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Published: 14:00, 10 April 2015
More than one in five voters in Kent have yet to decide who to support in the general election, an exclusive poll for the KM Group has revealed.
The poll, conducted by Facts International, underlines how the results in the key election battleground of Kent could turn on the ability of rival parties to win over undecided voters in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
The Conservatives were the clear leaders in our poll, with 39% of likely voters saying they intended to support the party.
However, that is ten points lower than 2010 and our survey suggests the principal factor is the drop is the surge of support for Ukip.
Nigel Farage’s party saw its poll rating increase four-fold since 2010, with one in four (24%) likely voters planning to back it on May 7.
That represents a staggering increase and reflects the successes Ukip has enjoyed in Kent, notably in the county council elections of 2013.
For Labour, the survey shows the party has struggled to build support since the 2010 wipeout. Exactly the same number of voters - 22% - say they will back them in 2015 as did five years earlier.
The Liberal Democrats saw their rating fall by 12% to 6% when compared with 2010, indicating that it faces a wipeout in May.
In contrast, The Green Party has seen its support double to 8% since 2010, possibly reflecting its growing popularity and ability to draw support from disaffected Labour and Liberal Democrat voters.
When it came to the question of who would make the best Prime Minister, David Cameron was ahead by a significant margin - and even drew support from voters backing other parties.
More than half - 51% - said he was the best person for the job, nearly three times as many as consider Ed Miliband the best. He polled just 18%, suggesting the issue of his leadership is costing the party support.
Twice as many people (13%) thought that Ukip leader Nigel Farage would make a better PM than Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg at just 5%.
Among those backing Mr Cameron as PM were more than a third who intend to vote for the Liberal Democrats and one in four Ukip supporters.
KM Group teamed up with Ashford-based market research company Facts International for what is thought to be the only Kent-wide survey conducted during the election campaign.
Facts International spoke to 1,000 Kent residents by telephone between March 17 and 24 and the results provide a fascinating insight into the key issues that are likely to influence Kent voters on May 7.
Respondents included voters from every constituency in Kent and Medway.
Further findings from the survey will be published on this election website, kentdecides.co.uk, over the course of the election campaign.
As a leading market research company Facts International is committed to providing the highest quality online, face-to-face and telephone interviewing research.
Working with businesses and agencies worldwide Facts International is also a Market Research Society Best Field Force award winner. Visit www.facts.uk.com for more information.
More by this authorPaul Francis