It’s even possible that they’ll struggle to retain 2nd place
It’s not often that we see such a mismatch between the betting on an election just three and a half months away and what the pollsters are telling us. That’s what’s happening with the May Euro elections where the UKIP winning most votes prices remains strong even though there’s little polling evidence to support it.
There’ve only been three published polls so far this year. The Tories have been in the range of 22% to 25%; Labour 32%-35% with UKIP at 20% with ICM and 26% with Survation and YouGov.
In the chart I’ve illustrated the latest best bookie odds on the parties based on an implied probability and provided a means of comparison with the ICM EU elections poll for the Guardian that came out last night.
Polling for the Euros is notoriously difficult because turnout, 35% last time, is so low. We haven’t seen the ICM data yet but my reading is that the UKIP share has suffered as a result of the harsh turnout filtering that the pollster applies.
Basically the value of responses of those who didn’t vote last time are discounted by ICM by 50% so if there were a lot of non voters in the UKIP count then the purple share would have suffered.
On election day itself there will be a big divide between those areas where council elections are taking place at the same time and those where they are not. With the former you’ll see quite extensive Get Out The Vote operations driven by activists and the councillors whose seats are at stake. In the latter there’ll be much less local activity and this will be reflected in turnout rates.
UKIP’s second place in the 2009 Euros came after the intensive media coverage driven by several weeks of Telegraph’s extensive and almost daily revelations about MPs expenses. We can’t assume that the same will happen again particularly as are seeing UKIP under much greater media scrutiny.
Last May, after the UKIP successes in the locals, I put a large bet on at 10/1 that the Tories would win most votes in the Euros. That price has come in a fair bit and I still consider it the value bet.