The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has equalled their best ever poll result of 15 percent, in an Ipsos Mori survey conducted during the Maria Miller expenses scandal. Amongst the four main party leaders Nigel Farage had the highest personal rating of 40 percent, up from 31 percent.
The poll is a further blow to David Cameron, who has been widely accused of mishandling the Maria Miller expenses saga. It will also add credibility to Tories who feared Miller’s actions would overshadow higher growth forecasts from the International Monetary Fund.
Polling was carried out from Saturday to Monday while Cameron was fighting to keep his Culture Secretary despite public outrage at her actions. Throughout the Miller scandal, senior Tories had feared that they were losing support, and that UKIP would benefit. This fear now appears to have been well placed as UKIP surged four percent.
Earlier this week, a Breitbart London poll revealed that the Maria Miller episode caused 34 percent of 2010 Tory voters to say they would be less likely to vote Conservative at the next general election. In addition to this, 35 percent of Brits said the incident made them less likely to vote for any of the three major political parties in Britain.
The news is is also a vindication of Chancellor George Osborne, who has gone from being hate a figure to being the most popular Chancellor since 1980. Osborne is said to have demanded Miller’s resignation because the poll bump from his budget was being eaten away by the Culture Secretary’s continued presence in government.
Cameron’s coalition partner, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, also has nothing to celebrate, as it appears his plan to debate Nigel Farage backfired. The Liberal Democrats were down four percent to just nine percent, well down from their high watermark of 23 percent at the 2010 General Election.
Clegg’s strategists had hoped that both UKIP and the Lib Dems would get a poll bounce from the debates as Labour and the Conservatives chose not to join in. They remained upbeat when Farage clearly won both debates as they assumed they would gain some benefit for participating, however they appear to have been wrong.