Polls from YouGov, BPIX and ComRes have all shown the same sort of impact for the expenses row, so let’s step back and look at the bigger picture.

In Westminster polls both the main parties seem to have suffered, this means that the Conservative lead has been broadly unchanged, but Labour have been pushed to unprecedented lows and are close to falling to third place. The beneficiaries have been the others, most notably UKIP. This isn’t necessarily solely a result of the expenses row – in the run up and for a couple of months after the last European elections we saw a similar boost in support for “other” parties. They got the publicity of the European elections, and people who were voting for minor parties in the European elections were more likely to give them their support in Westminster voting intention polls too. However, as the publicity of the European elections faded away, so did their support in the polls.

Will the same happen this time? I would expect so, at least to some extent. The publicity of the expenses row will fade to some extent, the publicity the smaller parties receive around the European elections certainly will. Unless geographically concentrated, it is practically impossible for a fourth party to break through. The more interesting possibility is the effect of Labour falling behind the Lib Dems if that happens. If the polls were to start consistently showing Labour in third place the consquences upon an already fractious Labour party, and a volatile public, are both hard to predict.

For the European election meanwhile, there seems to have been a huge shift in support towards UKIP, who people appear to have picked out as the best vehicle for a protest vote over the expenses scandal. In this instance it is the Conservatives who are really losing out – until the scandal broke it looked as though they would be the easy victors of the European elections. Now UKIP have re-emerged, people seem to be chosing to vote UKIP rather than Conservative to register their disgust (and that’s without mentioning that UKIP tend to appeal more to Conservative voters in the first place).

It’s quite likely that UKIP will gain even more support than they already have, since news coverage of them increasing in the polls and them being people’s vehicle of choice for a protest against expenses may encourage more people to support them.

The figures for ComRes’s poll for the Independent on Sunday are out, and show topline figures (with changes from their last poll at the end of April) of CON 40%(-5), LAB 21%(-5), LDEM 18%(nc). Others enjoy the same sort of boost as in BPIX, which includes UKIP at 5%, Greens at 4% and the BNP at 3%.

John Rentoul’s report also says “Our poll also suggests that the minor parties are set to break records in the European elections next month” but I think he is referring to a question that found 43% agreeing that they were likely to vote for minor parties, rather than a proper European voting intention question.


At least two polls in tomorrow’s papers.

ComRes in the Independent on Sunday is still to come, but we already have some details from a BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday, which has topline figures with changes from last week of CON 42%(-3), LAB 20%(-3), LDEM 15%(-2). That gives a total for others right up at 23%, which if it as anything like the YouGov poll in the Sun probably includes a significant increase for UKIP.

As far as I’m aware this is the lowest level of support Labour have ever recorded in an opinion poll, though they have not yet matched the absolute worst polls the Conservatives suffered during the darkest days of the Major government (in 1995 the Conservatives hit 18.5% in a Gallup poll, though those were polls that had yet to really correct the mistakes of 1992).

While all of the three main parties have dropped, David Cameron himself seems to be emerging comparatively well from the political crisis. Asked how well the party leaders have responded to the situation, only 17% think Brown has handled it well, 53% think Cameron has.

The poll also included European voting intention figures, which stand at CON 30%, LAB 17%, UKIP 17%, LDEM 15%. Slighter better for the Conservatives than the YouGov poll in the week, but showing a similarly tight battle for second place between Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats.

I’ve confirmed exactly what’s gone on with the YouGov poll on European voting intentions. The graphic in the Sun shows the voting intentions of all those who gave a voting intention. However, as we saw in YouGov’s last poll, YouGov’s preferred measure – the one they think will better reflect the actual result – is the voting intention of only those certain to vote, which were the figures in the Sun’s article.

So, the actual figures for European voting intention were CON 28%(-9), LAB 19%(-3), LDEM 19%(nc), UKIP 19%(+12!), GRN 6%(+2), BNP 3%(-1).

  • Labour at record low in Westminster poll
  • Lib Dems only three points behind Labour
  • UKIP surge by 12 points in European voting intentions

There is a new YouGov poll in tomorrow’s Sun with Westminster and European voting intentions, both of which are striking in their own way.

The Westminster voting intentions, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, are CON 41%(-2), LAB 22%(-5), LDEM 19%(+1). Populus’s poll on Monday evening was taken after the Telegraph’s expenses expose had begun, but this is the first poll taken when people had really had chance to digest it (and the first to come after Tory expenses exposes really began to run). Once again both main parties have suffered, but Labour have clearly come off worse. This is their lowest rating in any national opinion poll, ever. It is also the lowest gap between Labour and the Liberal Democrats for years. It is worth considering that YouGov normally give the Liberal Democrats their lowest ratings – if this poll had been carried out by ICM we might very well be looking at a poll with Labour in third place.

The maths of the poll suggest that there must also have been a significant increase in support for “other” parties, though from the Sun’s report we can’t tell who has been the beneificiary of that.

Moving to the European voting intentions, the topline figures with changes from before the expenses expose began are CON 28%(-9), LAB 19%(-3), UKIP 19%(+12!) – the Sun report does not provide the Liberal Democrat or Green figures, but the BNP remain at 4%, unchanged from a week ago. It appears that UKIP – despite their MEPs own problems with fraud and expenses, have been the overwhelming victors from the expenses row.

UPDATE: Uncertainty about the actual European figures. UKIP are no longer mentioned in the Sun article, and while the article itself still says Labour are at 19%, the accompanying graphic shows them at 20%, with UKIP at 15% and the Lib Dems at 19%. I’ll go and find out the true figures!