Swing to Labour extends deeper into Tory territory

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By Lord Ashcroft

In previous rounds of battleground research I have looked at the twelve most marginal Conservative-held seats with Labour in second place, and the twelve Labour-held seats with the smallest majorities over the Tories. Last month I re-surveyed the Conservative seats, many of which look competitive despite the overall swing to Labour.

The same could not be said of most of the Labour territory included in the first round, where I found Labour leads of up to 21 points. In my latest round of battleground polling I have therefore concentrated on the four Tory targets in which I found the smallest leads in the spring: Birmingham Edgbaston, Bolton West, Hampstead & Kilburn and Southampton Itchen.

Instead of returning to constituencies where Labour were comfortable I have looked at the wider battleground – the second tier of Labour targets with bigger Conservative majorities (more…)

Uxbridge backs Boris – but local voters divided on being both MP and Mayor

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By Lord Ashcroft

The voters of Uxbridge & South Ruislip welcome the prospect of Boris Johnson as their next MP, according to my latest poll. My survey of 1,000 residents of the constituency, completed on Thursday, found that when asked which party they would vote for in a general election tomorrow, 42% named the Conservatives, 28% Labour and 19% UKIP: a 14-point Tory lead.

But when asked how they would vote if Boris Johnson were their Conservative candidate, the margin extended to 29 points: the Tory share grew by ten points to 52%, with Labour down five to 23% and UKIP down three to 16%. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 30%, Lab 33%, Lib Dem 8%, UKIP 18%, Green 6%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour lead by three points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. Vote shares were Labour 33% (down one point on last week), Conservatives 30% (down two), Liberal Democrats 8% (down one), UKIP 18% (up four) and the Greens unchanged on 6%. All changes except the UKIP score were within the margin of error.

The three-point margin reflects those published yesterday by YouGov and Opinium, but with lower scores for both Labour and the Tories. A smaller two-party combined vote share has been a regular pattern in the ANP; we will see whether it continues into the autumn and the start of the long campaign. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 32%, Lab 34%, Lib Dem 9%, UKIP 14%, Green 6%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour’s lead by two points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted between Friday and Sunday. Labour were down one point on 34% with the Conservatives up five on 32%, the Liberal Democrats up two to 9% and UKIP down three to 14%. The narrower Labour advantage reflects that of other polls published over the weekend.

It is important to see the change in the Conservative vote share in the context of the longer term trend: though the Tory figures have moved around more than those of other parties in the ANP, they have been around 30%, within the margin of error, for eight weeks, while Labour remain firmly in the mid-30s. (more…)

Con-Lab battleground: swing from Tories drops as UKIP pick up Labour votes

Con-Lab July 2014

By Lord Ashcroft

In my latest round of battleground research I have returned to the fourteen Conservative-held seats with Labour in second place that I first polled in the spring. The most striking feature is that rising support for UKIP has eroded the swing to Labour. Though the Tories are down a point on their share in March and April in these seats, Labour are down by three points and UKIP are up five.

There are three points worth noting about this. First, the most immediately striking effect of this shift is that UKIP now lead in two seats – Thurrock and Thanet South. They have also jumped to second in Great Yarmouth, where the Tories are now ahead, having been behind Labour in my previous round of polling. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 27%, Lab 35%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 17%, Green 7%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour’s lead has risen to eight points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. The widening margin, following a similar shift in the Populus poll published this morning, stems mainly from a five-point fall in the Conservative share to 27%. Other movements are within the margin of error: Labour are down one point to 35%, the Lib Dems unchanged at 7%, UKIP up three to 17%, and the Greens up one point to 7%.

As ever, the poll should be seen as a snapshot in the context of longer term trends. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 32%, Lab 36%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 14%, Green 6%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour lead by four points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. Though both main parties are up on last week’s scores, we continue the longer term pattern I noted in my review of the ANP to date: a similar overall lead to other pollsters (Populus had Labour ahead by three points today, and YouGov by five yesterday), but with a slightly lower combined score for Labour and the Tories than in online surveys. The scores in full are Labour 36%, Conservatives 32%, Lib Dems 7%, UKIP 14%, Greens 6%. (more…)

The Ashcroft National Poll – the story so far

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By Lord Ashcroft

At the end of May I published a poll on the Newark by-election which put the Conservatives well ahead of UKIP, by 42% to 27%. This raised a few eyebrows, both within parts of the polling fraternity and beyond. Surely the Tory lead was too big? Surely I had missed the UKIP insurgency that would follow their victory in the Euro elections two weeks previously? Surely I was overestimating the number of Tory voters from 2010 who would turn out for the party again despite saying they didn’t know how they would vote?

When the ballots were counted four days after fieldwork ended, each party’s vote share was within the margin of error of my poll. I had been within a point on UKIP, who scored 26% (so much for understating them), two points on Labour, three points on the Liberal Democrats and three points on the Conservatives – whose share was higher, not lower, than in my survey.

As I always say, a poll is a snapshot, not a forecast, so I can’t have it both ways when one of mine is proven to be accurate. But the reason I mention it now is that the methodology used in the Newark poll is essentially the same as that employed in the Ashcroft National Poll, which has come under a good deal of scrutiny in the last couple of weeks. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 27%, Lab 34%, LD 11%, UKIP 15%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour are back in the lead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, with the Conservatives falling back to 27% from last week’s score of 33%. Last week I suggested that their boost may have been down to a short-term “Junker effect” as voters approved of the Prime Minister fighting Britain’s corner in Brussels. Such an effect seems to have been short-lived, with the party’s support returning to levels I have found in previous surveys. The wider Labour lead is in line with other surveys published today by Populus (7 points) and over the weekend by Opinium (6 points).

Other parties’ changes are within the margin of error, giving us scores of Conservative 27% (-6%), Labour 34% (+3), Liberal Democrats 11% (+2), UKIP 15% (no change). The Greens are also unchanged on 6%. (more…)

The Lib Dem – Labour battleground

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By Lord Ashcroft

The Liberal Democrats’ vote has fallen by half in constituencies where Labour are their main challengers, according to my latest round of polling in marginal seats.

My research in Bradford East, Brent Central, Manchester Withington and Norwich South found the Lib Dem share down from 38% to 19%, with Labour up 11 points to 47%. This amounts to a swing of 15%, enough in theory for Labour to gain 17 current Lib Dem seats if repeated across the board at an election – though as we saw in my polling of Conservative-Lib Dem marginals, swings are very far from uniform where the Lib Dems are concerned. (more…)