The Sun politics team have tweeted tonight’s YouGov poll – the topline figures show the same five point Labour lead as yesterday: CON 32%, LAB 37%, LD 9%, UKIP 14%.

There’s more interesting electoral news though, Patrick Mercer has resigned in Newark triggered a by-election in what would normally be a safe Tory seat. The timing could hardly be worse for the Conservatives – it is too late for the by-election to be held on the same day as the European elections, so the by-election will presumably come fairly soon afterwards, at a time when UKIP will almost certainly be enjoying a big publicity boost from having done well in the European elections…

131 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 37, LD 9, UKIP 14”

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  1. Nothing to see here, move on. :-)

  2. The national polls seem so inscrutable. All this politics going on and yet Labour’s aggregate lead of about 4.5% is sailing serenely on.

  3. First!

  4. Sorry. Too late! 3rd!

  5. If the earliest they can hold it is May 29th, the latest would be October 29th, correct? I doubt they’d risk waiting that long but still, they might be able to delay for a while.

  6. Wouldn’t it have been worse for the Tories if the by-election WAS held on Euro-election day?

    Previous by-elections have been delayed interminably while a neighbouring MP of that party “represents” those constituents.

    Is that still possible, or has Westminster grudgingly moved forward from the 19th century?

  7. Oldnat – probably not, then UKIP couldn’t focus campaigning on it in the same way, it wouldn’t get as much attention, either on the campaign – or afterwards – if the worst happens this would be two big chunks of bad publicity, rather than getting it over and done with in one day.

    Mr Nameless – unless the law has changed and I haven’t noticed there is no latest date, seats can be left vacant indefinitely (though eventually it gets embarrassing, and other political parties start trying to move to writ to focus the embarrassment on the party that held the seat!). Longest in recent times was Glasgow North East, which was vacant for about 5 months. Longer you leave a seat of course, the better chance of your opponents organising and winning support. The Tories could wait it out a bit, but imagine how bad a UKIP win would be in conference season say? Delaying the risk just puts it closer to the general election. I expect they’ll still do it quite briskly, get it over and done with, or perhaps they’ll delay a few weeks to give the immediate post-Euro UKIP bounce time to subside.

  8. Does not suprise me when some get excited by the Tories hitting 35% and then get negative when they are back on 32%.

    The same goes for when Labour hit 40% or are only on 35%.

    There is no real current focus by voters on the general election. We all know that when it gets to April/May 2015, Tories and Labour will be neck and neck. This won’t be enough for the Tories to remain as even the largest party and the most likely outcome is Labour with most seats, but short of a majority.

  9. I cannot see Farage standing in Newark. The reason is if he loses – it weakens UKIP that even their leader can’t win a seat. But worse if he wins he will have to defend it in the GE 15, a very difficult task – and the leader losing his seat would over shadow any positive GE UKIP outcomes.

    So far too risky, he won’t stand he will pick a far more winnable seat to stand in at the GE.

    It would make far more sense for Boris to stand he would probably win and Newark would be safe Tory at the GE

  10. the most likely outcome is Labour with most seats, but short of a majority.

    You can probably put your house on that.

    The real question is where will the LibDems nail their colours?

    Assuming they have the seats to make a difference, will they support Lab (who will probably have most seats) or will they support Con (who may well have the most votes).

    On electoral principles, they should support Con.

    But would they really fancy another term as the whipping post of a coalition?

  11. North West Leicestershire (home of yours truly) was vacant for over four months from David Taylor’s death on Boxing Day 2009 until the GE. I’m convinced that contributed to the rather large Lab>Tory swing so perhaps a by-election is like a plaster – better ripped off and got over with.

    Best time for them to do it is probably mid-June, after UKIP’s boost starts to fade and just as the usual Silly Season is about to kick in and push any important political stuff off the headlines.

  12. This Newark by election looks a bit tasty. It’s being reported that Tory whips were begging PM to not resign, so they presumably feel very nervous.

    A deeply strange situation, where the improving economy should be beginning to assist Tories, but there is an increasing sense that they are in some kind of crisis as UKIP eats steadily into their confidence.

    I still think the thought of the decline of the Tory party is a bit overdone – they might struggle to win a majority, for sure, but increasingly so might Labour. Tories have a vastly improving financial situation, so their far from dead yet.

  13. Alex Salmond seems to have had something of a Maginot Moment today when discussing fisheries. Arguing that if the EU expected Scotland to leave and renegotiate membership, he would block EU fishing fleets access to Scottish waters (quite rightly – if you’re not in the club, why share you assets) he took the argument further and said this meant EU boats wouldn’t be able to access Norwegian waters either, as he wouldn’t let them pass through.

    That’s a little example of overreaching yourself. Boats can sail through English, German and Danish waters to get to Norway. If you can’t go through, go round – it worked for the Germans in 1939.

  14. R Huckle,

    “We all know that when it gets to April/May 2015, Tories and Labour will be neck and neck.”

    I doubt this, because I think that if the behaviour of UKIP’s vote in election campaigns is anything like the LDs when they were the main party of protest, UKIP will benefit from the campaign, and presumably at the expense of the Tories. It’s true that UKIP have done well in winning over ex-Labour voters, of course, but they may struggle to do this in a GE when there is increased focus on their right-wing views on economic policy and public services.

    34-31-11 seems plausible to me. Labour majority of 20 on the UKPR swingometer.

  15. Anthony

    Good point. UKIP can throw all their resources at a by-election, while in the Euros they need to campaign across England.

    How long can the Tories delay the by-election?

    MrNameless suggests Oct 29th. If that’s right would the Tories prefer to have the by election as late as possible – or late but before the Scottish referendum?

  16. I think custom dictates that the by-election should be held within three months, six months would be pushing it, any longer would be taking the p*ss and I doubt the voters would appreciate it.

  17. Newark is my home seat, and PM had previously been well regarded in the town, particularly for the work done with the hospital.

    Here’s a question though – how will Labour play their hand? They have very little chance of gaining the seat (even less if Nigel does stand), so do they lie down, in the hope that UKIP get the seat? Or campaign hard, in the hope that 30% or so could actually do it for them with the right wing vote split?

    I should also say that PM will pick up quite a few votes as an Independent – so maybe the right will be split three ways??


    We live in a FPTP democracy. It is the number of seats that is the most important factor and not number of votes.

    The Lib Dems, if they were in a position to form a coalition would look at the parliamentary arithmetic to see whether they could help achieve a majority in the HOC.

    There is another possibility that Labour could go into coalition with SNP and NI parties. It might actually be pretty health for the union, if after the Scots have voted to stay as part of the EU, that Labour bury the hatchet with SNP and work with them. I can’t see SNP, UUP or DUP wanting to do this, but you never know. English MP’s, particularly Lib Dems and Tories would not be happy.

  19. David in France

    You can put your house on Labour having the most seats if you like! I wouldn’t even put my car on that, and its a dodgy old Astra with an unreliable battery! Tories will have the most seats; Lib Dems probably will hold the balance but won’t go for another coaltion; so probably a minority Tory government which could be fun given their problems over Europe.

  20. Bores is back?

  21. @Old Nat
    ” …. the Tories prefer to have the by election as late as possible – or late but before the Scottish referendum?”

    As AW says the opposition could move a writ if the Tories leave it too long, but if they’re trying to leave it as late as possible what difference would before or after the secession vote make?

  22. Bores even

  23. R Huckle,

    “if after the Scots have voted to stay as part of the EU”

    It’s going to be a shock for the Aye and Naw campaigns when they find out that they were mistaken about the particular union on the ballot paper.

  24. MrNameless

    Westminster regularly takes the p*ss of the voters. “Custom” means that the party holding the seat can delay the by-election for ever.

    Presumably our democratic representatives in Westminster haven’t actually created any new rules to govern themselves?

    Why should even 3 months be acceptable (if MPs actually perform any useful function)?

    The Glenrothes by-election took place 4 months after the final demise of John McDougall – who had been an MP in name only for a long time, due to pleural mesothelioma.

    In that case, the voters seemed to appreciate having the p*iss taken out of them. :-)

  25. @ Bill Patrick

    Oops. In the back of my mind I was probably also thinking that a NO vote to leave the UK, would also be a vote to leave the EU.

    I don’t think it is going to be possible for an independent Scotland to negotiate membership of the EU, during the two years they are allowing to separate from the UK.

  26. UKIP % in 2010 was minute – >4%. BBC rather typically hyping up UKIP’ s chances tonight totally ignoring that Labour won seat in 1997 and held it comfortably from 1950-79. They have a good candidate who has been working the seat. If half the LibDem vote in 2010 goes to Labour then they have a chance. There would need to be a colossal cross-party swing to UKIP to give them the seat, and I agree with those saying NG won’t risk it.

    I predict Tory hold over Labour. Majority slashed to 3-5000. UKIP close third. Lost deposit for Libdems.

  27. Poxy auto correct Boris is back……possibly

  28. R Huckle,

    Maybe the SNP are using independence as a Trojan horse issue to achieve their supposedly abandoned old policy of leaving the EEC!

  29. @Neil A

    “The national polls seem so inscrutable. All this politics going on and yet Labour’s aggregate lead of about 4.5% is sailing serenely on.”

    We probably need our psephological ferrets to dive into the polling archives to verify this, but I can’t recall a previous parliamentary term when an opposition has led the governing party for such a sustained period. Not by dramatically wide margins, admittedly, but Labour have maintained a steady, consistent and solid lead that, as you say, has seemed remarkably impervious to events which you’d expect to cause volatility in the polls.

    The other mystery to me is that we’ve seen a number of benign developments over the last 6 to 9 months, certainly on the economy, that would normally start to float the government of the rocks, but, as yet, there’s nothing in the polls to suggest that they’re getting any sort of political dividend.

    This feels like a government rocking under a variety of blows and ploughing a deep trough of mid-term unpopularity when, in terms of where we are in the electoral and economic cycle, the very opposite should be the case.

    It really is all very odd.

  30. Bill Patrick

    You may have stumbled on something there!

    Just as Labour and Lib-Dems blocked a Devo-Max option to ensure that their historic commitment to that would be implemented!

  31. @Crossbat11

    I read a link on here from LDV where the Libs were talking about losing seats in the Euros. The spokesperson called the Euros ‘mid-term’ made me smile. LibDems certainly seem to have nerves of steel facing what appears to be an electoral abyss.

  32. Crossbat11

    Or you might just be bemused by the situation is no longer the nice, safe, comfortable 2.2 party system that England used to have.

    Bloody voters! Just when you think you understand them, they change !

  33. When looking at the good news on GDP remember that the reccession has been so long and deep that we will not return to the 2007 level until 2017 at this rate. Also wages (excluding bonuses) are still falling in real terms. So whilst the stats should be delivering CON advantage, the reality is that people are still worse off, so they either do not believe the stats, or think it does not apply to them. Maybe next year when it matters the slow recovery may help, but by then it is too late. The real issue is will the LDs recover once they are unhitched from the coalition. I am assuming that UKIP’s surge will also disappear. I think we will have a humg parliament with a LAB lead – and mabye a Lab/Lib coalition

  34. Sometimes new political phenomena are best observed by those relatively outside the political system in question.

    Wings’ observation of Farage in Bath is worth a read.

  35. i dont think its odd. Its the left of centre lib dems switching (back) to labour. These voters have probably never and probably never will vote tory.

    The tory vote is being suppressed by UKIP – not swing voters going to labour. The tories only got just under 37% in 2010 against a very unpopular government. The tories matching their 2010 performance in 2015 would be quite an achievement after five years of sluggish to mediocre economic performance and austerity.

    Some ukip will go back to the tories – so i can see them getting 34-36%. Labour 35 – 38. And – given how the vote spread favours labour – that suggests a small labour majority as the most likely outcome and a tory majority least likely.

  36. I think the minimum level of seats for a remotely workable minority government might be where the largest party has more seats than the next two largest parties combined. The more parties are required to be actively opposed to the government, the harder it is to get them all on side, especially where there are idealogical disagreements between them. Getting two opposition parties to work together to defeat a minority government ought to be easier.

    I reckon 310 seats for the largest party would just about do this, assuming there’s about 20 seats divided between non-Con/Lab/LDs and Sinn Fein don’t turn up.

    Below this – well, either be prepared for a real struggle to govern, or go and form a coalition. Recently DC seemed to rule out a coalition with Labour and LD’s on the basis of them probably vetoing a EU referendum that he would push for as a red line in a coalition agreement.

    Assuming that the Conservatives do not do much better than 2010 (a not unreasonable assumption, and I think they may well do a bit worse) then it has to be wondered who exactly they can turn to keep them in government. Or perhaps DC will somehow win that OM that eluded him last time.

  37. @Crossbat

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a “psephological ferret” more a “psophological polecat”, but I would compare 2010-15 polling with the polls between 1974-79. The Tories had a fairly continuous lead from mid ’75, which swelled mid term, then declined a year and a bit before the election.

    Of course the mid-term swell was bigger than the pasty-tax bump and the low leads in the earlier and later periods sometimes disappeared (putting LAbour ahead) but given the less controlled polling of those days perhaps that’s just MOE! Smoothing out the plot enough it would look very much like the polls since 2010, but more extreme.

  38. Newark was a stronghold for the Royalists during the civil war. Maybe they will put up a candidate ? I am a Roundheads fan meself though.

  39. In the 1966 – 70 Parliament the Tories led in the polls from Feb 1967 to April 1970 – massive leads of up to 28% throughout 1968 and the first half of 1969 – though narrowing from Autumn 69.

  40. Amazing how one town will be in the spotlight of the country in a few weeks. Expect plenty of camera shots of the castle, perhaps references to Charles’s last stand etc etc.

    You might even see me in the Prince Rupert pub if I’m back from Uni ;)

  41. Given that Mercer is now sitting as an independent why do the Tories retain the right to pick the date?

  42. RogerH

    Because the big parties established customary practice in a way that suited them.

    If you want clear rules – move somewhere that has written rules about such matters (and which legislators can’t randomly change to suit their interests.

    i believe its called a constitution.

  43. I gather there’s a new YG poll on Scottish Euro VI.

    SNP 33%
    Labour 31%
    Conservatives 12%
    UKIP 10%
    Liberal Democrats 7%
    Others 6%

  44. Straight Tory-UKIP, with SNP taking a bit of LD/Green/others and Labour taking a lot of LD/Green/Others.

  45. In non-polling, personal news. My brother turned 50 today, and has won a legal action against a hospital in the US. They have now waived $1.2 million in medical fees he “owed” them, and after legal fees he will get an additional $70k plus further medical treatment.

    Happy birthday big brother!!

  46. Mid-July would probably be the best time for the by-election from a Tory perspective. Also plenty of precedents for that time of year when not too many people are paying attention.

  47. Neil A


  48. ?? Personal news or Scottish poll analysis?

  49. @ Neil A

    It’s really nice to hear about your brother’s law suit succeeding. I hope that the treatment he’s to receive now goes well for him.

  50. I think the idea of a UKIP win in Newark needs to be put into perspective.

    The Newark UKIP candidate performed 0.7% better than the national share, getting 3.8% of the vote there.

    Let’s say that the Conservatives only lose votes to UKIP, and Labour doesn’t pick up any votes and only retains their 22.3%.

    So, in this highly preferential situation, the UKIP candidate only needs to add a bit over 25% to their vote share to win! Or in other terms, multiply their last vote share by over 6, or more than double the swing from current polling.

    A UKIP win would certainly be a huge upset from a mathematical standpoint.

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