For the past few months, as the Westminster establishment tries to wrestle control of Britain’s European Union referendum from the grassroots eurosceptics who forced the Prime Minister’s hand, we’ve been told time and time again that UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage is “too toxic” to lead the pack. Such words have emanated from so-called Eurosceptics themselves.
But when looking at the polling on the matter, this depiction of Nigel Farage as a vote-loser simply doesn’t add up.
LBC released a poll recently which revealed the 54-46 split between people who want to stay in the European Union (EU) and those who want to leave.
But some of the information from the poll that never saw the light of day reveals that Mr. Farage may be the ‘Out’ campaign’s not-so-secret weapon.
He’s more popular than Boris Johnson and Theresa May, and he leaves soft ‘Outers’ like Douglas Carswell and Bernard Jenkin in the dust.
What’s more is that Nigel appears to be quite the ladies man.
Let’s take a look at some of the data:
People were asked: “Regardless of which way you think you may vote in the EU Referendum, which of the following do you think would be the best politician to lead the campaign to LEAVE the European Union?” Here’s how they responded:
In fact even amongst Tory voters, Boris is on 38 per cent, and Farage is on 31 per cent. Labour voters stump for Farage at 46 per cent, and Lib Dems opt for him as favourite too, on 38 per cent. And Farage leads amongst those who want to leave the EU, amongst those who want to stay in the EU, and those who are currently undecided, or will not vote.
And Mr. F is popular with the ladies too (those who know him don’t need to be told that). Breaking down the poll, it reveals that 42 per cent of men believe Farage should lead the campaign, and 41 per cent of women believe in him too. Only amongst 18-24 year olds is Boris Johnson more popular (44 to 32) and Farage leads amongst 25s to 60+s.
Nigel himself told me last night that he’s “just a lance corporal” to the “Sergeant” that is Tory MP Peter Bone, who is seeking to merge the Vote Leave and Leave.EU groups under the “Grassroots Out” (GO) organisation. But that won’t stay true as the campaign looks for a high profile and eloquent front man.
I suppose whatever you think, it at least puts to bed the idea that someone like Douglas Carswell, or Daniel Hannan (who doesn’t even feature) could lead the charge.
Instead, it’s clear (as long as the other two are up for it) that the three top voices during the referendum should be Farage-Boris-May, alongside some people from outside politics.
Anyone suggesting otherwise isn’t just stupidly anti-Farage – they’re anti-data too.