A Survation poll on voting intentions in the South Thanet constituency published today makes interesting reading.
The poll shows that only UKIP can challenge Labour in South Thanet and only 22% of UKIP voters would consider voting Conservative if there was no UKIP candidate. Almost two thirds of people who said they intended to vote for UKIP said so because they like UKIP policies whereas most Conservative and Labour voters said they would vote for those parties simply out of habit.
The timing of the poll is perfect because the europhile Tory MP for South Thanet, Laura Sandys, announced this week that she would be standing down at the next election which immediately sparked rumours that Nigel Farage would pick it as his constituency for the 2015 general election.
Predictably, Tory propagandist Harry Cole has tried to spin this poll as evidence that voting UKIP lets Labour win on the Guido Fawkes blog despite the evidence showing that actually, voting Conservative in South Thanet will split the UKIP vote and let Labour win. If UKIP didn't put up a candidate in South Thanet, the Tories still couldn't win because whilst 22% of UKIP voters said they would vote Conservative if there was no UKIP candidate, 19% said they would vote Labour and 52% of UKIP voters said they would still vote UKIP even if it meant Ed Miliband would become prime minster against just 27% who said they would vote "tactically" for the Tories to stop him.
The Tories have been busily promoting the party line that voting UKIP lets Labour win all over the country and here we have the evidence to back up what we've been telling people all along which is that a vote for UKIP is a vote for UKIP and in many cases voting Tory splits the UKIP vote and lets Labour or the Lib Dems win.
In 2015 we will see UKIP's first MPs elected and Labour getting the most MPs elected. The extent to which Labour will win depends entirely on how much the Tories split the UKIP vote. UKIP attracts votes from all three of the old parties so if they're clever, the Tories will step aside in marginal seats like South Thanet that they just can't win and negotiate with UKIP for support to form a minority government (but no coalition) to keep Labour out of power.
The voters of South Thanet have made it very clear: vote blue, get red.