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UKIP turmoil with Farage set to lose.

Byline: JACK BLANCHARD

COCKY UKIP leader Nigel Farage was last night being tipped to fail in his battle to become an MP.

He had been so confident he would win South Thanet, Kent, he vowed to quit as party chief if he lost. But pundits said they did not believe he was on course to take the seat from the Tories.

Should he fail in his seventh bid to become an MP it would plunge UKIP into a potentially bitter leadership contest. Experts questioned whether the anti-Europe party could maintain its appeal in the future without its best-known figure at the helm.

It was predicted UKIP would secure just two MPs. The shock exit poll was the biggest survey of the campaign and flew in the face of hundreds of previous surveys saying Labour and the Tories were neck and neck.

PREDICTION Experts picked 141 stations and asked 22,000 people how they had voted.

Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, led the operation. He said: "Throughout the course of the day we've had figures where in half of polling locations Labour were advancing on Tories, and in the other half Tories were advancing on Labour."

In 2010 the exit poll was extremely accurate, but previously they have proved unreliable.

The SNP said it was treating the poll with caution. And Lib Dem Paddy Ashdown - whose party was predicted to get just 10 seats - said: "If it's right, I'll eat my hat."

For months both main parties have been broadly neck and neck.

YouGov chief Peter Kellner said "everyone is puzzled" by the poll.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 8, 2015
Words:264
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