So said Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford in an important piece of analysis printed in The Guardian:
Forget David Cameron’s unpopularity among grassroots Tories; forget the furore over EU migrants; forget single-issue concerns over the EU or the charisma of Farage.
To truly understand Ukip’s appeal you need to go much deeper…
That Ukip’s core voters are middle-class Tories animated by the single-issue of Europe is the biggest myth in Westminster. In fact, Ukip is the most working-class-dominated party since Michael Foot’s Labour in 1983. They struggle financially, worry about the future, and loathe the political class, not just Cameron and the Conservatives.
Don’t think of Ukip as just a party; think of them as a symptom of far deeper social and value divisions in Britain. Farage is winning over working-class, white male voters because they feel left behind by Britain’s rapid economic and social transformation and left out of our political conversation; struggling people who feel like strangers in a society whose ruling elites do not talk like them or value the things which matter to them…
These voters are not backing Ukip because of their economic concerns; they are backing the party because they see Farage as representing an identity and set of values they cherish but do not see expressed anywhere else. These voters have been left behind not just by wider trends, but the rise to dominance of a university-educated, professional middle-class elite whose priorities and outlook now define the mainstream.
Or as someone else (apologies, I forget who) said of UKIP voters – they are people who have run the global race, and lost.