Just one in 10 UKIP supporters would consider switching their vote to keep Ed Miliband out of Downing Street, a major new poll revealed yesterday.
The study by the former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft found that most supporters of the anti-EU party do not believe in David Cameron’s warning that they risk wrecking hopes of an EU referendum by aiding a Labour victory.
The finding is a major blow to the Tories who fear a strong showing for UKIP in next year’s General Election could cost them dozens of seats.
The Tories “Vote UKIP, get Labour” – or “Vote Farage, get Miliband” slogan is expected to play a key role in the party’s strategy next year.
But the new study of 2,300 UKIP supporters found that that just over half (51%) disagreed with the statement “a vote for UKIP makes the prospect of Ed Miliband becoming Prime Minister more likely.”
Almost a quarter (23%) agreed they might inadvertently help Labour into power but said they did not care.
Just 10% said they would consider changing their vote to keep Mr Miliband out…
Related: Labour opinion poll support falls to lowest level since 2010 election: Labour’s support has slumped to its lowest level since soon after the 2010 election, according to a new Opinium/Observer poll. Ed Miliband’s party now has a lead of just one percentage point over the Conservatives.
The findings – showing a clear bounce for the Tories after George Osborne’s budget – will put more pressure on Miliband, whose party was 10 points ahead of the Tories a year ago.
The poll puts Labour at 33% (down two points on a fortnight ago), the Conservatives at 32% (up two), UKIP at 15% (down one) and the Liberal Democrats unchanged at 10%. Since the budget on 19 March, several polls have shown Labour’s lead cut, but Labour strategists hoped the Tory bounce would be shortlived.
The Conservatives and Labour have not been so close in the polls since before Osborne’s so-called “omnishambles” budget of March 2012 in which he abolished the 50p rate of tax and imposed other controversial taxes on pasties, caravans and charities.