The other main parties are running scared of UKIP. Around the south and in areas where they are strongest, the Tories claim “Vote UKIP and you will let Labour in” or “Vote UKIP and the Liberals will get in.” Yet, in the Labour heartlands further north it is a different version of the same theme “Vote UKIP and you will let the Tories in!” But, what is the truth?
Increasingly around the country people are finding that if they vote UKIP, more and more, they are getting UKIP. 2013 has seen a significant breakthrough. Not just in the headlines in county seats where we have come top of the polls, but also in the underlying trend in literally hundreds of local council and by election seats where UKIP has come second, becoming the main challenger, even from a standing start where we have never fielded a candidate before.
This breakthrough has been repeated in four out of the five Westminster by-elections in the last 12 months – Middlesbrough, Rotherham and South Shields against Labour in the north, as well as Eastleigh against the Liberal Democrats where UKIP attracted 11,571 votes (swing of 19.3% from Lib Dem to UKIP.)
Lord Ashcroft, the former Conservative Treasurer and bankroller ran an interesting detailed poll on the day of the Eastleigh by election to establish who voted for who and why. He discovered what UKIP canvassers already knew – that UKIP are attracting voters from across the spectrum. Ashcroft discovered that roughly a fifth (22%) of those who had voted Tory at the last General Election voted UKIP in the by election. This was matched by a fifth (19%) of 2010 Liberal Democrats voting UKIP and a similar 17% of Labour voters also moving to vote UKIP. In addition, a further 11% were engaging for the first time by voting UKIP, having not voted for any of the old political parties at the General Election.
We approach the European Parliamentary Elections next May with a momentum already rolling for UKIP to top the poll. We need to keep that momentum rolling by building on our cumulative successes to ultimately get our first batch of MP’s into Westminster.
The other parties have reason to be scared, as they also closely analyse real election results, which increasingly confirm the message “Vote UKIP and you will get UKIP.”