It just gets worse for David Cameron. A new poll by Survation has put UKIP on 22 per cent (up six points since 1 May), the party’s highest ever rating and just two points behind the Tories (down five to 24 per cent). Before adjusting for don’t knows, the two parties are level pegging on 23 per cent.
One should always avoid drawing any conclusions from a single survey, but the significance of such polls lies less in the numbers themselves and more in the panic that they will induce on the Conservative right. It is no longer unthinkable that at some stage we will see a poll with UKIP ahead of the Tories. The likelihood remains that most Tory defectors will return to the Conservative fold before 2015, but the challenge for Cameron will be keeping control of his party in the meantime. The more the polls show UKIP eating into the Tories’ vote share, the greater the temptation will be for Conservative MPs to follow Nadine Dorries’s lead and seek to establish electoral pacts with the Faragists
Labour is on 35 per cent (down one), 11 points ahead of the Conservatives, with the Lib Dems on 11 per cent (down one), 11 points behind UKIP. If repeated at a general election on a uniform swing, those figures would give Labour a majority of 104 seats.
Survation also asked respondents how they would vote in next year’s European elections. Labour leads on 31 per cent, but this is just a point ahead of UKIP, support for which has risen by eight points since January. The Tories are in third place on 20 per cent (down four points), with the Lib Dems in fourth place on 8 per cent (down three) and the Greens in fifth on 6 per cent (unchanged). With UKIP already neck-and-neck with Labour, anything less than first place for the party next May will now be viewed as a failure.