Despite his critics, no-one can doubt Nigel Farage has momentum

Ukip leader Nigel Farage at the launch of his party's European election last week. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Nigel Farage has been under the cosh over the past week, variously accused of leading a party peopled by racists and homophobes.

He got a response of sorts from the British public today, in the form of the first opinion poll since the latest crisis hit Ukip.

As you will have seen, it delivered his party the largest rating in its history; a massive 38% of all those saying they were certain to vote in the coming Euro elections.

So it is fair to conclude that attempts by the other parties to discredit him are not working out terribly well.

The fact that more than a third of people in our poll said they do think Ukip is a racist party worried him, as did the news that left-wing protesters were already on the ground in Swansea in vocal argument with his supporters as we approached the city this afternoon (he abandoned the trip).But, all in all, he is on a roll.

Much less clear is where that leaves UK politics.David Cameron’s strategy is clearly to take bad Euro results on the chin and then try to spend the next year focusing on the idea that the general election is really a choice between him and Ed Miliband.

But what if Ukip’s ratings remain stubbornly high and it gradually becomes clear that its supporters are not merely on loan from other parties, but fully intend to follow through and vote for Mr Farage in a general election?

Will we in the media then have to cover his campaign with the same intensity as we do the other leaders - even though he as yet has no MPs?

Given that his appeal clearly rests on setting out policies outside of the so-called mainstream agenda, will his morning press conferences make waves in the election campaign and start to set the news agenda?

As he himself says, it is all about momentum.And what isn’t in doubt is that, for the moment, he has it.

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