POLITICS

Ukip Could Double Its Support, And Take A Third Of UK Voters, Research Reveals

10/03/2014 09:39 GMT | Updated 10/03/2014 09:59 GMT
Nick Ansell/PA Wire
File photo dated 3/5/13 of a UKIP candidate's rosette as the party has hailed a rise of two thirds in its membership in the past 12 months as it gears up for European Parliament elections in May.

Almost a third of Britain's voters would consider voting Ukip, meaning the party could still double its support, an analysis of more than 100,000 voters has revealed.

And Ukip's rapid rise is not fuelled just by concern over the European Union, but is mired in intense dissatisfaction with the established political class, the study found.

The findings are from a new book published on Friday, Revolt on the Right, by Manchester University's Dr Robert Ford and Nottingham University's Dr Matthew Goodwin

The three key drivers of Ukip's surge are Euroscepticism, hostility to immigration, and anger with mainstream politics, the book claims, with 30% of British voters identifying with two of those categories, and 20% holding all three ‘Ukip-friendly’ beliefs.

The research shows this is roughly twice the level of support Ukip received last year, which was their best year to date, indicating that their vote share could rise still further.

David Cameron, the book says, is particularly unpopular among Ukip voters, 6,000 of whom were surveyed for the book.

Ford, one of the co-authors says: “Ukip are currently winning over one voter in 10 but their potential far exceeds their current support in the polls by a margin of three to one. This revolt has been a long time coming, but may have a long way to run.

“Ukip are winning over the “Left Behind” groups in British society: old, working class, men, with very few educational qualifications.

"These are voters who hold a very different set of values to the professional, middle-class majority: they are far more nationalist, Eurosceptic, fiercely opposed to immigration and feel like they have no voice in politics," Goodwin argued. "They look out at a country their neither recognise nor want to be a part of.”

But Ukip supporting is not spreading to new societal groups, the research suggests, rather, it is deepening among the core demographic.

“Ukip have ‘doubled down’ on their core, working class vote, not spread their appeal”, said Ford.

“Ukip’s problem going forward is that they have little appeal to university graduates, the young or to ethnic minorities. They also face an electoral system that stacks the deck against new entrants," Goodwin added.