Apr 17, 2019

Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party leads U.K. European elections poll

Nigel Farage. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The newly formed Brexit Party, founded in February by former U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, is leading all other parties in the U.K.'s latest European Parliament election poll by YouGov.

Why it matters: Prime Minister Theresa May promised European leaders that the U.K. would participate in next month's elections in order to secure a Brexit extension, though the country can still avoid that fate if the House of Commons is able to pass a deal before May 23. If Brits who favor remaining in the European Union thought holding European elections might bolster their position and undermine a push toward Brexit, this latest poll suggests they could be very, very wrong.

By the numbers, per YouGov:

  • Brexit Party: 27%
  • Labour Party: 22%
  • Conservative Party: 15%
  • Green Party: 10%
  • Liberal Democrats: 9%
  • UKIP: 7%
  • Change U.K.: 6%

Context: The right-wing, euroskeptic UKIP led by Farage was widely considered a fringe group in domestic politics, but won the most seats out of any British party in the last European elections — which have historically registered low voter turnout. After helping to successfully spearhead the 2016 Brexit campaign, Farage left UKIP in December over the party's "fixation" with anti-Muslim policies.

Go deeper: Europe's populists form right-wing alliance ahead of EU elections

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In photos: How coronavirus is impacting cities around the world

Revellers take part in the "Plague Doctors Procession" in Venice on Tuesday night during the usual period of the Carnival festivities, most of which have been cancelled following the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has spread from China to infect people in more than 40 countries and territories around the world, killing over 2,700 people.

The big picture: Most of the 80,000 COVID-19 infections have occurred in mainland China. But cases are starting to surge elsewhere. By Wednesday morning, the worst affected countries outside China were South Korea (1,146), where a U.S. soldier tested positive to the virus, Italy (332), Japan (170), Iran (95) and Singapore (91). Just Tuesday, new cases were confirmed in Switzerland, Croatia and Algeria.

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.