Marginal seats

Conservative-held UKIP targets

By Lord Ashcroft

In my latest round of marginals research I have looked at four constituencies where it has been suggested UKIP pose a challenge to the Conservatives: Boston & Skegness, which UKIP “won” in the 2013 local elections; Castle Point, where Bob Spink, the first MP to sit for UKIP, came second in 2010; South Basildon & East Thurrock, which is adjacent to one of the party’s best prospects; and North East Cambridgeshire, where the Tories have had concerns in a county where UKIP have had some success in local elections (more…)

Sheffield Hallam, Doncaster North and Thanet South

By Lord Ashcroft

Earlier this week it came to light that a poll I published last November in Sheffield Hallam included a mistake in the data. Concerned that this may not have been an isolated incident, I reviewed two other polls I commissioned from the same company at the same time. As I feared, the mistakes had been repeated.

The data has now been corrected, and the upshot is that in Sheffield Hallam, rather than having a three-point lead Nick Clegg should have been three points behind Labour (more…)

The Scottish battleground

By Lord Ashcroft

Most of my constituency research is focused on marginal seats. But in post-referendum Scotland, the concept of a marginal seat is rather obsolete. Huge swings to the SNP in national polls suggest that even some MPs who must have thought they had a job for life are threatened.

My first round of Scottish constituency research therefore required a different approach. I decided to look primarily at Labour seats – including some with colossal majorities – in areas which voted yes to independence, or where the result was very close (more…)

Watch my Sky News interview on polling and the marginals

By Lord Ashcroft

Yesterday I was interviewed about my polling on Sky News by Joey Jones. You can watch the interview here:


Click here to see full story on Sky News

No predictions from me – but here’s a whole gallery of snapshots

By Lord Ashcroft

Last week, along with various colleagues from the polling fraternity, I was asked by the Independent on Sunday to make a prediction about the election. At the risk of looking like a spoilsport I declined, as I always do when faced with such a question. I felt my usual answer – “I think it’s going to be quite exciting” – was not exactly what the editor would be looking for.

As was clear from the answers of those who bravely or recklessly did take part, nobody is very sure exactly what to expect (more…)

Moderate Tory cheer and a fright for Labour in my final marginals poll of 2014

By Lord Ashcroft

Two types of constituencies feature in my last round of marginals polling for 2014. First, the next tranche of seats the Conservatives are defending from Labour; second, a selection of seats where Labour may be under threat from UKIP. I have also returned to the solitary Green constituency, Brighton Pavilion.

In previous rounds I have said I wanted to find the point in the Conservative-Labour battleground at which seats consistently stay blue and the damage stops. Well, it has not stopped yet, though I suspect Labour will be disappointed not to be inflicting more of it. (more…)

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…)

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…)

Back to the Con-Lab battleground

By Lord Ashcroft

In my latest battleground polling I have looked at Conservative-held seats with Labour in second place which on paper are safer than those in my previous research. This round includes eleven constituencies with majorities of between 1,328 or 3.1% (Brighton Kemptown) and 2,420 or 4.8% (Gloucester).

The overall swing from Conservative to Labour in this group of seats was 5%, but as in previous rounds there was some variation between constituencies (more…)

What I told the Tories in Birmingham

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…)