The space for a new party isn’t just in the centre of politics

By Lord Ashcroft

Divided though we are, one thing everyone in the country seems to agree on is that they are sick to the back teeth of our political class. Individual politicians still sometimes inspire support or admiration – Theresa May not least among them, it should be said. But depending on your point of view, politicians have either failed to deliver on a clear and unambiguous promise to the voters, or spent two years indulging their own obsessions at the expense of things that really matter, or some combination of the two. Whatever the outcome of the current debacle, one casualty could be the parties as we know them today, with The Independent Group – in its new guise as Change UK – in the vanguard of a new political order.

Bring it on, many will think. But beyond general exasperation, what is the real nature of people’s discontent? Where is the real space for a new movement, and what could this new world look like? (more…)

Mind the Gap(s): why the Brexit debacle has put both Labour and the Tories under threat from new parties

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the Mail on Sunday.

 

Ten years ago, when I was responsible for the Tories’ private polling as the party’s Deputy Chairman, we often asked voters to choose from a selection of words and pictures those which they most associated with the main parties. The Conservative selection would invariably include a picture of an aristocratic family standing outside an enormous house, and other indications that the party was for the rich and out of touch with ordinary people. Labour’s often featured a fat man lazing on a sofa, usually signifying those who lived this way rather than going to work.

Over the last month I have repeated this exercise – and if a week is a long time in politics, in terms of the party brands the last decade might as well not have happened (more…)

A reminder of how Britain voted in the EU referendum – and why

By Lord Ashcroft

Following the week’s parliamentary drama, here is a reminder of how – and crucially, why – the UK voted in the EU referendum in June 2016.

*

24 June 2016

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. On referendum day I surveyed 12,369 people after they had voted to help explain the result – who voted for which outcome, and what lay behind their decision.

 

The demographics

  • The older the voters, the more likely they were to have voted to leave the EU. Nearly three quarters (73%) of 18 to 24 year-olds voted to remain, falling to under two thirds (62%) among 25-34s. A majority of those aged over 45 voted to leave, rising to 60% of those aged 65 or over. Most people with children aged ten or under voted to remain; most of those with children aged 11 or older voted to leave.

(more…)

‘There’s not going to be a single Democrat that can go toe-to-to with the President’ – my interview with Trump press chief Kayleigh McEnany

By Lord Ashcroft

If you enjoyed the last presidential election, you’ll be delighted by the thought that we’re only 20 months away from the next one. Characteristically enough, Donald Trump declared his intention to seek a second term earlier than any previous incumbent, and his campaign is already in what Americans like to call “the staffing up process.” One of the earliest senior appointments is Kayleigh McEnany, the former CNN commentator named earlier this month as the campaign’s national press secretary. I met her last week at the Trump campaign headquarters in Northern Virginia for a discussion you can hear in full in the latest Ashcroft in America podcast.

If candidate Trump’s slogan in 2016 was Make America Great Again, I asked, how far is he going to claim to have achieved that by 2020? “Moving forward, it’s ‘keep America great’ (more…)

Ashcroft in America podcast – my interview with Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

By Lord Ashcroft

In the latest edition of the Ashcroft in America podcast I speak to Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary on Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, about the President’s record, the prospects for 2020, his likely opponent, and communicating with sceptical voters in an age of fake news.

 

“It’s not the apocalypse. Calm down” – my Brexit limbo focus groups

By Lord Ashcroft

Last week’s pause in the parliamentary shenanigans over Brexit provided an opportunity to hear what the voters made of it all. This I did with a round of focus groups, conducted in London, Plymouth, Leeds and Newcastle. Though few have the time or patience to digest every morsel of Westminster news, their summary of the state of play was always succinct: “Theresa has had to go back to Europe, but they’ve said ‘non’,” was a typical summary. “She’s just collecting air miles. She’s going round in circles;” “As a country we now look very weak and very silly to the rest of the world. It’s come to the point that it’s almost embarrassing (more…)

How the UK voted on Brexit, and why – a refresher

By Lord Ashcroft

On 23 June 2016 I conducted a survey of over 12,000 people who had just voted in the EU referendum. With the politicians still talking and the 29 March deadline looming, it is worth reading again how the country voted, and why.

*

24 June 2016

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. On referendum day I surveyed 12,369 people after they had voted to help explain the result – who voted for which outcome, and what lay behind their decision.

 

The demographics

  • The older the voters, the more likely they were to have voted to leave the EU. Nearly three quarters (73%) of 18 to 24 year-olds voted to remain, falling to under two thirds (62%) among 25-34s. A majority of those aged over 45 voted to leave, rising to 60% of those aged 65 or over. Most people with children aged ten or under voted to remain; most of those with children aged 11 or older voted to leave.

(more…)

The Republican Party’s best hope for 2020? The left’s indignation

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published at TIME.com

This past weekend marked the midway point between the last presidential inauguration and the next one. The contours of the race to decide who gets to deliver the next inaugural address are already beginning to emerge, and it promises to be no less spectacular than the last one. My research over the last two years, including a survey of 15,000 people conducted after November’s midterm elections, gives some clues as to how the battle might unfold (more…)

My new book on President Trump, American voters and the 2020 election

By Lord Ashcroft

The start of 2019 is midway between the last presidential inauguration and the next – but will it also prove the halfway point in Donald Trump’s presidency? Following up Hopes and Fears, which set out why America sent Trump to the White House, Half-Time! American public opinion midway through Trump’s (first?) term – and the race to 2020 brings together more than two years of research from my Ashcroft in America project, exploring what the voters make of the President’s agenda and character, how they see the issues at stake and – with voices at the far ends of the political spectrum set to dominate the debate – how they are lining up for the 2020 election.

The book is now available to order from Biteback Publishing (more…)

Trump at half-time and the race to 2020: five points from my research

By Lord Ashcroft

Yesterday was the second anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration as President. Other things being equal, the next such ceremony will take place on 20 January 2021. In other words, we are now into the second half of Trump’s term – or should that be his current term? Since the 2016 election campaign, my Ashcroft in America project has helped explain how Donald Trump came to be elected, the hopes and fears of his supporters and opponents, and what they make of the unfolding story of his presidency and its seemingly endless controversies.

My new book, Half-Time! American Public Opinion Midway Through Trump’s (First?) Term – and the Race to 2020 brings together two years of research with new polling conducted since last November’s midterms to explore how different parts of the electorate see the President and his agenda, and how they are lining up for next year’s showdown. Here are five of the big points (more…)