Now that the dust has settled on the Mid-Ulster by-election (7th March 2013) it’s time for a closer look at the facts and figures.
YouGov have produced a wonderful composite of all their February 2013 polling to try and give a realistic picture of which bits of the electorate are behind UKIP’s polling surge into double figures , a trend which was clear well before the party pushed the Tories into third place in the Eastleigh by-election last week. There are reasons why one needs to be slightly cautious about polling composites, but with 28,944 total respondents and 2788 UKIP supporting respondents, this is a significant piece of opinion research.
By-elections, by their very nature and scarcity, are meant to be interesting. Indeed, for those of us who are political anoraks they are also meant to be fun! And for the electorate it’s meant to be an opportunity when they can pass an earlier-than-expected judgment on how the political parties have been performing.