What I told the Tories in Birmingham

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By Lord Ashcroft

Below is the text of my presentation at the Conservative Party Conference this afternoon setting out my latest research in marginal seats and the Tories’ challenge in building an election-winning coalition of voters. The slides from my presentation are here.

Good afternoon and as the proud proprietor of Conservative Home let me add my welcome to this event which is intended to set the scene and explain the public opinion backdrop to our last party conference before the general election. (more…)

The wider Liberal Democrat battleground

By Lord Ashcroft

In the latest round of constituency research I have returned to the Liberal Democrat battleground. My study of the most marginal seats the Lib Dems were defending against Labour and the Conservatives, published in June, found the party on course to lose most of its most vulnerable seats, with a few notable exceptions. Over the summer I have looked at seats in England where the Lib Dems are defending bigger majorities to see how vulnerable they are against either rival. (more…)

Project Blueprint Phase 5: The coalition of the willing

By Lord Ashcroft

In the eight months remaining before the general election many voters face a dilemma. They prefer Labour to the Conservatives, but would rather have David Cameron in Downing Street than Ed Miliband. They wonder whose side the Tories are on, but doubt that Labour can be trusted with the economy or have learned the right lessons from their last spell in office.

Starting today in Birmingham David Cameron must help them resolve their quandary in his party’s favour. My latest research, involving a poll of over 8,000 people and discussions with undecided voters around the country, helps to show how he can do it. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 27%, Lab 33%, Lib Dem 9%, UKIP 17%, Green 6%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour are back in the lead by six points in this week’s Ashcroft National poll, conducted over the past weekend. The party remain unchanged on 33%, with the Conservatives on 27%, UKIP up three points to 17%, the Liberal Democrats and Greens static on 9% and 6% respectively, and Others up two points to 8%. The margin is comparable to the five-point Labour advantage in yesterday’s YouGov’s poll, which also found the party’s advantage up on last week. (more…)

Victory for Project Reasonable Caution – but let’s not learn the wrong lessons

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By Lord Ashcroft

In my post-referendum poll in Scotland last Thursday I asked those who had voted No to independence which of three overarching reasons was the most important to their decision. Only just over a quarter named “a strong attachment to the UK and its shared history, culture and traditions”. Even fewer (25%) said it was that a No vote “would still mean extra powers for the Scottish Parliament together with the security of remaining part of the UK, giving the best of both worlds”.

By far the most important reason was that “the risks of becoming independent looked too great when it came to things like the currency, EU membership, the economy, jobs and prices”. (more…)

How Scotland voted, and why

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By Lord Ashcroft

Overnight I have polled more than 2,000 people who voted in the Scottish referendum. The results help us understand what happened, and why.

The results indicate that the No campaign won among men (by a six-point margin) as well as women (by twelve points). As expected, older voters were the most decisively opposed to independence, with nearly three quarters (73%) of those aged 65 or over voting No.

Also not surprisingly, Conservative voters were the most staunchly Unionist, with 95% voting to reject independence. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 33%, Lab 33%, Lib Dem 9%, UKIP 14%, Green 6%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour and the Conservatives are level on 33% in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted between Friday and Sunday. The result reflects a tightening found by other pollsters in recent days: Populus found the Labour lead narrowing from four points last week to one point today, and on Friday Ipsos MORI put the Tories a point ahead.

It is worth remembering, though, that we should not pay too much attention to individual surveys or movements between one poll and the next. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 28%, Lab 35%, Lib Dem 8%, UKIP 18%, Green 6%

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By Lord Ashcroft

Labour lead by seven points in the latest Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. The party is up two points since the last ANP at the beginning of August to 35%; the Conservatives are down two at 28%, and the other parties are unchanged: UKIP on 18%, the Liberal Democrats on 8% and the Greens on 6%. (more…)

UKIP 32 points ahead in Clacton

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By Lord Ashcroft

The Prime Minister’s birthday this year is unlikely to be his happiest, but at least he knows what he is going to get. My poll on the Clacton by-election, to be held on 9 October, the day David Cameron turns forty-eight, has found UKIP on 56 per cent, 32 points ahead of the Conservatives on 24 per cent. Labour were on 16 per cent, and the Liberal Democrats and Others on 2 per cent each.

More than half (59 per cent) of those who voted Conservative at the last general election said they would switch to UKIP, as did 45 per cent of 2010 Labour voters. Most of the Clacton electorate, including nearly nine out of ten UKIP supporters and more than half of Tories, expected Douglas Carswell to hold the seat for his new party. (more…)

Swing to Labour extends deeper into Tory territory

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By Lord Ashcroft

In previous rounds of battleground research I have looked at the twelve most marginal Conservative-held seats with Labour in second place, and the twelve Labour-held seats with the smallest majorities over the Tories. Last month I re-surveyed the Conservative seats, many of which look competitive despite the overall swing to Labour.

The same could not be said of most of the Labour territory included in the first round, where I found Labour leads of up to 21 points. In my latest round of battleground polling I have therefore concentrated on the four Tory targets in which I found the smallest leads in the spring: Birmingham Edgbaston, Bolton West, Hampstead & Kilburn and Southampton Itchen.

Instead of returning to constituencies where Labour were comfortable I have looked at the wider battleground – the second tier of Labour targets with bigger Conservative majorities (more…)