The new political landscape – and what Britain expects from Brexit

By Lord Ashcroft

My latest research is a comprehensive survey of the political landscape as Britain embarks on two years of negotiations over the terms on which it will leave the European Union. Based on a 10,000-sample poll and focus groups around the country, the project asks what voters hope and expect to get from the Brexit deal, how they balance immigration control and access to the single market, the status of EU nationals already in Britain, people’s confidence that the Prime Minister will secure a good deal, and how the Brexit negotiations compare in importance to other priorities.

The research also looks in detail at attitudes to the political parties and leaders, who is switching, and why.

I have written about the main findings and their implications in today’s Sunday Telegraph. (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

What really changed over the conference season?

By Lord Ashcroft

Once  again Ukip has seized the political agenda and left the older parties flailing for a response. Douglas Carswell’s spectacular victory in Clacton was at least expected — but Ukip’s quiet insurgency in Heywood and Middleton has shocked the political establishment. If it can come close to snatching a safe seat from under Labour’s nose, where else could it strike?

My own regular national poll — as well as the daily YouGov polls published in The Sun — put the Tories tantalisingly ahead last week. But when it comes to the fundamentals, how much has really changed over the conference season? (more…)

Vote UKIP, get…?

By Lord Ashcroft

In the wake of this week’s Clegg-Farage Euro debate – the Division Two play-offs of British politics – the Conservatives in particular will be honing their pitch to former supporters tempted by UKIP.

Mr Farage says most UKIP voters are not ex-Tories, and this is true. But it is also true that they are more likely to be ex-Tories than anything else. For these people, the Conservatives have settled on the message that however much they may like what Nigel has to say, the better UKIP do next May the more likely it is that Her Majesty will have to ask Ed Miliband to form a government. (more…)

Counting the ‘Kippers

By Lord Ashcroft

How are UKIP doing in the polls? Well, it depends which polls you look at. At the end of last month, one survey put the party on 7%; the following day another poll from a different company had them at 19%. In an article in the Independent on Sunday, Nigel Farage has accused various pollsters, and me in particular, of underestimating his party’s support and trying to reinforce the idea “that a UKIP vote is a Tory vote”. (more…)

A memo to Nigel Farage

By Lord Ashcroft

Dear Nigel,

As you know I have taken quite an interest in UKIP’s fortunes, and what they portend for the Conservatives. I have followed your career with interest, and I must confess I always enjoy your contributions. I particularly liked your joke that you worked hard in the City of London for twenty years, at least until lunch time.

But there is one thing I wonder about. What exactly are you up to?


The UKIP threat is not about Europe

By Lord Ashcroft

Last month the UK Independence Party came second in two parliamentary by-elections, in Rotherham and Middlesbrough. This prompted its leader, Nigel Farage, to claim his party was the new third force in British politics. UKIP now regularly pips the Liberal Democrats to third place in national voting intention polls. The rise of UKIP causes a good deal of angst among the bigger parties, particularly the Conservatives. It is not hard to see why: my research finds that 12% of those who voted Tory in 2010 now say they would vote UKIP in an election tomorrow. Half of all those who would consider voting UKIP supported the Conservatives at the last election.

Many have suggested antidotes to the rise of UKIP. These usually flow from assumptions about what the attraction of UKIP actually is. Yet these assumptions are often mistaken. (more…)

Corby: A bad result for the Conservatives, but we must keep it in perspective

By Lord Ashcroft

So, a nail-biter in Corby. Would the Liberal Democrats keep their deposit or not? The party scraped 5% in my second poll of the by-election campaign a month ago; on the day itself they failed to reach that threshold by a handful of votes.

At that stage, Labour were 22 points ahead of the Conservatives in voting intention. This finding closely matched Andy Sawford’s 21-point margin of victory, and the Tory-Labour swing. However, the vote share of both main parties was eroded over the final few weeks of the campaign.


Lack of Tory direction is the real ‘UKIP threat’

By Lord Ashcroft

The government is having its most difficult month so far, and the voters have noticed. After troubles over party funding, conflicting advice to the public on a potential fuel strike, and a series of controversies arising from last month’s Budget, recent polls show the Labour lead solidifying as confidence in the coalition declines. One notable feature of the shifting polls is that, according to the most recent YouGov/Sun surveys, the UK Independence Party is edging ahead of the Liberal Democrats.