Europe

My latest research on the state of the parties and what people want from the Brexit deal

By Lord Ashcroft

As the government embarks on two years of grueling EU negotiations following the triggering of Article 50, I decided now was a good time for a detailed look at the political landscape – and what voters expect from the Brexit deal. Here’s what I found from my 10,000-sample poll and focus groups around the country.

With three years to go until a general election, rather than asking people how they would vote tomorrow we gave them a little more leeway, and invited them to give their likelihood of voting for each party on a 100-point scale. The answers look like this (more…)

The new political landscape – and what Britain expects from Brexit

By Lord Ashcroft

My latest research is a comprehensive survey of the political landscape as Britain embarks on two years of negotiations over the terms on which it will leave the European Union. Based on a 10,000-sample poll and focus groups around the country, the project asks what voters hope and expect to get from the Brexit deal, how they balance immigration control and access to the single market, the status of EU nationals already in Britain, people’s confidence that the Prime Minister will secure a good deal, and how the Brexit negotiations compare in importance to other priorities.

The research also looks in detail at attitudes to the political parties and leaders, who is switching, and why.

I have written about the main findings and their implications in today’s Sunday Telegraph. (more…)

‘Well, You Did Ask… Why The UK Voted To Leave The EU’

By Lord Ashcroft

My book on the EU referendum, ‘Well, You Did Ask… Why The UK Voted To Leave The EU’, is available now from Biteback Publishing.

‘Well, You Did Ask…’ draws on two years of research by Lord Ashcroft Polls. It explores what voters made of the issues, the campaigns, the personalities, the claims and counterclaims, and how they came to make the most momentous political decision of our time.

We look in detail at the differences in outlook between those who voted to leave and those who voted to remain – differences which will have a real bearing on the future of our politics. And as the country sets about negotiating a new relationship with Europe, it offers what I hope is a colourful and revealing look at what our continental neighbours think about Britain and the British.

To think clearly about what the referendum result means, we first need to understand how it came about. (more…)

The New Blueprint: The Conservative Agenda In Post-Brexit Britain

By Lord Ashcroft

A year after the coalition government was formed I embarked upon a research exercise which I called Project Blueprint. It looked at how the Conservatives could win an overall majority, and rested on the premise that if the party did not want to govern in coalition, it would need to build a coalition of voters big enough to allow it to rule on its own.

Just over a year since the 2015 election – and five years since the first instalment of Project Blueprint – the political landscape seems at first glance to be almost unrecognisably different. We have a new government led by a new Prime Minister, with no opposition in sight – whether from Labour, who are engaged in a bizarre drama of their own, from the Liberal Democrats, who have all but vanished, or from UKIP which, having accomplished its founding mission, will need to articulate a new purpose for itself. Oh yes, and the UK has voted to leave the EU.

But if the context is different, the Tories’ political mission is the same (more…)

How the United Kingdom voted on Thursday… and why

By Lord Ashcroft

 

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. On referendum day I surveyed 12,369 people after they had voted to help explain the result – who voted for which outcome, and what lay behind their decision.

 

The demographics

  • The older the voters, the more likely they were to have voted to leave the EU. Nearly three quarters (73%) of 18 to 24 year-olds voted to remain, falling to under two thirds (62%) among 25-34s. A majority of those aged over 45 voted to leave, rising to 60% of those aged 65 or over. Most people with children aged ten or under voted to remain; most of those with children aged 11 or older voted to leave.

(more…)

Why I’m for Brexit

By Lord Ashcroft

Forget the hysteria. Leaving the European Union would not put a bomb under the British economy or end Western political civilization as we know it. But nor would it mean another £350 million a week being spent on the NHS, and staying does not mean eighty million Turks will be arriving at Dover. For voters struggling to make sense of the referendum campaign, this sort of thing has hardly helped (more…)

Voters’ butterflies, the post-Brexit budget, and the Totnes Question: my final referendum focus groups

By Lord Ashcroft

 

My final round of referendum focus groups, in St Austell and Bromley, found that if the two sides of the campaign are feeling the pressure of the tightening polls, they are not the only ones – the voters are nervous too: “I swing so much between the two. I have actually got butterflies;” “In most elections nothing really changes, but with this one you know in your gut that something big is going to happen. There are going to be major changes and that is quite frightening (more…)

Migration, TV debates, our “special status”, and the Money Saving Expert: my referendum focus groups in Cardiff

By Lord Ashcroft

My penultimate round of focus groups with undecided voters took place in Cardiff, where many people’s perplexity over the decision at hand was not turning not into enlightenment but exasperation. Among the many words people used to describe the contest so far (“unreliable”, “unrealistic”, “uninformative”, “not that interesting”, “unnecessary”, “a quagmire”, “a lot of bullsh*t”), by far the most common was “confusing”.

The campaign “is not helping one bit. It’s just, ‘this is going to happen’, ‘no it’s not’.” (more…)

Tory wars, Clarkson, Corbyn, Sadiq & Dave, the TUC and immigration: my latest referendum focus groups

By Lord Ashcroft

 

This week’s focus groups with undecided referendum voters took place in Leamington and in Muswell Hill, North London, with only three weeks to go until the big day. “That will be the actual decision, will it?” It really will. “I don’t think it’s been highlighted that much, considering it’s such a big thing.” “In the paper I always see this ‘Bee-arr-exit’. What does it mean?”

Given the dearth of coverage, what arguments have people noticed from the Leave side? “The amount of money we pay into the EU. It’s a huge figure. If we leave we’ll be £30 billion or £300 billion better off (more…)

Turkey, migrants, the Euro-army, the price of freedom and the Neutrality Paradox: my referendum focus groups in Leeds

By Lord Ashcroft

 

This week’s focus groups with undecided referendum voters took place in Leeds, where people were doing their best to stay on top of events (“I’m not OCD about it but I like to know what’s going on”). Participants had noticed that recent news had been dominated by migration, including the rise in net migration to 333,000.

For some, this was worrying (“it’s scary when you see it written down”). Others thought it was surprisingly (more…)