Ukip achieves highest-ever poll rating at the expense of the Conservatives

 

The UK Independence Party (Ukip) has boosted its support at the expense of the Conservatives to achieve its highest-ever rating in a ComRes survey for The Independent.

The anti-EU party has increased its share of the vote from 6 per cent to 9 per cent in the past month, while the Tories have slipped back by four points. The findings will heighten Tory fears that Ukip could deprive it of victory at the 2015 general election by splitting the anti-Labour vote and allowing Ed Miliband’s party to regain power —even though Ukip might not win any seats itself.

Ukip, whose leader Nigel Farage claims it is on course to become Britain’s third party, is breathing down the necks of the Liberal Democrats, who are on 10 per cent.

The rise of Ukip has helped Labour to extend its lead from seven to 10 points since the most recent ComRes  telephone survey for this newspaper at the end of November. Labour is now on 41 per cent (down one point), the Tories on 31 per cent (down four points), the Lib Dems 10 per cent (unchanged) and other parties, including Ukip, on 18 per cent (up five points).

If repeated at a general election, these figures would give Labour an overall majority of 110, with the Tories losing 99 seats and the Lib Dems seeing 36 of their 57 MPs defeated.

Although Mr Farage’s party is trying to woo disaffected Tories who oppose gay marriage as well as David Cameron’s stance in Europe, it appears to be broadening its appeal beyond natural Conservatives.  According to ComRes, 22 per cent of those people who now support Ukip voted Tory at the 2010 election, while 15 per cent backed Labour and seven per cent  the Lib Dems.  Ukip appears to be more popular among men than women and among 18-24 year-olds and those over 55 rather than people between the ages of  25 and 54. It seems to attract more support among the C2 skilled manual workers and bottom DE social group than people in higher social grades.

Amid growing disenchantment with the two biggest parties, Ukip is now clearly benefiting from the “protest votes” that used to be garnered by the Lib Dems, but which Nick Clegg’s party has struggled to pick up since entering the Coalition with the Tories in 2010.

The advance of Ukip is worrying the Lib Dems as well as the Tories. Its strong performance in recent polls cast a shadow over a speech by Mr Clegg yesterday to mark his fifth anniversary as Lib Dem leader in which he promised to be more open about the Coalition’s inner workings and his party’s differences with the Tories.

The Deputy Prime Minister argued that both the Tories and Labour were unable to remain in the political centre ground.“There are some on the right who believe that no-one could possibly be out of work unless they're a scrounger,” he told the Centre Forum liberal think tank. “If you can't find a job you must be lazy. If you say you're too sick to work you're probably pretending. The siren voices of the Tory right who peddle this myth could have pulled a majority Conservative government in the direction of draconian welfare cuts.”

Answering questions, Mr Clegg explained why he wanted to see better off pensioners lose benefits such as winter fuel payments and free bus passes and television licences. He said: “We have a Coalition Agreement commitment to maintain those universal benefits for all pensioners, so I'm not asking the prime minister to re-open that during this parliament.  What I'm saying is in the future, as we make further savings,  I just don't think it's justifiable or sustainable when so many other people are tightening their belts, that multi-millionaire pensioners still receive universal benefits across the board.”

ComRes interviewed 1,000 GB adults by telephone between December 14-16. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all  adults in Britain. Data were also weighted by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
News
George Osborne became Chancellor in 2010
peopleChancellor accused of reneging on pre-election promise
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
News
Lena Headey plays Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern