Some surprises in my new constituency polling – and a look at the leaders’ backyards

By Lord Ashcroft

My latest round of constituency polling includes an assortment of seats and some intriguing results.

Of the eighteen seats I have polled over the past four weeks, eleven are held by the Liberal Democrats with the Conservatives in second place. These have bigger majorities than those I have previously surveyed on the Lib Dem battleground, from 9.3% (Cheltenham) to 15.2% (Hazel Grove). To these I have added Watford, the most closely contested of the Conservative seats I have polled where the Lib Dems were second in 2010.

I have also looked at Burnley and Birmingham Yardley, two Lib Dem-held Labour targets not yet covered in my research. And though it does not fit easily into any category, having had an independent MP over two parliaments who finished second at the last election, I have also looked at Wyre Forest.

In addition to these I thought it would be interesting to poll the constituencies of the three leaders of the opposition: Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North, Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam (the electoral opposition, if not technically the Opposition) and Thanet South, where Nigel Farage hopes to be elected next May. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 27%, Lab 32%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 18%, Green 7%

By Lord Ashcroft

Labour are five points ahead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. Labour’s share is up two points since last week at 32%, with the Conservatives down two at 27%, the Liberal Democrats down two at 7%, UKIP up two at 18%, the Greens unchanged on 7% and the SNP up one point at 5%.

All these changes are well within the margin of error and are not significant in themselves. What matters is whether Labour will be able to sustain a lead over the coming weeks or if the recent narrower pattern continues. (more…)

Nigel Farage is right – after Rochester all general election bets are off

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the The Guardian


It is not often that Nigel Farage finds himself at the centre of a political consensus, but he spoke for Westminster in his analysis of what Ukip’s Rochester victory meant for the general election. “All bets are off,” he declared. “The whole thing’s up in the air.” This has not stopped the political classes fretting over the weekend about What It All Means. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 29%, Lab 30%, Lib Dem 9%, UKIP 16%, Green 7%

By Lord Ashcroft

For the fourth week running the Conservatives and Labour are within one point of each other in the Ashcroft National Poll. The headline result is a reversal of that of the last two weeks: over the past weekend I found Labour a point ahead on 30%, the Tories second on 29%, and the Liberal Democrats down one on 9%. UKIP, the Greens and the SNP remain unchanged at 16%, 7% and 4% respectively.

This is the third consecutive week in which Labour and the Conservatives have commanded a vote share of less than 60% between them. (more…)

UKIP lead by 12 points in Rochester & Strood – but what will happen next May?

By Lord Ashcroft

UKIP lead the Conservatives by 44% to 32% in the Rochester & Strood by-election, according to my poll of the constituency completed yesterday. Labour are a distant third with 17%, with the Liberal Democrats on 2%.

The previous three polls of the campaign have all found the Conservatives on between 30% and 33%. While UKIP appear to have consolidated their position over the course of the campaign, Labour have declined from the mid-twenties to the mid-teens.

In my poll just over half (54%) of 2010 Conservative voters naming a party said they would stay with the Tories in the by-election, while 44% would switch to UKIP. (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 30%, Lab 29%, Lib Dem 10%, UKIP 16%, Green 7%

By Lord Ashcroft

The Conservatives hold onto their one-point lead over Labour in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. Vote shares for the four biggest parties remain unchanged since last week, with the Tories on 30%, Labour on 29%, UKIP on 16% and the Liberal Democrats holding on to their 10%, a result which party president Tim Farron joked was causing champagne corks to pop at Lib Dem HQ last week. The Greens are up one point at 7% and the SNP down one at 4%. (more…)

Labour ahead in more Conservative seats – but not by much

By Lord Ashcroft

In my previous round of battleground polling, published last month, I looked at eleven constituencies where the Conservatives have majorities of up to 4.8% over Labour. I found that nine of them would change hands on the basis of my snapshots, with swings to Labour ranging from 2% to 8%, averaging 5% in the seats as a whole.

This time I have looked further down the Conservative defence list, at twelve seats with majorities of between 1,936 or 4.8% (Northampton North) and 3,744 or 7.1% (Loughborough).

Taking the seats together, on the basis of the total sample of 12,008, Labour led the Conservatives by 36% to 33%, a swing of 4.5% since the 2010 election. However, if the findings in individual constituencies were repeated at the election, three of the twelve would stay blue (more…)

Ashcroft National Poll: Con 30%, Lab 29%, Lib Dem 10%, UKIP 16%, Green 6%

By Lord Ashcroft

The Conservatives have taken a one-point lead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. All changes since last week’s tie are small, with the Tories dropping a point to 30% and Labour down two points on 29%. UKIP are down two at 16%, and the Liberal Democrats up three to 10%, the first time they have broken into double figures in the ANP since July: we will see over the coming weeks whether this heralds the start of a sustained recovery. The Greens are up one point at 6% and the SNP have 5%. (more…)