A quick post about the YouGov poll in Friday’s Times. Topline Westminster voting intention figures are CON 19%, LAB 19%, LDEM 24%, BREXIT 22%.

These are obviously startling figures, unprecedented even. There are historical examples of third parties taking the lead (Cleggmania, for example, or the early successes of the SDP-Liberal Alliance), but I don’t think there are any when the Conservatives and Labour were both pushed out of the top two.

However, even leaving aside the traditional warning that this is “just one poll”, this is one poll conducted in the immediate aftermath of the European elections. Part of what we are seeing is a boost for the Liberal Democrats and Brexit party from doing well in the Euros, getting lots of media coverage and looking like winners. Under normal circumstances we would expect that boost to fade in time (though a success for either of them at the Peterborough by-election could potentially keep it going).

Realistically though, we’ve got several weeks of coverage of the Conservative leadership election ahead of us, followed by the media circus around the elevation of a new Prime Minister. The media agenda will move back towards Labour and the Conservatives, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t seem one or other of them move back into the lead.

Nevertheless, it’s a remarkable poll, and like the election results last week, again brings home the extent to which Brexit is tearing apart the party identities, loyalties and assumptions that have traditionally underpinned our electoral politics. Our party system really does seem to be straining under the pressure. I don’t expect it to break just yet, but looking ahead we still have Brexit itself to deliver (or not, as the case may be). There is almost certainly plenty more political instability to come.


The Times have released a new YouGov poll of party members – the report is here and the tables here.

Theresa May’s time is essentially up. Party members are normally the loyalist of the loyal, but even here there are few good words to be said. Only 20% of her own members think she is doing well and 79% think she should resign. Asked about her record, 25% of Tory party members think she has been a poor Prime Minister, 38% a terrible Prime Minister.

Let us therefore move swiftly onto her replacement. The obvious frontrunner with party members remains Boris Johnson. He is seen as a good leader by 64% to 31%, and is the first choice of 39% of party members, easily ahead of his rivals. He has the highest positive ratings on every measure YouGov asked about – 77% of party members think he has a likeable personality, 70% that he would be able to win a general election, 69% that he shares their outlook, 67% that he is up to the job, 69% that he would be a strong leader, 61% that he would be competent.

Johnson is very clearly in pole position – yet in past Conservative leadership elections the clear early frontrunner has not necessarily gone on to win (and indeed, there is no guarantee that Johnson will even reach the final round or get to be voted on by party members). One can recall the time when Michael Portillo was the obvious frontrunner to succeed William Hague, or David Davis the obvious frontrunner to succeed Michael Howard.

Looking at the rest of the field, Dominic Raab is in second place in first preferences on 13%. As the other candidate to have resigned from the cabinet – and likely to be see as a “true Brexiteer” by members – he comes closest to Johnson in the head-to-head match ups and beats ever other candidate in head-to-head figures. Considering he has a substantially lower profile than Johnson, it is a positive finding.

Of the Brexiteers in the cabinet, Michael Gove is the second best known candidate after Johnson, but polls badly on many counts. While most see him as competent and up to the job, he is not seen as capable of winning an election or having a likeable personality. Andrea Leadsom is seen as likeable, but not as an election winner. Penny Mordaunt receives high don’t know figures on most scores.

Looking at the candidates who backed Remain in the referendum, Sajid Javid seems best placed candidate from that wing of the party. In first preferences he is in joint third with Michael Gove, and in the head to head scores he would beat Hunt, Hancock, Mordaunt or Stewart (and tie with Leadsom). He scores well on being likeable, competent and up to the job, but his figures are more mixed on being seen as an election winner.

These are, of course, only the opinions of party members. While they will have the final say, they do not get a say on who makes the shortlist. That is down to MPs, and as things stand there is very scant information on who is doing well or badly among that electorate.


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This morning’s Times has a new YouGov poll with topline figures of CON 28%(-4), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 11%(-1), BREXIT 8%(+3), UKIP 6%(-1), GRN 5%(+1), Change 3% (new). Fieldwork was Wednesday and Thursday and changes are since the start of April. This is the first standard YouGov poll that’s included Change UK – now they are in the process of registering as a political party I expect we’ll start to see them included in most polls.

The Conservative score of 28% is the first time YouGov have shown them dropping below 30% since 2013. While one can never be certain about what has caused changes in voting intention, it is hard to avoid the obvious conclusion that they are shedding support to more unambiguously pro-Brexit parties like UKIP and the Brexit party.

As ever, one should be cautious about reading too much into any single poll, but this is pretty much in line with other recent polling. A BMG poll last week put Labour 2 points ahead and the Conservatives down at 29%, a Survation poll this week (unusually of England & Wales only) produced a four point Labour lead. Kantar’s latest poll produced a three point Labour lead (and a startling 9 point drop in Tory support, though I suspect that was at least partially a reversion to the mean after an usually high Tory lead in their previous poll). Across the board Conservative support seems to be falling away.

The YouGov poll also included voting intention for the European elections. Initial headline figures there are CON 16%, LAB 24%, LDEM 8%, BREXIT 15%, UKIP 14%, GRN 8%, Change 7%.

I should add some caveats here. It is, obviously, very early – the European elections have only just been announced and people are unlikely to have put much if any thought towards who they will support. This early measure however suggests that the Conservatives will, as widely predicted, suffer badly. As yet they are narrowly in second place, but I would by no means assume that will hold (not least, the Brexit party will still be largely unknown and many respondents will be unaware that they are now the party of Nigel Farage, rather than UKIP, and I’d expect them to gain support as they gain publicity. Equally, it remains to be seen what impact there is on Change UK support once they officially launch as a party.

Full tabs for both questions are here.


There are two polls in this morning’s papers – Survation in the Mail and YouGov in the Times.

Survation have topline figures of CON 35%(-5), LAB 39%(+3), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 5%(nc). Fieldwork was on Friday, and changes are from mkid-February.
YouGov have topline figures of CON 35%(-5), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 12%(+1), UKIP 6%(+3). Fieldwork was Thursday to Friday, and changes are from the start of March.

The overall leads are different, but that’s to be expected (Survation tend to produce figures that are better for Labour than most pollsters, YouGov tend to produce figures that are better for the Conservatives). The more interesting thing is what they have in common – both are showing a significant drop in Conservative support. As ever, it is worth waiting for other polls to show a similar trend before putting too much weight on it, but on first impressions it looks as though the ongoing chaos over Brexit may be starting to eat into Tory support.


Rather than their usual poll for the Times, this week YouGov have a full MRP model of voting intention (that is, the same method that YouGov used for their seat projection at the general election). Topline voting intention figures from the YouGov MRP model are CON 39%, LAB 34%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 5%. The fieldwork was Sun-Thursday last week, with just over 40,000 respondents.

The aim of an MRP model is not really the vote shares though, the whole point of the technique is project shares down to seat level, and project who would win each seat. The model currently has the Conservatives winning 321 seats, Labour 250, the Liberal Democrats 16 and the SNP 39. Compared to the 2017 election the Conservatives would make a net gain of just 4 seats, Labour would lose 12 seats, the Liberal Democrats would gain 4 and the SNP would gain 4. It would leave the Conservatives just shy of an overall majority (though in practice, given Sinn Fein do not take their seats and the Speaker and Deputies don’t vote, they would have a majority of MPs who actually vote in the Commons). Whether an extra four seats would really help that much is a different question.

The five point lead it shows for the Conservatives is a swing of 1.4% to the Conservatives – very small, but on a pure uniform swing it would be enough for the Tories to get a proper overall majority. The reason they don’t here is largely because the model shows Labour outperforming in the ultra-marginal seats they won off the Conservatives at the last election (a well known phenomenon – they gain the personal vote of the new Labour MP, lose any incumbency bonus from the former Tory MP. It is the same reason the Conservatives failed to gain a meaningful number of seats in 2001, despite a small swing in their favour).

For those interested in what MRP actually is, YouGov’s detailed explanation from the 2017 election is here (Ben Lauderdale & Jack Blumenau, who created the model for the 2017 election, also carried out this one). The short version is that it is a technique designed to allow projection of results at smaller geographical levels (in this case, individual constituencies). It works by modelling respondents’ voting intention based on their demographics and the political circumstances in each seat, and then applying the model to the demographics of each of the 632 seats in Great Britain. Crucially, of course, it also called the 2017 election correctly, when most of the traditional polls ended up getting it wrong.

Compared to more conventional polling the Conservative lead is similar to that in YouGov’s recent traditional polls (which have shown Tory leads of between 5-7 points of late), but has both main parties at a lower level. Partly this is because it’s modelling UKIP & Green support in all seats, rather than in just the constituencies they contested in 2017 (when the MRP was done at the last election it was after nominations had closed, so it only modelled the actual parties standing in each seat) – in practice their total level of support would likely be lower.

The Times’s write up of the poll is here, details from YouGov are here and technical details are here