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Why UKIP are a bad bet to take Newark off the Tories

| 02.06.2014

It was always going to be immensely difficult for UKIP to turn local and Euro election successes into a by-election triumph in the Nottinghamshire seat of Newark, and the latest poll from outcast Tory peer Michael Ashcroft suggests Nigel Farage was right to dodge the contest.

The Conservatives are now 1/6 to retain the seat recently vacated by car-for-hire Patrick Mercer, having been as long as 2/7 over the weekend, with UKIP out to 4/1 from 5/2 and no other party in sight.

Farage’s single-issue Sallys caused an almighty media kerfuffle by grabbing the highest number of European Parliament seats recently, but the vagaries of the first-past-the-post voting system – that scourge of the smaller party – plus the fact that this election actually matters, will once again thwart their Westminster bid.

David Smithson, of highly-respected blog PoliticalBetting.com, had suggested that pollsters underestimated UKIP support in previous by-elections; in Corby, Ashcroft had them on just 6%, yet they ended up pulling in over 14% at the count.

However, even if another error of that magnitude was made – which is unlikely as Ashcroft’s polling techniques will have been meticulously adjusted since – the difference would not be enough to send UKIP’s former Tory MEP Roger Helmer to Westminster.

Farage was fully aware that the electoral maths in Newark would not add up to a House of Commons seat and decided to concentrate his efforts on leading the party into their historic Euro triumph, which looks an astute move and keeps the smell of loser off the 50-year-old.

Ladbrokes rate UKIP’s chances of securing at least one seat at the 2015 General Election very healthily at 1/2, and price up the Purples at 15/8 to grab between 10-15% of the popular vote.

Their pint-swilling, cig-chuffing leader has not yet confirmed where he will stand for election next May, but those in the know insist it will be in the Kent constituency of South Thanet.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune