There’s only four days to go and they are practically neck and neck.

As the candidates enter the final days of canvassing in the Eastleigh by-election a Daily Echo poll has revealed it is going to go down to the wire.

Our survey has shown that there is hardly the width of a ballot paper separating Liberal Democrat Mike Thornton and Tory Maria Hutchings.

Our poll asked 1,000 people across the Eastleigh consitiuency who they will be voting for on Thursday.

But the findings also revealed it is far from a two- horse race, with the UK Independence Party (UKIP) surging ahead of Labour.

It also showed that more than a fifth of the electorate are so fed up with campaigning that they are not going to vote at all.

And despite three weeks of intense canvassing by the candidates three-quarters of all those questioned said they hadn’t changed their mind since the by-election was announced.

The poll was sparked by the resignation of former Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne.

He was exposed as a cheat who faces jail for lying over a speeding ticket.

Yet the largest slice of voters, 21.9 per cent of the vote, still trust Mr Huhne’s party enough to return another Lib Dem to parliament to fight their corner.

Party hopeful Mike Thornton, a 60-year-old borough councillor from Bishopstoke, said: “The message from us is that it could be your vote that could swing it.

“It is the last lap and we know it’s probably going to be between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. It’s what residents are telling us. We are going to keep going like crazy so we can get to Westminster to work for the people of Eastleigh, for fairer taxes and for green spaces.”

Our survey recorded 21.5 per cent backing Maria Hutchings.

The strong show of hands for the 51-year-old mum of four comes after a series of controversial comments, including not supporting gay marriage and dubbing state schools unfit for her brainy child.

She said: “I have not really been tracking the polls at all. All I have been doing 24/7 is going out knocking on doors and walking around. The next few days will be very, very busy and we will just be out speaking to people. I am literally walking non-stop and going home, collapsing and going to sleep.”

Meanwhile our non-scientific poll shows UKIP have 17.9 per cent of the vote – in the 2010 General Election they only scored 3.6 per cent.

Candidate Diane James said: “The latest polling figures once again show that our momentum is increasing and with time to go before polling day we are finding that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats support is dropping while ours is increasing.”

But Labour hopeful John O’Farrell, a satirist and comedy writer, was not giving up.

He said: “It’s a two-horse race between the coalition and John O’Farrell for Labour. What the polls don’t show is the massive part of the pie chart that are the undecided.


Party Now 2010 Lib Dem 21.9% 46.5% Conservative 21.5% 39.33% UKIP 17.9% 3.6% Labour 11.8% 9.6% Others 4.9% 0.92% Will not vote 22%  


Have you changed your mind since the by-election was announced? Yes - 24.3%