Ukip still seen as a party of ‘closet racists’

Ukip are still seen as a party of closet racists, a new poll has found.

A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times found that 55% of voters believe Nigel Farage's party are more likely than other parties to have candidates with racist or offensive views.

Just three per cent of voters said Ukip was less likely to have racist candidates than other parties.

Voters remain split on whether Ukip is a "racist party" however, with 41% saying it is and 41% saying it isn't.

Labour and Lib Dem voters have the most negative view of Farage's party, with around 60% of both party's supporters labelling them as racist.

The poll suggests that Nigel Farage's attempts to reform the party's bigoted image have failed.

The findings also come as a poll of the upcoming Rochester and Strood by-election found that Mark Reckless' defection to the party had damaged his standing in his constituency.

The Survation poll found Reckless was on course to win but by a narrower lead than when he stood for the Conservatives in 2010.

It found 40% of voters in the constituency planned to vote for Reckless, down from 49% at the last general election.

Also worrying for the party was the finding that 68% of those planning to vote for Reckless did not vote at the last general election, suggesting that the race between Ukip and the Tories may be much closer on the day.

Overall voters appear less than impressed with Reckless' decision to defect to Ukip, with a plurality of 31% of voters describing him as a "traitor" as opposed to 34% describing him as a "hero".

Thirty-five per cent also described his decision to defect to Ukip as "an opportunistic decision taken for self-serving political reasons".

However, 36% disagreed, saying it was an honourable and principled decision.

Ukip will face a major test this week of their claims to have put their "tanks on Labour's lawn" as it takes on the party at the Heywood and Middleton by-election.

Nigel Farage has predicted that Ukip will give Labour a "run for their money" in their northern stronghold.

However, a poll last week found that Labour are set to comfortably hold on to the seat this Thursday, with a 20% lead over Farage's party.