A new poll by Ipsos for The Evening Standard shows the Brexit Party on course to come first in today’s European Parliament elections in Great Britain. Among registered voters who say they are ‘certain to vote’, the Brexit Party is in first place with 35% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats follow with 20% and 15% say they will vote for the Labour Party. The Green Party and Conservatives trail with 10% and 9% of the vote respectively.
Headline voting intention figures (based on registered voters who say they are certain to vote)
- Brexit Party 35%
- Liberal Democrats 20%
- Labour 15%
- Green 10%
- Conservative 9%
- UKIP 3%
- Change UK 3%
- Others 6%
When asked whether they have definitely decided who to vote for, 66% say that they have ‘definitely decided’ whereas 32% say that they may change their mind. Some 90% of Brexit Party voters say that they have definitely decided to vote for the party. In contrast, 46% of Green voters, 44% of Labour voters and 40% of Liberal Democrat voters say that they may change their mind. This may reflect the relative breadth of choice Remain voters have in terms of parties to vote for when compared to Leave supporters. Meanwhile, 52% of those planning to vote Conservative in the European elections say that they may still change their mind.
Overall, the number who have definitely decided who they will vote for is low by historic standards for other types of elections. For example, in the final Ipsos prediction poll at the 2017 General Election some 80% had definitely decided who they were going to vote for. This compares to 87% at the 2016 EU referendum and 78% at the 2015 General Election.
Six in ten (61%) Britons say that it is important to them who wins the European elections (only 34% that it is very important), while 36% say it is not important. Once again, the overall number who say this election is important to them is significantly lower than witnessed at past elections. In the final Ipsos prediction polls at the 2017 General Election, 2016 EU referendum and 2015 General Election, some 86% said it was important to them who won.
The figures above suggest that the result of today’s election is volatile and uncertain. The result is important to significantly fewer Britons than past elections, suggesting a low turnout contest dominated by highly motived voter groups. Meanwhile, voters deciding who to support late could have a profound impact on the outcome. Whereas supporters of the Brexit Party appear strongly committed to their vote, supporters of other parties appear less so. This means that although the Brexit Party can be more confident in their votes, the relative position of other parties is still uncertain.
The Brexit Party is primarily drawing support from the Conservative Party. More than half (54%) of Conservative voters from the 2017 General Election planning to vote in this election say that they will vote for the Brexit Party, with just one in five (20%) staying with the Conservative Party and one in eight (13%) planning to vote for the Liberal Democrats. The Labour Party are retaining a greater proportion of their 2017 vote that plans to vote in this election (43%) but almost one in four (22%) say that they will vote Lib Dem, 15% for the Brexit Party and 15% for the Greens.
Commenting on the findings, Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos, said:
Both Labour and the Conservatives are suffering in this election, while the Brexit Party looks set to be the winner. We’ve seen how Conservative party voters in particular dislike their party’s approach to Brexit, and prefer Nigel Farage’s party’s line, while Labour supporters are confused over exactly what Labour would do about Brexit if it were in power. But there are two important caveats. Firstly, this election is particularly difficult to predict, one that traditionally has low turnout and is seen as less important by the public, with high numbers of voters who may still change their minds (especially those supporting parties other than the Brexit party) and the emergence of brand new parties adding to the volatility. And secondly, it will be important to look at how the public responds after the results are announced. Will Brexit continue to damage the two main traditional parties, and provide a spring in the step to the others, or will traditional party loyalties recover – perhaps for the Conservatives under a new leader and a new approach? Whatever happens though the questions Brexit is asking of the main parties and the voter coalitions they rely on are not going away.
Notes to Editors:
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,527 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone between 20th and 22nd May 2019. Data are weighted to the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. On the basis of the historical record, there is a 9 in 10 chance that in polls at general elections the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by the poll, and a 2 in 3 chance that they lie within 2 points. However, given the circumstances of this European Parliament election, including the volatility of party support and the likelihood of turnout much lower than at a general election, the margin of error may be wider than this. This is especially important to keep in mind when calculating party lead figures.