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Think the unthinkable – UKIP might just win Eastleigh – worth a flutter at 11/2

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 24 February 2013

The Lib Dems are still likely to win Eastleigh. If they do not, given that every councillor there is a Lib Dem and it is a Lib Dem seat then Nick Clegg is in deep trouble. It may well be that the cover-up over the Lord Rennard sex scandal is only a secondary worry although that will get very nasty as well. But at 11/2 UKIP is now worth a flutter. Think the unthinkable: UKIP might just win the by-election caused by Chris Huhne’s imminent fast track to prison.

A Populus poll shows Lib Dem 33%, Con 28% UKIP 21% ( but surging). However that assumes that undecided voters are reallocated on the basis of how the seat voted at the last General Election. That was a whole different ball game. Without that fiddle it is 31 (sex pest party), 26% ( hopeless party of Government), 25% UKIP.

Labour are on the low to mid teens and since the Labour candidate ( the one who supported the Argies in 1982 and wanted the IRA to kill Thatcher) is a prize loon, his vote could well slide far further. Labour voters in Eastleigh are not bourgeois Islington lefties who think the UKIP are unspeakably horrid but traditional working class voters who believe in hard work and have no truck with the EU, unrestricted Romanian immigration etc. They really should vote UKIP anyway and if they see UKIP as a chance to kick the wicked coalition in the goolies they may well switch. No: they are switching it is just a matter of how many more come over in the final few days.

If UKIP can pick up a few more percentage points from Labour ( and it is gaining support from all three parties) then life gets very interesting. It is hard to see the Lib Dem vote hardening in the final few days as the sex scandal widens and deepens and nothing the hopeless Government does these days does anything to attract those who should be core Tory voters. If it is anything the Tory party is meant to be the one that gets the economy right. And on Friday the UK lost its AAA rating as the credit agencies finally twigged that UK public finances are a mess and that things are not getting better.

A separate Survation phone poll has it as: Con 33, Lib Dem 29, UKIP 21, Lab 13 but again if you do not do the reallocation fiddle UKIP is up on 25 with this time the sex pests in second on 26, and the Tories on 29. The same arguments apply here. It is abundantly clear that this contest is a three way battle. Labour support is slipping steadily ( all to UKIP) and Nigel Farage et al must also think that in the next few days they can also pick up Lib Dems and Tories as well.

It will not change the world, but a UKIP win would be disastrous news for both Call Me Dave ( giving credibility to a party which believes in the sort of things the Tory party once believed in) and also for Clegg in that if the safest Lib Dem seat in England is lost what hope does his party have of avoiding electoral wipe-out in 2015.

At 11/2 it is worth a flutter. It might just happen.

And as I noted before, a UKIP vote is in fact the ONLY sane and honourable vote in Eastleigh. .

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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