NEW POLLING suggests the Conservatives will hold the seat of Newark in a by-election this Thursday, with Ukip coming second, Labour beaten into third place and the Liberal Democrats trailing on just six per cent.
The election, triggered after incumbent MP Patrick Mercer stepped down following a lobbying scandal, is being seen as a good indication of how well Ukip might do in the general election next May. It will also cause fresh alarm for the Lib Dems, whose vote has not recovered since the EU elections.
The new poll from Lord Ashcroft puts the Conservatives on 42 per cent of the vote, Ukip on 27, Labour on 20 per cent and the Lib Dems on just six per cent.
In an article accompanying his poll, Lord Ashcroft said the majority of Ukip supporters admitted to voting in protest against their usual party. “Seven in ten of those planning to vote for [Ukip’s] Roger Helmer on Thursday say they are making a general protest to show they are unhappy with all the parties; only 16 per cent of them say this was not a factor,” he added.
A Populus poll yesterday looking at votes in the general election put the Conservatives behind Labour on 32 per cent, with Ed Miliband’s party scoring a larger 37 per cent share. The Lib Dems fared better than in Newark on 10 per cent, with Ukip on 13 per cent.