YouGov have a new European poll out in the Sun this morning, the fieldwork was done over several waves of daily polling, so has a chunky sample size of 5000 or so. Topline European figures are CON 22%, LAB 29%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 28%, GREEN 8%. Unlike the ComRes and TNS polls earlier this week YouGov still have Labour and UKIP almost neck and neck for first place. Note also the Greens, just a single point behind the Lib Dems in the race for fourth place.
YouGov also asked people who were going to vote UKIP to say why in their own words. Now, I should start with a caveat here – as I often say, as people we are not very good judges of what drives the decisions we make. The non-political example I always give is that empirically we know that in supermarkets it increases sales if a product is put on the middle shelf… yet if we asked people what drove their grocery buying decisions I doubt many would say “well, I always go for the stuff on the middle shelf”. Asking people why they vote seems like the obvious and easy way to understand voting intentions, but it’s really a lot more complicated that that. Hence things like this are interesting, but don’t take it as gospel.
Answers essentially fell into three groups. The biggest was the issue of Europe – I’d urge some caution here, it’s obviously an important driver (especially it seems to those people who would vote Conservative at Westminster but UKIP at the European election, who were significantly more likely to cite Europe amongst their reasons for splitting their vote in this way – back in 2009 there were significant differences between committed UKIP voters, and those who voted UKIP only at the Euros. I expect we’ll find similar this time), but it’s also the “correct” answer in way. If we ask people why they are voting as they are in the European election, the party whose European policy you agree with almost seems like the “right answer”. The other two things very commonly cited were immigration, and disillusionment with the main parties (sometimes that came across as “don’t like the other three”, “can’t do worse than those three”, “need to shake up the establishment” sort of expressions, sometimes people specifically said it was a “protest vote against the main parties”). Whatever the relative levels of those three things, it’s what I’d expect to find as the main drivers: anti-immigration, anti-establishment, anti-EU.