The Ukip challenge, as the local and European elections and now our ComRes poll shows, needs to be taken seriously.
After covertly and sometimes overtly encouraging Ukip, Eurosceptic Conservatives have given their party a mountain to climb.
Nigel Farage hailed the "most extraordinary result in British politics for 100 years" as Ukip topped of the Euro polls in England and Wales.
Home Secretary Theresa May has confirmed reports in the Sunday Telegraph that ministers are considering tough new immigration rules, including deporting EU migrants who are claiming benefits without working.
Another measure being considered is halving the amount of time immigrants can claim benefits for from six months to three months.
However Ms May suggested that some of the mooted changes may be held up by the Liberal Democrat side of the coalition.
"It is no surprise to anybody that there have been some long-standing, possibly heated at times, discussions among the coalition on some of these issues of immigration," she said.
David Cameron is drawing up new immigration laws in response to rising anger over the number of EU migrants moving to Britain, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
The first details are expected in a Bill to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next week, a senior government source said.
The plans represent a concerted attempt to combat the rising popularity of the UK Independence Party which threatens to derail the Tories’ hopes of winning an outright parliamentary majority.
Measures under discussion include a law to discourage British-based companies from employing cheaper foreign workers, deporting unemployed Europeans after six months and a new “wealth test” to prevent vast numbers coming to Britain from the poorest EU countries.
George Osborne has said he "respects" Ukip leader Nigel Farage and those who voted for his party at this week's local and European Parliament elections.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, the Chancellor said: "I respect anyone who wants to put forward about ideas about how this country should be run, I respect participants in the political debate, including Nigel Farage."
Mr Osborne also urged his Conservative colleagues to listen and respond to the "anger and anxiety" that have led people to vote for Ukip.
Six in ten people who voted Ukip in the European elections did so as a protest, according to polling from the influential Conservative, Lord Ashcroft.
Writing on the Conservative Home website, the peer said his survey of 4,000 voters found that 60% of Ukip voters had said they were voicing anger at the party they usually vote for or registering a more general protest.
However 80% of Ukip voters also said they thought Nigel Farage's party had the best policies on Europe.
The results of Thursday's European Parliament vote will be revealed tomorrow.
ITV News Election Analyst Professor Colin Rallings has said Ukip's breakthrough is the "most significant trend in politics for 30 years."
He said: "I remember back in the early 1980s it was the Social Democratic Party, a break away group from Labour, did well in the elections and in the polls.
"They soon joined up with the Liberal Democrats so we became three parties again.
"But now we have a four party situation and in that respect Mr Farage is absolutely right. It makes thing very uncertain as to how the pattern of party loyalties will play out."
Read more: Labour in biggest danger of disappointment
A Labour backbencher has slammed the party's "disastrous" electoral strategey and criticised Ed Miliband for not reaching out to a wider spread of voters.
John Mann told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme: "He's not broadening the appeal to take into account the views of people like me and other MPs and the views of our constituents.
"That isn't happening, that's why they didn't take on Ukip. Some of the pointy heads at the top of the party thought that Ukip doing well is what we needed."
The Bassetlaw MP added: "The people deciding strategy at the top, without question, had a strategy of ignoring Ukip instead of taking them on and that was a disastrous strategy."
Nigel Farage said Ukip's gains in the local elections "look like a fairly permanent protest" as he arrived to cheers in Thurrock this afternoon.
Mr Farage added it was difficult to predict whether his party's surge would be more harmful to Labour or the Conservatives, as many who voted Ukip "probably hadn't voted for anybody for 20 years."
Labour leader Ed Miliband says voters are turning to Ukip as an expression of discontent that has building for "decades".
Speaking following large gains for Nigel Farage's party in the early election results, Mr Miliband said people were frustrated and felt "that the country just doesn't work for them".
"What you're seeing in some parts of the country is people turning to Ukip as an expression of that discontent and desire for change," he added.
"I believe we can persuade those people that Labour can offer answers to them and to the challenges they see in their own lives."
After a strong showing in local elections so far, Nigel Farage has anticipated even better when the European results are published.
Asked whether the party was now a major force, Mr Farage said it feels like "the Ukip fox is in the Westminster henhouse".
Nigel Farage has insisted Ukip will be "serious players" at the general election after the party scored significant wins against the Tories and Labour in local polls overnight.
The party's leader said: "There are areas across the country where now we have got an imprint in local government - and we are part of the first past the post system - we are now serious players."
"Over the course of this summer we will choose our target constitutencies and we will throw the kitchen sink at them," he said.