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. New ComRes Westminster poll:

    Lab 37% (+2%)
    Con 26% (-3%)
    UKIP 20% (+1%)
    LD 9% (+1%)
    Others 8%

  2. Very weird result considering it’s apparently the same sample as the European poll!

  3. Alex – I’ve put up a new post

    (a) it’s done slightly differently to ComRes’s normal approach
    (b) something REALLY odd is going on in that poll

  4. Anthony – apologies.

  5. For what? Just letting you all know

  6. Billy Bob

    ComRes have indeed only used likelihood to vote values of 10 for inclusion, which means they only use 40% of the sample. In contrast for General Election voting they use LTV of 5-10 inclusive, which means 88% of the sample was used.

    If you remember they did the same for their local elections poll, presumably with the same rationale that people are so much less likely to vote. But using such a tight criterion is wrong for two reasons. One is that it ignores the fact that people who respond to on-line surveys (say they) are more likely to vote than average. So using only 10s will exclude some people who will vote. Compare that 88% using 5-10 to the last general election turnout of 65%. But if you only use LTV=10, you would only use 53% of the sample – less than expected turnout even before you take the increased involvement of on-line panellists into account.

    But there’s another specific reason for using LTV=10 being wrong in this case. Next year’s Euros will be (probably) be held on the same day as the locals (on 22 May), so some of those uninterested in the Euros may come out to vote in them (and vice versa). ComRes’s figure for LTV=10 for the locals was 56%, so this 40% is looking very low indeed.

    This would be bad enough if ComRes then showed all the data in their tables, but they don’t show the complete LTV breakdown for each EU Party choice – just the number of 10’s (in contract they do give the breakdown for those those don’t include in the GE figures). Without that it’s impossible to tell what is going on.

    Even from what we can see the figures still look very odd. For example only only 47 people said they would certainly vote Lib Dem in a GE but 126 in the Euros. UKIP also show an increase (157 to 192) but it’s much smaller. Yet as Anthony points out Lib Dems always do worse in the Euros than other elections and UKIP much better.

  7. Maybe pro-europeans see the Liberal Democrats as the most pro/firm on Europe/least likely to be seeking a referendum and therefore will vote in terms of a ‘European’ issue in those elections. Nationally these voters may have more general concerns and in a general election would then vote differently.

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