[This is crossposted from the Spectator Coffee House – the original is over here]

In YouGov’s poll this morning for the Sun the Conservatives had 33% support, Labour 40%, the Liberal Democrats 9% and UKIP 11%. While it would be a gross exaggeration to say all of UKIP’s support comes from the Conservative party, they do gain a disproportionate amount of support from ex-Tories and it’s natural for people to add together that Conservative 33% and that UKIP 11% and think what might be.

The reality though may not be as simple as adding the two together. In yesterday’s poll YouGov also asked people to imagine that UKIP and the Conservatives agreed a pact at the next general election where they would not stand against each other, with UKIP backing the Conservative candidate in most constituencies and the Conservatives backing the UKIP candidate in a small number of constituencies. We then asked how they’d vote under those circumstances. Once you’ve taken out the don’t knows and wouldn’t votes, the new Conservative/UKIP alliance would be on 35% of the vote (up just two points on their current support), Labour would be on 45% (up five points on their current support), the Liberal Democrats on 11% (up two points), 9% of people would vote for other parties (down eight points).

So what goes wrong, how does 33 plus 11 equal only 35?

The bottom line is that parties don’t own their voters – even if the Conservative party and UKIP were to want a pact, it wouldn’t follow that their voters would be happy to play along. Amongst people who currently vote UKIP 56% would vote for the new Conservative/UKIP Alliance, but that leaves 44% of them who wouldn’t – who would go to Labour, or stay at home, or find an alternative non-mainstream party to back. Many of the people voting UKIP are doing so because they are unhappy or disillusioned with the government or the Conservative party (or in many cases with *all* the mainstream parties). A deal between the Conservatives and UKIP is not necessarily going to make them any less unhappy or disillusioned, many would just find a different way of expressing it at the ballot box.

Meanwhile a quarter of current Tory supporters wouldn’t vote Tory if they entered a pact with UKIP – 5% would switch to Labour, 4% to the Lib Dems, 16% would stay at home or are not sure what they’d do. A deal with UKIP might get many UKIP voters back on board, but it would lose voters in the centre to Labour and the Liberals. Equally the Conservative core selling point at the moment is the claim they are the safe pair of hands, the party willing to make the tough and hard-headed decisions needed to get the economy back on solid ground. UKIP’s well documented teething-troubles with amateurism, gaffes and somewhat eccentric people who have attached themselves to the party during its rapid growth may not be exactly complementary to that message.

But if parties don’t own their voters, can’t buy and sell them in electoral pacts, that also means the Conservative party can target UKIP’s voters without necessarily needing to deal with UKIP – although once again, the difficulty is doing so without alienating more centrist voters. The overwhelming majority of current UKIP voters say they would be more likely to vote Conservative if they promised harsher policies on immigration… but that would risk the Conservative party losing more moderate votes and playing to negative perceptions that it was bigoted or racist. However, 57% of UKIP voters say they will be more likely to vote Conservative if the economy improves, 40% if they thought it was the only way of stopping Ed Miliband being Prime Minister. There are ways the Conservatives can appeal to UKIP voters without necessarily apeing their policies.

402 Responses to “How would people vote with a Con-UKIP pact?”

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  1. My parents got bombed in the Second World War and would have laughed at the idea that there was anything grim about the late 70s at all.

  2. Carfrew,

    I’m too tired now to work out the energy prices now in real terms compared to pre-privatisation, but I’m not sure how relevant it would be anyway after 30 years. The significant thing was the almost immediate drop in prices in real terms, allied to the opportunity to invest directly.
    I’m off to bed now. I’ll leave you all to your fantasies of the golden age of the late 70s.


    “…Rees Mogg jnr on walkabout in Romford…”

    THE OED rang. They need something to illustrate “from the sublime to the ridiculous” and were wondering if you had photographs.

  4. @Nick

    Meanwhile you’ve got tuition fees to pay off, you’re on a zero hours contract, energy bills through the roof, you can’t easily stop over to see your disabled relative cos they had to ditch the spare room, VAT’s at 20% (and on effin’ storage!!! !! !! !! !!!!!!!!), your pension’s been hammered, you lost the sure start to help you with work, car insurance is hilarious etc. etc.

  5. OK, I couldn’t resist


    “My parents got bombed in the Second World War and would have laughed at the idea that there was anything grim about the late 70s at all.”

    The original point I think (not by me) was to do with how bad the late 70s was compared to now. Of course there were worse times, but plucking random dates out of the air doesn’t prove anything. I don’t suppose those who survived the Black Death would have thought the Somme was much to worry about.

  6. The National Archive has the Cabinet papers for the 70’s, secret at the time but now available to us, reference the, ‘IMF crisis’, Labour supporters, read them and weep.

  7. To this day my parents cite the Black Death as the single worst period in their entire lives.

  8. [Ah! Posted at almost the same time as Pete B…]

  9. @PETE B

    “I’m too tired now to work out the energy prices now in real terms compared to pre-privatisation, but I’m not sure how relevant it would be anyway after 30 years. The significant thing was the almost immediate drop in prices in real terms, allied to the opportunity to invest directly.
    I’m off to bed now. I’ll leave you all to your fantasies of the golden age of the late 70s.”


    I knew you’d want to query the relevance: it’s obviously relevant since it doesn’t make much sense to say the Seventies were grim when in fact other times had grim aspects too, sometimes grimmer.

    So I’m not really surprised you don’t want to consider the upside of the Seventies as well as the downsides, or to consider downsides of other times.

    Meanwhile the idea that energy prices may have dropped initially ignores the fact that in privatising you may be setting up the mechanism for more gouging later on. But of course, you only want to compare with a precise moment that suits…

    And the “fantasies” comment just highlights the distortion, because it’s not like I didn’t acknowledge numerous issues in the Seventies.

  10. @Ken
    “Labour supporters, read them and weep”
    You missed out the bit about Black Wednesday. Enuf to make anyone weep,


  11. @PETE B

    “The original point I think (not by me) was to do with how bad the late 70s was compared to now.”


    You don’t seem to want to compare to now, though!! Not energy prices anyway. Nor unemployment. What about house prices etc…

  12. OZWALD……………The subject was the 70’s.

    “To this day my parents cite the Black Death as the single worst period in their entire lives.”


    But Rich trusts his parents so we have to go with that, so it’s the Seventies, end of.

  14. @leftylampton

    I read and enjoyed the Beckett book (though I wan’t into his musical tastes; electric folk and prog rock for me). I’ve also read Turner’s “Crisis What Crisis” and have Sandbrook’s “Seasons in the Sun” in my in-tray. Spot the 70s nostalgic!

    As to polling, we lucky baby boomers still have two decades of voting to do, while the blue-rinse brigade are dying off. Granted this may be wishful thinking, but I’m still optimistic for a social democratic drift throughout the west.

  15. @Ken
    No, the subject was financial crises, and your cherry-picking of facts to suit your purpose.

  16. My tortoise will never forget the dinosaur-killing asteroid

  17. nickp

    “Wilson thought the establishment (including the army) were plotting against him, and there was probably a kernel ……………”

    Don’t you mean Colonel?

  18. @ the mutts



    “Absolutely: if we’d carried on, then with modern technology we’d be able to have albums with 2 hour keyboard solos, 150 eight-stringed guitars, and an internet full of sounds for Pink Floyd to sample.”


    You say that like it’s a bad thing!!

    Did you see Floyd in the Seventies? There’s a lot nowadays that wished they had…

  20. @ the pedigree Cruft’s material

    Werry Sowwy

  21. At least 70% of the population remember almost all Prime Ministers as being utterly crap.

    On the other hand, of famous rock stars no longer around only The Big Bopper is remembered in this way.

    There’s a moral there.

  22. A recent poll shows a large majority of survivors found the 70s to be worse than the Black Death, although the latter did score a lot of don’t knows.

    However the BD lead directly to full employment whilst the 70s were far less successful in that regard: it’s almost certainly our historical perspective of the impending dole queues of the 80s that swayed the voting.

    [Owr dad rote that]

  23. ole git [no offence]

    “@ the pedigree Cruft’s material

    Werry Sowwy”

    We are little pedigree Crofts Mister Git.

  24. Billy Bob (10:10 & 10:39)

    YouGov normally use “Non-voters” to include both those who say they will not vote and those who say they don’t know. I was just borrowing their terminology. Obviously all this is what people say they would do faced with a Conservative-UKIP Alliance, rather than their current VI.

    The interesting thing is that such a possibility attracts in as many current N-vs as it alienates. Unfortunately for such a CUA, those it prompts into voting for it are balanced by those who are stirred into voting against. And they’ve still ‘lost’ all those other votes they have alienated (plus smaller numbers defecting to Labour or Lib Dems).

    People are pretty poor about predicting their future behaviour, but there aren’t ever going to be many people who will say that they would vote Conservative and then say they never would in the same survey. But even ignoring that and Anthony’ usual warnings about hypotheticals, the 40% response (67% 2010 Con voters) only agreed that they would be “more likely” to vote Conservative, not “likely to”. There’s a big difference.

  25. Black Sabbath also voted in as worse than Black Death.

    Seems harsh; I’d say it’s pretty even.

  26. PETE B
    “Many working class voters are conservative with a small ‘c’ – i.e. not automatically being in favour of mass immigration and gay marriage for example. They might be attracted to a patriotic party that does not have the toxic ‘Tory’ label attached to it. …There seems to be a general feeling that there’s very little to choose between Tories and Labour now because they both covet the so-called centre ground. ”

    While in the meantime the main drivers of VI and changing party support are to do with economics within a market economy that is common to all parties. I find talk of a “swing to the left” and of Labour introducing “long-term centralist planning” and the wholesale nationalisation of industries quite bizarre in the context of the actual policy statements coming from Labour, and in that of their reception by the electorate.

    What “central ground”, Pete, and what’s the meaning of “covet”? What political actions or policies does that behaviour refer to? What’s it all about?

    If, for example, you mean Cameron’s clarion call for working hard to allow good old Britain to compete with the emerging economies – without taking sides in this important debate – which is the recognisably effective economic response? Work harder and keep wages down, recognising the need for high unemployment to achieve it? Or going for high value specific markets where the UK has comparative advantage,, and providing the human resourced development, R&D, and investment incentives to achieve it. I thought EM had it right to decry any attempt to compete with countries in which the labour force in some sectors is able to work for pennies, but I did not think that was vying for the centre ground, just that he’ld done his homework.
    On the whole, I’ld say that the VI response has been to see that this and other economic policy is the most important “centre ground”, rather than, let’s say, immigration or changes to the rights of homosexuals, for which,, of course, we expect our politicians of any hue to provide measures. That, I suggest, is good housekeeping and driven by social and moral responsibilities of government, and does indeed have an ideological divide. But when it comes to VI, what matters in the centre ground is whether people can keep their houses, have a job, have their kids educated and looked after decently, and go to the doctor or hospital at will. These are indicators of economic management which people in the centre ground know about and vote for.

  27. MARTY
    “My tortoise will never forget the dinosaur-killing asteroid.”

    But I trust that he or she looks back with relief at having voted for the RPSP (the Reptilian Protective Shell Party).

  28. @John Pilgrim

    Actually, she thought their stance on the Pangea Union was irredentist, and that equal marriage should be available to people with ovipositors…:-)

  29. Very interesting. I’ll be linking this blog when people say “But Con + UKIP shows the right is actually ahead in the polls!”

  30. All these references to the bad old 70s and price freezes …mmm .. please do recall younger folks that the Conservative Government established the Prices Commission in 1973 and preceded it with a total pay, wage, and dividend freeze (shock, horror, Stalin reborn etc etc ). I lived through it in my early twenties. UK was surprisingly prosperous and optimistic in the early 70s. Then we hit the aftermath of the Yom Kippur war. No point in pretending that the late 70s were a golden age, but – as with 2008-13 – history’s jury is still out on who was mainly to blame for austerity and economic failure.

  31. MARTYN
    Well, she would say that wouldn’t she? How is she, as I assume being from immigrant stock, in regard to the sexual preferences and behaviour of our native hedgehogs?

  32. @John Pilgrim

    It’s a prickly subject…:-)

    (BOOM! I am IN THE HOUSE! We’re here all week, folks..:-)

  33. MARTYN
    Well, that’s it, you see. As an environmentalist, Ed’s predistributional strategy would reduce the need both for prickles and for shells in the interests of hedgerow integration, as we call it at the World Bank. .

  34. The Black Death had its good points. Cleared the housing shortage and resulted in an increase in working people’s wages.

    Patently, the dinosaur-killing asteroid is a difficult decade to top in awfulness, although it could be argued that most modern species would not have evolved without it..

  35. Well my great-grandparents never cease reminiscing bitterly on their experience of the time when, just after there had been nothing happening and nobody had any problems, all of a sudden there was stuff flying apart like nobody’s business and before you knew it there were protons and neutrons all over the place. It had a lasting effect on them, my great-grandparents, and they’ve always maintained that that sort of thing would never have happened under [Snip]

  36. Drat, I just triggered automod as usual. I suppose my reference to pr*tons and n*utrons violated the non-particle comments policy…


    Thanks for the warning…

  38. Fermions

  39. “Patently, the dinosaur-killing asteroid is a difficult decade to top in awfulness, although it could be argued that most modern species would not have evolved without it..”


    Bah, that’s nothing compared to an evaporative event. Asteroid taking out the dinosaurs was only about 10km across. One about 500km sends a cloud of vaporised rock all round the earth, making it as hot as the surface of the sun, and boiling away the oceans. Effectively sterilising the Earth’s surface.

    Except… Some bacteria survive a couple of miles underground, ready for when the earth cools and the rain returns….


    They reckon it’s happened a few times already. I blame price controls myself…

  40. You’e welcome, Syzygy.

    Nice find, Carfrew. It seems there’s one rule for particles with integer spin, and quite another for those with half-integer spin.

  41. Baryons

  42. Bosons

  43. The Conservative fightback begins!!!!….


    “Plans for some married couples to get tax breaks worth up to £200 a year have been announced by David Cameron.”


    Some themes from the conference agenda:


    “The Economy

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivers a keynote speech laying out the measures we are taking to move Britain from rescue to recovery”

    “Our 2015 Election Strategy

    How will we win a majority in 2015? Party Representatives lay out the road to 2015, highlighting our 40:40 target seat campaign.”

    “Conservative Policy Forum Debate: The Road to 2015

    How would a majority Conservative Government change Britain for the better? Join a lively panel discussion on the shape of our 2015 Manifesto.”

  44. The Conservative fightback begins!!!!….


    “Plans for some married couples to get tax breaks worth up to £200 a year have been announced by David Cameron.”

  45. Glad I went to bed when I did. I was born in 1940 therefore I lived through nearly all of the period 1939-79. Judging by a lot of posts above my memories are all incorrect and it was not a period of accelerating economic and moral decline. Sorry but my memory is still excellent and refuses to be brainwashed.

  46. Then again, you did forget it was Turk who wrote that post, not Paul, in that last thread ToH….

    Anyways… Here’s some grist for the VI mill…


    “Cameron opens talks with Clegg on second Coalition

    David Cameron has held talks with Nick Clegg about forming a second coalition after 2015, amid growing concern in Downing Street that the Conservatives will not win the next election.”

    “D’Ancona writes: “From time to time, he [Mr Cameron] would raise the question of a second coalition with Clegg. ‘If we did it again,’ he mused to the Deputy Prime Minister, ‘I’d have to seek collective permission.’?” It is also claimed that Mr Clegg has privately confided to the Prime Minister that he could not form a coalition with Ed Miliband. In public, the Liberal Democrats have said they will form a coalition, should it become necessary, with whichever party wins the most public support.”


    “It recounts how, during a meeting of the three party leaders to discuss press regulation when Mr Miliband had “moralised a little too much”, Mr Clegg turned to Mr Cameron, saying: “Now you can see why I don’t want to go into coalition with him.”

    Last month, it emerged that Mr Cameron wants Conservative MPs to put their names to any second coalition agreement and “dip their hands in the blood”. This would head off simmering anger among Tory backbenchers that they were not given a proper opportunity to agree on sharing power in 2010.”

  47. @Roger Mexico

    Thanks for that… just looking at the tables should have told me that “don’t knows” are “non-voters” according to YouGov.

    I think of “don’t knows” as the undecided, the sort of people who say they’re not going to the office party, but may well turn up with a forced smille for half an hour – then leave muttering “never again”. But that’s just me.

    I am having trouble following the consensus about this poll though. It was conducted using a sample which showed a fairly healthy seven point lead for Labour in the standard VI question. The secondary hypothetical, in contrast, shows Labour with a ten point lead over the “Conservative/UKIP Alliance”. Both these headline VIs exclude “non-voters” (don’t know and would not vote).

    We do have the benefit of YouGov showing ‘pure’ VI for the pact question… but not for the standard VI question.

    When it comes to “non-voters” they are distributed between all parties in the standard VI question, however, in the pact question there are hardly any “non-voters” among Lab and LD… but there is a resevoir of current Con and UKIP voters who are not contributing to “Pact headline VI”.

    If YouGov had included ‘pure’ VI for the standard question, then a comparison could have been made.

    Con/UKIP Alliance 27% (don’t know 10%/10%), Lab 34% (don’t know 1%), LD 9% (don’t know 4%). These “don’t knows” (current VI) are then excluded from the headline figures.

    2010 “don’t knows” excluded from the standard VI question are in the proportion Con 14%, Lab 13%, LD 23%, Other 14%.

  48. Carfrew

    I did not forget it was Turk not Paul, I was as i explained doing three different things at the time and actually missread Paul’s post. A recent scientific paper actually indicates that wisdom comes with age.

    The short piece i posted at 8.03 represents a view developed after long and deep consideration of the facts.

  49. @TOH

    There is a sort of double negative in there which makes it difficult to understand what you mean.

  50. @Roger Mexico

    Further to that, “won’t vote” numbers in the standard VI question are Con 2%, Lab 3%, LD 2%, Other 4% (2010 VI) ….

    but in the pact question we find Con 6%, Lab 0%, LD 1%, UKIP 7% (current VI).

    I’m tempted to say that the discrepancy in distribution of “non voters” suggests that Con and UKIP voters are keeping their own counsel in response to the pact question.

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