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GE2015: The Ukip Factor

GE2015: The Ukip Factor

🕔24.Sep 2014

In part three of our GE2015 series, Paul Dale assess the Ukip factor to see where they might build on their “earthquake” at the Euros in June. 

If there is to be a breakthrough by Ukip at the 2015 General Election, where is Nigel Farage’s party most likely to pick up seats?

Two academics have published research setting out “the most demographically receptive” Conservative and Labour-held constituencies in the country for the United Kingdom Independence Party’s brand of right wing populism.

The work, by Dr Robert Ford of the University of Manchester and Dr Matthew Goodwin of the University of Nottingham, appears in their latest book ’Revolt on the Right’ which uses Census data to assess Ukip’s chances.

Typically, Ukip’s target seats share common characteristics with lots of voters who feel “left behind” by the main political parties, according to Dr Ford and Dr Goodwin.

These seats have very low numbers of voters who tend to be resistant to Ukip, including university graduates, ethnic minorities and people in professional and economically secure occupations.

The authors set out their thinking: “Clearly, we are not saying that Ukip will enjoy strong support in all of these seats. It might be that they do not target these seats, or the local Conservative MP has a formidable majority that makes a Ukip insurgency unlikely.

“In order to find seats that Ukip actually has a chance of winning, you would need to look at both demography and the local political context, such as whether the vote is split across three parties, whether Ukip is targeting the seat and has been recruiting support through local elections.”

Clacton, where Douglas Carswell will attempt to win a by-election next month after resigning as the town’s Tory MP and joining Ukip, was already the number one constituency on Mr Farage’s hit list.

Prime Ukip territory varies from the white working class areas of Essex and the West Midlands to the Tory shire heartlands where dislike of the EU is widespread.

However, as this table shows, Ukip will need to improve dramatically on its showing at the 2010 General Election where the party’s best result was at Boston and Skegness with 9.5 per cent of the total vote cast.

Tory-held Ukip target seats in the West Midlands include Cannock Chase, Dudley South, North Warwickshire, Nuneaton, Wyre Forest, Staffordshire Moorlands, Aldridge-Brownhills, Tamworth, Halesowen and Rowley Regis, Stourbridge, North Shropshire, Hereford and South Herefordshire, Ludlow, Burton, Redditch, South Staffordshire, and North Herefordshire.

Labour-held Ukip target seats in the West Midlands include Walsall North, Stoke on Trent South, Dudley North, Telford, West Bromwich West, Stoke on Trent Central, Wolverhampton North-East and Birmingham Northfield.

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