Sebastian Payne

Nigel Farage now polling first place in South Thanet

Nigel Farage now polling first place in South Thanet
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Is Nigel Farage having any more luck in South Thanet? According to a new poll from Survation on the eve of Ukip’s spring conference, Farage has pulled ahead of the Tories and Labour in his target constituency. The poll has Ukip on 39 per cent, Labour on 28 per cent and the Conservatives on 27, giving Farage a clear 11-point lead over the other parties.

As the chart above shows, it’s a significant rise from the party’s 2010 vote share and up significantly from Lord Ashcroft's most recent constituency poll in November. If Farage managed to achieve a similar result on May 7, it would be a significant boost for the party in a seat that is far from the most Ukip friendly. It’s worth noting that Survation generally has Ukip on a higher rating than other pollsters — their last national poll had Ukip on 19 per cent compared to 11 per cent in a similar one from Lord Ashcroft. But even if Survation are a few points off, it still shows Farage is heading in the right direction.

If Farage is to win South Thanet, he needs to put in a lot of leg work to overturn a 17 per cent Conservative majority. Spending less time in the international spotlight might be a good start. But so far, Ukip’s strategy appears to be working. With a Ukip-lite candidate from the Conservatives, the party remains confident that unlike the last election, their efforts to get Farage elected in May won’t fall short.

Update: This debate between Andrew Cooper, David Cameron's former pollster, and Ukip guru Matthew Goodwin about the accuracy of the Survation poll makes for interesting reading.