Politics, Government & Current Affairs

New Constituency Polling in South Thanet

Survation have conducted a new telephone poll in the South Thanet constituency.

We are publishing this poll now (as it has become topical, conducted just before/as MP Laura Sandys announcement to step down) as part of a series of voting intention constituency polls to be published in December looking at Labour / Conservative marginals where UKIP may be a factor in the 2015 general election.

These will be the first i­­ndividual 2015 constituency polls published we’re aware of in this election cycle (the Ashcroft marginals polling combined constituencies which were not broken out individually).

As well as normal voting intention questions, we are including key questions such as “imagine for a moment that UKIP were not standing in your constituency; which other party would you then vote for” to examine where UKIP votes could be re-distributed if UKIP were not a factor.

Also included, the “main reason for wanting to vote for that party” – looking within each parties for voting motivation – are UKIP voters simply protesting?

Finally, we asked UKIP voters the “Ed Miliband Prime Minister” question – whether a voter would rather vote UKIP than Conservative, even if that meant Ed Miliband becoming Prime Minister or would they vote instead Conservative in order to stop Ed Miliband from becoming Prime Minister.

The full data tables for this poll in South Thanet can be viewed here:  A short statement from the sponsor of the polling series, Alan Bown can be viewed here:  Patrick Wintour, of The Guardian has written about the poll tonight here:

South Thanet Results Summary

Sample size: 515 respondents

Fieldwork dates: 19-25 November

Methodology: Survey was conducted by telephone. A combination of random digit dialling and some targeted lifestyle data for younger demographics was used.

Weighting: Data were weighted by age, sex and ward. Targets for weighting were derived from ONS 2011 Census data. Voting intention was further adjusted by a likelihood to vote weighting on a scale of 0-10.

NB: for weighting and tabulation purposes electoral wards were grouped as follows:

Ward Group Contains Wards:

Cliftonville: Cliftonville East, Kingsgate, Cliftonville West.

Broadstairs: St Peters, Viking, Bradstowe, Beacon Road.

West Ramsgate: Northwood, Nethercourt, Newington.

East Ramsgate: Central Harbour Eastcliff Sir Moses Montefiore

Sandwich:Little Stour and Ashstone, Sandwich, Cliffsend and Pegwell.

Prompting: Voters were asked “If that general election were to be held tomorrow, which party do you think you would be most likely to vote for in your South Thanet constituency” with the responses “Labour”, “Conservative”, “Liberal Democrat”, “UKIP” prompted in a randomising order, followed by “or some other party”.

Headline Figures

Picture 64

As can be seen, Labour would win the seat were there a general election “tomorrow” (and all but around 5% of the fieldwork was before the announcement that Sandys was standing down). The Conservatives are in third place, suggesting that far from UKIP splitting the Conservative vote here, it is in fact UKIP that may offer the best prospect for beating Labour and UKIP could advance a plausible case that the Conservatives are “splitting the UKIP vote”, as happened in the Eastleigh by-election.

Polling results are not that out of line with recent local election result data, with the Conservatives doing no better in a General Election than in the May local elections in South Thanet (-1), Labour doing somewhat better (+8) and UKIP less well (-6%).

Main reasons for vote by party?

Conservative

Always voted for them (37%)

I like their policies (37%)

I dislike another party and want to stop them winning (12%)

Labour

Always voted for them (42%)

I like their policies (33%)

I dislike another party and want to stop them winning (7%)

UKIP

I like their policies (62%)

As a general protest (18%)

I like their party leader (5%)

Imagine for a moment that there was no UKIP candidate standing in your South Thanet constituency. Which of the other parties would you then be most likely to vote for in the next election, or would you not vote? [asked to UKIP voters]

Would not vote (41%)

Conservative (22%)

Labour (19%)

Other parties (4%)

Don’t know (13%)

-78% of UKIP voters would not vote Conservative even if UKIP were not standing at all-suggesting these voters cannot easily be won over from UKIP by any amount of Conservative messaging

As a hypothetical exercise, if we remove UKIP from the equation and redistribute all UKIP voters according to how they answered this question, the voting intention comes out as follows:

CON -41%

LAB -48%

LD -7%

Other -4%

– In other words, Labour would still win the seat -they are beating the Conservatives entirely without the need for any “UKIP boost” helping them along.

Imagine for a moment that there was no Labour candidate standing in your South Thanet constituency. Which of the other parties would you then be most likely to vote for in the next election, or would you not vote?

Would not vote (35%)

Another Party (26%)

Don’t know (19%)

Liberal Democrat (10%)

Conservative (7%)

UKIP (3%)

Imagine for a moment that there was no Conservative Party candidate standing in your South Thanet constituency. Which of the other parties would you then be most likely to vote for in the next election, or would you not vote? 

Would not vote (34%)

UKIP (25%)

Don’t know (19%)

Liberal Democrat (13%)

Labour (5%)

Another Party (4%)

– A higher proportion of current Conservative voters would vote UKIP if the Conservatives weren’t standing (25%) than current UKIP voters that would vote Conservative if UKIP weren’t standing (22%)

Which of the following statements is closest to your opinion? [to UKIP voters]

52% -I would rather vote UKIP than Conservative, even if that means Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister

27% -I would rather stop Ed Miliband from becoming Prime Minister, even if that means I had to vote Conservative rather than UKIP

21% -Don’t know

– Again this question suggests that the line, “vote UKIP get Miliband” is at best ineffective here in South Thanet (where UKIP topped the polls in May) and possibly counterproductive for the Conservatives. In addition, as shown in the previous question, almost as many UKIP voters would vote Labour as Conservative if UKIP were removed from the equation, implying that these UKIP voters here might actually prefer Ed Miliband to become Prime Minister than Cameron.

Patrick Brione

Patrick Brione

Director of Research 2012-2016

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