A strong showing by UKIP in European elections could spell trouble for the Tory voteby Peter Kellner / June 20, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
For a larger version of this chart, click here
To read James Macintyre’s full article on UKIP’s rise, click here
UKIP came fourth in 1999, third in 2004, and second in 2009. Is it possible that in the next elections to the European parliament in 2014, UKIP could come top?
The short answer is yes. Unless there is a big change in fortunes of the main political parties, I expect a close fight between UKIP and Labour for first place, both winning around 25 per cent, with the Conservatives trailing third on around 20 per cent. (The Lib Dems could find themselves struggling to avoid fifth place, behind the Greens; but that’s another story.)
This year’s local elections confirm the findings of YouGov’s voting intention surveys: UKIP is currently more popular than at any time in its history, outside the special circumstances of European election campaigns. If it keeps up its present polling support of around 8 per cent, it will enter the 2014 election with more support than before. It will also benefit from the fact that 2014 will see the first proportional-voting Euro-elections under a Tory prime minister. In the past three elections, most right-of-centre anti-government voters were likely to vote Conservative. Next time, many will be looking for a different way to register their discontent. They are unlikely to vote Labour, Lib Dem or Green, and the BNP’s recent internal feuding, declining membership and financial incompetence has cost it what little credibility it enjoyed a few years ago.