As well as the normal Sun voting intention poll, they also had a YouGov poll on the European elections this morning. Topline voting intention figures were CON 23%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 26%, Greens 5%. Labour in first place, UKIP in a strong second and the Conservatives in third, the Lib Dems way behind. Full tabs are here.

Looking at only those certain to vote puts UKIP in an even stronger position – they would be on 30% to Labour’s 32%. I’m somewhat cautious about European election polls more than a month or two out – in 2009 polls done in January bore very little resemblence to what the result turned out to be, with UKIP advancing strongly in teh months leading up the election (though to sonme degree that was down to the expenses scandal breaking). These figures already look very positive for UKIP.

Worth noting is if these were the results there is a chance that the Lib Dems could be wiped out. On a uniform swing this give Labour 28 MEPs, UKIP 23 MEPs, the Conservatives 15, the Greens 1, SNP 2, Plaid 1 (and three in Northern Ireland). In practice it would be very close, who gets the final seat in constituencies with a large number of MEPs can come down to fractions of percentage points and the Lib Dems would just miss out in the South East and South West, but a wipe out is a realistic possibility. (The reason, if you are wondering, for the slightly odd suggestion that the Greens could get a seat with far fewer votes than the Lib Dems is because the strongest Green region is the South East and the Lib Dems strongest region is the South West – you need fewer votes to win a seat in the South East).

Finally, for methodology anoraks amongst you, YouGov’s question prompts for all the parties in the European Parliament – so including UKIP, Green and the BNP. This is a change from 2009 that we pondered for a while. In 2004 YouGov prompted for all the parties, and overestimated UKIP support. In 2009 we only prompted for Con, Lab, Lib Dem and SNP/PC and got UKIP pretty much right (our last poll had them on 18%, in the event they got 17%). However, given they came second last time (and on that basis the broadcast media will presumably be required to give them as much coverage as Labour and the Conservatives during the run up to the election), and the media focus is very likely to be on how well UKIP do and whether they win, we thought it more appropriate to put them in the main prompt for the European elections. Peter Kellner has written more about it here.

106 Responses to “YouGov European election poll”

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  1. First. Although redistribution of preferences could change this comment.

  2. Small sample but interestingly in Scotland UKIP does not seem to be quite as attractive an option (8%).

  3. “Worth noting is if these were the results there is a chance that the Lib Dems could be wiped out”

    Uh oh….

  4. @Fraser 1.38pm. They are somwhere around that level in Wales as well but for some reason YouGov persist in lumping Wales in with the Midlands in it’s sampling thus giving UKIP a higher figure. Wales has it’s own seats and should be dealt with the same way as Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  5. mrnameless (fpt)

    UKIP though confuse me, surely with the current climate you’d expect them at least tied for first?

    I think what we are seeing here is UKIP moving towards their natural ceiling. There are a lot of people who simply won’t vote for them, at least as they are currently perceived. So it may be that even in a euro election they can’t get too much over 30%. The remaining 70% or so will either be pro-EU or not particularly worried about immigration or opposed to UKIP’s other policies or simply not see UKIP as a Party that ‘looks like them’. The most obvious reflection of this is how badly UKIP does among the under-40s (if anything they seem have been lucky in getting an unusually pro-UKIP under-25 sample here).

    As Anthony points out, once you consider only those who say they are certain to vote, then UKIP are fairly close behind Labour anyway and it’s possible that the Labour vote may fall though not as dramatically as it did in the run up to 2009. Though they will benefit a bit from the fact that the local elections on the same day will tend to be in strong Labour areas, which wasn’t true then.

    That said there might also be an effect where some Labour supporters vote UKIP as the ‘anti-Tory’ vote so as to give the Conservatives as bloody a nose as possible. We’ve may have seen this in some local by-elections, though of course it’s not an effective tactical vote in a PR election. It’s also worth pointing out that UKIP already do much better among 2010 Labour voters than they do with current Westminster ones.

  6. Any views on whether the Lord Rennard kerfuffle will have an effect on LD support, particularly among women.

  7. Andy

    YouGov do weight separately for Wales but even in a large-ish sample like this one the number of Welsh voters in under 100. I suspect they lump them in with the Midlands to prevent people drawing even more ridiculous conclusions based on even smaller and more unrepresentative samples than they do with the Scottish cross-breaks.

    It’s worth pointing out that it’s possible that UKIP could actually lose their MEP in Wales, despite their increased vote. If two seats go to Labour and one to the Tories then the fourth may be a toss-up between UKIP and PC, depending on who gets the bigger vote across Wales.

  8. Roger – you are correct. For sampling there is a separate Welsh quota and they are weighted separately afterwards. The combination is just for the tabs, for just the reason you suggest.

  9. Ewen,

    I doubt it. The Liberal Democrats are so low down on most people’s radar than anything short of ‘Liberal Leader on Trial for Murder’ wouldn’t really register.

    Having brought that up however, does anyone know if the nasty business with Jeremy Thorpe had any effect on the Liberal decline in 1979? Or was it tactical voting or the Lib/Lab pact that had more effect?

  10. Mr N
    Maybe you are right, although l seem to remember that the LD ‘tribal’ vote is reckoned to be around 5%, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on things over the next day or so, alternatively Lord R might bring out the chauvinists…!

  11. Other reason to downplay expectations out of Lord Rennard impact is that politically, he’s already done his worst. This is simply continuation of a story we’ve known about since last February, and is probably long since factored into polls.

    I can’t think of many scenarios where someone will switch from Lib Dem over this who hasn’t switched already.

  12. C N-S

    How about women, who were waiting for the LDs to do the right thing?

  13. I think the space on the Venn diagram for:

    A) Women
    B) Who normally vote Liberal Democrat
    C) Who are so disgusted with Rennard’s actions that they abandon the entire party

    Would be remarkably small.

  14. “How about women, who were waiting for the LDs to do the right thing?”

    Trouble is, that equates to “women waiting for Lord Rennard to be given a fair hearing then be found guilty”.

    I suspect that anyone who decided Rennard’s guilt in advance lefts the LDs a long time ago.

  15. I’m tempted to say that PK’s judgement that UKIP is “on course to win this May’s elections to the European Parliament” might be a bit premature, but we shall see.

    May 2014 could well mark the high point for UKIP.

    How Labour does in the EU elections will be determined by gotv/turnout. 2010 was the start of a recovery for them (in terms of local elections). There will be very nearly 3,000 Labour councillors seeking reelection on May 22nd compared to fewer than 500 in 2009 (the majority of whom fought a losing battle).

  16. Anthony

    Are YouGov planning to run a regular poll on the Euro elections or is it just as and when? And given that you asked a likelihood to vote question will you be using a more subtle filter than ‘definitely will vote’? I know this still gives you 41% of the sample and only 34% voted in 2009, but we know that YouGov panelists are much more likely to be voters than in general (or at least they say they are) so using only LTV = 10 may miss some people out and probably bias to UKIP and against Lib Dems.

  17. Mr N
    There was one on C4 news last night ! However, l take your point, although what must be very worrying for the LDs is that the size of the overall Venn diagram is so small.

    C N-S
    Your description of what should have happened to Rennard seems to fit exactly what Mr Clegg expected to happen, and he seems a bit pi**ed off that Rennard ain’t playing ball.

  18. Roger – I expect so, but TBC

  19. This whole Lord Rennard saga is a mess – but I can’t think of any easy way to stop this, even with the benefit of hindsight.

    As I see it, the main issue isn’t whether he committed a criminal act (that is a matter for the police) or whether he behaved inappropriately (near-impossible to make rules against unless you want a blanket ban on inter-party romances). The thing that is extremely worrying is the possibility that he was trying to use his influence within the party to promote women’s campaigns to be selected as PPCs in return for sexual favours. If that is true, that would be a massive abuse of his position.

    Unfortunately, it’s difficult to prove that’s true and near-impossible to prove that false. That alone is not good enough – if you have a situation where people in authority could do something like that and get away with it due ton lack of evidence, you need to ask serious questions of how that sort of situation was allowed to arise in the first place. In short: lack of proof of guilt isn’t good enough – you ideally need a system where it’s simply not possible to do that without getting caught.

    Unfortunately, on this occasion, I’m at a loss as to how this could be prevented in the future. It could just as easily be a Conservative or Labour senior figure doing that next time, and it’s not just a chief executive who could abuse a position this way. I really hope someone can come up with a workable idea, because even the knowledge that someone could do that and get away with it is deeply worrying.

  20. As I mentioned on the last thread, I would be surprised if Sir Graham Watson lost his SW MEP seat. Having looked at the history, one could envisage Con possibly losing one to UKIP and Lab regaining a seat (it has none at present but had one once). If both those happen, then it’s curtains for Watson. However, if UKIP were to stick on two seats, then he could be OK. It must be remembered that despite all these bullish ‘definitely will vote’ polling, the turnout in the SW last time was about 38%, so it’s like local elections in some ways.

  21. The type of locals may have an impact. In 2009 it was mostly the shires whereas 2014’s will be much more urban.

  22. Urban seats in the Southwest eh? So that’s Exeter and, erm…

  23. I wasn’t talking about the south-west but why wouldn’t you regard places like Exeter and Bristol as urban? Many of the wards in both cities will be being defended by Labour.

  24. The issue of sexual harrassment claims against senior Lib Dems won’t go away just like that, because in a week’s time Mike Hancock will be back in the news. There’s a court hearing scheduled on their attempt to prevent the full disclosure of a QCs report on his investigations into the allegations against Mike Hancock, for use in the civil case being brought against Hancock. We already know from the partial disclosures that the report is highly damaging.

    So whilst Rennard on his own might not do the LDs too much damage, the cumulative effect of these cases might, especially in the context of a clumsy attempt to cover up public disclosure of the full facts. To draw a parallel, it wasn’t one case of sleaze that did for Major’s government, it was the cumulative effect of successive cases.

  25. Rennard et al.

    Whilst like Chris Neville-Smith I would abhor powerful men using their clout to gain sexual favours I think we are often in danger in this now ueber-politically correct world of ours to damn people for being normal. Whoever you are, in whatever position, do we really want a world where everyone is so terrified of potential repercussions that they behave in a totally cold and puritanical manner. Isn’t it human to raise the odd eye-brow, flirt a little in an innocent way – chance your arm with somebody you fancy? If not – how will man and woman ever again get it together in any walk of life?

    I knew Rennard well once – I worked with him closely. He was cheeky and fun to be with – but never in all the daylight and midnight oil that I burned with him was he ever anything more than a normal bloke. All the big wigs now treating him like a bad smell (Clegg et al) are simply pandering to the gallery which wants (especially in the case of Lib Dems) to find fault and damn them.

  26. Conservatives have burned their fingers with negative remarks about UKIP… now it is “respecting the views of UKIP voters”, embracing their rise “as a sign of public desire for more right-of-centre policies” etc.

    It’s not easy to attack UKIP, they haven’t done anything, but one or two Lib Dem MEPs/candidates have been quite harsh about the attendance record of UKIP’s MEPs in the EU parliament… and the fact that 6 out of the 13 UKIP MEPs have resigned, defected, quit or been expelled since 2009. Discussion on LDV seems to shy away from an all-out negative campaign – but on these kind of polling numbers some may conclude that they have nothing to lose.

  27. Channel 4 News promising “one of the most explosive revelations yet” from Snowden.

  28. Anthony

    It seems clear from the accompanying tables that YouGov must have asked the Euro poll questions immediately after the standard GE VI questions, to the same panel.

    Was the same approach to naming parties followed as in asking about GE VI? (i.e. Prompt only for Con/Lab/LD and where appropriate SNP/PC) I can follow the rationale for that in asking about general elections, but in Euro elections where many more parties are in contention for seats it would seem harsh not to prompt at least for UKIP and the Greens as well.

  29. Oh dear. Forget my last post – I’ve just read the AW’s third paragraph in the thread properly!

  30. And forget the reference to “third” above – I mean’t the fourth paragraph.

    It’s been a difficult day.

  31. @”He was cheeky and fun to be with”

    Bridget Harris-who also knows him quite well-didn’t think so on DP today. She wasn’t too impressed with Dr. Evan Harris’ weasel words & equivocation.

    According to her Clegg is getting nowhere with disciplining Rennard because the other LD Lords have closed ranks.

  32. Tony Dean,
    Regarding your normal bloke defence of Rennard,I can only say,Oh Dear.

  33. @Roger

    “Channel 4 News promising “one of the most explosive revelations yet” from Snowden.”

    And once again the media are exaggerating. There’s nothing ‘explosive’ about something we already knew. :))

  34. Too early and too small a sample to say anything about Scotland.

    I have my doubts about Labour being on 31% to the SNP’s 18% as in 2009 the SNP came top with 29% to Labours 20%.

    It would suggest that both UKIP and Labour had picked up votes from the Tories, LibDem’s and the SNP while the SNP has lost more than a third of their vote.

    It could be true but looking at both Westminster and Holyrood polls over the last few years the SNP has remained fairly solid in both with no sign of a major decline.



    I was assuming that it was something new and musing on my own ‘compassion fatigue’.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that security agencies will do what they damn well like and break the law with impunity, that the government of the day will tell all necessary lies and that there’s naff all I can do about it. Am I being unduly cynical or is this the reality?

    Round where I live there were a lot of people getting themselves tremendously worked up before the 2010 GE about Labour abuse of personal data. I don’t know whether they were really worked up or whether they were shy tories… and the Lib Dems were the great defenders of civil liberties – where’s that passion now?

    @AIW et al.
    Another senior LD woman on C4 news talking about cutting up her card. The Venn diagram space may be small but sounds like this story has a lot more legs than first appeared

  36. It’s possible to compare the current Euro and GE VI of 2010 voters, given that YouGov used the same sample.

    Focusing only on the differences of any significance, using decided voters only.

    2010 Con voters:
    % still Con falls from 78% at GE to 53% in the Euros.
    % UKIP rises from 14% at GE to 38% in the Euros.

    2010 Lab voters:
    % still Lab falls from 84% at GE to 74% in the Euros.
    % UKIP rises from 6% at GE to 14% in the Euros.

    So the pattern for Con and Lab is very similar, with no real surprises. The only significant extra loss from their 2010 vote is to UKIP, with Con being affected the worst of the two.

    2010 LD voters:
    % still LD falls only marginally from 38% at GE to 34% at Euros
    % switching to Lab falls from 32% at GE to 21% at Euros
    % switching to UKIP rises from 10% at GE to 20% at Euros
    % switching to Green rises from 7% at GE to 15% at Euros

    Here the pattern is different. The extra LD losses are limited in the Euro elections. More significant is that Lab fails to hold onto a significant chunk of 2010 LDs who intend to switch to Lab in the GE. Many of those LD switchers are instead attracted to the Greens as well as UKIP.

    In setting out its stall for the GE, Labour might want to reflect on the fact that many of those disillusioned 2010 LD voters that are inclined to vote Lab at the GE are nonetheless clearly attracted to the Greens’ agenda.

  37. Anyone know of an Electoral Calculus-style seat predictor for the European elections?

  38. In discussing urban centres in the SouthWest people rather surprisingly appear to have forgotten about Plymouth and, indeed Gloucester – though ,perhaps, the latter falls part of the West Country rather than the SW.

  39. @ Tony Dean,

    Did Rennard ever reach down your trousers without your permission? If the answer to that is “yes” you have an odd definition of “normal bloke”, and if the answer is no then you’re not the sort of person his bad behaviour was directed toward, and there’s no reason he would have pinged you as anything but normal.

    To answer your broader question, no, I don’t think we want all our interactions to be cold and puritanical, but I also don’t think people in positions of authority should make sexual passes towards subordinates that the subordinates may feel uncomfortable refusing for fear of repercussions. Rennard knew perfectly well that his patronage had the power to make or break aspiring Lib Dem PPCs, so that entire class of people should have been off limits to him, just as current pupils would be to a teacher. If he wanted to flirt with Lib Dems he could have picked someone he had no power over, like Shirley Williams or Nick Clegg.

    For politicians in general this is a huge problem because raising complaints publicly inevitably brings the party into disrepute, so people who are failed by internal processes are faced with an invidious choice. I don’t know that there is a solution, although I think putting more women in positions of power probably helps to some extent. I can’t imagine Harriet Harman handling a complaint the way Clegg did(n’t).

  40. Come to think of it I can’t think of a single prominent female Lib Dem. Shirley Williams maybe but I doubt she has much influence any more.

  41. @MrNameless

    Sarah Tether? (up to next GE)

    Jo Swinson?

  42. Spearmint,
    A clear sighted and rational response to the Rennard business/disgrace.

  43. MrN
    Sarah Tether was on the way up as a LD politician, but as l recall , when the Rennard thing came up last year her photo, next to him , was all over the media….oh dear.

  44. I agree with Spearmint.

    I do wish that one of them would have immediately sloshed him in his ugly chops or ended his ‘career’ by a complaint (or both). They were all grown women too.

    Better late than never though. He won’t survive this although he has it cushy for life now.

  45. It seems The Staggers has had similar thoughts to me on this –

    Looking at those figures, a swing of 6.4% from Lib to Lab would mean no Lib Dem women in parliament. That’s entirely possible and one could even say probable.

  46. If the LibDems care enough they could pick a woman for the safe seat of Bath.

  47. YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead now seven points: CON 32%, LAB 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%

  48. @ Roger H,

    They refuse to do all women shortlists because it’s illiberal, and historically women don’t seem to do very well in their open selections, so I wouldn’t count on it.

    Of course, the likelihood of being groped by the party’s chief executive may have hurt their recruitment of female candidates a bit..

  49. Dear Rosie and Daisie,
    Er,have we upset you,what is the matter?

  50. I wonder if the Rennard affair is also acting as a focus for discontent in the Lib Dems with Clegg and his general uselessness. He seems unable to discipline Rennard when the latter has (at the very least) behaved inappropriately – even if the level of proof isn’t up to that required in a court of law. All Clegg does is to brief away in the background saying it’s really not up to him but if it was he would definitely do something.

    This contrasts with the sacrifices in terms of popularity and principle he has been demanding of the rest of the Party because of the decisions made in coalition. Apparently ordinary Lib Dems even MPs are expected and indeed compelled to do Clegg’s bidding, but when it comes to someone within the golden circle he is unable to get them even to say “Sorry”.

    It also seems odd that we are being told that the majority of Lib Dem Peers support Rennard when there are around 100 of them (about 30% women). Have they all been asked?

    There’s a contrast with Clegg’s behaviour towards another Peer, Baroness Tonge. He gave her an ultimatum that she had to resign or apologise for some remarks critical of Israel. So clearly Peers can be disciplined when required if Clegg thinks the offence serious enough.

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