Labour Party

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…)

Corbyn is doing the job as he understands it – and as his supporters intended

By Lord Ashcroft

It has been said that a novel depicting the past week in the history of the Labour Party would have been rejected as too implausible. But the idea has crossed creative minds before: in Chris Mullin’s engrossing 1982 story A Very British Coup, an ultra-left unilateralist Labour leader, Harry Perkins MP, is elected Prime Minister. If political life has not in this case imitated art to the fullest extent, it at least feels as though we are living through the prequel (more…)

Project Red Dawn


By Lord Ashcroft

Five years ago I conducted some research to find out why people in the Labour movement thought they had lost the 2010 election and what they thought they should do about it. They believed people had failed to appreciate what Labour had achieved, that credulous swing voters had been influenced by the right-wing media, and that although Labour’s policies had been right, they had not been communicated well. Accordingly, they expected the coalition government to prove so dreadful that people would soon see the error of their ways: Labour would not need to make any big changes in order to win the following election.

Well, we know how that story ends. Labour is reduced to 232 seats in the House of Commons, a net loss of 24 since its 2010 defeat, and won only 30 per cent of the national vote. The question for the new leader, whose identity we will know on Saturday, is not just how the party can start winning again, but whether Labour as we know it will survive.

My latest research has looked into this question by examining the views of two sorts of people: how do the views of Labour Loyalists, who voted for the party in 2010 and again last May, compare with the Defectors who have moved away from the party since it was an election-winning force? What caused the switchers to switch, and do they see themselves returning? (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

Ed Miliband and Doncaster North: a correction (and apology)

By Lord Ashcroft

One of the most important principles behind my polling is transparency. All the data from my polls is published for all to see. This is important as it shows the research is done properly, and allows anyone who is interested to get the maximum possible value from the work.

The slightly more uncomfortable but nonetheless crucial side of transparency is that people can see when a mistake is made. Unfortunately that was the case last week in my poll of Doncaster North. (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…)

The Lib Dem – Labour battleground


By Lord Ashcroft

The Liberal Democrats’ vote has fallen by half in constituencies where Labour are their main challengers, according to my latest round of polling in marginal seats.

My research in Bradford East, Brent Central, Manchester Withington and Norwich South found the Lib Dem share down from 38% to 19%, with Labour up 11 points to 47%. This amounts to a swing of 15%, enough in theory for Labour to gain 17 current Lib Dem seats if repeated across the board at an election – though as we saw in my polling of Conservative-Lib Dem marginals, swings are very far from uniform where the Lib Dems are concerned. (more…)

Twenty minutes of Miliband


By Lord Ashcroft

Over the weekend Nicolas Maduro, socialist president of Venezuela, announced that he was forcing a local chain of electronics stores to sell its products at cheaper prices. Maduro is now seeking the power to extend this policy to other goods, in an attempt to “protect the people from the bourgeois parasites”. Maybe it’s true after all, I mused to myself on hearing the news: Ed Miliband really is setting the political agenda. (more…)

Labour are in poll position but here’s why the Tories could still win the next election

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the Mirror.

From the moment the Lib Dems joined the Conservatives in coalition, the next election was Labour’s to lose. Half the people who had voted for Nick Clegg’s party – many of them wanting to keep the Tories out – went straight to Labour, giving their new leader Ed Miliband a big head start. Worse, from the David Cameron’s point of view, Labour could still win outright with a lower share of the vote than the Tories could – and the Lib Dems locked in Labour’s advantage by blocking a plan to make constituency boundaries fairer.

The trickle of Tory voters towards UKIP has made life even more difficult for Cameron. And as I found in my recent poll of marginal seats, things look even tougher for the Conservatives on the key battlegrounds than they do nationally. Not surprisingly, the bookies have Labour as firm favourites to return to government.

So why, as a Tory, do I think we are in for the closest election for forty years – and that we could see another term of Prime Minister Cameron? (more…)