Has the UKIP bubble burst?
“My reading is that this is quite good news for the mainstream parties who might fear the rise of UKIP which seems to be taking as many votes away from Labour as it does from the Tories.”
However, I think that UKIP has had some minor success as reinventing itself as an ‘anti-establishment’ protest party and it remains to be seen if there bubble has totally burst. Also, UKIP is known for its demagogic anti-immigration stance and race relations and immigration is cited by 27% of respondents as an important issue. So, I think it is a bit early to draw the conclusion Smithson does here.
Concerns about crime and law and order are in decline with 24% citing this issue as being most important and this is it’s lowest point since the 2005 terrorist attacks in London in the tracker. Unsurprisingly, the economy tops the poll with a full 55% citing it as the most important issue. The legend ‘it’s the economy stupid’ seems to still hold very true. Also, the issues index reports the highest level of concern about unemployment (25%) which reflects the very real fact in my eyes that economic confidence is still fragile and easily breakable. It would however have been interesting if public spending had been given a rating as the economy is quite diffuse to see whether the recent dominance of that over political debate had impact.
Interestingly, events in Afghanistan and the ensuing political maelstrom have pushed defence and foreign affairs up 10% since July to 20%. More than anything this speaks to the fact that the news agenda does have a discernible affect on what people attach importance too:
“Indeed, concern about this issue had been waning over the last year, but the recent sad news from Helmand province seems to have pushed this issue up the agenda once more.”
Overall I think polls like this more establish what is dominating the news agenda and how it impacts peoples actual concerns rather than a consistent solid pattern.