Elections

How did this result happen? My post-vote survey

By Lord Ashcroft

I surveyed over 14,000 people on election day who had already cast their vote to help understand how this unexpected result came about. My poll came very close to reflecting the outcome of the election, with 41% saying they had voted Conservative, 39% Labour, and 9% voted Liberal Democrat (the result in Great Britain has been 43% Conservative, 41% Labour, 7% Lib Dems). The survey found two thirds of those aged 18 to 24 saying they voted Labour, as did more than half of those aged 25 to 34. Voters aged over 55 broke for the Tories (more…)

“She still keeps banging on about independence”: my election focus groups in Scotland, with two weeks to go

By Lord Ashcroft

This week’s general election focus group report comes from two Scottish seats which fell to the SNP in 2015 but could be competitive on 8 June: Edinburgh South West, and Aberdeen South. In each seat we spoke to two types of people: those who voted no to Scottish independence in 2014, Labour or Liberal Democrat in 2015, and who were undecided what to do this time round; and those who voted SNP at the last general election and to leave the EU in last year’s referendum.

With this latter group, we began by asking how they arrived at what some might see as a contradictory set of opinions. For a few, it had been a cunning ruse that seemed to have backfired: “I mistakenly thought it was a tactical vote that if we vote to leave it would end up triggering Scottish independence (more…)

“Values don’t mean piddly-doop – you need a leader”: my election focus groups, with four weeks to go

By Lord Ashcroft

This week my general election focus groups took place in three seats Labour are defending from the Conservatives in the West Midlands: Wolverhampton South West, Birmingham Northfields and Dudley North. We spoke to people who had voted Labour in 2015 – most of whom had never voted anything but Labour in a national election – but who now said they were undecided what to do on 8 June.

The Tories enjoyed a boost in the region last week when Andy Street was elected the first West Midlands Mayor. The majority in our groups had not voted (turnout was a mere 27 per cent) but most of those who did backed the winner. They said the candidates’ qualities had mattered more in the decision than party labels: “I voted for the John Lewis guy (more…)

The general election isn’t just about Brexit

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was published before the local elections at TIME.com.

 

“You’re joking?! Not another one? Oh for God’s sake I can’t, honestly, I can’t stand this.” So said a lady called Brenda, from the British city of Bristol, when told by a local journalist of Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call an unexpected general election for 8 June. “There’s too much politics going on at the moment,” she added.

Brenda is not alone in that assessment. After a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, a general election in 2015, and another referendum on EU membership in 2016 — followed closely by the vicarious excitement of the Trump-Clinton showdown in the U.S. — many in Britain feel they have endured quite enough campaigning for the time being (more…)

The Unexpected Mandate: my review of the 2015 election and the unusual parliament that preceded it

By Lord Ashcroft

After the 2005 general election I published Smell The Coffee: A Wake-Up Call For The Conservative Party. Based on extensive research, this was an attempt to understand why the Tories kept losing elections and what they needed to do about it. In 2010 I followed up with Minority Verdict, which drew on published polling and my perspective from having been involved in the Conservative campaign, to help explain why the party had once again fallen short.

My analysis of the 2015 election, and the unusual parliament that preceded it, appears as the appendix to Call Me Dave, my biography of David Cameron written with Isabel Oakeshott. I am now releasing this as a separate edition – The Unexpected Mandate – to follow my two earlier election commentaries. (more…)

‘Pay Me Forty Quid And I’ll Tell You: The 2015 Election Campaign Through The Eyes Of The Voters’

By Lord Ashcroft

From January until the election, Lord Ashcroft Polls conducted weekly focus groups from Cornwall to Scotland to find out whether the parties’ campaigns were having any effect on the people they were supposed to impress: undecided voters in marginal seats. We asked what people had noticed and what had passed them by, what they thought the parties were trying to tell them and how believable (or otherwise) they found it, what mattered to them and what didn’t, what they made of the leaders vying for their attention, which way they were leaning and what doubts stopped them making their minds up. (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 did people vote as they did? My post-vote poll

By Lord Ashcroft

I have polled more than 12,000 voters who voted in the general election. I wanted to know when people decided, what factors had most influenced their vote, what issues were most important to the country and their families, how they see the economy and the future of austerity, and how the parties’ voters had voted in previous elections. The results are here:

Voting tactically has become more fraught in the new political order

By Lord Ashcroft

This piece was first published in The Independent

A surprising number of people are candid enough to admit that they voted Liberal Democrat in previous elections because they simply could not decide between Labour and the Tories. Others like the party’s policies or, more often, its local MP.

But in their strongholds, the Lib Dems have owed a good deal of their support to their status as the most credible local alternative to the Conservatives. Indeed, in most recent elections, tactical voting has nearly always meant backing the Lib Dems to get (or keep) the Tories out. Since the Iraq war, the Lib Dems have also attracted left-leaning voters looking for a safely like-minded alternative to Labour.

So imagine their surprise and delight as the recipient of their carefully calibrated votes strode cheerfully into the Downing Street rose garden with David Cameron (more…)

My speech to Turcan Connell and Charlotte Street Partners in Edinburgh

By Lord Ashcroft

This is the text of a speech I gave last night in Edinburgh. I was introduced by Chris Deerin.

Thank you, Chris, for that kind welcome, and can I say what an honour it is to be introduced by Scotland’s Columnist Of The Year? Those of you who read Chris’s work will know that the accolade he received at the Scottish Press Awards was thoroughly well deserved, and that his writing is always brilliant – provocative, honest, thoughtful and original.

While I’m at it, I might as well add that such is his incisive grasp of public affairs, any of you who are not retaining the services of his company should have your people call his people first thing in the morning. (more…)