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…)

Ed Miliband and Doncaster North: a correction (and apology)

By Lord Ashcroft

One of the most important principles behind my polling is transparency. All the data from my polls is published for all to see. This is important as it shows the research is done properly, and allows anyone who is interested to get the maximum possible value from the work.

The slightly more uncomfortable but nonetheless crucial side of transparency is that people can see when a mistake is made. Unfortunately that was the case last week in my poll of Doncaster North. (more…)

Some surprises in my new constituency polling – and a look at the leaders’ backyards

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By Lord Ashcroft

My latest round of constituency polling includes an assortment of seats and some intriguing results.

Of the eighteen seats I have polled over the past four weeks, eleven are held by the Liberal Democrats with the Conservatives in second place. These have bigger majorities than those I have previously surveyed on the Lib Dem battleground, from 9.3% (Cheltenham) to 15.2% (Hazel Grove). To these I have added Watford, the most closely contested of the Conservative seats I have polled where the Lib Dems were second in 2010.

I have also looked at Burnley and Birmingham Yardley, two Lib Dem-held Labour targets not yet covered in my research. And though it does not fit easily into any category, having had an independent MP over two parliaments who finished second at the last election, I have also looked at Wyre Forest.

In addition to these I thought it would be interesting to poll the constituencies of the three leaders of the opposition: Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North, Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam (the electoral opposition, if not technically the Opposition) and Thanet South, where Nigel Farage hopes to be elected next May. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 27%, Lab 32%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 18%, Green 7%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour are five points ahead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. Labour’s share is up two points since last week at 32%, with the Conservatives down two at 27%, the Liberal Democrats down two at 7%, UKIP up two at 18%, the Greens unchanged on 7% and the SNP up one point at 5%.

All these changes are well within the margin of error and are not significant in themselves. What matters is whether Labour will be able to sustain a lead over the coming weeks or if the recent narrower pattern continues. (more…)

Nigel Farage is right – after Rochester all general election bets are off

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the The Guardian

 

It is not often that Nigel Farage finds himself at the centre of a political consensus, but he spoke for Westminster in his analysis of what Ukip’s Rochester victory meant for the general election. “All bets are off,” he declared. “The whole thing’s up in the air.” This has not stopped the political classes fretting over the weekend about What It All Means. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 29%, Lab 30%, Lib Dem 9%, UKIP 16%, Green 7%

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By Lord Ashcroft

For the fourth week running the Conservatives and Labour are within one point of each other in the Ashcroft National Poll. The headline result is a reversal of that of the last two weeks: over the past weekend I found Labour a point ahead on 30%, the Tories second on 29%, and the Liberal Democrats down one on 9%. UKIP, the Greens and the SNP remain unchanged at 16%, 7% and 4% respectively.

This is the third consecutive week in which Labour and the Conservatives have commanded a vote share of less than 60% between them. (more…)

UKIP lead by 12 points in Rochester & Strood – but what will happen next May?

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By Lord Ashcroft

UKIP lead the Conservatives by 44% to 32% in the Rochester & Strood by-election, according to my poll of the constituency completed yesterday. Labour are a distant third with 17%, with the Liberal Democrats on 2%.

The previous three polls of the campaign have all found the Conservatives on between 30% and 33%. While UKIP appear to have consolidated their position over the course of the campaign, Labour have declined from the mid-twenties to the mid-teens.

In my poll just over half (54%) of 2010 Conservative voters naming a party said they would stay with the Tories in the by-election, while 44% would switch to UKIP. (more…)