Exclusive: Ukip surge is costing Labour as many votes as Tories, research suggests

 

Political Editor

Ed Miliband has been warned that Labour’s declining support among working class voters, many of whom are defecting to Ukip, poses the biggest threat to his party’s prospects of winning next year’s general election.

A study by the Labour-affiliated Fabian Society found that a gradual drop in support among blue-collar workers since 2005 has now been exacerbated by the rise of Nigel Farage’s party, putting Labour’s general election strategy in jeopardy.

Its research found that Labour’s lead in nine parliamentary seats would be lost if the results of last month’s council elections were repeated next year. Six seats would go to Ukip and three to the Tories, who would overtake Labour as Ukip eats into its support. The Fabians fear this “Ukip effect” could deny Labour victory in dozens of the crucial Lab-Con marginals that will decide the election.

The analysis, seen by The Independent, says Labour’s view that Ukip was a “Tory problem” has been “blasted” by last month’s Euro and council elections, and that it is hurting Labour and the Tories almost equally. Although the Fabians believe Mr Miliband can still win next year’s election, they warn that he will do so only by winning back the blue-collar workers.

The report concludes bluntly: “If elections are about momentum, then the Conservatives seem to have more reason for optimism than Labour. Labour will need to up its game to have a chance of a majority in 2015.” It warns that relying on working-class supporters to achieve about 35 per cent of the vote “will be insufficient to win.”


Click HERE to view full-size version of graphic

Marcus Roberts, the Fabians’ deputy general secretary, said: “The greatest threat to Ed Miliband’s hopes is the loss of blue-collar support. The Fabians have laid out how Labour can build a coalition of 2010 loyalists, ex-Lib Dems, new and non-voters and a few Conservative converts to win. But declining blue-collar support eats into its loyalist base and, crucially, the potentially sympathetic 2010 non-voters Miliband can’t do without.”

He added: “Labour needs a radical manifesto that deals with blue-collar concerns on issues like immigration and welfare but which also inspires broad public support with ideas like common ownership of railways.”

Groups where Labour is losing ground include transient single people in routine jobs; low income families; comfortably-off industrial workers; middle-aged working couples with young children and older couples in low value housing. “While many retain their loyalty to Labour, a sizeable proportion is moving to Ukip,” said Ian Warren, an election data analyst who contributed to the Fabians’ research. “In many constituencies that Labour is targeting in 2015, almost half of all households are comprised of these groups… when asked whether they are comfortable living in close proximity to people from different cultures and backgrounds, they are more likely to say no.”

Ed Miliband and Labour's greatest threat is the loss of blue-collar support (Getty) Ed Miliband and Labour's greatest threat is the loss of blue-collar support (Getty)
Mr Warren found that Labour had seen its vote fall among the poorest since 2005 – including childless tenants in social housing; older tenants in low rise social housing; vulnerable young parents in need of state support. “These are core voters with repulsion for both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. They are using Ukip as a means to exercise their anger.”

Tom Watson, Labour’s former general election co-ordinator, who has seen the research, said: “This must be listened to at the top of the party. I think there is an added problem of the density of former special advisers who speak for Labour in a particular tone that is off-putting. We need more working-class voices at the top of the party.”

He said it was very important for the “Blue Labour” agenda championed by Lord (Maurice) Glasman and Jon Cruddas, the policy chief, which is based on “faith, flag and family”, to be an element in its election manifesto.

A Labour source said: “In the local elections we won in 70 per cent of the key marginals. A similar strike-rate in a general election would deliver a Labour victory. But Ed Miliband has been clear to say that we must not underestimate the scale of discontent across the country. He will not offer false promises on immigration and Europe like David Cameron – or false solutions like those of Ukip which would make lives of working people worse.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
All British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game