What are Nigel Farage’s chances in Thanet South?

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It’s expected that Nigel Farage will be confirmed as the UKIP candidate for Thanet South sometime next week; it was always the favourite in our betting on which seat he’d stand in. UKIP were 6/4 to win the seat before he announced he was seeking the nomination and, as you’ll see above, we’ve cut the odds to 11/10 in response. If you do a bit of maths, those odds imply a “true” probability of just over 43% that UKIP win the seat.

Lord Ashcroft polled this constituency in July, before voters would have known that Farage was the likely candidate. This is what he found:

  • 33% UKIP
  • 29% Conservatives
  • 29% Labour
  • 4% Lib Dems
  • 5% Others

So, a desperately tight three way contest at the moment. The Tories have selected Craig Mackinlay, who was actually UKIP leader for a brief period in 1997, presumably hoping to shore up their Eurosceptic vote.

Although it’s not obvious right now who you should vote for if you were a “Stop Farage” voter, I think that probably will become clear between now and next May.  We can be fairly sure that there will be several polls of this constituency between now and then and I think it very likely that one of either the Tory or Labour candidate will emerge as the obvious challenger. There was some anecdotal evidence in May’s Newark byelection of Lab-Tory switchers who wanted to prevent a UKIP victory

I would be surprised if Farage can get a vote much above the mid 30s. The lowest winning vote share in the 2010 general election was the 29.4% that got the Lib Dems over the line in Norwich South. Next were the Greens, who managed to win Brighton Pavilion with 31.3% There were a total of 17 seats in Britain with a winning candidate getting under 35%, so mid 30s could plausibly be enough IF it remains a three way contest.

Constituency profile courtesy of UK Polling Report

Constituency profile courtesy of UK Polling Report

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Matthew Shaddick

Matthew Shaddick has been Head of Poliical Betting at Ladbrokes since 2008. He's a writer and odds-maker with particular expertise in UK and US elections. Also known to dabble in music, literary and other out of the way betting markets. Sometimes issues tips on horse racing and football, which are best ignored.