Poll: Tories trailing by 20-points in their target seats following Ukip surge
Conservative hopes of securing a majority in the next election looked little better than a pipe dream today, with new polling showing them falling significantly behind in two of their target constituencies.
The Survation poll – conducted on behalf of Ukip donor Alan Bown – showed a surge in Ukip support was damaging the Tories but that even with the party taken out the equation Labour was still safely ahead of the governing party.
Great Grimsby, the Tories' tenth highest target seat in the 2015 general election, saw Labour cruising ahead with a 18-point lead. In Dudley North, which is ninth on the list, Labour was ahead by 20-points.
The survey shows the danger of projecting constituency performance based on a uniform swing from national polling. Ukip are performing well above their relative performance in national polls and the Conservatives are performing well below theirs.
"This may be due to the fact that in marginal seats voters are by definition more volatile in changing their allegiance, but might also be partly due to the fact national polling from certain opinion polling companies underestimates the level of Ukip support (and over-estimates Conservative support)," Survation said.
In Great Grimsby, Labour was on 40%, up seven since 2010, the Conservatives were on 20%, down 11 points, the Lib Dems were on 13%, down nine points, and Ukip were on 22%, up 16 points.
In Dudley North, the Tory vote had also collapsed, with Labour trailing ahead on 45%, up six points since 2010, the Conservatives on 25%, down 12 points, the Lib Dems on two per cent, down nine points and Ukip on 23%, up 4 points.
Based on a uniform swing from national poll results the Tories should be on about 30%, down just four points since 2010. Instead, the party is on 23%.
That contrast sharply with Ukip, which is solidly out-performing its projected numbers with 23%, well above the 15% projected from national polling.
The polling will make despairing reading for Tory HQ, particularly because it suggests there would only be limited impact from a 'Vote Farage Get Miliband' campaign.
Instead, the polling suggests that even if the Ukip vote is subtracted from the result, the Tories would still be trailing Labour by 34% to 52%.
This is because Ukip voters do not appear to always be former Tory voters. Many would likely avoid the polling station altogether if they could not vote for the eurosceptic party.
The poll suggested 70% of the Ukip vote was not coming from people who voted Tory in 2010.