The local elections are over and the headline story is clearly one of UKIP breakthrough. The Conservatives did almost exactly as badly as expected, losing around 335 seats and control of 10 councils, Labour did about as well as expected in terms of seats, gaining just under 300, but only two councils (Nottingham and Derbyshire, Staffordshire surprisingly remained Tory). The Liberal Democrat lost a lot of voters, but only around 125 seats. UKIP gained around 140 councillors – doing particularly well in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, both of which fell into No Overall Control with UKIP the second largest party.

The BBC’s Projected National Share of the vote was CON 25%, LAB 29%, LDEM 14%, UKIP 23%. The results for both the Conservatives and Labour are strikingly low… but this is more an artefact of the high level of UKIP support. I’ve said it in almost every post I’ve made this week, but note again what the Projected National Share of the vote is and isn’t.

It is a projection of what the BBC think the shares of local vote would be if there were elections across the whole country and if all four parties stood in every council division. In other words, it takes account and corrects for the fact that only rather Toryish parts of the county voted, and that UKIP and the Lib Dems only stood in three-quarters of the divisions. Secondly, it isn’t the votes that were actually cast – if you totted up the votes cast in every ward on Thursday you’d come up with a different, but probably less meaningful, number. Thirdly, it’s not an attempt to measure or predict national support for a general election – general elections have much higher turnout and, more importantly, people can and do vote differently in them.

However, there are some useful things we can tell from the voting patterns on Thursday, especially about UKIP support. Firstly look at the vote shares and the number of seats won. UKIP got a PNS of 23% (we don’t know what their actual share was, but we’ll work with the projected shares for now), the Liberal Democrats of 14%. However, the Liberal Democrats won 352 seats in total, UKIP 147. It’s an excellent illustration of the importance of vote distribution – look at the detailled results and there are swathes of country where the Lib Dems get truly derisory votes, and strong areas where they win. In comparison UKIP tended to do pretty well across the board, getting lots of second places even where they didn’t win (in the BBC’s key wards they came second more than any other party).

While we’ve seen the general level of UKIP support growing across the country, this is also our first chance to see exactly where it is strong. The places UKIP tended to win the most seats were peripheral towns, outlying places, often the coast, often economic backwaters in a way, places like Boston, Spalding, Great Yarmouth, Thanet, Folkstone, the area around Bognor. Some of these areas, like the Norfolk and Lincolnshire Fens, are areas that have seen high levels of Eastern European immigration. Others are popular retirement locations and we know there is very strong correlation between age and voting UKIP. This seems to make sense, although one should be slightly cautious about accepting conclusions because they seem intuitively correct, there’s plenty more work to be done here.

Finally there is the impact on the political narrative. While I think Labour did pretty respectably, they were clearly overshadowed by UKIP in terms of coverage so it’s not going to give them much momentum. Rather the impact will be all about UKIP – the publicity boost and the further perception that they are a serious player will likely translate into higher levels of support in the polls in the short term at least, but there will also be the impact on the other parties, particularly the Conservatives. The Tories did not do horribly badly, so don’t seem to be in full meltdown, but do look spooked. Already there are lots of Conservative MPs scampering off to the press to tell that that the policy they happen to want to see enacted is also – what a shocker – the key to defeating UKIP.

What the Tories should really do probably deserves a post in its own right, but suffice to say there is no easy answer. UKIP support is driven by various factors – an anti-immigration vote (and anti-EU to some degree), an anti-government vote, and anti-establishment and anti-politics vote. While UKIP is a radical right-wing party rather than a left-wing party, I suspect it also has much in common with the recent successes for parties like the Five Star Movement in Italy – a expression of rage against a political establishment that is only offering unpleasant medicine in already difficult times.

All of these are tricky to deal with – stopping immigration or bringing back major powers from Europe are, in practical terms, almost impossible for Cameron to deliver so he cannot realistically give voters what they say they want on those fronts, he cannot outflank UKIP on those policies and addressing them half-heartedly only puts them up the agenda (or sends the message to people that voting UKIP does successfully move Tory policy!). The party of government can by definition never capture an anti-establishment, anti-politics vote – there will always be some people who dislike both Labour and Conservative and want an alternative, any alternative.

What the Conservatives can seek to do is reduce anti-government voting, they’ll hope by being able to point to some economic progress at some point, by presenting an image of competence and ability, by reducing noises-off and disunity and maintaining a clear message and purpose. Of course, this is probably also the best way for the Conservatives to win support from non-voters, from Labour and Lib Dem voters, or from anyone else (it is also rather dull and obvious advice – govern well – so don’t expect many columnists to waste their time with it).


242 Responses to “Some thoughts on the local elections”

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  1. Best Result for the conservatives: Northumberland.

    Worst result for the conservatives: Lincolnshire.

  2. @ Anthony Wells (from previous thread)

    Thanks. It would really undermine credibility.

    @ Roger Mexico (from previous thread)

    Thanks – the same as above. (multivariate analysis could overcome the sample size though, but maybe the degree of freedom would be unacceptably high).

  3. AW: “The places UKIP tended to win the most seats were peripheral towns, outlying places, often the coast, often economic backwaters in a way…”

    Yes, I think Clacton fits that description well and UKIP picked up 2 seats in this area and did well in the rest.

  4. As ever a good summary Anthony,

    Although in policy terms I wouldn’t put the SNP anywhere near UKIP ( who incidently lost their deposit in a Scottish council by election on Thursday) there are similarities in voting patterns.

    For decades the SNP. Did well across Scotland, we were second almost everywhere!! But second is last in a two horse race so we never got the seats that the national share might suggest.

    The SNP couldn’t beat a Labour candidate in Glasgow and the LibDem’s held sway in the Highlands.

    That changed in at the last election when the SNP managed to breakthrough in constituencies partly because of the LibDem’s joining the coalition.

    For UKIP to do he same looks extremely difficult but hey can win seats. As I have said before if I was them I would target the LibDem’s in 2015 with local winning MEP’s from 2014.

    Given yesterday’s results it should be pretty easy to identify current LibDem seats which fit the demographic outlined in Anthony’s post.

    If Labour look like forming the government , a combination of anger at the coalition, Tories looking to protest and disaffected LibDem voters, tactical or protest, could see UKIP come through on the outside and emerge as not just a fourth but dare I say it the Third party.

    Anyone for a bet on the possibility of a Euro style three party coalition government?

    Peter.

  5. Oh dear, dear, deary me…..!
    :-)

  6. @AW

    A very interesting initial reflection on the results.

    I hear what you say about PNS. That makes perfect sense. My observation yesterday was that early on Friday morning the BBC had a graphic with showing based on early returns, Lab was expected to get,26% of the actual vote in the areas voting (+6% from 2009), and that this would be equivalent to 38% nationally. That is what, they said.

    Yet at the end of, yesterday, the BBC said,Labour’s PNS was just,29%. Why did they, initially reference the 38% figure at all?

  7. I see NF is claiming UKIP are the new SDP – that ended well. So the Tories out of power for a generation then.

  8. A three party coalition?

    How will that happen? It’s staringly obvious that if UKIP splits the Tory vote Labour would have to do woefully to not get a tidy majority.

    Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Even AW seems to be ignoring this simple most important fact.

  9. THanks Anthony.

    Your last para is on the money for me.

    But I would definitely add in , co-operation/coalition with UKIP councillors on NOC Councils. I hope the Conservative Party machine permits this to happen-Farage seems relaxed about it.

    I like the idea of Beppe Farage!

  10. Who woul have thought it — the Tories will lose the election because of Europe….
    :-)

  11. COUPER 2802

    @” see NF is claiming UKIP are the new SDP – that ended well. So the Tories out of power for a generation then.”

    That’s the threat he is waving over Cons at present.

    We will see how the landscape looks in two years time.

  12. It does seem to be a perfect storm for Cameron and the Tories. With the LibDems in Coalition so left leaning folk going back to Labour and UKIP splitting the ‘grumpy old and not so old white guy’ vote.

    I wonder what the LibDems should do? They will be in an even worseposition if the Coalition moves to the right.

    Labour NEEDS to get themselves a good media-spin doctor – at the moment their media manipulation is pathetic. I know the BBC and press are biased against them of (smile)- but Labour need to get spinning and manipulating.

  13. @Colin

    I fear, that for the Conservatives it will be the same as it is now, because they are now, and have been since 1990, fatally and terminally divided over Europe.
    The cat is out of the bag. Divided Parties do not win elections.

    :-)

  14. Norbold – clacton is exactly the sort of place (though Tendring first party stopped UKIP doing as well as they might have there)

  15. very difficult/imposible to find a decent comparison for labour % of vote (actually, not reprojected) . I am trying to find the peak labour vote in a comparable election , so I’m looking 1998 – 9 …. all previous locals seem to have included metropolitans and unitaries , and extracting those from the results would be a major undertaking, but worthwhile as they seem to represent about 40% of the population. Is the data available somewhere, do you know?

  16. @AW
    Yes, Clacton, Southend, all those places in Essex, etc. etc. where Eastern European Immigration is regarded as ‘Taking Our Jobs’. It will always happen at times of economic stress. I don’t think it is fundamentally racist, but rather fear of ‘The Other’, and of the future.
    :-( :-)

  17. @AW

    “…What the Conservatives can seek to do is reduce anti-government voting, they’ll hope by being able to point to some economic progress at some point, by presenting an image of competence and ability, by reducing noises-off and disunity and maintaining a clear message and purpose. Of course, this is probably also the best way for the Conservatives to win support from non-voters, from Labour and Lib Dem voters, or from anyone else (it is also rather dull and obvious advice – govern well – so don’t expect many columnists to waste their time with it)…”

    Amen to that.

  18. On the immigration issue I can understand the unemployed person’s point but surely it is the businesses employing the eastern Europeans that are the problem.

    Can the government force\incentivise businesses to employ British staff? Can the public?

  19. ANDYO

    I understand your point l-I remember my 1997 GE vote only too well.

    However, whilst the point you make about divided parties is no doubt one of permanence, I think public attitudes to EU have changed since then.
    One doesn’t need to be a political anorak to assimilate perceptions from the news bulletins about EU’s economic model, EU’s role in net inward migration to UK-not to mention emotive subjects like Abu Qatada .

    Whilst EU matters appear not to have great salience to UK voters, would a referendum on UK’s terms of membership be purely of interest to UKIP voters?

    I suspect not-and to the extent that it elicits a nationwide opinion, does that not put the issue to bed?

    I think the difficulty for DC might be that , for some in UKIP, a referendum is not the thing they require-it is an OUT in a referendum.

    But if the answer is -as I think it would be-IN-then UKIP & the fanatical Europhobes of the Conservative Party would be confined to the fringe of public opinion.

  20. consigned to the fringe.

  21. Excellent piece and an antidote to some of the nonsense that’s around at the moment.

  22. Great analysis

    Agreed the Lib Dems are good at targeting seats, something other parties could learn from.

    2 seats from my town Lib Dems HELD and Both seats they were worried about losing, the result was

    targeted seat 2009-35%, 2013-53%

    not-targeted 2009-27%, 2013-8%

  23. AW: “clacton is exactly the sort of place (though Tendring first party stopped UKIP doing as well as they might have there)”

    That’s only true up to a point. If it wasn’t for Pierre Oxley winning Clacton East, Tendring First would have suffered a disastrous night for them and even there it was probably the large UKIP vote that let Pierre in.

  24. @ANDYO
    “Yes, Clacton, Southend, all those places in Essex, etc. etc. where Eastern European Immigration is regarded as ‘Taking Our Jobs’. It will always happen at times of economic stress. I don’t think it is fundamentally racist, but rather fear of ‘The Other’, and of the future.”

    But that’s the strange thing about Clacton. In 2009, the BNP did well and UKIP did well this time but we have hardly any immigrants at all. The ethnic demographic for Clacton shows something like a 98% white British population. They should all stop reading the Daily Mail!!!

  25. Just seen this on the BBC web-site on their council election headline story page:

    “Labour gained 211 county councillors and won the South Shields by-election”

    That would be 291 BBC – They can’t even get simple facts right. I used to really trust the BBC but I am beginning to have doubts.

  26. AW

    Is there a link to these 1550 BBC key wards?

  27. “What the Conservatives can seek to do is reduce anti-government voting, they’ll hope by being able to point to some economic progress at some point”

    The UK economy will improve over the next 2 years, but I suspect that living standards in real terms will have reduced for most people. Most people will have had no pay rise or very little rise in pay over the coalitions period in office. But they will have seen the costs of living rise substantially. So by May 2015, most people will be pretty fed up. The question is then whether they blame the coalition parties enough, either to vote for other parties or to not vote all all.

    When we get to Autumn 2014 during the party conference season, we will see the start of the election campaign. The coaltion government won’t have much in the way of important legislation to pass and we will see all the main parties starting to argue about all the main issues. It is going to be a very long campaign period, due to fixed parliament setting the date so far ahead.

    The question I have is which party will gain most, by having such a long campaign period ? The Tories always seem to raise the most money for campaigns and I expect them to start putting out their ads early. Labour will get their normal money from the Unions and therefore Ed Miliband will have to keep them on side, so will find it difficult to agree to keep coaltion policies, which the Unions don’t agree with. The Lib Dems rely on very localised campaigning, so will do the same as they normally do. But they will, I am sure, start to criticise their Tory coalition partners more and state where they differ, increasingly voting against the government line.

    There is far too much that can happen during the next 2 years to make any prediction about likely election outcomes. The Tories could spend a lot more money on a long campaign and people may be worried about a change to Labour, if the economy has shown signs of improvement. I have been thinking that Labour would form the next government with the most seats, but now I thinking that any prediction is not possible until a week before the election, based on polling nearer the time in key marginals.

  28. As per usual a very good analysis AW. However, I would not agree that Labour did anything other than adequately.
    Certainly nothing that put flesh on the bones of some great recovery. As for the Tories, I think you are 100% correct. Those who think the Tory vote in 15 will be mashed up by UKIP, will probably have another think/ dream/ wish, coming. Furthermore, if UKIP had been the Socialist Workers party, I would be very worried. But, as you point out, UKIP is on the radical right, it has far more in common with us than it does with any other party. If some accommodation cannot be arranged between now and the great LIB/LAB pact of 2015, I am a Dutchman. Please don’t call me Roland Van Haines.

  29. bigfatron (fpt)

    A regional phenomenon that only takes place in SE England is a matter of great national importance. Surely everyone knows that? :D

    Thanks for crunching those numbers, though I’d point out that the Others is mainly an Isle of Wight issue due to the behaviour of the Council there. Sue is clearly right to point out the importance to UKIP of organisation – one reason why they did so well in the Eastleigh by-election was that they started from having fought all the district seats in 2011 getting about 10%, and that clearly helped win those County seats there. But starting from scratch doesn’t explain completely how poorly they did north-west of the Humber-Avon line – they actually lost two of their four seats in Staffordshire. They also did a bit worse in the South West than expected, an area where they have long tended to well in the Euros.

    Some ground is just more fertile for them, which is odd when you consider that an anti-Establishment Party should do better the further you get from London. Either that or it’s the height above sea level. The only zero-UKIP county south-east of that line is the fairly elevated Oxfordshire.

  30. @R HUCKLE
    How very sensible and true. I agree with every word.

  31. Error in above: Eastleigh locals in 2012 were what I meant.

  32. @Roland Haines

    Roland Van Halen sounds better.

  33. @ Anthony Wells

    Bloody hell Anthony, I woke up feeling quite happy with life but after reading your summary i do not know what position we should take.

  34. It will be interesting to see how the Labour vote behaves in the polls during the next few weeks.

    If there really is an element that’s purely anti-government or ‘flaky’ you’d expect desertions to the new flavour-of- the-month, UKIP.Any Labour shrinkage below 38% or Lib Dem shrinkage below 10% should encourage Cons even if it’s UKIP that gets a boost initially.

  35. The concentration of UKIP success in the Fens, East Anglia and Lincolnshire is interesting. I’m sure that recent East European immigration has played a part, but it cannot be the whole story. These areas have long been ones where deeply xenophobic attitudes are more common than in most of the UK.

    The NF used to hold national meetings in Bury St Edmonds. The otherwise urbane and educated father of an old university friend of mine would regularly ask me if I’d come down from Sheffield for the weekend to escape from the n****rs when I visited that town. And we’re talking about the 1990s here. King’s Lynn was found in a survey in the 1990s to be the UK town with the most unwelcoming attitude to foreigners. Closely followed by Boston. As a football fan, I experienced monkey chants and chants of “Their ain’t no Black in the Union Jack” at away matches in Grimsby, Lincoln and Boston, years after such overt racism had faded in less peripheral areas.

    So yep, recent immigration may well have played a part, but there was already fertile xenophobic soil for UKIP’s roots to grow in.

  36. I remember people saying in the run up to the last GE, that UKIP voters would “return” to the Tories to ensure a Tory majority. It didn’t happen.

    If anything, the “core” UKIP vote is higher than it was then (let’s say around 10%). The Tories might be in serious trouble.

    I take Roland Haines’s point about the possibility of detente between the Tories and UKIP. That would be sensible. But I cannot see it. Cameron anf Farage are going in different directions.

  37. couper2802

    On the immigration issue I can understand the unemployed person’s point but surely it is the businesses employing the eastern Europeans that are the problem.

    I doubt there is much correlation between unemployment and immigration. The jobs that the latter take are often at or below minimum wage levels – especially in farming.

    The whole immigration argument is a nonsense. Drummed up by UKIP and played along with by the media. The ordinary public fall for it in much the same way as they fell for it in the 1930’s.

  38. @ LeftyLampton

    I have never seen or heard any racism in Bury St Edmunds, its a lovely town with very nice people.

  39. Should of added that King’s Lynn is, or was a very unpleasant town to visit.I have not visited the town for many years though.

    I think they have many Portugese workers their.

  40. UKIP feed well into an uneasiness with change. Rapid change unsettles people but it can often be masked by gain.

    We saw huge changes from the 80’s under Thatcher right up until Brown and the UKIP demographic was one of the most effected.however many of the changes were beneficial, low interest rates, low inflation, rising living standards and house prices all helped to make them feel prosperous, as did buying their Council house and shares in privatising building societies.

    Anxieties started to grow over crime, particularly burglary and health, particularly as the aged. Blair addressed these with “Tough on Crime” and “24hrs to Save the NHS”.

    Now that they face falling real living standards poorer saving returns and house prices along with higher food and fuel costs, the feel god factor has gone and with it they start to notice more the other changes that prosperity protected them from them.

    The squeeze on public services from Libraries to buses when you have less income to go out, buy books or run a car wasn’t noticed when you didn’t need to use them.

    The way your town has changed becomes more noticeable, there are more foreign voices, particularly if you start to shop in the cheaper stores where they shop too. There is more competition for jobs and if you lose yours you may have to compete at a lower level where new comers are more likely to be looking to.

    All this makes you wake up to, but also overestimate how big the changes have been and to link the superficial changes; all those foreign voices, wrongly with bigger economic problems like the recession.

    So there being fewer jobs because of a severe recession becomes “they’re coming here and stealing our jobs”

    Peter.

  41. Hi Anthony,

    Just wanted to point out that I now avoid reading speculation on political strategy and psephology in newspapers these days, in part because of this blog. I’m a political scientist by training, and I find so much media coverage of both intensely frustrating, superficial, or just misguided. Your blog is a very welcome corrective to newspaper politics coverage!

  42. The residents ( people who live there) of somewhere like Boston in Lincs could no doubt explain how they see the effects of rapid , large scale , unplanned immigration upon them ; to the armchair seated arbiters of other people’s lives-if only the latter would remove their heads from their backsides, leave their armchairs & go to Boston.

  43. Lefty & BlueBob

    Don’t know Kings Lynn attitude to outsiders from personal wxperience but I do know as a local anti incinerator campaign leader that they certainly dislike alien waste incinerators – the previous Norfolk CC was trying to foist one on them despite a 92% vote against in an official referendum. I also know this was a significant issue in the county elections. Now UKIP opposed the incinerator and they won 1 seat in KL. But probe a little more and you will see that Labour also vociferously opposed the incinerator and actually won the other 3 KL seats from the Conservatives, including KL North with an astonishing 72% of the vote …try extrapolating from that ye BBC pundits. All to show that local elections are quite rightly often about local issues.

    On the same theme I’d be interested to know how Labour managed to win all 7 seats in Hastings ? Leaving aside poverty levels, is there a particular local factor in that as they won nothing else at all in the county?

  44. As a centre right supporter I found the council elections not great, but okay, the Tory party retained 1116 councillors ,Labour only managed to win 261 council seats and two councils against a supposed unpopular government mid term, UKip won an impressive 139 councillors no councils and all the publicity.
    On top of that EM seems to be determined to take his party to the left when the voting public seems to have moved slightly right of centre a course of action he may come to regret.
    .
    Much has been made of the effect of VI between Tory and UKip much of it based on the hypothetical assumption UKip will go from strengh to strengh and their support will transfer into votes at the next GE instead of drifting back to the Tories,and of course DC won’t do some sort of deal with UKip or UKip with him.

    Personally once the media have lost interest in the council elections which will probably be next couple of weeks then it’s back to Labour/Tory and the economy, immigration and welfare and who the public trust the most on those subjects and with the economy on the up, all be it slowly, I see no landslide victories for either right or left I even see it possible for EM to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory if he continues his march left he may find it’s his party out of touch with the voters.

  45. Turk,

    “I even see it possible for EM to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory if he continues his march left”

    Would you like to name a single policy he has adopted that is particularly to the left of Gordon Brown?

    Peter.

  46. @”On the same theme I’d be interested to know how Labour managed to win all 7 seats in Hastings ? ”

    They actually took 7 out of 8. Previously it was 4 each Lab/Con.

  47. A question to all the number crunchers here – Are there any parliamentary constituencies where the total UKIP votes in Thursday’s results in the county divisions places them in in first place within the parliamentary constituency as a whole?

  48. @TURK

    It is 291 seats that Labour gained, though since even the BBC can’t get it right, I shouldn’r expect you to.

  49. Warning: long post

    Sitting in Gloucestershire the UKIP storm feels like WW2 must have felt in Switzerland. There are boundary changes to reduce the size of the council by 10 so its hard to make direct comparisons, but in my own division the Greens held, getting 40% vote share with Labour on 28% and Tories a distant 3rd but still just ahead of UKIP. At county level the Conservatives lost overall control – not that unlikely in a mid-term election esp after some unpopular local policies – but are still biggest party with LDs still second. UKIP won 3 seats but biggest gainer was Lab and LDs also won a couple of seats from Tories.

    What resonates is AW’s comment about UKIP in fringes. UKIPs gains were in the Forest of Dean. Looking at District Council level, Tory Cotswolds LD Cheltenham and Red-Yellow-Green Stroud all feel like places that in different ways work. If you’re a traditionalist Tory the Cotswolds probably feel like you’d want the whole of England to be, but even a lefty like me does not think “my God the poor old peasants are really oppressed round here” . Equally I doubt a Tory in Cheltenham or Stroud would think “get me out of this den of drug-crazed foreigners”.

    But the Forest does not feel like it has “worked” for ages, if ever. It’s a unique mix of rural isolation and industrial collapse. Changes of constituency MP, local council, and national government have not changed this. Fertile ground for UKIP especially in an area of deep small-c conservatism.

    If UKIP help focus the minds of politicians on why places like the Forest or Lincolnshire feel like this they’ll be doing us all a favour, especially when you look at the equivalents in, say, France, Greece or Italy. [I’d vote UKIP every time if the alternative was Le Pen or the Golden Dawn.] But I’d say the solution is to look at the places that DO work and copy them.

  50. Anthony (fpt)

    I would always urge a large amount of caution towards any poll asking people “why” they are voting for a party. People are not actually very good at understanding the drivers of their own decisions, those are really more people’s own rationalisations

    Up to a point, but the opposite viewpoint is even worse – that some sort of elite “know” what people are really thinking and any actual expressed opinions can be ignored. We’ve heard a lot of that in the last few days. At the very best the pundits are often making their own rationalisations of what their own internal drivers are.

    I think as well that things can interact. So even if it’s unhappiness with their worsening economic position that is causing a change of vote, the reasons that they express will also be relevant and that rationale will itself become more important than it was. That’s why it’s useful to ask more than one reason as people’s motivations are usually complex.

    The negative results can often be more enlightening than the positive ones. For example there’s been a fair amount of gush about Nigel Farage over the last few days – how he appeals because he’s seen as an ordinary person etc. But only 15% of UKIP voters gave “Because I have a positive impression of Nigel Farage” as one of their three reasons.

    Furthermore when the more general sample was asked “Generally speaking, do you have a positive or negative opinion of the following people?” he got a net score of 17-41=-24 compared with Cameron (33-49=-16), Miliband (22-49=-27) and Clegg (15-60=-45). So he’s only getting the same sort of score as Miliband whom we are assured by the media is universally despised. Even 29% of UKIP voters say their opinion is “Neither positive or negative”. And yet we continue to be told that Party leaders are the most important thing and that Farage is an important reason for UKIP’s success.

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