Support for the UK Independence Party remains steady despite many having previously claimed that Nigel Farage’s party would fall back to smaller support levels on the run up to the UK General Election.
But nine months away from the vote, UKIP’s support is scarcely ebbing back to pre-2012 levels. Instead, according to academic Matthew Goodwin, author of Revolt on the Right, UKIP’s vote is holding up at around 12 percent. This is likely to increase again as the election draws closer.
Writing on his blog yesterday, Goodwin said:
“Earlier in the year one of the popular assumptions in the Westminster village was that support for Ukip would crash immediately after the European Parliament elections. Ukip is a modern day poujadist movement, many argued; it is nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan.“I have long argued that it is not. And there is now mounting evidence to suggest that the picture might indeed be far more complex. For example, we have already drawn on some new data from the British Election Study to show how a majority of those who voted for Ukip at the recent European Parliament elections intend to stay loyal to the party at the 2015 general election. But now a similar picture can be seen in YouGov’s latest update to their domestic election voting intention tracker.“This came out today and can be accessed right here. The headline message is clear: Nigel Farage and UKIP averaged 12% in the first three months of 2014, then 13% in April, 14% in May and June, and 12% in July. Far from crashing, support has actually only dropped by two points to return to the (then-record) levels of support in the pre-European election period; and 12% is more than enough for this insurgent party to do damage in 2015.
And Goodwin isn’t the only one to realise what damage UKIP could do to the Conservative Party’s chances. Earlier this week Labour insiders claimed that if Farage’s party gets over 9 percent of the vote next May, it could ensure Labour’s Ed Miliband the keys to 10 Downing Street.
The Tories are evidently rattled, as the Prime Minister recently shuffled key proponents of European institutions out of his Cabinet, and has become increasingly concerned by the topic of immigration – one of UKIP’s strongest cards.