A version of this article first appeared in City AM
The threat UKIP pose to any party is difficult to quantify as little is known about just how well they will be able to compete in a national, General Election in 2015. However, UKIP clearly has the potential to be very dangerous to the Conservative Party and much of their recent rise in the polls has come from ex-Tories, though Labour and the Liberal Democrats have also lost voters to the newest force in British politics.
UKIP has become, at least partly, the party of the disaffected. They are the most dissatisfied with the government, David Cameron and the other party leaders. While 47% of Tories think Mr Farage is doing a good job, only 12% of UKIP supporters say the same about Mr Cameron.
Around six in ten UKIP supporters are aged 55+ which is important as older people are far more likely to vote and also form much of the bedrock of the Conservative’s support. Likewise, UKIP supporters tend to come from Tory heartlands, especially in the midlands and the south.
Immigration is traditionally an area of strength with voters for the Conservatives but now almost as many people trust Mr Farage as trust Mr Cameron on the issue. Immigration is now the second most important issue for Britons and clearly one where UKIP is gaining traction among voters.