Labour Party

What does and doesn’t matter most to voters about the Libor scandal

By Lord Ashcroft

The following genuine conversation was overheard yesterday on the tube. A man in his twenties was flicking through the Metro. His friend, also in his twenties, glanced over at the front page and said,

“That’s Bob Diamond!”

“Who?” asked Man A.

“The Barclays chief executive. You know.”

Man A frowned at the paper.

“I don’t know the origin of this scandal”.

“He says the Bank of England told them to fix the Libor.”

“What’s the Libor?”

“It’s, like, the interest rate that  banks use to lend to each other. They made it artificially low”.

“So that must have been great for the borrowers, right?”

“No, it was just to make their profits look bigger.”

Man A considered this.

“Apparently it’s going to be sunny at the weekend”.

That may not be everything you need to know about the political implications of the Libor scandal, but it is a good place to start. (more…)

Why a Tory onslaught on Ed Miliband could backfire

By Lord Ashcroft

David Cameron is falling in voters’ estimation. Last weekend YouGov found his net satisfaction rating – the number thinking he is doing well, minus the (rather greater) number who think he is doing badly – is the same as Ed Miliband’s. No survey has put Miliband ahead on the question of who would make the best prime minister. Nevertheless, the latest figures are causing angst in Tory circles.

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How damaging has the latest party funding story really been?

By Lord Ashcroft

After a week like last week, it is all too easy to panic. This rarely helps. I decided to conduct a poll over the weekend to put things into perspective, and in particular to shed light on one of the issues – party funding – that has added to the Tories’ woes. We asked voters how much they had heard about three stories: “people who have donated large sums of money to the Conservative Party having dinner with the Prime Minister at Number 10”, “changes in the Budget that will mean some pensioners paying more in income tax – which some have called the ‘granny tax’”, and “putting new taxes on hot food bought in shops, including pies and pasties”. Three quarters said they had heard a great deal or quite a lot about the “granny tax”, two thirds said the same about the pasty tax, and just over half said the same about “cash for Cameron”.

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Feltham & Heston: should Labour be doing better?

By Lord Ashcroft

Labour are 22 points ahead in the Feltham & Heston by-election, according to my latest poll. With a 52% vote share in the week before polling day, Seema Malhotra seems to be on course for what looks like a convincing victory.

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The ChEx Factor

By Lord Ashcroft

The ChEx Factor: Economic Leadership In Hard Times explores how voters see the economy, what most concerns them, how they think the government is handling things, and what – if anything – would be different if Labour were in power. In this research I have also taken the opportunity to find out what voters think about the Chancellor and his Labour shadow, Ed Balls.

In the Autumn Statement, voters will be more impressed to hear honest gloom from Mr Osborne than a cheerful assessment that seems to deny the evidence of their own eyes. Few believe there is much that he, or any government, could do today to overcome the economic crisis.

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Poll of marginal Conservative seats

By Lord Ashcroft

In August 2011 I conducted a poll of 41 marginal Conservative-held seats to find out whether the static national polls were hiding a more nuanced picture on this crucial battleground. The results constitute mixed news for the Conservative Party – the findings are more encouraging for Tories where the Liberal Democrats are in second place than in constituencies where Labour are the main opponents.

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The Leadership Factor

By Lord Ashcroft

In The Leadership Factor I have looked in depth at how voters see each of the three party leaders, and the extent to which each leader is an asset or a liability for their party – a draw or a drag.

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It was right for the Tories not to waste money in Oldham

By Lord Ashcroft

Two principal questions are preoccupying Conservative commentators about the result from Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election. First, was the Liberal Democrat vote share largely due to tactical voting by previous Conservative supporters? Second, would a bigger Conservative presence on the campaign trail have made any significant difference to the result? I decided to find out over the weekend by re-polling 500 of the voters who took part in my pre-election survey (which turned out to be very accurate). The answers to the questions are: yes, and almost certainly not.

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Labour set to hold Oldham East & Saddleworth

By Lord Ashcroft

Labour look set to hold the Oldham East & Saddleworth seat rather more comfortably than they did at the general election. For all the speculation, this by-election was always Labour’s to lose.

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How to handle Ed?

By Lord Ashcroft

As Ed Miliband returns to work this week after the birth of his son, Conservatives will be wishing his family well – while considering what can be done to ensure the Labour leader’s political fortunes do not prosper. Two schools of thought are apparently emerging: one, that the Tories should subject Mr Miliband to relentless assault in much the same way as Labour treated William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith; the other, that he is proving so uninspiring that we should leave him alone in the hope that he remains in post indefinitely. Both these arguments make the mistake of assuming that Mr Miliband’s success or failure, and how he is seen by the voters, will be determined by what the Tories choose to say about him.

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