A new poll suggests that weeks of negative headlines about UKIP from the establishment press did have some effect on the party’s ratings. Despite a barrage of scandals and smears on various candidates, the party still won the European elections and significantly increased its support in the local elections, leading to some people suggesting that the attacks had failed.
A YouGov poll released today, however, says that the public are more divided than ever over the anti-EU party. When asked whether they feel positively or negatively about UKIP, 53 percent of respondents said they felt negatively, compared to 22 percent positively.
A further 19 percent said they felt neither positively nor negatively about the party, and the remaining 6 percent said they didn’t know.
This represents a big rise in people feeling negatively about the party since the 2009 European elections. That year, just 37 percent felt negative compared to 29 percent positive, and 27 percent saying neither.
YouGov’s Peter Kellner writes: “Overall, Ukip has not so much won new friends as polarised public opinion. Ukip did better this time at turning diminishing approval into votes, but it also alienated far more of the electorate. Millions more voters now regard Ukip negatively than in 2009, and fewer decline to take sides.”
A likely explanation for these figures is that the endless stream of negative headlines from the establishment press hardened the opinions of people who were already unlikely share the party’s views. Meanwhile, those who supported it and felt wary of the political class became even more determined to support it, leading to an increase in the party’s vote.