Skip to content

UKIP doing well means we are more likely to stay in the EU

March 11, 2015

Most commentators seem to be lazily assuming that the better UKIP does the closer we move towards the EU exit door. The evidence doesn’t support this.

Putting the polling trends for UKIP since 2010 alongside EU referendum voting intentions shows the contrary: every time UKIP support jumps, the proportion of people who would vote to leave the EU declines.

UKIP-vote-and-EU-poll-dataThis isn’t a particularly recent phenomenon either. When UKIP first hit 10% in the polls at the beginning of 2013 – and Cameron was panicked into announcing that he would hold an In/Out referendum – support for leaving the EU suddenly collapsed. This shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise as it had also happened a year earlier when UKIP support first poked above the 5% mark. Although the proportion saying they would vote No recovered a little during 2013 it has never risen above 50% again and steadily declined during 2014.

UKIP may have celebrated the success of its high risk strategy of getting two defecting Tory MPs – Carswell and Reckless – to put themselves up for immediate re-election but it appears to have further damaged the prospects of achieving its cherished ambition of seeing the UK leave the European Union as there is now a 10% gap in favour of staying in.

What appears to be happening is that every time the prospect of actually having a vote on our EU membership edges a little closer, more people stop to think about the issues and decide that we are better off remaining on the inside rather than hurling abuse at it from the outside. I also think that the additional media exposure UKIP, and Nigel Farage in particular, receives as its poll ratings rise doesn’t help its long term cause. Clearly, there is a growing minority who are attracted to Farage’s disjointed rhetoric which is why UKIP could be a significantly disruptive force at the General Election, although emerging with only one or two seats.

A far greater proportion of the electorate are not taken in by Farage’s bluster. Indeed, the poll trends suggest they are repelled by it which is why the support for leaving the EU is declining.

It is probably even worse for UKIP and the anti-EU camp. Add to mix the Don’t Knows and the experience of the Scottish referendum is that if they are galvanised into voting they will split substantially in favour of the status quo – staying in the EU.

From → Politics

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: