Who will you vote for?
After a fortnight of ‘phoney-campaigns’ the election month proper is underway! While everyone’s trying to unpick what the local election results mean, at The Daily Election we’re poring over yesterday’s General Election poll: ‘Who will you vote for?’. If TDE members are right, an increased Tory majority (though largely due to a Labour collapse), and a resurgent LibDem party.
Approach everything we say with extreme scepticism. We think our sample is good and broad, the average age was 37, which is around the national average, and there was a decent geographical spread. But as even the most experienced pollsters have utterly flunked the last two UK elections, Brexit and the US election, it seems that the TDE office Magic 8 Ball might be equally trustworthy. (as if to prove this, we just shook it and the read out is ‘I have my doubts’…). Also, we’ve not cleverly weighted our results, this is them ‘raw’.
And final piece of arse-covering: we’ve got a very long month ahead of us. Even if our poll was perfect (and it’s not), we haven’t seen the manifestos or TV debates, we’ve not had the gaffes and revelations that are part-and-parcel of a campaign and, lest we forget the PM’s bizarre speech yesterday, shadowy forces in Brussels are still hoping to affect the outcome. And this assumes that Vladimir Putin’s not got anything on any of them. Nothing is certain until June 9th.
Right, here’s our results (and the 2015 swing)…
Conservatives: 38% (0% swing)
Labour: 21% (-10%)
UKIP: 5% (-8%)
LibDems: 21% (+12%)
Green: 3% (-1%)
SNP: 3% (-1%)
Plaid Cymru 2% (+1%)
Setting aside the 7% waverers, who may be very crucial if they can be bothered to make up their minds and/or turn up on polling day, this is how this would translate in parliament:
Conservatives: 361 seats (+46)
Labour: 177 seats (-55)
UKIP: 0 seats (-1)
LibDems: 35 seats (+28)
Green: 1 seat (0)
SNP: 50 seats (-6)
Plaid Cymru: 5 (+2)
Our England data feels pretty solid, we’re a little shakier in Scotland and Wales, but here’s our analysis:
This would be pretty much in line with mainstream feeling, that Labour are slowly caving in on themselves like a flan in the oven and that regardless of whether the LibDems hate gay people they’ve been given an electoral get-out-of-jail card and won’t have to wait until 2020 to be a ‘thing’ again. And as for the Tories, it seems that however much they twist the thumbscrews through continued austerity, the fact that we’re almost certainly going to get the sort of Brexit that hardly anyone wanted and that their leader even coined the phrase ‘the nasty party’, they’re looking to get a stonking majority out of this.
Though not an increase in vote-share. The Tories are already riding at quite a high and they’d be lucky to get a much bigger bite of the vote-pie. But it’s also clear that Theresa May will be giving up some hard-won seats back to the LibDems. We ask all our members their usual voting preference when they download the app or sign up on our website. A glance through the data suggests that where this voting intention has flipped from Conservative to Liberal Democrat the seat is more than likely to be in London or the South West. If we overlay our results from our poll on EU referendum day last June (how will you vote on Brexit?) and match to individual members then there seems to be some correlation between a Tory remain vote and a switcheroo to the LibDems.
However, bad news for Zac Goldsmith is good news for any Tory MPs feeling the UKIP heat last time round. UKIP’s vote-share is down nearly as much as Labour’s and they’re pretty uniformly jumping onto the Theresa May bandwagon. With Nigel Farage hitting the US lecture circuit and UKIP’s single-issue dealt with, this was perhaps predictable, but the opportunity to mop up their votes was very likely the motivation behind the Prime Minister’s ‘interference from Europe’ speech. We saw that nearly half of our UKIPpers had abandoned their party. One of the anomalies of our poll were the handful of UKIP voters who are now going to side with the LibDems. It is entirely unclear what kind of epiphany or personal experience might have happened to cause this, maybe it was that bloke who shouted at Tim Farron the other day?!
As for the LibDems, a good showing for them and a return to parliamentary credibility after the 2015 election left them with a people-carrier’s worth of actual MPs. Our prediction of 35 seats will be welcome, but it’s not nearly the 57 they had in 2010 or a return to the heady days of 2005 when they scored 62. However, we’ll see a return of heavyweights like Vince Cable, who will know where the bodies are buried from the coalition days, and it’s a solid platform to grow from in 2022. Before they pop the cork on the vegan non-alcoholic champagne, it’s worth noting that some former LibDem voters are finding new homes in Labour (not literally, obviously, Labour has an abysmal house-building record). And a small number have even flit to their former coalition partners, the Conservatives, presumably a sort of political Stockholm’s Syndrome.
There’s no sugar-coating it, though, it’s a bad day for Jeremy Corbyn; a man so used to bad days that even Job himself would buckle at the thought of another media briefing from Seamus Milne. This is a drubbing for Labour and the self-inflicted bloody destiny that the Labour movement’s been striving for since Tony Blair decided to become a billionaire instead of Prime Minister. Our poll shows traditional Labour voters disappearing down nearly every hole, with votes going to mainly to the Tories and LibDems, but also ending up in the Greens’ and UKIP’s ballot boxes.
Polls like these will please the Tories and encourage the LibDems, what Labour do next, though, is unclear. An election disaster might focus the mind, but ultimately Jeremy Corbyn may well stick around, with nobody able to waft him out. Our polling seems to show that in absolute Labour heartland, especially in the North, the mainstay of Labour voters are sticking the course, and it’s not impossible that they’ll kamakazi him back into the leader’s job again in what’s becoming the annual Labour leadership contest. And who knows, maybe there won’t be any Blairites left after Tory and LibDem gains?
Final thought, don’t forget those 7% who were other/none/undecided, they could swing this race in any direction. The local election results start trickling in in just a few hours and they’ll likely paint a miserable picture for Labour, but don’t count your chickens. The next month gives Corbyn a unique platform and zero expectations could help him. After all, he’s essentially a populist and in very recent history we’ve seen other populists win back from tight corners to surprise everyone.