by Joe Reddington
Let us consider the popular (and backed by the data) narrative. Large numbers of former conservative voters are ‘defecting’ to UKIP, which they believe better represents their views. UKIPs policies are somewhat significantly to the right of the conservatives, even if there is a perception difference, and it is clear from the polling data that it’s a certain type of conservative that is switching.
The average conservative voter in 2015 is younger, more urban, less likely to own a house, more likely to be non-white, and more likely to have a degree than the average conservative voter of 2010 (see here, p15). We can then infer that they are also less pension-obsessed, more much likely to be pro-(at least neutral on) Europe, much more likely to favour things like equal rights to marriage, adoption and social care than the average conservative voter of 2010.
Now answer this. Given the group that is *leaving* the Conservative party, who are the remainder? We see that the Conservative leadership has lurched somewhat to the right in an attempt (and it may be working to a small extent) to stop the bleeding. But it remains to see what happens if it becomes clear that those voters are staying with UKIP. The thought that should be keeping Labour strategists up at night is this: what if the new Conservatives listen to their thinned down membership and move left?