The monthly Ipsos MORI political monitor came out earlier today and has topline figures of CON 30%(-5), LAB 43%(-1), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 9%(+2). Full details are here.

While we’ve seen it from some other companies, it is the first time that MORI have shown UKIP ahead of the Lib Dems (and, I think, the first time we’ve seen it happen in a telephone poll, which tend to show lower levels of UKIP support than online polls). There is also a sharp drop in Conservative support – normal caveats apply there: sure, it could be the start of a trend, but it could also be normal random sample error (that said, YouGov’s daily polls have been showing leads towards the upper end of their normal range of late, so its worth keeping an eye on).

YouGov have released a poll of European Election voting intentions here. This follows the Survation and ComRes European election polls earlier this month, both of which showed the Conservatives and UKIP effectively neck and neck for second place. In contrast, YouGov show UKIP in a strong third place, but still well behind the Conservatives.

YouGov: CON 27%, LAB 38%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%

Part, but not all, of the difference will be down to prompting – the Survation and ComRes polls both had a list of all parties for people to choose from, YouGov prompted only for Con, Lab, LD, SNP/PC and Other… though they do preface the question with some bumpf about the European elections being fought on PR under which smaller parties do better.

In parallel to this poll YouGov also carried out a second poll asking all the parties in a single list, and this one put UKIP at 19%, two points higher. This explains some of the difference between the YouGov and ComRes/Survation polls, but not all of it. Another difference was that YouGov did not filter by likelihood to vote, though looking at ComRes’s tabs this doesn’t look like it made a vast difference. Some of the gap probably just boils down to the wider pattern we’ve seen in Westminster polls of YouGov tending to show some of the lower levels of UKIP support amongst online pollsters, probably a sampling factor of some sort.

The YouGov approach is the same one they used in 2009, when they only prompted for the main parties despite UKIP coming second, and overestimated UKIP support by 1.5%, within the margin of error. In other words, the two-stage prompt got UKIP’s level of support right, despite them being up in second place. Compare this with 2004 when YouGov prompted by all the political parties standing and overestimated UKIP support by 5 points. Peter Kellner has written more about their approach here.

As I said after the Survation and ComRes polls were published, it is probably a bit early for these figures to really mean much anyway. It is extremely unlikely that the main parties will get this much support, if only because of the collection of “other” parties that come out of the woodwork at European election and pick up some support. Looking back at the polls from the 2009 election, UKIP also picked up support from increased publicity and coverage as the election approached, though this time round they do have a higher base of support and coverage to begin with.


Three new polls yesterday and this morning.

  • TNS-BMRB’s weekly poll has topline figures of CON 31%(+2), LAB 37%(-2), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 13%(+1)
  • A new Angus Reid poll has topline figures of CON 27%(-1), LAB 42%(nc), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 11%(nc) – changes are from their last poll in November
  • While YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 9%

The Lords (including Lib Dem ministers) have voted in favour of an amendment to the Electoral Registration Bill that bangs another nail into the coffin of the boundary review. The amendment changes the law so that instead of the boundary review having to report before this October, the commissions cannot report until after October 2018, killing the review for this Parliament.

The bill now returns to the Commons, where David Cameron has three choices:

1) He tries, and probably fails, to overturn the amendment in the Commons. Obviously this will be tricky to do with the Lib Dems supporting the amendment, it will lead to coalition friction by Conservative MPs seeing Lib Dem ministers voting against the government and keeping their jobs. It would, however, deliver Cameron’s promise fro last week of having a Commons vote on the boundaries…even if it is at one remove.

2) He withdraws the Bill, or tries to use the Parliament Act to pass it, as suggested in the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend. For our immediate purposes these are the same, the Electoral Registration Bill is withdrawn and reintroduced next session, after the Boundary Commissions have reported, meaning the Commons vote on implementing them will go ahead. Whether it is worthwhile messing up the passage of the Electoral Registration Bill when it looks extremely unlikely that the Commons would approve the new boundaries is a different question – it would at least mean that the recommendations were there ready for future implementation in the case of a Conservative majority after the next election, or if something entirely unexpected comes along to change minds. It also means the promise to have a proper Commons vote on implementing it is kept and the spectacle of Lib Dem ministers voting against the government is delayed for now.

3) They accept the boundaries are dead and accept the amendment, avoiding Lib Dem and Conservative ministers voting against each other and keeping the Electoral Registration Bill… but at the cost of failing to allow the Commons to vote on the matter (and in the eyes of Conservative backbenchers, giving into the Lib Dems). The third option also gives the government the option of replacing the rebel amendment with a better one that does the same thing … as I mentioned in the comments to the last post, the current legislation effectively requires the Boundary Commissions to report at least 18 months before a general election so there is proper time to implement the boundaries, for returning officers to make the necessary arrangements, parties to reorganise local associations and select candidates. Under the amendment the boundary commissions will have to report at most eighteen months before the 2020 election, which has the potential to cause chaos if not enough time is left. If you did want to delay the next boundary review to 2018, much better to have the clause say “before October 2018, but not before 2017” or something like that.

For all intents and purposes the review appears dead now (there are theoretically ways it could be got through, but with the SNP seemingly suggesting they’ll also vote against they all require quite a suspension of disbelief), but time will tell if Cameron keeps it on life support for reasons of optimism or party/coalition management.

This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times tables are online here. Topline voting intention is CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 8%. In line with the increased level of Lib Dem support Nick Clegg’s approval figures are also up slightly – his net approval is minus 45, still extremely bad, but his least bad figures since March.

Most of the rest of the survey dealt with the subject of Europe, and like ComRes’s poll last nights showed hints of a shift in public opinion towards remaining in the EU.

As usual a majority of people (59%) support the idea of a referendum on Europe – people will almost always say they support a referendum on anything we ask about. On how they would vote in a referendum on the EU membership, people would vote to leave by 42% to 36%. This is a significantly lower lead for leaving the EU than YouGov usually find, indeed, they ask it as a monthly tracker and only last week found a 15 point lead for leaving the EU. This could easily be a blip, but could also be a sign of the intervention of the US Embassy and Richard Branson’s comments already having an effect.

Asked if there should be a straight referendum or the renegotiation then a referendum that David Cameron is likely to announce, people prefer the latter by 48% to 22%. Were David Cameron to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with EU and then recommend people vote to stay in, in the way Wilson did in 1975 and Cameron is likely to say he’ll do later this month, then people say they would vote to stay in by 50% to 25%. This too is a shift from the last time YouGov asked the question in July 2012, when people said they’d vote to stay in by 42% to 34%.

The contrast between how people would vote in a straight referendum now and how people would vote in a post-negotiation referendum with Cameron recommending a vote to stay in is mostly a switch of Conservative voters, who say they would vote 51%-33% to leave in a straight referendum now, but would vote 64%-21% to stay if Cameron recommended a yes vote on renegotiated terms.

Asked about the potential impacts of leaving the European Union, by 40% to 9% people think Britain would have less influence if we left the EU and think our relationship with the USA would be worse by 24% to 10%. They are far more divided on the potential economic impacts of Britain leaving the EU – 29% think the country would be better off outside the EU, 34% worse off. 27% think leaving the EU would be good for employment, 30% bad for employment. 18% think they personally would be better off, 20% worse off.