The outcome could appear an abomination
In the May 2013 local elections UKIP chalked up nearly twice as many votes as the Lib Dems yet won barely half the number of seats – a fact that attracted very little comment at the time.
Given current polling and what is happening in local by-elections Farage’s party is not going away. It is continuing to poll in double figures even though only one pollster prompts for the party and several have weighting structures that underplay their current support.
In survey after survey we are seeing the raw number of UKIP supporters being down-graded once the weightings are applied.
In local by-elections UKIP are continuing to put on good vote shares in Labour and Conservative strongholds getting a number of very good second places.
The party has done well in parliamentary by-elections over the past year securing a number of spectacular second places but has never achieved a vote share in excess of 28%.
My reading is that the party could pile on votes in those constituencies where the outcome is not in doubt and where campaigning by the big two parties is minimal.
In the battlegrounds where the blues and the reds are slugging it out it will be a different picture – UKIP will get squeezed
Their overall national vote total could be helped by the Lib Dem approach to the election of putting everything into retaining what they have with barely a dozen other targets. As I’ve suggested before the yellows could chalk up a lot of lost deposits. This will be a small price to pay if their highly focused targeting strategy enables them to hold on to 30+ seats.
This could leave UKIP in the remarkable position of moving from the fourth place of GE2010 to third in terms of national vote share but still without a single MP.
First past the post works against them horribly.