Ukip tops Independent on Sunday poll as the nation’s favourite party

In a shock result for David Cameron and Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage’s ‘fruitcakes’ are in pole position

The UK Independence Party is the nation’s favourite political party, a poll for The Independent on Sunday reveals today.

Voters regard Nigel Farage’s party more favourably than Labour, the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats. The surprising finding will underline concerns inside the mainstream Westminster parties that Ukip is on course to come first in May’s European elections and could deny Labour or the Tories an outright victory in next year’s general election.

What is more, Mr Farage is favoured over Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg as a party leader, beaten only by David Cameron, the ComRes survey reveals. Ukip is the favourite choice of 27 per cent of voters, while Labour is favoured by 26 per cent. The Conservatives are next, on 25 per cent, and the Lib Dems last, on 14 per cent. Although the differences in the first three parties are within the margin of error, the findings will fuel unease inside Downing Street that the Prime Minister has failed to close down the question of Europe and that Ukip’s support remains strong. A YouGov poll last week suggested that Ukip could come second behind Labour in the European elections.

Questioned about the individual party leaders, Mr Cameron wins most support, with 27 per cent; Mr Farage is favourite for 22 per cent;  Mr Miliband is backed by 18 per cent of voters and Mr Clegg 13 per cent. Men are more likely than women to favour Ukip – 31 per cent compared with 23 per cent.

However, asked how they would vote if there were an election tomorrow, the situation is more familiar: Labour leads on 35 per cent, down one point from last month, the Conservatives are up one point, to 30 per cent, while Ukip is also up one, to 19 per cent. The Lib Dems, who are being battered by the Lord Rennard saga, remain static on 8 per cent. Crucially for the Tories, while 78 per cent of Conservative voters have a positive view of Mr Cameron, only 17 per cent of Ukip voters feel the same way – meaning that the PM has an uphill struggle to convince them to return to the fold.

Despite Ukip’s soaring popularity, its credibility was dented last night when a Ukip councillor claimed that the recent flooding across the country was the fault of Parliament voting in favour of gay marriage. David Silvester, a councillor in Henley-on-Thames, defected from the Conservatives in 2012 because of his opposition to same-sex marriage. In a letter to his local newspaper, the Henley Standard, Mr Silvester wrote: ”The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel ... will be beset by natural disasters such as storms.”

The ComRes poll also reveals that Boris Johnson has the lead over Theresa May on the question of who should succeed Mr Cameron – by 29 per cent to 24 per cent.

A third of voters (35 per cent) believe George Osborne is right to seek a further £12bn in welfare cuts, while 40 per cent disagree. Questioned about Mr Miliband’s pledge to save the middle class, 37 per cent of voters say this group of people has become worse off under the coalition than it would have been under Labour, compared with 27 per cent who disagree. But 33 per cent say middle-class families will be worse off if Mr Miliband becomes prime minister than if Mr Cameron is re-elected.

Labour will press on with its series of speeches on the cost of living, with a speech tomorrow by Rachel Reeves, the party’s spokesperson on work and pensions. She will unveil plans to get Britain’s jobless back into work, as new figures reveal that long-term youth unemployment has reached its highest level for more than 20 years. The number of people aged under 25 and out of work for a year or more has risen to 282,000, the highest since 1993, when John Major was PM.

Ms Reeves will say that long-term unemployment, low pay and insecure jobs are adding to costs for taxpayers. The youth unemployment figures were uncovered in a parliamentary question by Labour MP Stephen Timms, who said last night: “These shocking figures show how the Tories are completely failing to tackle the long-term unemployment faced by hundreds of thousands of young people. The last time long-term youth unemployment reached the levels we are seeing was under the last Tory government.”

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
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

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits