Whatever happened to UKIP?

Whatever happened to UKIP?


    Have they been beaten off by the Kilroy-Silk, Sykes and Crosby shows?.

Just 22 weeks ago today UKIP pushed the Tories into 4th place in the Hartlepool by-election. A couple of days later YouGov and Populus recorded Tory shares of 28 and 29%.

The talk on the site and elsewhere was of a UKIP-driven “Tory meltdown” with many contributors predicting double figure vote shares for the anti-EU party.

    Then the tensions between Robert Kilroy-Silk and the UKIP leadeship got bigger, the party’s multi-millionaire backer, Sir Paul Sykes pulled out, and one Lynton Crosby arrived from Australia.

Now we have a UKIP which is struggling financially, Robert Kilroy-Silk launching a party of which he can be leader, and the Tories, according to the Guardian at least, getting their campaigning act together, certainly when it comes to appealing to their core support.

UKIP’s poll numbers have collapsed and the current poll average for “others” has dropped from 12% in October to 7.5% today.

The moves in theTory poll rating to the past fortnight average of 34.25% seems to have been at the expense of UKIP, the target, surely, of Crosby’s “dog whistling” strategy on immigration.

So what can UKIP expect to do on May 5th? We have long held the view that they would find it hard to out-perform what the Jimmy Goldsmith-funded Referendum Party did in 1997. That £20m campaign ended up wih 2.6% of the national vote. UKIP will be lucky if they improve on their 1.5% of 2001.

All this should be good for the Tories but they’ve made no inroads at all into the solid LD/Labour poll aggregate that has stuck at 58-61% for nearly 2 years. To achieve anything on May 5 they need switchers from the other 2 main parties.

© Mike Smithson 2005.

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