Nigel Farage’s lack of appeal to women could have cost Ukip dear in the Newark by-election, the final poll before votes were cast has suggested.
Ukip’s hopes of winning their first parliamentary seat were dashed early today when the Conservatives won a comfortable majority of more than 7,000 in the Nottinghamshire by-election.
The outcome could have been decided by a striking gender gap among voters in Newark, according to the Survation survey.
It found that more than twice as many men as women were planning to vote for Ukip. If women had backed the party in similar numbers, Mr Farage would today be celebrating his party’s first Westminster election victory.
Survation, whose overall findings were very close to the actual result, found 36.8 per cent of men in Newark planned to support Ukip, compared with just 16.8 per cent of women.
Ukip gaffes and controversies
Ukip gaffes and controversies
1/12 Neil Hamilton
Picture Exclusive: The year is 1998. The venue is a Springbok Club meeting. The flag is a symbol for white supremacists in South Africa. And the speaker is Ukip’s deputy chairman, Neil Hamilton
2/12 Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith resigned as would-be MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock after it emerged he had mocked gay party members as “disgusting poofters”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt” and referred to someone with a Chinese name as a “Chinky bird”
3/12 Natasha Bolter
Former Ukip member Natasha Bolter was suspected of not having the teaching qualifications she professed to, only days after it was revealed that claims of her having attended Oxford University were also false
4/12 Ukip Calypso song
Mike Reid released a single in praise of UKIP trying to control the UK's borders, only to withdraw the single after being accused of racism for singing in a Jamaican accent
5/12 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Ukip spin doctor forced to intervene as Farage falters in disastrous radio interview
6/12 Janice Atkinson
Janice Atkinson, Ukip's South East chair, pictured by protesters while campaigning in Ashford, Kent with local party chair Norman Taylor
7/12 Ukip cancels Freephone
Ukip cancels Freephone number after protesters repeatedly called to push up costs
8/12 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Mr Farage appeared to be caught out on a number of issues, from Romanian neighbours to people speaking foreign languages on the train
9/12 Ukip employs illegal immigrants
Ukip criticised after European election candidate found employing illegal immigrants
10/12 Magnus Nielsen
Ukip candidate: 'Take away the right to vote to improve election turnout'
11/12 London Live make-up
Ukip's Nigel Farage reportedly refused to go on London Live 'without professional make up-artist'
Nigel Farage says he is taking taking legal advice over “outrageous” allegations that he is responsible for more than £50,000 of “missing” EU funding that was paid directly into his personal bank account
Nearly half of women (47.6 per cent), but just 36.2 per cent of men, backed the Tory candidate, and there was a similar gap between the sexes over support for Labour.
The findings underline a problem Ukip needs to overcome to achieve a parliamentary break-through. It is trying to shed its “angry men in blazers” image and is promoting a series of women, including Suzanne Evans and Diane James, to speak for the party.