There are two new European election voting intention polls out today, both showing substantial leads for UKIP.

TNS-BMRB have European figures of CON 18%(-3), LAB 27%(-3), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 36%(+7), Others 9% (tabs here). Changes are from their last poll in early April.

ComRes/ITV have European figures of CON 18%(-4), LAB 27%(-3), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 38%(+8!), GREEN 4%. Full tabs are here and changes are once again from a previous poll in early April.

Note that both polls are based on only those certain to vote. This tends to boost up the support of UKIP, who have the most enthusiastic supporters in the European elections – if ComRes had taken those saying they were 5+/10 likely to vote it would have decreased UKIP’s lead to four points.


205 Responses to “Two new European election polls”

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  1. Not everyone in the Labour Party is opposed to FPTP and there are many more who’d oppose any system that broke the constituency link.

  2. Regarding the rents thing, polling from last October on whether the govt. should have the power to control rents…

    Should have the power (con/lab/lib/ukip)
    = 32/56/44/50 (total 45)

    Prices should be left to sellers of goods
    = 61/34/48/41

  3. It does seem the Conservative vote is being nibbled at a little more by the continued rise of UKIP. Is it just because it’s a European election not a national one, or will this happen again once the issues are again laid before the electorate in a years time?

    I honestly never dreamt UKIP would be leading the polls.

  4. rent prices should be left to sellers of goods, total = 43%

  5. @Bill Patrick
    “FPTP basically lasts for as long as the Tories retain their faith in it.”

    They’re unlikely to lose faith any time soon, but that isn’t the issue. The system won’t be changed unless there is a political motive for it to be changed and if Labour win a majority in 2015 there will be no motive – however low the vote share they win on.

  6. It appeals to Labour voters (who may have fallen away to DK) and UKIP voters (who may now break Labour when pushed).

    Given that all Labour need to do to win at this point is make sure their own voters turn out, this will help them regardless of what Tories and Lib Dems think (and they’re by no means wholly negative either).

  7. Both main parties have only themselves to blame in respect to UKIPs rise. Conservatives for constant infighting on Europe making the true position hard to understand, and Labour for never trusting people to have their own say and always knowing best for everybody.

    Conservatives need to push the fact they are actually offering a referendum. Up to now it seems to have had no effect?

  8. I think the rent policy is a vote winner for Labour although the right-wing press will hate it. It risks losing a few votes but the net result is likely to be very positive. I think as with utility prices the government will be put on the defensive.

  9. @Roger,

    If we added 1% to Labour’s score for everything which has been declared a “vote-winner” for them on these boards, they’d be well over 50% by now.

  10. @MrN

    I suppose for many homeowners, rent won’t be that salient. It’ll be more salient to those renting out property, and those paying the rents. And parents of any struggling to rent etc…

  11. @Neil A

    Well I’ll add at least one for this as I will for the utilities policy.

  12. @Postageincluded

    “They’re unlikely to lose faith any time soon, but that isn’t the issue. The system won’t be changed unless there is a political motive for it to be changed and if Labour win a majority in 2015 there will be no motive – however low the vote share they win on.”

    For the sake of our democracy, and despite being a tribal Labour man to my boots, I’d be quite happy to see a Labour/Lib Dem coalition government after the next election if it meant that we might be offered a chance to vote on a new electoral system.

    Just imagine it. A system which meant that an election result didn’t hinge upon bribing 200,000 voters in a handful of marginal constituencies. Hell, it might even bring the other 40 million voters into play!

    Kellner and Curtice would have to go away and rewrite their little infallible guides to the outcome of British General Elections too! :-)

  13. Labour voters might have given us AV already if they hadn’t been more interested in undermining Clegg.

  14. Rich
    “Conservatives need to push the fact they are actually offering a referendum. Up to now it seems to have had no effect?”

    Possibly because of the ‘cast-iron guarantee’ last time round that turned out to be no such thing?

    It seems to me that there is a growing distrust of all the old parties. Now that UKIP are around disillusioned voters have somewhere to go rather than abstaining.

  15. FPTP will remain because ever election apart from the Blair landslide where it was over 175 seats that changed in most elections nine out of ten MP’s get re-elected.

    As long as the system means that 600 of the 650 MP’s at Westminster have jobs for life it isn’t changing.

    Not only aren’t the Turkey’s voting for Christmas, they have guard towers with machine guns and we’re the ones locked behind the wire!

    Peter.

  16. Finally housing is being noticed as an issue, and private rents in particular. Anyone who is under 30, has children under 30 know what a disgrace the UK rental market is. It’s a wonder it has taken so long for any party to do something.

    Doing something about the ludicrous letting agent fees is good. Banned in Scotland already. My friend wanted to renew and was asked for £200 for another credit check. Pure greed. They cost a tenner, and she had one when she moved in a year before and had always paid rent on time. The 3 year tenancies will help here too. Much more like what happens in the States and the continent.

    Finally an issue that effects the young badly is being noticed. Interesting that UKIP were most in favour of capping. Again it seems to me many of their supporters are in favour of state intervention. Many supporters are old school one nation tory or former labour voters. many who seem to be fed up of labour & modern tories ignoring issues like housing.

  17. SOME UKIP voters are attracted by their policies on the EU, and this does seem to be a considerable proportion of their most dedicate supporters, but a lot of their appeal seems to be on immigration and dislike of the political class.

  18. @Allan Christie

    Did Octavian/Marcus Antonius/Lepidus not manage it either?

  19. Peter

    Rather like the cosy arrangements in the USA, where Republicans and Democrats co-operate to create Congressional Districts that are unlikely ever to change hands.

  20. @Crossbsat

    Tribal as I am myself I’d actively campaign against a change to “PR” for the Commons if that was the only change, even if it was party policy. As part of larger reforms (eg an elected HoL) “PR” might have a useful role, but the devil would be in the detail.

    My issue with “PR” is that it only produces a proportional assembly, not proportional government – that is, a party or two can hijack the system and stay in power indefinitely regardless of what the electorate wants. At least under FPTP (and AV!) the electorate can kick the bu99ers out.

  21. I don’t buy the candidate constituency link reason to keep FPTP.

    Most people in my opinion vote for a party and not the candidate. The Tories could put anyone up in most seats in Surrey and they would win. The same goes for Labour in say Sunderland.

    I think people would accept having PR with a list system. If UKIP achieve over 15% in the general election, with only 1 or 2 seats or even none, even those who did not vote UKIP would find this very unfair.

  22. @Postage.

    The difference being that with PR it takes at least two parties to “hijack” the system whereas with FPTP, plus some uneven boundaries, one party can do it fairly easily on their own.

  23. “@ rogerh

    Labour voters might have given us AV already if they hadn’t been more interested in undermining Clegg.”

    I think people voted against AV because it simply wasn’t a good system and the arguments being made in favour of it were not convincing. Even Clegg campaigned in the referendum on a platform of it only being a stepping stone to real PR. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for what you’re asking people to choose.

  24. postageincluded

    It is frequently asserted that Lab/LD created the Scottish electoral system precisely to ” hijack the system and stay in power indefinitely regardless of what the electorate wants”.

    In 2007 we kicked “the bu99ers out”

    Voters aren’t as daft as politicians often seem to think they are.

  25. I like the idea of PR for local elections. It ensures that even in “safe” authorities, Labour voters in rural areas still have a representative and Tory voters in run-down urban areas have one too.

    The “constituency link” is less of a problem there too because all the councillors are elected within relatively small areas and never too far away.

    It’s also a good idea because coalitions in local authorities ensure some continuity between administrations which is needed where handling specific planning projects etc.

    Of course it would be an even better idea with big devolutions of power to local authorities, hint hint.

  26. @Old Nat

    That may be frequently asserted but it’s a SNP-made myth. The fact that the myth has been shown to be a myth proves nothing at all.

    The craftiness of Alex Salmond, on the other hand, is no myth.

  27. @REGGIESIDE
    ‘CON 31
    LAB 37
    LD 9
    Ukip 15
    Does this put the “UKIP taking from labour as much at the tories” interpretation to bed?
    Several very low scores for the tories – with labour pretty much unchanged and ukip up to 15%.’

    Nah mate, that interpretation doesn’t fit with my belief/narrative I wish to push – and would therefore be described as ‘churn’.

    Also worth noting that YouGov’s Canute-like aversion to asking people whether they support the third party or not, does depress their figures. Other pollsters have updated their methodologies in the light of events though, so it’s only a matter of time before YouGov follows suit. Got a feeling they might leave it until after the GE when they will have played their part in maintaining the narrative of ‘a Ukip vote is a wasted vote’. A noble sacrifice of credibility in the cause of maintaining the status quo.

  28. @Neil A

    As far as I can see the Tory and LD parties are in power now, Labour was in power last time. Which party has hijacked the UK parliament then?

  29. Tory and LD are in power now on a 60% vote share. Labour were in power on a share a little over 35%. If they’d managed to get the same vote share in 2010 they’d probably still be in power now.

    Don’t confuse your feelings about policy with your ascriptions of legitimacy.

  30. Postage

    I didn’t claim the idea was correct, but it is one that is frequently asserted by many outwith the SNP.

    The reality that voters were able to “kick the bu99ers out” does, however, indicate that your unsubstantiated assertion as to PR lacks any evidential base.

    It may be that your understanding of the craft of politics is less well developed than that of many political leaders.

    Jim Wallace proved to very crafty in ensuring the introduction of STV for local elections, against massive opposition within Labour.

    A naive party leader would be a very poor choice.

  31. “Tory and LD are in power now on a 60% vote share.”

    A very weird bit of “logical gymnastics” that is.
    I don’t recall getting any leaflets from the “Prospective Coalition Parties.”
    And here woz me thinking that in 2010 I voted for an individual to be our MP and that power in the Commons was based in the number of MPs returned for wotever party. Silly me.

  32. @JOSHC: “I think people voted against AV because it simply wasn’t a good system and the arguments being made in favour of it were not convincing.”

    Not a representative sample but I knew several who opposed it because of the circumstances rather than because they were against AV. Also I don’t agree that it wasn’t a good system. It’s (IMO) the right system for single member constituencies. Whether there was a case for moving beyond that at some future date is another matter but there was no rational argument for sticking with FPTP. And rejecting AV didn’t advance the cause of PR. Quite the opposite.

  33. @Neil A
    “Don’t confuse your feelings about policy with your ascriptions of legitimacy”.

    I wasn’t. In fact I wasn’t talking about “legitimacy” at all – that’s your bugbear, not mine.

    @Old Nat

    I didn’t assert that it was impossible to win an election outright under PR, you appear to be arguing against someone else who doesn’t post here. I asserted that parties “could” hijack a parliament, not that they invariably do.

    There is plenty of evidence of that assertion, but I’ve posted it before and really can’t be bothered to assemble the list again. If you’re capable of thinking objectively about the subject read up on it yourself. I did, and I stopped believing in PR.
    ———————————————————————–
    There is a childish assumption that all you need to do to have a “better” electoral system is to make the system of election to the Commons more proportional for parties. It ain’t neccesarily so.

  34. rich

    Both main parties have only themselves to blame in respect to UKIPs rise. Conservatives for constant infighting on Europe making the true position hard to understand, and Labour for never trusting people to have their own say and always knowing best for everybody.

    Conservatives need to push the fact they are actually offering a referendum. Up to now it seems to have had no effect?

    Actually UKIP’s rise has got nothing to do with ‘Europe’ at all. If that was the case we would have seen the support in the polls for staying in Europe drop during the last few months as UKIP’s fortunes rose ever higher. In actual fact it’s at its strongest most consistently since YouGov started asking the question this parliament:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/k677pv0dv2/YG-Archives-Pol-Trackers-Europe-Referendum-250414.pdf

    What the rise in UKIP is about is the increase in the importance of ‘immigration’ as an issue to people. 85% of UKIP voters (7-8 April) gave it as one of their main (up to) three ‘issues facing the country’, compared to only 49% for Europe. When you consider that many also see ‘Europe’ as being about immigration as well, then it is clear what is the important issue for their voters

    Now what people mean by ‘immigration’ may be another matter and it may be being used as a symbol of a whole range of other issues such as housing, jobs and so on. But it’s what the rise of UKIP is about.

  35. @ NEIL A and others

    I have just returned from planning my study trip next week on the affects of austerity on the Greek economy to be greeted by the news of the Labour announcement on the issue rent.

    I am overjoyed that at last we have a policy that will have a real affect (hope this is gramatically corect) for so many people who are really struggling at the moment. I do predict that this could add 1% to Labour VI.

    On the question of AV I voted against because I thought it was a sell out by the Libdems. I have lived in Germany and was a member of the SPD and thought the German PR system was a system i could support. Having now seen howcoalition has worked in this country I am now firmly behind the FPTP camp.

  36. Postage

    I wasn’t referring to winning an election outright. That didn’t happen in 2007, so your point is hardly relevant.

    However, I’m happy to accept that you didn’t mean the implication of “At least under FPTP (and AV!) the electorate can kick the bu99ers out” that bu99ers kicking would not be possible under PR systems.

    So we are in happy agreement that under any electoral system bu99ers can be kicked, and (given Lab getting a majority with only 35% of the vote) that any electoral system can keep the bu99ers in place “regardless of what the electorate wants”.

  37. @Postage

    I’ll agree that legitimacy is a bugbear of mine. I am a terrible old stuck-in-the-mud democrat. Shame on me.

  38. “On the question of AV I voted against because I thought it was a sell out by the Libdems. ”

    Seems ridiculous to me. Vote on the merits of the policy, not on its promoter.

  39. Mr Beeswax

    Also worth noting that YouGov’s Canute-like aversion to asking people whether they support the third party or not, does depress their figures. Other pollsters have updated their methodologies in the light of events though, so it’s only a matter of time before YouGov follows suit.

    This isn’t true you know. Firstly, as far as I am aware, no “other” online pollsters seem to have “updated their methodologies” by including UKIP in their initial list of Parties (Con, Lab and L/D), rather than in the second list of ‘Others’.

    Survation do do so, but they are a relatively new pollster and seem always to have done so. The other pollsters seem to have continued in the old way. It’s difficult to tell from some pollsters table exactly how questions have been asked as they sometimes combine different things in the same table, but certainly Opinium still ask the two-stage question.

    If you think things have changed, it may be because there have been a number of Euro polls recently and UKIP is included in the main list for those. But that was the case back in 2009 as well (except for ICM phone polls), so nothing has actually altered.

    But you’re also wrong because how you ask the VI question in online polls no longer seems to make any difference. I looked at the average UKIP VI in three different pollsters since last September:

    ComRes (O) (8 polls) 17.25%

    Opinium (16 polls) 16.88%

    Survation (8 polls) 17.25%

    The one pollster that does include UKIP is not significantly different from the two that don’t.

    I haven’t looked at YouGov and Populus because they use other methods from these and in any case Populus changed how they calculate their figures in the middle of this period. It’s also unclear how Populus actually now ask their questions. They gave ridiculously low UKIP VIs until they did alter their daft method of adjusting their figures, but we know that there were other reasons for that than question wording.

    You will also notice that I have specified online polls in doing my comparison. I do wonder if there is a problem with the questions in the telephone polls, which might help explain why there is such a big difference between telephone and online ones. Though I also think that there is a problem with online panels as well, so the truth is probably somewhere in the middle (but exactly where I don’t know).

  40. Oops! Tag trouble. Mr Beeswax is only responsible for the first paragraph, the rest is all my fault. Sorry.

  41. A couple of thoughts:
    (1) I’m skeptical of the size of the leads UKIP is running up, but it doesn’t really shock me given that the EU elections seem to get used for a bit of a protest show…
    (2) …but I’m not shocked when I look at the results from last time around, where UKIP went from 7-10% to just under 20% in the polls (and wound up on 16.5% nationally, which seems a bit low, but you had about 11% going to unpolled “others”, including PC/SNP, and the Greens also got over-polled in general). The idea of UKIP bumping up 7-10% from pre-EU election polls isn’t shocking.

    =====================================

    (3) The Newark by-election is going to be a problem for the Tories for a whole host of reasons, as discussed elsewhere. The odds of a UKIP win might not be great (it is a rather safe Tory seat), but I don’t think the odds are trivial…particularly if UKIP spikes up into the mid-20s on the heels of a strong European election performance.

    (4) This leads to the usual question of UKIP picking off seats in the future. I think there’s a decent possibility of it as long as UKIP can stay in the mid-teens in the polls. You’ve got several plausible paths to a UKIP pickup if they are at, say, 15% in the polls [a plausible place for them to settle]:
    -By-election seats. Even if UKIP doesn’t pick up Newark, if they do well there then it is plausible they could improve on their performance. I would point out that UKIP is polling strongly in Eastleigh, where the Tories likely picked up some “wasted vote” votes.
    -Embattled Conservative candidates. I can’t say where or why, but I think we can all rest assured that a Tory MP or candidate in a safe seat will do something stupid. Considering that there are going to be over 600 Tories running for Parliament, the odds of getting through an election without at least one or two saying/doing something dumb seems low…and all else being equal, it seems likely that you’ll get at least one Tory in trouble.
    –This is obviously also plausible with the other parties as well…given what we have seen in some by-elections, I could see Labour voters voting UKIP instead of Tory in the face of a disgraced Labour candidate/MP.
    -Finally, a regional breakthrough is also possible. If UKIP starts running up on 20% in one or two regions, breaking through in three-way marginals becomes possible, as does consolidating anti-government votes in seats where Labour trails the other two by a large margin (which is often the case in parts of the South).

    (5) Finally, on the (somewhat random) PR vs. FPTP subject, the issue is a specific “bu99er”. Taking an example from 1997, if Neil Hamilton were near the top of a Tory list, he might have been re-elected in spite of his constituency obviously wanting him gone. Similarly, under a “best loser” system for topping up MPs, his 37.5% might have qualified him for election as well if losers’ vote share is used (as opposed to margin). FPTP isn’t perfect, but at least it gives a clear way for kicking out an individual who might be placed high on a party list. I know there are ways to do this under some PR systems, but there are plenty of systems where the top members on a given list for a major party are basically guaranteed election.

  42. The rent cap policy is part of the welfare debate and implementing the welfare cap they voted for.

    Labour line something along the lines of:-

    ‘Tories will cut welfare by being uncaring, hitting genuine claimants etc etc we will cut it by being as hard as them on the work why and by stopping the exploitation of the lack of housing stock by some private land-lords’

    Same time they will announce at some point a major house building initiative.

    Effective – don’t know but the ‘welfare’ party tag is (imo sadly) a negative tag for Labour and if this helps hold a few waverers all well and good.

  43. Keith P (and others) – I think Lab have been a touch lucky to avoid the symbolic if not meaningful statistically cross-over poll and got away with a couple of level peggings.

    The budget bounced reduced the lead to around 3% with YG and perhaps 1% with Populus (who know with Coms Res).
    Perhaps 2 weeks of polls by the 2 above were conducted while the lead was in that range and (imo) an moe poll from one of them (Populus most likely) could have given a small Tory lead but none occurred which was surprising.

    As the Euro Election got closer with the inevitable UKIP gains the gap was always likely to widen and I think the NIge/Nick debates brought some of that movement forward stretching out the lead, albeit with a lower Lab VI.

    Best chance for cross-overs imo is August when some of the UKIP post Euro boost will have faded and opposition can struggle denied the oxygen of publicity.
    September will be dominated by the Scotland referendum and how that affects GB polls I have no idea?

  44. Both Labour and the LibDem’s who drew up the Scottish Parliament voting system in the constitutional convention wanted a fairer system and they produced one that is far better than Westminster FPTP.

    However, they couldn’t help falling victim to tweaking it to their own advantage and self interest, so Constituencies were kept, they outnumbered the list and the lists were closed.

    Having more Constituencies means that even if a Party or Parties that do well FPTP get less than a majority can win overall.

    In Scotland there are 9 Constituencies for every 7 list so if you won all 9 FPTP on 40% of the vote you would have a majority.

    It really is no coincidence that the two Party’s that did best in Constituency voting when it was drawn up were Labour and the LibDem’s, who went on to form the first two coalition administrations and the two Party’s not involved the SNP and Tories got less seats than their vote share.

    Closing the lists also left decision on who would be elected as List MSP in the Party’s hands not the people’s.

    it’s not a bad system but the idea that;

    “No Party could have a Majority”, or even a majority of the Seats without a Majority of the Vote, was always a well spun myth.

    None the less it was a myth the Scottish and UK media swallowed hook line and sinker.

    Peter.

  45. @rogerh – ” …no rational argument for sticking with FPTP”

    Perhaps the arugments were not rational, but people would ask why should someone who votes MRLP then get a ‘second vote’ for for Ukip, and a ‘third vote’ perhaps for the Tories?

    FPTP speaks to primitive sporting notions of fair play… Red Rum finishes a full length ahead of Blue Daquiri… but Blue Daquiri is the winner beacuse people who backed Purple Rain and Yellow Jacket also had a side bet on him?

  46. @PeteB
    I thought the cast iron guarantee was for a referendum if there was a proposal to transfer new powers to the EU. As far as I know so there was no such trigger for a.referendum.

  47. I’ve been following the European campaign (the REAL European campaign, not our regional offshoot) on Twitter.

    Did you know there was a debate broadcast between Jean-Claude Juncker, Martin Schultz and Guy Verhofstadt (the EPP, PES and ALDE candidates for European Commission President) the other night? No, nobody I’ve spoken to did either.

    Given that who runs the European Commission is quite an important thing, it seems bizarre that our media carries precisely nothing about it and chooses to portray the race as purely a national election.

    There’s a couple of reasons for this. One, we don’t have a normal party structure. Our groupings represented in the EP are PES (Labour, SDLP), ECR (Tories), EFD (UKIP), ALDE (LDs), G/EFA (Greens, SNP, Plaid) and EUL/NGL (Sinn Fein).

    Notably absent is the EPP, which the Tories famously walked out of for some reason nobody can remember. This makes the campaign for commission president a bit useless since there’s no point Juncker campaigning here and Schultz is the only candidate standing who can win the UK.

    But secondly (and perhaps cynically of me) it lets the press and parties make the election out to be more interesting than it is. Rather than saying “Well you can vote UKIP or Tory if you want but the UK only has 10% of members anyway and both their groups have no influence” it’s more fun to portray it as a battle to leave the EU, etc.

    Juncker and Schultz have been zooming round Europe (Schultz has been in Ireland in the last few days) campaigning, while the Tory group refused to put up a candidate and Labour seem not to care about the wider European campaign. It’s absolutely farcical and we look like a sideshow. We are the Tatton of Europe.

  48. RogerH

    “I think the rent policy is a vote winner for Labour although the right-wing press will hate it. It risks losing a few votes but the net result is likely to be very positive.”

    Polling will tells us if it is a voie winner. History tells us it is a policy disaster […snip. Whether it does or not, this isn’t the place to discuss whether it’s a good policy or not – AW]

  49. AW’s quick off the mark today.

  50. MrNameLess – Labour asked Martin Schulz not to come here, as it probably wouldn’t have helped them: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/437fa804-b663-11e3-905b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz30RqqKSe6

    (Martin Schulz is very much a believer in European integration, you can imagine the fun some of the newspapers would have had with those views if “Labour’s candidate” for the Commission President had rolled up to London)

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