Questions on attitudes to European integration confirmed that UKIP is a strongly Eurosceptic party. UKIP candidates are almost entirely united in support of the party‟s central objective: 99% agree/strongly agree that the UK should leave the EU.I'm not sure why 1% of UKIP candidates stood if they don't believe in EU withdrawal. Anyway there were a couple findings that caught my eye (my emphasis throughout):
Only 36% of respondents place the Conservatives on the right of the political spectrum. On the 11 point scale, 25% of respondents view the Conservatives as Eurosceptic (receiving scores of 0-4), but 58% believe it supports further integration (receiving scores of 6-10). UKIP candidates are, then, both hostile to the Conservative Party‟s position on Europe and highly suspicious of its claims to be Eurosceptic.With very good reason. And:
The final section of the survey asked about the personal background and experience of candidates. UKIP candidates tend to come from a variety of backgrounds. Respondents have a variety of occupations: 26% have a manager or senior administrator role and 15% are small business owners. More than half of respondents joined UKIP since 2005, with 18% becoming members as recently as 2009. Almost half of respondents (48%) had been members of another political party in the (sometimes distant) past. Of these, over 30% had previously been Conservative Party members and 4% had previously belonged to the Labour Party. Many candidates are also members of campaigning organisations, with the Taxpayers‟ Alliance named most frequently (by 18%).And:
Respondents also believe that political parties do not respond to the views of their own supporters on the issue of Europe.There's nothing much that's really surprising, more confirmation what most probably suspected already. The hemorrhaging of support from the Conservatives over the EU issue will continue as long as they try to ignore the elephant, as Witterings From Witney argues here regarding Lord Ashcroft's attempts to explain why the Tories failed to win outright:
In attempting to analyse the reason for Cameron failing to win an outright majority, as is usual with the present day Conservative Party, it is "the subject that dare not speak its name" that is most noticeable by its absence - namely that of Europe.Given that the Tories were just 16,000 votes short and that UKIP doubled its vote by hundreds of thousands, how long are the Tories going to maintain their 'fingers-in-ears-we-can't-hear-you' strategy?