5 Things to Look For in the Euro Elections

Here we reproduce with permission a Facebook status identifying things to look out for when the results start coming in….

1) Are the Tories set to get their lowest EVER national share of the vote?

The Tories are polling at around 11% – that would be significantly down on their previous lowest ever national vote shares, of 24% in the 2014 European elections and 25% in the 1999 local elections (according to this database). The Daily Telegraph warned that the “Conservative vote share could be lowest since 1834”.

So however some in the media try to spin it – and try to turn this into a Labour crisis as well as a Tory one – the collapse of the Tory vote looks set to be the biggest story of election night.

(2) Will Labour’s support be in line with recent European elections?

Labour’s vote shares over the past 20 years in European elections are: 26% (1999), 22% (2004), 15% (2009), and 24% (2014). Currently, Labour’s polling average is 20% – in the middle of the range of those previous results. That is a far cry from the impending disaster that much of the media is projecting. More importantly, the results of European elections tell you very little about the next General Election. Labour’s vote at European elections is always way below its results at subsequent General Elections, where turnout is much higher.

(3) Will the Lib Dems do more than simply recover their pre-Coalition levels of support?

Over the past 20 years in European elections, the Lib Dems have won 12% (1999), 14% (2004) and 13% (2009) of the vote. This fell to 7% in 2014 during the Coalition with the Tories. The Lib Dems are now polling around 15%, ever so slightly higher than their pre-Coalition levels of support. If that’s accurate, then it would be far from the political earthquake some of the Lib Dem’s media backers are predicting.

(4) Will the Brexit Party do significantly better than UKIP did in 2014?

Nigel Farage’s UKIP got 27% in 2014. Farage’s Brexit Party is currently polling around five percentage points above that, at 32%. Given Farage topped the European polls in 2014 but then fell to 13% at the general election a year later, it is important not to draw too many conclusions from any Farage election victory.

Of course the rise of the Farage and of even more extreme right-wing forces in British politics over the past 20 years is deeply worrying and needs to be tackled head on.

(5) Will the right-wing’s vote share be down on 2014?

In the 2014 European elections, the right-wing parties combined vote share was 52% (UKIP 27%, Tories 23%, BNP/English Democrats 2%). Currently it is around 46% (Brexit 32%, Tories 11%, UKIP 3%) which is down by 6%. So although the Brexit Party appears to be heavily eating into Tory and UKIP support, it may be the case that the right overall goes backwards.

All current polling figures are from this average of the polls https://twitter.com/LeftieStats/status/1130105764402618373

The original post by Lee Brown can be found here.