Labour and the Conservatives predominantly met expectations – while UKIP surprised with their success and the Liberal Democrats underperformed
Looking at the overall share of the vote at the European elections, and at the resulting seat allocation, there are clear winners and losers. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been described as ‘jubilant’ about his party's historic victory, while Nick Clegg has faced calls to stand down as party leader. Labour Leader Ed Miliband and David Cameron have also faced criticisms for leading their parties to second and third place.
A new YouGov survey asks voters to say whether the parties did better or worse than they expected them to do at the recent European election – and finds that Labour and the Conservatives largely met expectations, or otherwise left voters divided on whether they over- or underperfomed.
On the other hand, UKIP clearly did better than expected, with 63% saying so compared to only 3% who thought they achieved worse than expected and 22% who thought their performance was on target.
In contrast, far more thought the Liberal Democrats did worse (40%) than better (5%) than expected. A large group (39%) think they did about as expected, however.
For the Conservatives and Labour, there is balance between those who thought they did better or worse than expected, with the largest groups saying their performance was as expected (46% for the Conservatives and 44% for Labour).
While the Conservatives lost 7 MEPs, this may have been predictable for many people given many months of polls showing them lagging behind Labour in general election voting intention. Labour fell behind UKIP, but they also gained 7 MEPs against the backdrop of the previous European election in 2009, their worst national election result since 1910.
The Greens gained one seat and now have three; on balance this is perceived as a better than expected performance with 25% saying so compared to only 9% saying they performed worse than expected. A large group (33%) responded "don't know" for the Green Party, however, suggesting many people may not have had any expectations about them or haven't seen how they did.
Nick Clegg has resisted calls to resign after the Liberal Democrats lost all but one of their MEPs. He said he would resign if it would help the party, however "Just at the point when our decisions, our big judgments are being vindicated, we are not going to buckle, we are not going to lose our nerve and we are not going to walk away."