If bookies and pollsters are anything to go by, it's going to be another shoe-in for Ukip this week.
Coral has already started paying out for people who backed the anti-European party ahead of the November 20 by-election. Coral has backed Ukip as the favourites to win since Douglas Carswell romped home to victory in Clacton last month.
PaddyPower also has Ukip as the favourite on 1/100, while Conservatives are on 16/1. Labour is on 50/1 and Lib Dems are the outlier party on 250/1.
Pollsters are also looking convinced. The latest Ashcroft poll, out last week, showed that Ukip was going into the final furlong with a comfortable lead of 44 per cent of the vote, compared with 32 per cent who plan to vote Conservative. Just 17 per cent of voters plan to back Labour, while the Lid Dems are out in the cold with a measly two
Ashcroft found that 44 per cent of former Conservative voters said they would follow their MP Mark Reckless in switching to Ukip while 40 per cent of Labour supporters also plan to transfer. Only one in ten of those who voted Lib Dem at the last election said they would do so again in the by-election. Clearly, not all the swing voters are going to Ukip, but as the chart below shows there is certainly a significant move towards the party.
“Though Mark Reckless looks set to be returned to parliament next Thursday, the evidence is that he can expect a battle next May,” Ashcroft said. “Of those naming a party, 36 per cent of Rochester voters said they would probably vote Conservative at the general election, 35 per cent Ukip and 21 per cent Labour.”
Looking at figures put together by YouGov, these five charts show how the people who identify as Ukip supporters nationwide have changed over the last year.
In January 2013, 60 per cent of those who were planning to vote Ukip in 2015 had backed Conservative in the 2010 general election, compared with just seven per cent who had voted Labour. By last month, 15 per cent of kippers were coming from Labour's pool.
There has also been a change in the age – more kippers are under 60 now than in January 2013:
Social grade has swung slightly towards C2DEs:
But there has been little movement in educational levels:
The gender split hasn't really changed: