Ukip's victory in the Clacton by-election and narrow second place finish in the usually safe Labour seat of Heywood and Middleton was a phenomenal performance that demonstrated they can deliver on the national stage, according to research firm YouGov.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, Joe Twyman, head of political and social research for YouGov, said that Nigel Farage's party had managed to "mop up votes from all sides," including those distrusting and disillusioned by the mainstream political parties.

Twyman added that it remained to be seen if this protest vote could gain further ground at the general election in 2015.