POLITICS

Ukip Holds Big Lead Over Tories Ahead Of Rochester By-Election, According To ComRes Poll

22/10/2014 22:18 BST | Updated 22/10/2014 23:59 BST
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
DONCASTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Conservative MP Mark Reckless (R) is welcomed to UKIP by party leader Nigel Farage after the tory MP announced he was defecting on the second day of the UKIP (UK Independence Party) party conference at Doncaster Racecourse on September 27, 2014 in Doncaster, England. Party leader Nigel Farage declared that in the run up to next years general election UKIP will be targeting voters in Conservative and Labour heartlands. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A ComRes poll has given Ukip and their candidate Mark Reckless a prodigious 13-point lead over the Tories ahead of the forthcoming Rochester and Strood by-election on November 20th.

The survey, which questioned 1500 adults in the constituency, placed Ukip on 43% with the Tories in second on 30% and Labour in third with 21%. The Green and Lib Dems both registered 3%.

Ukip’s surge appears to be due to the eurosceptic party drawing converts from the traditional three main parties, with the poll showing 39% of people who voted Conservative in 2010 were planning to vote Ukip next month, as were 39% of 2010 Lib Dem voters and 30% of 2010 Labour voters.

Farage’s party has also rallied many who failed to turnout at the last election, with a staggering 57% of people who did not vote in 2010 saying they intended to vote Ukip in the by-election.

Following defeat at the Clacton by-election to Ukip defector Douglas Carswell, David Cameron has demanded the Tories stand their ground in Rochester, the prime minister promising to campaign “very, very hard” in the Kent constituency; many Tory party members are expected to travel to the coast to canvass. However, 66% of people polled said that sending so many politicians to campaign in Rochester and Strood made the party look “desperate”.

A hefty 86% of respondents said they had been contacted by the Conservatives in relation to the by-election, as had 71% by Ukip.

  • Ukip 43%
  • Conservative 30%
  • Labour 21%
  • Green 3%
  • Lib Dem 3%

Former Conservative MP Reckless defected to Ukip in September, despite having previously denied he was going to jump ship. In a dramatic end to Ukip's party conference in Doncaster, Farage sprung the announcement on activists without warning.

Reckless was the second Conservative MP to defect within a month, following Carswell, who made the switch at the end of August, triggering the by-election in Clacton.

Bounding on the stage to a jubilant reception, Reckless said David Cameron was "part of the problem that is holding our country back". He said: "I promise to cut immigration while treating people fairly and humanely, I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative, I can keep it as Ukip."

Reckless, one of the most eurosceptic MPs, said he thought the prime minister's pledge to hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU was nothing more than a "party political trick".

He said: "A Ukip which can do for our politics, what modernity has done for our society, a Ukip which is about hope and optimism, a Ukip which can safeguard our children's future and a Ukip which believes we are more than a star on somebody else's flag."

ComRes interviewed 1,500 adults in Rochester and Strood by telephone between October 17-21.