Analysis: Cambridgeshire survey provides a snapshot of UK uncertainty

Ballot box

Ballot box - Credit: Archant

Our survey is proof that in the most uncertain of elections, many people are just that – still uncertain.

The big question is whether support for the minor parties will wane as polling day gets nearer.

Will people respond to threats that if you vote UKIP you get Ed Miliband, you vote SNP you get David Cameron, you vote Green and you get Conservative – this has likely been diluted by the sheer scale of imponderables?

Neither Ed Miliband or David Cameron appear to have captured the imagination of the voters.

The polls put them neck and neck. So who can stumble over the line and into Downing Street could well come down to this 20 per cent or so who have not yet made up their minds, particularly in the really marginal seats.

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The ground war is key. Labour says it is on track to have four million “conversations” – with teams of activists out on the streets. They have a much bigger regional operation than at the last election.

The Conservatives are also diligently trying to win every vote, with activists and resources piling in from across the country to join the close battles.

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The Lib Dems have long been known for their organisational abilities on the ground – something the Greens and UKIP are hoping to emulate.

But despite this strategy, it is clear from our survey that the party activists have still not had as many face-to-face conversations as they would like, with roughly one in 10 people confirming that a campaigner has come calling.

And of course, there is only so much you can do on the doorstep if you don’t have the policies.

Labour will be heartened by news that the health service comes out as one of the top issues for voters, given it has put it at the centre of its campaign.

But the thorny issue of immigration continues to come top of the pops on election issues too, and this is only really good news for UKIP.

Hopes of thwarting the leaking of votes to the anti-European Union party have seen all the parties come up with curbs, to varying degrees.

Even Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg has advocated restricting Universal Credit payments to migrants for a six-month period only – and only issuing them after their first six months in the country.

Under Tory plans – which include an European Union in/out referendum – migrants will be barred from claiming welfare such as tax credits and housing benefit for four years, as well as having entitlement to social housing reduced.

Mr Miliband has said migrants will not be able to claim benefits for at least two years.

But many Labour supporters, while acknowledging that many of their traditional voters are concerned about the issue, also feel uneasy about getting too tough.

But will they ever be able to match UKIP, which suggests the only solution to immigration concerns is leaving the European Union as it would allow the UK to limit the arrival of EU citizens?

With less than a month to go, the parties will need to get out on the doorsteps to first find, and then sell to the undecided electorate.

Our survey confirms there is still all to play for on all sides – and plenty of hard work in the weeks ahead.

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