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.”

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it