First local poll to name Farage predicts further Commons gains for UKIP

26 Feb 2015

The results of the first constituency poll to name Nigel Farage as a candidate would see the UKIP leader enter the Commons with a large majority, if repeated in the General Election in May.


The poll was conducted by Survation on behalf of Alan Brown, and saw over 1,000 South Thanet constituents asked who they would vote for if the following candidates were standing, naming Nigel Farage for UKIP, Will Scobie for Labour,  Craig Mackinlay for the Conservatives, Ian Driver for the Greens, Russ Timpson, and Al Murray, famed pub landlord, as a wild card candidate.


The poll shows UKIP, represented by Nigel Farage, taking 39% of the vote, with Labour taking 28% and the Conservatives 27%. The Green Party and the Liberal Democrats trail on 3% and 2% respectively, with both parties set to lose their deposits if these results are repeated on polling day.


Previous polls for the constituency have predicted much closer results for UKIP, with the party often coming second. However, these polls have never mentioned Nigel Farage by name, despite the fact that is candidacy was confirmed in January of this year.


In unfortunate news for the Conservatives, the poll shows the incumbent party coming third in the constituency, despite winning a majority of over 16% in 2010.


However, incumbent MP Laura Sandys announced in August 2014 that she would not be standing for re-election in the constituency, citing “a wide range of family demands”. This has meant that unknown candidate Craig Mackinlay faces a vast uphill struggle against household name Nigel Farage.


The poll is the latest in a series of localised successes for UKIP in spite of increasingly stagnant performances in national polls. Constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft earlier this month showed the party edging towards taking key seats in the North and East of England from the Conservatives.


These included South Basildon & East Thurrock and Castle Point, two adjacent constituencies in the same county as Tory defector Douglas Carswell’s Clacton seat, and show increasing gains in areas of the country populated by what many are calling the “left behind” of society – “older, middle-to-lower income, working class, white voters with few educational qualifications”.


Latest predictions show UKIP winning between one and five seats, with increasing uncertainty as to the party’s possible impact in the impending election.


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