Lib Dems top Westminster voting intention poll

If I were the sort of person who used profane language, the air would be royal blue around me tonight.

Of course it is only one poll and all the usual health warnings apply, but it shows the huge opportunity opening up to us.

And it shows that a clear and simple message, communicated well, pays dividends.

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

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This entry was posted in News.


  • So do we all pile into Peterborough then?

  • Some further details:

    UKIP and CUK both on 1%.

    I think it fair to say that two political parties died last Thursday! And two “mergers” or perhaps even takeovers have been achieved by Brexit of UKIP and by the Lib Dems of CUK.

    On the detailed sub-samples (which come with a massive “health warning”). We lead Labour by 10% in London, (34% to 24%) and the Tories and Brexit by 11% in the rest of the South (32% to 21% for Brexit and the Tories each).

    We also lead every age category under 65 but only by 1% or equally. Conservatives are 4th among 18-24s behind the Greens.

  • This is very satisfying but I do worry that we might be developing a bit of hubris.
    Traditionally, the sort of Polling boosts that Parties get from Elections dont last more than 2 or 3 Months. This is not the time to start believing that we can do it all on our own.

  • Yeovil Yokel 30th May '19 - 11:38pm

    My flabber is well & truly gasted. What could account for this? And as GaryE says, what does this mean for Peterborough?

  • Tristan Ward 31st May '19 - 6:31am

    Well said Paul. Let’s not get over excited.

  • Blimey. Didn’t see this one coming even after the excellent result last week.
    The last time I remember us leading in the polls was in the old Alliance days, around 1985 or so.
    Something to build on, for sure.

  • Lots of reasons to be positive. Set aside the opinion poll and consider this the Labour Party, Tory party and Brexit party are all fighting over the leave vote (Labour less so), so the leave vote is fragmented. In a FPTP system that bodes well for Remainers!

    With regards to CUK I don’t think this is just about securing the 1% of voters they have. We have to recognise they have competent and talented MPs and that their displacement from their parties resonates with centre left Tories and centre right Labour voters. Getting them on board gives us MPs like Soubry and Umna who speak powerfully and forcibly to the electorate. The fact the express hates Soubry is good enough for me. If we have to be a slightly broader church then fine lets not get bogged down on ideological grounds too much.

  • @Yeovil Yokel – Peterborough is an interesting test. It’s a leave seat with 4 leave parties contesting it (con, lab, BXP, UKIP) and then us and the Greens for remain. If the Greens get out of our way we concentrate the remain vote and they fragment the leave vote. Works for me….

  • This is a remarkable opportunity for the Liberal Democrats. Yet it is one that might easily be missed.

    The fundamental basis of political strategy, often forgotten, is that politics is Darwinian: the fittest survive. This is not (as is sometimes claimed) a mere tautology: fitness is defined by suitability to environment and ability to adapt to changing environments.

    The Liberals fell from power in the 1920s, not merely because they suffered a grievous internal split and catastrophic political misjudgements (not least the decision to enter into a coalition with the Tories), but because they could not adapt fast enough to a new class-based politics in which you either supported the workers, or the owners, or seemed to be irrelevant.

    The Labour/Conservative duopoly has lasted for nearly a hundred years since then because those two parties were able to adapt to changing political circumstances and redefine themselves to fit those circumstances—or, at least, could convince people that they had redefined various new political faultlines in terms of a left-right paradigm.

    When faced with a faultline that cuts across that paradigm, such as Brexit, the two old dinosaurs have proved sluggish and incapable of adapting themselves to the new situation. This creates an opportunity for lighter, hungrier parties, unencumbered by traditional obligations, to move into the politico-ecological niches which the dinosaurs had abandoned or could not fill.

    But to succeed at that they have to be adaptable and not turn into dinosaurs themselves; they have to accurately gauge the political environment, and consider thoughtfully what sort of party they have to be to succeed in it. Simply doing the same old thing may not be sufficient; any environmental change that impacts the dinosaurs may also threaten smaller parties that are equally unable to adapt.

  • Lib Dem support pretty much in line with the 23% achieved in the 2010 GE. Its just this time this level of support puts us 1st rather than 3rd!

  • William Fowler 31st May '19 - 9:22am

    I know there is some aggro with the Greens but some form of alliance would get you to the stage where Green/LibDems would become the stop Boris/Farage vote rather than Labour and thence to PR if it worked, probably a one-off chance to change things.

  • John Marriott 31st May '19 - 9:48am

    Well, that drives a coach and horses through my theory of the Lib Dems that their ‘natural’ vote is around 10%! But, wait a minute. As Mike Read wrote, the party has been here before. What it needs to do is to cultivate a more pragmatic relationship with the electorate in general; but particularly those who have, according to one Opinion Poll at least, been prepared to have a punt on them again.

    Clearly the Lib Dems’ principled stance on Remain has helped. However, as those of us who advocate PR know to our cost, percentages in OPs don’t simply translate into seats under FPTP. The first step politically might conceivably be to get Change UK on board. In the case of people like Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry, whom ‘Christian’ is prepared to welcome, and Sarah Wollaston, former Tories have had successful careers as Liberal Democrats, examples being Emma Nicholson (although she has now apparently returned to her former party), Bill Newton Dunn MEP and, of course, many years ago in the old Liberal Party days, one Winston Churchill. As for ex Labour politicians, we need look no further than the Lib Dems’ current leader, whose wise counsel while holding the reins, will, I feel, be sadly missed.

    To those of you, who do not want the Liberal well of ideas polluted by policies you class as ‘illiberal’, if you want the party to stay in double figures, let alone over 20%, for the foreseeable future, you may have to hold your nose now and again. If you are serious about actually being in a position to do things you have got to COMPROMISE. To succeed in a FPTP world, a party needs to be more than a narrow sect. Believe me, if we ever do get PR you surely will have to!

  • Eddie Sammon 31st May '19 - 9:49am

    Amazing, our party, so used to coming third in national elections and full of people who stuck with the party whilst we were stuck on 7-8% and written off as the past, could win a general election in the not too distant future. Change politics for the better.

  • @GaryE
    “So do we all pile into Peterborough then?”


    It will be a two horse race between the Lib Dems & Brexit Party (most likely!).

    And not to come (at least) second will mean a loss of some momentum. Sadly in politics you’re only as good as your last election result.

    I presented on LDV before this poll & based on the Euro result there an analysis of Peteborough that could easily have us on 28% to the BP’s 46%. And you could well expect us to close in further to the BP & if they drop back a bit & our bandwagon begins to roll…

    The only thing will be whether we can get to Remainers & tell them what’s happening & get to them the polls.

    Remember this has great importance. They’ll be sending an MP to vote on Brexit & not exiting with a no deal only passed by one vote!

    It also has the ability if Labour do badly for them to move further on a PV (or at least have a civil war over it!)

    Wise words from @Paul Barker. We can though do it on our own.

    The conclusions from recent events are crystal clear. We win when we don’t believe our own publicity, work hard locally & get some bold policies that draw a line under the coalition years.

    A very sold hold BTW last night in Gosport

    Brockhurst (Gosport) result: LDEM: 51.5% (+10.3) CON: 22.6% (-12.2) BUSP: 17.4% (+17.4) LAB: 8.4% (-4.7) Liberal Democrat HOLD. No UKIP (-5.7) & Grn (-5.1) as prev.

    Be aware of 2 things:

    It’s highly likely that we come 4th in a poll soon. Survation for example had us on 12% when we got 19%! We’re pretty much within the MOE of 4th in this poll. Indeed any of the 4 parties are within the MOE of coming in any of the 4 positions 1-4!

    On twitter etc. people are doing seat extrapolations based on uniform national swing (UNS). While only “a bit of fun”! Actually the BP & LDs are acting as two regional parties with a pincer movement on Lab & Cons. As with the SNP it pays to be a regional party with FPTP. And we & prob. the BP would do much better than a UNS would suggest.

  • What would happen if we won Peterboro!!!! 40%?

  • David Evershed 31st May '19 - 10:42am

    A YouGov poll for The Sun showed the Lib Dems on 33 per cent, the Tories on 32 and Labour on 26.

    April 2010

  • Paul Pettinger 31st May '19 - 11:18am

    Much of our support will be soft, and we are helped because Labour (the second most popular party with remain voters) are in such a mess, which may not continue to be the case. This could however be a once in a generation opportunity to reclaim our place as the main progressive party in Britain. One thing we do not need to do is mention the 2010-2015 coalition era, which only appeals to a sub set of liberals. We need to turn the page and forge a new identity as Britain’s internationalist beating heart.

  • 24%.

    Is that all?

    There were 48% of remainers in 2016, probably more now. So we’ve still got a way to go to reach our full potential.

  • Sue Sutherland 31st May '19 - 1:05pm

    When I first saw that this was being leaked yesterday I thought someone was trying to wind us up. This is amazing because the polarisation of politics in left versus right terms, which we don’t fit into very easily, seems to be morphing into stay versus leave which we fit into very well. I know about swallows and green shoots but I do think we could be quietly optimistic.
    Another thing in our favour is that we have policies that could heal our nation whereas the Brexit party doesn’t because it’s unofficial slogan is ‘you lost, get over it’. We must invest in those areas that voted Brexit because they’ve born the brunt of austerity and previous Thatcherite economic policies while at the same time having poor educational opportunities because of a lack of investment in schooling.
    Peterborough is an example of this so yes! Get stuck in there.

  • Dave G Fawcett 31st May '19 - 2:04pm

    Paul Pettinger. Living and campaigning as I do in a solid Labour town (Gateshead) I have had the coalition years thrown at me ever since 2010. Finally the recent results have given me a great response as follows. ‘The socialist mantra on the coalition years is wearing a bit thin. Many voters have shown that they no longer believe it (if they ever did) by switching from Labour to Lib Dem’. It actually shuts them up!

  • David Becket 31st May '19 - 5:15pm

    Not coalition. “Tory led coalition”. Where are our campaigning skills

  • Paul Barker 2nd Jun '19 - 11:27am

    We have now had 3 Polls since The European Elections with LDs, Labour & Brexit all coming top in one.
    The differences between The 3 Polls reflect those between those before The Euros. Trying to adjust for that it looks like all 4 “Main” Parties are around 20%, with The Greens trailing on around 10%.
    Trying to work out what that split might produce in terms of MPs in a General Election is hard, going on impossible.
    The big problem in making any predictions is that 2 of the 4 are themselves split down the middle & Brexit has no track record. We may have a better idea after Thursday.
    British Politics has not been this fluid since at least the 1920s, there is everything to play for.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Jun '19 - 12:06pm

    David-1: Please omit the 1916 wartime coalition.
    This was the year my late father was born. We need to depend on historians.
    Total war over-rides party politics. The UK got a more effective Prime Minister (hence cabinet minutes and extensions to Downing Street) equal pay for female munitions workers and a widening of the franchise, including votes for women.
    The cost of tribalism included the sidelining by the Tories of an experienced naval minister, who went to serve in the army on the western front, was open to new technical military ideas and became PM in 1940.
    The cost to Liberals included an object lesson in First Past The Post elections after the war had ended.

  • Richard Underhill:

    The first wartime coalition wasn’t formed in 1916 under Lloyd George but in 1915 under Asquith, and in that one the Liberals had a (slight) majority. Lloyd George’s coalition was Conservatives + his personal following of Liberals, and naturally was Tory-dominated even if the PM was a Liberal. But it wasn’t either coalition I was referring to but the 1918 “coupon” coalition, which was formed after the Armistice and therefore had no wartime justification but was a merely political exigency.

    It was this Tory-dominated coalition with a “Liberal” leader which gave us the Anglo-Irish war, Jallianwala Bagh, Chanak, the bombing of Iraq, and similar atrocities.

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