Labour’s lead is up from one to four points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. The party’s 36 per cent share is the highest recorded in the ANP since July, while the UKIP share of 11 per cent is the lowest I have yet found in my national polling. The Conservatives are up two points on 32 per cent, the Liberal Democrats down two at 7 per cent, and the Greens and the SNP unchanged at 8 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.
Despite prompting for UKIP in the main voting intention question at the beginning of 2015, I have generally found lower scores for the party this year than last – indeed UKIP’s share in published polls more generally has drifted down since its height last autumn. My qualitative research suggests two possible reasons for this. Most importantly, undecided voters increasingly (and spontaneously) say they know where UKIP stand on immigration and Europe but at a general election they want to vote for someone with more to offer. Some also wonder whether unpleasant or even sinister elements lurk behind the reasonable and entertaining Mr Farage, a suspicion that may have been reinforced over the last few days. We will see as further polls are published whether this effect persists in the coming days and weeks.
Like Ashcroft I opine the Thanet loony effect I wote of earlier is starting to bite.