British voters to stick with UKIP at 2015 election: study
The recent surge of support for UK Independence Party will last beyond this month's European elections and carry over into next year's general election, research published on Wednesday suggests.
Nigel Farage's anti-immigration and anti-EU party is riding high in opinion polls ahead of the European elections on May 22.
Britain's mainstream parties have in the past been able to take comfort from the fact that while UKIP scores well in European elections, it traditionally fades in general elections.
The British Election Study, which has traced electoral trends for five decades, shows that 17 percent of people intend to vote for UKIP in the elections for the European parliament.
Although that figure drops to 11 percent for the general election -- due on May 7, 2015 -- the decrease is far smaller than the comparable drop after the last European elections in 2009.
In those elections, UKIP secured 16.5 percent of the vote but just 3.1 percent in the general election in 2010, failing to secure a single seat in the British parliament.
The study says UKIP will take votes from all three of the mainstream British parties -- Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives, their Liberal Democrat coalition partners and the main opposition Labour Party.
Due to Britain's first-past-the-post electoral system, a vote share of 11 percent will not translate into an MP for UKIP unless its support can be concentrated in one or more parliamentary constituencies, the study notes.
"But it would reveal much stronger support for UKIP in the country and it will have important political consequences in the months and years ahead," it says.
© 2014 AFP