The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up online here. Topline figures are CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%. UKIP at 15 is high by their recent standards, though we’ve seen a couple in recent weeks. Also worth noting is that the Greens are on 4%, once again, high by recent standards but something that’s popped up a couple of times this week. I suspect in both cases there is something of the impending European elections boosting parties outside the traditional big three. This also happened at the last European elections, though back then it was impossible to confidently distinguish it from the effect of the expenses scandal.

There is even better news for UKIP and the Greens on European election voting intention. YouGov have been showing UKIP challenging Labour for first place since the debates, they’ve now overtaken – topline European VI stands at CON 19%, LAB 28%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 31%, GREEN 8% – UKIP in first place, Greens challenging the Lib Dems for fourth.

The strong UKIP showing at the European elections does NOT mean people support leaving the EU. Asked how they’d vote in a referendum on EU membership 40% say they would vote to stay, 37% say they would vote to leave. While the lead is only three points, YouGov’s regular tracker is now consistently showing a lead for staying in. In the event David Cameron managed to renegotiate Britain’s membership people would be almost 2-to-1 in favour of remaining within the EU. This raises the question of what counts as a successful renegotiation – the thing people would most like to see is, by some distance, a limit on EU immigration, picked by 56% of respondents. Presented with Cameron’s actual renegotiating priorities 42% say they don’t go far enough, 15% that they go too far, 25% that they are about right.

Cameron’s own position doesn’t seem to be under much risk as a result of the EU elections or the Scottish referendum. As we discussed with the Maria Miller issue, on resignation questions political opponents tend to say people should resign *anyway* – the relevant thing to look at seems to be more the supporters of a politician’s OWN party. So as things stand 44% think Cameron should remain Tory leader and PM (including 88% of Tories), 27% think he should go (mostly Lab, Lib and UKIP). Asked what should happen if the Tories come third in the European election 40% think he should stay, 35% think he should go (amongst Tories 15% think he should resign, 76% think he should stay). If Scotland votes to become independent 49% think he should stay, 26% think he should go (amongst Tories 6% resign, 87% think he should stay). Of course, this is just public opinion, and hypothetical opinion at that: if Scotland votes YES (which would be the far more unprecedented and unpredictable event we don’t know how Westminster opinion would react, or how the public would react to it actually happening.

Turning to UKIP, most people do tend to see UKIP as a protest party (57%) rather than a serious party (20%) – but amongst UKIP voters themselves 71% think they are a serious party with workable policies. Only 25% of people say the UKIP posters this week are racist – 66% do not. Asked about Nigel Farage personally 27% think he is racist, 50% do not. Judging by this and the European election voting intention figures the fuss over the UKIP posters is more likely to have helped their support than damaged it.

Asked about the leaders debates at the next election half of people now want Nigel Farage included. 13% would prefer debates between just Cameron and Miliband as the only potential Prime Ministers, 19% to have three way debates with Clegg like last time.

There was also the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer last night – they had topline figures of CON 32%(+2), LAB 34%(-2), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 18%(nc)

378 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 36, LD 9, UKIP 15”

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  1. @Paul H-J

    Cameron would be the PM who lost Scotland. I don’t understand how he could stay.

    Personally I think he and Clegg should have resigned when he lost the Syria vote in the HoC. Tony Blair was going to resign if a majority of MP’s back the invasion of Iraq but a majority of his backbenchers voted against. In the event he won the vote convincingly but only just won a majority of Labour backbenchers. I don’t see how a PM can stay when a majority of his colleauges can’t support him when recommending miltiary action. The Government does have a majority of over 70!

  2. @Oldnat – “Ofcom have no jurisdiction over the BBC. Only the BBC Trust can deal with complaints against the BBC.”


    Ofcom have no jurisdiction over grant funded World Service broadcasts, but they have regulatory authority over all BBC commercial services (whether UK or overseas broadcast) and regulate some areas of license fee funded UK broadcasts.These areas include protection of children, fairness, privacy, incitement of crime and religious coverage. Ofcom can impose £250,000 fines on the BBC for certain offences.

  3. RMJ1,

    This will be a peculiar election because of the EP election at same time as local elections. Even without local activists, UKIP will probably poll strongly in locals simply because their supporters are more motivated to vote on 22nd May in what may otherwise be a low turnout.

    Given that UKIP won quite a few seats last year, we should not be surprised if they win a considerable number this year. Simply having a candidate on the ballot paper may be enough in some wards.

    Since nominations have already closed, you can check to see how many UKIP candidates there are in your area. In our borough we have UKIP candidates in all but one ward – more than LDs who used to be the official opposition.

    The biggest obstacle to UKIP winning seats will not be the number of UKIP activists, it will be turnout. The higher the turnout, the fewer seats UKIP will win.

  4. Paul H-J,

    “Why should the Scottish referendum result be a resigning issue for the PM ?”

    Because he is the Leader of the Conservative and “Unionist” party who has personally declared both his support for the Union and his commitment to do all he is able within his power to prevent a Yes vote.

    By definition a Yes vote highlights the limit of both his power and ability.


  5. BigD

    “Cameron would be the PM who lost Scotland”

    We wouldn’t be “lost”, we’ll still be exactly where we were – just across the border.

    If you mean that the UK no longer “owned” Scotland – it never did.

    The term “lost” carries a lot of connotations. It’s difficult to see which would be appropriate if Scotland decided to reassert its statehood.

  6. ole nat

    “We wouldn’t be “lost”, we’ll still be exactly where we were – just across the border.”

    Bugger ! I’d always assumed you’d up sticks and move Norther.

    So your lot will still be able to catch a train to London? Bummer.

  7. Those LTV figures are interesting – big rise in potential UKIP numbers and significant drop in Cons. Not entirely unexpected, but there really does appear to be a substantial bandwagon effect here. I recall AW telling us not to take too much notice of Euro polls a long way out, and this looks wise advice. UKIP look to be rolling.

    If so, the big question is going to be how the result settles in the public’s perception. That UKIP will be seen as the big winners appears obvious at this stage – the real question is who will be seen as the big losers.

    There’s a gag about an elephant with constipation, a cork, and three monkeys. With the three mainstream parties wilting, it looks like on the 23rd there are going to be three monkeys deep in it, but which one will be laughing? On the face of it, second place for Labour would mean them, especially if the Con vote subsides below 20%. Let’s also discount the Lib Dems – reports tonight are that their own people are being advised they will have no MEP’s at all.

    Following the immediate aftermath, the next question will be how long term the impact will be. If we really do get Cons at sub 20% and a healthy win for UKIP, regardless of what Lab gets, I suspect the implications will be really quite severe for Cameron.

  8. R&D

    Damn! Our secret plot discovered!

    All these wind turbines are actually directional motors. With so many of them, we’ll be able to tear Scotland off at the perforated line, and sail north to avoid the effect of the next Icelandic super-volcano.

    1783 was quite bad enough!

  9. @Oldnat

    You shouldn’t be so easily offended. And you certainly shouldn’t read too much into my choice of the word “lost”. To be honest I would feel extremely sad if Scotland voted to leave the UK. It would feel like the death of a member of family given that we’ve worked together and shared so much history for so long. We would of course be gaining a friendly neighbour but it isn’t the same thing. As a Democratic Socialist I genuinely believe that we achieve more by working together than we achieve alone, that is why I’m such a stronger supporter of the Union – both the UK and European varieties.

  10. Cameron would be the PM who lost Scotland. I don’t understand how he could stay.

    Much of the Tory Party would cheer if Scotland left the Union because aTory majority would be secure at Westminster.

  11. BigD

    I’m not in the least offended!

    I simply find it interesting that people use the terminology they do.

    Since we both look forward to being continuing partners in the EU, then there is no loss.

  12. @OldNat: “If you mean that the UK no longer “owned” Scotland – it never did.”

    Why should ‘lost’ imply ownership? It’s like a lost battle or a lost cause.

  13. @ Oldnat

    As someone who stomped the corridors of Brussels for three years I can tell you that both an independent Scotland and the remaining UK would lose a lot of influence in the EU, even with both countries being members. Scotland would have very few votes given its size and the UK would have less votes as well, probably as much as Spain rather than the same as France, Germany and Italy. If three of the Big 4 support something it is impossible for it not to happen, and if three of Big 4 don’t want something it happen it is impossible for it to happen. Scotland would have a separate voice at the table but no-one would listen. They’ll probably decide that when Scotland speaks it is time to get a coffee or pop to the loo!

  14. @BigD
    “Unprecedented I think for a governing party to put on 2 million votes and lose seats! But that’s FPTP for you. ”

    The 1951 result wasn’t caused by glitch of FPTP*. The election came so soon after the last that the Liberals didn’t have the cash to stand countrywide. Their choice of which seats to stand in is the real reason for the the odd result – and by an odd coincidence the Tories also chose not to stand in the few seats where the Liberals had a chance of winning!

    *All electoral systems have glitches – people moan about how unrepresentative FPTP is because it’s easy to see its faults rather than becasue they understand other systems or their problems, IMHO.

  15. Tony M

    “Much of the Tory Party would cheer if Scotland left the Union because aTory majority would be secure at Westminster.”

    It’s always surprising that people continue to spout that idea, when electoral history is quite clear that the existence of Scottish Labour MPs has only created a Lab majority in the HoC for a matter of months since 1945.

    Of course, if you are making a future prediction that England will be overwhelmingly Tory, then it’s pretty pointless for non-Tory Scots to vote to remain in the current Union with England – especially since the Westminster Tory majority Government that would be forced on Scotland would be permanent, in that interpretation.

    It seems more likely that, unless the English electorate rebel – which they may be doing – then the Buggins Turn system of picking a particular set of (very similar) politicians for Westminster will continue.

  16. Thinking about the D’Hondt method and how it is applied in the UK, it seems to me that it is unfair towards minor parties (and perhaps more regionally concentrated parties): there are electoral regions with 3-5 seats on offer which a minor party would struggle to win, simply because by the time the larger party votes are divided enough to give them a chance, there are no seats left to win. Whereas there are some regions with 8-10 seats on offer, at least giving a minor party some chance.

    Wouldn’t it be more proportional to divide up the country such that more equal numbers of seats were available in each region? I know this mean expanding some regions beyond what might be called their “recognised borders” – but some regions are not well defined anyway. Is the integrity of these regions really that important? Not sure it is.

  17. My point about the 1951 result is that if a PM was told they would add 2.5 million votes on top of the number they got when they secured a landslide, they would not think this would result in them losing seats!

  18. “Much of the Tory Party would cheer if Scotland left the Union because aTory majority would be secure at Westminster.”

    Except it wouldn’t be. Even in 2010 they’d only have scrapped a majority of nine.

  19. RogerH

    “Lost” can imply previous ownership – as it can imply many other scenarios. That was but one example.

    If the phrase “Cameron, the PM who lost Scotland” is to be interpreted as “Cameron, the PM who lost the campaign/battle to keep Scotland within the UK Union” (as your phraseology suggests), then that suggests that Cameron is heading that campaign/battle.

    Now, that may well be true, but if Scots knew that Cameron was heading the No campaign, then that would be an interesting consideration.

  20. BigD

    Isn’t it amazing that the Danes don’t vote to become German, and let Berlin argue their case in the EU?

    When I see your experience of the EU, it’s so obvious that their interests would be best served by that move.

  21. I interpret it as “Cameron, the PM who so disenchanted Scots they voted to leave”, personally. I read “lost” as “failed to maintain partnership/friendship with” as in the phrase “I lost a good friend”.

  22. @Bigd

    “Cameron would be the PM who lost Scotland.”

    All very negative. Maybe it’s there to be won by the best side?

  23. Olnat,

    If you return to the tables for this poll, you may find that London and Scotland have something in common.

    They are the only two regions where UKIP do not top the poll for the EP election!

  24. Paul H-J

    On many issues, the cross-breaks from London and Scotland are more similar than the similarities between either of them with the other English regions.

    One might speculate as to why that might be the case.

    In the particular case of UKIP support, it might be that Scotland already has a party in government that is seen as protecting it against metropolitan centralisation, while (outwith London) England/Wales is still searching for such a vehicle, and is “experimenting” with UKIP.

    London (in such a scenario) doesn’t need an alternative, since it is already well represented by whichever of the UK parties happens to be in power at any one time.

  25. rmj1

    I will be surprised if UKIP are able to put forward enough active candidates to capture many local government seats.

    It actually looks as if that is the case. If any of the London Boroughs is good territory for UKIP, it should be Havering. Outer East London not only fits the stereotype of the UKIP voter, it’s the sort of place they have had success before. They did better here in the London Assembly elections than anywhere else and won a by-election last year. The Mayor and other councillors defected to them earlier this year[1] making the Conservatives lose nominal control. The odd candidates they had in 2010 didn’t do too badly and their national rise and the collapse of the BNP (who can only find two candidates across the whole borough) means they should have had a good boost. The presence of residents groups in most wards means that the percentage you need to win may be lower – particularly if you are mainly taking votes from the Tories. This should be fertile ground indeed both to recruit candidates and obtain votes.

    But I’ve just spent some time going through the nomination papers and for the 54 seats (Havering has 18 3-seaters) UKIP have only been able find 30 candidates. It’s actually worse than that because they have someone standing in every ward, but a full slate only in four of them. Of course in that situation it’s very difficult to win because for every vote you get two go against you. All you do is spread your resources thinly and dilute the help in the areas you could win.

    There may be reasons for this – for example the Greens are probably most interesting getting their Euro vote out and having a single candidate in 12 wards might be a good way to do that. The Lib Dems may have a similar strategy with a full slate in only one ward and a token candidate in 14 others[2]. But UKIP should be looking to win seats here if anywhere and at best they have only set themselves up to win a handful.

    [1] Havering Council has specialised in internecine warfare since forever. The Council has usual had no overall control because of the long-time presence of residents groups (and there have been Lib Dems in the past), but even apart from that each Party’s council group has a tendency to split into warring factions. Even the Residents are two groups and are standing against each other in one ward (presumably a boundary skirmish).

    I think the split in the Conservatives has been going on for decades (in two words Andrew Rosindell) and seems to have come to a head recently with much changing of locks and general dramatics. Apparently they have even been unable to issue a single manifesto.

    [2] Being Havering there are probably all sort of backdoor deals as well involving Residents and other Parties or bits of them.

  26. Roger Mexico

    Is the Scots/Northern English use of “havering” (talking nonsense) used in the Isle of Man?

    From your analysis, it seems to have been adopted in the London borough of that name!

  27. Drawing together Catmanjeff’s remarks about standing for Kirklees Council and the discussion about electoral systems, we should be praising the electors of that Borough who seemed to have managed to find the knack of making FPTP work so the result comes out looking like PR:

    Incidentally to answer Tony Dean’s question about why d’Hondt was chosen is because it would privilege the big two Parties. The UK had tried to stick with FPTP for GB (NI always had STV) and eventually been told they couldn’t do it any more. So they chose the PR system which gave the most skewed result and most central control. Similarly it would be possible to combine and redraw the English seats to give them all decent sizes.

  28. Roger Mexico

    It does, however, show a certain arrogance in their assumptions as to who “the big two Parties” would be,

    It’s always good when politicians get bitten in the bum by selfish decisions.

  29. BigD

    As someone who stomped the corridors of Brussels for three years I can tell you that both an independent Scotland and the remaining UK would lose a lot of influence in the EU, even with both countries being members. Scotland would have very few votes given its size and the UK would have less votes as well, probably as much as Spain rather than the same as France, Germany and Italy.

    Your maths actually doesn’t make sense. Scotland probably has a population of around 5.3 million. This is similar to Ireland, Finland, Slovakia and Denmark all of which have 7 votes.

    If you take that 5.3m away from the UK’s 64.2m. you still have 58.9m which is pretty near Italy’s 59.4 while Spain has 47m. So rUK would retain its 29 votes. But even if it ended up with Spain’s 27 votes, 27 + 7 is more than 29.

    The only way in which this would be bad for the UK would be if Scotland’s interest was always opposed to its own and they always voted against the way rUK voted – so the UK always ends up with a nett 22 or 20 votes. But if that was true (it isn’t), it would be enough to justify Scottish independence on its own.

  30. We have the fastest growing population in Europe. In a decade or so we will have replaced the equivalent of the population of Scotland. A few years after the middle of the century we will have the biggest population in Western Europe on current trends…


    Interesting-looking polling on inequality here, the only problem is I can’t find the sodding tables anywhere. Apparently it was by ICM, but I can’t find it on their site.

    Anyone else know any more?

  32. @Roger Mexico

    Kirklees is finally balanced, and looking at the seats that might change, there seems little scope for gains for anyone. Each party seems to have found an island of quite secure seats.

    Kirklees is quite a modern creation, and is very varied in it’s electoral makr up.


    Finally or Finely???

    The first suggests there was some kind of plan!


  34. I meant ‘finely’.

    I was typing on a tablet after waking up.

    Not good.


  35. @Drunkenscouser

    I went into perma-moderation yesterday for suggesting that as an antidote to UKIPs rising popularity, the mainstream parties should concentrate on more positive and life-affirming issues. If you get down and dirty with UKIP on their core issues like immigration, Europe and the ” nothing works, we’re all going to hell in a handcart” mentality, then they’ll win hands down. The devil’s always got the best tunes as far as those issues are concerned.

    Better by far, in my view, but much more difficult to promulgate successfully in a public space where our media keep telling us that these UKIP-pushed issues are all that matters, is to lift people’s eyes to much more nobler aspirations. One of those might be how we build a much fairer and more equal society where our preoccupation isn’t about who’s here that shouldn’t be here, who’s cheating the system and which “Eurocrat” is stealing our personal liberties.

    Paul Weller once wrote a great song about the public getting what the public wants, but I’ve never believed that really. The public tends to get what it’s given and key issues and priorities are set by politicians and the media. We need a political party that can lift the public’s perception of what we could be as a country. This isn’t a warm beer and village green fantasy but the laying out of the hard choices required to build a better society for us all

    There may be votes in it, you know and UKIP will wither and die once the political debate gets on to that higher and more rarefied ground.

  36. @CB11

    “…and UKIP will wither and die once the political debate gets on to that higher and more rarefied ground.”

    Wonderful idea – rather like “the end of yaboo PM question time”.

    However, as has been shown often even on this venerable site (e.g. in the context of the MacBethian story), ‘idealism’ is often dismissed as ‘fantasy’.

    It seems to me that politics is usually a combination of idealism and fighting dirty. The higher the stakes, the lower people are willing to sink in order to win.

    Now, call me cynical if you want to………

  37. The alternative to fighting dirty is simple: just agree with my vision for society and all will be well!

  38. “Following the immediate aftermath, the next question will be how long term the impact will be. If we really do get Cons at sub 20% and a healthy win for UKIP, regardless of what Lab gets, I suspect the implications will be really quite severe for Cameron.”
    (Alec 10:42)

    Agree, though Labour might still win the Euro election. Very close at the moment.

    Suddenly the stakes are very high for Cameron. If he squeaks in in 2015, then it will be Labour that does the soul-searching. But, if, as seems more likely, GE 2015 goes to Labour, then there seems to be a high chance of vicious in-fighting in the Conservative Party, with an unknown outcome.

    Very strange really when the Conservatives have at least limped to power in 2010, having not won an election outright since 1992, that is 22 years ago now.

    The fixed term UK elections, if the law remains, do impose a stiff penalty of 5 years out of power for the loser, with few chances of an intervening election. Like FPTP not likely to be changed in a hurry, as by definition those who could abolish it have just benefitted from it.

  39. The latest workfare measures launched today set me thinking about my pals around Chesterfield. Many lost their jobs long ago when the pits closed. Some found jobs in a local steelworks but it was bought out by a French company and they promptly closed it, took the order book abroad, then asset-stripped it with most of the land being sold for housing.

    Other pals then found jobs with a motorway maintenance outfit, but after a few years this was bought out by a Dutch company, and they promptly closed the local depot. There have been other instances locally where a foreign company has bought up a local employer then closed it and stripped its assets.

    No signs of recovery in this area. Quite the opposite. All things considered my pals are entitled to be unimpressed by globalisation and the EU.

  40. @Crossbat “… nobler aspirations. One of those might be how we build a much fairer and more equal society where our preoccupation isn’t about who’s here that shouldn’t be here, who’s cheating the system and which “Eurocrat” is stealing our personal liberties.”
    If you wish to eliminate crime, finding criminals is a good place to start.
    Incidentally, why does ‘fair’ = ‘equal’?

    Just saying, there’s always another view.

  41. Dave

    Well said. In my book fairness and equality have very little in common.

  42. @Dave

    “Incidentally, why does ‘fair’ = ‘equal’?”

    I’m not a Utopian, and that’s why I emphasised “fairer” rather than fair and “more equal” rather than equal.

    I was picking up the polling that Drunkenscouser shared with us that suggested that inequality was of more concern to people than issues like immigration.

  43. @OldNat:

    I think one of (if not the main) problem with the ‘no’ campaign is that it’s seen as a Westminster politicians’ campaign to retain power at Westminster. Consequently it’s not really a compelling reason for maintaining the union. The campaign needs to focus on cultural and historic links while also accepting that there’s been a problem with the over-centralising of power that deserves attention. Perhaps not something a cross-party committee of politicians can manage.

  44. Crossbt/Drunkenscouser –

    Haven’t seen the results, but from the press release along I can tell you they are nonsense (or at least, the conclusions the client is attempting to draw are nonsense, I expect the polling is fine).

    It’s the regular error of claiming salience from support/oppose questions. You can’t do that, they are different things.

    In this case they appear to be comparing attitudes to inequality – something that largely a valence issue (the vast majority of people will think that reducing the gap between rich and poor is a good thing, though I sure they will differ on methods) – to things that sharply divide opinion (tax cuts, benefit cuts and immigration), where some people will agree, other people will disagree. That’s not the same as salience, it’s just showing that opinion is more one-sided on motherhood and apple pie issues.

    Best measure of salience is the monthly MORI issue tracker. Most important issues to people are the economy and immigration. As a general rule, treat any poll from any pressure group, campaigning group, one-issue think tank, etc that claims to show the issue they campaign upon is the most important to voters with the sort of scepticism you reserve for letters from Canada telling you that you’ve won the lottery and can reserve your prize for a small fee.

  45. Populus:

    CON 32 (-3)
    LAB 35 =
    LD 10 (+1)
    Ukip 15 (+2)

    UKIP really are hurting the Tories again, it seems.

  46. ‘Nobler aspirations’ is completely subjective. I wouldn’t be too sure of your ground going into bat against Ukip on that one.

    For the greater part of human history patriotism has been accepted as noble rather than squalid and small minded which is the current default setting for the ruling consensus.

    Boudicca, Arthur, Alfred the Great, Shakespeare, Elizabeth and Nelson can all be invoked to a soundtrack of Britten, Wagner and Elgar.

  47. Apropos of nothing, if Alec Salmond delivers the economic paradise that he promises for an Independent Scotland then there will 5.7 million people with money to spend, possibly outwith Scotia….They’ll be Tartan Tourists not Tartan Tories !

  48. Calling UKIP’s policies “patriotism” is going to raise a few eyebrows. I’m sure pretty well every party right of the SWP considers themselves patriotic, because they think their policies are in the best interests of the country and they want to improve it.

    There’s a fine line between noble patriotism and squalid xenophobia. I’ve heard both kinds from politicians in every party, so it’s not just UKIP but they need to learn to tread the right side of that line along with the rest.

    Also, using Wagner in a PPB might not go down tremendously well for their public image!

  49. Mr B
    Wagner ?
    Try George Butterworth, ‘ The banks of green willow’.
    Always brings a tear to the eye, Butterworth was killed ,leading his men on the Somme in July 1916.

  50. @Ewen Lightfoot

    Good to see you obeying the convention that any post concerning Scottish Independence must include the Yes battle cry outwith!

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