Conservative Party

Panama, Cameron and tax returns

By Lord Ashcroft

It is the received wisdom that the leaking of the Panama Papers triggered the Prime Minister’s worst week since he took office. From his personal point of view, that may well be true: having the media trying to dig into your family’s tax arrangements is not a pleasant experience, as I can attest. But politically, how much has really changed since open season was declared on the Camerons’ financial affairs?

As so often, it is worth remembering that most people have better things to do than follow the minutiae of political coverage. Nothing very important gets past the voters, but they have a knack of getting straight to the point. The Cameron tax story, then, boils down to three essential elements. (more…)

The sun is shining on the Tories: will they make hay, or mend the roof?

By Lord Ashcroft

For Conservatives of my generation, Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Labour conference on Tuesday had a reassuringly familiar flavour. We know where we are with old lefties who declare “we’re a rich country” – as though that is just a given, and all politicians need to do is decide how to spend it – and who spit out the word “profit” as if it were a profanity (and as if any of the things they say they want could be paid for without it).

But there were some odd parts too (more…)

Reflections on the election polls – and creating a Conservative Party people need not be shy about supporting

By Lord Ashcroft

This is the text of a speech I gave last night at the Post-Election Conference, jointly hosted by Conservative Home, the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Business for Britain and the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Good evening. You might think it’s a bit much to kick off this post-election conference with, of all people, a pollster. If so, I can understand your scepticism. After last week I’m not sure whether it’s worse to be a pollster or a Liberal Democrat. But as I will explain, it would be a mistake to dismiss the polls out of hand, or to think there is nothing we can learn from them. (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…)

Watch my Sky News interview on polling and the marginals

By Lord Ashcroft

Yesterday I was interviewed about my polling on Sky News by Joey Jones. You can watch the interview here:

 

Click here to see full story on Sky News

The importance of being salient

Salience chart 141207

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…)

What really changed over the conference season?

By Lord Ashcroft

Once  again Ukip has seized the political agenda and left the older parties flailing for a response. Douglas Carswell’s spectacular victory in Clacton was at least expected — but Ukip’s quiet insurgency in Heywood and Middleton has shocked the political establishment. If it can come close to snatching a safe seat from under Labour’s nose, where else could it strike?

My own regular national poll — as well as the daily YouGov polls published in The Sun — put the Tories tantalisingly ahead last week. But when it comes to the fundamentals, how much has really changed over the conference season? (more…)

A good day’s work by the PM – but 218 to go…

Prime Minister David Cameron Delivers His Keynote Speech At The Conservative Party Conference

By Lord Ashcroft

On the first day of the Conservative conference I explained why David Cameron needed to build a coalition of the willing – a band of voters willing to accept further austerity because they believed the results would be worth waiting for. Too many of the people whose support the Tories needed in order to stay in office either thought that any economic recovery would pass them by, or wondered why austerity was still necessary. They needed to understand the end to which austerity was the means and, bluntly, what was in it for them. (more…)

What I told the Tories in Birmingham

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By Lord Ashcroft

Below is the text of my presentation at the Conservative Party Conference this afternoon setting out my latest research in marginal seats and the Tories’ challenge in building an election-winning coalition of voters. The slides from my presentation are here.

Good afternoon and as the proud proprietor of Conservative Home let me add my welcome to this event which is intended to set the scene and explain the public opinion backdrop to our last party conference before the general election. (more…)

Project Blueprint Phase 5: The coalition of the willing

By Lord Ashcroft

In the eight months remaining before the general election many voters face a dilemma. They prefer Labour to the Conservatives, but would rather have David Cameron in Downing Street than Ed Miliband. They wonder whose side the Tories are on, but doubt that Labour can be trusted with the economy or have learned the right lessons from their last spell in office.

Starting today in Birmingham David Cameron must help them resolve their quandary in his party’s favour. My latest research, involving a poll of over 8,000 people and discussions with undecided voters around the country, helps to show how he can do it. (more…)