Driven by data; ridden with liberty.
In conjunction with The Sun newspaper, polling company YouGov have been running regular surveys of British public opinion. Their poll on the 29th April 2013, ahead of the English local elections, showed the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has reached a pinnacle of 14% in national polls. This new level of support is concentrated in the South outside of London, with 20% of respondents in that region backing UKIP, but it only gains 3% approval in Scotland. Many political commentators have embarked on a quest to comprehend UKIP’s meteoric rise, with Lord Ashcroft releasing They’re Thinking What We’re Thinking, which found the best predictor for a person to consider UKIP was they agreed the party was “on the side of people like me”. 52% of UKIP considerers believed “controlling immigration” as one of the three most important issues facing Britain, compared to 41% of Conservatives and 39% of general voters.
The YouGov poll demonstrates fractured political support. UKIP are now including the voting intentions, and all survey respondents were asked:
Could you say for each of them which political party you think would handle the problem best?
The areas are the National Health Service (NHS), asylum and immigration, law and order, education and schools, taxation, unemployment, Europe, and the economy. UKIP are not included in the list of parties as answers, so it is reasonable to assume that ‘Other’ means UKIP. Only 31% of UKIP supporters say the party has the best education policy, 38% say it has the best economic policy and 34% back its NHS policy. In accordance with “stereotypes” of UKIP, 80% of its backers believe the party has the best Europe policy, with 78% saying the same on asylum and immigration. Law and order is the one other area of UKIP policy commanding majority patronage from its own supporters.
Other parties have punctured support. 56% of Labour voters back its stance on Europe, and 54% of Liberal Democrats prefer the party’s economic platform. Conservative supporters demonstrate broad and arduous advocacy, with the weakest stances being Europe (70%) and immigration (71%). The largest shared belief between a party’s platform and their voters is Labour and the NHS, at 86%. Labour has similarly sustained support, with the Liberal Democrats holding under 60% for most of their stances.
UKIP’s policies coincide with their supporters on Europe and immigration, but have only fleeting glimmers of encouragement on its other stances. Lord Ashcroft’s report found 7% of UKIP followers don’t want to leave the European Union, and 16% neither agreed nor disagreed with the idea of Britain seceding from the EU. Despite the party’s existential reason, 27% of UKIP considerers believed that “resolving Britain’s future relations with the European Union” was one of the three most pressing issues, and only 7% said it was the most important issue facing Britain. The economy, immigration controls and reducing welfare dependency were the top political challenges for UKIP considerers. Whatever the reason for the party’s creation, UKIP has become a vessel for protest on immigration.