A poll finding that should concern all who want to leave the EU

Ask voters which party they most associate with wanting the UK to leave the EU and they will reply UKIP.  This is despite the declining importance of the EU question that has become evident among UKIP supporters.

So You Gov’s poll findings that voters feel a lot more negative and less positive about UKIP  than they did five years ago, as covered on Political Betting, should be a concern to all people on the anti-EU side.

To howls of derision, copious amounts of abuse, occasional smears and some more measured and polite dismissals by UKIP supporters, this blog has tried over many months to explain that the approach of UKIP’s leadership (in particular Nigel Farage, as he sets the direction in autocratic fashion) was actually setting the party up to fail at a time when everyone has been pointing at higher polling, membership and votes in elections.

This You Gov poll puts meat on the bones of my many blog posts on the subject.  UKIP is hitting a glass ceiling where its support is at its maximum.

While it might have formed a hard core of committed, fervent, extremely vocal, almost evangelical supporters – many of whom use social media and newspaper comment threads as echo chambers to increase mention of the party, encourage each other, and aggressively gang up on anyone with a criticism – they are gradually alienating an increasing number of middle of the road voters they need to attract if they are to make a political breakthrough of any substance.

Ordinary voters who share many of UKIP’s concerns, particularly rejection of the UK remaining in the EU, are increasingly choosing not to support the party because of the unrefined and hollow rhetoric on immigration, the behaviour of supporters on the internet, and the vacuous, policy-lite hotch potch of ‘aspirations’.  But as they turn away from UKIP, many will also turn away from the anti-EU side of the EU membership argument just as it looks possible a referendum could finally be held.

This blog has long considered itself a critical friend to UKIP, despite the attacks by those who consider themselves virtuous defenders of the cause.  But if UKIP looks set to hamstring the prospects of the anti-EU side by acting as a repellant rather than a recruiter, then the friendship has to end and UKIP has to be taken on and defeated.

I wish there was an alternative to this.  But there’s far more at stake in a referendum than there is in preserving the ambitions of Nigel Farage.  UKIP’s failings must not be allowed to drag down the chances of the anti-EU side of winning a referendum.

I am often asked just what my agenda is as people cannot believe I want to leave the EU, but remain critical of UKIP.  It is very simple. We need UKIP to sort itself out and shape up, or we need to get it out of the way so we can take on and defeat the Europhiles.

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23 Responses to “A poll finding that should concern all who want to leave the EU”


  1. 1 Judd 04/06/2014 at 4:14 pm

    Certain online polls i’ve come to believe arn’t worth the time of day, these companies know the likely way their chosen ‘clients’ will vote, and i suspect the results are as required/requested rather than a true cross section…not quite along the lines of an Irish NO vote but that sort of thing.

  2. 2 Autonomous Mind 04/06/2014 at 5:00 pm

    Really? Is that so?

    So you’re saying You Gov would risk destroying its commercial reputation and losing its substantial client base across a wide range of industries and sectors, just so it can skew the results of a poll in order to ‘do down’ UKIP?

    Wow.

    Not quite along the lines of the Loch Ness monster but that sort of thing.

  3. 3 scottishcalvin 04/06/2014 at 5:07 pm

    I suspect that Farage has become so surrounded and wrapped up in the hype of the Euro poll that he’s lost sight of the fact that it’s less than half of a low turnout. They’re very keen and very pro-Ukip, but well short of the 51% of a fairly high turnout which is what the ultimate aim is. Perhaps the operation got so bogged down in courting the north of England and the working class vote (a lot of which is right-or-wrongly racist and in some cases genuine grievances) that they lost sight of the overall picture and more Thatcherite aims.

    Of course, the best spokesperson might not be Farage but Junkers. I’m hoping that the EU decides that the only way to fix public opinion is “ever closer union” – If they made a real push and starting demanding control of the army or german court system or the like then it’ll be an open goal for the No side, assuming that they also make a point of humiliating Cameron when he’s forced to go and single handedly dismantle EU ambitions.

  4. 4 Maureen Gannon 04/06/2014 at 5:59 pm

    Well I am a you gover , so are quite a few of the people I know. they like me all voted Ukip..Let’s be honest the propaganda prior to the elections would have put Geoballs to shame , and on any issue regarding Europe/Ukip I have to admit much has been said about the connection with the Lady Ashton does not help.
    AM I have asked this before if not UKIP then who? lets face it after November 1st any promised referendum will be useless as when Article 50 kicks in we will need the consent of all the other nations to agree to any departure , so please AM how else do we show our feelings towards being forced into a faudulent totalitarian state ?????

  5. 5 Sam Duncan 04/06/2014 at 6:05 pm

    I tend to agree, AM, although I was surprised at how well they did the other week. Also, to me, as a Scot, the immediate issue is defeating the distraction that is the SNP’s idiotic statehood campaign. Should they win, we up here will face a whole new world of EU-related pain, which will have to be dealt with differently, with our own indigenous independence movement (possibly some strange amalgam of UKIP Scotland, the Tories, and disaffected Nats). So the argument becomes irrelevant to us. UKIP seems to be shaping up, belatedly, to take a useful role in the run up to the referendum, outside of the hopeless “official” No campaign, although we’ll have to give it a few weeks before it becomes clear what form that will take and whether it’ll really be helpful.

    So I’m prepared to give them a chance, at least for the time being. (Also, what Calvin said above; the EU’s own actions over the next few months could well harden opposition regardless of what Farage says or does.)

  6. 6 john in cheshire 04/06/2014 at 6:28 pm

    AM, well said.

  7. 7 Bellevue 04/06/2014 at 7:09 pm

    AM, I am very interested in your reply to Maureen (above). I am hearing more and more about this ‘after November 1st’ thing and how it would affect Article 50. My understanding, from you and Richard North etc is that Article 50 FORCES the EU to negotiate our exit. Am I wrong there? Can ‘they’ block it?
    Perhaps you could do a post, ;putting everything into words of one syllable, so that the likes of Maureen can be reassured, and the rest of us can show that Maureen and her ilk are just plain wrong.
    Or, you may feel that you have already done that, ad infinitum……..
    Many thanks.

  8. 8 Maureen Gannon 04/06/2014 at 7:47 pm

    Bellevue you really should think before calling me names definition of ilk is

    Has a connotation of the typed group being of bad or questionable character.
    Don’t get involved with those of that ilk.

    You obviously appear to think it means if I think differently to you then I am an ignorant no good. nice one.

  9. 9 Bruce 04/06/2014 at 8:50 pm

    MG
    Ilk definition: kind or type. Classic usage ‘of that ilk’ is close to ‘of the same name’

    “Maureen and her ilk” just means Maureen and people like her. Maureen and her like-minded associates. Maureen &Co. Maureen’s mob. Mo and the Mo-lites. Any of those forms of collective name for an ill-defined faction of opinion would mean roughly the same thing, but would possibly not be sufficiently precise, conventional and serious enough for AM’s blog.

    I am not a linguist or professional English user and I doubt that if there is one on line that they will feel like correcting your misunderstanding. So us ignorant no goods need to stick together, even though I disagree with everything you say. Personally I find that silence is a good policy. ATB

  10. 10 Maureen Gannon 04/06/2014 at 9:16 pm

    Bruce it all boils down to perception where I come from ilk is a derogatary term
    . All I did was to ask a question [for the second time] I still await an answer,, if not UKIP then who, all the others are for the most undemocratic fraudulant body , the EU is not working and we are being sucked in , they are demanding more money , while we have food banks, and our workforce is being undercut , and now we have [in my opinion] a mass murderer honing in like a bee to a H/money pot, so once again WHO.

  11. 12 Autonomous Mind 05/06/2014 at 6:00 am

    Maureen and Bellvue, you ask about:

    lets face it after November 1st any promised referendum will be useless as when Article 50 kicks in we will need the consent of all the other nations to agree to any departure , so please AM how else do we show our feelings towards being forced into a faudulent totalitarian state ?????

    I’m delighted to say that my good friend The Boiling Frog has already address this matter and debunked it on his blog, so I’ll reproduce the key paragraphs for you below…

    ————-

    We have had further evidence of this in the last few days with the old canard that has been doing the rounds for years rearing its ugly head again – that changes to QMV in November will “prevent” the UK from exit.

    It’s true that from the 1st November many areas are changing to “Lisbon Treaty QMV rules”. The main effect of this is to change to QMV those clauses which required unanimity according to the Nice Treaty. Yet, and what is often overlooked, is this doesn’t apply to withdrawal because crucially Article 50 wasn’t in the Nice Treaty. Instead it is an innovation of Lisbon and is listed as a “new item”. As such it began life already under QMV rules, alongside other “new items” such as the election of the President of the European Council.

    Article 50 therefore has never been under a unanimity decision, it has always been subjected to QMV rules. All that happens is that Article 50 will change from “Nice QMV rules” to “Lisbon QMV Rules” “in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.”

    Our actual exit is not subjected to QMV. Article 50 is not an “Oliver Twist” kind of request, instead it is a notice telling the EU we’re leaving…we’re off…bye! QMV only applies to the outcome of any possible negotiations – secession almost certainly requires a new Treaty because it alters the founding treaties and as such requires approval of both parties (the UK and the EU) by ratification. In the EU’s case part of ratification internally is QMV.

    Thus the changes to QMV in November 2014 have absolutely no bearing on whether we can exit or not.

  12. 13 Autonomous Mind 05/06/2014 at 6:07 am

    Sam, don’t expect the EU to elect a Commission President who is hardline or comes with oodles of quotes about lying to the people being appropriate or that a United States of Europe is the destination. They are nothing if not good at numbing people with seemingly benign comments and ensuring benign people have the spotlight.

    It is possible but very unlikely that Juncker will be the next CommPres. This is all theatre, paving the way for an already determined compromise candidate ‘who is not Juncker thank God, so be grateful for who we have chosen’ to emerge and be crowned. Lagarde or similar look a more likely choice. Juncker is the sacrificial wolf whose career is about to be brought to an end.

  13. 14 matthu 05/06/2014 at 6:35 am

    While it might have formed a hard core of committed, fervent, extremely vocal, almost evangelical supporters – many of whom use social media and newspaper comment threads as echo chambers to increase mention of the party, encourage each other, and aggressively gang up on anyone with a criticism – they are gradually alienating an increasing number of middle of the road voters they need to attract if they are to make a political breakthrough of any substance.

    Equally true of any of the three major Westminster political parties, so I am not sure what political point you are making.

    But I have no doubt that UKIP will need to make the positive case for leaving the EU over the next 11 months. It is simply the case that in order to achieve critical mass, in order to achieve national recognition, TV appearances and the like, they needed to attract sufficient voters with a simple enough message, and they picked a readily recognisable message that achieved the goal.

  14. 15 Maureen Gannon 05/06/2014 at 7:55 am

    AM yes I remember that thread I stopped reading it when it became a version of PMQ , so sorry I missed your answer .

  15. 16 Autonomous Mind 05/06/2014 at 11:55 am

    No matthu, the way in which UKIP members use the comment threads is entirely different to the supporters of other parties. You don’t see ‘Vote Labour’ splattered on them in every other post and there is certainly nothing like the kind of aggressive, bile filled messages that characterises UKIP’s keyboard warriors. There is no comparison at all.

    It would be nice to see UKIP making the case for leaving the EU, but Farage senses the immigration obsession is working for him given the European election numbers. Unless he realises he is hitting a glass ceiling and hindering the party’s progress by turning off large swathes of the electorate, he’ll stick to immigration and leave the EU departure argument in the cupboard.

  16. 17 Sam Duncan 05/06/2014 at 6:27 pm

    “They are nothing if not good at numbing people with seemingly benign comments and ensuring benign people have the spotlight.”

    Well, yes, that’s true. It’s probably the usual expectation management. I didn’t intend my comment to imply that I’m pinning my hopes on Juncker. But it’s possible, and even if he doesn’t get the job there will still be “Events, dear boy”.

    After all, UKIP is a manifestation of anti-EU feeling in Britain, not its instigator. Isn’t the whole point that this sentiment has its own momentum, independent of any political party, and the problem emerges when or if UKIP actually becomes harmful to it? Given that it doesn’t yet have any MPs at Westminster, oustside of election campaigns its scope for infuencing that feeling is small, and it’s the EU’s own actions that most influence support or otherwise.

    Having said that, I also said that I tend to agree with your take on things. There’s a danger that Events which might otherwise turn people against the EU will have a lessened effect because people are turned off by the thought of agreeing with Farage; a danger that’s arguably increased now that UKIP’s spokespeople will be the media’s first stop for quotes on the EU, or, alternatively, proven not to be an issue since the party is now doing so well in traditionally Labour areas. Truth is, we don’t know how that’s going to go and, although I appreciate that these polls may be straws in the wind, I don’t think we can definitively say which it is yet.

  17. 18 Vanessa 06/06/2014 at 10:44 am

    UKIP needs to take a very large leaf out of Salmond’s book and start concentrating on the positive. He has done an extraordinary job of turning around Scotland with a relentless message on the emotional and positive idea of “yes we can we are Scots and we are able to run our own country”. This message needs to be adopted by UKIP instead of the relentless message of how awful the EU is to how wonderful we would feel and be as a country running it ourselves.

    Anyone up for the job ? !!

  18. 19 tallbloke 07/06/2014 at 10:35 am

    Vanessa:
    Farage has been consistently pointing out that the best people to run Britain are British people.

    AM, are the original data for this poll and the 2009 poll available?
    So we can check the context and wording of the questions asked on each occasion. Without data, the comparison is worthless.

    Since the ~30% of the electorate who don’t vote don’t approve of any party, a negative question about approval is bound to get a high percentage.

  19. 20 tallbloke 07/06/2014 at 10:41 am

    You also need to factor the ‘don’t knows’ in 2009 would have been a lot higher because UKIP was less visible and less known about.

    Now that the battle lines are drawn and the UKIP is a real political force, it’s natural that attitudes will have firmed up.

    Is it any coincidence that the latest EU in/out poll finds that 52% think we should stay in? People aren’t thinking that because they don’t like UKIP’s stance on immigration. They are thinking that because the BBC is constantly telling them that withdrawal will negatively affect the number one issue on their concerns list – the economy.

  20. 21 tallbloke 07/06/2014 at 10:46 am

    Also, where is the comparison with the other parties on the same question? Without it, how can we tell if the electorate has shifted allegiance to pro-eu or pro mass-imigration parties or become more disillusioned with all parties.

    There are so any flaws in this presentation I’m a bit surprised an astute pundit like yourself republished it at all.

  21. 23 restoration 18/06/2014 at 11:52 am

    I like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.


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