Despite a week of rather bruising media coverage, Ukip has moved into first place for next month’s European elections. For the second time this year, Nigel Farage’s party has overtaken Labour. According to poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times, just three points currently separate Labour and Ukip — still touching the margin of error:
Although Labour and Ukip may continue to swap places over the next few weeks, today’s poll also suggests Ukip voters are more likely to turn out on polling day. When asked from 0 to 10 the likelihood of turning out on polling day, 48 per cent said they definitely would — 34 per cent turned out in 2009 — and eight per cent said stated there was no chance at all. Breaking this down by voting intention, 51 per cent of Labour voters said they will definitely turn out, compared to 68 per cent of Ukip voters. This chart compares the likelihood of voting between the two parties:
The question of whether Ukip are a racist party continues to be asked, particularly regarding their new billboard campaign. In today’s poll, two thirds say they do not find the posters are racist — notably including over three quarters of Conservative voters — and half believe Nigel Farage is not racist, including 63 per cent of Tories. However much Farage and co paint themselves as more than disgruntled ex-Conservatives, their views remain remarkably in line with the Tories.
Yet despite Ukip’s hopes for reconfiguring the political landscape, 57 per cent believe Ukip is still a ‘protest party for people who are unhappy with the main parties, they don’t have realistic policies for running the country’, compared to just 20 per cent who believe they are a ‘serious party with workable policies’. All this indicates Ukip is set to have its best ever election next month, and very possibly come first, but will have a significant challenge to maintain their current levels of popularity after that.