Ukip set to win 22% this Thursday according to ComRes poll

UKIP logoMuch excitement this morning at an unusual event: a poll looking specifically at this Thursday’s local elections. And more than that, a poll showing Ukip on 22%! The full figures are:

    Conservatives 31%
    Labour on 24%
    UKIP 22%
    Lib Dems 12%

Important point: this poll was conducted only in the areas which will actually vote this week. That’s why the Tories are ahead and Labour’s behind. The equivalent vote shares compared to the last time these same seats were fought in 2009 is as follows (via the ever-excellent Anthony Wells):

    Conservatives 44%
    Labour 13%
    UKIP 5%
    Lib Dems 25%

Which means the changes compared to last time are as follows:

    Conservatives -13%
    Labour +11%
    UKIP +17%
    Lib Dems -13%

This would mean no swing from Conservative to Lib Dem (or vice versa) compared to last time these seats were fought. However, if Ukip takes a disproportionate number of votes from the Tories in certain areas it might enable the Lib Dems to win seats directly.

In those seats where the Lib Dems are fighting Labour directly the party is likely to have a much tougher time: the ComRes poll shows a swing from Lib Dem to Labour of 12%, roughly in line with what you’d expect from the current national poll ratings.

The unknown factor at the moment is (1) if Ukip will poll at this level, and (2) if they do whether it will translate into seats, or if it will result in a large number of good second and third places. As the Lib Dems know like no other party, attracting a large number of voters across the country isn’t fairly rewarded under our current skewed electoral system. Anthony Wells has estimated the Tories might lose 500 seats and Ukip gain 250 if the ComRes figures are accurate.

It does appear as if Ukip are doing very well at hoovering up the ‘none of the above’ vote the Lib Dems used to attract, as well as the patriotic, nationalist ‘Little Englander’ group which has previously been distributed among the Tories (and to a significant but lesser extent Labour). It’s not that surprising, given the unprecedented situation we now face in which all three mainstream parties have been in government within the last three years, presiding over a period of political and economic crisis.

The poll was paid for by the Coalition for Marriage, which also asked questions about whether the parties’ support for same-sex marriage would affect how people vote. Now there are good reasons for regarding such questions suspiciously: if you prompt people specifically about a single issue in a poll they’re more likely to say it’ll affect their vote than will be the actual case when they come to weigh up all the issues and cast their ballot. However, the polling intention question was asked first so there’s no reason that I know of not to take this poll at face value — with all the usual caveats that it is just one poll with the usual margin of error.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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18 Comments

  • It’ll be good to see results all messed up by FPTP, especially if, for once, it helps us.

  • “This would mean no swing from Conservative to Lib Dem (or vice versa) compared to last time these seats were fought”.

    If the poll were correct, that interpretation would be over-optimistic. On the figures above, the Lib Dems would lose more than 50% of their 2009 support, but the Tories only about 30%. In seats where the Lib Dems were ahead of the Tories in 2009, that would imply a significant swing to the Tories.

  • Here we go again, another poll which is really meaningless. It is based on a 56% certain to vote, if we believe 56% are going to vote I am a Dutchman, apologies to all my friends in the Netherlands..

  • Liberal Neil 1st May '13 - 12:16pm

    56% certain to vote and 60% male respondents to 40% female.

  • Tim Nichols 1st May '13 - 1:02pm

    Blukip voters – former Conservatives switching to Ukip, are really making for a radical transformation in the electoral landscape. It’s a fascinating phenomenon and it will be interesting for Lib Dems to see if it leads to a positive change in public support for STV.

  • paul barker 1st May '13 - 1:25pm

    The 22% for UKIP is double the Rallings & Thrasher prediction, that could be because the UKIP rise has come too late to register in byelections or it could simply reflect the difficulty of polling for elections with low turnouts, in specific areas. The poll has none of the usual political weighting & a strong bias towards men, something that would boost UKIP.

  • Roger Roberts/Wales 1st May '13 - 5:35pm

    Let’s wait and see ! UKIP-22% !We’redoomed !!

  • Andy Boddington 1st May '13 - 6:09pm

    This is a ComRes survey. The company’s results often differ widely from YouGov & Mori et al. I would not lose sleep over this percentage.

  • Mike Smithson writes:
    ” the demographic weightings that have been applied are for the GB as a whole not the specific numbers from the local authority areas up for election tomorrow”

    That sounds like a rather fatal flaw.

  • My guess is that UKIP are going to establish significant bridgeheads on a number of county councils tomorrow and will hold the balance of power on a few. I pity anyone trying to run a council under those circumstances. UKIP’s success could also lead to their collapse: I don’t know what their notional structure is as a party, but I would suspect that three people gathered together in a room can pretty much proclaim themselves to be the local branch. The slightly unhinged who currently seem to constitute most of their activists will be no match for the far right entryists who have been infiltrating the party for some time now. If they are to retain some semblance of respectability, which they probably need to do in order to attract sufficient support to gain Westminster seats, then sooner or later they will have to deal with the extremists who have latched onto them. Whether they have the ability to do that effectively I rather doubt.

  • Agree with Chris, I think your maths is a bit up the shoot, Stephen!

  • mark fairclough 1st May '13 - 7:47pm

    the county councils that are up for election take in how many parliamentary seats ?

  • Matthew Huntbach 1st May '13 - 9:07pm

    What killed off the BNP was when people found that BNP councillors were unable to contribute anything to the council, unable to do casework, unable to meet the unrealistic promises they had made in their election campaign, and all in all not just nasty but also plain thick.

    I suspect much the same will happen if significant number of UKIP councillors are elected.

  • Stephen Tall writes: ‘the patriotic, nationalist ‘Little Englander’ group which has previously been distributed among the Tories (and to a significant but lesser extent Labour). ‘. I’d just like to point out that the term ‘Little Englander’ was first applied to the once formidable but now extinct Liberal Party’s leader Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, by Baron Ponsonby (Democrat, Independent, Labour). This was at a time when there was much discussion as to whether Britain remain as a massive imperial power or should concern itself more with what goes on within the borders of the UK. The ‘Little Englanders’ believed the latter. It is ironic that the UKIP seem far more attuned to the traditional ‘Liberal’ agenda than the Liberal Democrats of today:

    “A despotic Government tries to make everybody do what it wishes; a Liberal Government tries, as far as the safety of society will permit, to allow everybody to do as he wishes. It has been the tradition of the Liberal party consistently to maintain the doctrine of individual liberty. It is because they have done so that England is the place where people can do more what they please than in any other country in the world…It is this practice of allowing one set of people to dictate to another set of people what they shall do, what they shall think, what they shall drink, when they shall go to bed, what they shall buy, and where they shall buy it, what wages they shall get and how they shall spend them, against which the Liberal party have always protested” Sir William Harcourt, Liberal 1872

    The same could also be applied to ‘The Conservatives’ (which used to conserve) and even to ‘Labour’ (which used to be for ‘working people’). I’m pleased that people are beginning to wake up these days.

  • What’s all the fuss about UKIP?

    The reality is unlike both the Greens and Respect UKIP have never managed to get anyone elected to Parliament – if either of those parties were getting even half the media coverage UKIP get, they’d be on track to form single party majority governments in the next parliament!!!

    Even if UKIP double their number of local councillors they’ll still have less councillors than the Greens. And, the question that should be put to the electorate in relation to them is ” Would you want them running your local council much less parliament?”

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