Ashcroft National Poll: Con 32%, Lab 32%, Lib Dem 6%, UKIP 15%, Green 9%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour and the Conservatives are neck and neck in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll. Both parties are on 32%, with UKIP third and unchanged on 15%. The Greens are fourth on 9%, down two points from last week’s peak but still ahead of the Liberal Democrats, fifth with 6%.

The SNP are down two points at 3%. However, this figure hides the disproportionate influence the party could have in May, and illustrates why the national polls – though clearly showing a tight race in terms of overall vote share – are not the best guide to the result in terms of seats (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 29%, Lab 28%, Lib Dem 9%, UKIP 15%, Green 11%

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By Lord Ashcroft

After last week’s outlier – an occupational hazard in polling – it is back into the territory of wafer-thin leads in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll. The Conservatives are ahead by a single point with 29%; Labour are unchanged on 28%, UKIP down one at 15%, the Liberal Democrats up one at 9%, the Greens up three at 11% and the SNP up a point at 5%.

The ANP has tended to find a lower combined share for the two main parties than most other surveys, and this is the lowest two-party share I have yet recorded. It is also the first time both Labour and the Tories have scored less than 30%. (more…)

The people, the parties and the NHS

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By Lord Ashcroft

The general election debate over the NHS has already become an exchange of insults, doubtful assertions and unreliable statistics of the kind that voters find so edifying. But despite the noise, both parties are avoiding real discussion of the subject.

Labour have put the health service at the centre of their campaign. But they look set to focus on spending the proceeds of their Mansion Tax and, of course, attacking the Tories’ record. There is no sign of the harder thinking on the longer term of the kind that the previous Labour government was prepared to grapple with. They know the choices and unpalatable, not least with their own voters.

The Conservatives are reluctant to talk any more than they have to about the NHS because they feel no such conversation would end well for them (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 34%, Lab 28%, Lib Dem 8%, UKIP 16%, Green 8%

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By Lord Ashcroft

The first Ashcroft National Poll of 2015 has produced an unexpected result. The Conservatives lead Labour by six points, by 34% to 28%, with the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 8%, UKIP down three points at 16%, the Greens up three points at 8% and the SNP down one point at 4%.

It is important to keep results like this in perspective, and to look at the overall trend rather than any individual poll. The ANP is subject to a margin of error of 3% – meaning the Conservative share could be low enough, and the Labour score high enough, for the parties to be tied on 31% (more…)

No predictions from me – but here’s a whole gallery of snapshots

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By Lord Ashcroft

Last week, along with various colleagues from the polling fraternity, I was asked by the Independent on Sunday to make a prediction about the election. At the risk of looking like a spoilsport I declined, as I always do when faced with such a question. I felt my usual answer – “I think it’s going to be quite exciting” – was not exactly what the editor would be looking for.

As was clear from the answers of those who bravely or recklessly did take part, nobody is very sure exactly what to expect (more…)

Eight things we learned from my research in 2014

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By Lord Ashcroft

My research in 2014 has included a weekly national telephone poll, surveys in over 100 marginal seats, two rounds of my Project Blueprint research on the quest for a Conservative majority, a detailed study of voters’ attitudes to Europe, polling-day surveys of voters in the European elections, five by-election polls, and regular updates on the state of the parties. Here are some of the things we have learned: (more…)

Moderate Tory cheer and a fright for Labour in my final marginals poll of 2014

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By Lord Ashcroft

Two types of constituencies feature in my last round of marginals polling for 2014. First, the next tranche of seats the Conservatives are defending from Labour; second, a selection of seats where Labour may be under threat from UKIP. I have also returned to the solitary Green constituency, Brighton Pavilion.

In previous rounds I have said I wanted to find the point in the Conservative-Labour battleground at which seats consistently stay blue and the damage stops. Well, it has not stopped yet, though I suspect Labour will be disappointed not to be inflicting more of it. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 30%, Lab 31%, Lib Dem 8%, UKIP 19%, Green 5%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour lead by a single point in the final Ashcroft National Poll of 2014, conducted over the past weekend. The party is down one point since last week on 31%, with the Conservatives unchanged on 30%. The Liberal Democrats are up one at 8%, UKIP up three at 19% and the Greens and the SNP each down one at 5% and 4% respectively. (more…)

The importance of being salient

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By Lord Ashcroft

Like all set-piece events in the political calendar, Wednesday’s Autumn Statement has dominated the attention of the Westminster media. As is also the case with such events, most people will not have noticed that it happened, let alone what was in it.

That is not to say it doesn’t matter – just that the measures it included and the overall economic message it conveyed have to be reinforced in the Conservative campaign for the five months until polling day. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 30%, Lab 32%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 16%, Green 6%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour lead by two points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. Though Ed Miliband’s party are static on 32%, the Conservatives are up three points to 30%, bring the Labour margin down from five points to the narrower advantage we have seen in recent weeks. It is also the first time in five weeks that the combined vote share of the two parties has exceeded 60%. (more…)