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Lord Ashcroft: The UKIP threat is not about Europe

December 18th, 2012

Following on from last night’s phone polls from Populus and ComRes which showed UKIP  vote share increasing with the phone pollsters, Lord Ashcroft has published some polling on UKIP, from which we learn

[The] research finds that 12% of those who voted Tory in 2010 now say they would vote UKIP in an election tomorrow. Half of all those who would consider voting UKIP supported the Conservatives at the last election.

The graphic below shows which of the following issues is the most important facing the country at the moment for those UKIP considerers


I found it odd/interesting that Cameron said yesterday he saw withdrawal from the EU imaginable, which some have interpreted as a referendum on the EU will be offered by Cameron.

Following on from the lack of a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, even though he made a cast-iron guarantee, I’m not sure any future offer a referendum by David Cameron would have any credibility or be a vote winner in the eyes of UKIPers/Eurosceptics.

As we can see from the Ashcroft polling, resolving the UK’s relations with the EU is the fifth priority for those UKIP considerers, so offering a referendum on Europe may not win back those who are switched to UKIP or are considering to do so, as the economy, jobs, reducing welfare dependency/abuses, immigration and cutting the deficit/debt rank higher.

As the deficit has been lower since the coalition took office, this may lead to Cameron winning back some support from the UKIP considerers, if the deficit is lower at the 2015 general election than what the coalition inherited.

As Lord Ashcroft observes

It is a battle between the party of easy answers and the party of tough decisions. Those who want nothing but the former will not be persuaded. Those who want the latter need to be reassured that those decisions are right, and that they are bearing fruit.

There has been recent controversy over welfare and benefits, such as the Tory tax credit ads ‘a new low’ and the upcoming benefits increase that Labour are set to oppose, this could give further opportunities to win these UKIP considerers.

And with Ed Miliband saying Labour got it wrong on immigration, that again presents Cameron with opportunities.

When Cameron finally makes his long anticipated and much delayed speech on Europe, it will be interesting see how the voters identified by Lord Ashcroft respond to that speech, hopefully Lord Ashcroft will follow up with some more polling.

TSE