire locals, it would be more likely ‘Vote UKIP and get Lib Dem’ as in Eastleigh. How unintentionally depressing was Kellner’s analysis of UKIP voters but the fact speak for themselves. Not the sort of image that I suspect Farage would like to be of his supporters.

  8. The problem with these elections in May is that these are seats last contested at the time of the 2009 European Election – one in which UKIP did a lot better than their current polling.

    They are actually defending some council seats this time too.

  9. @ Richard

    Interesting post- is there one website where you can pick up these council by elections from or have you just compiled it?

    I know Anthony has caveats about local by elections as low turnout and local factors (or simply which party makes an effort) make it hard to get a meaningful picture of national polling but they are still interesting.

    One of the wards you mentioned, Berrylands, in Surbiton (Ed Davey’s constituency) was interesting because it made it an easy Lib Dem hold when the ward had previously been split and very close between them and the Tories, yet another ward there about a year ago (Grove) the Lib Dems nearly lost a stronghold because of higher polling by Labour. I guess it depends on the nature of the ward whether they are left wing leaning or right wing leaning.

    Clearly there is a pattern emerging that the LIb Dems are capable of improving/holding their position if it is against Tory candidates on a two way fight and it seems that the example above with UKIP only at 7% damaged the Tories.

    I still say it is little to do with UKIP. It is to do with unpoularity for the Tories and for those Tories even vaguelly on the right of the party or just fed up with the economy they look to someone else to vote for which isn’t Lab or Lib Dem.

  10. It’s all kicking off in the Tory party. Ministers losing their discipline.


  11. On UKIP’s current showing it could be possible for the LDs to win back many of the 13 seats taken by the Tories in 2010, most of which have very little Labour presence or chance of winning and most of which are highly marginal.

    I was surprised how many seats the Tories took off the LDs in 2010. It was the main reason why their number of seats actually fell.

  12. @NickP,

    I suspect it is the runup to the Budget, surely one of the toughest political tightropes in modern British history.

  13. @John Ruddy

    European elections are a wildcard in themselves. I believe last time we had European elections, there was a surge in support for UKIP IN THE GENERAL ELECTION, which quickly faded after the European Parliament elections. I don’t believe for a moment that’s how people would have really voted had there really been a general election. So comparing UKIP’s voting intention now to anything in the region of June 2009 is unreliable.

    A further complication is that the great performance for UKIP in the European Parliament elections didn’t translate into anything impressive in the local elections. That could mean anything. It might be that people only wanted UKIP in the European Parliament or not their local council. Or it might be that voters didn’t see the need to vote UKIP in the local elections because the protest vote in the European elections was considered enough. Then there’s the issue that UKIP support now is different from UKIP support in 2009. Back then, it was purely a Eurosceptic party, now it’s also a refuge for some Conservative traditionalists. In short, we could argue all day over their prospects.

    The fact they are defending seats is a minor issue. If UKIP want to capitalise on their recent by-election success, they need to take A LOT of seats, far more than the unimpressive number they hold at the moment. UKIP may argue it’s the number of votes that matter rather than seats gained, but they’d be wrong. What matters is a perception that they are a new force in politics, and all eyes will be on the number of seats.

    Although, having said that, they don’t have to achieve this to throw the election. They could fail to make the breakthrough they want so badly but still bugger up the Conservative vote share in the attempt.


    “I suppose ukip would counter with “vote conservative and get god knows what””

    Maybe. My money’s still on “Vote UKIP, get Labour, so what, they’re all the same anyway, nothing to lose”.

  14. How unintentionally depressing was Kellner’s analysis of UKIP voters…
    How so? They are older & poorer, on the whole, than voters of other Parties & they’ve retained the habit of reading the most popular tabloid newspapers. So why are they ‘depressing’? They are ordinary people, perhaps a little more afraid of the future than we are but probably with justifiable reasons to feel that way.

  15. I suspect the Tories are positioning themselves for a “Vote UKIP, don’t get a referendum” argument. Which would be self-evidently true (unless 40%+ of us vote UKIP – which I don’t think even Nigel F would claim is feasible).

  16. Unfortunately for Cam, Farage can reply, “vote Tory, don’t get a referendum either”.

  17. He could reply that. Doesn’t make it true.

  18. Reading the Kellner piece on UKIP, there’s no doubt that the “Vote UKIP, Get Labour” message will resonate with some voters in May 2015 and could well be a powerful card to play for the Tories to play in marginal constituencies where they are running close with Labour, either as incumbents or challengers. Whatever is said and analysed about the composition of the UKIP vote, there’s no doubt that most of it would prefer a Tory Government to a Labour one if and when push comes to shove.

    Of course, as always, there’s all sorts of caveats to apply. Does alienation from the mainstream Tory Party trump fear of Labour? Could Miliband, Blair like, reduce the fear factor sufficiently to mollify the UKIP viote in such a way as their desire to punish the Tories outweighs fears of a Miliband led administration? How alienated are they from mainstream politics and, if they are sufficiently disenchanted, maybe nothing will bring them back into the fold? Could Farage become such a credible figure, and his party sufficiently electorally strong, that a tipping point occurs where they could win seats? In other words, a vote for them becomes more than a gesture of vague protest but carries a punch in its own right.

    I’ve said before that there is a danger in the very much right-tilted media world we live in to view everything from a Tory-centric point of view. What does Cameron do now? What do the Tories do to do this that and the other etc etc etc? The problem with this one-sided perspective is that it overlooks how other big time political players on the stage act. Cameron and the Tories are only an element in the political soup and much of what goes on may well be beyond their power to control and manipulate to their preferred ends. Maybe we should soon be asking how and what Miliband and Labour do from hereon in. How many undecided voters could flow back to Labour? What do they do to counter the UKIP cuckoo in the nest? Does Labour’s low toxicity levels compared to the Tories give them greater electoral scope? All key factors and questions.

    We mustn’t always view the world through Tim Montgomerie’s blue-tinted spectacles!

  19. NickP

    Calm down dear still two years to go and Labour back in single figure lead that glass ceiling is a bugger.

  20. Shevi, yes, this site has all the local election results and presents them nicely with comparisons:

    In February, the conservatives have not won a single by election and lost quite a few. Looking at the comparisons, it looks like the UKIP effect is the difference between winning and losing. Lib Dems and Labour are winning as a result, which is why I predict a wipeout for the conservatives in May if UKIP manage to keep their current momentum.

  21. Richard.

    UKIP won’t though. Can you seriously see the UKIP demographic (ie. right of centre) voting UKIP and letting Labour back into Downing St?

  22. [mistyped email address sent my last into moderation limbo]


    UKIP won’t though. Can you seriously see the UKIP demographic (ie. right of centre) voting UKIP and letting Labour back into Downing St?

  23. Labour could view UKIP as an opportunity older poorer voters should be very receptive to labour policies. Now that these voters have moved from Cons to UKIP they might be persuadable to vote Labour come the GE.

    Labour is definitely changing its stance on immigration and if Labour can calm those fears then I doubt the other UKIP policies – flat rate tax for example – are very appealling.

  24. If UKIP’s average poll rating reaches 10% will it then be added to the average polling numbers at the top of the page?

  25. Richard
    I don’t see ‘wipe out’. There could be some NOCs though perhaps in the shires.

    Just by coincidence I was looking at Band D Council Tax for Wandsworth which is about £680 and has been for some years. That includes everything (Boris’s share and all which latter corresponds to a County portion).

    My Council tax at Band D is £1600 (!!!), in a shire county, so includes no less than 5 separate authorities, all essentially Con controlled, as is of course Wandsworth.

    You would expect such a difference to be a major political issue. Clearly it cannot be explained by efficiency as all above authorities are Con controlled (at least you could not argue a partisan point on that basis).

    However, in fact, I doubt very much if such issues will hardly be raised in May. The English voter (we are chiefly talking England here) is apparently totally disinterested in what ought surely to be a burning issue, namely the Barnett formula and other, what shall I call them, ‘quirks’?, of the local government financing.

  26. @ Turk

    …still two years to go and Labour back in single figure lead that glass ceiling is a bugger.
    But Turk, the move back to the governing Party, which usually causes the opposition problems, won’t get the Tories much additional support because they haven’t actually lost very much since the 2010 GE.

    So, at >40%, Labour can lose a bit of support to the LibDems & still win.

    A bigger flow back to the LibDems would likely lead to a LabLib coalition without Labour having to concede on anything too dramatic regarding policy.

  27. @ Richard

    Thanks for the link- fascinating reading, although it probably confirms Anthony’s reluctance to take any notice of council by elections as they seem to be all over the place!

  28. The slogans:

    “Vote UKIP – Get Miliband”

    “Vote Conservative – Get Cameron / Osborne”

    …might be quite interesting. I can hear the SNP:

    “Vote Westminster – Get Westminster” :)

  29. @Steve2

    Suggest you have a look at the comments on virtually any political story on the Daily Mail, which yougov analysis suggests is the UKIP demographic.

    Basically – there is no difference between Tories, Labour, LibDem now that the Tories have modernised. Lots on pensioners who blame both Labour and the Tories for wiping out their pensions with QE. And lots of ex Tory voters who will deliberately vote UKIP to let Labour in to force a leadership change in the Tories so they go back to traditional values. So no, I don’t see them swinging back to the Tories in a general election. And they also say they don’t believe anything the conservatives say anymore, so any policy promises are useless, they want action, which the government can’t do as the Lib Dems will simply block.

    So I think the conservatives are in serious trouble.

  30. Amber
    It was I who was depressed by the Kellner analysis, not the UKIP voters who would be, as the chance that they would read Kellner is, I opine, remote.

  31. @ Howard

    I thought you were saying that the characteristics of those choosing UKIP were depressing, not the fact that they would choose to support UKIP was depressing.

    UKIP are, it seems, tailoring their policies to their demographic. In the past, unless my recall is faulty, UKIP were in favour of replacing the NHS with an insurance scheme. They are now all for the NHS provided foreigners don’t get to use it or work for it.

  32. Neil A

    I suspect it is the runup to the Budget, surely one of the toughest political tightropes in modern British history.

    I suspect that Cameron may be developing a bit of respect for Wilson & Callaghan, 74-79.

  33. AMBER

    @”How so? They are older & poorer, on the whole, than voters of other Parties & they’ve retained the habit of reading the most popular tabloid newspapers. So why are they ‘depressing’? They are ordinary people, perhaps a little more afraid of the future than we are but probably with justifiable reasons to feel that way.”

    Well said.

    That stuff gives me lockjaw.

  34. NickP FPT-
    That Guardian link is hilarious –
    “Typically, the Conservative vote, each time the party won a general election, was lower than the one it won previously”
    So let’s begin at 1931 where his data starts-
    41.9% of the electorate vote Tory.
    1935 – 33.9 (-8)
    1951 – 39.6 (+5.7)
    1955 – 38.2 (-3.1)
    1959 – 38.8 (+0.6)
    1970 – 33.4 (-5.4)
    1979 – 33.3 (-0.1)
    1983 – 30.8 (-2.5)
    1987 – 31.9 (+1.1)
    1992 – 32.6 (+0.7)
    2010 – 23.5 (-9.1)
    So while there has been an overall trend downward, only 6/10 elections have been won on a lower % of the electorate than the previous one.
    But it’s also interesting when you compare % of electorate to % of vote.
    1983 – Con % of electorate was 30.8% but share of the vote was 42.4%. 1992, % of electorate was 32.6% but the vote 41.9%.
    So the number of people voting Con actually went up in that period by 1.8% but the decline in vote share was caused by Lab vote (electorate) going up by 10.9%, which increased turn-out.

    So while it’s perfectly possible the Tories will get 30.3% at the next election (and probably a good bet, if polling doesn’t shift), the idea that it’s a some sort of law is absurd (except to say that the overall trend for both Lab and Con is a decline during the post war period, caused largely by the rise in the Liberal and Nationalist votes and decline in overall turnout).

    All –
    The UKIP poll is interesting – 60% of the UKIP vote is Ex-Con and 71% over 50 (I suspect there is some overlap there) and if they can convince them to ‘come home’, then that gives the Conservatives a nice 5% boost for 2015.

    Osborne defeated on bonus caps.
    I wonder if we’ll start seeing a lot more open Euroscepticism from the government, using this as a big example of ‘necessary’ reform.

  36. Vote Ukip get Labour, so true!

  37. “Vote UKIP, Get Labour” might become a Tory slogan but I would suggest only when other methods of persuasion have failed.

    Acknowledging the threat looks like a potentially dangerous strategy. And tactical voting just isn’t everyone’s bag; there are many “conviction” voters to whom the message would either be incomprehensible or offensive. Then again from the perpective of some UKIP supporters there’s only a hair’s breadth between Cameron and Miliband – so it’s worth taking the risk.

    Compare the situation prior to 1983. The SDP-Liberal alliance, like UKIP, were staking a claim to become a major party, to oust Labour. Labour politicians warned that this would let Thatcher back in but many voters believed the Alliance could make a breakthrough, and the bandwagon started to roll. At the end of the campaign even some left-wing Labour voters were trying to vote tactically to forstall a Tory win.

  38. @Wes
    “Can’t help thinking the Italian system is going to be a hard sell at the present time.”

    Why should a political system be required to somehow deliver stable majority government when the two leading parties/coalitions gain a near equal vote share and a third anti-politics party takes 25%? That only shows that the result of voter choices can impose political instability even on a system explicitly designed to avoid it. You can avoid that only by avoiding democracy.

    What would be a hard sell is the idea of fixed 4 year term parliaments in Italy, such that it would be impossible to hold fresh elections in the interim.

    So give the Italian system a bit of time to sort the mess out. At least the Italian electorate won’t be forced to live with the consequences of their original choice for very long. It looks like there’ll eventualy be fresh elections, in which I’d expect that the antics of Grillo in preventing any workable government will rebound on him.

  39. Amber star

    What does a parties core vote actually mean after all if you believe the Gaurdian the Tories have been in steady decline since the mid thirties and yet have managed to win several GE elections and if it hadn’t been for Glegg mania the Tories possibly would have won the last election outright as well.
    I’ve been a keen fan of politic’s since I was a student in the sixties and the only thing you can say about mid-term figures no matter how consistant, they are only a indication, not a gaurentee of success in the next GE, as Harold Wilson said a” week is a long time in politics”. let alone two years.

  40. Phil Haines
    And the ‘Italian system’ that I referred to in my original post (which I assume Wes was replying to) is only used in the lower-house anyway.
    The problem of no overall majority is because the upper-house uses a different system to what I was referring to.

    The ‘Italian style’ system that I suggested would always provide a stable majority government (the largest coalition automatically gaining 55% of the seats).
    I only suggested that, from a Tory perspective, effectively as a way of them keeping the FPTP-style rigging (get less than 50% of the vote, gain 50% of the seats) but not have to worry about the split-vote problem of UKIP.

  41. @tinged

    Percentage of the electorate is only one way of looking at those statistics, and to my mind not a very good way becasue:
    a) it is affected by overall turnout on the day – which varies considerably, and not neccesarily for party political reasons.
    b) which party wins the election depends of percentage of the votes cast, not percentage of the electorate.

    If you express those figues again as percentages of the votes cast a pattern does emerge. Only in one election since 1945 has a Conservative government gained in share of the votes cast (1955 under Eden). The picture for Labour is more equivocal, but still usually shows a decline.

  42. “it is affected by overall turnout on the day – which varies considerably, and not neccesarily for party political reasons.”
    Of course it is – but this doesn’t necessarily mean that one party’s vote is actually ‘in decline’, if another party’s vote is growing more rapidly. See 1983-1992 for the Tories, both parties gained votes, it’s just that Labour gained far more.

    You can see this inversely with 1997-2010.
    Labour’s vote dropped 12% but Tories only gained 1.6% of the electorate – had turn-out in 2010 been equal to 1997, Tory % of the UK vote would have only been 33%, not 36%.

    So it’s important to discuss actual votes, rather than vote shares, to decide whether a party is in decline or not.
    I’ll give a hypothetical example –
    Labour have 35% of the electorate vote for them, Tories have 45% (80% turn-out).
    In the next election, 46% vote Tory, 40% vote Labour (86% turn-out).
    But vote share is – Con 56%, Lab 44% in year 1, but Con 53%, Lab 47% in the next.
    This, according to vote share, makes it look like Labour gained 3% from the Tories, with the Tory vote ‘in decline’, but actually it doesn’t show that at all – it’s just that Labour’s gain is faster than Tory gain. Gain. Not Decline.

    And although that is a hypothetical example, we see that exact situation playing out in reality 1983-1992.

    “which party wins the election depends of percentage of the votes cast, not percentage of the electorate.”
    Which is exactly the same thing.

  43. And if we are looking for electoral patterns, we should maybe look at oppositions?
    Lab 1979 – 28.1%, 1983 – 20 (-8.1), 1987 23.2 (+3.2), 1992 26.7 (+3.5), 1997 30.9 (+4.2)
    Con 1997 21.9%, 2001 18.8 (-3.1), 2005 19.9 (+1.1), 2010 23.5 (+3.6)
    So perhaps if Labour’s vote hadn’t collapsed so hard 1997-2010, the Tories would have remained in opposition in 2010 and then gone on to win 2015 with an even larger share of the electorate?

    Interesting to note, 1997-2001, Tories dropped from 21.9% of the electorate to 18.8% of the electorate (their lowest year, lower than Labour under Brown (18.9)), but because of a massive drop in Labour vote (6.7 – 61% of the total lost 1997-2010) resulting in lower turn-out, their share of the total vote went up 1%.
    So it seems like the Tories did better in 2001, than 1997, but actually it was their worst year since 1910 – it was just hidden by the massive Labour drop.

    That’s the thing about these ‘rules’ is that when you start looking more closely at the data, they start to look more and more absurd.

  44. Given the demographic and location of strong UKIP support maybe Miliband should say;

    “I will stand on a positive platform of progressive one nation Labour Party policies, but if some people genuinely want to leave the EU. And stop migration into Britain then UKIP. Is the party for them !”

    After all your enemies enemy is your friend. I know parties talk about fighting for every vote but if a UKIP surge hurts the Tories most then why not give it a nudge.


  45. Crossbat 11,
    Your question about what should labour do from now on,is a very important
    One and also given prominence by Dan Hodges in his blog today.He was so
    Supportive of Ed Balls that I had to fetch the smelling salts,metaphorically of
    Course ,not that old.

  46. Oh and since it seems like it was missed –
    YouGov/Considerers poll –
    How likely are you to vote for these parties?

    Con –
    Definitely vote – 13%
    Consider – 27%
    Total Potential – 40%
    Will probably not consider – 9%
    Do Not Want – 43%

    Labour –
    Definitely vote – 19%
    Consider – 27%
    Total Potential – 46%
    Will probably not consider – 11%
    Do Not Want – 35%

    LibDem –
    Definitely vote – 4%
    Consider – 26%
    Total Potential – 30%
    Will probably not consider – 13%
    Do Not Want – 49%

    UKIP –
    Definitely vote – 4%
    Consider – 32%
    Total Potential – 36%
    Will probably not consider – 11%
    Do Not Want – 44%

  47. Peter Cairns
    (on Miliband encouraging UKIP voters)

    I don’t think any nudges are needed. Po-faced Pooterism will survive until they all physically expire.

  48. TF

    Thanks for that analysis of opposition parties’ performances.

    It’s blindingly obvious now that you point it out, but I had not realised that Blair’s massive victory in 97 was achieved with a vote share of the electorate only a nadge above that which Callaghan managed in 79.

    Autre temps, autre moeurs I guess.

  49. Hugo is dead

  50. @Tinged

    I can see perfectly well what you’re saying. I think you’re wrong to attach the importance you do to it.

    If the election lis held during a holiday, the result looks like a foregone conclusion, the issues are generally uninteresting and the weather is bad you could get a very poor turnout. The actual votes of all parties could fall, and the percentage of the total electorate that each party polls would fall too. That doesn’t mean the “voter base” of any of the parties has been eroded,You are exrapolating well beyond your data.

    What we can say is that in general a party that is in government tends to lose vote share at election time with rather few exceptions. Opposition parties usually increase vote share, but the effect is less reliable than that for governments. The Tories’ performance by this measure, in both in government and opposition is more consistent than Labour’s .

    That is a clear enough relationship to make it worthy of comment. Your figures with regard to actual votes, and percentage of electorate show no such clear correlation, because turn-out (not to mention changes in the franchise and growth of the population) obscures the trend.

1 2 3 8