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Tories would still rule the roost if poll results bear fruit

If the results of our poll are borne out on May 7, then Kent should maintain its reputation as a “true blue” Tory heartland, writes political editor Paul Francis.

The party looks to be on course to win most of the county’s seats despite the ten point drop in support since 2010.

But strange things can happen in elections and the most striking feature of the poll conducted by Facts International is the surge of support for Ukip.

Voting is important - whatever the party
Voting is important - whatever the party

In 2010, it was among the smaller minority parties, picking up a few thousand votes here and there but not troubling the main parties.

Now it is the second placed party - edging out Labour for second place, albeit by a narrow margin.

That by any measure represents just how the electoral landscape has changed in the county.

Many Kent seats used to be a straight two-way fight between Labour and the Conservatives but the newcomer on the political block means that is no longer the case.

The key question is whether Ukip can sustain its momentum amid evidence its popularity is on the wane and its campaign is faltering.

For Labour, the poll will make uncomfortable reading, particularly on the issue of who would make the best PM.

But things are even bleaker for the Lib Dems, who have seen support fall to just 6% - overtaken by the Green Party on 8%.

But as politicians are prone to say, the only poll that counts is the one on May 7.

Ballot box. Stock pic
Ballot box. Stock pic

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.

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.

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