Big boost for the big three in ICM EU election poll

Big boost for the big three in ICM EU election poll

CON 30 (+4) LAB 24(+1) LD 18 (+3) UKIP 10(-6)
GRN 9(3) SNP/PC 4(+2) BNP 1(-4) OTH 3(-3)

Could turnout distort the pollsters’ projections?

There’s a new Guardian ICM poll on the June 4th Euro elections out this afternoon which suggests that in spite of everything the main parities are all set for an increase of ten points between them compared with what happened in the last elections five years ago.

This goes very much against other EU election polling that we’ve seen and the general view that the established parties were being hammered by the MPs expense disclosures.

One of the massive challenges for all pollsters with these elections is estimating the impact of turnout. Five years ago this was 38.5% but the elections took place on the same day as the metropolitan borough and London elections and large parts of England saw their turnout increase sharply because of all postal voting.

A week on Thursday the simultaneous elections are broadly confined to the old shire counties where there are either county council or new unitary authority elections. But in the heavily populated conurbations of London, the West and East Midlands, the North West, Yorkshire and the North East the euro elections will be the only voting that is taking place.

My guess is that overall turnout in Britain (excluding NI) will be closer to the 24% that was achieved in 1999 than the 38.5% of five years ago. Interestingly in Scotland last time where no other elections were taking place on the same day the turnout was just over 30%

Such small turnouts add enormously to the challenges facing pollsters and I think we have to treat all the surveys we have seen on this election with some caution.

I’m particularly sceptical of the big drop in BNP support that ICM is suggesting.

Mike Smithson

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