Should Cameron Set His Europe Policy to Woo UKIP Voters?
I have written about David Cameron’s successful Brussels summit for The Independent on Sunday, pointing out that his party’s Euroscepticism ought to be a winner with the British voters, were it not for his party’s tendency to squabble over which kind of Euroscepticism is the correct one.
One argument for which I did not have space, however, was the long-running one about the need for the Conservative Party to guard its right flank against the threat from UKIP, or Ukip as I am told our house style has it.
It is nonsense. Given the non-availability of the Liberal Democrats for this purpose, UKIP has become a main repository of the sod-the-lot protest vote. Although UKIP voters tend to be quite right wing (although not necessarily racist, as Rotherham social services has now discovered), they are not particularly motivated by policies on Europe and they are not particularly transferable to the Conservatives.
This last point was illustrated by our ComRes poll last weekend (page 23), which showed that only 18 per cent of UKIP voters would “seriously consider” voting Conservative. (The other options were BNP 12 per cent, Labour 7 per cent, Green 7 per cent, Lib Dem 6 per cent, Nationalists 2 per cent, and “none of these” 53 per cent.)
True, 26 per cent of Tory voters would think of voting for UKIP, but when it comes to a general election they might realise that a vote for a party other than the Conservatives risks putting Ed Miliband in No 10.
Generally, Cameron will lose votes to UKIP, Lib Dems, Labour, Greens and non-voting if he is not doing well, and will gain votes from the same sources if he is successful. And the votes that matter most are the ones that transfer between Conservatives and Labour.Tagged in: europe, euroscepticism, headline, qtwtain, ukip
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