Europe

My Euro-election post-vote poll: most Tory switchers say they will stay with their new party

By Lord Ashcroft

Since polling opened in the European elections I have surveyed over 10,000 voters to ask how they voted, why they chose the party they did, and – at least as of this weekend – what they see themselves doing at the next general election.

 

Who voted for whom?

More than half (53%) of 2017 Conservative voters who took part in the European elections voted for the Brexit Party. Only just over one in five (21%) stayed with the Tories. Around one in eight (12%) switched to the Liberal Democrats. Labour voters from 2017 were more likely to stay with their party, but only a minority (38%) did so. More than one in five (22%) went to the Lib Dems, 17% switched to the Greens, and 13% went to the Brexit Party (more…)

A reminder of how Britain voted in the EU referendum – and why

By Lord Ashcroft

Following the week’s parliamentary drama, here is a reminder of how – and crucially, why – the UK voted in the EU referendum in June 2016.

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24 June 2016

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.

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“It’s not the apocalypse. Calm down” – my Brexit limbo focus groups

By Lord Ashcroft

Last week’s pause in the parliamentary shenanigans over Brexit provided an opportunity to hear what the voters made of it all. This I did with a round of focus groups, conducted in London, Plymouth, Leeds and Newcastle. Though few have the time or patience to digest every morsel of Westminster news, their summary of the state of play was always succinct: “Theresa has had to go back to Europe, but they’ve said ‘non’,” was a typical summary. “She’s just collecting air miles. She’s going round in circles;” “As a country we now look very weak and very silly to the rest of the world. It’s come to the point that it’s almost embarrassing (more…)

How the UK voted on Brexit, and why – a refresher

By Lord Ashcroft

On 23 June 2016 I conducted a survey of over 12,000 people who had just voted in the EU referendum. With the politicians still talking and the 29 March deadline looming, it is worth reading again how the country voted, and why.

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24 June 2016

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.

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What should happen next? What really matters? And how bad is this crisis? My new Brexit deal poll

By Lord Ashcroft

The vote has been deferred while the Prime Minister seeks “reassurances” from the EU, but her message to the House of Commons yesterday was clear – this is the only Brexit deal on the table, and there is no realistic prospect of substantially changing it. Theresa May’s campaign to sell the agreement to sceptical MPs and the public therefore continues. My last survey in late November found that the proposed deal had a cool reception, but with large numbers still to make up their minds. My latest 5,000-sample poll finds shows that more people now have an opinion – but with the balance tipping away from the deal rather than in its favour (more…)

My new Brexit poll: good for Theresa May, bad for her deal

By Lord Ashcroft

After perhaps the most difficult fortnight as Prime Minister, which is saying something, the news from my latest poll, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, is surprisingly mixed for Theresa May. Though she would probably say this is a side issue and she is focused on other things, her personal standing among voters is actually consolidated. She now leads Jeremy Corbyn by 15 points in the best Prime Minister stakes, and while “not sure” still leads the field over both leaders, the proportion naming Mrs. May has risen while Mr. Corbyn’s numbers have fallen, most dramatically among his own voters (more…)

Why Brexit isn’t enough to win the Tories the next election

By Lord Ashcroft

This piece was first published in the Mail on Sunday.

Theresa May can arrive at the Conservative Conference today with a certain spring in her step following her slapdown of EU leaders after the Salzburg summit: my latest research shows that voters think the PM is right to threaten to leave without a deal rather than seek further compromise with an intransigent EU.

Yet with her MPs trying to pull her in two directions at once, this could be the most difficult Tory gathering for many years. Even so, she and her party need to look beyond Brexit and beyond the conference hall. Since the referendum it has become almost a cliché to say we are a divided country, but we are at odds over more than just Brexit: we are split over the whole past decade of political life (more…)

The Two Divides: Austerity, Brexit, and the problem of building a winning coalition

By Lord Ashcroft

Few expect the Conservative Conference that begins in Birmingham today to be dominated by anything other than Brexit. Hard though this may be to avoid, it would be a wasted opportunity. As my latest research shows, if Brexit is at the top of the government’s agenda the same cannot be said for the voters: the next election will be about other things.

 

The parties and leaders

We asked people how likely they thought it was that they would end up voting for each party at the next general election. On average, those who voted Conservative last year put their chances of doing so next time at 77/100, however they voted in the referendum; 2017 Labour voters felt more inclined to stay with their party if they had voted Remain (more…)

How voters will judge whether Brexit means Brexit – and the two questions Ministers should ask about any deal

By Lord Ashcroft

Rarely can a Prime Minister have been so glad to see the back of her colleagues. As she left Westminster for a well-earned holiday last week, Theresa May knew that each one of the crucial votes she survived in a fraught parliamentary session only served to underline just how unenviable her task of shepherding any kind of Brexit deal through the House of Commons will be – if indeed a deal can be concluded that she is prepared to sign.

The fact that people on both sides of the Leave-Remain divide recognise the bind she is in and praise her efforts to produce a workable solution will be little comfort. So will any rueful reflections that her reasoning in calling an early election has arguably been vindicated: there is, as she warned on the steps of Number Ten fifteen months and an age ago, division at Westminster when there should be unity, and the “uncertainty and instability” she wanted to banish is inescapable. Oh, for the thumping majority that seemed to be in the script.

As it is, the PM is caught between those in the Conservative Party, let alone outside it, who would cheerfully exit the EU without a deal and those who want nothing to change, or as little as they can possibly get away with (more…)

Brexit, the Border and the Union

By Lord Ashcroft

The Irish border is at the centre of negotiations as to how we will leave the European Union. My latest research, published today, explores what people think about the issue on both sides of the border, how voters in Great Britain see the question in the context of the wider Brexit debate, and the potential implications for the union of nations in the United Kingdom. My report is called Brexit, The Border And The Union, so let’s take those themes in turn.

 

Brexit

Three quarters of Leave voters in Britain – and a majority of remainers – said they thought the Brexit negotiations and decisions about the UK’s future outside the EU were proceeding too slowly (more…)