Nigel Farage – UKIP’s electoral asset or liability?

For those UKIP supporters who hold Nigel Farage in high esteem and hurl brickbats in the general direction of this blog (which supports most of the UKIP policy platform, such as it is) when deference is not forthcoming for the blessed Nigel, a poll by YouGov for The Times will not make happy reading.

The format follows the favourable/unfavourable methodology used in the US in identifying whether voters have a positive or negative view of political leaders.  The question asked was, ‘Generally speaking, do you have a positive or negative opinion of the following people?’  The responses (as displayed on Politicalbetting.com) were:

Positive

Negative

In addition to the personal ratings shown above, 36% or respondents said they would never consider voting for UKIP, which is more than the 33% who would never consider voting Conservative, 32% against the Lib Dems and 23% against Labour.  This means for UKIP that Farage is more unpopular than his party.

The message looks pretty clear.  If UKIP are basing a strategy to build more support on the back of a Farage personality blitz, they are going in the wrong direction.  Farage is not the electoral asset his fans think he is.

16 Responses to “Nigel Farage – UKIP’s electoral asset or liability?”


  1. 1 tallbloke 07/05/2013 at 12:01 pm

    It’s interesting to tot up the totals to see how many don’t know/don’t care’s there were for each leader:

    Comoron: 81 = 19%
    Clogg: 75 = 25%
    Moribund 71 = 29%
    Farage = 58 = 42%

    So 42% of people don’t know or don’t care to express an opinion about Farage. But then again 58% do.

    Who else might have made themselves sufficiently well known to the public to get 58% of them to express an opinion? They say no publicity is bad publicity. At least Farage gets noticed, and interviews well.

    My conclusion is you need to look past the numbers and consider what the alternatives are.

  2. 2 Autonomous Mind 07/05/2013 at 12:28 pm

    Could it not also be said that when people do know or care they like him less than the other leaders and dislike him more than all but Clegg? That correlates with the number of ex senior UKIP members who have jumped completely from the party when they have got to know him.

    For UKIP it’s hard to think of an alternative because Farage neuters any potential rival as soon as they show promise or ability. The best its decent members can hope for is that the issues are put front and centre in a coherent way and that people support the party on that basis, not because of the politician beauty contest.

  3. 3 @pperrin 07/05/2013 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t know anyone who claims Nigel is perfect – just head and shoulders above the competition.

    Who are you prosing should replace him to improve UKIP’s’positiom?

  4. 4 StrongUnitedKingdom 07/05/2013 at 12:55 pm

    UKIP is advancing rapidly on all fronts which is the key issue. You can chose to play the man and not the party or the policy as long as you want but it brings little. Farage is not perfect, and has never set himself up to be so. He needs to run the party and that sometimes means saying no and upsetting people. People have swapped parties before and will do so again, I see no reason why this is a sign of “the end” when it happens to UKIP.

    UKIP is not placing all its bets on Farage’s character, but currently that is what is favoured by the media so we have to make the best of it. People are often initially attracted by character and communication skills. Later some will even start getting informed on policy. To expect UKIP to attract millions of voters from a standing start based on the detail of a policy is unrealistic and also once again is not measuring UKIP with the same yardstick as the other parties.

    History will show what was or was not successful, but there is significant precedent for what a single charismatic leader can achieve. Before Gandhi lead India to freedom what was he? A skinny chap in a toga? An upstart? A hopeless dreamer? A no hoper? An electoral liability?

    As a UKIP member and candidate I do not agree with the way everything is done, but people need to grow up. Were I the leader, I’m guessing Nigel would not agree with everything I did either. We need to focus on the UK goals of democracy, freedom and prosperity for our nation. Bitching about this weeks poll somewhere is irrelevant. The fact Nigel in on the poll is the real success. The fact we are in the press everyday now shows the progress we have made.

    Wasting energy attacking people who are trying to get the UK out of the mess it is in rather than focussing on those who lead us here deceitfully and who are keeping us here against our will may give you a good feeling but does nothing to advance the cause you claim to support.

  5. 5 Autonomous Mind 07/05/2013 at 1:24 pm

    Sadly, Nigel Farage is doing nothing to advance the cause I support. So giving him a pass isn’t an option.

    In fact because he refuses to do detail and more and more people are now stopping to ask ‘How?’ Farage proposes to extract this country from the EU while preserving our trade and economic interests, things may come to a head sooner than expected.

    I would prefer not to have to say ‘I told you so’ at some point in the future. But it looks like that’s the way it’s going to be. Backing the least worst option is not a positive thing to do. When Farage sets back the cause I support, and he will, we will all be the worse for it.

  6. 6 Richard North 07/05/2013 at 2:36 pm

    SUK:

    UKIP may be advancing rapidly, but its actual progress is slight. The low and shrinking turnout in the county elections means that UKIP’s “reach” was only in the order of eight percent. Less than one in twelve people could be bothered to vote for the party – less in Lincolnshire.

    Thus, UKIP has failed to break through and become a party of popular appeal, and some of us who have known Farage for two decades attribute that failure in very large measure to the man.

    Worse still, Farage’s lack of leadership and his rejection of good advice means that the party is poorly prepared, physically – and most of all, intellectually, to fight and win an EU referendum.

    This, therefore, is not a matter of “bitching”. Farage could very well lose us the referendum which is a very serious issue, which needs to be pointed out. See here.

  7. 7 StrongUnitedKingdom 07/05/2013 at 3:37 pm

    AM – I get you don’t like the guy but stating he is doing nothing to advance the anti-EU & UK exit story is plainly untrue as was seen last week. Could someone else have done it better, yes maybe. Could they also have done it worse, yes maybe. But we are where we are and we must play the cards we have been dealt.

    RN – I am aware of the Party’s shortcomings, I am also aware that we are not yet in a position to enact the change we would like yet. However I have seen great strides forward in the Party in the last 5 years I have been a member, and particularly over the last 2 since the 2010 GE. Farage’s alleged lack of detail could be a factor in the referendum that the LibLabCOn are furiously trying to avoid. But surely the greater risk is the EU pouring millions into the in campaign, deceit and treachery from our politicians, etc. You also seem to ignore the work Nigel and the wider UKIP team have done in raising the whole issue to the public.

    As for those who have made the decision to join the Pro-EU Tory party in a bid to advance the cause, the best I can say is that it was their decision.

    Now turning the conversation around, what would you propose? How would you support a widening of the public face of UKIP? Or is your answer for everyone to leave and join the Tories to teach Nigel a lesson? How are you preparing to marshall the anti-EU forces within the Tories or whichever party you support? Would you be prepared to help people like me get elected in 2015 to take the cause forwards? (yes we would need to meet first and get to know each other etc). I am not in Nigel’s pocket nor his inner circle. Once the first UKIP MPs are elected there will be a new dynamic in the Party allowing further growth and a widening of the influence in the UK. Over to you.

  8. 8 Autonomous Mind 07/05/2013 at 3:39 pm

    I’ve already said what I propose. You read the blog regularly, so I don’t think I need to restate it all again here.

  9. 9 JabbaTheCat 07/05/2013 at 4:39 pm

    It will be interesting to see the UKIP toys flying fast and furious out of the crèche, when Crick the pricks documentary about the dear leader and UKIP is aired…

  10. 10 Martin Adamson 07/05/2013 at 5:05 pm

    This is absurd. Of course lots of people dislike Farage – but they don’t dislike him because he is Farage, they dislike him because he is dynamiting their gravy train. If the UKIP leadership consisted of a triumvirate of Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, then that 40% of the population whose meal ticket depended on the continued existence of the EU and the Welfare State would hate them just as much as they now hate Farage.

  11. 11 Geoff Yeo 07/05/2013 at 8:35 pm

    Just as a matter of interest I wonder which votes are not “protest votes”are there any?

  12. 12 thespecialon 07/05/2013 at 9:45 pm

    Could it be that now that Farage’s profile and therefore, that of UKIP is now mainstream that Farage will change his attitude towards those that wish to advise him? Surely he knows that greater scrutiny will now surround much of what he and UKIP says/does? What to do about the wider apathy about elections is a different bigger question to answer.

  13. 13 Richard North 07/05/2013 at 10:19 pm

    Martin Adamson –

    A lot of people dislike Farage for what he is – a very different person from his public image. More still dislike him because he is damaging the eurosceptic cause and is set to lose us the referendum.

    SUK

    As long as UKIP is part of the problem, I see no great value in assisting it – not that my assistance would be welcome. If Farage can come up with a credible exit plan, then things might change. The ball is in Farage’s court … always has been. The plan is long overdue.

  14. 14 Bruce 08/05/2013 at 8:32 am

    Richard,
    If it wasn’t for Farage and UKIP there wouldn’t even be talk of a referendum. The three EU-phile parties would never give you one without the UKIP’s pressure. It would have been good if the Harrogate Agenda had been included in the poll to put things into perspective.

    Polls are never commissioned to get to the truth just to reinforce the commissioner’s version of it. This one will be no different but I’m going to have a good look at it over morning coffee before coming to any conclusions.

  15. 15 Bruce 08/05/2013 at 9:41 am

    Richard,
    Why do you think Farage hasn’t devised an EU exit plan? Since it wouldn’t take the brain of Britain to come up with something feasible, is there a particular reason for his position?

  16. 16 Martin Adamson (@grassmarket32) 08/05/2013 at 9:57 am

    Richard:

    It may well be that some of the people who have known Farage the longest don’t like him. However, there wouldn’t be enough of those to show up on a national opinion poll, which by its nature reflects mainly people who haven’t met him. Like I say, ANY successful anti-EU candidate, no matter who they were, would automatically attract the passionate personal hatred of the 35-40% of the voting public. At the moment, I don’t see anyone else out there doing what Farage is doing. Now that he has opened the door and forced the political class to at least pretend to support some of his ideas, perhaps there will be more opportunities for people like yourself.


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