Ukip’s 18 per cent debunked

Today YouGov released poll data that UKIP are on 14 per cent - something that wasn't news to me as this is exactly the same as the calculations I made last week. However the figure looks decidedly dodgy.

Andrew Spooner is a London-based blogger and writer

Today YouGov released poll data which had Ukip on 14 per cent – something that wasn’t news to me as it is exactly the same as the calculations I made last week.

YouGov’s poll comes after data published by ICM in the Guardian which claims Ukip has an 18 per cent vote share.

So how could Ukip achieve this much of the national vote share? This figure, too, looks decidedly dodgy.

If we take 31.5million or 66 per cent of voters as a likely General Election turn out, Ukip would need 5,670,000 to reach 18 per cent. Of that 31.5million, if Ukip polled a uniform 20 per cent or 3,700,000 across the roughly 18.5million voters who might turn out from the UK’s shires, towns and small and medium cities and combined that with 12.5 per cent or one million from eight million voters in the major cities Ukip would then need 970,000 or 19.4 per cent from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to reach 18 per cent nationally.

Given that Ukip just don’t exist in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, a 19.4 per cent vote share there is not only very unlikely it would be miraculous.

Give Ukip a more likely and still very generous 7.5 per cent in the major cities and five per cent in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, and they would need 4,820,000 or 26 per cent across the rest of the country to make 18 per cent of the total vote share. Again, very unlikely.

Bring Ukip’s vote share down to the 4.16 per cent they achieved in Bristol – the only major city they’ve recently competed for the vote in – for the urban vote, totalling 330,000, and down to the 0.5 per cent or 25,000 vote share they took in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in 2012, Ukip would be left needing 5,312,000, or 28.7 per cent in the rest of the UK, almost a full one per cent above what they polled in Eastleigh, to make the figure up to 18 per cent.

It just doesn’t stack up I’m afraid.

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41 Responses to “Ukip’s 18 per cent debunked”

  1. Adam Voodoo Phillips

    Hardly debunked! Wishful thinking more like

  2. Adam Voodoo Phillips

    Hardly debunked! Wishful thinking more like

  3. Juggzy Malone

    Latest You Gov gave UKIP polling on around 4.5% in Scotland – not exactly non-existent, but certainly much lower than the numbers that are quoted.

  4. Rallan

    Oh dear. Your strangle hold on democracy is slipping by the day, and you can’t cope. Ignoring, dismissing and sneering at the electorate isn’t working any more, is it? Imagine the horror of popular representative democracy!

    The stages of Grief & Loss are said to be denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Guess where you are 🙂

  5. Anthony Masters

    You can’t really ‘debunk’ a poll result – it is what it is. The author highlights there is now a party in England with serious but non-uniform support. This will hamper our traditional view of elections forecasting for seats in English, because that is predicated on broadly uniform swings across the country, which may no longer effectively describe reality.

  6. Adam Morley

    As Mahatma Gandhi said, first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. UKIP are at stages 2 and 3 at the moment, and the LibLabCon and their friends in the media are only going to get more and more blows below the belt over the next few years.
    If the mainstream parties had spent the last few decades doing what the people want, instead of what the political classes want, UKIP and all the other parties the ruling classes don’tr like, wouldn’t even exist. The ruling classes are beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable, and don’t like it one little bit. Frankly, they only have themselves to blame.

  7. ghanimah

    The Guardian/ICM poll has long been considered the ‘gold standard’ of polling due to its consistent accuracy for 20 years. You might want to speak to Mike Smithson at Political Betting about it.

  8. JJ

    UKIP don’t exist in Wales? – I guess you havent met the UKIP MEP for Wales….

    And you presume UKIP support is only from the “Shires” haha! How do you explain UKIP coming 1st at the last EU elections in the Labour heartland of Hull?! and the 20+% we keep taking in Labour constituencies from by-elections?

    I think it’s your blog that is decidedly dodgy….try again old fruit (cake)

  9. JJJ

    In the last elections in Wales in May 2012, UKIP secured two councillor seats out of a total of 1223.

    Only UKIP supporters and the BBC would call that a national breakthrough

  10. JJJ

    In the last elections in Wales in May 2012, UKIP secured two councillor seats out of a total of 1223.

    Only UKIP supporters and the BBC would call that a national breakthrough

  11. henrytinsley

    I don’t understand this article. ICM and YouGov have goodish track records and they’re quite likely to be broadly correct. It’s not unknown for 3rd or 4th parties to have high numbers, especially mid term

  12. johndelancie

    Articles like this just smacks of the general out of touch politics the Lib/Con/Lab are peddling to try and play down the UKIP threat. Still the political elite just don’t get it and won’t listen to the electorate. Lib/Con/Lab will get everything they deserve come the EU elections and general election in 2015

  13. Sgt. Analbeadz

    Of course, Gandhi also had lots of sex with very young girls. Just saying.

  14. Mathew Blackshaw

    Both of you remind me of the Tea Partiers who laughed at Nate Silver and PPP.

    Who laughed last?

  15. Sgt. Analbeadz

    I think what the author is pointing out is that UKIP are extrapolating a national result from local level data that they know to be unrepresentative of the nation as a whole. Manipulating and misrepresenting statistics – in a really obvious way – and then getting caught out doing it is, like, 90% of everything they do.

  16. Sgt. Analbeadz

    We really need Nate Silver over here. This term has seen some of the most transparent manipulation of statistics ever. It would be funny if people’s actual lives didn’t kinda depend on it.

  17. Elias

    ICM and YouGov also don’t take into account local differences, which is the point of the article. While, yes, 14% of YouGov’s total respondents will have said they would vote for UKIP, that does not mean 14% of EVERY constituency across the whole of the UK will. They will have strong areas and weak areas, just like Labour and the Lib Dems and the Tories. That limits their potential to gain seats at an election, given that they are a minority party and still upstarts in the scheme of things.

  18. Mike_docherty

    The most recent ICM poll – much of which was published in the Guardian on 14.5.13 – has UKIP support in Scotland at just 2%.

  19. Rallan

    Who cares?That’s just an irrelevant comparison by a political anorak. UKIP isn’t the Tea Party, this isn’t the USA. The issues, economy and culture are different. And I don’t know (or care) who Nate Silver or PPP are.

    So I really don’t care who “laughed last” there since it’s nothing to do with what’s happening here.

  20. blarg1987

    There could be many reasons for UKIp doing so well, protest vote against the political parties, people’s fear due to uncertain economic times etc all of which are contributing factors. The trouble I do have with UKIP is that Nigel Farrage claims immigrants from Europe can claim benefits on day 1 in the UK, however he has not offered proof i.e. which piece of legislation nor has anyone asked to see the piece of legislation. On something that can be so controversial, questions like this have to be asked and answered so either our fears can be confirmed or relaxed.

  21. Jeff Hurford

    Unfortunately it is not true that UKIP does not exist in Wales – they have one out of four MEPs. Which they won with 87,585 votes – 12.8%.

  22. cargill55

    Wishful thinking.
    You conveniently forget the 24.6% UKIP got on May 2, the 26.5% they have polled since in local elections and the 20% plus they will get with the next Opinium, Survation polls.
    Oh, also, Yougov substantially understates UKIP because they do not give UKIP as a separate option and don’t knows are weighted on the basis of the 3% UKIP got in 2010.
    Labour 34%, under the Miliband search for floating voter 35%.
    UKIP is the future because social democracy has failed.
    The left is finished in this country, ta, ta 🙂

  23. cargill55

    They are getting so desperate now, the left on its way to electoral oblivion.
    Miliband is such a dictator he does not even allow the electorate a choice on national sovereignty, nor does Clegg, so much for democracy on the left, more like dictatorship.

  24. cargill55

    What Liblabcon does not get is that UKIP is growing in strength because Liblabcon are despised as incompetent self serving fools who hate Britain.

    It started with mad Labour 1997 to 2010 and has continued with the socialist coalition 2010 to 2013.

    So disgust at Liblabcon, total lack of trust therefore whatever Liblabcon does will be wrong which is where the focus then comes on stuff like the EU and immigration.

    Game over chaps 🙂

  25. Frankie D.

    “socialist coalition 2010 to 2013.”

    You fucking stupid moron…..

  26. Frankie D.

    “socialist coalition 2010 to 2013.”

    You fucking stupid moron…..

  27. Frankie D.

    “socialist coalition 2010 to 2013.”

    You fucking stupid moron…..

  28. Nick

    This article is a joke lol To claim that UKIP are non existent in Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland is ridiculous when you look at the polls since beginning of 2012.
    1. In Wales UKIP regularly poll over 10%, a recent Wales only poll found that UKIP would take 5 Welsh Assembly Seats if election was tomorrow.

    2. Northern Ireland are not even included in national polls (Lib&Lab dont even stand there & Cons have zero NI representation, whereas UKIP have 1 MLA and 2 councillors) besides which local NI polls show UKIP growing in NI.

    3. The most recent YouGov poll in Scotland has UKIP at 12% (compared to LibDems 4%). UKIP consistently poll at/above/around 8% in Scotland. A year or so ago you would have a point but you seem to be unwilling to see the facts changing before your eyes.

    4. I’d also like to point out that UKIP is achieving these figures without even prompting respondents in polling question. The polling questions all prompt for Con, Lab, Lib, SNP, Plaid and “Other”. If anything I would argue that most of the polls especially YouGov are undervaluing UKIP’s polling figure and overvaluing Labour’s! Given who Peter Kellner (YouGov’s president) is married to I am not at all surprised! All the polls said UKIP would not gain more than 40 seats in the local elections, this was wrong by a factor of 3.5! Furthermore, even ComRes’s prediction of 22% of the vote (which was considered overly optomistic) was 4% less than the actual figure on the day of 26% (not to be confused with Projected National Vote Share – 23%)

    Keep it up guys…nobody believes you anymore and there is so much evidence to say that your twisting and inventing facts! It all looks very desperate. The reality is that the polls show Labour slipping out of majority territory at the expense of UKIP. It is amusing to watch Labour making the same mistakes as the Torys (being abusive, mocking and spreading lies), it is clear that the same fate awaits you! The way things are going, neither the Conservatives or Labour will achieve more than 30% of the vote….never mind 40%

  29. cargill55

    Merci pur votre ????

  30. cargill55

    Hey, life that bad man?
    Chill have a glass of albarino and check the beautiful Mediterranean sun.

  31. Anthony Masters

    I can certainly agree with that. I stood for local government two years ago and came across leaflets from the only UKIP candidate in the unitary authority. They had put in a bar chart from the most recent House of Commons by-election result to show that UKIP’s “success”, even though no possible extrapolation could be made.

  32. Tom Wilde

    Baffled by the article’s claim that Ukip doesn’t exist in Wales, Scotland or N I. You could have Googled it?

  33. sarntcrip

    people oten lie when asked about polling intention it’s nobody else’s business

  34. davidbriggsrousay

    ‘The most recent YouGov poll in Scotland has UKIP at 12%’

    Is this in mythical ‘Scotlandshire’ or the the actual country?

    As we say in Scotland ………….. what utter p*sh.

  35. robertcp

    It is clear that UKIP is getting more support and it will probably have a significant effect on the General Election in 2015. This might include making FPTP even more of a joke.

  36. Geoff Lantern

    It’s a strange world where comparing the Tea Party with UKIP is irrelevant, but comparing Farage to Gandhi isn’t.

    There is a serious point here which is that what’s happening with UKIP isn’t some brand new political phenomenon. It’s happened in numerous other countries – a populist, nativist movement springs up that can’t form a government by itself, but is effective at leveraging one of the main parties (the Conservatives in this case). What has also happened, in almost all of these cases, is that after some initial success the party/movement falls off the radar.

    We’re expected to believe that UKIP are different, yet every party in that mould has claimed they were different and almost all of them ended up the same way. When UKIP have broken new ground and formed a government – or even won a single MP – we can call it a revolution. We’re nowhere near that stage at this point.

  37. Chris Brown

    Not much hope of UKIP getting 5% of the vote in Scotland. For some reason, Scottish polling seems to have been fairly off-kilter in recent years. Before the last Holyrood election, the pollsters had Labour with a really solid lead over the gnats which was bewildering to anyone and everyone with an interest in Scottish politics. is there a flaw in methodology? Is it just plain bad luck with sampling?

  38. David Shipley

    You’re comparing Nate Silver’s detailed, granular statistical analysis to a piece which basically says ‘I don’t believe the polls’?

  39. David Shipley

    The Five Star Movement?

  40. Geoff Lantern

    They’ve still only contested one election, although I do think they’re a bit different as they’re a standalone movement rather than a party that’s effective at leveraging a bigger rival. They almost seem to dogmatically oppose any sort of co-operation with the major parties, whereas UKIP have actively encouraged the idea of joint-tickets with the Conservatives.

  41. Two Bob

    Think what you want to think.

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