UKIPs Barnsley byelection result was a bit of a surprise and despite the frantic spin must have come as a bit of a shock to the Lib Dems. To come in 6th place behind a independent candidate can only be interpreted as a vote of confidence. Nigel Farage’s aim to become the third force in British politics might seem a bit fanciful but recent YouGov polling shows they don’t have far to go. From a weighted sample of 2458 people 11% would vote Lib Dem in the next election compared to 5% UKIP. If AV doesn’t go the way the Liberal Democrats are hoping I can really see the party falling apart with internal bickering and dropping even further in the polls. Whether voting intentions translate into seats is a different matter altogether from polling data and the area where small political parties have always struggled to capitalise and without AV I can’t see this changing.
Edit: Via Guido I see that there’s another large poll with the Lib Dems only 3% in front of UKIP. Obviously a bit of a spike is occurring due to bad media coverage in the last week.