EU Election – the results are in

Despite many challenges, Ipsos MORI's EU Parliament election poll was more accurate than any other released by a member of the British Polling Council

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
Get in touch

The 2019 European elections saw a win for the brand new Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage, big gains for the Liberal Democrats and Greens, historically poor figures for Labour and the Conservatives (their worst performance since the 1830s in a national election), and little sign that Britain is getting over its divides on Brexit.  

Predicting the results of this election in the UK was a very challenging exercise, given the methodological questions posed by low turnout, brand new parties (one of whom topped the poll), and a lot of uncertainty (32% told us they might change their mind even in the very final days before the poll, much higher than we normally see in general elections), all against a very volatile political backdrop.  Despite this, Ipsos MORI’s final poll was very accurate, getting the main story of the night right, and the vote share of all the parties within the margin of error, and most either exactly right or very close, with an average error of under one percentage point, as shown in the table below – the most accurate of all the final polls released by members of the British Polling Council.

 

Ipsos MORI prediction poll vs. EU Parliament election results
 

Final Result

Ipsos MORI poll

    20 - 22 May

Brexit Party

32 35

Lib Dem

20 20

Lab

14 15

Con

9 9

Green

12 10

UKIP

3 3

ChUK

3 3

Other

6 6

Average error

 

0.75

 

Carrying out research into how people will vote continues to face methodological challenges, and just as in any election, regardless of our performance, we will carry out a review of our methods against the final results to see what lessons can be learnt.  Nevertheless, the mostly accurate results of this difficult polling exercise suggest that polling, when used appropriately, and considering the margins of error, remains an important way of understanding public opinion during election campaigns.  Crucially, the true value of polling remains much more than simply a marker of how people will vote, but in understanding why - telling the story of the campaign and the drivers of public opinion.  For example, our regular Political Monitor earlier in the campaign showed the high levels of public criticism of the Conservatives’ Brexit strategy, matched by confusion over whether Labour was really for remain or leave, while our multi-country Global Advisor survey on public opinion across Europe showed that Britain was not the only country where there was concern with the way things are going across the EU.  

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research

More insights about Public Sector