The traditional assumption that support for political parties other than the main three disappears at a general election has been challenged by private polling seen by the BBC.
Support for Labour is languishing at 20%, while the Lib Dems are down from 21% to 18%. But support for "others" - UKIP, the Green Party, the BNP and other small parties - has doubled, from 9% to 18%.
The polling suggests a surge in support for UKIP, in particular. Figures show support for UKIP is at 6%, up from 1% in summer last year who said they would vote for the party in a general election.
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