[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. Daisie is a big fan of their German players ‘cos she is 3/4 mini-schnauzer.

    I like Jack ‘cos he reminds me of myself.


  2. The Sunday times front page “Labour Leaps To 11 point Lead “

  3. “Puppoes, I think you may have a soulmate:

    DeniseCouper [email protected] 48m

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

    We will consult our legal team in the morning. Thankyou for snitching Spearmint.

  4. Gurls have just wuffed an 11 point lead!!!!!!!!!!1

  5. Sorry R & D I did steal your phrase – sorry nice doggies

  6. Wowsers big lead and just think that’s on the back of largely negative coverage.

  7. @ RosieandDaisie

    All your posts are soooooo cryptic – I never have a clue what you are on about. However, one or two others are clearly “in the know” about what you are posting.

    I wonder if Anthony is happy for a “secret society” within “hidden” messages to be operating on his public threads?

  8. Off-topic, but I think I know the reason for at least some of the automod problems, when regular posters get persistently put into automod for seemingly innocent posts.

    It happened to me when I mis-typed my email address. I hope that helps someone.

  9. Well, well. Looks like the people’s flag is faintly pink.

    (But don’t worry, you won’t have to see what colour it is because all the lights will go out.)

  10. Rosie and Daisy,
    Thankyou ever so much for the lovely umbrella.Whenever I furl it(sounds a bit rude bur still)I will think of you.

  11. Mr. Kellner has written a silly article.

    “On the other hand, if UKIP retains 10% support and the Conservative vote share is 34%, a Labour share of 35% would be just enough to give it more MPs than the Tories.”

    Uh, no. On a uniform swing, a Labour share of 32% would be just enough to give it more MPs than the Tories.

  12. Five poll rolling average Labour lead = 7.4 %, highest since 19th July.

    My database goes back to 14th June. The Labour five poll rolling average is now the highest for that whole period.

  13. Maybe he is factoring in his beloved Tory incumbency bonus, but I think if you’re going to do that you also have to factor in the Ashcroft marginal polling that says they are 14 points behind in Labour’s target seats.

  14. @ Catmanjeff,

    What’s Lab’s 5-poll average? I’ve been lax about updating my YouGov database so I can’t calculate it, but I still have the old data- I can check and give us a definitive data for the last time they scored so high.

  15. DC has a announced that the help to buy full program is to be pulled forward from January to next week. Now this could and might well have been a planed move(although the libdems don’t seem to have known about it, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised) but it looks like a panicked reaction to millie’s speech, if it was a planed move they would have been better to postpone it until the energy freeze story had fizzled out

  16. @ Spearmint

    Electoral calculus site has a better prediction tool. I think it is possible for Labour to win a very small majority with 35% of the vote, if the Tories are affected by UKIP and there is tactical voting by Lab/Lib.

    The 2015 election is going to be the most difficult to predict because of UKIP affectting the Tories and the LD’s losing votes to Labour. There is potentially another issue in Scotland, where the SNP may slump if they lose the referendum vote. If this happens, then Labour may pick up more seats.

  17. @Spearmint

    Re Kellner’s article he also says Lab need 40% for a majority, which is patent nonsense as they got a reasonable majority with just over 35% in 2005.

  18. Well for what its worth these are the new twitter numbers

    George Eaton [email protected] 16m
    Labour lead on 11 points RT @TheStaggers New YouGov/Sunday Times poll (corrected): Lab 42%, Con 31%, UKIP 13%, Lib Dems 9%.

    Which line up with that Sunday Times front page.

    I’m impressed. Seems the public do pay attention to policy announcements after all. Now can the Tories deliver something that interests the public in return?

    Maybe they need to start reaching out to find out what the public wants, because by those poll figures they are not offering it.

    Hmmm, maybe democracy does work after all….

  19. @spearmint

    Now it’s 39.8.

    Just to correct my previous post, it was also 39.8 on the 26th/27th June.

  20. I am very surprised that EM’s speech has had such a large effect on the polls. It must be worrying for the Cons if it is so relatively easy for Lab to boost their VI

  21. @ Catmanjeff,

    Heh. Nevermind, then!

    That’s a substantial bounce. (And perhaps an argument for Labour actually doing things– stick their heads above the parapet and they regain 5 points in a week!)

  22. Unusual series of post conference VI so far. LDs and UKIP seemingly unaffected, despite UKIP’s Godfrey Bloom moment. Lab get quite a big bounce, presumably because of the enrgy price freeze. I wonder what the Tory conference will result in? If they get little effect like LDs and UKIP, they are in trouble.

  23. There’s some speculation in the press that the theme of the Tory Conference this week will be a running tribute to Thatcher. Now, far from it for me to offer the Tory Part any helpful advice, but is that an entirely wise thing to do when you’re 11% behind in the polls and seemingly finding it impossible to achieve any sort of polling lift-off?

    I wonder sometimes whether the modern Conservative Party really understand why it is they’ve been so electorally unsuccessful these last 20 years or so.

  24. As predicted, a double digit Labour lead…also my personal prediction very close indeed.

    The question is…..is it a dead cat bounce or will it stick?

  25. I don’t think Labour were a dead cat! More a slightly slowing cat.

  26. I wonder whether the British public turn to left of centre parties after a major event i.e war or recession ? e.g Attlee government 45-51, Blair/Brown government 97-10 after the 90’s recession.

    Cameron did not win the 2010 election, it was probably Brown who lost it for Labour. Therefore the British public were not rejecting left of centre politics in the form of Labour or Lib Dems.

    In 2015 Britain could turn to Labour again, because they think they have been through a tough period where their living standards have reduced. They have obviously liked the energy freeze and discussion regarding living standards. The problem for Labour nearer to 2015, is that they will have to provide more information on what cuts and tax changes they would have to implement, to deal with a £1.5 trillion debt. The question will then be which party has the best policies to help people with the cost of living.

  27. Spearmint.
    Yes,a lot of concern about lack of activity.Now clear policies and direction.I think EM would make a great bridge player,knows when to show his hand and
    Makes sure it is a good one.

  28. I don’t think the cat can be pronounced dead when it’s hovering, however bumpily, above the competition… unless it’s a ghost cat?

  29. Crossbat
    I know that Thatcher is still hated by some, even after her death, but she did win 3 elections so was also very popular with others. If you’re right about the theme of the Tory conference, it might be a misguided attempt to win back UKIP voters.

  30. @Red Rag

    “Dead Cat Bounce” would indicate that they had hit their floor, and were bouncing back up. 36-38% as the hard floor of support would be a wonderful thing for Labour.

  31. R Huckle,
    I would say it was probably Alastair Darling who lost it for Labour,with his cuts
    Worse than than Thatcher contribution.

  32. The bounce will have gone in a week.

  33. It may well be that Blair was right in calling this the centre-left century. If Ed gets in that’ll be 15/20 years of Labour in power this century so far.

    In the whole 20th century, Labour were only in power for 19 years, and that includes Blair’s first three.

  34. A quick reminder of the day’s main cat-related political news. Ladbrokes latest odds still favour Larry the Cat to outlast DC at No 10.


  35. I would like to thank Lynton Crosby for the following:

    ” The Conservative Party are to open an online shop that sells Margaret Thatcher memorabilia. A high profile excersize to promote it will be aided by some very public shows of gratitude to their former leader from ministers and the Pm who are to mention it and her in their speech. There will also be a number of people eulogising about her legacy at the fringe meetings. There will also be a video relayed to Conference entitled “Our Maggie”.

    I am sure this will impress those Lib Dem switchovers to Labour since 2010 and any that are thinking about it between now and the election.

  36. Products available from the shop will include a pole covered in tacks, a minesweeper, a Michael Heseltine Halloween mask and Maggie’s crown and sceptre.

  37. More bad news for Tories

    “In the Sunday People poll, 26 per cent of people were more inclined to vote Labour since Mr Miliband’s vow to axe the tax. Nearly seven out of ten people aged 45-54 said the tax must go.

    Mirror.co.uk http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-exclusive-sunday-people-2317267#ixzz2gEJ8M1n0

    My advice for them would be – soften your image. Go back to compassionate conservatism. Admit where you got it wrong, examples like bedroom tax and ATOS which polls show people think are very unfair, go back and adjust the policies.

    “We thought it wasn’t right that families were waiting for council homes while many homes were under-occupied. So we introduced the spare room charge. We still think that is a good idea but recognise that it is unfair to levy that when people have applied for a smaller property and there are none yet available. So today we are announcing that those who have applied for a smaller home but have not yet been allocated one will not have their benefit reduced”

    And a similar policy for ATOS.

    I think people are broadly in agreement that we need to reduce spending, but it has to be done in a fair way. Poll after poll shows they are losing on the ‘fair’ question.

  38. I find it interesting that Ed’s speech was pretty much rubbish by the Conservative supporting papers, energy companies and business leaders generally.

    Yet despite that, it looks a reasonable conclusion that the post speech VI shows that the public isn’t so negative about Ed’s ideas, when push comes to shove.

    That’s good news for Labour.

  39. Correction:

    I find it interesting that Ed’s speech was pretty much rubbished by the Conservative supporting papers, energy companies and business leaders generally.

    Yet despite that, it looks a reasonable conclusion that the post speech VI shows that the public isn’t so negative about Ed’s ideas, when push comes to shove.

    That’s good news for Labour.

  40. I think that I remember reading somewhere that GO said that after his inheritance tax statement,he didn’t have to announce another policy for two years.Will this be a similar game changer for labour?

  41. Catmanjeff – Up until now, politicians had to speak through the press to speak to the voters and tried to get them on side.

    Now, thanks to things like the internet and 24 hour tv, it is not as important and Ed is taking the gamble of talking over their heads.

    We will find out if it works in less than two years time.

  42. I got put in the drunk tank the other night for a comment about the Daily Mail, so I’m not sure if this comment will show, but hey ho…

    I would imagine Labour’s boost in the polls since Ed’s speech is mainly or entirely down to the tribal Labour/anti-Tory vote firming up behind Labour, after it had eroded somewhat over the summer due to Ed’s tantric silence and the sniping from within. The hostile coverage in the right-of-centre media might have aided this process.

    As the Fabian report released the other day showed, 2015 will be about motivating the core vote. Trying to win over large number of people who supported the Tories in 2010 is just basless psephological superstition, and if Ed’s speech is a sign he realises this, then I’m very pleased about that.

  43. Red Ed personal rating in full bounce mode:

    Cameron – 19 (-5)

    Miliband – 30 (+15)

    Clegg -48 (-2)

  44. @ Red Rag
    Nooooooo it is 18 months too early for Edmania

  45. @ Red Rag

    Cameron 19, Red Ed 30

    You’re winding us up, aren’t you?

  46. To use a tennis metaphor, the Tory conference now looks like a defensive backhand against a strong serve rather than an opportunity for a smash.

    That’s a tremendous rating boost for Ed. He’ll be hoping he can consolidate it into a long-term image change.

  47. @Red Rag

    Nothing exactly to shout about but nonetheless encouraging. Net ratings of -45 or so couldn’t go on forever, and if Labour can maintain an 8-10 point lead then Ed’s rating should firm up more among Labour supporters and become consistently half-decent.

  48. Amber ……they are minus figures. It was that big of a bounce.

  49. Conservatives are having an M of a conference so far:

    Maggie, Marriage & Mortgages.

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