The Paul Nuttall campaign has demonstrated again why UKIP haven’t been able to achieve breakthrough despite their popularity amongst certain portions of the population. They like to blame it on the First Past the Post system, which admittedly isn’t a help to them, but that’s cop out: UKIP are just really, really bad at campaigning. And before you point to the EU referendum, that was won in spite of UKIP, and was much more down to the genius of the Elliot/Cummings nexus.
I’ve seen UKIP’s awful campaigning style first hand. Canvassers knocking on doors that aren’t even in the relevant constituency, for instance. The Nuttall address fiasco is another such example – any party could have organised that better, any party, and I include on that list showers such as the BNP and the SWP. It was classic UKIP: it’s like no one in their HQ has ever bothered to just sit down and figure out what the basic electoral rules are.
By all rights, UKIP should win in Stoke – but their basic incompetence as a party may deny them this in the end. As a result, the Labour Party may hold the seat, but that would be down to luck and nothing else. As in, Labour are very lucky that the main party that is ideologically poised to displace them in their last remaining heartlands are so frighteningly badly organised they cannot expose Labour’s frailty. If UKIP were even half as organised as the SNP, they would not only take Stoke Central at a canter but would take at least 50 seats off of Labour in the north and the Midlands.
As it is, I still think UKIP will win the seat – but it’s flip of a coin type stuff. Their potential vote is so huge here that only a very badly organised get out the vote campaign will stop them from doing so. As I have already said, this is UKIP we’re talking about here, so they very well may blow this one.