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Ukip conference: Nigel Farage is 'weirder than Ed Miliband', poll reveals

But Ukip's Farage is also the party leader most people thought came across as ‘someone like me’

Adam Withnall
Friday 26 September 2014 16:08 BST
The Ukip leader Nigel Farage debates with Labour’s Ed Miliband on ‘The Andrew Marr Show’
The Ukip leader Nigel Farage debates with Labour’s Ed Miliband on ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ (EPA)

People in Britain think Nigel Farage comes across as “weirder” than Ed Miliband, according to a new poll.

When asked which of a list of words or phrases applied to each party leader, 33 per cent of those polled said they found the Ukip leader “weird”, compared to 31 per cent for Labour’s Mr Miliband and just 9 per cent for David Cameron.

The results of the poll came as Mr Farage appeared in a two-minute promotional video for the controversial bookmaker Paddy Power, in which he holds up a pint and declares (with tongue firmly in cheek) that he “loves Europe” ahead of the Ryder Cup.

The news from the poll may come as a relief to Mr Miliband, who has recently admitted he does not excel at photo opportunity politics and repeatedly tried to make light of photographs showing him fail to eat a bacon sandwich.

But while stunts like the Paddy Power advert and his bizarre “Ukip weather forecast” earlier this year may make Mr Farage look weird in the context of political leaders, the latest poll by ComRes and ITV News showed he also scores highest as a politician who “comes across as someone like me”.

Just 24 per cent of people said they thought Mr Farage was “out of touch with ordinary people”- compared to 52 per cent who felt the same about the Prime Minister.

But Mr Farage’s antics do nothing to make him seem “statesmanlike”, the poll suggests – just 12 per cent of people felt he showed this characteristic, compared to 37 per cent for Mr Cameron.

The poll was conducted with a relatively large group of more than 2,000 people ahead of the Labour conference.

Nigel Farage celebrating the European elections victory (Getty Images)

And in other findings, it showed that the economy – which Mr Miliband “forgot” to mention in his keynote speech – is Labour’s weakest issue in the eyes of the public.

Labour nonetheless holds a firm lead over the Conservatives as the party most would trust to manage the NHS, keep down the cost of everyday items, make the welfare system fairer and provide good care for the elderly.

For more of the findings, see the tables below.

Q: Please select which of the following words or phrases apply to each party leader.

Statement David Cameron Ed Miliband Nick Clegg Nigel Farage
Trustworthy 20% 19% 10% 15%
Out of touch with ordinary people 52% 36% 46% 24%
Has the right policies for Britain’s future 26% 20% 7% 25%
Is statesmanlike 37% 9% 6% 12%
Comes across as someone like me 13% 15% 8% 20%
Competent 32% 19% 11% 19%
Intelligent 43% 32% 27% 29%
Can get things done 31% 17% 7% 19%
Weird 9% 31% 15% 33%
None of the above 10% 14% 20% 16%

Base: All GB adults (n=2,048).

Q: Which party do you trust most to…

Issue Lab Con Lib Dem UKIP Don’t know
Manage the NHS 29% 20% 7% 9% 35%
Keep down the cost of everyday items, such as food, energy and travel 28% 19% 5% 9% 39%
Make the welfare system fairer 28% 23% 6% 11% 32%
Improve housing affordability 28% 18% 5% 8% 41%
Make sure the benefits of economic growth are felt by all 26% 23% 6% 11% 32%
Provide adequate care for the elderly 26% 15% 10% 8% 42%
Improve the education system 25% 24% 8% 9% 35%
Promote economic growth 20% 34% 4% 11% 31%
Reduce crime and anti-social behaviour 17% 29% 4% 14% 36%
Redefine Britain’s relationship with the EU 15% 23% 5% 30% 27%
Reduce the Government’s budget deficit 14% 39% 4% 9% 33%
Control immigration 12% 16% 4% 43% 25%

Base: All GB adults (n=2,048).

With Labour’s conference now over, the Ukip party conference begins in Doncaster on Friday.

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