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. I am a bit perplexed by the lack of Labour leaflets in my ward, I have to say. I’m not sure there even are any LibDems in North Plymouth, but the parliamentary constituency and the council itself are Labour held and my ward is one of the few Tory ones left in the area. And it’s not especially affluent, either. I have social housing on two sides of my estate and forces housing on the third. Surely it must be a Labour target?

    Perhaps next week I will be bombarded with red roses.

  2. “You are awful-but I like you ”

    Yeah, I half go along with that Colin.


    “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”

    Currently your best recruiting agents are the two Eds. A pact between UKIP and Tories is not possible now. UKIP wont accept any promise made by Cameron on the EU. A new Tory leader would be needed to before Farage would work with Tories, and it may be too late for that now. (.I have been a UKIP member since 1995).

  4. I am delighted to read in recent posts that my local town, Bodmin, is printing UKIP leaflets. What a sensible place!

  5. @ Neil A

    Not sure about the forces housing one. I did that once when I was in the Labour Party and picked up one promise all night and that was a dead cert given they had an Observer newspaper on the doormat! Maybe times have changed as it was only a few years after the Falklands.

    Generally they were respectful but did get called a communist by one of the wives through a window (how did she know- lol).

  6. @John B – agree about the house prices. I wasn’t going to make any points about similar issues within an independent Scotland, although clearly if you use house price inflation as an economic and political lever, you are running major risks. This is, in effect, what we have done since 1963, and is part of what destabilizes the UK economy.

    But now you mention it, house prices and independence are linked. At least, they are if the SNP’s favoured option option of a shared currency comes into being. Scotland would clearly be beholden to London based demands on interest rates and credit availability, but with zero influence on policy, and with policy makers having zero responsibility for Scots. Even worse than now, if you ask me.

  7. Are we allowed to say that Dave’s made another cast iron pledge on the EU?

  8. I have had no leaflets about any election, whatsoever (SW Devon /Dorset border). On the BBC news tonight there was an EU election feature with no coverage of any issue that would affect one’s choice of EU candidate party, whatsoever, (and I paid close attention because of foregoing correspondence).

    Just people standing in front of lecterns (leave that to priests) and photo ops (leave that to people who look good)

    That last was altered so I don’t get a telling off from Amber or Ann in Wales.

  9. Alec, from your contributions, I gather that you consider the present independent BOE decisions tickety boo (or are you one of those who thinks there should be some form of democratic control?).

  10. Tony Dean
    I’m glad you mentioned the pernicious effect of the Closed List system , which destroys any incentive or, realistically any ability for a candidate to identify with a particular area. It places a huge amount of power and patronage in the hands of the party managers. Prior to its introduction I had an excellent Labour MEP in Herefordshire ( of all places !) David Hallam was his name and he worked tirelessly for his large, but identifiable with, constituency.
    I remember attending a Labour business meeting in Telford where I and a colleague went against the party dictat and argued for Open Lists, but we were told that Closed Lists gave the opportunity for diversity to triumph in terms of candidate placement. Somebody , a little while later, said that the Blair Govt did not want Europe to become an alternative power nexus, preferring instead to reduce the Euro elections to the status of a giant , if slightly skewed opinion poll. Which is pretty much what we’ve got

  11. The property bubble extends far outside London. It’s certainly reached parts of the SW.

  12. Old Nat,
    World Naked Gardening Day?
    Goodness,we know gardeners are the salt of the earth, but naked?Think of the
    Awful sights passers by might unfortunately be exposed to,and also the nettles.Bad enough fully clothed but naked?

  13. We’ve also just got our first leaflet in Scouseland today (UKIP).

  14. I just saw a YouTube ad promoting “Juncker for President” with EPP branding. I don’t know if they understand targeted advertising but they should know there’s no serious EPP party in the UK.

    The Green Party’s election broadcast started out quite amusingly but went on far too long towards the end. They did bring up actual Green European policy though, which was a welcome change.

    If we treated EU elections properly the Tories would be facing the “wasted vote” allegation and the main contest in an EU context would be between the Lib Dems and Labour, bizarrely.

  15. Mrnameless

    ” the main contest in an EU context would be between the Lib Dems and Labour, bizarrely.”

    Well in Scotland, the media present the main contest in both EU and Westminster contexts as between the Tories and Labour, (with added irrelevant UKIP from time to time – and all the bloody time on the BBC!) bizarrely.

    Not sure you chaps have quite got the concept of a Union where you aren’t in a huge majority. :-)

  16. @ Tony Dean, Howard

    The plural of nom de plume must be noms de plume not nommes de plumes. One can have several pen names, but not several pens names.
    Nomme exists as a verb, as in Je Nomme, I name.

    @ Jim Jam.
    “pretty much agree but bit like am moe crossover poll there will be some narrative affect.”

    A literary theorist might refer to “narrative affect”?? One presumes you mean effect.
    The confusion of affect & effect is now common on this site.

    ” , , will be a key factor in determining which and how many seats to properly contest”

    . . . as is the split infinitive.

    @ Ann in Wales, Oldnat

    Should it not be ” World.Naked Gardeners’ Day” rather than “Gardening”?. It’s the people who are naked, not the gardens.

  17. Robbiealive

    You are correct.

    The blame lies with SoCalLiberal’s compatriots, and doubtless more with those in his home state, rather than Alaska – their vicious wee biting insects put the West Highland midge to shame when it comes to attacking bare skin.

    Mmm Should we suggest to Sarah Palin that she participates in the event?

  18. Robbie – did you know what i meant though?

  19. Á Robbiealive! Merci Monsieur!

  20. Hang on Oldnat, you might be able to answer something. Since the Greens and the SNP (and Plaid) are in the same European grouping, why do they stand candidates against one another at EU elections?

  21. @Robbiealive

    Isn’t it just a normal gardening day, with an added statement about the world being naked?


    Your post about NI strategies concerning Ukip, Tories and the possibility of pact is worth following up… but I seem to have triggered moderation by discussing it.

    NI can’t continue to knock Ukip and advocate them as a partner for the Tories, so I assume there must be a deadline for deciding the strategy?

  22. A Tory-UKIP pact would be the best present Miliband could have.

  23. Mr Nameless

    You might as well ask why Tories, Labour & LDs stand candidates against each other in Scotland – they are different parties in a common alliance.

    More importantly, in sensible countries, parties can be in a coalition in advance of an election – the actual strength of the parties within that coalition depends on the voters [1] judgment.

    [1] “Voters” In UK elections, these are only of any relevance in a constituency where there is a chance of a change of Party MP, and if they are able to be influenced by the media to shift support between one group of professional politicians and the other lot.

  24. Interesting thought about the EU elections, there is a common agreement that the largest group will get the position of EU comissioner.

    Could Cameron’s decision to leave the EPP back in 2009 mean we get a Socialist Comissioner in Europe in 2014. I remember virgillo showing polls that the Socialists would have about 5 MEP’s more than the EPP and thus get the comisioner slot, but we all know the UK tories will get more than 5 MEPs, so this could effect the result in a big way as Camerons decision would mean the EPP would have less MEPS than they would have if they stayed, more than the margin they lost by so the EPP loss and Socialist win could be blamed on UK Tories but I’m sure Camo would prefer to deal with Juncker than Schultz

  25. @rogerh

    I agree, a Con/Ukip pact would restore some clarity.

    There’s no doubt some Tories want a pact, as well as wanting the Coalition to come to a speedy end (and an end to Cameron,s leadership for that matter). There’s much talk about what shape the Labour manifesto will take, but what of the Tory manifesto (or Ukip’s… beyond calling for a return of Pullman coaches on the railways that is, or the Lib Dem’s)?

    Pressman is bullish about Tory chances, but quite a few Tory MPs think they are heading for defeat; a pact with Ukip might salvage a some marginal seats… worst case, might salvage some pretty safe seats. I personally wouldn’t rule out a pact of some kind coming about even at a very late stage.

  26. 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.
    Okay, who – apart from the numpties at NI – didn’t see that ‘train’ coming from a mile down the tracks?

  27. Maninthemiddle

    I presume you mean there is a common agreement that the largest group will get the position of President of the EU Commission?

    S/he will be selected from the group of 28 Commissioners selected one per member state, by the member state.

  28. Maninthemiddle

    Part of the EU deficit might be addressed by each member state electing it’s EU Commissioner, instead of leaving the nomination to the Government of the day (or many days ago) in each state.

    The European Parliament would then have the more appropriate task of selecting the EU Commission President from a panel of people selected by election, instead of paid back for political favours or any other reasons.

    Of course, elected Commissioners might be worse rather than better than those selected by the political elite of each state – but that’s democracy!

  29. “EU deficit” -> “EU democratic deficit”

  30. @BILLY BOB: “I agree, a Con/Ukip pact would restore some clarity.”

    I’m not sure what you’re agreeing with. A pact would finish off the Tories, alienating not just many of their voters but many of their MPs. It might appease a few of their more nutty backbenchers but the voters won’t be fooled into seeing it as anything other than dishonest. As someone once said, you win elections from the centre. (And I believe the electorate’s centre is some way to the left of where many politicians think.)

  31. RogerH

    I freely admit to not being clear on many aspects of English politics, but why would being in/out of the EU be any more a left/right issue there, than being in either the UK or EU Unions is a left/right issue in Scotland?

    There are benefits of having sovereignty. There are benefits of agreeing to pool aspects of sovereignty with other sovereign states.

    It’s difficult to see advantages in wholly surrendering your sovereignty to a supranational state, though some in Scotland seem to take that view.

  32. Just got my UKIP Euros leaflet. And it wasn’t printed in Bodmin!

    It was printed in Romsey (Hampshire).

  33. @rogerh

    I think we can agree Ukip are a rightwing party, but are you telling me the Tories are positioning themselves as a centre party… and that Orange LD is also governing from the centre (or centre-left)?

    Representing the latest Populus graphically then it does indeed look as if the Tories are just about straddling the centregound in terms of how the electorate express a VI:

    Lab 35, LD 9, Con 34, Ukip 14

  34. @Howard – “Alec, from your contributions, I gather that you consider the present independent BOE decisions tickety boo (or are you one of those who thinks there should be some form of democratic control?).”

    Really interesting question. I did post on here around 6 months or so ago that I thought the BoE should have nudged interest rates up a fraction. I believe a .25% rise late last year or early this year would not have dented business confidence unduly, but would have sent a signal that abnormal conditions were coming to an end. I think there was and is a need to head off unsustainable house price growth, so in that sense, as I’ve already said this, I guess I would disagree that I think the BoE is doing everything correctly.

    On the democratic control, that’s difficult. I thought G Brown did well on the bank’s independence. Very rapidly we moved to a situation where monetary policy achieved credibility, and this meant that micro movements in rates were usually enough to nudge the markets – a bit like I suggest above. De politicizing rate setting is a good thing, on balance.

    The trouble is probably more that central bankers are still bankers. I guess it’s very important to have the targets set by government, which everyone recognises in hindsight should be more than just inflation, and perhaps it’s in the target setting that we introduce the democratic control? I don’t really know.

    In principle though, where there are market operations, it is very difficult for a political government to retain direct responsibility while also keeping market credibility – the political and market demands too often pull in different directions.

    In terms of partisan politics, direct political control of BoE policy was, I believe, bad for democracy. The city inherently favours Tory governments, and so a Labour chancellor would always battle harder to achieve market credibility, which has knock on effects on practical policy outcomes. A more independent stance has meant that decisions are depoliticized, allowing governments of different colours more space to operate.

    I’m rambling now, which is a classic sign that I know not of which I talk, but I hope this has answered a question, even if it wasn’t the one you asked.

    I’m 74 you know……..

  35. @ROGERH

    I have to agree with you. Such a pact would simply mean that a lot of Conservatives stayed at home as there is nobody else to vote for.

    The turnout for the EU elections will be interesting as will the total votes cast for UKIP. I think this may well give a more accurate indication of UKIP’s maximum level of support than the polls can. I find it hard to believe that any UKIP supporters won’t vote but we all know that a lot of supporters of the other parties won’t turn out, especially if there is no local election. I know a lot of Conservatives who won’t vote because they are a bit fed up at the moment (they won’t vote UKIP either regarding those that do as traitors) but they will turn out at the GE because they do not want to let Labour back.

  36. Alec

    Hah! Youngster!

    Good post though. These issues are hugely complex, and like most other issues there are costs/benefits in both directions.

    At the end of the day, however, people have to decide whether to accept the consensus of the “great and the good”, or whether the “great and the good” are acting in their own interests – and whether such a judgment actually needs to be made.

    Sometimes, however, a choice has to be made and everyone needs to decide on which scenario is most likely to be true.

    If only we didn’t need to make any choices, and could just rely on the BBC to influence our choice. :-)

  37. @rmj1

    My best guess is that a pact wouldn’t be that overt, rather a number of Ukip candidates would just quietly be stood down (as Ukip’s rule changes now allow)… in return for an as yet unspecified concession.

  38. @BILLY BOB: “I think we can agree Ukip are a rightwing party, but are you telling me the Tories are positioning themselves as a centre party…”

    I’m saying that a pact with UKIP will alienate those on the other wing of the Tory party. It’ll split the party and the main beneficiary will be Labour.

  39. [email protected]

    I thought Anthony had decided that trying to define right/left wing was one of those wholly arid and pointless discussions?

    That I think UKIP, Tory, Labour and Lib-Dems (as well as the Ewing wing of the SNP) are “right wing” adds precisely nothing to any useful discourse on polling.

  40. @ Billy Bob

    ‘My best guess is that a pact wouldn’t be that overt, rather a number of Ukip candidates would just quietly be stood down (as Ukip’s rule changes now allow)… in return for an as yet unspecified concession.’

    I doubt it would stay ‘quiet’ for very long!

    Such a manoeuvre would be absolute suicide for the Tories, and mean a long-term fissure on the centre-right. Much as I would love this to happen it just aint going to. Even the stupid party is not that stupid!!

  41. @RogerH

    “I’m saying that a pact with UKIP will alienate those on the other wing of the Tory party. It’ll split the party and the main beneficiary will be Labour.”

    One of the aspects of UKIP’s rapid rise that intrigues me is calculating how much of their agenda is shared by Tory MPs and party members. It’s obvious they’ve attracted a chunk of the Tory vote with what they have to say on issues like the EU, immigration and gay marriage, but I wonder if there are quite a few right wing Tory MPs and party members who are getting the itch too? If you listen to people like Bone, Reckless and Redwood, and those are just the few I can think of, there are probably many others, I would imagine that they could quite comfortably sit around a table and break bread with Farage and Hamilton. Ditto many party members too, I would think.

    This is where we need to think beyond the current voting in terms of assessing to what extent UKIP could permanently change the political landscape. They are attracting primarily Tory voters at the moment, but there’s no doubt that they’re pulling in some former Labour and Lib Dem supporters too, as well as past-abstainers. However, nobody seriously thinks that a single Lib Dem or Labour MP, member or activist has got the slightest chance of finding common cause with UKIP. Accordingly, high level defections there will be none. The Tories, however, house many MPs and members who would find the political journey to UKIP a very short one. Quite a few former members have already made it, as did a young Mr Farage many moons ago.

    Therein lies the mortal danger for them if UKIP go from ginger group to serious political party. The forthcoming Euro elections may well be another notch on their bedpost as they make that slow but sure metamorphosis.

  42. @ OldNat

    I think what you probably mean is that UKIP, the Tories, Labour and the remaining LDs are economic liberals, which is a trait associated with Right Wing parties.

  43. Anyone wanting a cheap laugh should go to Nick Griffin’s Twitter feed before he regains control:

  44. @Crossbat11

    some councillors have defected – one prominent ex MP joined a right wing party in Pakistan.

  45. @OldNat

    I’ve not mentioned right or left but it’s pretty clear that any agreement with UKIP must make the Tories less of a centrist party.


    “If you listen to people like Bone, Reckless and Redwood…”

    Major’s bastards.

  46. NEIL A

    You said there was a lack of Labour leaflets in your ward,

    In my ward we are on our 4th leaflet and hae made 2900 contacts, in the whole Town we have broken our 2004 record it now stand at 32000 contacts

  47. @BILLY BOB

    ‘I think we can agree Ukip are a rightwing party.’

    No we can’t.

  48. @Crossbat

    “many party members too”

    An oxymoron surely?

  49. Want to see something that is hysterical? Well it would be funny if not for the fact that this isn’t made up, this is a real person who’s a real former office holder and a real current office seeker.


  50. YouGov Euro Poll for the Green Party:

    Lab 30
    UKIP 27
    Con 22
    LD 9
    GRN 8

    At present we’ve not seen crossover between Greens and LDs so I suspect Clegg is likely to squeak fourth place. Figures are here:

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