Tomorrow’s Sun has a Survation poll of Newark, ahead of the by-election next week. Topline figures with changes since the general election are CON 36%(-18), LAB 27%(+5), LD 5%(-15), UKIP 28%(+24). This is the first poll we’ve had of Newark, and unless Lord Ashcroft also has one in the works it’s probably the only one.

A swing of 21 points from the Conservatives to UKIP would be a storming great swing, but the fact remains that Patrick Mercer had a pretty hefty majority at the last election, so even a swing of that size leaves the Conservatives 8 points ahead. Still a week to go though…

390 Responses to “Survation poll of Newark by-election”

1 4 5 6 7 8
  1. Also, it’s not clear to me that even a successful absorbtion of the Orange Bookers would get the Tories back into majority government. The mountain they have to climb is too steep for normal circumstances, and short of a reverse 1997-style situation they can’t make it. Seat reform is naturally opposed by other parties.

    While all this may make Tories keen on PR (especially if it means doing deals with UKIP rather than the LDs) I still don’t think that they realise just how thoroughly the scales are now weighted against them. Their lead over Labour in 2010 was the same as in 1979, which reflects how things have changed in Labour’s favour.

  2. “Mandelson is said to have called it a ‘party of permanent majority’ which echoed Karl Rove’s ambitions for the Republicans.”

    Or Wilson’s “natural party of government”.

  3. @Billy Bob

    No, they’ll just stop voting. The Blairite “Nowhere to go” mantra always ignores that turnout in the most Labour-friendly demographics is on a substantial downward trend, towards American levels – which their biggest inspiration – the Democrats have achieved.


    AndyJS has already done most of the work for you:

    h ttps://

    h ttps://

    h ttps://

    h ttps://

  4. Bill, in theory yes but the numbers in 2010 were much lower – if the Tories were now 7 ahead of Labour but the figures were more 43-36, then it would still a equal a Tory majority.

  5. Pressman,

    That is true only under a UNS.

  6. @ Jay Blanc

    “However, I do think that the Conservatives are only doomed if they actively persue the same ground as UKIP. There’s a quite clear path to them repositioning by absorbing the Orange Bookers that leaves them an electable party, and it’s only loud voices on the right fringe of Conservatives who dislike that enough to want to try to move the whole party further right.”

    I have thought this for about 3 years now and as a LD have been rather praying that Cons would not see it this way too since that really would spell the death knell of the LDs.

    As it is there is every hope that post the GE of 2015 a new political scenario will emerge. Either:

    a) Lab will win a majority and move the country to the left

    b) Lab will win a majority and disappoint a number of left leaning voters as might be said to occur 1997-2010

    c) Lab will not win a majority but will be largest party and might come to some arrangement with the LDs.

    d) Con will win a majority and inevitably move the country to the right since they will feel they have been held back by the coalition and still need to head off the UKIP threat.

    All of these 4 scenarios should allow the LDs some breathing space for rebuilding.

    The only true disaster scenerio from a LD perspective IMO would be a continuation of the current coalition arrangement. The charge of simply being de-facto Tories would be impossible to resist.

    However whilst the electoral arithmetic might still point in this direction I cant see it happening since Clegg is sure to be torpedoed by dire election results and any successor is very unlikely to want an ongoing coalition. Or at least unlikely to win a LD leadership contest taking such a stance.

    I actually believe Clegg himself sees this point and is already laying down markers to scotch being bounced into a further renewal of the coalition. IMO one of the reasons he engaged in the debates with Farage which he was always going to lose.

  7. “While all this may make Tories keen on PR (especially if it means doing deals with UKIP rather than the LDs) I still don’t think that they realise just how thoroughly the scales are now weighted against them. Their lead over Labour in 2010 was the same as in 1979, which reflects how things have changed in Labour’s favour.”

    Oh Bill I wish you could publish a political thesis on this point or just a write up in the Telegraph or something as I have been banging my head against a brick wall with my Conservative voting father-in-law on this point for some time now.

    He is typical of many Conservatives I find in that they cannot see how their party cannot always win every election just by sticking to a firm party line. Moreover he is not the only Conservative that actually seems to believe the party “won” the last election. There seems to be a fundamental resistance to the idea that the odds are stacked against the Conservatives as things currently stand. And that acknowledging that point doesn’t in any way dilute your own political values.

  8. @ Colin

    “……….anyway-waffling now ,( and showing that I am but an ordinary voter , without the ready lexicon of political ideology ; which often makes me feel out of place in a UKPR populated by so many “activists” )……….so will shut up.”

    Your post of 2:53pm was anything but waffle and your contributions to UKPR are just as worthwhile as the next persons. I really dont see any reason why you should feel out of place just because you are not an “activist”.

    Its worthwhile considering that whether contributors are party activists or not, each and every one of us is also an “ordinary voter” of 1.

  9. I’ve long thought Tory Right in exile will be ultimately rewarded with their move to UKIP in stark contrast to the way the Left was punished for their split. Principally because it becomes clearer by the day any incoming Labour government will be so dominated by Blairites it could only ever be a disappointment, so Labour will lose their voters to apathy in a way that Thatcher never did. So even a radical Tory party appealing to Kippers will be competitive after a Labour term.

  10. GRHinPorts,

    I quite agree and I don’t think that you’re father is unrepresentative. As I see it, the Tories have two options if they are to get anywhere-

    (1) Stick firmly on the right (both socially and economically) go for PR and take advantage fact that these days PR would tend to favour them more than Labour, both in terms of winning seats and in terms of having possible coalition partners. (The Tories could work with the LDs or UKIP, whereas Labour could realistically only work with the LDs.)

    (2) Continue with modernisation, take advantage of Labour’s apparent lurch to the left, and get into the kind of position where they can win the level of the popular vote they need in order to win under FPTP with current boundaries, and then enact major boundary reform.

    I’m naturally biased towards (2), in that my political preferences is are for like the Swedish Moderate Party or the German FDP i.e. economically centre-right but socially centre-left. Consequently, I’m reluctant to say “This is the strategy the Tories MUST pursue to survive.” Then again, a generational shift away from social conservativism (just look at the BSA) this is the only realistic hope for the Tories in the long run anyway, and the sooner they make the change the easier it will be. However, I suspect that either strategy would be viable for the Tories.

    Strategy (2) might also kill off the LDs for good, which insofar as it means that voters like me would have very few other options but to vote Tory, which would also benefit the Tories.

    Unfortunately, most yuppie socially liberal would-be-Tories like me are too busy to actually join and have influence in the party, and so moving the Tories along strategy (2) has been a bit like fitting an elephant through the eye of the needle for Cameron. (If only it were just a camel!) If there’s one thing that the history of the Scottish Tories reveals, it’s that a party can quite determinedly drive towards extinction even when the need for change is obvious, simple because anyone with a desire to change the party towards somethign different hasn’t joined/has left the party.

  11. @Bill Patrick

    The idea that UKIP could ally with the Tories and retain most of their newly won working-class support is a bit fanciful.

    Remind how FDP are doing, again? The Laissez faire option, particularly in the UK, are not especially popular.

  12. Craig,

    The problem for the FDP is that it has a new name- the CDU.

    As for a UKIP-Tory coalition, much would depend on its policies. There’s nothing, as far as I know, that (a) Tories like, (b) UKIP dislike, and (c) WWC Kippers dislike.

  13. UKIP claim they had 500 canvassers here this morning. I doubt it was that high but certainly in decent three figures. Farage has been here today. Spoke to some Tory people who think they’re about to lose.

  14. @Bill Patrick

    Are you sure? The last I heard the CDU/CSU were opposed to gay marriage etc.

    UKIP benefit on how little’s known about their domestic policy beyond reducing immigration and reducing foreign aid – I fully expect any radical Thatcherite policies might put paid to their expansion beyond Tories, but if it doesn’t, the non-Tories currently using them as protest vehicle or a vote against immigration would be repelled by any Tory coalition.

  15. @ Chris Lane
    “You will know that Macdonald was recommended for Office by Baldwin. He represented Port Talbot/Aberavon then. Neil Kinnock’s son has been selected as PPC there for the May 7th GE, 2015.”

    I’m not he will regard it as an honour to follow in Macdonald’s footsteps.
    Wiki reveals that G. Howe fought & of course lost the seat in ’55 & ’59! Mogadon Man later was MP for E. Surrey where I’m sure he felt more comfortable.

  16. Craig,

    True, but they’ve certainly become a lot more liberal than in the past.

    As for the outcome of a Tory-UKIP deal under PR, I’m not sure how much we can say one way or another without polling evidence e.g. how current Kippers say they would react to a Tory-UKIP coalition.

  17. Keep the snippets coming Mr N.

  18. Well at least UKIP seem to understand percentages. And it does look like they managed to squeeze at least a couple of hundred people into a hall, based on Mike’s latest pic.

  19. Normally I’m not so anal as to add up the percentages of the polls, but this one adds up to 96% which seems very high.
    Remember that this 96% does not include the ‘other’ elements such as the ‘Green’ party which normally attract a not insignificant percentage.

    Makes me question the accuracy of such a poll.

  20. Further to Bill Patrick’s options for the future of the Conservative Party.

    For different reasons, I agree that option 2 is probably better for the Conservatives in the longer term. However, I also agree that it is more likey that they will go for option 1, but minus the switching to PR.

    If UKIP is a permanent phenomenon (and the jury is still out on that IMO) then option 1 without adopting PR is probably suicidal for the Tories in the longer term – however, it is the position their current membership profile is emotionally most wedded to.

    If Cameron can succeed in attracting new modernist members to actually outnumber the old guard over the next few years (difficult, but not impossible) and pursues option 2 then there is probably the possibility of absorbing the Orange Bookers as the Lib Dems get whittled away in GEs in 2015 and at subsequent GEs as their islands of support get picked off one by one. Similarly, that would leave so few social liberals in the Lib Dems that the remainder of those with my inclinations would join me in supporting Labour.

    With this 2nd scenario we would return essentially to a two party system, but with an element of the old Liberal Party included in both the major parties. A healthy political development in my view both in policy terms within the two major parties, and in making FPTP function better because the two mjor groupings would become predominant again.

    Under this scenario, as a safety valve within the system, voters would still be able to protest now and again at By-elections etc. by voting Green if they are left-leaning, and UKIP if right-leaning.

    Sadly, though, I see the current membership of the Conservatives blinkered into following Option 1, especially if Cameron loses in 2015, with dire consequences both for the future of Conservatism and for the future healthy functioning of our majoritarian electoral system.

  21. Mr N

    As R &D says, you’re our correspondent on the ground.

    I wonder whether your updates are feeding through to the Party HQ’s and the betting exchanges?

  22. I do feel people are getting over excited with Newark, It will be a Tory hold…Probably by some margin as well.

    Also, the Cons down to 5/2 to form the next government, Feeling rather chipper about the 4/1 I took months ago.

  23. The updates from Mr Namelesx are fascinating.

    It makes one wonder how the parties are keeping in spending limits….

  24. Has anyone seen the details of the ComRes poll in the Guardian in which 86% of UKIP voters stated that they will stick with them for the GE. I was curious to know how that aligned with their previous positions, ie.a are the ‘stick with UKIP’ ones former Tories, Labour or LibDem – or new voters

  25. Just about to get the train home. Been out with the candidate, nice guy fighting a pretty horrid battle. A few positive responses but I’m resigned to Labour coming third.

  26. Mr N

    Are you sure you are cut out for journalism? Your reports are informative, and seem free of partisan bias.

    Not what we’re used to at all!

  27. @Oldnat

    @Pressman will put him right……

  28. @Catmanjeff

    “It makes one wonder how the parties are keeping in spending limits….”

    Major parties have always developed legal devices for getting around the strict spending rules. In my day in the Liberal Party’s National By-Election Team of Agents back in the 1980s we used to put large sums of money from donations etc. into an “Anyshire Liberal Development Fund” account. This was held quite separately to election accounts of the Anyshire Constituency which had the By-election in its constituency at the time.

    The Anyshire Liberal Development Fund would then buy all sorts of equipment that was needed, e.g. premises, printing machines, photocopiers, wooden stakes for bill boards, clip boards etc. right down to elastic bands. Anything that could concievably be used in future “Liberal Development” in the area beyond the electoral period.

    This “Development Fund” would then “hire out” their equipment at very competitive rates to the “Election Account”- so all that had to be paid for was things like ink and paper used in actual leaflets. Even things like posters could be deemed to be “hired” as they could ostensibly be used again on future occasions!

    I don’t know if this method is still legal under the new electoral laws that have been passed since my day, but I suspect something alon these lines is still used to get within the legal limits but fight an expensive major and intensive campaign.

  29. @ Bill Patrick,

    There’s nothing, as far as I know, that (a) Tories like, (b) UKIP dislike, and (c) WWC Kippers dislike.

    – Rail privatisation
    – NHS “restructuring”
    – Long social housing waiting lists. (Okay, Tories don’t like those, but they dislike increasing the social housing stock more.)
    – FPTP

    And if by “Tories” you mean David Cameron and Geroge Osborne we can add:

    – EU membership and the free movement of labour that comes with it
    – Gay marriage
    – HS2

  30. Ukip campaigning hard for the Lib Dem vote in Newark, I see:

    Although they don’t quite have the hang of it yet- those columns are almost proportional!

  31. @ MrNameless

    “A few positive responses but I’m resigned to Labour coming third.”

    I’m sad to hear that.

    However, did you get any take on the UKIP v Tory support levels from the canvassing you did?

  32. @Tony Dean

    I guess if any group was going to ‘creatively’ find a solution to financial rules, it be politicians.

  33. @ Spearmint

    That UKIP leaflet is worryingly good – as you say, not quite there yet, but their techniques are improving rapidly.

    They actually seem to have people who are getting to know how to design effective electoral literature, or their own folk are learning quickly from others?

  34. I presume that Labour’s main concern in Newark will be to prevent the erosion of their vote and to stop Labour supporters picking UKIP as a way of defeating the Conservatives. They almost seemed to be flirting with the latter idea at first (a typical clever-clever Westminster idea), but I suspect pressure from activists has stopped that.

    More important it’s behaviour that they would be mad to encourage, because it would lead to an indiscriminate lowering of the Labour vote next year – perhaps leading to the loss of marginals.

  35. @Bill Patrick

    Under FPTP it’s overwhelmingly negative:
    h ttp://

    However, if we were using PR, UKIP might only draw positive votes – with much of their protest support going to more befitting homes, so their reduced rump might be more positive (although then wouldn’t likely be enough for a to form a coalition)

  36. Tony Dean,

    In the town (only place I campaigned today) many more UKIP voters than Tory voters. Not sure what the situation is outside although my Tory flatmates (on the train with them and getting some weird looks) went to a village and saw a couple of UKIP posters.

  37. Ta for the feedback Mr N. Maybe wot is needed is for Nick Robinson to bang on about Lab heading for another disaster. Then maybe Lab voters will start switching to UKIP, who then go on to win and send out some shockwaves. On the other hand Pressman & Co might come riding to the rescue seeing as they have a ‘senior’ journalist on the case now. Awesome!

  38. MRNAMELESS on the plus side, Hallam is looking ripe for plucking.

  39. @ Tony Dean
    “Sadly, though, I see the current membership of the Conservatives blinkered into following Option 1[veering to right, rather than the more socially liberal option 2 – my paraphrase] , especially if Cameron loses in 2015, with dire consequences both for the future of Conservatism and for the future healthy functioning of our majoritarian electoral system.”

    Well, who knows, as Cameron presumably will be gone and a new leader will be in place. Will a frightened party go for the “risky shift” or assume that if they speak loudly enough then the audience will understand eventually.

    I don’t know, but again am reminded that under fixed five-year parliaments then losing one or worse two elections can mean that the brightest people see that they have little chance of government and take up other activities.

    I do wonder if the fixed parliaments, designed to give stability in a financial crisis, could also cause deep resentment among the losing group, whether left or right.

  40. Ozwald

    What I was alluding to earlier was that there is a section who are very bitter about Brother David not becoming Labour leader, feel strongly that Labour have moved too far Left since and support the ethos of stopping UKIP.

  41. @alister1948

    I agree with your thoughts on this.

    I think 5 year fixed terms are too long. If you are going to have fixed terms 4 years is quite long enough as they have found in Germany. Indeed, when we didn’t have fixed terms the average was nearer 4 than 5.

  42. Thanks for the info from the Front Line MrNameless.

    I hope UKIP just miss it from what you are telling me (the villages hopefully seeing them off if only a couple of UKIP posters here and there) as I do not believe a UKIP win will be in the interests of either major party with the GE now only months away.

  43. “very bitter about Brother David not becoming Labour leader”

    The call of the church was obviously too great.

  44. I am searching for a copy of:

    Coping With A Mass Electorate: A study in the evolution of constituency electioneering in Britain, with special emphasis on the period which followed the Reform Acts of 1884 and 1918.
    by K.M.O Swaddle (1990)

    Amazon has it as currently unavailable. Can anyone help please?

  45. @ERICGOODYER: “Has anyone seen the details of the ComRes poll in the Guardian in which 86% of UKIP voters stated that they will stick with them for the GE.”

    The original story was in the Telegraph. The figures aren’t quite as remarkable as they might appear. It’s 86% of the 27.5% who voted for UKIP on a turnout of 37%. That comes to 8.75% of the electorate. And even that 86% is made up of 49% ‘likely to’ and only 37% ‘certain to’ stay with UKIP. so that’s less than 4% of the electorate who are ‘certain to’ vote for UKIP next year and less than 5% who are ‘likely to’.

    Also it was commissioned by UKIP backer Paul Sykes so qualifies as one of AW’s ‘voodoo polls’.

  46. @Alister1948: “I do wonder if the fixed parliaments, designed to give stability in a financial crisis…”

    Wasn’t it was just designed to lock the two parties together, preventing Cameron from dumping the LibDems and calling a snap election?

  47. @ RogerH

    “Wasn’t it was just designed to lock the two parties together, preventing Cameron from dumping the LibDems and calling a snap election?”

    I think Alister was quoting the “official” narrative, whereas you are giving the “real” reason!

  48. @ Tony Dean

    It was an unpublished Oxford DPhil…

  49. @ RodCrosby

    Thanks – Oh Well, I’ll have to take a trip to The Bodlian then!

  50. Although YouGov didn’t produce a post-EU, as some have already reported, ComRes did do, paid for by Paul Sykes, the big UKIP financial backer. (Yes, yet another poll sugar-daddy). ComRes interviewed 4,078 British adults online between 23rd and 26th May 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. Data were also weighted to the result of the European Parliamentary Election on 22nd May 2014.

    Of the respondents, 66% said they had voted, double the actual turnout, but we know that on-line panelists are more likely to be voters. This confirms the 2011 YouGov polling which suggests that, when the general turnout is in the 30s, online panelists will vote at twice that rate.

    It’s also noticeable, that even given that this was an election where UKIP should expect to be over-represented among those who vote, it was still necessary to reduce their presence in the sample by about 20%. This suggests that there really is a problem with disproportionate current UKIP supporters in these panels and the VIs we are seeing from (online) ComRes, Survation, Opinium and Populus (pre-adjustment) are overstating UKIP’s actual support in Britain. In contrast Conservative Euros voters were the most under-represented.

    The big initial sample meant that they ended up with a decent enough sample of UKIP Euros voters (850) to get some reasonably reliable data off this group. There has been a lot of reporting that 86% percentage of these said they would be voting UKIP in 2015, but this isn’t true. The poll didn’t actually ask VI (hence Anthony ignoring it). Instead they said Thinking ahead to the General Election next year where MPs are elected to Parliament in Westminster, on a scale of 1-10 how likely or unlikely are you to vote for each of the following political parties When UKIP was asked 86% of UKIP Euro voters gave a 5-10 rating of likeliness. This is a rather different thing. The same voters gave equivalent 5-10 scores of 41% for Con, 23% for Lab and 8% for Lib Dem.

    This ‘retention’ figure for the other Parties was Con 99%, Lab 99% and Lib Dem 90%.

1 4 5 6 7 8