My new polling from Ukraine, Russia – and 11 neighbouring countries

By Lord Ashcroft

Below is the text of my presentation to the International Democrat Union Forum in Berlin: Regional Views on the War in Ukraine.

Over the last three weeks I have conducted polls in both Ukraine and Russia, along with 11 other countries in the region: Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Serbia and Georgia.



Let’s start with the conflict itself. In Ukraine, people are digging in for a long war. More than two in three Ukrainians expect the conflict to last at least another four months – more than in any other country we surveyed. A quarter expect it to be going on more than a year from now (more…)

Canadian politics after covid

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published in Canada’s National Post

One reason the Ottawa truckers’ protest at the start of this year captured international attention was that political flashpoints are vanishingly rare in what is, to outsiders, a famously harmonious country.

As a pollster used to studying the fractious politics of Britain and the US, I wondered whether the blockade was an isolated blot on Canada’s peaceful political landscape, or a sign of emerging tensions. I also wanted to see what the results meant for the long-serving Trudeau government and – as a former deputy chairman of the UK Conservatives during their long wilderness years – for the centre-right opposition as it chooses a new leader and a new direction.

My poll of 10,000 Canadians, together with focus groups throughout the country, finds few signs of the polarisation that shapes politics in the US and parts of Europe. Canadians largely agree that their country is among the best places in the world to live, that opportunities exist for those prepared to take them, and that more should be done to promote the rights of indigenous people. There is a wide consensus that in important respects Canadian life has improved in recent years, especially when it comes to the environment, minority rights and embracing diversity.

But Canadians also agree on what has got worse (more…)

“He’s a bit of a geezer, in an Eton sort of way”: my by-election focus groups in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton

By Lord Ashcroft

By-elections are hardly ever convenient for a government, but next week’s contests in marginal Wakefield and supposedly safe Tiverton & Honiton are especially inopportune. The events that precipitated each of them have hardly helped, judging from my focus groups of 2019 Conservatives in both constituencies this week.

“It’s a bit more serious than partygate, isn’t it,” as a man in the West Yorkshire seat put it. “OK, he was found guilty but the thing that got me was that part of the Tory party was told before he was elected. They knew beforehand but stood by him.” Not everyone agreed (“it was an individual – people like that can get into everywhere”) but there was no doubt the former MP Imran Khan’s offence had “tarnished things.”

In Devon, some were sorry to see the demise of Neil Parish. “Being a farmer, I think it’s a shame. He was a farmer himself and he was a good advocate for us.” Even so, he had to go. “There’s a combine called the Dominator, so I can see that, but he did do it a second time. He’s done the right thing and resigned. It’s what it was, silly boy, and it’s a shame because he was a good MP.” Some of the women took a different view. “I thought he was a right numpty before that,” said one, “so it wasn’t a surprise (more…)