A majority of people back the British National Party’s policies, according to a poll released today.
But the YouGov survey found that many people disown the policies once they are associated with the BNP.
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The poll comes ahead of local elections next week when there are fears the BNP could make an electoral breakthrough.
It found that 59 per cent of people supported a halt to all further immigration to the UK—one of the BNP’s main pledges—when they were not told of the far-right group’s association with the policy.
Among those who were told that it was a BNP commitment, support for the policy was only 48 per cent.
And 52 per cent of those who took part in the survey agreed that all immigrants should be denied the right to bring further members of their family into this country. But when told it was a BNP policy, support fell by 9 per cent.
Overall there was 55 per cent support for BNP policies until people were informed of the party’s stance, when backing dropped to 49 per cent.
More than a third of people, 37 per cent, said they would seriously consider voting for the BNP’s policies in an election. But identifying the BNP with the policies caused support to fall by 17 per cent.
Large majorities dismissed two of the BNP’s most hardline ideas. Some 68 per cent refused to support the stance that non-white British citizens are inherently less British than white people.
And 52 per cent were opposed to encouraging immigrants and their families to leave Britain.
Peter Kellner, chairman of YouGov, commented: “The results demonstrate that the BNP is tapping into some widely-held views, but that the party suffers from a negative image.
“If the BNP were able to erase this view, it could make significant gains in the upcoming local elections. This may explain what is happening in certain localities where the BNP now polls strongly.”
The poll was carried out for Sky News, between April 21 and 24. Around 900 people were asked if they supported policies without any mention of the BNP, while 941 were told that they were BNP commitments.