Of those who say they will vote Labour in the general election, 22 per cent actually want a Conservative government. This is one of the most surprising polling results I’ve ever seen. By comparison, 100 per cent of those who say they will vote Conservative do want the outcome of the vote to be a Conservative victory.
It means Theresa May enjoys even bigger majority support than the headline voting figures suggest, with 64 per cent hoping to wake up on June 9 with her in power, versus 36 per cent preferring Jeremy Corbyn. Those 22 per cent holding their noses to vote Labour are anti-Corbynites who don’t want to see their party wiped out, and confident that Labour can’t win. They will put their cross next to their local Labour candidate in the hope of a stronger opposition. If they were to vote for the government they actually want for the next five years, Labour would become a mere rump.
YouGov studied voting intention versus hoped-for outcome back in 2015, when we had the parties tied (wrongly as it turned out), while the question “who do you want to see forming the government?” yielded a 14 per cent Tory lead.
I see myself as a scientist but I get almost mystical about the way electorates seem able, unconsciously, to engineer the outcomes they want in aggregate, as if we are all just cells in a collective social brain. Perhaps the crowd really is wise.
Two more things we found out: 61 per cent of the public believe it is “almost certain” that May will win the election versus 20 per cent who think she could lose. And 40 per cent believe Corbyn would try to stay on as Labour leader even if the Conservatives increase their majority, while 32 per cent think he would step down.
Stephan Shakespeare is CEO and founder of pollster YouGov.