11 MAR 2011
University of Leicester
New academic research on the UK Independence Party, which finished second in the recent Barnsley Central by-election, reveals that the party is well-placed to gain Eurosceptic Tory voters.
Using the first academic survey of UKIP’s general election candidates alongside responses from over 2,000 UKIP general election voters, taken from a YouGov survey, researchers from the University of Leicester analysed the performance of the party that emerged from its Spring Conference in Scarborough with talk of replacing the Liberal Democrats as the third party in British politics.
Drs Philip Lynch and Richard Whitaker, from the Department of Politics and International Relations, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, said UKIP were capable of taking votes from each of the three main political parties with its potent mix of anti-establishment, Eurosceptic and anti-immigration messages.
“Our research shows that UKIP are largely a party of the centre right and that, in the medium-term, they are well-placed to pick up votes from disgruntled supporters of David Cameron’s Conservatives,” said Dr Lynch
“We have found that UKIP candidates mainly see their party as being on the centre right, as distinctive in terms of its ‘hard’ Euroscepticism, and as taking a tougher line on immigration than the main parties but not than the British National Party (BNP). This fits with UKIP’s attempts to position itself as distinctive from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, not only on Europe but also on the salient issue of immigration, while shunning the extremism of the BNP.”
Dr Whitaker added: “Evidence from the 2009 European and 2010 general election suggests the party has more to gain from Conservative supporters than others. Roughly half of its voters at the 2009 European elections (in which UKIP finished second) went on to vote Conservative in 2010, indicating that some Tory supporters took up Nigel Farage’s invitation to ‘lend us your vote’. Information on tactical voting at the general election also suggests UKIP could gain from the Conservatives.”
Read entire article