It is a big mistake to assume that the decline of UKIP means its voters automatically go to the Tories
Serious analysis shows this is not happening
One of the big electoral assumptions that continues to be made is that the decline of UKIP means that their votes shift almost an entirety to the Conservatives.
We saw this thinking big time in a run up to the June 2016 general election when people were looking at the previous results from a seat and simply adding the UKIP share to the Tory total to come to some of you as to what would happen.
We continue to see it in current polling analysis when people look at the national pole shares of 4%-5% for UKIP compared with what happened at the general election in this party secured 1.8%. A big reason for that decline with that it did not put up candidates in a full range of seats and therefore, so the reasoning goes, you can add two or three percent to Conservative total.
This is total bullocks and simply does not stand up to serious analysis.
A major study was carried out by the leading political scientist, Oxford’s Stephen Fisher after the May 2017 local elections when the party vote shares in the 939 local seats where UKIP had stood four years earlier were examined.
This is what he concluded.
“..Regression analysis shows that where UKIP started with around 13% (taking their vote share in the 2015 General Election as an example) the swing from Labour to the Conservatives was 3.9 points if UKIP stood again, and 4.6 points if they dropped out. A difference of just 0.7 points.
Similarly, the swing from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives was 1.8 points if UKIP stood again, and 2.3 points if they dropped out. A difference of just 0.5 points.
These differences, the dropout effects, get larger the stronger the UKIP starting point. But they are never very big. For the divisions where UKIP got more than 30% in 2013, the effect of dropout is to increase the swings from either Labour and the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives by just 2 points each on average.
The reason UKIP dropout had such a small effect on the swings to the Conservatives is that it benefited all three of the other main parties, it just helped the Conservatives a bit more.“
It was that article last May that caused me to bet on the spread markets that the Conservatives would not win more than 393 seats in the general election. As it turned out that bet with my biggest ever political winner.