X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Nigel Farage shouldn’t get Ukip’s hopes up for a win in Portsmouth South

24 April 2013

11:56 AM

24 April 2013

11:56 AM

Talk of a by-election in Portsmouth South has been growing, fuelled by allegations against MP Mike Hancock. And, in a speech to the parliamentary press gallery lunch yesterday, Nigel Farage claimed Ukip could win it. The reasoning is simple: Ukip are on the up, and they came within 2,000 votes and 5 percentage points of a win in Eastleigh, so surely they can go over the top in another Hampshire by-election where the Lib Dem incumbent has had to step down amidst a scandal.

Of course Ukip could win — but its chances may not be as high as that reasoning suggests. Indeed, Farage himself seems to think his party would be more likely than not to lose. He said ‘I would think that the odds on Ukip winning it would be 2/1, 3/1 at Ladbrokes and elsewhere.’ That prediction raises two questions: would the bookies offer those odds? And should you take them if they do?

The Eastleigh by-election provides a reasonable point of reference. When Chris Huhne resigned, Ladbrokes initially offered 6/1 against a Ukip victory, but immediately lengthened those odds to 12/1 when Farage declared that he wouldn’t stand. They went further out to 25/1 before tightening during the closing days back to 6/1 on polling day. Are there good reasons to think Ukip would be that much more likely to win in Portsmouth South than they were in Eastleigh? (Odds of 6/1 translate to a 14.3 per cent chance; 3/1 to 25 per cent and 2/1 to 33.3 per cent.)

[Alt-Text]


Ukip do seem to have moved up slightly in the national polls since the Eastleigh by-election: the Polling Observatory aggregation put together by Drs Rob Ford, Will Jennings and Mark Pickup has them rising from 9.3 per cent on 1 March to 11.2 per cent on 1 April.

But even if the national picture is better for them when the by-election takes place, the demographics of Portsmouth South look less favourable to Ukip than Eastleigh’s. In particular, Portsmouth South is much younger than Eastleigh: the mean age is 35 compared to 39.5. In Eastleigh, over-60s make up 27.9 per cent of the adult population; in Portsmouth South they’re just 19.6 per cent. Partly because it contains the University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth South has 6,900 full-time students to Eastleigh’s 2,200. 38 per cent of the adult population is under 30, compared to 18.4 per cent in Eastleigh.

This matters because Ukip relies on older voters to greater extent than the other parties. In February, YouGov found that 48 per cent of Ukip supporters were over 60, while just 8 per cent were under 30. Of course, they’re helped by the fact that older people are much more likely to vote — especially in low-turnout by-elections. But we can expect the average Portsmouth South voter to be at least slightly younger — and therefore less likely to vote Ukip — than the average Eastleigh voter.

And, like in Eastleigh, the Liberal Democrats dominate at a local government level — they hold 17 of the 18 City Council seats in the constituency (the Tories have one).

So, rather than ‘Ukip nearly won Eastleigh, surely they’ll win Portsmouth South’, a more realistic framing might be ‘Ukip didn’t win Eastleigh, surely they won’t win Portsmouth South’. A Ukip victory is certainly possible, but I’d need much more generous odds than 2/1 or 3/1 to bet on it.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close