Nigel Farage
Ukip on the march in shires campaign

When politicians and commentators look at Nigel Farage or his lieutenants there is a tendency for them to believe they are looking at the embodiment of Ukipman, the type of individual who will be tempted to vote for the party in the coming EU elections.

So they have seen an opinionated, right-wing, white, suburban, professional, angry man, and more often than not it is a man, although Farage claims women are likely to take over the party leadership in the future.

There is more to Nigel Farage than that but, far more importantly, it is becoming increasingly obvious there is also far more to the "average" Ukip supporter than that, if there is such a thing.

And, as Ukip's profile has grown, confusion has also grown over exactly who supporters of this party of anti-establishment, anti-EU individuals really are and which of the traditional parties they will recruit most from.

Tony Blair identified Mondeo Man and Worcester Woman as target groups, while the Tories always used to have the Blue Rinse Brigade and, thanks to elections guru Lynton Crosby, are now focusing on the Anxious Aspirationals. But who exactly is Ukipman or woman?

When the party first started to make an impact it was famously dismissed by David Cameron as a group of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists". And, while most people avoid that description now, it had more than a grain of truth in it.

The party had battled claims it attracted far-right BNP members and, to this day, there are those who see it as the more acceptable face of the English Defence League.

Godfrey Bloom
Godfrey Bloom was expelled after bongo-bongo land remark

Then there was the view it was the golf club bore we have all met, the man who stands at the bar of a cosy rural pub regaling everyone with his opinions on social security scroungers, socialists, strikers, teachers, gays, Europe and, of course, immigrants, particularly dark-skinned ones.

He is not racist, but..... And he is a close relative of the first group . A county cousin in fact.

Finally there was the "true Tory". The Flag-waving, Eurosceptic ( for which read anti-European) "patriot" who believes David Cameron has sold out and wants a return to the good old days of Margaret Thatcher.

The one thing these different groups may have had in common was the assumption they were probably middle-income or higher earners and usually voted for, or at least supported, the Tories before being wooed by Farage.

The behaviour of prominent party figures who variously talked of "bongo bongo land", described women as "sluts" for a joke, claimed the floods were god's punishment for gay marriage and so on and so on, added to the view that there were still plenty of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" in the party's midst.

But Farage has worked hard to dispel that image, with mixed success, and now repeatedly claims Ukipman/woman is just as likely to be a former Labour voter or someone who has become so disenchanted with "establishment politics" they gave up voting years ago.

And recent polling suggests he is right. A recent analysis, of over 100,000 voters and almost 6,000 UKIP supporters, by academics Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin, painted the picture of Ukipman/woman as being old, working class, men, with very few educational qualifications.

What they are not is young, university educated or from ethnic backgrounds.

The description sounded like the traditional Old Labour voter and the group was branded the "Left Behind". They share the other groups' concerns over Europe and the metropolitan elite politicians but, and this is the crunch, their top concern is immigration, something all parties are now falling over themselves to appear toughest on.

A YouGov survey last month echoed the findings and suggested, while the Tories might be the biggest losers to Ukip, all the other parties had something to fear.

So some of those stereotypes of who the Ukip voter is need revisiting. There may well be golf club bores, extreme right-wing nationalists, even racists attracted to the party. And there are some real concerns over exactly how far Ukip really wants to go in its professed aim of winning Britain back for the British - it didn't attract those early extremist supporters by accident.

But what is increasingly plain is that Ukipman or woman is very likely to be a member of that group all parties love to appeal to, "ordinary hardworking people", even if the party leadership is not.

And it is that which has finally started to worry all three mainstream parties.