Following a second delay to the Brexit deal, the UK will be taking part in the European Parliament elections from 23rd – 26th May of this year. With the introduction of The Brexit Party and Change UK, it is expected that Labour and the Conservatives are going to struggle, especially given their relatively poor performances in the recent local elections in England. BMG conducted an exclusive poll for The Independent, asking 1,541 Brits aged 18+ between 7th – 10th May 2019, who they intended to vote for in the European Parliament elections.
BMG’s European Parliament Voting Intention Poll shows that The Brexit Party are in the lead, with a vote share of 26%. The potential success of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party seems to come at the cost of the Conservatives and UKIP, who have a predicted vote share of 12% and 3% respectively.
The Labour Party are currently polling second, with 22% of the vote, which is slightly down on their 2014 showing. This is closely followed by the Liberal Democrats, who appear to be continuing from their strong local election performance with 19%. Similarly, the Green Party reach double digits on 10%.
The other newcomer to the elections does not seem to be having as much success as the Brexit Party. Despite running on an EU focus, Change UK (formerly The Independent Group) poll just 4%.
Commenting on the results, Robert Struthers, Research Manager at BMG, said:
“The fact that the Brexit Party are out in front on 26 per cent is quite a feat given the new outfit only formed a matter of weeks ago. As it stands, Nigel Farage’s party appears to have largely mopped up the pro-Brexit vote, with our poll showing UKIP attracting just 3 per cent support.
“What is also clear is that the Brexit Party’s support is coming largely at the expense of the Conservatives. Indeed, as many likely voters that reported voting Conservative at the 2017 general election say they intend to vote for the Brexit Party next week as do say they will continue to back Theresa May’s Conservatives.
“While those on the Remain side seem to be more divided, our polling does suggest the Liberal Democrats to be in the strongest position of those parties that unequivocally support another referendum. Following their strong showing at the local elections, the Lib Dems are now polling twice the vote share of that of the Greens, and more than four times that of Change UK.”
A note on our methodology: Given that historically turnout is lower in European Parliament elections – between 30% and 40% on the last three occasions – our poll has been adjusted to include only those who say they will definitely vote next Thursday (10 out of 10 on likelihood to vote scale). Turnout is very difficult for pollsters to forecast, particularly in lower turnout contests, as respondents tend to overstate their likelihood to vote. Even after making this adjustment, our implied turnout figure is 48% which would be high by historical standards. That said, given the unique circumstances around this election, voters could well be more motivated to vote than normal.
Westminster Voting Intention
BMG’s Westminster Voting Intention poll sees losses for the two biggest parties, with the Liberal Democrats set to gain. This month’s poll also sees the permanent introduction of Change UK and The Brexit Party to BMG’s main voting intention tracker. Consequently, changes to vote share should be treated with caution given the introduction of new parties.
The poll shows that the Labour Party are in the lead for the first time since 2018, with a vote share of 30%. This a drop of 4% from April, and has then 3 percentage points above the Conservatives. The Conservative party have a predicted vote share of 27%, recording a reduction of 7% from last month.
Following on from a positive performance in the local elections, the Liberal Democrats predicted vote share is up 7 percentage points from last month on 18%. The Brexit Party enter BMG’s Westminster tracker with a vote share of 10%. Change UK and UKIP find themselves with just 3% of the vote share each.
A note on our methodology: When polling this question, The Brexit Party and Change UK have been treated in the same way as UKIP and The Green Party. When respondents are shown the voting intention question, they are presented with the following options: Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, SNP (if Scottish), Plaid Cymru (if Welsh), Other, Prefer not to say. If respondents select “Other party”, they are then shown a follow-up question asking if the party they would vote for is any of the following: UKIP, The Green Party, ChangeUK, The Brexit Party.
It is also worth noting that the poll provides every respondent with the opportunity to select either Change UK or the Brexit Party, despite it being unclear how many seats each of the parties would opt to stand in across Great Britain in the event of a General election.
Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.
Please note that our method has changed after the 2017 General Election. Full details can be found here.
For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.
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Andrew Price – Research Executive