[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. Prediction time – Tonights Yougov

    Lab 41
    Con 31
    Ukip 13
    Lib Dem 9


    :-) That would just my luck. Sharing a room with an interesting woman and 5,295,401 others!

  3. Prediction
    Lab 41
    Con 33
    Lib 8
    UKIP 14

  4. A couple of people have mentioned Iran, Syria and the chances of peace.

    I also hope for peace – who wouldn’t?

    I think the risk is that some very awkward regimes could, if things go wrong, be left in possession of some rather powerful weapons. When we are looking at risk, if my memory serves me right, we should be looking at the chance of the event times its importance, and clearly Iran having a nuclear bomb is very significant indeed.

    So… I hope someone clever and objective is looking carefully at these risks, and in particular looking to see if the regimes whose word we are asked to take have a record of telling the truth or not.

  5. Prediction

    Labour 38%
    Tory 34%
    UKIP 12%
    LD 10%

  6. 39% Labour
    33% Conservative
    11% UKIP
    9% Liberal Democrat

  7. Prediction

    Lab 40
    Cons 33
    UKIP 11
    LD 9

    Because nothing ever changes :)

  8. Alister

    “I think the risk is that some very awkward regimes could, if things go wrong, be left in possession of some rather powerful weapons”

    Couldn’t agree more, I’m also worried that the US, UK, France and Israel will still be in possession of some extremely powerful weapons

  9. Alister

    “in particular looking to see if the regimes whose word we are asked to take have a record of telling the truth or not.”

    Yep, good question, do the US, UK, France and Israel have a good reputation for telling the truth?

  10. Richard I read your last post which had some interesting points, but I would point out people may not see thereselves as right or left wing, although I’m sure some still do as referenced by many of us who post here.

    But what you do have is people with similar views over a variity of issues who will band together to vote for a particular party and those same people will act to keep people of opposing views out of office in marginals, you could argue that the people who populate the Tory party and Ukip share some common ground so on balance would or could be more likely to band together in an GE.


    I do agree that most people don’t define themselves as left or right but it’s also certainly true they do support views from left or center right parties and whichever party most reflects those views that is the party they will vote for so allthough they might not see themselves as left or right infact they are by there own values.

  11. RiN

    Yes, agree again. Too much heavy stuff around.

    As far as Italy goes, the government is described as shaky on the BBC site. Something to keep at the back of my mind as I watch ‘Young Montalbano’ later.

  12. Turk

    I agree, much of voting today seems to be focused on who you dislike rather than who you like.

    So then the question should really be
    – who do UKIP voters dislike?

    I found this study which is very interesting


    There is a question there – dislike labour – that says 8% of UKIP supporters dislike labour

    But a stronger theme seems to be they dislike all parties.

  13. Lab 39
    Con 32
    LD 9
    UKIP 11

  14. Richard
    “……But a stronger theme seems to be they dislike all parties.”

    I quite agree. To me, this will be the most interesting aspect of the next GE. They seem to attract anti-Labour votes in the north, and anti-Tory in the south. They may well not win any seats (unless they gain huge momentum from the euro elections next year), but could affect the results in all types of marginals.

  15. Prediction

    Lab 36
    Con 36
    11 LD
    11 UKIP

    I read it was neck and neck in the press.

    Seriously I haven’t a bleedin’ clue.

  16. I’d find it amusing if the anti-incumbent vote made the two major parties switch geographic locations.

  17. Lab 39
    Con 32
    Lib 10
    Ukip 12

  18. Lab 38
    Con 31
    Lib 11
    UKIP 11
    Others 9

  19. Seem to have lost the thread,but as you get older,who hasn’t ?
    My prediction tonight is :

  20. Using a “wisdom of the crowds” approach I’m going for
    L 39.1
    C 32.7
    LD 9.3
    UK 11.6

  21. @ Carfrew

    Lol, wish I’d suggested that for you and Oldnat now!!…

  22. Con: 30.42
    Lab: 29.58
    LD: 10.71
    UKIP: 24.48
    Others: 4.81

    Prediction? No, just how ten English district and county seats voted last Thursday.

  23. Having predicted the Villa would lose 0-3 to Man City this afternoon I’m going to gaze into my rather distorted crystal ball and make a prediction for tonight’s YouGov poll that I hope proves as stunningly inaccurate: –

    Con 43
    Lab 28
    LD 20
    UKIP 9

    I’m off to the pub to celebrate! lol

  24. Prediction:

    Con 33.2%
    Lab 38.8%
    LD 9.5%

    (Actually, I think the Labour bounce should still be in place, giving a higher expected value than my prediction. But I resolved years ago never to allow ad hoc judgments to interfere with the formula and have to stick to my principles…)

  25. Con 32%,
    Lab 41%,
    LD 8%,
    UKIP 11%

    has just been tweeted. Don’t know if it’s right.

  26. Bad news for Tories ahead of conference YouGov poll in tomorrow’s Sunday Times gives Labour 9 point lead Con 32%, Lab 41%, LD 8%, UKIP 11%.

    Tweeted by Robin Henry of the ST.

  27. Yes, that’s just wot we were going to wuff.

    R and D: Psychic Pups Inc.

  28. Mark Carney seems to have changed his mind about the UK economy now he has seen the data .

    In April, when he was still at the Bank of Canada he said the UK was among the ‘crisis’ economies.

    Now he has said ‘we are probably leading the pack of the major advanced economies’.

    That is some change of heart-taken with his most recent comments on QE -“‘My personal view is, given the recovery has strengthened and broadened, I don’t see a case for quantitative easing and I have not supported it.”

    Just what the doctor ordered for GO in advance of his Party Conference next week.

  29. LD will come out of the conferences very badly we think.

    Some*** may think them doooooooooooooooomed

    *** We have learned this cunning trick to pretend it’s not US wot think this – but just general musing – from a farmer chum.

  30. If that is the Yougov BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. One point out again. Labour right, Tory 1% better. Not far off with Ukip and Lib Dem.

    With regards the Lib Dems, if I was one of them I would be very very worried.

  31. Ann in Wales is the winner. Anthony will present her with a nice umbrella, with an English flag design and three lions, which she can use for those rare rainy days in Wales.

    Definitely be a talking point – and a good way to make new chums.

  32. Good Evening All.

    Maybe David Moyse could become a candidate for a Party. but the 8% LD figure looks an outlier, too high, I think.

  33. So, my prediction of a 15% lead for the Tories in tonight’s YouGov poll was wrong then?

    Better stick to the football.

    Man Utd to be relegated! lol


    – The Daily Crossbat’s headline tomorrow.

  35. The Tories just panicked

  36. Wrong Crosby. They should have hired Bing.

  37. @ NickP

    Perhaps David Crosby, from Crosby Nash, Stills and Young have a tune better suited to the Conservative campaign?

  38. LDs on 8% is a third of the 2010 vote. The Lib Dems are remarkably calm about their dire situation if Lab was on 10% we would be hearing a lot about it.

  39. Obviously you’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning to what the right figures are, but the ones going round twitter are (as usual) not correct.

  40. Thanks AW

    LAB – 40
    Con – 34
    UKIP – 12
    LD – 11

  41. @Couper2802

    I think the LDs are not panicking, even at 8%, because they have convinced themselves about their “incumbancy factor” making most of their seats fortresses however bad the national poll rating. Eastleigh and Ashcroft’s polls confirm this percieved “reality” and so they are not worried.

    However, I think they are wrong not to be worried. Yes, their incumbents do perform better than average – but what they don’t realise is that if the “average” is that low they will still lose good MPs with sizable personal votes if their base vote has shrunk. I suspect they think the “incumbancy factor” is much. much bigger than it really is –

    – it probably is much bigger than we contributors to UKPR think likely, but at 8% they would still face carnage in loss of seats.

  42. Hm, Labour bounce is holding. Red Ed’s socialist apocalypse draws nigh! (And what’s up with the Times??? Tweeting a 9-point lead? The guys from the Sun need to go over there and explain how this is supposed to work…)

    @ Pete B,

    They seem to attract anti-Labour votes in the north, and anti-Tory in the south

    England finally seems to have found an electoral solution to the South’s Labourphobia and the North’s Thatcherphobia. It’s a huge development (although who knows if it will survive a general election, etc, etc).

  43. Oh, nevermind. We should have known Murdoch’s iron hand would never grow so slack…

  44. @ AW

    I thought by now you could buy a Sunday newspaper in London? (With the results in).

  45. And why does a Times reporter have wrong figures? Or is he just trolling?

    A strange little affair all round.

  46. @Shevii

    The link in the Tweet seems to be pointing to YouGov’s Thursday poll for the Sun

  47. Puppoes, I think you may have a soulmate:

    DeniseCouper [email protected] 48m

    “@Robin_Henry The LibDems are dooooooomed has no one noticed?”

  48. Obviously you’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning to what the right figures are, but the ones going round twitter are (as usual) not correct.
    Whatever the actual polls are, the Tories & Labour are neck & neck. ;-)

  49. “Yes, that’s just wot we were going to wuff.

    R and D: Psychic Pups Inc.”

    Juss joakin’.

    We’ll do our proper one after we’ve watched Arsenal with daddy.

  50. @ Spearmint

    Weirdly, listening to mere chatter, I get the feeling that Red Ed’s Socialist Revival is actually attractive to some people, and of a type I would not have regarded as the usual comrade cheerleaders!

    Some of the admin girls at work were actually saying to each other :

    “Yeah, well it’s nice to hear a politician standing up to rich companies rather than sucking up to them for once”

    “Yeah, all of ’em including Blair were just there for the rich and famous weren’t they?”


    ……the conversation then moved on seamlessly to hair and nails…..

    – not the most forensic of economic analyses this, but it’s what they actually said, which I thought was telling?

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