This is, of course, the busiest time of the year for any political party and 2013 is no exception. With under a fortnight to go until polling in the County Council elections, the mainstream media are talking up UKIP's prospects. Our first Party Election Broadcast has already gone out, and seems to have been very well received indeed. If you missed it, it can be seen again online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?
The mainstream media continues to pick up on UKIP's success in getting candidates onto the ballot paper. Some articles have been more accurate than others . An article in the Independent newspaper was spectacularly wrong when it said: "The wildcard on May 2 could be the UK Independence Party. The anti-EU party is consistently in double figures in the opinion polls and is fielding 1,001 candidates, up from 319 last year. Its best hopes are in Hull, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and West Wiltshire." In actual fact, we have 1,734 candidates – up from 593 last time. Hull, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees don't even have any Council elections this year, whilst West Wiltshire council was abolished in 2009.
The Daily Mail comes up with rather different figures. It appears that they have taken only the County Councils (not the unitaries) and looked at which wards each party is contesting, considering multi-member wards as being one ward. They come to the conclusion that UKIP are standing in more places than the Liberal Democrats, but because of their methods they quote a lower figure for both parties. They quote UKIP as contesting 1486 seats to the Lib Dems' 1443. The article is well worth a read: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
There has been another benefit to the surge in the number of UKIP candidates. We have never had two Council election broadcasts before, but this time we have managed to field so many candidates that we have been allocated an additional broadcast. The second broadcast will be aired on St. George's Day, Tuesday 23rd April. It will be shown on BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. (I believe they will be at 6.55pm, 5.55pm and 6.25pm, the same as last week's broadcast, but don't quote me on that yet!)
The Party's membership continues to grow. In the last newsletter, I reported that the Party had just hit 25,000 members. Today, I can tell you that April 2013 has already become the busiest month on record (eclipsing June 2004) for new Party memberships – and there are still another 11 days to go in the month!
Meanwhile, the opinion polls continue to look good for UKIP. In previous forum newsletters, I have discussed opinion polls and methodology in detail. Opinion polls conducted by telephone traditionally give UKIP low scores, but MORI's April polling shows UKIP on 15% - the highest ever by a telephone polling company. In another boost for the Party, the same poll showed that Nigel Farage is the only Party Leader with a net positive rating. One interesting feature of the MORI poll was that it showed UKIP voters being more likely to vote – which should bode well for the Council elections on May 2nd.
In other polls, Angus Reid has shown UKIP on 16% - DOUBLE the Lib Dems' vote share - and YouGov daily polls continue to fluctuate around the 11-12% mark. Even ICM (which uses a 'spiral of silence' adjustment hugely critical to the UKIP vote) put us on 9%. The ICM adjustment allocates 'don't knows' to the Party they voted for in 2010, and as UKIP took just 3% in 2010 this hammers our vote projection. I won't repeat the full analysis and breakdown I've given in previous newsletters, but the skill with understanding opinion polling lies in understanding how different companies' methodologies and assumptions affect the results. Every poll must be taken in context.
South Shields by-election
The South Shields Parliamentary by-election has now been called on a very short timescale, with polling day being May 2nd – the same as for the County Council elections. This presents a real challenge as we have members campaigning all over the country at the same time. Nevertheless, a Parliamentary by-election is always of critical importance. The campaign office is open for volunteers at 111 King Street, South Shields. As ever, please contact Party Director Lisa Duffy on 07890 110225 or by email at email@example.com if you want more information. However, the office will of course be open every day until polling day – so please feel free to pop down any time and help out. The candidate will be North East Regional Chairman Richard Elvin, who previously stood at the by-election in Middlesbrough.
St. George's Meal in Hull
I am informed that there are still a few tickets remaining for the St. George's meal (which takes place tomorrow, 20th April, as the closest Saturday to St. George's Day) in Hull. UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall MEP will be the guest speaker for an evening with a three-course meal with a singer and DJ. The venue is the Mercure Hotel, (formerly station / royal hotel, in the city centre), Ferensway, Hull. Arrive at 6.30pm for dining at around 7pm. Tickets for the fundraiser are priced at £35, and a limited number are still available from Ken Hordon on 07766 147526.
UKIP solid Council by-election results continue
Last night, Young Independence member Thomas Hoof took over 26% at a Council by-election in a ward never before contested by UKIP, finishing in second place. The result in Donnington ward was as follows:
Labour – 426
Thomas Hoof – UKIP – 255
Independent - 120
Conservative – 113
Find your UKIP candidate for the County Council elections
A full list of UKIP candidates for the County Council elections on May 2nd is now available on the Party website. This list doesn't include those candidates who are standing in Council by-elections on polling day, but does include all of the scheduled elections.
Remember that in 2013, it is almost exclusively County Council elections and therefore most people living in cities do not have Council elections this year. We have candidates in over 70% of seats, which is an impressive showing. Remembering that we have only just passed 25,000 members, and that many areas do not have Council elections this year, we have still managed to put over 1,700 candidates onto ballot papers. In areas which do have elections this year, that means that roughly 10% of our membership are standing as candidates!
Particular praise must go to those counties where the Party has managed to field a full slate of candidates. I know of four (my apologies for any unintentional omissions): Buckinghamshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Essex. For the full list of candidates, please visit http://ukip.org/page/county-
Jonathan Arnott (UKIP General Secretary)