Back in May, we pointed out the so-called ‘Farage Paradox’ – even as the party came first in the European elections in the UK and Farage himself was widely seen as having bested Nick Clegg in their TV debates, support for leaving the EU had fallen to its lowest level for a long time according to Ipsos-MORI with 37% in favour of Brexit and 54% in support of staying in.
Either way, it shows that even as UKIP find a way of tapping into disenchantment with the EU and mainstream UK politics, they are failing to convince people that they have the right remedies and this risks derailing the broader ‘out campaign, as the pro-Bexit Tory MP Michael Fabricant has warned:
“The out team will be very different, with no leader who commands popular support. Before you can even make the case for Britain becoming a mid-Atlantic economic hub, freed from the shackles of Brussels diktats, the Eurosceptics will be all over the place. No clear leader, and angry looking grey men who have been arguing the toss on Europe for years, will fail to impress. Yes, Nigel Farage is clearly the most charismatic Eurosceptic in years, but does anyone really imagine Farage being the Alex Salmond of the out campaign? Would he be persuasive enough to seduce a nation?”
However, it is worth bearing in mind that other polls have slightly different outcomes. Today’s YouGov poll for the Times’ red box showed lower levels of support for EU membership – support for membership is roughly the same under their ‘major changes’ scenario as under Ipsos-Mori’s status quo scenario (YouGov’s status quo option assumes renegotiation was attempted but failed to secure even modest changes, so can’t be directly compared with the Ipsos-MORI one).