Given the impact that the rise of UKIP has had on UK politics in the past six months any move or split within the party has to be taken seriously. With both Labour and the Tories polling in the 30s small shifts in support could have a huge impact on the General Election.
Yesterday’s ICM poll recorded support for UKIP up 1% at 4%. With its most public figure calling his party “barmy” then any reduction in the national support could benefit the Tories and also the Lib Dems which suffered from the UKIP surge in the Euro elections in the West Country.
There’s also the issue of Kilroy-Silk’s plan to stand for a Westminster seat at the General Election. Will he now be able to do this under the UKIP banner? If he can’t it will reduce drastically the media coverage that the party will command.
At the 2001 General Election UKIP recorded 1.5%. It is hard to see that rising much and this will benefit the Tories who before the UKIP May surge had started to build a recovery and were even talking of taking 42% of the vote in the Euro Elections . It will also help the Lib Dems to retain and perhaps add to their seat tally in Devon and Cornwall.
From the betting perspective it might be worth a UKIP sell on the spread markets. IG have them at 1-1.8 seats and it’s hard to see that they could make even one gain without Kilroy-Silk. SportingIndex have suspended their price on UKIP seats. If they come back on at one or more then it will look like a good bet.
The IG spread of 202-210 seats on the Tories starts to look good value for a buy.
This is reinforced by a new ICM feature. They now ask “Which of the folllowing best describes you – “I always vote in General Elections”; “I almost always vote…”; “I sometimes vote” etc. The “always” figure from Tory voters was 64% against 55% for Labour. To the “likely to vote on scale of 1 to 10” question the Tories had the same proportion with the top score – 64% but Labour rose to 60%. The difference might be one of the explanations why polls mostly overstate Labour.