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Farage says that in many seats at GE2015 only UKIP will be able to beat Labour

December 9th, 2013

Dealing with the “Wasted vote” syndrome

In the Independent this morning Nigel Farage seeks to deal with what will be a big negative for his party at GE2015 – the notion that a vote for UKIP is a wasted vote and could let Ed Miliband in.

There’s little doubt that this perception is widespread and will be used strongly by the Tories in May 2015 to undermine the purples and seek to bring these people “back into the fold”. Farage writes:

“It has been a long held assumption that Ukip is nothing more than a right-wing breakaway from the Conservative Party; that once the Tories come to their senses the Ukip voter will pack their bags and return to the Tory fold. In fact it is often thought that the Ukip voter must necessarily be a retired half Colonel living on the edge of Salisbury Plain, fulminating about the world, desperate for the reintroduction of birching and never happier than after the first pink gin of the day.

There has been a very strong attempt by various polling companies, and in particular Lord Ashcroft, to try to reinforce this idea that the Ukip vote is a Tory vote. But here’s the thing: 70 per cent of Ukip voters in target seats we polled did not vote Conservative in 2010…

Ukip are often asked why we would want to let Labour in rather than a Tory MP or councillor. But what we can see from the polling we have undertaken is that in many Northern areas, it is Ukip who is the only real rival to Labour…

That is why the poll findings from Alan Bown-funded marginals surveys are going to be repeated time and time again in the battle for public opinion. It is vital that they get across the message that UKIP voters are not Tories on holiday.

What strikes me about this polling initiative carried out by Survation and Farage’s article is that the party is now deadly serious about finding ways to convert its double digit poll shares into MPs.

In this single constituency polling can be crucial as we saw with the Greens at Brighton Pavilion in 2010. There an ICM poll was used to demonstrate that only Caroline Lucas could take the seat from Labour.

There are five more Bown Survation polls in the pipeline. Maybe we’ll see more this week.

My 8/1 bet placed in May on UKIP winning more than one constituency could be a winner.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004