European elections poll puts Lib Dems in second ahead of Labour

The most recent YouGov opinion poll puts us in second place in the European elections ahead of Labour.

From a sample of over 7000 people, YouGov (for The Times) found::

From The Times (£)

The Lib Dems appear to be picking up support from Labour and Green voters after Sir Vince Cable argued that opponents of Brexit should vote for his party.

YouGov interviewed 7,192 British adults between Sunday and Thursday this week. When asked whom they would support in the European elections, 35 per cent said the Brexit Party, up 1 point on the week before.

Lib Dems were on 16 per cent, up 1, Labour on 15 per cent, down 1, Greens on 10 per cent, down 1, Conservatives on 9 per cent, down 1, Change UK unchanged on 5 per cent and Ukip unchanged on 3 per cent.

The decline of the Conservatives into single figures is likely to increase the panic in the party’s high command, with 62 per cent of Tory voters in the 2017 general election now saying that they will vote for the Brexit Party in the European elections. Only one in five who backed the party at the last general election is sticking with the Tories in the European elections.

It’s only one poll, though. To go along with the couple at the weekend the one that had us on 19% and the other couple this week.

It’s not good enough, though. We have less than a week to persuade Labour Remainers, Greens and Change UK voters to come to us. If they did, we’d be on the tails of the Brexit Party. How good would it be to put a severe dent in their lead.

Labour say you need to vote for them to stop Farage. You can stop Farage AND Brexit by voting Lib Dem.

Get out on those doorsteps, people! We have a lot to do.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Richard Underhill 17th May '19 - 9:50am


  • Graham Martin-Royle 17th May '19 - 10:35am

    For me, the most worrying thing about that poll is that over 60% are still intending to vote for pro-brexit parties, Labour, Conservative, Brexit, Ukip.

  • Now that the talks between Labour and the Conservatives have ended will this change the former party’s position or does the leader have a veto ?

  • Philip Boothroyd 17th May '19 - 10:48am

    What Graham said really. Although for me what’s worst is the fragmented nature of views. Parliament can’t agree and it looks like the country can’t either. It seems we have (broadly speaking and with exact proportions varying by poll) a third wanting a hard brexit (BP and UKIP), a third wanting some kind of negotiated deal brexit (Con and Lab) and a third wanting to remain (LD, G, Ch, SNP, PC). So the only thing that can really be predicted is that there’s unlikely to be any kind of resolution soon, and maybe the odds of us crashing out come October due to a complete failure to form any kind of alternative agreement are higher than anyone would like (surely even pragmatic hard Brexit supporters would want to spend the remaining time preparing for it, and not just to crash out by default).

  • David Becket 17th May '19 - 11:07am

    Which is why Philip the only solution that makes sense is a carefully thought referendum under PR which should ensure that one of these three comes out on top. Whichever one it is we have to abide by the result, and if it is pull out we would need to grit our teeth and get on with it.

  • An encouraging poll but obv. as Caron says the potential for a very much better result if we work hard.

    Polls tend to show that more than 1 in 3 people make up their minds in the last week of an election!

    Of particular interest is that Labour (and the Conservatives) are doing much better among those that take a low interest in politics – whereas Lib Dems (and the Brexit Party) are doing better among those that have a high interest in politics. And remember while we may think that the whole world know our policy on Brexit less than half do (or think it is clear).

    All this suggests that getting to Labour Remain voters in the last week is vital.

    On the detailed regional results frustratingly Yougov does not break them down by euro region – but into London, Rest of South, Midlands and Wales, North and Scotland.

    In London, it is exceptionally encouraging with the Lib Dems second on 21% to the Brexit party’s 25%. We are just ahead of third placed Labour on 20%. The Greens on 11% and the Conservatives on 9%, CHUK on 6%. But it does again show that there is potentially a lot of Labour and Green votes to get.

    We are well poised in Scotland on third place and without doing the d’Hondt analysis likely to be on track for an MEP. SNP are on 39%, Brexit on 20%, Lib Dems 13%, Greens 10%, Conservatives 7%, Labour 6%, CHUK on 1%.

    The usual warning about subsamples being small applies but actually because the total sample is large both these subsamples should be relatively reliable may be +/-4%.

  • Tony Greaves 17th May '19 - 11:58am

    The Scotland figures give LD the fourth place.

  • Doing the D’Hondt analysis for Scotland gets SNP 3, Brexit 2, Lib Dem 1, Green 1.

  • John Marriott 17th May '19 - 1:52pm

    I learned many years ago to take opinion polls with a large pinch of salt. What they show me is that nobody knows where on Earth they are going. Those advocating another referendum on the assumption that Remain would ‘win’ this time, for example, should be careful what they are wishing for. What if Leave ‘wins’ again, or Remain just nudges ahead? Best of three? Similarly, those toying with a no deal Brexit need to take very seriously the possible short and long term consequences of this action.

    You know, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the only way out of this political mess – the worst in my lifetime – is to ask the people whom they wish to govern them and the only way to do that is to hold a General Election. As was proven two years ago, the Fixed Term Parliament Act is not the stumbling block many have claimed. It’s pretty clear to me at least that the present composition of the House of Commons does not reflect current public opinion.

  • Yeovil Yokel 17th May '19 - 2:14pm

    John Marriott – a single-issue referendum will give a clearer resolution to Brexit than a multi-issue General Election, unless a clear Leave or Remain combination (the Brexit Party/UKIP or the Lib Dems/Greens) won an overwhelming majority.

  • nvelope2003 17th May '19 - 2:29pm

    Richard Gadsden: In 2014 Scotland had only 6 MEPS – has it gone up ?

  • John Marriott 17th May '19 - 2:31pm

    @Yeovil Yokel
    No, because the referendum won’t be a single issue just as the 2016 one wasn’t. Nor should it be a personality contest or a litmus test for Liberal Democracy, as some would have it. There is far more to life than Brexit and virtually nothing else is getting tackled at the moment. Who is running the Country? My money is on the Civil Service, which is hardly much of an endorsement. As for a ‘clearer resolution’. Do you REALLY think so?

  • Don’t worry, @John Marriott, we’ve got 2 referendum on Europe coming up in the next 15 years and a very democratically healthy thing it is too!

  • John Marriott 17th May '19 - 7:32pm

    @Michael 1
    “2 referendum on Europe”? I thought you preferred English plurals to Latin derived words? But I’m more interested in your maths. Would those referenda/referendums to which you refer have anything to do with EU parliamentary elections and are you sure that there will still be an EU around in fifteen years’ time? There are some, according to reports in today’s papers, who have their doubts.

  • @John Marriott

    Quite right it is a typo I should have written referendums (BTW “referenda” is clearly grammatically “wrong” but is common English so allowable).

    The most likely scenario is that this current impasse will be resolved by a referendum – the MPs are inching towards one and will probably inch further if we do well next Thursday – both Tories (who will be feeling quite a lot of heat from Remain in many Southern seats) and Labour.

    I think if that happens and the people vote in the referendum Remain then an ERG inspired Tory manifesto with a referendum commitment and (possibly) a Brexit Party pact of some sort is likely.

    I think even if we leave the EU in some form then a referendum in the next Parliament or the one after that is likely. And you can easily see a subsequent referendum after that.

    Even if the next referendum votes Leave and/or Brexit is seen as moderately successful then one can easily foresee that younger generations will want to be part of Europe – even as they get older!

    All this is, of course, fantastically good for the country and healthy for our democracy.

    And it is great news that Parliament is passing few (other) laws as they would be Tory laws and so by definition bad. Let’s hope this continues!

    As to the future of Europe then it will be around in 15 years time. But the nation state will also be strong and indeed will be in a hundred years time. I think we have reached pretty much the form that the EU will take viz nation states. But come back in 100 years time and we will still be having similar arguments.

  • Michael 1
    It will not be solved by a referendum. Leave voters feel just as strongly about getting Britain out of the EU as remain voters want to keep Britain in the EU.
    I don’t see the EU collapsing. I do see more countries bending the rules and drifting away from the core idea of ever closer union. It’s a very soft power with a lot of foot dragging populations with somewhat nationalist instincts. It has never really forged a European identity. This is why MEP elections are such awe inspiring spectacles of frenzied apathy that to tell you more about national politics than the state of the union.

  • Peter Reisdorf 18th May '19 - 8:24am

    We need to maintain and build on this. Sadly, in a similar situation in the 2010 general election campaign the rise in support fell away in the last week of the campaign and we ended up with a net loss of seats. A big part of the problem then seemed to be that the party had no idea what to do in the situation (google ‘Cleggmania’ if you don’t remember what I’m talking about).

  • John Marriott 18th May '19 - 8:47am

    @Michael 1
    I admire your certainty over the future if the EU, which, as far as its political future is concerned, I struggle to share. That said, I would still rather be inside the tent looking out.

    I certainly do not share the views you express in your penultimate paragraph. You are falling into the trap that many, who lean leftwards, appear to share, in your blanket condemnation of everything that your opponent, in this case, Tory, has done. To view all “Tory laws” as “by definition bad” is surely going too far. What about RAB Butler’s 1944 Education Act, or the legislation between 1979 and 1995 including that on Trades Union secret ballots ballots, which I and many of my active trades union colleagues supported, to give just two examples? The former gave a much needed boost to secondary education, even though it was imperfectly introduced by the incoming Labour government and the latter helped to curb much of the mayhem caused by wildcat strikes in the 1960s and 1970s, which I remember only too well.

    Having had to work with ‘opponents’ in local government I am aware of the need for compromise and for not always getting my own way. As a liberal, I thought that you would have realised by now that this could be your lot, as I personally cannot see liberalism doing ‘a Heineken’ and reaching all parts of the political psyche. You only have to look at the low support in percentage terms for liberal parties in Europe. Don’t look to Canada to prove me wrong. I lived in Canada for a number of years and I can tell you that the Liberal Party there is a very different animal, as is, to give another example, the Liberal Democrat Party in Japan. There is a great danger in thinking that you are always right.

  • Peter: yes but earlier elections the party generally made up ground in the last week, we have to come in under the radar, not be on full screen a week out.

  • Mick Taylor 18th May '19 - 9:23am

    Peter Reisdorf: This is not a general election where in the last few days people make their minds up about what government they want and vote so as to try and get it, often tactically. Whilst a fall off in the Lib Dem vote from Sunday is typical of general elections it’s not typical of non general elections. In this semi PR election parties start winning seats from 9-10% in a 10 member seat 14-15% in a six member seat and 25% in a 4 member seat. So the more people that vote for a party above the winning threshold the more seats that party wins.
    We shall finally know on Sunday, but between now and Thursday tirelessly reminding people that the Lib Dems are the only remain party that stand for stopping Brexit and the only party that can give Farage a run for his money, will reap the reward of more seats.

  • Peter Martin 18th May '19 - 9:26am

    @ Michael1

    “As to the future of Europe then it will be around in 15 years time”

    As Europe has been already been “around” for hundreds of millions of years, that seems a pretty safe prediction! But whether the European Union will be too is a different matter.

    Brexit is not the big problem. Italy is. The banks are to all intents and purposes bankrupt. If they go and take the Italian economy down with it then it will be down to the German government to decide whether to bail them out. If they don’t then its goodbye eurozone and goodbye the EU as we know and love (or maybe not?) it.

  • Jayne Mansfield 18th May '19 - 9:47am

    @ Glenn,
    I agree with you that a referendum will not solve the basic problem which is at the moment being simplified into the question of whether we want to remain or leave the EU.

    The EU referendum released an underlying , unaddressed anger amongst a substantial proportion of the electorate, many of whom still do not understand what the EU does, or doesn’t do. It is the reasons for this anger that needs addressing. It won’t go away whatever the result of the EU election.

    Sadly, people like myself who accept compromise as part of our daily lives, will now have to nail our colours to one or other of the ‘fight to the death’ extremes.

    I agree with John Marriott, a General Election is possibly the best way of settling things down with a better chance of acceptance of outcome. We desperately need a functioning government .

  • Certainly in general elections the party’s poll ratings drop in the final week and final results are lower than the last weekends polls.

    This is not – as Mick and others say a general election. Its lower turnout and, frankly and dangerously, an election where people don’t really care about the outcome

    The only thing I think anyone can say for certain is no-one knows what will happen over the next week. I suspect the Lib Dem vote will be between the the low teens and high 20s but that’s such a large range as to be meaningless.

    That said I’ve had leaflets from all the parties who could credibly win seats in Yorkshire except the Lib Dems. This could come down to organisation.

  • John Marriott 18th May '19 - 10:31am

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Lib Dems were to top the poll of the Remain parties, which frankly they deserve to do for no other reason other than that they represent the ‘full fat’ remain case unlike the ‘semi skimmed’ Tory and Labour parties, gain a few seats and then to see these seats taken away by a deal being done in Parliament?

    Mock ye not! With the present mess nothing is frankly impossible.

    PS Yes, of course it could be argued that the Green Party is 99% Remain, as is Change UK; but, despite their faults, I really do think that the Lib Dems deserve a bit of good news.

  • @John Marriott
    “I certainly do not share the views you express in your penultimate paragraph.”

    Thanks for your further comments. It was an attempt at slight humour and overstatement on my part which probably didn’t come across when written down!

    But I would venture that it is not a total disaster that we are seeing fewer Tory laws enacted – especially from May’s disastrous 2017 manifesto!

    I would, though, broadly share your analysis.

    And whisper it quietly as I don’t want to raise the wrath of David Raw but quite a lot of good things were done in the coalition years! Indeed a side product of that Government and indeed this, may be a realisation that Government with us involved keeping the extreme wings of both the other parties that is part of their coalitions at bay is better.

    “I admire your certainty over the future if the EU, which, as far as its political future is concerned, I struggle to share” and @Glenn and @Peter Martin

    May be.

    But my understanding is that even the Eurosceptic parties in other countries are not advocating referendums on membership.

    This suggests that this is a strong appetite for pan-European co-operation among nation states. One must remember that the EU’s budget is 1% of GDP and it is run by nation states.

    Leaders of nation states rather like being leaders of nation states. And nation states rather like being nation states. Indeed there is a trend for rather more countries in Europe recently not fewer – viz Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia and the countries that made up Czechoslovakia.

    IMHO, co-operation between countries that share geo-political interests, a single market and freedom of movement make sense and that it is by far the overwhelming view of the people of EU27 and probably (now) this country as well.

  • Looking at all the Polls, Libdems are probably around 16%, Labour 20% & Tories 12% but those are average British figures & the actual Election takes place in Regions & Nations. It looks like we may be 2nd in Scotland, behind the SNP & its possible that we actually lead the poll in London.
    For all the other Regions & Nations we are in the dark.
    All we can do is keep trying.

  • @OnceALibDem 18th May ’19 – 10:01am
    “Certainly in general elections the party’s poll ratings drop in the final week and final results are lower than the last weekends polls.”

    This is not the case. In several of the General Elections since WW2, there has been a last week surge for Liberals/ Alliance/ Lib Dems.

    2017 and 2015 are exceptions in this regard.

  • An encouraging Opinium poll in tomorrow’s Guardian showing us third on 14% for the Euros to Labour’s 20% – especially good as Opinium tends along with Comres to be the worst pollster for the Lib Dems.

    Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium, said: “…until recently Remainers dissatisfied with the major parties have struggled to unite around a single pro-Remain party. However, with less than a week to go there are signs that the Liberal Democrats are emerging to fill this slot.”

    And a separate yougov poll of 9,000 and broken down into Euro regions shows us first in London and leading Labour 17% to 15% nationally

  • Richard O'Neill 18th May '19 - 10:21pm

    Hard to dispute there has been a Lib Dem surge. Locals weren’t an isolated incidents That is great! More interested how this will translate into Westminster. Euro elections have to be taken with a slight pinch of salt (UKIP won last time).

    What is more significant is that LDems may hold balance of power after next election. We should emphasize Lib Dems as a national party, not sectional one like SNP, Greens or an elitist one like Change UK.

  • John Marriott 19th May '19 - 9:35am

    I see that I’m not the only one, who is looking beyond next Thursday – or should it be Sunday? If we are to have a General Election sooner than some of us think (if you think May had a problem at the dispatch box, just imagine how Boris might be!), tge Lib Dems should be careful what they promise to do if people give them their vote.

    So, we we do, the Party needs to learn the lessons of the past and produce a manifesto, which I will call a ‘menu with prices’. Realistically speaking, the best it could hope for is to hold the balance of power, assuming its ‘surge’ continues. So it needs at least two types of policy, if negotiations on a possible coalition come about (and, if they do, make sure that the negotiators on both sides take their time to get it right).

    The ‘red line’ policies, to use the current jargon, should include the introduction of PR, starting with English local elections, the reform of Local Government structure and finance in England followed by an intention to move towards PR for Parliament and eventually a Federal UK. I’m sure that LDV contributors could come up with a few more ‘essentials’. The more ‘negotiable’ policies could include such things as defence, education at all levels, health, social care and addiction etc.

    If we ever do move to a voting system that reflects more accurately the pluralism that clearly exists in our body politic today, voters are going to have to get used to coalition government, where compromise is essential. Many would argue that the current impasse in Westminster has more to do with members’ inability to compromise than anything else. To use a phrase I have been polishing in LDV for some time, people need to start to lead their lives and to think in colour rather than in black and white.

    “And what about a ‘People’s Vote?”, I hear your ask. You know, some of us are getting pretty cheesed off with all this Brexit ‘b……s’. We really do want to move on. For too long we have been obsessing about something, which is clearly preventing us from dealing with many of the really serious issues that bedevil our society. Of course earning our way in the world is vital; but sometimes, as the song goes, you don’t ‘get what you want’. You actually ‘get what you need’!

  • Sorry Chris Moor, you’re wrong.
    In 1974( X2) there was clear evidence of a decline in support in the last few days. In 1983 the same. You know it’s happening when people stop saying they’re voting for you and start saying ‘good luck’. Some of us are, unfortunately, sensitive to this and can tell whether we’re winning or not and I can tell you that in every election, with the possible exception of 2005, the Liberal Democrats have failed to win/gain the number of seats expected in almost every general election I have been involved with. [Every one since 1964]
    My point was that EU elections are different in that there is no government to choose and the usual tactical arguments that relate to FPTP do not apply. Apart from the threshold required to win any seats at all (which varies according to the number of seats in each region] the results are broadly proportional to the votes cast.
    The real difference in this election is that for the first time in my life the Lib Dems are in with a chance of a really high score AND winning seats in proportion to that vote. It is now vital to make sure that the remain vote gets behind the Lib Dems to issue a real challenge to the Brexit Party. No-one else can do that and so voting CHUK, Green, Labour or anyone else will reduce the number of seats won by the remain side. If we want to stop Brexit – and I certainly do – we have to convince voters from those parties to lend their votes to the LibDems to challenge the Brexit Party.

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