The Times today is reporting a new ComRes poll for OpenEurope, asking about voting intention in the European Elections. The topline European voting intentions are CON 21%, LAB 23%, LDEM 18%, UKIP 27%, Others 11%, and show UKIP with the largest share of the vote.

The UKIP figure isn’t particularly surprising. There was a Survation poll of European voting intentions earlier this month that had UKIP in a close second place and Survation and ComRes polls earlier this year when their general election support was lower that had UKIP neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in European election voting intention. Given that UKIP came second in the 2009 European elections when they were barely figuring in general election polling, it seems possible if not probable that they’ll get the largest share of the vote at next year’s European elections.

What does look very odd is the Liberal Democrat figure, four points higher than they got at the 2009 election when their general election support has haemorrhaged since then. As I mentioned above, ComRes have already done one poll of European Election voting intention back in January, and the changes since then are Conservatives down 1, Labour down 13, Lib Dem up 10, UKIP up 4. I can’t think of any obvious reason why Liberal Democrat support in European elections should have more than doubled since January, nor why the Liberal Democrats would be doing better in European election voting intention than in Westminster voting intention, when historically the opposite has been the case. It all looks very odd. The tables aren’t up yet on ComRes’s website, but hopefully they’ll shed some light on what is going on.

In the meantime I wouldn’t worry too much about European election voting intention polls anyway. Past experience is that polls of European elections conducted more than a month have borne very little resemblance to the result. One could, of course, make the same sort of argument about general election voting intention polls, but they do at least act as a general barometer for support of the political parties. A European election voting intention poll a year away from an election doesn’t serve very much purpose at all.


107 Responses to “ComRes poll for the European Elections”

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  1. In the meantime…

    The ComRes EU poll in January gave the following x-breaks for VI at the 2010 GE:

    Lab 35% (Con 6%, Lab 83%, LD 26%)
    UKIP 23% (Con 33%, Lab 6%, LD 20%)
    Con 22% (Con 55%, Lab 3%, LD 6%)
    LD 8% (Con 1%, Lab 1%, LD 38%).

    http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/Sunday_People_European_Political_Poll_13th_January_2013.pdf

  2. The jump in LibDem support does look odd so on the basis that you don’t make a judgement on a single poll and doubly so when it shows a swing at odds with everything else going on around them I’ll just put a ? Beside these results.

    It will be interesting to see the tables.

    I wonder if it could be down to weighting. If LibDem’s were weighted too the last Euros and have had the least defections to UKIP for the Euro vote it might make them look stronger than they actually are?

    Mind you a ten point jump is more than you would expect from weighing.

    Peter.

  3. The Amber Star rule appears to hold good: ComRes polls are rubbish. ;-)

  4. Seems plausible to me that the rise of UKIP in the media is causing some pro-EU types to rally around the only solidly pro-EU party in the euros, whereas before they weren’t that bothered, knowing membership of the EU wasn’t even vaguely up for debate. Higher euros turnout, for pro as well as anti, isn’t going to surprise anyone surely?

  5. ‘Swot-I-sed earlier. :-)

    I agree with AW that it seems strange to poll so far out but that is of course what pollsters are doing about the 2015 GE so I don’t see that Comres have anything to defend there.

    Turnout would be important and I don’t know if ComRes are taking any account of ‘likelihood to vote’.

  6. Seems very odd too that LAB VI has dropped 12 points. Their GE VI has dipped slightly since January, but not to nearly that extent.

  7. @Howard

    The earlier (January) poll did not prompt for UKIP (Other), and was 5-10 likelihood-to-vote, plus don’t know/would not vote squeezed and weighted to likelihood-to-vote… is it my imagination or didn’t ComRes chop and change without even realising it themselves on one occasion?

  8. Well that poll does serve one purpose, it’ll send Nigel Farage to bed with a smile on his face.

  9. Looks like a huge rogue, but there is the point that ukip is the only party who definitely want out and the libdems are the only party who definitely want in, so there is a kind of logic to it but I still don’t believe it

  10. DAVID.
    Too much information about Mr Farage

  11. It doesn’t matter two hoots who “wins” the European election. Most people don’t know who “won” the last one, have no idea who their Euro MPs are, and the fact that UKIP might “beat” the Tories, or vica versa is of supreme inconsequence.
    I’ve no idea what some people think they’re achieving by backing UKIP to the hilt at a European election, then reverting to Lib/Lab/Con at a Westminster election. It gives the exact opposite outcome to the one they want.

  12. I simply don’t believe the LD figure in this poll. The idea they’d increase support from 2009 when a lot of traditional Labour supporters were voting LD as a protest seems hard to credit.

  13. @Jonboy, most people have no idea who their commons MP is. Most people can’t name a single local councillor.

  14. @ Wood @Jonboy, most people have no idea who their commons MP is. Most people can’t name a single local councillor.

    Yes, but they don’t know their Euro MPs a lot more than they don’t know their Westminster MP.

  15. I know the names of nearly all my local councillors, the name of my MP, but only one (out of seven) of my MEPs (because he keeps writing to me!) and I take an active interest in politics!

  16. Following the yesterday’s reports that Tory rebels have enough names to trigger a leadership contest – but are holding fire until after the EU elections, I read somewhere today (now can’t find it) that Farage, out of sensitivity to the “vote UKIP get Miliband” charge, has set up a dedicated “EU elections fund” account.

  17. “Yes, but they don’t know their Euro MPs a lot more than they don’t know their Westminster MP.”

    Refusing to concede taken to an art form.

    “Tory rebels have enough names to trigger a leadership contest – but are holding fire until after the EU elections,”

    It will be to late then, the Euro results will be about when Parliament breaks for the summer and they are not back till September just before the Conference Before the Election.

    That gives the new leader six months to turn things around assuming it isn’t a divisive election or one that Cameron limps through to fight on wounded. With fixed term parliaments they can’t go in the Autumn and try for a new face bounce.

    I think loser to the mark would be;

    ” Tory rebels DO NOT have enough names to trigger a leadership contest but are pretending they do”

    Peter.

  18. @Johnboy

    “I’ve no idea what some people think they’re achieving by backing UKIP to the hilt at a European election, then reverting to Lib/Lab/Con at a Westminster election”

    Because everybody if fed up of the Liblabcon party, a lifetime of broken promises from the party.

    Wishful thinking if you think they will revert back.

    I read today that Labour and Con members has flocked to the new Bridgend branch. It now has 50 attending branch meetings, and that’s in Wales where UKIP have no support.

  19. The only reason UKIP haven’t broken any promises is because they’ve never yet been in a position to do so.

    The problem isn’t that parties break their promises, it’s that they make them in the first place.

  20. @wood – My thoughts exactly. I can believe about 18% of Brits want to stay in the EU enough to tactically vote LD. They’re the only party fully behind the EU.

  21. CL1945

    “DAVID.
    Too much information about Mr Farage”

    Its ok – he’ll have his union jack jammies on.

  22. @PETERCAIRNS

    yes but assuming the rebels install a new leader between the euros and the referendum – what effect will that have on the referendum vote if the leader is of the swivel eyed variety?

  23. Just for fun I thought I would run the Com Res VI figures through Electoral Calculus to see what would be the GE seat prediction.

    The result is as follows:

    Lab – 259
    Con – 183
    UKIP – 101
    LD – 78

    I would so love to see that result happen. FPTP would be at the point of meltdown and 4 party politics would be utterly entrenched. Well its a nice dream.

  24. @PeterCairns

    It’s kind of important to remember the Coalition agreement dissolves on the resignation of either party leader. And the Conservatives still think they could win an election “with a real conservative leader”, and the Lib Dems while not having the will to pull out of the Coalition probably could not get a new one passed either.

    Dissolving of the Government would certainly be a reason why parliament would have to be recalled. And it’s unlikely that the resulting minority Conservative government would survive the inevitable confidence motion.

  25. Does anybody else find it strange that those who vote UKip should be excited about there party doing well in the Euro elections, surely the point of UKip and being a supporter is that the UK comes out of the EU, not that you vote for it’s continuation by supplying a new batch of MEP’s.

    If Farage had any principles, he should practise what he preaches and withdraw his party from the EU alltogether after all as I understand it he’s not trying to reform the EU from the inside so whats the point of him being there given his beliefs, other than having a job and drawing a wage and getting publicity, oh yeah silly me.

  26. @The Lorax

    You can’t have been following polls if you think 82% want out.

    @Neil A

    Couldn’t disagree more; the idea of politics without promises isn’t worth bothering with.

    @Dan the man

    But they demonstrably are reverting back – are UKIP polling 25%+ in Westminster VI? Did they get 17% in the 2010 GE? I wish some of you UKIP posters would actually engage with what people are saying rather than just using every opportunity to ramp UKIP’s prospects.

  27. @GRHinPorts

    & any potential coalition would involve a PR supporting party. :)

  28. It seems this ComRes poll is more exciting than I thought it was (at least to some posters).

    After tonight’s YouGov, perhaps they will ‘calm down dear’.

    Neil A
    I been pondering about this ‘promise’ issue. I can’t remember a party promising to put up taxes nor the other way around (did not John Smith promise a 50% income tax rate in 1992?). As tax is the only issue that really matters to most voters, then one has no idea what one is voting for in that case.

  29. @ Craig

    “@GRHinPorts
    & any potential coalition would involve a PR supporting party. :)”

    Happy Days indeed!

    Its almost (underscore that word) cheering the UKIP on

  30. @Howard, Craig,

    The truth is that no party can ever truly “promise” anything. They can tell you what they want to do, they can outline their philosophy and list their priorities, but they can’t ever really promise anything. Too much is outside their control.

    In the extremely unlikely event that UKIP ever get into government I expect their promises would melt like snow in Spring.

    Just look at the DUP. They rose as a force purely on the strength of criticising the UUP for doing deals with republicans. They then jumped into bed with Sinn Fein.

  31. As Anthony mentioned, there has been another EU election poll this month. The Survation poll last week (f/w 17-18 May) had the results:

    European Election Voting Intentions, Change Since Survation/Mail on Sunday poll, Jan 5th

    Conservative: 20% (-4)
    Labour: 31% (nc)
    UKIP: 30% (+8)
    Liberal Democrat: 8% (-3)
    Green: 6% (nc)
    Other: 5% (-1)

    Tables from here:

    http://survation.com/2013/05/how-has-political-opinion-changed-since-before-the-local-elections-fieldwork-may-17th-18th/

    Survation always shows a very good result for UKIP, so the 30% is no surprise and the Conservative figure is similar if very alarming for them. But while it may be that there has been a massive swing in the last week from Labour to Lib Dem, but I rather doubt it. Not for the first time I’m wondering if ComRes are getting spreadsheet advice from Harvard’s Economic Department.

  32. JAYBANC,

    True, the Tories could dissolve the government and then sit back and see Nick Clegg keep his job while Ed Milliband took Cameron’s.

    Peter.

  33. “The Times today is reporting a new ComRes poll for OpenEurope, asking about voting intention in the European Elections. The topline European voting intentions are CON 21%, LAB 23%, LDEM 18%, UKIP 27%, Others 11%, and show UKIP with the largest share of the vote.”
    ———-

    With all the exposure UKIP has been getting recently I would had thought they would be polling a bit higher especially for a European election.

  34. Howard – well there isn’t a YouGov poll tonight (bank holiday = no poll) so that won’t be calming anyone down… dear.

  35. AW

    LOL.

  36. We need a repeat YG Euro poll to clear this up.

  37. If the Tories come third in the European elections (which is not looking unlikely) I would imagine David Cameron would be finished as Tory leader, even if he limps home to a GE defeat.

    Only question is who should take over? As a Tory friend of mine has suggested, it’s clear the situation is desperate when Michael Gove and Theresa May are talked up as the best candidates.

    I often wonder whether all this could have been got out of the way earlier had Ken Clarke won the leadership and they had this fight while in opposition.

  38. why do poiticians jump on phrases?

    “show a bit of leg” is the latest to be recycled ad nauseam and probably ahead of “not fit for purpose” in my alltime hate list.

    they are living in cloud cuckoo land [no.3]

  39. Was the COMRES taken on a Bank Holiday weekend?

  40. @Turk,

    The reason why people get excited is probably because the euro elections are not FPTP, and so give a hint to the direction (if not the ultimate destination) that voting might go if FPTP was replaced with a PR-type system.

    In the same sort of way that Labour has to suddenly take the concept of the OBR seriously, as though it’s as ancient and august as the Treasury, when it’s arguably just a contrivance to make Coalition policies seem more rigourously thought-through; UKIP knows that MEPs have to be taken seriously by pro-EU MPs, despite ridiculously low turnouts, because to do otherwise would undermine the supposed democracy of the EU.
    If the pro-EU parties were honest, and admitted openly that the EU-elections and the MEPs are a pointless sham, and the EU is not very democratic, and rather corrupt, then they would be proving UKIP right.

    So you have an interesting situational irony and circular reasoning in which the anti-EU party has to be taken seriously on it’s EU platform in order to prove it wrong about all that it says about the EU.
    Calling UKIP “clowns” and “loons”, is undermining the EU election process and thus, by implication, the EU itself; and this is part of the mechanism for why UKIP’s support rises – because you are proving them right… that they are a “boom bang-a-bang” party in a “Eurovision” polity.

  41. I bet AW is hoping for the sake of the website that we don’t get PR. There’s nothing to interpreting polls when all they mean is a bit of simple maths.

  42. @Mr Nameless,

    It’s certainly true that Cameron’s days seem numbered.
    His chances of winning the next election seem to be diminishing rapidly, and only “events” can change that.

    Having said all that, it’s also important to remember that the most likely next leader of the Tory party is *not* one of the names being touted, but rather, a backbencher who currently has no profile – there’s nothing more effective than a new broom, so I would put money on it being one of the 2010 intake.

  43. Mrnameless

    Its no simple maths working out who wins what seats in the European election. Can you get a European calculator? It might bedifficult I suppose, unless you have regional breakdowns.

  44. AW

    “Howard – well there isn’t a YouGov poll tonight (bank holiday = no poll) so that won’t be calming anyone down… dear.”

    Shouldn’t that mean we’re due a refund Anthony?

  45. Mr nameless

    Don’t you think it’s time you got a name?

    As for polling being boring under PR, it’s not at all boring working out which coalitions are possible, wondering if a party’s has lost vi because they have been cozying up with the a party to the left or right then them………

  46. …almost as interesting as speculating on who might replace the current leaders of the three main parties, none of whom, appear to be particularly captivating, engaging, or talented.

    I wonder how large a majority a party leader needs? There are certainly a couple of candidates in the 2010 Tory intake that would make *very* interesting leaders instead of anyone in the front bench… people like Andrew Percy and Jason McCartney, who can certainly speak well, and erase the toff image that Cameron and Osborne can’t escape.

    As for the LibDems, it’s pretty self-evident that Vince is going to take the helm if Clegg continues on the current trajectory.

    John Cruddas is about the only credible replacement for Milliband in Labour that I can think of.

  47. Seal

    What about Farage? Behind Labour and the Conservatives in the polls, sack him too.

    You are one ruthless Seal.

  48. The Lib Dem figure is surprising, but this is a European election poll and it could be that the Lib Dems are being seen as the Party for pro-European Union voters to rally round as they are the only unashamed pro-EEC Party who can counter the up and coming anti-EEC Party UKIP. Tories and Labour are both split on the issue. It would be quite refreshing of people voted in a European election on – Europe!

  49. As Farage goes, so goes UKIP. If he resigns or dies, that’s pretty much it for them in terms of public profile.

  50. Is Farage the leader? Or just the figurehead?

    Given that UKIP are the only one of the main four on an upward trend since the start of the year, I imagine the daggers will remain sheathed.

    There are a few other Tories that could happily replace Dave… Steve Baker is a plausible one.
    I suppose for Labour to follow the trend, they’d have to pick a leader from the 2005 intake, and there aren’t too many of them.
    Have the LibDems got anyone in their squad other than the keeper, Vince?

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