Publications

Changing times means the Government needs to rethink the future of The Times

By Lord Ashcroft

As the editor of The Times, James Harding produced a lively, award-winning newspaper as well as enjoying the admiration and support of his staff.

However, this week he learnt that to survive in the post every editor also needs the confidence and backing of his, or her, proprietor – particularly when that person is Rupert Murdoch, the world’s most powerful media mogul.

I discovered some months ago through senior sources that Mr Harding was on borrowed time – for various reasons he had lost Mr Murdoch’s confidence to an extent where the relationship could not be repaired. After that, there was only going to be one outcome – Mr Harding’s departure. He resigned on Wednesday.

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The Armed Forces & Society

By Lord Ashcroft

Since 2001 our Armed Forces have been more in the public eye than at any time since the Second World War. As we mark thirty years since the Falklands’ liberation, and thousands of personnel face the prospect of redundancy, it is a good time to take stock of our relationship with the Forces and the men and women who serve in them.

General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, has kindly allowed me to conduct the biggest ever independent research project among military personnel. We also spoke to veterans, employers, American Service personnel, and the general public in Britain and the US.

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It’s Not You, It’s Them

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By Lord Ashcroft

The main purpose of this website is to set out the findings of my research in a way that readers will find clear and easy to digest. I know, however, that many people still prefer to reach for a volume from their shelves. For them, I have published It’s Not You, It’s Them, a collection of my political work since the 2010 general election.

The subtitle of the book – Research To Remind Politicians What Matters – sums up what I try to achieve with my polling. In my experience, people in politics are usually well motivated and want to serve. But they often find it hard to appreciate one important point: the mere fact that politics occupies much of their attention makes them different from (without wishing to offend anyone) normal people.

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Ethnic minority voters and the Conservative Party

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By Lord Ashcroft

At the 2010 election, only 16% of ethnic minority voters supported the Conservatives. More than two thirds voted Labour. Not being white was the single best predictor that somebody would not vote Conservative.

The gulf between the Conservative Party and ethnic minority voters is a well-known feature of British politics. I decided to explore the problem in more detail. The results of the research – which involved a 10,000-sample poll and 20 discussion groups with voters from black African, black Caribbean, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh backgrounds – are detailed in my latest report, Degrees of Separation: Ethnic minority voters and the Conservative Party.

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The ChEx Factor

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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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Project Blueprint Phase 2

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By Lord Ashcroft

Project Blueprint, launched in May 2011, aimed to examine the state of the Conservative voting coalition and to help identify what the party needed to do to achieve an overall majority at the next election. Phase 2 of the project reviews progress towards that goal. It looks at the government’s performance in the eyes both of those who voted Conservative in 2010, and those who considered doing so but decided not to.

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Poll of marginal Conservative seats

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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

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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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Project Blueprint

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By Lord Ashcroft

Following David Cameron’s first anniversary as Prime Minister, comment has been dominated by the state of the coalition government. To me, this is intriguing but secondary. What matters to me is not so much the coalition between the parties, but how to create the coalition of voters who will elect a Conservative government with an overall majority. The purpose of Project Blueprint is to help work out how to build this election-winning Conservative voting coalition.

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Crime, Punishment & The People

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By Lord Ashcroft

Whether or not they voted Conservative in 2010, most voters expected a Conservative-led government to be tougher on crime, and more effective in dealing with law and order, than its predecessor. When, after the election, the coalition government began to talk about a new approach that placed more emphasis on community sentencing and rehabilitation and less emphasis on prison, I decided to find out whether this was likely to restore confidence in the criminal justice system, or undermine it. Research among the general public, victims of crime, and police officers has produced striking results.

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