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Can UKIP Be a Force in 2015?

Posted on the 28 December 2012 by Thepoliticalidealist @JackDarrant

Can UKIP be a force in 2015?

The Coalition government is beginning to show splits in regards to Europe, the economy and green energy, and both parties are starting to alienate their supporters – the Liberal Democrats on tuition fees, and the Tories on Europe and Equal Marriage.

UKIP is beginning to put pressure on the Lib Dems. Latest YouGov polling show it on 8 percent with the Lib Dems on 10 percent; however, previous opinion polls have even shown UKIP ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dems even struggled in the recent by-elections, with UKIP coming ahead of them in all by-elections that were fought last month. UKIP even outperformed the Conservatives, when they came 2nd in both Middlesbrough and Rotherham (With the Conservatives coming just 5th and 4th respectively). Remarkably, the Liberal Democrats only came 8th in Rotherham. These sets of by election results show how people are disillusioned with the Liberal Democrats and some with the Tories. But it can also be argued be down due to the Eurozone crisis fueling euroscepticism and therefore boosting UKIP.

The question is, will that be reflected into the General Election in 2015? Can opinion polls and by-election results ever realistically be replicated in the next General Election?

There are many obstacles for UKIP getting the same level of popular vote in an actual General Election compared to people being asked who they will vote for in an election that won’t be held for another 2 and an half years. So one obstacle facing UKIP is that actual voting in an election is completely different from asking people who they will vote for before an election campaign had began.

Ask the Lib Dems in 2010, they were first in the polls at one stage during the General Election campaign, yet they managed to lose seats compared to 2005. Even though many Conservatives are annoyed by the Government’s proposals on Equal Marriage, when push comes to shove, they will stick with Conservatives in order to keep Labour from winning the election.

Another issue is that UKIP’s support is largely based on anger about the issue of equal marriage. Come the election, many people will have forgotten this and vote Conservative in order to keep Miliband from waddling into Downing Street. People may be annoyed over Cameron’s insistence in introducing equal marriage, but keeping the Conservatives in power will be much more important in many people’s mind. Although this isn’t a huge number of Conservatives, it will still be very important in the election.

The huge point however, that in my mind could actually bring UKIP success, is due to the EU and immigration. Due to the eurozone crisis, euroscepticism has grown as many people have seen the disadvantages to the EU. Many people now believe that we need to look outside the EU for trade, and – as UKIP is  the most prominent eurosceptic party out there – they stand to benefit politically from the eurozone crisis.

Another important issue from which UKIP stand to benefit is immigration. Many people are frustrated by the effects that immigration has had in terms of welfare spending, scarcity of jobs, and low wages. UKIP has also benefitted in this regard, due to their anti-immigration stance when people were not concerned with immigration at such a high level during Labour’s time in Government. Even specifically on the issue of immigration, UKIP can benefit enormously by their stance as people are generally frustrated with lax immigration when there are so few jobs around.

UKIP’s support will mainly come from Conservatives, but also from Labour supporters who are alienated with their EU & and, perhaps more importantly, immigration policy. If they do not react to that, and respond accordingly, then UKIP may have a lot of success to enjoy in 2015.

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