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.

290 Responses to “YouGov/Sun European poll – CON 22, LAB 29, LD 9, UKIP 28, GRN 8”

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  1. @CB11

    My name norbold dates back to when I was at college in the 1960s. I was given it by a fellow student, Andy Sawyer, who was a great fan of John Lennon and if you’ve read either of his books you will know that he went in for creative misspellings of names. So, to Andy, my real name Norman became Norbold.

    I forgot about the name after I left college but in the late 1990s when Internet forums began in earnest I joined a couple. In those early days most people used pseudonyms rather than their real names, so I resurrected norbold and now use it on a number of forums….well, two anyway!

    Sorry it wasn’t more interesting…though there is a more interesting coincidence that goes with it which involves meeting Andy Sawyer again for the first time for 40 years but would take some time to explain…..

  2. Apparently we have a new contender for Newark. Lee Woods of the Patriotic Socialist Party.

    I can’t say I’ve ever heard of them but I reckon Labour’s vote just got halved!

  3. Crossbat

    I fear my chosen pseudonym will be a disappointment to you.

    I chose Bramley because it’s the name given to one of my rescue parrots.

  4. Mine is simply an expression of musical taste, and necessary to avoid upsetting my employers through attributable public participation in political discussion.

  5. UKIP aren’t the only ones using Royal Mail. RM just delivered a ‘Election Communication South East’ from the Conservatives which is printed in London EC4.

  6. The Conservative banner ad this site keeps showing me confirms what I’ve suspected for some time – none of the five main parties at this election are campaigning on European issues at all.

    The Lib Dems came closest but still haven’t laid out what ALDE want to do in Europe. Labour are using it to promote domestic policies, UKIP are campaigning to leave the EU and the Tories are promoting a referendum idea unaffected by EU election results. It’s little wonder people are disenchanted with the EU if nobody tells us what they want the seats for.

    I repeat – we’re the Tatton of Europe.

  7. New Populus Poll

    Labour 35(=) Con 34(+2) Libdem 9(-1) UKIP 14(-1) Oth 8(=)

  8. New Populus Poll
    Labour 35(=) Con 34(+2) Libdem 9(-1) UKIP 14(-1) Oth 8(=)

    Crossover Alert!

  9. New Populus Poll
    Labour 35(=) Con 34(+2) Libdem 9(-1) UKIP 14(-1) Oth 8(=)

    Crossover Alert!

  10. Lizh , Billybob – European elections are like general elections, each party gets one free royal mail delivery to every elector or household.

  11. @Steve,

    Surely you are LeftArmOfTheLaw and I am RightArmOfTheLaw.

    Between us we ensure that absolutely nobody is safe from the Long Arms Of The Law…..

  12. Strange disconnect between Euro polling and Westminster polling.

    Is it to do with methodology? The downweighting of UKIP due to their low score in 2010, whereas their Euro scores are weighted against better 2009 Euro data? Or is it just simply that lots of Tories who would vote Tory in a GE if it was held this month would vote UKIP in a Euro election this month?

    (Has any poll actually asked that question? Ask the same respondents about Euro and GE polling in the same poll?)

    Cameron will be hoping that the reasonably benign GB opinion polls continue, as that will make it much easier to potray a UKIP landslide as a protest vote that’s nothing to be afraid of.

  13. @MrNameless

    To be honest I don’t ever remember any Euro election being used by any UK party to talk about any relevant European Parliament – controlled issue that was directly relevant to the voting taking place.

    That’s why, I suppose, it’s easy to dismiss the EP elections are a silly protest vote. Noone in the UK is really interested in the EP itself, cares who is in it, or would give two hoots if it ceased to exist.

    I expect the single biggest issue for most electors when they actually think about the EP and MEPs would be “expense claims”.

    (To be honest, I am reasonably interested in politics generally, and even I don’t really know what the EP’s competencies are. Whenever I even think about looking it up, I start to yawn and feel demotivated).

  14. Neil – European polls and Westminster polls are weighted in exactly the same way (though other adjustments like turnout are often different), and indeed, are normally the same poll. Most of the European polls have also asked about Westminister intention. The main reason for the difference is that a large chunk of people who say they’d vote Tory in a Westminster election tomorrow say they’d vote UKIP in a European election tomorrow.

  15. Neil A

    I think that’s because all the big stuff is reserved for the Council of Ministers. Can one imagine what would happen if a European tax was imposed by the EP, although all the UK members voted against it (as an example).

    Actually, I think a lot of quite interesting stuff gets by ‘under the wire’, as it were, like the mobile phone charge reforms. Mundane, but it is actually of immediate relevance to we who travel widely or frequently.

    I use my own name here but I tend to do boring things like that. I suppose if i chose something new to give a clue as to my nature, as Paul did, it would be ‘Noise Abatement Enthusiast’. Is that non-partisan enough?

  16. It strikes me that those who will vote UKIP in the EU election and Con in the GE are those who share Neil A’s interest in what is actually done in the EP. The same goes for others who do the same of course, but Anthony presumably concludes there are few of those.

  17. @Neil A

    Same problem for Scotland. In European election Labour seem to be ahead of SNP, sometimes by several points, whereas SNP lead on Westminster. In Scotland over the past ten years there has been a marked tendency for people to vote in different ways, depending on whether local, Holyrood, Westminster or Europe. This tendancy is perhaps now affecting the political right in England.

    This might indicate that ‘party loyalty’ for many people no longer exists. It’s just ‘horses for courses’. Positively it means that the politicians will have to work for each vote. ‘Bout time too!!

  18. Neil A

    […]Or is it just simply that lots of Tories who would vote Tory in a GE if it was held this month would vote UKIP in a Euro election this month?

    (Has any poll actually asked that question? Ask the same respondents about Euro and GE polling in the same poll?)

    Yes. The one we’re (nominally) discussing[1] for a start. 24% of (GE VI) Conservatives say they will vote UKIP in the Euros[2]. Of course some of these may be UKIP supporters who are thinking they will tactically support the Tories

    This gives a sample size of around 280 and when asked the (one) reason why they would vote UKIP 60% said it was to leave Europe or that they were unhappy with Europe – a higher percentage that for GE UKIP voters or defectors from other Parties, though Europe was also the most important for those groups too.

    [1] As opposed to nominally discussing, as a lot of the previous posts were.

    [2] Rather confusingly YouGov asks people how they would vote “If there were an election to the European Parliament held tomorrow”, but later refers to how people said “you would vote UKIP in the coming European election”.

  19. The Euro vote will be primarily a protest vote, not the election of a government. No one knows or cares what MEPs actually do.

  20. ROGERH

    @”. No one knows or cares what MEPs actually do.”

    …or who they are, or how your vote influences who gets elected, ….I agree.

  21. Anyone know what timescale the Post Office has to send leaflets out by from receiving them?

    With the postal votes due next Wednesday or thereabouts (in Wigan ay least) it must be a benefit for yours to come through the letterbox the same day as the postal vote does.

  22. @Neil A

    I don’t think it’s one of the great electoral secrets of our time that people vote differently in European and Local Council elections, and parliamentary by-elections, than they do in General Elections. Not only do very much fewer people cast their vote, they are much more likely to behave capriciously and vote for parties they wouldn’t dream of voting for when they’re electing a government. Think Respect, UKIP, Greens, Raving Monster – maybe even Lib Deb, Labour and Tory. All are potential recipients of bonus and maverick votes.

    So on May 22nd we’ve got all sorts of tomfoolery awaiting us. Millions will sit the elections out and won’t return to the fray until May 2015. This will skew the result. Many Tory, Labour and Lib voters will vote UKIP but won’t do that next year. The Greens will pick up support that will evaporate in 12 months time. Business as usual, if you like, for Euro and local council elections. Throw in local eccentricities and issues and the it’s a complete dog’s breakfast, really.

    However, none of this will stop partisan commentators drawing ludicrous conclusions from the results and we can look forward to death certificates being signed for all three major parties, depending which commentator you care to listen to. Pressman tells us that they’re already being written for Labour before anybody’s actually voted. Hilarious stuff.

    However, the results will have a significance of sorts. Whichever party bombs the worst will have to face a lot of internal angst, soul-searching and hand-wringing and whoever “wins” (I’m thinking UKIP here) will gain momentum and heart. Political weather will undoubtedly change as a result.

    If UKIP do come out on top, then I counsel against anyone getting too sanguine and relaxed about what these current national opinion polls look like. Things, especially with Newark thrown into the pot, could well take on a life of their own.

    Cosy scripts ripped up and all that.

  23. @Crossbat,

    Isn’t that a bit contradictory?

    If people say they voted UKIP in Euros but would support another party in a GE, why shouldn’t we believe them?

    I agree with you that partisan commentators will weigh in heavily, and those Tory commentators who basically think the Tory party should morph into UKIP will argue even more strongly that way.

    But, even if the Tories drop to 20% in the Euros, if there was an opinion poll 2 days before showing them on 20% EP support and 34% HoC support, amongst exactly the same voters, what reason would there to be particulary troubled by it?

    As I say, noone gives a monkeys whether they’ve got a Tory MEP or UKIP MEP anyway. The only reason I care personally is as a sort of “scores on the doors” excercise.

  24. @Neil A

    I agree with you in so much that the GE result in 2015 is likely to look much more like the current Westminster polls than the Euro polls, but there has to be a a small but significant element of voters who say they’ll switch back now but actually won’t?. What some say they’ll do they won’t and these are likely to be promiscuous voters open to whim and persuasion.

    If a UKIP victory on May 22nd accelerates the bandwagon, who knows who might be persuaded to stay on board, or even jump on? Who knows how the other parties will react?

    This is where the political weather produced by the Euro and council election results will be interesting. Political landscapes, unlike real ones, aren’t set in stone and there’s something in the air that feels rather different to me.

    Hence my continuing scepticism about timeless electoral certainties and inevitable reversions to type.

  25. Personally I expect that any UKIP euro bounce will fade. The larger it is, the longer it will take to fade, but we’re talking 2-3 months or so.

    A euro bounce was always guaranteed for them. It is inconceivable, given the way UK politics is, that they wouldn’t get one. Any realistic predictions of May 2015 will have to be made once this year’s party tricks (Euros, by election and referendum vote) have come and gone.

    I suppose all I’m saying is that the tone seemed to change. The Tories were enjoying some narrowing of the lead. People were talking about crossover etc. Then a few massive UKIP leads appear in polls, and it’s all doom-and-gloom. And yet, bar a couple of higher YG leads (which could easily just be MOE) it hasn’t changed the Westminster opinion polls at all.

    Why are we so distracted by something which doesn’t matter a jot to practically anybody?

  26. Shevii – everything you need to know, and almost certainly a great deal more

  27. I haven’t seen anything from the Lib Dems yet but UKIP will be announcing their Newark candidate on Tuesday. A local, if I heard correctly.

  28. On the new Populus poll: Labour VI remains in the 36-40% range, barring outliers.

  29. @ AW

    Yes- too much information but I guess 3 working days from drop off which, if you weren’t particularly popular with the PO Union, you might want to give 5 days in advance of target date just to be safe :-)

  30. Really interesting to see the BoE warnings of house price inflation presenting a risk to the economic recovery. Quite staggering just how little we seem to have learned since 2007, or how much policy makers seem prepared to ignore what we’ve learned when they look at the electoral cycle.

    Interestingly, there were also reports last week of fears of a crash prompted by the new, tougher mortgage regulations leading to a fall in lending into an overheated market.

    There are now tentative figures suggesting the market has already started to turn. This may be good news – a gentle softening – or it may be the start of a major adjustment, accelerated by the arrival of the new lending rules.

    If so, the irony would be that both the boom and the bust would be largely the result of government policy, with the additional amusing overlay that we now have 5 year parliaments, meaning the timing of the boom was no longer of use.

    I doubt we will get to that stage, but it would be quite interesting to see the excuses if the taxpayer was to be holding help to buy liabilities at the time of the next election.

  31. NEILA

    @”As I say, noone gives a monkeys whether they’ve got a Tory MEP or UKIP MEP anyway. The only reason I care personally is as a sort of “scores on the doors” excercise.”

    That’s how I see it , entirely.

    I have had two leaflets through my letterbox. The Conservative one features DC & urges me to “Vote Conservative”, but doesn’t tell me anything about candidates.
    The UKIP one tells me that a vote for them will control our immigration-but doesn’t tell me how. It does at least, unlike the Conservative leaflet, give me a list of “Candidates for the South East”, with their photos. But I have no idea which one I would be voting for , or how .

    We will be away on 22nd May , so I won’t vote. Will feel a bit guilty if Cons lose an MEP in this area I suppose -but since I have no idea which MEPs draw their huge expense allowances for the privilege of “representing” me anyway, I will blame them for lack of communication.

    There is only one Election which matters to me-the GE next year.

  32. NEILA

    @”Why are we so distracted by something which doesn’t matter a jot to practically anybody?”

    Here?-because it gives people like CB11 the opportunity to air their Lounge Bar rhetoric about the imminent death of the Tory Party . That it will be brought about by the sort of bloke they would flee any Lounge Bar to avoid only adds to their pleasure.

    In the Press?-because Farage is a brilliant self publicist & gives them what they love-straight from the shoulder, shock horror quotes from bloke in pub with pint in hand.

    For the Press , Farage is like Boris ( without the Latin phrase ) -guaranteed controversy .

  33. I use my own name on here because I don’t mind standing by what I write – even though I may well be wrong quite often! If people like to use nomme de plumes that is perfectly in order too as what matters to us all is the interests we all share thanks to our generous host Anthony.

  34. Colin/Neil – pretty much agree but bit like am moe crossover poll there will be some narrative affect.

    NIgel Farage has complimented the LDs growth strategy targeting seats etc and for the UKIP the Euro-poll will be a key factor in determining which and how many seats to properly contest at the GE- and which one their leader will go for.

  35. JIM JAM

    I think we are all-, if we are honest, a little taken aback by UKIP’s prospective performance in the Euro elections .( at least if the OPs are to be believed)

    For me, the paradox which highlights its illogicality ; , the lack of any meaning to this Election, and the bloody minded frame of mind of voters is UKIP’s basic offering to voters-ie:-

    Vote for us & we won’t represent you ( vote) in the European Parliament.

  36. On reflection I really think the three major parties have only got themselves to blame for the rise of UKIP in European Elections on two counts.

    1) The most important is the failure of the conventional parties to explain to the voters over the past several European Parliamentary elections what on earth they are voting for and about. Even if it is technical and boring stuff thy could at least try and make it interesting, especially highlighting the differences in their stances on important issues compared to the way that other parties in the European parliament have voted. All their reliance on garnering votes almost exclusively on domestic issues is laziness which has resulted in an appalling disconnect so that voters think they can waste their votes willy nilly in protest because voters haven’t a clue why it matters that they vote one way or the other for one of the major parties in the European Parliament – so they consider UKIP seriously.

    2) Back in the late 90s the electoral system chosen for the European Elections was awful, and I remember when it was first changed from FPTP it was moaned about by many because with closed party lists nobody has got a clue who they are voting for in terms of the actual candidates. Why oh why didn’t they adopt open lists or STV like Eire?

    Later on on 2010, why didn’t the Coalition agreement change it to Open or Semi-Open Lists (The Tories & LibDems could easily have agreed on that change I would have thought!!!?)

    As it is both reasons 1) and 2) simply invite voters to put their cross against a party like UKIP. It could so easily have been avoided/diminished if only a) voters knew what the “real” issues were between the parties “IN” the European Parliament – and understand that they are “NOT” elections about whether we belong to the EU or not! and b) voters could be sure about which INDIVIDUALS they are actually voting for!

    If UKIP get the largest number of MEPs and as a consequence embarrass the UK in the eyes of the rest of Europe the three major parties only have themselves to blame for the aforementioned reasons IMO.

  37. Tony Dean
    Your nommes de plumes got me going. I guessed noms de plume which seems to be correct, but I suppose one can have more than one plume per nom (so i am not so sure in the end).

  38. I wonder whether election leaflets ever address the issues pertinent to the election involved. I always end up thinking ‘what’s that got to to with local councils?’ or similar. For instance it was reported that the Labour local election campaign had opened with a speech by Mr Miliband on proposed legislation for rent controls.

    I agree with Tony that the parties might as well have printed educational leaflets so that people like Neil A would at least learn something and – get this – could be grateful as a result, a good sales ploy really.

  39. Leaflets for parties in strong contention in the relevant electoral area tend to be better on local issues because they tailor them properly. With European Regions that’s much harder to do because that’s not how the UK is organised outside EU elections and issues affecting a voter in Edinburgh are different to those of a voter in Inverness.

    Local Election leaflets are hit and miss.

  40. @ Alec
    Re: yours of 4.01 p.m

    House price rises? What house price rises? In my area prices have dropped 6% in the past year. Just one more example of how the London/SE England bubble controls everything – though you’d probably reply that the Edinburgh/Lothian (more likely Aberdeen, but the principle is the same) bubble could be just as destructive in an independent Scotland.


    A very good post , hitting a number of nails on the head.

  42. ‘If people say they voted UKIP in Euros but would support another party in a GE, why shouldn’t we believe them?’

    This is quite common in Federal countries but it is not well known here. Party loyalty is progressively dropping and this is most easily dealt with by people voting against whoever is in power at the following election – a plague on all your houses -which is part of the UKIP – and Green – appeal.

  43. I hate to raise the tone of the discussion, but tomorrow is World Naked Gardening Day.

    Party leaders, clothed only in their policies, could enhance this world event.

  44. Had SNP, Lab, Green and UKIP leaflets so far. Two more for the set, and I can start swapping with folk.

  45. I think a danger is that we have the UKIP surge and then people just sleepwalk into the next election with not much movement in the polls.

    A couple of strategies are under consideration at NI; do we call for a pact between the Tories and UKIP or do we bat on with the attacks on Farage. Many are mindful that the knocking of Europe and immigrants over the years has fed the UKIP animal and now we have a situation where it is damaging the Tories. But we have to find a way to win.


    You are awful-but I like you :-)

  47. Presumably the press will try to take credit for the entirely predictable fall in UKIP support post-Euros.

  48. Statgeek

    Here’s the ballot paper for Scotland.

    Did you get them all?

  49. Statgeek,

    We’ve had Lib Dem, UKIP and Labour leaflets here. Waiting on the Tories and Greens now.

  50. Here in Maidenhead we have thus far only had a UKIP leaflet!!!!?

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