Polling – how I started, and why it’s a force for good: my Anglia Ruskin lecture

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By Lord Ashcroft

This is the text of a lecture I gave last night at Anglia Ruskin University, explaining why I began political polling, and why (used properly) it can help bridge the gap between the politicians and the people.

Good evening and thank you all very much for coming. It is a great honour for me to have been asked to speak to you on a subject in which I have developed a consuming interest over the last ten years. Indeed I stand before you not just as Anglia Ruskin’s Chancellor but, at least according to the New Statesman, as “the nation’s Pollster-In-Chief”.

Whether or not such an accolade is deserved, I thought I would use this occasion to talk about how I came to be involved in polling in the first place; why I think opinion research is a useful and indeed vital part of the political process; its limitations; and finally, what I think current research tells us about prospects for the general election (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 33%, Lab 33%, Lib Dem 8%, UKIP 12%, Green 5%

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By Lord Ashcroft

The Conservatives and Labour are level at 33% in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. Both parties are up on last week (Labour by four points, the Tories by two). The Liberal Democrats are unchanged at 8%, with UKIP and the Greens each down three points at 12% and 5% respectively. The SNP are up a point at 6%. All but one change was within the margin of error. We will see in the weeks to come whether this signals a sustained move back towards the established parties as voters begin to concentrate on the choice of government (more…)

Why aren’t the Tories running away with the election?

By Lord Ashcroft

 

This article was first published in The Independent.

 

“I don’t understand it,” said a chap in one of my focus groups a few days ago. “People think David Cameron is pretty good, and they think Ed Miliband is a muppet. So why is it so close?” Why indeed. It is a question to which books and theses will be devoted in the months to come. But I think we already have a good idea of the answer (more…)

Revisiting competitive Con-Lab marginals

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By Lord Ashcroft

The last round of battleground polling I published found one clear Conservative lead and three very close races in seats where the Tory majority over Labour was between 8.8% and 10.6%. I therefore decided to start going back to constituencies where my previous surveys have suggested tight races to see whether narrowing national polls – including a fair number of Conservative leads – were being reflected where it matters (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 31%, Lab 29%, Lib Dem 8%, UKIP 15%, Green 8%

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By Lord Ashcroft

The Conservatives’ lead is down from four points to two in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, which shows a lower vote share for both main parties. The Tories are down three points to 31%, with Labour down one at 29%, UKIP unchanged at 15%, the Liberal Democrats up three at 8%, and the Greens and the SNP unchanged at 8% and 5% respectively (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 34%, Lab 30%, Lib Dem 5%, UKIP 15%, Green 8%

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By Lord Ashcroft

The Conservatives retain the lead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. The Tories are unchanged since last week on 34%, with Labour down a point at 30%, UKIP up one at 15%, the Greens up one at 8%, and the Liberal Democrats down two at 5%, putting them level with the SNP, who are up one point. All the changes are within the margin of error.

As the parties debate the coalition’s record, I found only one fifth of voters saying they thought either they or the country would be any better off now had Labour been in government for the last five years (more…)

The campaign state of play – plus latest marginals

Lord Ashcroft Pollsevent in Westminster,

By Lord Ashcroft

Below is the text of the polling presentation I gave in London this evening, including my latest national poll findings and new results from marginal seats in England and Scotland. Scroll down to find the presentation slides, marginals report, and full data tables.

Good evening and welcome. If you have ever wondered what a pollster does to celebrate his birthday, now you know. Somebody kindly asked me this morning if this was the big “four-O”, and I was compelled to admit this estimate was outside the margin of error.

This evening I will be unveiling my latest polling, both nationally and in the marginals, and giving my overview of where I think we are in the campaign that will end just nine weeks tomorrow (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 34%, Lab 31%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 14%, Green 7%

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By Lord Ashcroft

The Conservatives are back in the lead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll. After last week’s Labour figure matched the highest share recorded in the ANP, the party has fallen back to its longer term average of 31%, with the Tories up two points to 34%. UKIP are up three to 14%, the Lib Dems unchanged at 7% the Greens down one at 7%, and the SNP static at 4% (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 32%, Lab 36%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 11%, Green 8%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour’s lead is up from one to four points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. The party’s 36% share is the highest recorded in the ANP since July, while the UKIP share of 11% is the lowest I have yet found in my national polling. The Conservatives are up two points on 32%, the Liberal Democrats down two at 7%, and the Greens and the SNP unchanged at 8% and 4% respectively. (more…)

Conservative-held UKIP targets

By Lord Ashcroft

In my latest round of marginals research I have looked at four constituencies where it has been suggested UKIP pose a challenge to the Conservatives: Boston & Skegness, which UKIP “won” in the 2013 local elections; Castle Point, where Bob Spink, the first MP to sit for UKIP, came second in 2010; South Basildon & East Thurrock, which is adjacent to one of the party’s best prospects; and North East Cambridgeshire, where the Tories have had concerns in a county where UKIP have had some success in local elections (more…)