The morale of UKIP supporters has never, it seems, been higher: the party looks poised to lead the poll in elections to the European Parliament (EP) next Thursday. But, following Nigel “Thirsty” Farage’s car crash interview on LBC last Friday before the inquisition of James O’Brien, the thought has entered that voters may start to recoil from the racist and demonising rhetoric.
Imminent squeaky finger up the bum time
So let’s look at this weekend’s opinion polls, and check out not just the raw numbers, but also the trends, and whether methodologies may have played a part. The overnight news has been about two such polls: ICM for the Sunday Telegraph, and ComRes for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror. But there has also been a YouGov poll, and this last may contain the most interesting numbers.
First up, the fieldwork for all three polls – the timeframe during which the polling took place – was done before Farage had his Very Bad Friday Morning. That was the 16th of May, and both ICM And ComRes polled during the two days before that. YouGov polled on the 13th and 14th. The expectation is that the fallout from the LBC interview would adversely affect UKIP’s poll numbers.
ComRes has very good news for Kippers: here, they are polling a whopping 35% for next Thursday’s EP elections, with Labour back on 24% and the Tories third on just 20%. However, and in this case there is a significantly sized however, ComRes is an online poll, and the enthusiasm of a relatively small number of the Farage faithful for things online may have influenced matters.
That conclusion will only be reinforced by inspecting the results of the ICM and YouGov surveys, with the former bringing a little cheer to the Tories – to the relief of all at the Tel, no doubt – showing Labour in the lead with 29% for the EP Poll, the Tories second on 26%, and UKIP on 25%. The Tories’ share is up 4%, while that of the Kippers has fallen 2%.
But now look at the YouGov numbers: these have Labour on 28% (close to the ICM value), with UKIP on 25% (same as ICM), but the Tories on just 22%, and the LibDems actually managing a double-figure percentage. Then look at the movement in those numbers since YouGov’s previous poll: the Tories are down 1%, Labour is up 3%, and UKIP has dropped a whole 6%.
On top of that, consider that as much as 49% of the sample that gave ComRes its numbers says it will definitely vote next Thursday, compared with the last EP election, where less than 35% turned out. The conclusion is that UKIP’s numbers may have started turning down before Farage had his car crash, and the party’s opinion poll first place could be a rogue.
So all eyes should be on the next sample of opinion. Like the one on Thursday.