Need to Know | 5th April 2015

It’s not news that Thanet South is a close race

Throughout 2014 three polls showed that Farage is in a tight race with both Labour and the Tories.

Photo: Getty

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The Mail on Sunday have offered the latest example of how to wilfully misinterpret a poll today, by suggesting Nigel Farage is heading to a “humiliating personal defeat” in Thanet South – despite the Ukip leader being within one point of victory.

The MoS spun a new ComRes poll as a great revelation, and whipped up 1600 shares for their trouble, but this poll is exactly in-line with three of the four Thanet polls released in the past year. (It also doesn’t seem to have been commissioned and then hushed up by Ukip, as they claim.)

In 2014 Lord Ashcroft polled the seat three times – in May, July and November – and each time found Ukip on between 27 and 33 per cent, Labour on 26 to 31 per cent, and the Tories on 29 to 33. Then in February, Survation were funded to poll the seat by a Ukip donor and put Farage 11 points ahead.

Today’s poll simply suggests that nothing has changed greatly since Ashcroft’s polls, which always seemed a little unlikely. Voting intention isn’t usually something which suddenly changes en masse, especially when there is no obvious cause.

How did Farage suddenly open up a ten point lead over Christmas, when campaigning slowed?

Today’s poll just confirms what we knew and May2015‘s election model shows: Thanet South is one of the closest races in the UK. (Click through for Anthony Wells’ take on today’s poll.)