It is always difficult to extrapolate from the result of a by-election what wider messages the voters have sent to politicians and how they might affect the parties' prospects in other areas.
So, is it possible to draw anything about Kent's political landscape from the outcome of the Eastleigh by-election?
Only in general terms, perhaps - particularly given that this was a seat where there was a two-way fight between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives which really has no parallel in most of the county's parliamentary constituencies.
The Liberal Democrats did not so much gallop to victory as hang on by their fingernails, which against the backdrop of the Chris Huhne affair and the Lord Rennard allegations, was arguably no mean feat.
The Conservatives had a miserable result, losing ground yet again to UKIP in a result that suggested that David Cameron's pledge for an "in-out" referendum on the EU did not help shore up the party's core vote.
That will worry Kent Tories who are very jittery about UKIP and see Nigel Farage's party as more of a threat to their prospects at May's county council election than anyone else. It was interesting to hear Michael Gove cite immigration as one of the "doorstep" issues mentioned by voters during the Eastleigh campaign - that, coupled with voters' concerns over the EU - make UKIP more than just a natural repository for protest votes.
Cameron's dilemma is whether to stick to the centre ground or adopt more right-wing policies to neutralise the UKIP threat.
For evidence closer to home of the potential for UKIP to take votes away from the Conservatives, the result of a by-election in Ashford is telling: UKIP came third in a contest won by Labour (it was a safe seat) but came within two votes of beating the Conservatives to take second place.
On the other hand, Labour should be equally alarmed that Ed Miliband's efforts to depict his party as a "one nation" party appears to have had little resonance with voters.
The phenomenon of Labour's "southern discomfort" is something the party is desperate to resolve: if it cannot attract voters back in the constituencies in Kent that it won during the Blair era, it will not be in a position to form the next government.
Eastleigh was never a seat where Labour had any chance of winning but it will have to ask why, given all the coalition's woes, it did not fare better.
UKIP didn't win but will undoubtedly be happiest at its surge in the polls.
The question now is whether in places like Kent, it can sustain its momentum in a way which means it is regarded by voters as legitimate part of the political mainstream - and not just somewhere to register a protest against the others.