Nigel Farage’s personal approval rating has plummeted to its lowest ever level, with a new poll suggesting the Ukip leader is now as unpopular as David Cameron.
Figures released by the polling group Ipsos Mori revealed that voter satisfaction with Mr Farage has dropped 14 percentage points in a single month.
The Ukip leader was described only yesterday by a senior Ukip spokesperson as being “like Teflon” because bad news for the party never seemed to stick to him.
But it seems that a sex scandal involving the party’s now-suspended general secretary and rows over public breastfeeding, expenses and immigration blame-games have finally taken their toll.
Of all voters across the political spectrum, 53 per cent said they were “dissatisfied with the way Nigel Farage is doing his job as leader of Ukip”, while 33 per cent were “satisfied”. With “don’t knows” taken into account, Mr Farage now has a similar net approval rating to the Prime Minister - -20 and -21 respectively.
Among Ukip’s own supporters, Mr Farage remains highly popular – 92 per cent said they were satisfied with what he’s doing.
Ukip gaffes and controversies
Ukip gaffes and controversies
1/18 European elections poster
Party's latest EU election posters branded 'racist' and compared to BNP campaigns
2/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Ukip spin doctor forced to intervene as Farage falters in disastrous radio interview
3/18 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
4/18 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”
5/18 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
6/18 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
7/18 Janice Atkinson
Janice Atkinson, Ukip's South East chair, pictured by protesters while campaigning in Ashford, Kent with local party chair Norman Taylor
8/18 Ukip cancels Freephone
Ukip cancels Freephone number after protesters repeatedly called to push up costs
9/18 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
10/18 Ukip employs illegal immigrants
Ukip criticised after European election candidate found employing illegal immigrants
11/18 Magnus Nielsen
Ukip candidate: 'Take away the right to vote to improve election turnout'
12/18 Poster model
A “British builder” portrayed in a Ukip poster accusing EU workers of taking UK jobs turns out to be an Irish actor - aka a migrant worker
13/18 'Arrest protesters'
Ukip called for police to arrest protesters ‘who call us fascists’ ahead of showdown with anti-fascist groups in Brighton
14/18 London Live make-up
Ukip's Nigel Farage reportedly refused to go on London Live 'without professional make up-artist'
15/18 Andre Lampitt
Ukip forced to suspend the "poster boy" of its European election broadcast, after it was revealed he had posted a series of vile racist comments on Twitter
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
17/18 Have I Got News For You
Nigel Farage appears in Have I Got News For You, spends the entire episode being ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
18/18 Anti-gay comments
Local branch chairman for Ukip defends a party's councillor candidate Douglas Denny who called gay people “abnormal” and said he wished “they stop trying to ram it down my throat”, all while discussing whether the word “sodomite” should be used
The figures also showed an overall increase in numbers of people saying they would vote Green – up two points to 9 per cent of those surveyed when the fieldwork was carried out at the weekend. Ipsos Mori’s Gideon Skinner said the poll showed “the rise of the ‘other parties’ as a mirror to the weakness of the traditional three” – Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem.
Mr Farage dismissed the apparent drop in his popularity, telling the Evening Standard it was “a volatile market”.
“Ukip has had a pretty remarkable year,” he said. “If we are ending on a slightly softer note, it’s perhaps not surprising.”
The past month started well for Ukip when it won its second parliamentary seat through Tory defector Mark Reckless.
But November ended badly for Mr Farage when he appeared to support the idea of classing the children of immigrants born in the UK as immigrants themselves - a policy shift that would include his own children.
At the start of December the Ukip leader waded into a row over breastfeeding at Claridge's - suggesting mothers with babies could "perhaps sit in the corner". A couple of days later he provoked derision by blaming his lateness at a "Meet Nigel Farage" event on immigration.
Meanwhile, the Ukip sex scandal involving Roger Bird and prominent female activist Natasha Bolter rolled on, with seemingly no winners on either side.
Last week, Mr Farage faced up to the comedian Russell Brand on the BBC's Question Time. Though he generally came through it well, he was accused of being a "pound-shop Enoch Powell" by his fellow panellist.
At the weekend - as the Ipsos Mori poll was being carried out - Ukip’s candidate in a top target seat Kerry Smith was forced to resign after it emerged he had made homophobic and racist remarks and joked about shooting poor people.
Neil Hamilton, the party's deputy chairman, was prevented from standing in Natasha Bolter's vacated seat by what he called a "dirty tricks" campaign involving an expenses dispute. He was later revealed to have advocated a return to "civilised rule" in South Africa.
Though outside the polling period, this week Ukip was also found to have secured £1.5 million by forming a new EU group - and was accused of hypocrisy as a result. And on Tuesday, it was revealed that Mr Farage was not entirely accurate when he claimed in a TV programme that his wife was not being paid by the public sector.Reuse content