The Times’s first YouGov poll since the election was called has topline figures of CON 48%(+4), LAB 24%(+1), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 7%(-3). The Conservative lead of twenty-four points is the highest they’ve recorded from YouGov since way back in 2008. In terms of a starting position for an election campaign this is a huge gap – to put it in context, when the 1997 election was called, polls in the first week put Labour between 21 and 29 points ahead of the Tories. The Tory lead now isn’t as large as Blair’s huge Labour lead then… but you can see we’re in the same sort of territory.

More interesting to me is that UKIP score – the lowest YouGov have shown since 2013. This echoes the ICM flash poll yesterday, which also also had UKIP dropping sharply to a record low. While I’d still like to see it repeated in other polls before assuming too much, it looks distinctly as if an actual election being called has led to some people who were saying they would have voted UKIP switching to the Tories. Perhaps it’s the sudden difference between a theoretical election that could be three years away, and thinking about what they might do in an election just seven weeks away.

564 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 48, LAB 24, LD 12, UKIP 7”

1 2 3 12
  1. It’s an astonishing score for the Tories nevertheless – 48% – wow!

    But it’s worth recalling that on these figures whole Lab are down from 2010 and 2015, it’s not Labour’s fall which is the most dramatic story (it’s down 6%), but that of Ukip.

    I wonder if any thought has been given to how Labour at, say 27 or 28% on UNS would cause them to lose seats to the Tories – and if so, how many? I have a nagging suspicion that much of the Tory surge in the North is based on hoovering up what used to be the Labour protest vote, and they may end up there like Ukip with a much higher vote share but not a vastly increased number of seats.

  2. @ RAF

    Broadly agree, I think there will be many northern seats where the Tories will close right up to Labour but fall just short.

    But there will also be many where they will creep over the line.

    398 is still my prediction.

  3. What is happening here is the same thing that happened to the SNP after their Sept 2014 referendum.

    I think Allan Christie of this parish has stated many times that he only votes SNP to deliver independence, he doesn’t care for their policies and would vote Tory in iScotland.

    Mrs May is attracting similar people – they are voting for her to ensure that Brexit actually happens. When it is done and dusted, they will go back to their former allegiances (though she will be hoping a small percentage stick with her for good).

  4. I know that this is just a poll, but the last time a party got 48% or more of the votes in a GE was the Tories in 1959. They had a majority of 100 in a 630-seat parliament.

  5. With these levels of support, can the concept of uniform national swing survive?

    As it seems implausible that the implied uniform national swing could occur in Scotland or the South (being cynical, in those areas Labour are down to bedrock support, and there are not enough Labour waverers left), it suggests that there may be larger pro-Tory swings in Wales, the Midlands and the North.

  6. @Candy

    That is certainly true. At least to a point.

    However, will Mrs May actually achieve the same kind of result as Nicola Sturgeon did post IndyRef in 2015? I’m not so sure. She certainly won’t win 95% of constituencies!

    As i said above Labour is “just” down 6% (they were destroyed in Scotland) and may well poll a little higher than that. Equally the LDs will hope to take back a number of Tory seats.

    There are similarities between GE17 and post IndyRef/Scotland in GE15, but the parallels are not the same.

  7. @RAF “they may end up there like Ukip with a much higher vote share but not a vastly increased number of seats.”
    While there is talk of a large Conservative majority in terms of seats, they only need to get up to a majority of say 40-50 to get their programme through without too much difficulty, while a substantial increase in their share of the popular vote would help their claim to have a mandate for it, especially if that increase was widely spread across the country (perhaps even in Scotland).
    If they take a lot of votes from UKIP, that might be seen by some as being expected to deliver a clean? hard? Brexit.

  8. 24 point lead.

    Here’s what a 25 point lead looks like:,_1931

  9. Fascinating polls. There are some seats to be won in the North. I agree that Labour will hold their ground in the NE, think they will lose a few seats in the North, will see a disaster in the North West and the Midlands will be terrible for them. West Midlands will see some shocks in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. Watching the news programmes and voters saying they’ll desert Labour and go to the Tories doesn’t necessarily fill me with joy because we need a strong Opposition. I can accept why the voters are doing this. In the end 1 Election like this will be acceptable as long as the Opposition learns its lessons well. The Electorate votes in a Government, not party members.

  10. All we is a catchy tune to accompany the tories election campaign
    Things can only get better?

  11. RAF – “However, will Mrs May actually achieve the same kind of result as Nicola Sturgeon did post IndyRef in 2015? I’m not so sure. She certainly won’t win 95% of constituencies! ”

    Well England has a much bigger more diverse population. Will it count if she makes a 100% sweep of the Home Counties (which have a greater population than Scotland)?

  12. AdvisablyAnon

    And Electoral Calculus is currently predicting a 134 overall majority, and that’s before this poll!

  13. @Candy

    It won’t make much of a difference. The Home Counties are largely an exclusively Tory zone at the moment.

  14. I’ll repeat this, since it was posted on the last thread at about 6.30 and nobody will have read it due to moderation (my mid-afternoon post having been likewise)….

    “I’ll keep reading this, but won’t post anymore. The last few times I’ve tried (about 3 times in 6 months) I’ve gone straight into moderation. So by the time it’s let out of jail (a) nobody knows it’s there to read it, and (b) it’s no longer current anyway.”

  15. Jeez…. STILL!

    [MoG – it’s not deliberate, not sure why the software is moderating you. Try changing your name or email address so the system thinks you’re a new person, I’ll then take the “new” you out of moderation, and hopefully it will fix it – AW]

  16. @Candy

    Here’s Anthony’s summary of current Tory seats in South East England

    This is broader than the Home Counties. If we are just talking about the Home Counties – there are only 4 seats the Tories do not currently hold:

    Hove (Labour)
    Slough (Labour)
    Brighton Pavilion (Green)
    Buckingham (Speaker )

  17. Labour will definitely hold nearly all constituencies in the inner cities, because that is where the ‘ethnic’ population is concentrated and they mainly vote Labour.

  18. @RAF

    You mean the Tories have already achieved over 95% in a population of about 10 million in the Home Counties but got no accolades from the wider world? Still, maybe if they take Slough the world will sit up.

  19. This looks flashy but I’ll be amazed if they get more than 40%. Blair Only got 43.2% in 1997 and that was at a peak of popularity way higher than they are getting now. I’m guessing LD pick up a lot of Remainers and it ends up somewher around 40-26-18 with a Con Maj of 70-80

  20. Pete B

    “that is where the ‘ethnic’ population is concentrated and they mainly vote Labour.”

    Is that the Brythonic ethnic vote, or the Anglo-Saxon ethnic vote?

  21. Pete B is right. I fear that voting in this country is becoming based on ethnicity far more than ever before.

  22. @Candy

    Lool! I love the way you write.

    No…I mean it’s not comparable. If the Tories take 95% of the seats in England – or even 75%, then maybe you can draw a valid comparison.

    Do the Tories dominate any major city in England, as the SNP does in Glasgow?

  23. Could the Tories win Wales in terms of votes, seats or both for the first time ever?
    I think they might…

  24. ON
    Ah, the pedant awakes! As you are well aware, I was trying to use modern neutral terminology to avoid giving offence. I find it difficult to keep up with all the jargon changes. Anyway, rather than get into an protracted debate over unimportant matters, I’m saying g’night all. Feel free to have the last sarcastic pedantic word.

  25. Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland it looks like the UUP have fallen behind the Tory line on Brexit, and are seeking to avoid being sidelined by the DUP.

    SF and SDLP keen to form an anti-Brexit pact – but need another party (presumably Alliance) to join them to make it work.

    In Scotland, it’s looking like a straight Indy/Unionist fight.

    No idea about Wales, but hopefully there will be a Welsh poll along soon.

    In England, the Tories seem dominant.

    4 countries in this UK Union, and each having their own election!

  26. Pete B

    Sleep well.

  27. Here is a link to the EWMA charts updated with the poll announced tonight:

    Conservative and Lib Dem up, Labour and UKIP down. For the first time in the dataset the Lib Dems have overtaken UKIP by the EWMA value (a long term weighted average).

  28. Looks like Corbyn may stay on even if Labour loses badly:

    “Party figures close to the Labour leader have said there is a good chance Mr Corbyn will either refuse to resign or run again to retain power.
    The key goal of Mr Corbyn’s group is that regardless of the election result, he cling to power at least until after party conference when his allies can attempt to change the system of electing the leader in a bid to secure a leftwing successor.”

    How long could Labour go on getting sub-200 numbers of MPs before their existing/potential voters coalesce around another party?

  29. The fall in UKIP is unsurprising. Until last year, Brexit was a pipe dream (one that I share.) Voting UKIP was the way to put pressure on the main parties to take notice of voter discontent in areas where they were otherwise quite cosy despite a lot of sound and fury (Europe, immigration, being the obvious ones).

    Assuming that there was going to be a 2020 election, Carswell was wrong: UKIP served a purpose. Labour needed a threat to deter them from giving in to their inner EU loyalist; as indeed did the Tories.

    But now Theresa May has asked for a mandate to do what UKIP wants on Europe; and if she doesn’t get it then Labour and the LibDems will either overturn Brexit or turn it into “I can’t believe it’s not the EU” Brexit. So UKIP voters ought to back the Tories, unless they are defecting Labour supporters, in which case UKIP still serves a purpose for them.

    So, there are now lots of places where a vote for UKIP is a vote to squeeze the life out of Brexit.

    I doubt if the Tories can hold 48%, but they are well into the territory where it does not matter what sort of deals Labour and the LibDems might do. And Labour can’t afford to do a Remain-deal with the LibDems.

    “Could the Tories win Wales in terms of votes, seats or both for the first time ever?
    I think they might…”

    We’ll see. It’s fascinating at the moment. Let’s wait for the mood music.

    My hunch is that if Labour can propose a post austerity agenda, and promise a sensible Brexit, then the Tories may struggle in Wales. But it may go the other way and seats like Wrexham, Clwyd South and Cardiff South & Penarth may become available for Mrs May.

  31. Wales has been trending Tory for 60 years…

  32. Looking forward to all the Tories on here condemning May for agreeing to being on TV, instead of out talking to meetings of hand picked Tory members around the country!

    Bloody new-fangled, Americanised nonsense!

    “Wales has been trending Tory for 60 years…”

    We shall see. Getting through 30% would be a major achievement.

  34. Ynys Mon, Bridgend, Wrexham, Clwyd South, Delyn, Alyn & Deeside, Newport W all look highly vulnerable to me. ‘Gonners’ if the polls are right. The Tories took five of these in 1983, btw.

    That would leave Labour a 1 seat advantage. 18:17 over the Tories.

    Then we have Newport East, Cardiff West, Cardiff South & Penarth, and Swansea West to produce a surprise, assuming the LDs or Plaid don’t knock a seat from Labour someplace.


    The graph in your link reveals a nice paired mirroring effect between UKIP-Tory VI and Labour-LD VI.

  36. If Labour gets wiped out like 1931, there’s zero chance Corbyn will stay on, regardless of what gets said during posturing at the moment.

  37. Of course he’ll stay on. Corbyn is like no other leader. After 40 years in the political wilderness he was elected, then re-elected to the position of LOTO. That was less than two years ago.

    He doesn’t care what the election result is – witness his alacrity in embracing May’s plan to destroy the Opposition. 150 seats – or 50 seats – makes no difference to Jezza.

    Corbyn will only go once he is certain the hard Left have gained full-spectrum dominance over whatever remains of the Labour Party…

  38. Lebo & Norpoth’s model is saying a 170 seat Tory lead on June 8th…

  39. Oh my that is brutal. Perhaps it’s swingback?

  40. Ok guys, so wheres the data? Love to comment, but cant.

    The other Howard,
    “Since TM has repeatedly spelt out what she wants from Brexit, including a White paper I think the voters should be quite clear and it hasn’t changed the polls, indeed the Tory lead has increased since Art 50 was triggered, and the polls also say she is best suited to carry out the neotiations for the UK. On that basis I cannot agree with your points.”

    Maybe you are responding to an earlier post, but I didn’t understand the relevance of that to my last. I suggested that the rise of the pound might be due to what in effect amounts to an implied further 2 years delay in Brexit.

    I think just about everyone, leave and Remain both, would be happy with the course May has proposed, which is to get the benefits of EU membership while declining the disadvantages. As a concept it is great. As a realiseable outcome I see it as impossible, but she spoke about what she wants to achieve, not what she believes she can achieve. Voters like hope. They dont like hope’s dashed.

    My other point was that there is no room in the political spectrum for a third pro leave party. If labour wants to carve out a support base, it has no choice but to seek out the remain vote.

    “@Danny The liberal democrat position is, as I understand it, that they will reverse Brexit This is not credible as they will not win the election and no one expects them to,

    Why should not labour say ‘we will negotiate the best deal we can and then put it to the people’.”

    I don’t know what labour will do. Fight themselves, probably. But if sense resurfaces I see no choice for them except to take this line. The problem is that they are late in adopting it and have already lost momentum. The national split on Brexit is an edge for leave, and this will not change untill and unless we see a bad outcome. However, my logic of some months ago was that its was a no-brainer for the libs to become staunchly pro-remain as their only hope of salvation after the coalition, and that logic is increasingly applying to labour.

  41. Based on what I’ve seen in the few regional polls, there is indeed likely a large anti-Labour swing in Scotland. You had a lot of people who were arguably voting Labour (or LibDem) to hold out the SNP but with both parties pretty well clobbered? If you’re on the left you might drift to the SNP but otherwise you’re probably voting Tory. The best numbers I have from the last few polls show a plausible breakdown of 48% SNP, 28% Tory, 14% Labour, 4% LibDem up north.

    As to the South, I tend to agree that Labour is close to a floor there. I can’t quite see them plunging to the 12% or so that a UNS would likely imply. 14-15% seems plausible, but not 12%. The East of England is a similar story (though in all cases I can certainly see a Tory score run-up at the expense of UKIP and lots of wasted Tory votes).

  42. Ok, I got my hands on the ICM tables. On the one hand, I basically have to consider the regional breakouts to be an anecdote and not data due to small sample sizes. On the other hand, that anecdote is not unbelievable: Labour holds their own, so to speak, in parts of the North. They probably hold on in parts of London, Birmingham, and a few other cities. And based on those breakouts they’re probably hosed almost everywhere else.

    I think a Tory majority in the range of 120-150 (with Labour on around 160-180 seats) is probable right now.

    Fun question: The 2/3-to-call-an-election threshold: Is that 2/3 of MPs or 2/3 of MPs voting? Because the Tories might end up stunningly close to having control over the next election date, bill or no bill.

  43. Gray,

    It’s 2/3 of all MPs (including vacant seats). So abstentions count as votes against as do vacant seats, left by deceased MP’s. Hence the SNP’s little scheme yesterday.

    Angus Robertson said he was not going to stand against the proposal to have the election, but then promptly did so by abstaining.The late Gerald Kaufman counted as a NO.

    There’s another peculiarity of this process. If, when the Speaker asks the House to shout ‘Yes; or ‘No’ to the motion, no one objects to the election being called, then there would be no division.

    But no division means no votes for or against, so the 2/3 majority has not been achieved.

    in practice the Governing Party can get one of its’ own backbenchers to shout NO if required. But if they do so, they would then have to vote against the Government. But it would nevertheless only be one vote.

    But none of this matters. The Fixed Term Parliament Act has no practical effect.

    No main Opposition can conceivably vote against holding a General Election and still retain credibility. And if they do, the Governing Party can still engineer one by proposing a Vote of No Confidence in itself, and ensuring the vote goes through.

    Following a Vote of No Confidence, a General Election follows automatically under the Act if the Opposition can’t form an alternative Government, which obviously they never can, without having the election and winning more seats.

    But by having tried to obstruct the holding of the election, they would be totally wrecked at the polls.

    The Fixed Term Parliament Act only really has any use, when there’s a minority Government or a Coalition.

    Jacob Rees Mogg has pointed all his out, and argued that the Act has no place in the British Parliamentary System, where the ‘Crown in Parliament’ is sovereign.

    He’s undoubtedly correct, but it seems likely they’ll keep it, because i does, (theoretically at least), remove from the Prime Minister the discretion to hold elections whenever she likes.

    It will also be difficult to repeal it, because the Government doesn’t have a majority in the House of Lords and some Tories, (including even Peter Bone!!), are in favour of it

  44. Gray,
    It is 2/3 of all MPs. Which most of the Press and Corbyn don’t seem to understand.

    Labour could have abstained, stopped the Election, and then called an immediate vote of no confidence to call May’s bluff. Elementary tactics which would have made May look out of control…You would have been looking at Tories down 4% not up 4%

  45. I think Labour is highly unlikely to lose anything like the number of seat in Wales that people above are suggesting.

    Labour has not suffered the Corbyn effect in Wales that it has in England, and it’s held up quite well in the polls. Every Welsh Labour MP is vehemently anti Corbyn and Welsh Labour is a very different thing to English and Scottish Labour.

    I think they’ll lose Ynys Mon to Plaid Cymru, and maybe Bridgend and Wrexham to the Tories. But I wouldn’t count even on that,

    The Lib Dems best hope is Cardiff Central, but it’s not inconceivable that they could actually win back Brecon and Radnor from the Tories.

    Wales voted Leave, but it doesn’t have the same large heavy concentrations of Leave voters that we see in he North of England. So any backlash against the Remainers is unlikely to skew the result much.

    My own (Leave supporting in 2016),Tory MP here in Montgomeryshire told me yesterday, that he’s taking nothing for granted. I replied that he’s right to be cautious, but in his case I think he’s very safe.

    I do however expect Stephen Kinnock in Aberavon, Owen Smith in Pontypridd, and Ann Clwyd in Cynon Valley to take big hits,. But they have big majorities, so it doesn’t matter.

  46. @Andrew111,
    That’s why I asked. So it would probably be a question of Tories plus either SNP or Labour at this point.

    As to the abstention/VONC tactic, that might have come off as “too clever by half”, particularly if Corbyn wasn’t then willing to walk his MPs through the division lobbies to back it up.

    I’m also not sure if he could have stopped a number of his MPs from taking that walk: Enough of his caucus wants him gone, as far as I can tell, that I could see them going through the door on him and daring him to expel them en masse…especially since IIRC there was intermittent talk of a deselection rampage anyway (something which the snap election basically quelled).

  47. There is no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that the Tories will end up with a noticeably bigger majority.

    But in several ways it doesn’t feel like 1983 or 1997. Those were elections where there was a clear consensus among Labour-Tory floating voters on which way to go, and from a polling perspective probably the biggest legacy of Blair’s premiership is that that previously huge group has shrunk drastically.

    Forwards to 2017. I completely accept that if you strip out those committed to voting for the smaller parties, something approaching twice as many people think Theresa May should be Prime Minister compared to Jeremy Corbyn. As the job of opinion polls is to reflect this view, they’ve done their job.

    Nonetheless, I think factors are at play which will bring the eventual margin down to something more like 14%:

    1. During the whole shy-Tory recalibration (which needed to be done) there also seems to have been some calibration for the Lib Dems, which seems odd since the polls were more or less right and it was the seat projections which were awry in 2015. I think they’re probably at the 14-15% range.

    2. The question of May’s motivation for the election is going to be heavily debated over the coming weeks, and will affect the extent to which Tory leaning UKIP voters will “come home”. The party line is that she needs strong and stable government to get on with the challenge of delivering Brexit, and there’s undoubtedly some truth in that. But if it’s perceived that a 1983 or 1997 majority would give her carte blanche on the form Brexit will take, then those who would prefer that we sever all forms of ties with Europe might feel that UKIP is the way to cast their vote. Also worth noting that the barrier to obtaining seats under FPTP seems to be a lower consideration for UKIP voters than for natural supporters of the likes of the Lib Dems and Greens, based on the last couple of elections.

    (The 2015 election demonstrated that UKIP drew votes more evenly from the big two parties than anyone believed, but this doesn’t change the fact that there’s a percentage to be gained or lost between UKIP and the Conservatives.)

    3. Turnout. What tends to get lost in this whole discussion about how unelectable Corbyn is, is that his core support is actually pretty formidable. His problem is the extent to which he turns anyone outside of that core off. By contrast, a lot of those who are showing Tory at this stage are probably surprised to find themselves coming to that conclusion – process of elimination in a lot of cases. In my opinion turnout needs to beat 80% for these polls to be realised to their full extent.

    Let me reiterate, there is no doubt that we’re headed for a significant Tory majority, even if something significant happens in the campaign to dent the Conservatives or boost the popularity of UKIP, the Lib Dems or Labour.

    But assuming no game-changers, my intiial prediction is

    Tories 40%
    Labour 26%
    Lib Dem 14%
    UKIP 10%
    SNP 4%
    Green 3%
    Other 3%


    An interesting link back to the result in 1931. If repeated in 2017 it would almost make the SNP the official opposition but not Mrs Sturgeon the leader of it in Westminster. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

  49. @Exiled Voter:
    First of all, that’s a solid analysis. I disagree on a few points, but I think it’s got a good feel for what’s going on. I will say that the feeling is more 2001 than 1997 (I wasn’t even alive in 1983) though aside from 1983 I’m hard-pressed to think of a time a major party was so committed to blowing up their electoral chances as Labour is this time.

    With that said:
    (1) I agree that the shy-Tory recalibration is /probably/ slightly overdone, even if I suspect I think it’s less overdone than you do.

    (2) UKIP drew voters more evenly than anyone expected, yes, but a good chunk of the voters they drew in were hoovered up from a bunch of random pots of protest voters (including, somewhat farcically, some LibDem voters). They also drew in a good chunk were dissatisfied Labourites for whom I somehow suspect that Jeremy Corbyn is not the fix (the “reluctant remainer” line not really selling to anyone as far as I can tell and probably alienating everyone). How many of those folks decide to “stay put” is a good question.
    (2b) I think the problem with the last election is that trying to guess at who was viable where was a total guessing game for the average voter. It’s not that UKIP voters weren’t voting tactically, it’s that it was very hard to guess at how to vote given one’s set of preferences. I suspect that at least some of that would have sorted itself out naturally in another GE in a world where UKIP hadn’t slid (say, one where Cameron hadn’t gotten a majority and had thus been able to not do the referendum), but the sort of shuffling there was probably reminiscent of 1983 (or, for that matter, many elections between 1918 and 1945). I’m sure a bunch of us could have guessed at 10-25 seats UKIP would have had a shot in, but we’re also geeks commenting on a political polling blog.
    (2c) I think the other question, one which you hinted at, is whether UKIP can manage any “win-back” of voters as a protest against May. I frankly think she had decent reason to call the election, and it’s going to be hard for Labour to impeach that given that they went along with her for it. The main problem they’re facing at the moment, I suspect, is that nobody wants to risk Corbyn getting anywhere /near/ Number Ten, and with Scotland going all Snippy (sorry, I had to) that demands a pretty fat margin. Right now she clearly has that…the problem is that I’m pretty sure she’s got to thump Corbyn by double digits to claim a comfortable working majority seeing as there are probably close to 90 seats going to neither of them (50+ in Scotland, 18 in Northern Ireland, etc.). A coalition is probably a non-option as well (who in God’s name would be her partner for this project?) and that’s a case I think she can solidly make.

    (3) Well, how big /is/ Corbyn’s core? It’s obviously more than a few hundred thousand voters, but does it really climb into the millions? As it is he’s got lousy approval ratings (he’s hovering around 50% in his own party) so my best guess is that “core” is somewhere around a third of the Labour vote (or perhaps 10% of the overall voter pool). The party itself probably has an additional core to pull out, but I cannot see them coming into this election with good morale.

    ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

    I think comparisons to 1931 are greatly mis-aimed. The Tories got 55% that year, yes, but what is often ignored is the fact that they did so while not contesting about a hundred seats (they only stood in 518 out of 615). There seems to have been a lot of non-competition between the Tories and various “national government Liberal” groups (who stood about 160 candidates…roughly 1/4 of the seats would have had a Liberal candidate). There were also some 61 walkovers for the National Government parties versus 6 for Labour. Presuming those walkovers were a sign of a lack of Labour (or other) support in a seat and taking the 67.2% the National Government parties had, it seems that 1931 featured support of somewhere between 65-70% of the electorate that was acting largely as a single (somewhat disorganized, as was the wont in the interwar era) party opposed by a section of Labour (which had itself split apart).

1 2 3 12