UKIP continue to lead in Rochester and Strood

UKIP’s lead in the seat is up from the 9-point lead it had in a similar poll published earlier this month.

UKIP’s lead in the seat is up from the 9-point lead it had in a similar poll published earlier this month

Conservative HQ will this morning be feeling jittering thanks to a new poll by ComRes in the Rochester and Strood constituency published last night.

Ahead of the by-election on the 20 November, triggered by the defecation to UKIP of the sitting Conservative MP Mark Reckless on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, UKIP enjoys a 13 percentage point lead over the Conservatives, with UKIP on 43 per cent, the Conservatives on 30 per cent and Labour on 21 per cent.

UKIP’s lead in the seat is up from the 9-point lead it had in a similar poll published by Survation earlier this month.

Interestingly, 39 per cent of those in the seat who voted Conservative in 2010 now plan to vote UKIP in the by-election, as do 39 per cent of 2010 Lib Dem voters and 30 per cent of 2010 Labour voters. Over half (57 per cent) of people who did not vote in 2010 say they intend to vote UKIP.

Asked how favourably they viewed various politicians and parties, Boris Johnson came out on top, with 48 per cent saying they had a favourable opinion of him, followed by 46 per cent who viewed David Cameron positively.

42 per cent said the same about UKIP candidate Mark Reckless and 40 per cent said they have a favourable opinion of Nigel Farage. When asked about how favourably they viewed the Conservatives and UKIP, UKIP came out on top – 48 per cent to 44 per cent.

Interestingly, with 46 per cent of people viewing Mark Reckless unfavourably, he is less unpopular than David Camerom, who 49 per cent view unfavourably.

The poll findings also suggest that the Conservative’s strategy ahead of the election could backfire.

With Conservative MPs and ministers under orders to blitz the constituency, 66 per cent of voters in Rochester and Strood felt that sending so many politicians into the seat meant the Conservatives were desperate.

Likewise, despite the personal attacks aimed at Mark Reckless during the Conservative conference, after his defection 50 per cent of voters said he was being unfairly treated by his former Tory colleagues, compared to 40 per cent who disagreed.

53 per cent felt that Reckless had done the principled thing in defecting to UKIP, compared to 37 per cent who disagreed.

Likewise, despite Grant Shapps’ scare tactic in suggesting that a vote for UKIP would help Labour, just 38 per cent agreed, with 54 per cent disagreeing.

At 47 per cent both agreeing and disagreeing, views were evenly split as to whether the people of Rochester and Strood could trust David Cameron’s promise of a referendum on EU membership if he wins an outright majority next May.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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