Ukip is targeting the West Country as one of its main election battlegrounds in the wake of a survey which shows more than three-quarters of British people want to see a cut in immigration.
Nigel Farage's party believe they can make serious gains across the region and Immigration Minister Mark Harper is the most high profile scalp on their hit list.
Work has already started on council and Euro elections this year and they hope this will provide a springboard for the general election in 2015.
Although their main stomping ground is the South East where they have county councillors in double figures, the party also see the South West as a fertile area.
Last year they caused a major upset by winning seats in the county council elections and a large share of the vote in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall.
West hotspots being targeted include the Forest of Dean, Plymouth, Devon and Bournemouth and Christchurch.
A national survey by Lord Ashcroft showing that more than a third of Conservative voters in 2010 plan to abandon the party – with almost half of them switching to Ukip - could change the poltical landscape of the South West.
Forest of Dean Ukip election candidate Professor Tim Congdon, an economist who served under Margaret Thatcher, claims his analysis of by-election results shows that Ukip support is being seriously underestimated in the polls.
On its own the swing to Ukip would not be enough for Professor Congdon to unseat Mark Harper's 11,064 majority, but the row over the Forest sell-off has hit the minister's popularity at home and Ukip could split the Tory vote.
Results from a survey out today reveal that more people think Britain should stay in the EU, but try to reduce its powers, than want Britain to leave. Some 38 per cent favour the former course of action and 28 per cent the latter, the study by Ipsos MORI for think tank British Future found.
Conservatives (57 per cent), Labour (41 per cent) and Lib Dem (43 per cent) supporters all back plans to stay in Europe but try to reduce its powers, over getting out (29 per cent, 19 per cent and 22 per cent respectively).
The think tank said this was good news for Prime Minister David Cameron, who has proposed such a renegotiation.
Supporters of Ukip favour getting out over renegotiation – 73 per cent to 19 per cent.
Nigel Farage's party polled more votes than any other party in the 2013 district elections, 28 per cent, and party membership in the Forest of Dean has doubled since 2010.
Professor Congdon said: "We have already started holding public meetings and putting leaflets through letterboxes and we will be building up our brand over the next 18 months.
"The West Country is absolutely key, if we are going to win seats, we will win them in the West Country and the East Midlands. Based on local election results they are some of our best chances but I'm not making any predictions until after the European elections."
Ukip came second in the South West European elections last time, with the Earl of Dartmouth missing out to Julie Girling, but the party are going all out to be top of the polls in May. They also want to pack out district and county council chambers with Ukip members in the run-up to the general election in 2015.
As immigration minister Mr Harper would be a major scalp and he is under fire from Ukip for not revealing the results of a Government study showing how many of the 29 million citizens of Romanian and Bulgaria might move to the UK.
But Forest of Dean branch chairman and county councillor Richard Leppington said the party are also picking up Labour supporters in the traditional mining area.
He said: "People aren't against immigration per se but they are very concerned about the fact that we cannot control our own borders and righly link this to membership of the EU."
West Devon MP Gary Streeter previously blamed defections to Ukip for the Conservative party losing control of Plymouth to Labour and called for a strategy to stem the tide of defections in the West.