Ashcroft Model update: absent UKIP, and Labour’s enthusiasm question

By Lord Ashcroft

Last week I launched the Ashcroft Model – a project bringing together large-scale surveys and detailed census data to help understand what could be happening at constituency level in the general election: which party is likely to be ahead in each seat, and the potential implications for overall seat numbers in the House of Commons. I explained how it works here. Today, as will be the case every week until the election, I am updating the model’s estimates based on a further 2,000-sample survey, conducted over the past week but before the party manifesto launches. Here are the main points:

 

Lack of UKIP candidates most helps the Conservatives

The biggest change since the model’s launch last week is that nominations have closed, which means we now know exactly who is standing where, and more importantly, who is not. UKIP are not fielding candidates in 255 seats, including many where they won thousands of votes in 2015 (often more than the margin between the first and second-placed parties). All the polls show that former UKIP voters are splitting disproportionately for the Conservatives, and this is reflected in the estimates from the Ashcroft Model (more…)

“Vote Labour and get a free kitten”: my election focus groups, with three weeks to go

By Lord Ashcroft

Our third week of general election focus groups took place in three Labour-held seats in the north of England: Wakefield, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland. Only a couple of participants had so far seen any evidence of street campaigning: “The Labour Party were outside my son’s school two weeks ago, with leaflets to all parents. I was surprised really. I thought, time and place. I didn’t think it was appropriate.” The others, however, were by no means insulated from the campaign. “On Facebook it’s rife”. Most of the political messages these groups had seen were in support of Labour, and evidently designed to reinvigorate what had once been the party’s base. What kind of thing had they seen? “She’s on about bringing back fox hunting. I mean, what’s that? Tally-ho and running up and down and ripping foxes to pieces for the elite (more…)

Ashcroft Election Tour podcast: Wakefield, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough

By Lord Ashcroft

Voters in three Labour-held seats targeted by the Conservatives react to the week’s manifesto launches and other election news, and explain how they will make their decision over the next three weeks.

 

Election 2017: The Ashcroft Model

By Lord Ashcroft

The night of 7 May, 2015 is one that most pollsters would rather forget. Different surveys using different methodologies came to the collective conclusion that Britain was set for something close to a dead heat – an expectation that was shattered by the official exit poll and quickly swept away as results began to pile up. My own final national poll, completed the night before the election, also produced a tie between Labour and the Tories. Not only that, I had published polls in more than 160 individual constituencies – some of which proved to be bang on, and others of which, let’s be honest, didn’t.

The British Polling Council’s subsequent inquiry into the polls’ performance concluded that the problem had been one of sampling: that the people who took part in surveys were not properly representative of the wider public. This challenge has made polling on voting intention an increasingly hazardous business. The various pollsters whose results we read every day have adjusted their methods in the light of the inquiry’s findings, and I wish them nothing but the very best of luck. But for this election, I have decided to try something different.

Today I am launching a new model designed to estimate opinion across the country and in individual constituencies, and to give a sense of how this could translate into seats in the House of Commons (more…)

“Values don’t mean piddly-doop – you need a leader”: my election focus groups, with four weeks to go

By Lord Ashcroft

This week my general election focus groups took place in three seats Labour are defending from the Conservatives in the West Midlands: Wolverhampton South West, Birmingham Northfields and Dudley North. We spoke to people who had voted Labour in 2015 – most of whom had never voted anything but Labour in a national election – but who now said they were undecided what to do on 8 June.

The Tories enjoyed a boost in the region last week when Andy Street was elected the first West Midlands Mayor. The majority in our groups had not voted (turnout was a mere 27 per cent) but most of those who did backed the winner. They said the candidates’ qualities had mattered more in the decision than party labels: “I voted for the John Lewis guy (more…)

Ashcroft Election Tour podcast: Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Dudley

By Lord Ashcroft

Undecided previous Labour voters in the West Midlands discuss Labour’s campaign launch, tax pledges, why Brexit makes this election different, the Prime Ministerial appearance on The One Show, and the party leaders as cartoon characters.

 

The general election isn’t just about Brexit

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was published before the local elections at TIME.com.

 

“You’re joking?! Not another one? Oh for God’s sake I can’t, honestly, I can’t stand this.” So said a lady called Brenda, from the British city of Bristol, when told by a local journalist of Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call an unexpected general election for 8 June. “There’s too much politics going on at the moment,” she added.

Brenda is not alone in that assessment. After a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, a general election in 2015, and another referendum on EU membership in 2016 — followed closely by the vicarious excitement of the Trump-Clinton showdown in the U.S. — many in Britain feel they have endured quite enough campaigning for the time being (more…)

“It’s Emirates v. EasyJet”: my election focus groups, with five weeks to go

By Lord Ashcroft

If you want to know what’s really happening in an election, ask the voters. As in 2015, and at the referendum, my polling team will conduct focus groups around the country to hear what real people make of the campaigns, parties, leaders and issues, and each week I will report what they have to say. And you don’t have to take my word for it – you can listen for yourself on the weekly Ashcroft Election Tour podcast, the inaugural edition of which is also out today.

We begin our tour in London, in three seats that illustrate the complicated dynamics of this election: Bermondsey & Old Southwark, which the Liberal Democrats are aiming to take back from Labour; Twickenham, now a Tory seat which is under threat from the Lib Dems; and Brentford & Isleworth which, if Labour lose it to the Conservatives, will have changed hands three elections running.

 

Snap!

By no means everyone welcomed the prospect of such an early return to the polling station. “I think it’s a bit cheeky (more…)

Ashcroft Election Tour podcast: Bermondsey, Brentford and Twickenham

By Lord Ashcroft

Every week until the general election, the Lord Ashcroft Polls team will visit constituencies around Britain to find out what people from all walks of life think about the parties, the leaders and the issues as they approach their decision on 8 June.

This week we hear from undecided voters in Brentford & Isleworth, Bermondsey & Old Southwark, and Twickenham.

 

 

“Dad’s home”: The first 100 days of President Trump, as seen from Texas

By Lord Ashcroft

The latest edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast is here

It may be a “ridiculous” way to judge success, as Donald Trump tweeted last week, but a President’s record after one hundred days in office has become an important benchmark, and Trump reaches it tomorrow. We came to Texas – widely seen as the quintessential red state, but one which he won by a much narrower margin than Mitt Romney managed four years earlier – to find out what the voters made of the show so far (more…)