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18+23+12 = 53%

Are the other 47% of Conservative voters picking Labour as their second preference?

We need be working that 16% of Lib Dems hard - that is the "bell" of the bell curve we are trying to capture.

If this is true (which I massively doubt), it's terribly disappointing to see the Party is still a Poujadist movement of intemperates who would 2nd pref monomaniac far-right loony parties rather than mainstream parties.

This then feeds non-Tory voters' concerns that we are a bunch of far-right idiots: hence the surprising lead for Labour over us in LibDem 2nd prefs.

It's a vicious circle which we must break if we are to win. Only proves change needs to go wider & deeper.

A word of caution here. The results do not bear scrutiny at all. YouGov, remember, is the pollster which has consistently found ukip support at 4-5%, a result borne out by no other major pollster whatsoever nor by recent election results.

Furthermore, looking at real results we see that BNP gains come in Labour and not Tory areas. It is inconceivable, as this poll suggests, that a mere 3% of Labour voters have BNP as their second choice. Actual election results prove that this is hopelessly off. Barking & Dagenham?

ICM found completely the opposite result - that Conservative voters overwhelmingly have the LibDems as their second choice with UKIP and the BNP nowhere.

As YouGov's suggestion that only 3% of Lab voters have BNP as second pref is incredible on its face, I think we can safely dismiss this, along with YouGov's rougeish figures for ukip, unrelflected in any other polling company.

No matter how regrettable you may find the results of second choice preferences, you mustn't ignore them. You must deal with the world as you find it, particularly when having to deal with the electorate, not as you wish that it was.

Melissa, in addition, 6% each said Greens and Labour, and 31% said they had no second choice, or didn't know.

I can't say these figures come as any surprise to me, although they may to those who thought they'd joined a left wing party.

UKIP would certainly be my second choice.

I can't say it surprises me, most Tory voters that I know, express views much further to the right, (if thats the right term) than the current Conservative leadership. Whatever they are, they aren't Liberal Conservatives.

"As YouGov's suggestion that only 3% of Lab voters have BNP as second pref is incredible on its face"

I expect that's down to self-censorship on the part of Labour voters. We know the potential number who can switch to BNP is much higher.

Most other pollsters are finding UKIP at <1%, so it doesn't appear many of that 18% are getting tempted away.

Well, it's the second choice. My guess is these figures would be confirmed by next year's London Assembly elections.

Sean, we do indeed, and if one result is risibly off, then the whole thing is tainted. We know for a fact that isn't true, so why should the Tory figures be? Which pollster is more likely to be correct... ICM, that found a huge LibDem second pref for the Tories with ukip invisible, or YouGov, the only pollster to record ukip figures of 4-5%?

How come only YouGov shows this - ICM, Populus, nobody else has it?

Something's rotten in YouGov's data on "others" and the idea that 3% of Labour, only, have the BNP second is proof positive of that.

Tory T is indulging in wishful thinking. UKIP support in opinion polls will always be higher than in by-elections. Opinion pollsters ask who respondents would support at a general election.

UKIP and BNP will see a huge surge in their support at the European elections in 2009, as in 2004.

Due to the desire of the electorate to rid itself of the Labour government, UKIP support will fall back at the general election but will be enough to deprive the Conservatives of several seats. The support for BNP will be even smaller.

The greater the Tory lead in opinion polls, the greater will be temptation for anti-EU voters to cast a protest vote for UKIP or the BNP.

I would take the 2nd preference poll ratings with a pinch of salt. Has there been any evidence of these figures being correct in local by elections in recent months?
It not, then I would dismiss these findings.

This is incredibly frustrating, and will confirm some floating voters' fears that we're all closet racists and fascists. The most frustrating thing is that the BNP are positively lacking ANY right-wing policies whatsoever. In fact, it is Labour majorities in elections which are most susceptible to the BNP.

The BNP's mindless anti-immigrant rhetoric does not translate into a BNP-Conservative ideological crossover, just because the Conservatives are vocal in their concern that immigration has.

We've got to work harder at distinguishing our moderate and justified concerns over such issues from those of the violent thugs from the abhorrent BNP. We are reaping the whirlwind of the 2005 Election Campaign and those sinister 'Are you thinking what we're thinking?' posters.

Tory T, ICM asked a different question "who would you consider voting for at the next election", and allowed people to name as many parties as they liked.

Even that poll came up with a figure for UKIP, 14%, which was not that different from Yougov's figure.

We should also bear in mind that Yougov was the first pollster to identify that UKIP would win a big vote in the Euro elections of 2004.

In all honesty, I see nothing at all implausible in the idea that one in five Conservatives would rate UKIP as their second choice.

We have to admit that we, as the with the other major parties have been very ineffective at campaigning against the BNP.
Our policy seems to have been to ignore them. I don't personally think that is very wise.
Like most people I suspect, I have no idea whether this poll is accurate or not but personally I would not be suprised if it were. Yougov does generally have a good reputation.
Whilst I am sure the Editor is right when he says that indicating another party as a second preference does not mean that people will actually vote them our failure to highlight the importance to many people of immigration and Europe may lead to results like this.

I'm honestly struggling to see what the problem here is.

I thought we wanted people who vote UKIP in the Euro-elections to vote for us in the General.

I thought we wanted people who were tempted to vote for the BNP to abandon them and return to voting for mainstream parties.

These figures perhaps demonstrate that the Conservatives are doing that. What's the problem?

I'm not at all suprised about these figures, however lets not forget that they mean nothing at all. Everyone in this survey has said they are going to vote Tory, so there really shouldn't be an issue. If asked second preference I'd probably answer UKIP, but I doubt I ever will vote UKIP.

I see Ted Heath's Ghost is back at 15.31....and judging by the splenetic rambling, has been on the gin in the Strangers' Bar overnight. Terrible that people should have views that don't chime with the Tory left. I blame one man one vote myself.

Adam -- I rather thought we wanted people who used to vote for us, but now vote LibDem at local, General AND Euro-elections, to vote for us again. That requires an entirely different strategy to simple Europhobic rhetoric.

I suspect that "Margaret on the Guillotine" is Justin Hinchcliff. It is remarkable how they appear to post at around the same time.

"I rather thought we wanted people who used to vote for us, but now vote LibDem at local, General AND Euro-elections, to vote for us again"

No. We take our support where we can find it.

YouGov do internet polling. That's why their poll results are different from the others...

Why the obsession with former Tory voters who vote Lib Dem unless you are leftwing too? They amount to far less than 20% of voters and clearly prefer to vote for a leftwing party. Ever thought of focussing on the 30+% who don't vote at all?

Didn't UKIP get around 4-5% in a couple of recent local elections?

UKIP and BNP will see a huge surge in their support at the European elections in 2009, as in 2004.

Due to the desire of the electorate to rid itself of the Labour government, UKIP support will fall back at the general election but will be enough to deprive the Conservatives of several seats.
It is improbable that the General Election will be on any other day than the General Election.

Certainly UKIP support has surged at recent European Elections, but so far as the BNP goes it hasn't been much different than their Local Election performances and for the BNP has more to do with low turnout. With the European Elections and Local Elections on the same day I would expect Labour gains in those, but many voting in the General Election will still not vote in the European Elections and many will vote different ways in different elections - a lot of people who vote Labour or Conservative in the General Election may well vote UKIP in the European Election and Liberal Democrat in the Local Elections, I won't go through various common permutations but it could lead to very different results in different elections on the same day as Labour could win the General Election but come behind the Conservatives in the Local Elections and who knows who might come first in the European Elections, is it even inconceivable that UKIP could end up as the leading British Party in the European Parliament?

Tory T does not make a valid point.

Not everyone has a UKIP candidate to vote for, the polling question of necessity cannot take that into account.

Nonetheless, UKIP can deprive us of seats.

Tory T should know than from Thanet.

Yet Another Anon wrote "It is improbable that the General Election will be on any other day than the General Election." What a genius!!

Freudian slip - I mean it is improbable that the General Election will be on any other day than that of the European Elections and that the Council Elections will be moved to that day.

I find the UKIP as the second choice of our voters as disappointing more than the BNP. Mainly, the elderly I suspect who don't seem to realise that they are virtually disenfranchising themselves if they vote UKIP.

I am standing in the local elections in a ward where a derelict church in a nice residential area is going to be converted to a mosque. The C of E have already sold it to the muslims - an action as C of E myself I find disappointing, without any consultation with the locals.It is in a totally unsuitable area for a mosque - i.e no parking facilities among other things. Are we surprised that the little old lady who has lived opposite for 40 years and many others would consider voting BNP. Needless to say the BNP are already active in the area and it is a case of who they take their votes off. I would have said that the locals are up in arms but perhaps that may not be a suitable phrase!

Having 18% of Conservative voters prefering UKIP as their second choice, and a further 12% choosing BNP does give a good indication of the positioning of Conservative voters. And that position is far to the right of PR posturings of Dave Cameron. It has been said that Dave does not believe in anything, so what policies could we expect if the Conservatives won the General Election? Will the electors really buy a pig in a poke?

The European Elections will be in June 2009. If the polls continue to give the Conservatives a healthy lead, Labour will probably hang on to 2010 as John Major did in 1997.

As for the opinion poll - I note it is being said that the figure is 4% down on that of the General Election, in fact to be exact to compare an opinion poll in the future with a past General Election is not comparing like with like, the General Election was not conducted by MORI - it might be reasonable to compare an opinion poll of the time with the General Election, but surely for the time of the General Election the best thing to compare an opinion poll of the current time to would be an opinion poll of the same pollster at that General election and on the General Election day the MORI poll showed Labour on 38%, Conservative on 33% and Liberal Democrat on 23%. Why they might differ is a matter for other argument, but in fact Labour's figure would be 6% down on that of the day of the election.

Of course on election days sometimes the governing parties vote has been lower than that shown in polls on the day and sometimes higher, it would be reasonable to suppose that opinion polls would be likely to be less inaccurate or more accurate (depending on your perspective) when actually conducted on the General Election day itself than others further out.

The 1997-2003 period obviously was unusual, not just in the sense of how dominated it was by one party who in the past except on 2 occasions only scraped into government when they did win, but also the current parliament is the first third term of a Labour government. In every parliament as long as I can remember it has been said by the media at some point usually in mid-term that the government either will have to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats\Alliance or that they are heading for certain defeat. 1980 and Margaret Thatcher was supposedly out and Michael Foot going to be in, 1986 and it was going to be a Coalition or Alliance victory, 1989-92 and supposedly it was going to be a Labour or Coalition government, 1995 and supposedly the Conservative Party was going to be wiped out, late 2000 and supposedly things were going to be close, 2004 and supposedly things were on course for a Hung Parliament - even in 1997-2001 Labour had some mid-term problems.

When parties are seen as being unfashionable it would appear that their support tends to be higher than what the opinion polls say (as with the Conservative Party certainly in 1980-81, 1989-92, 1992-99, 2000-03) and when it is seen as being trendy to vote for a particular party then their vote tends to be over-represented (as Labour's certainly was from 1980-81, 1985-86, 1988-92, 1992-2000, 2001-03).

Really of what you want is the LibDems then please go and join them and stop trying to turn the Conservative party away from being conservative.

In the French Presidential election campaign there is considerable comment on the best methodology to be used in allowing for what I will call the 'shame' factor in measuring support for Le Pen. I have seen figures of as much as plus 6 per cent being discussed.

BNP results, especially on a second choice basis are likely to be even more widely adrift.

In the absence of any party policy differences or real nationalist party alternatives in England I would be very surprised if the BNP May results are not as spectacular as Le Pen's in the first Presidential round last time.

IMO if the UKIP stick to their hustings for MEP selection and shed some of their older Strasbourg Snouters then Cameron's first major disaster at UKIP's hands will probably have to wait until the next Euro elections.

BNP's day however is now less than one month away!

"but many of us will be hugely disappointed to learn that more than a tenth of likely Conservative voters have a inclination to vote BNP"

After years of experience both in (no longer I am glad to say) and out of the Conservative Party this verdict doesn't surprise me at all.

As ever, scratch a Conservative and you will find an extremist beneath the skin. Yes they were the nasty party and so they are still.

Last time I came on this site various Neo-Thatcherites were decrying MORI and the Independent polls because they failed to produce the desired result.

Now YouGov joins them in the Tory bin, it seems.

Utterly pathetic.

The fact that Conservative supporters would have UKIP or BNP as second choice is very offputting for me as a potential 'liberal' Conservative voter. It does surprise me though that BNP does not rank higher for Labour voters. In inner city council estates with worries about immigration wouldn't it be natural Labour voters that would be tempted to vote for them?

Correction to the last line with apologies-

BNP's day will soon be less than one month away!

UKIP are left wing with affiliations to Labours Searchlight organisation.If you would like to check you will see Cameron is one of their supporters.

Question is,how Labour are the Tories/Cameron?

What a funny poll and I am surprised Melissa Bean missed it. Fewer Conservatives have an alternative party choice than Lib Dem or Labour voters......does that suggest a more solid Conservative vote or higher abstentions ?

Lets get real.Conservative voters are just pathetic Liberals now that Cameron is in charge so their second vote must be for the Liberals or Blairs Nu-Labour.

70% of Tory voters wouldn't suport either UKIP or the BNP and of the 30% polled who said they would I'm not suprised by UKIP share - there are some very Eurosceptic Tories. Actually pleasantly surprised to see that less than 1 in 5 are Better Off Out types.

I am suprised that as many as 1 in 8 say BNP, but if they are anti-Labour/current Government, see the Lib Dems as another left wing party , don't think Climate Change is an issue and view UKIP as a busted fush I suppose there is only the BNP to name if theiy are pressed. The only upside is that they still support the Cameron led Conservatives rather than an extremist alternative so despite their second preferences they'll get a moderate, centre right socially liberal government in return for their votes.

"The only upside is that they still support the Cameron led Conservatives rather than an extremist alternative so despite their second preferences"

In other words Cameron is getting support from BNP-oriented people.

Doesn't that rather let the cat out of the bag?

Also Ted, as you are such a great expert on -- well just about everything -- maybe you'd like to explain why the Tory lead is falling?

Just another rogue poll eh?

maybe you'd like to explain why the Tory lead is falling?
Apart from the fact that opinion polls are notoriously unreliable, esxpecially mid-term ones - actually support of the three main parties as given remains much the same it has been shown as in opinion polls for a long time with Conservative support given as only marginally higher generally than it had been earlier on in the year.

If you mean this poll in relation to the last MORI one then the change in the Labour vote is even within the wildly optimistic margins of error that the pollsters posit.

"As ever, scratch a Conservative and you will find an extremist beneath the skin. Yes they were the nasty party and so they are still."

Or rather just 10% of them. And which party's voters have been swtiching to the BNp en masse recently? Labour.

"The fact that Conservative supporters would have UKIP or BNP as second choice is very offputting for me as a potential 'liberal' Conservative voter."

UKIP are trying to portray themselves as a moderate libertarian party but so far without success it would seem. Comparing them to the BNP is silly as they don't uphold racial nationalist beliefs and believe in a free-market economy. Nevertheless, I don't deny that they have a reputation for being Colonel Blimps.

Melissa Bean (15:30)
We Liberal Democrats need to be working that 23% of Conservatives hard - that is the "bell" of the bell curve we are trying to capture.

Calling parties either 'Left-wing' or 'Right-wing' is a bit of a blunt instrument and can't really take into account the views of any political party. It's a very general statement. The BNP undeniably is 'Right-wing' in many senses - its trenchant opposition to bogus 'asyum-seekers', immigration in general, its views on national sovereignty with regard to the EU, support for capital and corporal punishment and its generally-speaking isolationist stance on foreign affairs. Many of their economic policies such as they are could be defined as 'left-wing' as they for selective protectionism but then that is what Japan engaged in post-WW2 and who would really call Japan a 'socialist' country?

Also, some Tories in the distant past such as Joseph Chamberlain promoted protectionist economic views so even that aspect of BNP policies do find an echo in past Tory thinking.

The most important thing to realise from these findings is that the idea that tactical voting against the Tories by both Labour and Lib Dem voters is just going to disappear is a complete myth.

There are some interesting issues about the Lib Dem vote where there the larger percentages indicate the party is split between those who lean towards us and those that are really socialist-environmentalists.

My feeling is that those 16% of Liberals who lean towards us, do like Cameron and a more forward looking, caring Conservative party. They may not necessarily be green liberals but may well like the commitment to making the NHS work and finding ways to help communities and the disadvantaged.

The stragety Cameron has adopted has been broadly correct. We can never win by appealing to a more shrill core base because there just aren't enough of them and they tend to hold negative, purely reactionary views that would make it hard to devise positive and forward looking solutions.


Everyone's focusing on the 30% who gave UKIP or BNP as a second choice, but more (35%) give Lib Dems, Lab or Greens a second choice and the rest none at all. (Personally when I last did have to make a choice, in the Newham Mayoral election, I gave my second preference to Labour over the Lib Dems, Christian People's Alliance and "George Galloway's 'RESPECT'", though as much for tactical reasons as anything else.)

Ted; surely you must be a LibDems first Conservatives second type of voter judging by your various posts.Quite where you get the idea that the Cameron led Tories are anywhere to the right of centre is beyond me, as is the assertion that they are socially liberal.There is no evidence to support either of these beliefs at all as yet. Of course there might be when we finally get to see some hard and fast policies as opposed to just soundbites.

And the main thing that this entire thread proves is that nobody really knows what the voters are thinking for sure and even less can they accurately predict how people will actually vote when it comes to it.Most voters don't pay much attention to the traditional left wing/right wing arguments, so beloved of far too many of us, including me, on CH. they skim vaguely through what they think are the various parties slates and pick up on one or two promises that resonate with them.

The evidence is also very strongly that it is ex Labour voters, the dispossesd white working classes, who go BNP not Tories, just look at the London Borough of Barking and Dagneham for the proof of that.

You can always tell when Labour are rattled by the Conservatives because they retreat to that last stand of a British political scoundrel; unfounded accusations of racism and fascism.

30% of Conservative second votes would go to UKIP or BNP? Enoch Powell and his racist legacy lives on in the Tory Party!!!

Also, some Tories in the distant past such as Joseph Chamberlain promoted protectionist economic views so even that aspect of BNP policies do find an echo in past Tory thinking.
Historically the Conservatives and earlier Tories stood for protection while Whigs/Liberals and Labour stood for free trade. The Whig Party was the party of the Free Market and for a time after it the Liberal Party. Favouring protection and supporting the Free Market inside a country or favouring Free Trade while inside a single country having a mixed or command economy are both not neccessarily mutually exclusive.

In the French Revolutionary Parliament at the end of the 19th century the Leftists and Rightists were Protectionist and the people who sat in the Centre and backed Robespierre were Free Trade and generally favourable to the Free Market. Certainly the centre was very enthusiastic about executions, in the USSR Stalin carried out huge massacres.

The whole left-right-centre thing is a charade there still to provide simple labels for the media to use for people who don't really have clearly thought out views about what they believe and who is most likely to achieve what they want.

I'm not sure the Council in B&D should have used our money for this, but apparently, they did some polling after the '06 council elections and asked people who voted BNP, why? This was one of those questions where they gave they 10 options and the top answer was "because there wasn't a Tory to vote for".

This suggests to me that the BNP vote there was a fairly traditional protest vote going to the only realistic home. It is interesting that both UKIP and Conservatives, where they stood candidates, did well, but the weakness of the local Conservatives meant that in many wards, there was no candidate and in others, just one.

However, the local BNP are active and working the streets and our response, which is limited by lack of resources I admit, has to be to do the same or even with Tory candidates at the General Election, they could easily swing a shock result.

As ever, if you don't deliver the leaflets and knock on the doors, you don't get the help, support and votes and those who do will capitalise. That is how the Golden Shower get their toe-holds and then go on to win Council seats and parliamentary seats. We didn't see that coming until it was too late. Will we make the same mistake with the BNP?

Why is it 'nasty' to want to stop further immigration ? Don't we need time to assimilate those who've come recently, and isn't that a view shared by the overwhelming majority?

This was one of those questions where they gave they 10 options and the top answer was "because there wasn't a Tory to vote for".

There certainly was a shortage of Tory candidates in B & D. But even where the Tories did run candidates against the BNP, the BNP won easily.

Conservative, NuLabour, Lib Dem - I ask you what difference does it make now?

In Mrs Thatcher's day both Barking and the seat of Dagenham which had been solidly Labour since the 1930's nearly fell to the Tories in the general elections of 1983 and 1987. They were both Labour marginals then. The BNP in that borough has picked-up virtually all of the 'working-class' Tory vote which used to exist there when Mrs Thatcher was at the helm.

However, I think the BNP's supporters would have previously voted for all three of the larger parties and many of them are people who voted for the other parties in the past, stopped voting for them and have now vote BNP instead of abstaining. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the BNP has recruited quite a few voters from the 'none of the above' party.

Conservative, NuLabour, Lib Dem - I ask you what difference does it make now?

Posted by: ukfirst | March 31, 2007 at 14:38

Conservatives only accept votes from Etonians....the other parties are not fussy

Nobody seems to have noticed that the largest party of second choice, for Conservatives, are the Liberals (23% of us would, if forced, select LD as second-party of choice). Isn't that a sign that the loudest voices here are not representative of mainstream conservative thinking? And that 16% of LibDems favour Conservatives. Assuming c.20% LibDem opinion poll support, attracting those people would add >3% to Tory support, which would be a very comfortable post-40% poll lead. Then add on the .9*.31 support to be garnered from Labour voters, and you have a Westminster majority. So this evidence is vindication of Team Cameron strategy. Unless you believe that crafting a manifesto to appeal to the BNP/UKIP is more electorally worthwhile, which of course it isn't, on any level (even numerical).

But it's striking, IMO, Graeme, that as many Conservative voters would give their second preference to right wing fringe parties as would give their second preferenct to the other two mainstream parties.

Barry - there is plainly a big floating vote in B & D that voted Conservative in the Eighties, switched back to Labour in the Nineties, voted Lib Dem in the 2002 local elections, and which then went BNP last year.

ATM (is that Lord Levy?) says on 1 April: "Conservatives only accept votes from Etonians....the other parties are not fussy"

This would reduce the party to even fewer votes than he probably means. Etonians comprise present-day pupils, most of whom are under voting age. Old Etonians on the other hand are a somewhat larger group. The Labour Party has of course increased their voting power at General Elections by allowing hereditary peers excluded from the Lords the vote, but even so...

I firmly believe that the Conservative Party should also be open to votes from the old boys of Winchester, Westminster, Harrow - even St Paul's. Fettes and Cheltenham Ladies College are more difficult and, despite the strength of my inclusive instincts, one might need to draw the line there.

If this approach were adopted, you have to admit that the BNP would suffer, although maybe not UKIP.

I profoundly disagree with this article.

See this link for why:


Or even just go to my blog as it won't fit on the page


Well I'm one of those Tories voting BNP on the second choice. UKIP are such an obvious set up to dilute the Right Wing protest vote they wont be getting my help.

I want to see clear policies from the top down on the Islamification of Britain by stealth and force and since he only party with the testicles to say it is the BNP then thats where my second, (possibly first vote too) is going.

I've been a Conservative for thirty years and I dont recognise the Party.

As an ex-Tory ward chairman, who saw the light about the mainstream political parties all being the same, I am glad that come May 4th you will see many more BNP councillors. It's high time many of you started reading the BNP policies and stopped repeating the age-old BBC Guardiansta mantra about BNP being "racist thugs". For our country's sake start reading and do less spouting!

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