[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. Of course, the people who like Maggie, Marriage and Mortgages already vote Tory. That’s somewhat of an issue for them.

  2. Thanks RR, that makes more sense!

  3. Amber – you missed the most important M….Moribund.

  4. “Ashley

    The bounce will have gone in a week.”


    A cracking post.

  5. tony dean

    “@ RosieandDaisie

    All your posts are soooooo cryptic – I never have a clue what you are on about”


    Don’t blame us – we just type wot owr dad dictates.

  6. @Red Rag

    ”The Conservative Party are to open an online shop that sells Margaret Thatcher memorabilia”

    Is it April Fool’s already? Surely the Iron Baroness herself would be physically ill if she could see it…


    “the Tory conference now looks like a defensive backhand against a strong serve rather than an opportunity for a smash”

    That would be an incredibly c**p serve if you could hit a smash off of it ;-)

  7. I found this while looking for a poll on the go home vans


    “The study confirmed the concerns of public figures were shared at a grassroots level, with 74 per cent of community respondents saying the “Go home” phrase was not acceptable, while 63 per cent did not agree with the van campaign.

    The survey was conducted at street level in London, Birmingham and Leeds, and canvassed the views of over 200 people on the Home Office vans and the department’s tactics of immigration checks in public spaces.”

    I saw there was a yougov poll saying the go home vans were quite popular, but clearly in the BME community they are perceived as racist.

    I see David Cameron was defending them in his article in the Sunday Telegraph.

    My advice for activists is to put together a leaflet with the go home picture on it and a relevant quote from David Cameron endorsing them and target it at BME households. You are sure to get a lot of votes and improve BME turnout, and I see there is a study that BME voters now have sufficient numbers to swing marginal seats.

  8. @ Red Rag

    Good point. The Tories are appealing to their core – which doesn’t appear to have much growth potential.

  9. AnarchistsUnite – I would link you to the shop, however I would then have to smash my laptop up and go and have a shower ;-)

  10. That would be an incredibly c**p serve if you could hit a smash off of it.

    Alright Captain Literal! Let’s just say that they were having a rather lacklustre rally with plenty of lobs, and Cameron thought he could hit a smash, then Ed stopped for summer, conceded the point, and came back with a great serve?

    Have I laboured this metaphor enough yet?

  11. I have reviewed my data (from the 10th June YouGov only).

    A change seems to have occurred on around the 17th July.

    The correlations for each party’s VI were calculated in the data before this date and after.

    The data for the 10th June to 17th July:

    Con to Lab -0.07
    Con to LD -0.22
    Con to UKIP -0.59
    Lab to LD -0.07
    Lab to UKIP -0.27
    LD to UKIP -0.24

    18th July now:

    Con to Lab -0.36
    Con to LD -0.19
    Con to UKIP -0.29
    Lab to LD -0.39
    Lab to UKIP -0.19
    LD to UKIP -0.21

    It can be seen that Labour and the Conservatives seem to battling it out closer than before, and the Conservative UKIP link is weakening.

    The Labour / Lib Dem Link is also getting stronger.

  12. I suppose there is little they can do but the LDs seem as though they are sleep-walking to disaster in 2015. I don’t believe it is possible for them to turn around an approximately minus 50% rating for their leader and around a 60% reduction in their VI since 2010, despite them trying to position themselves as the “nice” bit of the coalition.

    The people trying to sell that story in 2015 are also the least liked or trusted, so the task seems daunting – to put it mildly.

    The Labour leaning voters who voted LD as an anti-Tory vote in the past have absolutely no incentive to do so again, which makes their position even worse.

  13. Very early prediction – the Liberal Democrats will not field a candidate in every seat in 2020.

  14. Listened to the Today programme on radio recently and it seems that Rosie has a similar brain structure to a ballerina**. as she doesn’t get dizzy when she spins.

    The trick in ballet is to focus on a single object apparently: for owr Rosie it’s the tip of her tail.

    Dunno what it is for ballerinas but I thought you’d be interested in the basic concept anyway.


    ** To be fair it could be that ballerinas have got the same brain structure as Rose. I bet they train ’em with a tail when they’re little.

  15. @ Rosie&Daisie

    Would it be en pointe to ask: Are the Tories chasing their own tail?

  16. “Very early prediction – the Liberal Democrats will not field a candidate in every seat in 2020”

    We shall try our best to remember that when the time comes.

  17. Catmanjeff – Yes the right wing papers may have rubbished the energy and housing policy etc, but newspapers aren’t as powerful now. 10% annual drops in circulation every year for years now are making their mark. The Sun is at 2m a day – was 3.5m 10 years ago.

  18. @Red Rag

    Lol – I may search for it later if I feel brave enough!


    Not really – you could have been both literal and metaphorical by phrasing it as ‘…hit a defensive backhand instead of an offensive forehand’. Same message but in keeping with the actual possibilities of the game ;-)

    And with that I believe I have sewn up the pedant of the year award.

  19. Mrs/Miss/Ms A. Star

    If so then they haven’t got owr Rosie’s ballerina brain for it.


  20. Re: Tory tributes to Thatcher

    It seems to have escaped most posters memory that Mrs T passed away earlier this year. This will be the first Conference where Tory members, can show their gratitude for her – their most influential leader of almost the last 40 years.

  21. raf

    “It seems to have escaped most posters memory that Mrs T passed away earlier this year”

    Actually, now you mention it, I seem to vaguely remember something about a state funeral – was that her?

  22. OMG , has this been reduced to a dementia helpline ?

  23. chas

    When you have “most” posters [well, two to be fair] clearly forgetting recent events then a helpline is certainly called for.

    I keep almost forgetting that Arsenal our top of the Premier League- but then wake up with my laptop still on and the league table in front of me.

    I find that helps.

  24. Re: Tory tributes to Thatcher

    Let the dead…..

    There are several real policy issues in the press this weekend which will be fascinating to watch for in the Tory Conference.

    One is the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, The Very Rev Dr David Ison’s letter urging Prime Minister David Cameron to get rid of work assessments for the disabled.
    A second is Durham police chief Mike Barton call for
    Class A drugs to be decriminalised and drug addicts “treated and cared for not criminalised”, according to a senior UK police officer, and pointing out that:
    “prohibition had put billions of pounds into the hands of criminals ….a controlled environment would be a more successful way of tackling the issue…this could be done through the NHS.

    Though it may seem a far remove, India’s PM Manmohan Singh call for Pakistan to stop being “the epicentre of terrorism”, ahead of talks with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif is equally central and relates to, the message “End war on drugs, from the Durham police chief. The criminalisation and supply of hard drugs in fact begins in Afghanistan, where it has long been apparent that the production and routing of heroin is protected and profited from by the Taliban. The need to legitimise and buy up the opium crop from farmers has been on the table for the past thirty years, and would, with the disengagement of the Pakistan military from the Taliban, end their main sources of funding and authority.
    These actions are held back by domestic politics – in the States, where the hard drugs market mainly exists and feeds its criiminalised supply; and in India and Pakistan, where the retention of Kashmir as a trophy annexation prolongs the residual religious conflicts behind Partition.

    ““Puppoes, I think you may have a soulmate”

    And you may have another at Xmas – Mrs John is replacing our hunter-killer whippet with a Camopoo: cross of King Charles Cavalier spaniel with poodle.
    Oh God, Rocket, an end to the joyful massacre of the rabbits and the squirrel taken in mid-jump at 7 feet!

  26. RICH
    “There might be a question mark about whether it was for the right reasons, but he was right.”

    I think – also in relation to CHARLES’ and NEIL A’s comments – that the fundamental issue is not was Ed right, but how did it come about.
    If you look at the process (to summarise: UK Government decision to join the US in air strikes as a result of security briefings, in which Ed and shadow minister took part; preparation of a memorandum for agreement with the Opposition; rapid meeting to present the memorandum to Ed and his shadow minister to agree to; review and discussion by Labour defense group; rejection of the proposal for UK support or involvement in air strikes; loss of the partliamentary vote; statement by Ed of reasons for rejection and of the rigfht of disassociation from US pollicy making.
    Rather than rifht or wrong (there isn’t any absolute) this was a case of evidence based policy making. CHARLES’s “wobbling” to a decision seems to me to describe not a lack of but a process of decision making, a bit like an oscillater dial in a compass: picking up the data on both sides before settling.
    This contrasts sharply with TB’s “policy based evidence” on WMDs, and with his employment not of evidence and its careful and independent analysis, but rather of consensus with a US leader who shared an intent which was driven by a, as John Gray has argued, a millenarian goal of changing the world to a western democratic model, and by a need to control the oil market.
    So, I tend to accept that EM and the UK parliamentary process, which Obama himself referred to in his message to the American people in referring the decision to Congress, were decisive. Iran’s change of leadership, and Kerry’s serendipitous exchanges with the Russian Foreign Minister, were an opening door.

  27. hmm moderation…

    It seems unlikly that Lab will get much more than the latest Yougov VI percentage in 2015, or that Con will get much less.

    (edits out examples of possible/probable events)

    Plenty of events ahead but that 38-42% for Lab would be enough and so far solid.

  28. How about (possible events:)

    What could affect the figures?

    Housing boom giving a stimulus to make the econony really soar?

    UKIP doing spectacularly at Euros?

    Ex-NoW editors going down for a very long time? Murdoch switching to UKIP?

  29. The problem with resurrecting Thatcher is that the things she was most associated aren’t the same issue any more, in particular, the Unions. When she moved on from that, to things like the Poll Tax, things weren’t so wonderful.

    She’s also associated with privatisation of utilities which isn’t necessarily such a good thing currently.

    Another problem of course is that she isn’t around any more. It’s harking back. Also, there’s a reasonable chance that it’s possibly one of those things which people talk about with others and potentially revise their opinion down the line.

    That’s what’s interesting about some polling. How some issues may change in the mind of voters over time, at times perhaps regardless of the media. Some things no amount of spin seems able to rescue, eg Bedroom Tax.

    There’s a danger here of Tories being seen as wanting to fight old battles long past. Eg trying to reframe an attempt to inject more competition in the market, pro-free market, as akin to the Seventies…

  30. Surely reminding voters of Thatcher is also reminding voters of what toxified the brand in the first place?

  31. YG poll today

    “Who do you think would make best PM?”

    DC: 28%
    EM: 25%

    That strategy of targeting EM as not being PM material? Going well int it?

  32. @Nick P

    Well, have to remember that after they got rid of Thatch, they got re-elected. The eighties may have toxified the brand for some, but mainly in Labour heartlands which didn’t electorally make that much difference.

    It was the fall in reputation under Major that saw them out of office for a good while. I think polling showed a bit of a bounce before from revisiting Thatcher around the time of the funeral, but would that persist and if now people are invited to consider her legacy alongside current policy, I’m not so sure. Guess we may be about to find out…

    “There’s a danger here of Tories being seen as wanting to fight old battles long past.”

    Laurel crowns or funereal wreaths? Back to the future.


    “That strategy of targeting EM as not being PM material? Going well int it”


    In the Ipsos issues tracker, the economy, immigration, unemployment and NHS are the top four concerns. “Ed’s carp!!” isn’t even in the top ten…

  35. Best PM:
    Don’t know 34%, Cameron 28%, Miliband 25%, Farage 9%, Clegg 5%.

    Conservatives and UKIP should have a pact at the next election?
    Con: no 48%, yes 37%, don’t know 15%.
    UKIP: no 48%, yes 42%, don’t know 9%.

    Recently announced Labour policies seem to be going down quite well with UKIP voters though.
    Con supporters opposed to everything except increases in minimum wage and corporation tax (plus decrease in business rates).
    On balance UKIP voters are more supportive of Labour’s policy announcements than LD voters, only really opposing lowering of the voting age.

  36. @ Leftylampton,

    What’s really interesting is that result came from a poll in which Miliband’s ratings as Labour leader are still in a Clegg-like toxicity zone:

    Cameron as Prime Minister: 40 well / 54 badly

    Miliband as Labour leader: 22 well / 67 badly

    Clegg as Lib Dem leader: 22 well / 68 badly

    So people still think he’s carp… but it doesn’t matter, because they want Cameron gone.

    (Also interesting- Cameron barely scores better than Miliband as a PM candidate among the Ukip voters. They might respond differently to a forced choice, though, since this one let them pick Farage.)

  37. Wait, nevermind, I was reading the wrong column.

    Cameron: 38/57

    Miliband: 30/60

    Clegg: 21/69

  38. What genuinely is interesting though is that Cameron- who has done absolutely nothing to influence the numbers one way or another this week- has experienced a jump in his carpness.

    MoE? Or does presenting an alternative make him look worse?

  39. Re ATOS
    I am going to see my local (Tory) MP on Friday to discuss my case,I had to take ill health retirement due to being re-diagnosed with Prostate cancer last year. My doctors are clear and unequivocal that my condition means that l cannot work ‘indefinitely’ and l receive Employment Support Allowance at the Support group rate,
    Now,since taking ill health retirement l have received two lenghthy ESA50 forms to fill in, one in March and one in August, which l duly got my GP to fill in.
    My point in going to see my MP is to stop ATOS needlessly hassleing me and those like me, the cost to the public purse must be quite large ,cos ATOS charges for each contact it makes, the sum of £1200 per contact was the rate last year IIRC.
    I will report back .

  40. Haven’t posted in a long while (Took a big break from politics, due to the being perpetually wound up by it and have eased my way back in to it) –

    Looks like a big conference bounce for Labour, but the important thing is to remember that it is a bounce and to not get too excited by it.

    Going back to the Economist piece about ‘Ed Miliband’s 40%’ – his shift to the centre-left isn’t about trying to win the socialist/communist/marxist vote but ensuring the coalition of 2010 Lab voters + 2010 LibDem>Lab switchers stay together to give him 35-40% of the vote. So a shift to the place the LibDems used to occupy, not the hard-left.
    The need for centrist Tories is less than historically, because of the LibDems losing huge amounts of the liberal left.
    Some of us have been banging on about how this would be the optimal strategy for Labour winning in 2015 for a long time and it’s interesting to see the press only just catching up.

    I have also noticed a shift in the way that the press have been treating Miliband since the conference – pre-conference Miliband was painted as a bit of a weak joke, but now is being treated as a terrifying risk.
    Hardly the best press he could get, but it’s a clear shift to taking him more seriously.

    For the Conservatives, the message this conference should be stability and rewarding those who follow the rules – which they have done somewhat with the announcement of the marriage tax allowance (for stability).
    Anxiety over immigration, cultural change etc is anxiety over a lack of cultural/economic/social stability and the anxiety over benefit claimants are usually anxiety about a certain section (whether factually correct or not) of society not playing by the same rules as everybody else.

  41. @Ewen Lightfoot

    The very best of luck, not only in your attempt to get ATOS off your back but, most importantly of all, with your illness.

  42. @Tinged Fringe

    “Anxiety over immigration, cultural change etc is anxiety over a lack of cultural/economic/social stability and the anxiety over benefit claimants are usually anxiety about a certain section (whether factually correct or not) of society not playing by the same rules as everybody else.”

    Isn’t that UKIPs strategy? Play on people’s fears, fuel them with half-truths and then, so they hope, hoover up their votes.

    Rotten politics, in my view.

  43. Resurrecting the spirit of Thatcher seems to me to be doomed to failure. a) because swing voters but leaning towards Labour & LibDem will be reminded of how divisive and strident she was and b) for Tory voters: Thatcher v. Cameron: compare and contrast!

    Maybe UKIP might come out of the appeal to Thatcher well though….

  44. Thanks Crossbat
    It’s the thought of ATOS profiteering like this that really pi**es me off.

  45. Norbold,

    It’s navel-gazing. When Jim Callaghan and Harold Wilson and Michael Foot died, they got a short tribute at conference and then the party went about its business.

    Nor did the Lib Dems go on for ages when Roy Jenkins and Jo Grimond died. Even though arguably Roy Jenkins was probably the most important political figure of the 1960s.

  46. @Ewen Lightfoot

    Yes, I echo Crossbat’s sentiments.

    My son went through a very difficult time with Atos. I won’t go into it all here, but just a couple of high(low)lights. He suffers from ankylosing spondilitis, which is a degenerative disease that he will have all his life and can only get worse. The second time he was seen by an Atos “health professional”, she wrote on the report, “my diagnosis is that he will recover from AS in three months.” When we went to appeal, the doctor on the panel read that out, laughed and immediately upheld his appeal. More wasted time and money for the taxpayer.

    The third time he had to see an Atos “professional”, my son said to him, “Look there’s no point in us going through all these questions is there? You just write down I’m fit for work and I’ll appeal.” The Atos man then actually said to him, “I’m sorry old chap, but we’re told we have to pass everyone as fit whatever the circumstances!”

  47. @ Ewen

    Good luck ! I have lung cancer so know the trauma of living with, in my case, a death sentence.

    Re Atos – checkout Sue Marsh’s blog or follow her on twitter. She has a vast amount of information that you might find useful.

    @ all
    New thread

  48. Crossbat
    “Play on people’s fears, fuel them with half-truths and then, so they hope, hoover up their votes.
    Rotten politics, in my view.”
    Actually, I would propose that the Conservatives take both left-wing and right-wing economic positions (triangulation/third-way, whatever you want to call it) but frame them within the context of conservative values.

    So push more welfare spending in to work-related benefits (working tax credits, etc) so those who’re ‘hard working families who play by the rules’ at the bottom of society – to promote stability and rule following.
    Push for a distinction between contributory unemployment benefits and income-related unemployment benefits, so that contributory benefits pay more (linked to length of contribution) to promote stability and rule following.

    Push for a pro-immigration but pro-integration message, so that the party is for equality for immigrants but as long ‘they follow our rules’.
    Cameron did this well on gay marriage – pushed for equal marriage, while keeping the stability of the institution of marriage and protecting religious rules.

    I’m not *personally* for these policies (I’m the complete opposite), but I think it’d be politically beneficial for the Conservatives.
    Focus on small-c conservative values (stability and rule following) rather than left-wing (equality and general welfare) or right-wing (personal gain and hierarchy).

    Sorry to hear about your illness, and good luck with it.
    Re ATOS, not profit, I suggest but cost, since this is mainly going on employing other people apparently to poor effect.

    Just as light relief, I had an irksome skin cancer on my rifght emple two years ago, and had to travel from Cambodia, where i was working,, to Bangkok for a diagnosis. It was the middle of the red-shirt revolution, so i couldn’t be seen at the hospital, went back two weeks later at the urgent request of the consultant dermatologist, and was told I had a transmuted cancer from a more malign one, which would have to diagnosed and probably need surgery. I might have only a few months, so don’t delay. As i couldn’t tet an appointment on the spot, I went back to Cambodia, and – since I was starting an interesting conrtract,, though sod it, I’ll get it looked at when I get round to it. Did so six months later, in Cambodia and then UK, and found to be total clear of any cancer. Gave me a bad few weeks, during which I stepped up the daily dose of Cabernet Sauvignon, but had a great sense of relief when it was over. I’ve decided not to cut back on the Cab Sav. Glad I didn’t hafe ATOS to deal with.

    You do realise you’ve just described Ed’s platform? -:)

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