Action on immigration could sway even more UKIP voters to the Conservatives than a promise to leave the EU
As Conservative delegates gather in Manchester for their yearly conference one of their biggest electoral threats comes from a relatively new source. Now Conservatives don't only have to compete for votes with Labour and the Lib Dems but also with UKIP, a party that has been around for two decades but has seen a surge in popularity in recent years.
A new YouGov survey of UKIP supporters looked at the policies most likely to turn these voters to the Conservatives and found that, according to voters themselves, taking a tougher stance on immigration would the most effective.
Limiting benefits for immigrants topped the list with 70% stating it would make them more likely to vote Conservative, closely followed by reducing immigration (68%). A promise by Conservatives to leave the EU altogether, UKIP's flagship policy, came in third with 65%. Tactical voting seems to be less of a consideration for UKIP voters, as only 40% said they would be more likely to vote Conservative if it meant stopping Ed Miliband and Labour getting into power, the lowest of the options presented.
The results appear encouraging for the Conservatives, with significant amounts of UKIP voters willing to switch support. Only 11-12% of UKIP voters said they would "never vote Conservative anyway" in response to these proposals. The survey also appears to show the transition UKIP has made away from being a single issue party, with immigration - not Europe - the issue most likely to sway UKIP votes, although the issues are inter-connected.
With a swing from the Conservatives to UKIP liable to hurt the Conservatives' chances of gaining an overall majority in 2015, the idea of Tory/UKIP pact has been floated by some commentators on the right. However, another recent poll by YouGov suggested that such a pact would actually benefit Labour.