Looking at the search terms people are arriving at the site using there are already fewer people looking for candidate information, and more people searching for exit polls. Straight answer is that there are none, and there won’t be any.

These days the only real exit poll done is the BBC/ITV shared exit poll for general elections. They are extremely expensive and difficult to do, so they simply don’t get done for any other type of election (as Nick Moon of NOP, who along with MORI normally organise the general election exit poll, puts it they are an extremely expensive way of finding out something a couple of hours early).

It’s also illegal to publish any form of exit poll before the polls are all closed. For European elections that doesn’t just mean the polls need to be closed in Britain, they need to be closed across the whole of the European Union. This means it would be illegal to publish an exit poll before 10pm on Sunday (and given that the returning officers are allowed to start counting earlier in the day on Sunday, so long as they don’t announce the results until 10pm, any exit poll would be useful for even less time than usual!).

That means you’ll have to wait for proper results. For local councils, counting starts in about half the councils tonight, with results in the early hours of the morning. The other half will start counting tomorrow morning with results in the afternoon. For the European elections the counting of the votes can start during the day on Sunday, but actual results won’t be released until 10pm.

253 Responses to “Looking for exit polls?”

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  1. @ JCB336
    “Conducting a full canvass and then knocking out your support on the day is known as the Reading system, which I presume is where it was first done. High levels of activity can affect a result as the Lib Dems proved in Redcar in 2010. The last time I organised a Reading was in 1983. For Labour. Talk about flogging a dead horse.”

    JCB336 The following link may be of interest to you:

    I have organised the Reading System more than two-dozen times and refined it over the years from a box card system in 1971, through NCR “Shuttleworth” pads with several layers, through to using mobile phones and new technology.

    However, in all my experiences I would say that the Reading System cannot be surpassed for effectiveness if used well and with real motivation behind it.

    It is most effective in elections with potentially derisively small turnouts (local by-elections and local elections in general!), and gradually becomes less effective the higher is the general turnout in the area voting. In General Elections it is only of marginal use except in poor turnout enclaves within otherwise marginal seats.

    However, its morale booster effect for shaky supporters by having a friendly face at the polling station taking numbers AND wearing your colour of rosette, should not be underestimated, although the effect of this is unquatifyable!

    I am always wary of local activists who decry the Reading System – it is usually a front for “can’t be bothered” to engage with less active party members who appreciate being asked and getting involved in simpler tasks like dropping “Good Morning” leaflets to your first run of pledges from the list, and organising and booking a polling station rota for these type of voluteers for the day.

  2. ” high life in Cltheroe”

    Is that an oxymoron ;-)

  3. Hookeslaw

    Income tax distorted last year, the top tax rate went down to 45% from 50% in the previous year so lots of highly paid people moved their bonus from say feb to April to save a bit of tax.

  4. @Catmanjeff

    No, Clitheroe is quite high up, though not as high as Burnley, I think.

  5. @newforestradical

    I found it very amusing. A UK election where all the people voting were not speaking English. After Nigel commenting about his train journeys I could just imagine his reaction if he had been at our polling station while I was there :)

    I had a look on twitter and someone else is also reporting this

    steve hawkes [email protected]_hawkes · 2 hrs
    Interesting that some are saying big turnout among East European voters – upset at UKIP

    Would the polls have polled any of the Polish folk?

  6. English elections has a comprehensive list of all councils up for election and, what’s even better, when you click on the LA it will take you to a full list of all nominations by ward:


    presumably they will eventually update these with results.

    What it is useful for at the moment is showing the pattern of nomination in an LA and giving you some idea of the health of a Party in the area. For example the fact that the Conservatives are unable to put up a full slate in Lewisham (they held two of the three seats up to 1992) and may lose their last councillor in the borough shows how difficult reclaiming certain parts of London will be, despite the ‘advantage’ of soaring house prices.

    And as I’ve pointed out before the inability of UKIP to find full slates in more than a handful of wards across London suggests that they will find it difficult to get many councillors there. It’s almost impossible to even split a ward without a full slate.

    Outside London, UKIP may have better luck, not least because in most places they only need one candidate. Castle Point will be an interesting indicator for them that should return an early result (they seem deliberately not to have stood in Canvey Island) and Brentwood in another early result in that area.

    Metropolitan areas will be harder for them, but it will interesting if they can pick up seats in somewhere like Sunderland where they have got good coverage (and it is East).

  7. I wonder…

    Will there come a time when die-hard Tories will face the prospect of voting Labour to keep out the despicable UKIP?

  8. The reports on Twitter are of a high turnout. If true should be good for Labour.

    In Scotland folk are worried that the Greens and SNP have split the anti-UKIP vote with the added complication of Labour voters voting UKIP to prevent the SNP getting its 3rd seat.

  9. Turnout in Maidenhead didn’t seem particularly high – “steady” would be a better word for it.

  10. @NickP

    Well Labour voters in Scotland are apparently voting UKIP to stop the SNP getting the 6th seat, which I find horrible but given how Slab feels about the SNP not surprising unfortunately.

  11. Richard

    Would the polls have polled any of the Polish folk?

    Almost certainly not, as online polling companies are asking about Westminster elections most of the time which most EU nationals can’t vote in. So the online companies wouldn’t really want them on their panels.

    How much difference it may make is another matter as many won’t have bothered to register or been unaware they could. It may make a difference in certain areas though where that vote is more concentrated and possibly got itself organised informally.

  12. @Tony Dean

    High is relative – higher that 37% will be a record

  13. Wow, it’s true. Mining Twitter for “take a pen” digs up pure gold. I particularly felt for this poor chap:

    “phillip westlake [email protected]__westlake 4h

    @phil__westlake I forgot to take a pen but I did push down hard to leave its mark.”

    It must have been a nasty moment when he patted his pockets and realised he was bic-less. Quick thinking, though – that press-down-hard thing.

  14. @Couper2802 “Well Labour voters in Scotland are apparently voting UKIP to stop the SNP getting the 6th seat, which I find horrible but given how Slab feels about the SNP not surprising unfortunately.”

    I shouldn’t worry too much about this sort of conspiracy theory – it is usually just anecdotal tittle-tattle amongst strategists/activists/anoraks – but the electors at large don’t go in for this type of skullduggery in my experience!

  15. Couper

    If what you say is true (Labourites voting UKIP to keep SNP from gaining a third seat) then the old adage (your enemy’s enemy is your friend) will perhaps have proved true in the short term. But long-term the damage to Labour will be immense. It is tantamount to selling your soul. It’s so, so sad.

  16. Thanks Allan. My Gaelic is mainly limited to watching Rugby and Eorpa on BBC Alba. Carte Bhuidhe and Penas Glaschu doesn’t get you very far in a conversation in Stornoway.

    My dad did learn to speak Gaelic for the purpose of mushing huskies in Antarctica (the dogs were trained in Nova Scotia so obeyed Gaelic commands) but he never passed it on to me.

  17. Where’s the best place to get Euro results early-ish without all the film-flam from the Parties about how badly all the others have done?

  18. The BBC website will probably have something relatively neutral on it.


    Is that really true? I know some SLab people and that really doesn’t strike me as something they’d do.

  19. @NickP
    “Where’s the best place to get Euro results early-ish without all the film-flam from the Parties about how badly all the others have done?”

    If I were you I would go to bed early on Sunday evening, get up bright and early on Monday morning and switch on the radio over a nice cupper and a piece of toast!

  20. couper

    I’m sure Lab voters voted UKIP in Eastleigh and my aged ex-Labour candidate mother in North Thanet was considering voting Con to keep out UKIP.

    The world is getting topsy-turvy.

    But what I was asking is whether there will come a day when the awfulness of UKIP becomes obvious enough to make Lab a lesser evil to many Tory voters.

  21. NickP,

    Possibly. There’s a long way down the Monster Highway UKIP can travel before they become more unpalatable for Tories than Labour though.

    An interesting aside is that a couple of very right-wing flatmates are considering voting Labour next year as they’ll be in a Labour/Green marginal.

  22. @RosieAndDaisie

    * If a late-night pharmacist is open near you, go there and ask for cocodamol, which is paracetamol and codene and is (I think) the strongest painkiller you can legally get without a scrip. You’ll have to ask the pharmacist. If the assistant says “no”, ask to see the pharmacist and explain why you want it.
    * If you have (another) superficial clot, then an antiinflammatory may be useful (e.g. diclofenac potassium or diclofenac sodium). I think the brand name is volterol. You can get that without a scrip too, I think, but if you’re seeing the doctor tomorrow ask him if i’s ok.
    * For tonight, take your painkillers and run cold water over your legs (assuming you have a shower) for a few minutes until they feel more comfortable. Towel them dry gently (don’t rub), It won’t make the pain go away all night, but will give you about a hour’s respite.
    * If you have circulation problems in your leg veins, lie down and stick something under your legs (pillow) to elevate them above your heart. If you have circulation problems in your arteries, don’t do this. If you don’t know which one you’ve got, do it for a bit: if it helps the pain you’re OK, if not, not.

  23. @Tony Dean

    You seem to forget that the Scottish electorate is used to voting in different ways, depending on the election. It has grown used to voting strategically. But for Labourites to vote for UKIP would be appalling.

    Equally appalling would be for the SNP to put out the rumour in order to have a scapegoat, should it fail to win the third seat.

    And how would we know what was true? If Labour fail to win two seats, or only just win two seats, and UKIP gets one seat? SNP 2, Labour 2, Tories 1, UKIP 1? SNP 3, Labour 1, UKIP 1, Tories 1?

  24. @NickP – It’s actually a well-known effect under Hotelling’s Law that a stable two-supplier equilibrium is shattered by the entry of further suppliers.

  25. Martyn

    Thanks. You forgot to ad

    “and that’ll be five guineas please.”

    but the cheques’s in the post.

    I take codeine and paracetomol anyway and re the pillow, I sorted one out but Rosie got there first and I don’t like to deprive her, no matter what the level of pain.

    Will see GP tomorrow and am hoping for the best.


  26. Martyn

    Thanks. You forgot to ad

    “and that’ll be five guineas please.”

    but the cheque’s in the post.

    I take codeine and paracetomol anyway and re the pillow, I sorted one out but Rosie got there first and I don’t like to deprive her, no matter what the level of pain.

    Will see GP tomorrow and am hoping for the best.


  27. @Mr Nameless (9.55)

    I hope you’re right. The last thing we want north of the Border is bitterness at these elections.

  28. Well Labour voters in Scotland are apparently voting UKIP to stop the SNP getting the 6th seat, which I find horrible but given how Slab feels about the SNP not surprising unfortunately.
    Any evidence for this? As far as I can ascertain, it is nonsense.

  29. The story about SLab people voting UKIP sounds a little dubious to me. But it also has to be pointed out it could be dangerous too. If Labour’s vote is in the mid-20s (as some polls have been) then switching to UKIP might well mean that the seat that goes isn’t the third SNP one but the second Labour.

  30. You’ve all taken your eyes off the ball:

    You/Gov Sun poll for GE2015 -Tories and Labour neck-and-neck: CON 34%, LAB 34%, LD 9%, UKIP 14%

  31. Going back to the discussion on non-UK citizens having an effect on the Euros, it seems to me quite likely that there will be a bigger turn out than normal. Remember that, although it is now twenty years since the collapse of communist eastern & central Europe, it may be that the right to vote is still treasured by many who come from those parts. Also, many of those who have come from abroad would have to travel to their ‘local’ consulates in order to vote in their ‘home’ elections, whereas going to the local school or church hall is a lot easier. And many have now been here long enough for the UK to begin to feel like home.

  32. Where’s Mr Nomine to check why we aren’t commenting on the ole level pegging?

  33. Craig thanks
    I think what these neigbour results (well, their exit polls) tell us is what I always marvel at. The sine wave of opinion between our countries can be in advance or retarded, just like an out of tune motor engine. They have sussed Wilders in the Netherlands (I am not sure they have quite sussed Le Pen in France) and perhaps there is a reflection on Farage here.

    It is, I think, bound up with PR as an electoral system. In the Netherlands, they have flirted with xenophobia more than once in the last decade, which is easier to do under PR, clearly, but rein back, when the consequences are further contemplated.

    France has this two stage process in national elections which has a certain balancing effect, and here, we don’t get that, except in elections that are misunderstood by the electorate as to their purpose (the EP elections) because and just because they are PR.

  34. @Shevii:
    Of course we have! It’s election night, so of course we’re going to be distracted by the local/euro elections for a bit. Give us a week or so and we’ll pay attention to the GE stuff again, like we always do, but we don’t get to fret over an election that is “live” every day.

  35. @RosieandDaisie

    You’re welcome. Good luck

  36. @Sun_Politics: You/Gov Sun poll for GE2015 -Tories and Labour neck-and-neck: CON 34%, LAB 34%, LD 9%, UKIP 14%

    Not that we care because we are going to get the results of real votes soon

  37. THank you, Amber, for that assurance.

    I’m not a medic and have no practical advise to offer, but your pain sounds bad and I really hope that you can get something done about it tomorrow. Is the GP coming to you? Or is that a silly question in these ‘efficiency driven’ days?

  38. Re voting selfies

    In our polling station there was a large notice at the entrance stating that the taking of photographs (including by mobile phone) was banned.

    Whether this was a decision by the Scottish RRO, or the LRO, I have no idea.

  39. Thanks JB – I will be driven there in a limousine… well, our car.

  40. “Whether this was a decision by the Scottish RRO, or the LRO, I have no idea.”

    LSO? RSO??

  41. Regional Returning Officer : Local Returning Officer

  42. New thread :-)

  43. @R&D Advice, not advise. Sorry.

    Re: Level Pegging

    So when’s the new thread going to get going? And when can we see the details? After all, the real votes won’t be announced for many of us until Sunday (or Monday in the case of our friends in Stornoway).

  44. John B

    The Scottish results (which necessarily include Eilan Siar) will be announced after 10pm on Sunday.

    Those devout Presbyterians who do not wish to desecrate the Sabbath by switching on TV/Radio or their computer, but don’t want to wait ill 9am to discover the vote in their council area, can log on at midnight and simply deduct the total of the other areas from the Scottish total.

  45. @Old Nat

    That’s asking a lot for a devout Presbyterian. Two, perhaps three sermons to take in and then some complicated maths to cap it all? Better to wait until 9 a.m.

    Off to bed. Up again by 6 to find out what ruination the English have inflicted upon themselves…… oidhche mhath dhuit….. (I think yon’s how it’s written)

  46. John B

    Oidhche mhath.

    On the spelling. This is from a linguist friend of mine –

    “Gaelic spelling is based on the pronunciation of the language in the Middle Ages. Basically, Irish monks took the letters used for pronouncing British Latin in the post-Roman period and adapted it to Old Irish. That’s why c in Gaelic is always pronounced k, even when it comes before an i or an e.

    All the silent letters were once pronounced, and they were often pronounced quite different to how they’re pronounced in modern Gaelic. But although the language has evolved and changed, the spelling stayed much the same. The same thing happened with English, which is why English spelling has the reputation amongst second language learners for having a very complicated spelling system.”

  47. Not sure if this has been posted earlier, but UKIP has complained that Ballot papers have been ‘carefully’ folded in such a way as to obscure the box to vote for them.


  48. I’m Polish and I have voted UKIP…

  49. Exit polls for the European election have already been published in the Netherlands which votes on the same day as Britain (http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2686/Binnenland/article/detail/3659849/2014/05/22/Exitpoll-D66-en-CDA-grootste-partijen-in-Europa.dhtml) so I wonder if the ban on publishing them before Sunday in unique to the UK.

  50. Can anyone enlighten me as to why government forms are required to be filled in, in indelible black ink, but ballot papers are marked with a soft pencil which would be incredibly easy to alter?

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