By-elections

A tale of two by-elections – and why polls are snapshots, not predictions

By Lord Ashcroft

On 28 August Douglas Carswell announced he was leaving the Conservative Party and joining UKIP. Five days later I published a poll of the Clacton constituency that put his support in the resulting by-election at 56%, with the Tories on 25%, Labour on 16%, and the Lib Dems and Others on 2% each: a 32-point Carswell lead.

The results on by-election day six weeks later were remarkably similar to those in my survey. (more…)

Labour set for clear win in Heywood & Middleton

H&M

By Lord Ashcroft

Labour are on course for a comfortable victory in this week’s Heywood & Middleton by-election. In a poll completed at the weekend I found the party on 47%, 19 points ahead of UKIP on 28%, with the Conservatives in third place on 16%. (more…)

UKIP 32 points ahead in Clacton

CarswellPic

By Lord Ashcroft

The Prime Minister’s birthday this year is unlikely to be his happiest, but at least he knows what he is going to get. My poll on the Clacton by-election, to be held on 9 October, the day David Cameron turns forty-eight, has found UKIP on 56 per cent, 32 points ahead of the Conservatives on 24 per cent. Labour were on 16 per cent, and the Liberal Democrats and Others on 2 per cent each.

More than half (59 per cent) of those who voted Conservative at the last general election said they would switch to UKIP, as did 45 per cent of 2010 Labour voters. Most of the Clacton electorate, including nearly nine out of ten UKIP supporters and more than half of Tories, expected Douglas Carswell to hold the seat for his new party. (more…)

Tories set to hold Newark

Newark

By Lord Ashcroft

The Conservatives are on course to hold onto Newark in the by-election on Thursday, according to a poll I have conducted in the constituency. I found the Tories on 42%, with UKIP second on 27% and Labour third on 20%.

This represents a fall in vote share for all three established parties since the last general election: the Conservatives are down 12 points, Labour down 2 and the Liberal Democrats down 14 points on their 2010 score. (more…)

With a week to go in Wythenshawe, Labour’s grip looks firm

WythenshaweSaleEast

By Lord Ashcroft

There is a week to go in the battle to succeed Paul Goggins as the MP for Wythenshawe & Sale East. A lot can change in a week – especially the last week of a by-election campaign – and any poll is a snapshot not a forecast.

But according to a survey I completed yesterday, Labour’s grip on the seat is firm.  (more…)

We know how Eastleigh voted. Here’s why

By Lord Ashcroft

The day after a by-election it rarely helps to panic. Neither does it help to speculate about who voted for whom, or why. To avoid the need to do so, yesterday I polled people in the Eastleigh constituency after they had cast their vote. The sample of 760 is inevitably smaller than usual, given the time constraint, and though it is not politically weighted in the usual way it is a fair representation of those who voted. This is what I found.

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Liberal Democrats have 5-point edge in Eastleigh

By Lord Ashcroft

With two days to go, the Liberal Democrats have the edge in the Eastleigh by-election. My latest poll finds a 5-point lead for Mike Thornton over Conservative candidate Maria Hutchings. Labour’s share has been squeezed since the start of the campaign, with John O’Farrell in fourth place behind UKIP’s Diane James, who has progressed to 21%.

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Tories start ahead in Eastleigh – but it’s going to be a battle

Eastleigh map

By Lord Ashcroft

The Conservatives enter the Eastleigh by-election campaign with a narrow lead over the Liberal Democrats. A poll I conducted over the two evenings immediately following Chris Huhne’s resignation put the Tories on 34%, with the Lib Dems on 31% and Labour on 19%. The result shows that both coalition parties have everything to play for in the three weeks to polling day on 28 February.

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Corby: A bad result for the Conservatives, but we must keep it in perspective

By Lord Ashcroft

So, a nail-biter in Corby. Would the Liberal Democrats keep their deposit or not? The party scraped 5% in my second poll of the by-election campaign a month ago; on the day itself they failed to reach that threshold by a handful of votes.

At that stage, Labour were 22 points ahead of the Conservatives in voting intention. This finding closely matched Andy Sawford’s 21-point margin of victory, and the Tory-Labour swing. However, the vote share of both main parties was eroded over the final few weeks of the campaign.

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Labour take 22-point lead in Corby

Corby constituency

By Lord Ashcroft

The week after Louise Mensch announced her departure from parliament, my first poll in Corby found a 15-point lead for Labour. My second poll, conducted last week, brings rather worse news for the Conservatives. Labour have consolidated their position and Andy Sawford is now 22 points ahead. All parties’ supporters are now surer of how they will vote than they were at the beginning of the campaign, suggesting Labour’s lead is now entrenched.

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