Ukip have topped an early poll on the outcome of the 2015 General Election published in the Mail on Sunday today.
The poll conducted by Survation puts Ukip in the lead with 32% (+4), Conservatives 28% (+3), Lib Dems 27% (-5) and Labour 12% (+2).
This is the first time Ukip have ever been predicted to win a seat in parliament although the spread between the top three parties is tight – this is still a three way marginal as it was in the 2013 by-election.
Despite the predicted support for Ukip in the 2015 election, Survation have also found that the Liberal Democrats are still topping the poll in Eastleigh for next months local elections but Ukip are marginally ahead of the Conservatives
The Lib Dems are polling 39%, Ukip 27% Conservatives 23% and Labour 9%.
Eastleigh voters have told Survation that their top local issue is housing development/planning and on national issues 29% said they were bothered by immigration.
With no Eastleigh candidate declared for Ukip for next years General Election there has been speculation that party leader Nigel Farage could stand in the consitiuency.
Diane James who narrowly lost last year, has been widely expected to stand again and has been actively campaigning in the town while Farage, who previously contested the seat in 1994, considered doing so again last year.
Eastleigh News understands one of the major broadcasters has already booked a pitch at Fleming Park leisure centre (venue of the count and declaration) for their 2015 election night coverage.
Although, following last year’s election James immediately vowed to recontest the seat she refused to be drawn on her intentions when Eastleigh News recently spoke to her.
She also ruled herself out of any leadership challenge should Ukip fail to win any Westminster seats in 2015 and Farage carries out his well publicised threat to resign.
It may seem surprising that the Lib Dems could lose their parliamentary seat yet keep control of the council but the party is confident of its record on fiscal management and council tax.
Earlier yesterday Eastleigh Lib Dem leader Keith House told Eastleigh News:
“The Lib Dem position is of full confidence in the strength of our team and the strength of our record: the best record on Council Tax in the country, with a real-term cut every year for 11 years, services protected from cuts, and a real effort on creating jobs and prosperity.
“And in the most recent election, in Hedge End in February, the Lib Dems won decisively with the Conservatives back in second place. Despite a lot of puff from UKIP, and an energetic Labour campaign, neither got near.”
Both Ukip and the Lib Dems have targeted each other with their local election material which has led to a spat over the proposed location of housing in the local plan – which in turn led to an apology from MP Mike Thornton.
Members of the Political Betting site say Ladbrokes in Eastleigh are currently offering 4/1 on Ukip winning here in 2015