The latest Lord Ashcroft polls have found UKIP ‘within striking distance’ of the Tories in the constituency battle for the General Election and, he says they ‘have the edge’ in the ground campaign.
The polls found them three points behind the Conservatives in Boston & Skegness, with an 18.5 per cent swing.
His latest report looked specifically at Boston & Skegness, Castle Point, South Basildon and East Thurrock, and North East Cambridgeshire.
In his report Lord Ashcroft said: “It seems the Conservatives need not worry too much about the last of these, where I found them 21 points ahead, despite a 13 per cent swing to UKIP. But in the other three UKIP are within striking distance: they were six points behind in South Basildon & East Thurrock, with a 16 per cent swing; three points behind in Boston & Skegness, with an 18.5 per cent swing; and just one point behind in Castle Point, with a 21.5 per cent swing from the Tories.”
He found that In the four seats as a whole, 22 per cent of 2010 Conservative voters naming a party said they intended to vote for UKIP in their constituency in May – though only just over half (51 per cent) of Conservative-UKIP switchers said they ruled out going back to the Tories by election day.
His blog reports that more than one fifth (21 per cent) of 2010 Labour voters also said they would switch to UKIP, as did 23 per cent of 2010 Lib Dems (only one quarter of whose supporters from the last election said they would stay with them at the next).
The UKIP candidate for Boston and Skegness Robin Hunter-Clarke told The Standard however, that ‘before weighting’ - where undecided voters were distributed between Labour, Lib Dems and Conservatives, but not UKIP - the figures told a different story and put the party ahead of the Conservatives by four points or by 39 per cent to 34 per cent.
He said: ”It’s a bit misleading actually from the responses we’re getting.
“We’re not taking any votes for granted, we’re working as hard as ever, but I don’t think its a true account of how people here are considering voting.”
He added: “Without the biased weighting .. we are ahead in real terms. We need people to get behind us now, and bring about the desperate need for real change.”
The Standard attempted to call Conservative candidate Matt Warman but he did not answer at the time of sending the story to web.