The UKIP bubble seems to be deflating. That’s the impression we can take from a snapshot of YouGov surveys of voting intentions taken over the month of June.
Having started off the month getting support of between 13-16% and remaining consistently ahead of the Lib Dems, UKIP has now dropped back to 10% in the latest poll and fallen back behind the Lib Dems, with the four polls prior to that all showing a steady decline in support to arrive at this point.
The declining level of support correlates with Nigel Farage’s disingenuous comments over his Isle of Man based trust fund, and the all too common absence of any substantive comment or agenda setting from UKIP on the major issues that are catching the attention of likely voters.
UKIP can still be expected to do well in next year’s European elections because attention will be focussed on EU matters for a couple of weeks. But if the party’s broader appeal is already waning after a proportion of voters used May’s county council elections to show their disdain for the main three parties, it suggests UKIP’s hopes of a breakthrough are just a pipe dream.
Leadership, of the paucity of it, is the main driver here. It is all well and good for Nigel Farage to engage in vanity exercises in the media that pump up his personal profile – even if they make him look like a fool – but it is doing nothing to educate people or advance UKIP’s vision for a UK outside of the EU. We can learn a great deal about the mindset of the upper echelon of the party when more time and effort goes into attempting to shut down discussion and debate rather than raising awareness of issues and provoking a conversation among voters that gets them talking about UKIP’s goals. It seems personal agendas take priority in UKIP and ultimately, voters will not stand for that.
While not a popular view among a good number of this blog’s readers, the assertion that Farage is not helping UKIP move ahead but is a limiting factor, seems to already be starting to be borne out by the failure to capitalise on the recent increase in popularity. The numbers were soft and those people needed to be given a reason to stay with UKIP. But in the absence of a voice, they are already drifting away to find someone who is speaking.
Farage shows no sign of adjusting his behaviour or approach and UKIP will suffer for it. The reality is that showing blind loyalty to the captain of the ship may be a jolly decent thing to do, but it doesn’t make any difference to the outcome if the ship is holed below the water line and sinking. Ultimately the journey for that vessel is over.