Why UKIP is set to damage Tories a lot more than LAB at GE2015

Why UKIP is set to damage Tories a lot more than LAB at GE2015

LAB lost much of its traditional support long before the UKIP surge

Today I’m off to London for a big event in Westminster to promote the GE2015 British Election Study – a huge academic imitative involving the universities of Manchester, Oxford and Nottingham that in the coming months will become an essential resource to all who follow politics closely.

The rise and rise of UKIP is going to be a big focus and this afternoon we are going to be told that Farage’s party will inflict much more damage on the Conservative Party in the 2015 General Election than on Labour.

One interesting insight, from Professor Geoff Evans, from the University of Oxford (Nuffield College) and a Co-Director of the BES, is that many of Labour’s core supporters had already deserted their party between 2001 and 2010 as a reaction to Tony Blair and New Labour and have since moved to UKIP.

However, while much of this damage has already been done to Labour, the switch from the Conservatives to Ukip is still happening.

“BES data shows quite clearly that it’s the Conservative Party who need to worry most about the threat of Ukip – because those people who supported Labour have in the main, already made the switch.

“New Labour’s move to the liberal consensus on the EU and immigration in 2001, 2005 and 2010, left many of their core voters out in the cold a long time before UKIP were around.”

Also at the event, Professor Ed Fieldhouse from The University of Manchester and fellow BES Co-Director will show, using BES data, that Ukip and the Greens are disadvantaged because their supporters have less like-minded friends.

The smaller parties, he argues, have fewer fellow travellers to discuss their politics with and are therefore less likely to hear positive messages of support about those parties.

No doubt I’ll be posting later.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

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