An opinion poll reported in today’s Daily Mail reveals new information about the average UK voter. It shatters the view of UKIP as a party purely for disaffected Tories, with supporters more likely to be working class retirees from the Midlands.
The average Tory voter, by contrast, is more middle class and more likely to live in the South of England. It is also the party of homeowners, with 81 percent of supporters owning their own property.
Labour, meanwhile, remains popular with younger voters. A third of the party’s support is from 18-34 year olds, compared to 19 percent for the Conservatives and 9 percent for UKIP.
Only 22 percent of UKIP supporters have a university degree, compared to 35 percent of Labour and Conservative supporters, and 46 percent of Liberal Democrats. With 15 percent of Lib Dems holding a higher degree (i.e. Masters or PhD), the party maintains its place as the home for liberal-left intellectuals, despite being in coalition with the Conservatives.
These findings show that UKIP now have their own distinct demographic, which, although similar in some senses to Conservative supporters, still has some clear differences.
Commenting on the findings, Laurence Stelling, associate director of Populus said: “If you look beyond the headlines you can quickly dispel the casual stereotypes about UKIP supporters.
“They are not just grumpy shire Tories as some suggest. In fact, your typical UKIP supporter is a working class male from the Midlands.
“Perhaps the most striking feature of UKIP’s support is just how male it is. Nearly two out of three UKIP voters are men, and three quarters of UKIP voters did not continue their education beyond secondary school.
“You don’t win back voters like this by simple positioning on immigration and Europe. The challenge for David Cameron and others is a lot more difficult than that. He has to find some way to show that he is genuinely on their side.”
The revelations come as Ofcom announced that UKIP should be treated as a “major party” for the European Elections due to its increasing support in opinion polls.
This gives it the same status as the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats in terms of election broadcasts.