Research carried out by Dr Robert Ford of the University of Manchester and Dr Matthew Goodwin of the University of Nottingham has resulted in a list of the ‘Top 100 UKIP friendly Conservative seats’.
The list is of the “most demographically receptive seats in the country for UKIP”. Using the most recent census data, they were able to rank all seats according to how favourable their populations are for UKIP.
The Isle of Wight, which had a Conservative majority of 10,527 in the 2010 election, can be found in position 31 on the list.
The 2013 local elections on the Isle of Wight saw UKIP field a whopping 28 candidates. From those, Darryl Pitcher in Wootton and Graham Perks in Ventnor East, gained enough votes to now sit on the Isle of Wight council.
Fourth in the South East
Rose Lynden-Bell, chair of the IW branch of the UKIP told OnTheWight,
“The research is interesting. Nationally the IOW has been rated 31/100, but if one takes the South East Region only, it is more interesting. Of the top ten ‘UKIP friendly’ seats in this region, all are coastal ; six are in Kent, two in Sussex, one in Hampshire, plus The Island.
“The Island is now in fourth place. This is encouraging, and all our activists will be working hard to support our Candidate through his campaign.”
The prospective parliamentary candidate
Last November, Iain McKie from West Wight was announced as UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the 2015 general election.
Iain told OnTheWight,
“I have never thought of the Island as anything other than a winnable seat for UKIP. That does not mean to say that I think it is easily winnable though. For UKIP to take this seat in May 2015 I will have to work incredibly hard, and listen carefully to the concerns of all the residents.
“UKIP’s resounding success in the Euro elections this year demonstrated that we have made convincing arguments concerning the UK’s membership of the European Union and on issues of immigration, but we have to have our ears fully open on all the local issues as well. This means the schools, the job prospects and economic growth on the Island, the cost of living, the health service, care for the elderly, as well as the roads, and the ferries.
“I have already begun setting out my proposals for community hospitals, and support for a ‘fracking referendum’ on the Island, and over the coming months I will be clarifying my position on all other issues relevant to the Island.”
You can read more about Drs Ford and Goodwin’s research on the Conservative Home Website.