Support for the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party is being squeezed in districts held by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party where the opposition Labour Party is the main challenger in the May 7 election, pollster Michael Ashcroft said Wednesday.
“The most notable movement across the board in this round of polling was a move towards the two main parties at the expense of UKIP,” Ashcroft, a former Conservative lawmaker, said in comments published on his website. “The UKIP share had fallen significantly –- by up to 10 points –- in nine of the 10 seats polled.”
UKIP has polled in the mid-teens in national surveys for the last two years, making it less likely that either the Conservatives or Labour will win an overall majority of districts in Parliament enabling them to govern alone. The major parties have sought to tackle the threat from UKIP in close contests where defecting supporters could cost them seats.
Both Labour and the Conservatives extended their lead in the seats surveyed where they were ahead in October, Ashcroft said.
Of the 10 competitive Conservative-Labour marginals polled, all of which were won by Tory candidates at the 2010 election, Labour are on course to gain four, the Conservatives will hold five and in one seat, Pudsey, northern England, the parties are tied. Just over 10,000 adults were interviewed by telephone between March 28 and April 4 for the survey. No margin of error was given.
The decline in support for UKIP in Conservative-held seats is consistent with surveys in Liberal Democrat-held districts published last week, Ashcroft said.
A YouGov Plc national poll for The Sun newspaper on Tuesday showed UKIP, which won the most U.K. seats in the European Union parliament in May last year, with the support of 14 percent of the electorate with Labour on 35 percent, two points ahead of the Conservatives.