Farage attacks backfire on Labour and Tories
Attacks have confirmed Ukip leader as anti-establishment candidate, according to telephone polling and focus groups.
Labour and Conservative polling is showing that attacks claiming Nigel Farage is a racist have backfired since voters do not regard him as such and see the assaults as a sign members of the political establishment are ganging up to undermine him.
The apparent backlash is coming to both parties from telephone polling and focus groups, which say that the attacks have raised Farage’s profile and confirmed him as the anti-establishment candidate. It does not tally with published opinion polls that show the Ukip lead in the European elections narrowing slightly.
One source said: “Calling people names does not work. It confirms the old politics.”
The findings on the penultimate day of campaigning before Thursday’s European and local elections are especially acute for the Labour party, which has been locked in an internal battle about how aggressively to attack Farage. Ed Miliband has studiously not called him a racist and tried instead to offer policy solutions to the issues driving the Ukip vote. Other strategists within the party are arguing that only a more direct attack will bear fruit with traditional Labour voters.
The row over whether Ukip is racist spilled into the streets on Tuesday when Farage failed to attend his own mini-street carnival in Croydon, south London, after it descended into bitter rows and one of his local candidates, Winston McKenzie, described the area as an unsafe “dump”.