The gaps between the 2010 LDs and UKIP voters are enormous
In its latest phone poll for the Guardian ICM takes a novel new approach to testing the salience of specific issues and the impact on voting.
As can be seen in the chart above the sample was asked to state the single most important issue that would influence their vote. For me the big surprise is that immigration is pipped for top place by the NHS and that the key personal financial areas of jobs, prices, and wages come in third.
The NHS, as has been widely reported, is an area that Lynton Croby doesn’t want the blue team to talk about.
For the chart I’ve separated off for special analysis the two key groups of wing voters since GE10 – those now saying UKIP and those who voted Lib Dem. Click on the separate tabs to see how they responded and you have a totally different pattern of what’s considered to be important.
Whilst immigration his 43% as top issue for UKIP voters just 7% of 2010 LDs say the same. Surprisingly considering their age profile UKIP supporters are far less concerned about the NHS and just 2% made dealing with the deficit their top priority.
This all illustrates the strategic dilemma for for Tories. Going hard on immigration might be the right way of winning back some of the voters who’ve gone to UKIP but it is not going to cause many 2010 LD switchers to return to their allegiance.
In fact it might be that strong immigration messages from the blue team reinforces the views of 2010 LD switchers making the Tory challenge even greater.