Can Nigel Farage make it eight in a row?

Can Nigel Farage make it eight in a row?

The Sunday Times are reporting

Nigel Farage has given his strongest indication yet that he could stand again for parliament after a poll suggested he would comfortably win a seat previously held by Ukip.

The survey, commissioned by Arron Banks, the former Ukip donor, suggested that Farage would win 37 per cent of the vote in Clacton in Essex, beating the Tory incumbent by ten percentage points.

Responding to its findings, Farage said: “I have to say to you that this poll does make the balance of probabilities towards getting back on the pitch stronger. This poll does make me consider getting back on the pitch far more seriously than ever before.”

The poll of 509 people was conducted by Survation between Tuesday and Friday It put Labour third on 23 per cent and the Lib Dems fourth on 6 per cent, with 8 per cent intending to vote for other candidates.

The seat has been held by Giles Watling since the 2017 election but was previously held by Douglas Carswell, who defected from the Tories to Ukip in 2014 under Farage’s leadership. He was re-elected in a by-election in October that year, before retaining the seat at the 2015 general election. It is the only seat that Ukip has won at a general election.

Banks, a close ally of Farage, is attempting to persuade him to return to frontline politics as the head of the Reform UK, of which Farage is honorary president.

Richard Tice, the party’s leader, has left the door open but Farage has said he is still weighing up whether to stand or to limit his campaigning to drumming up support for the party’s candidates. Farage served as an MEP in Brussels for 20 years. He has stood unsuccessfully seven times for parliament.

Banks commissioned the poll with Farage’s blessing and believes Clacton would be an ideal seat for him to stand in, given its past voting record and the fact that 70 per cent of people in the area voted for Brexit. Watling voted Remain.

I have doubts about Farage winning Clacton for a few reasons.

  1. There needs to be a lot of heaving lifting in the constituency in the years before an election before a party can feel confident on winning a seat, something in the past parties led by Farage have been disinclined to do so, name recognition will not do it alone.
  2. Constituency polling can highly inaccurate as Lord Ashcroft and Nigel Farage can attest from the 2015 general election.
  3. In the white heat of a general election campaign where impartiality rules kick in Farage might get drowned out.
  4. I suspect the Leave/Remain loyalties are breaking down as evidenced by a Remainer winning 70% Leave Clacton. With Bregret kicking in with a majority support rejoining the EU being a prominent Leaver might be a vote loser.
  5. Clacton is the only seat ever won by a Farage led party at a general election but that was more down to Douglas Carswell who was regarded as a diligent MP rather than Farage.

On the flip side

  1. Farage’s ratings are in positive territory in the seat and PBers know how important I value those above standard voting intention figures.
  2. Farage’s record at elections to Westminster is dire but most of those seven attempts were when the aim was for him to retain his deposit not win the seat.

There are no individual constituency markets yet which is a shame but there is a market from Ladbrokes offering 4/1 on Farage winning a seat at the next election, it is no bet as Ladbrokes do not offer the other side of the bet. When the constituency markets do open my expectation is that Labour might be the value in a messy three way fight but that will depend on the prices.


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