— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) February 12, 2014
The Telegraph UKIP Watch blog spot by academics Rob Ford and Matthew Goodwin is becoming a must read given the importance of Farage’s party.
Today they focus on tomorrow’s Wythenshawe by-election and why the purples have had to scale down expectations. I found these aspects very interesting:-
“.. A few weeks ago the party undertook some private polling in the seat, asking Labour voters who they would vote for if there were no Labour candidate. Less than one in ten said they would support Ukip. The conclusion that Farage drew from this polling was not that his party were unpopular, but that few voters in South Manchester are actually aware of his party: â€œI saw that and knew what we were going to find; an overwhelming lack of knowledge about who Ukip are and what we stand for. Sure enough thatâ€™s what we found…
…Like other struggling competitors before him, Farage is quick to allege the use of intimidation: â€œYouâ€™re the little old dear at number 33. The postman delivers the ballot paper. Two minutes later, thereâ€™s a knock on the door. Itâ€™s the Labour canvasser. ‘Do you want some help with that? Can I take that from you?’ Theyâ€™ve even got a barcoding system.â€ â€
Perhaps Mr Farage doth protesteth too much. Ford and Goodwin highlight UKIP’s weaknesses – modern elections require good on the ground organisation, excellent data and committed skilled activists.
Under the first past the post system you either win or you are nowhere. Goodish second places don’t get you MPs.