1. UKIP appears to have a problem: people who live in cities don’t like the party.
Last week party leader Nigel Farage was greeted with protestors as he arrived in Edinburgh, the city where he was forced to seek refuge from a mob of protestors in 2013. Two weeks ago on a visit to the city of Nottingham he was egged before being bundled into a van by his bodyguards and driven away.
This inner-city uprising against UKIP could be perceived as very bad news for Farage.
2. In part this hostile reaction is because the people who live in cities tend to be from different backgrounds.
City populations are generally more urbane, younger, comfortable with ethnic diversity, often better educated and not at all persuaded by what they perceive to be UKIPs xenophobic world view.
Young people tend to gravitate towards major cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham while the older generations who are more likely to vote UKIP are more likely to be in smaller towns or rural areas.
3. As a result UKIP’s potential support base in central London is very small.
This mapping, prepared for BuzzFeed, shows the areas of London where the sort of people who are likely to vote UKIP live based on demographic trends.
Blue areas as those where people are very unlikely to vote UKIP, while red areas as those where people may be pre-disposed to vote for Nigel Farage’s party.
UKIP has little if any traction in the central core of London due to demographics and only receives substantial numbers of votes on the fringes of the capital. And the party knows this.
4. The analysis also suggests UKIP will also really struggle to get support in the centres of other major cities, such as Manchester.
The dark blue area, where the demographics are very unfavourable to UKIP, is central Manchester.
The only places where people are likely to be favourable to UKIP are in the small towns on the edge of the wider Greater Manchester area.
5. And the same goes for Birmingham.
Although the party has seen a three-fold increase in the number of candidates
standing in these local elections compared to 2010 it still does not have a full slate of candidates for next week’s local council elections in Birmingham, Liverpool, Solihull, Coventry, Newcastle or Manchester.
6. If UKIP doesn’t win local council seats in cities then it may affect its success in the same areas at the 2015 general election.
The party must know that a poor performance in next week’s council elections is potentially damaging with regard to its performance at the 2015 general election. That’s because local councillors help build support for potential MPs.
There are 192 parliamentary seats in London and other cities which are holding local elections on 22 May. UKIP’s record in these areas is poor: it averaged just 3% in the 161 of these in which it stood a candidate in the 2010 general election.
Back then UKIP didn’t have the profile it has now but it’s unlikely the party can expect a major breakthrough in 2015 in these constituencies. Labour won 130 of these seats in 2010, often with overwhelming margins of victory.
7. But this might not actually matter. UKIP could instead be a party of small towns and the countryside.
There are hundreds of seats outside major cities where the party does not face the same demographic hurdles as in London, Manchester or Birmingham.
This is why the party will likely choose to concentrate its 2015 efforts away from urban constituencies, focussing instead on constituencies in the south east and east coast which have higher proportions of older people whose children have left home or blue collar workers attracted to its message.
8. These are the towns and areas where people voted for UKIP last year. The party did best away from the big cities.
UKIP performed much better in last year’s local elections than it did in the same areas at the 2010 general election. And in going after these seats the party is aligning itself with its demographic base much better.
As the map shows, there are large parts of the country away from cities, such as south Cambridgeshire which are favourable to the party, as well as the Kent coast, East Anglia, Lincolnshire, Hereford and the south west.
(Not everywhere held local elections last year, which is why there are gaps on the map.)
9. Basically, geography is key. UKIP can still keep growing even if people who live in metropolitan areas don’t like them.
Although the cities and metropolitan areas don’t look good for them, the rural or non-metropolitan areas are set up well for UKIP.
10. And if UKIP can build its support in the countryside then the cities can continue to throw eggs at Nigel Farage all they like – the party will just choose to fight elsewhere.
This is the map that shows where the party could make a breakthrough: the orange and dark red areas are where UKIP should focus their efforts. This shows the swathes of rural England and small towns that are favourably inclined to back the party, especially in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, and Cornwall.
11. So, despite countless protests in the cities you could still see a very happy Nigel Farage on 22 May.
Because even if no one in the cities likes them, UKIP really doesn’t care.