UKIP have soared in the opinion polls following their win in the Clacton by-election on Thursday. The latest poll from Survation puts the party on 25 percent, which would give them 128 seats at next year’s general election if the votes are spread evenly across the country.
They now lag just six points behind the Conservatives and Labour, who are both on 31 percent and are once again a long distance ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 11 percent. Experts predict this would give a general election result of Labour 253 MPs, Conservatives 187, UKIP 128, Lib Dems 11, and other parties 71.
Proffessor John Curtice from Strathclyde University, told the Mail on Sunday: “If UKIP are to turn votes into Commons seats in Britain’s first-past-the-post system, they need to build up bastions of local strength. Today’s poll suggests they may have begun to do that.
“The 25 percent level represents a 22-point increase on the 3 percent the party won in 2010. If that increase were to occur evenly in every constituency, they could still fail to pick up a single seat.
“But today’s poll suggests UKIP’s support has increased much more in the south of England outside London than it has elsewhere in the UK – by a staggering 34 points. If that level was recorded throughout the South, Ukip could win as many as 128 seats, with no less than 102 of them coming from the Conservatives, whose vote in the region is down 14 points.
“In that event, Cameron would be left with just 187 seats, almost as weak a position as the Conservatives were in after their calamitous defeat in 1997. Mr Farage would achieve his ambition of holding the balance of power at Westminster. Any poll estimate of what is going on in an individual region is inevitably not as robust as that for the country as a whole.
“However, if Ukip are advancing more strongly in some parts of the South, its chances of establishing itself as a significant force at Westminster may well be higher than has so far been appreciated.”
Both the Conservatives and UKIP together would have a total of 315 MPs, which is short of the 326 needed to form a majority government. However, they could probably rely on the Democratic Unionist Party to do a deal with them over their eight MPs, bringing them tantalisingly close to being able to form an anti-European government.