It appears Laura Sandys has made the right decision to stand down at the next election. A new poll from Survation targeting her South Thanet constituency suggests that if a general election took place tomorrow, the Tories would fail to hold onto the seat.
In the constituency once represented by Jonathan Aitken, the Conservatives have dropped 20 points since the last general election, pushing them into third place. Labour would take the seat with 35 per cent of the vote but most worryingly for some, Ukip’s vote has risen hugely, shooting into second place with 30 per cent:
Constituency level polling is quite rare, so it’s always interesting to see how national trends filter down to a seat-by-seat basis. This poll confirms that Ukip’s tanks really are sitting on Tory lawns. As well as taking a bite out of their vote, 78 per cent of Ukip voters in South Thanet said they wouldn’t vote Conservative, even if there wasn’t a Ukip candidate standing. Those who aren’t disgruntled with the Tories are apathetic — with 41 per cent overall stating they would not vote for any party, if there was no Ukip candidate.
The Tories are keen to project the message that voting Ukip will lead to Ed Miliband in Downing Street. But this narrative doesn’t take into account how disliked the Tories are — just over half stating they ‘would rather vote UKIP than Conservative, even if that means Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister’, compared to 27 per cent who would be willing to vote Conservative to stop a Miliband premiership.
This poll was paid for by Alan Bown, a Ukip donor who has also commissioned similar polls for another seven constituencies. No doubt this is an exercise to test which seats Ukip could really make a good go of, and in particular if any are suitable for Nigel Farage.