++ New Eastleigh poll: Lib Dems have 5% lead over Tories, Labour trail in 4th place behind Ukip

eastleigh bar chartUK Polling Report has the figures from the latest (and last?) opinion poll to be conducted in Eastleigh ahead of polling day this Thursday — it shows the Lib Dems leading the Tories by 5%.

The poll was conducted for The Times by Populus, the firm which undertook a previous survey for Lord Ashcroft (changes in brackets compare the two):

    Lib Dems 33% (+2%)
    Conservatives 28% (-6%)
    UKIP 21% (+8%)
    Labour 11% (-8%)

On the face of it, this is good news for the Lib Dems. HOWEVER, we know the Tories are mounting a major push in the final week of the campaign. We also know that the media expectations have massively shifted towards a Lib Dem victory — even a narrow win would now be presented as a blow to the party, while a defeat would be a calamity.

So please, please, please do all you can over the next six days to help Mike Thornton’s campaign:

Next Friday morning will be too late. There has rarely been a more important by-election for the party.

It’s up to us whether we remember it for the right reasons or not…

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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19 Comments

  • I would expect the Tories to play dirty now and use the recent allegations as a weapon. The downgrade of the credit rating could hit both coalition parties but as it was mainly Osborne that hung his colours to that particular mast hopefully it will hit them most….

  • My reading of this poll shows there’s could be a real threat from UKIP if the Conservative vote were to collapse.
    Eastleigh voters seem to be in the mood to give mainstream politicians a kicking: over the weekend much of the press and this time social media will criticise the LibDem hierarchy and speculate over the Rennard allegations ; meanwhile, the loss of the AAA rating will reflect particularly badly on Tory economic policy.
    Hopefully, there will be enough postal votes in the bag to reach the finishing line, but I think it’ll be tight.

  • Just looking at the poll Lord Ashcroft commissioned in Corby – albeit three weeks before the poll – it’s interesting that the Con and Lab shares were overestimated by 5 and 6 points respectively, and UKIP’s was underestimated by 8 points. Perhaps that partly represents changes of opinion during the campaign, but obviously opinion polling for by-elections is an uncertain business.

  • Well, that’s all over then. No more work needed. Time to just rest easy and coast along in.

    No, of course I’m not serious.

  • Paul McKeown 23rd Feb '13 - 3:01am

    The Kippers might well come in the top two, with the message that the Tories can’t win and it’s a kick in the ballots.

    The Conservatives are going to try to squeeze the Kipper vote, saying only they can beat the Lib Dems.

    The truth is, with those numbers it’s a three horse race, and very close. Need to squeeze the Labour vote.

  • Would be great to see the Tories squeezed in this seat and I would welcome a LD victory much more than a Tory one – despite the fact that it would strengthen the hand of the leadership!

    This would be a truly woeful result for the Tories though, although I would imagine we would see their apologists in the press trying to focus on Labour’s performance. I expect a result about the same of 2010 would be disappointing for Labour but I imagine they would be happy to see the LD vote holding up in the LD seats in the South as long as they can squeeze them in the North and take some votes in Lab/Tory marginals

    Cameron will be absolutely seething if the Tories manage to lose this seat. Eastleigh may be a LD stronghold but to fail to overturn the majority post Huhne would beg a lot of questions.

    The elephant in the room is UKIP and we could see a surge for them, with a squeeze on Tory votes. If the seat is taken by UKIP then who knows what the consequences for the run up to 2015 will be? Especially if the Tories come 3rd.

    A truly interesting by-election where I can see big problems for Cameron afterwards

  • There is no use trying to fight this by-election as an alternative to the Conservatives when Danny Alexander allows himself to be pushed into single handedly into defending the loss of the AAA rating – the equivalent of delivering campaign leaflets with one hand tied behind your back.
    He seems to have been all over the airwaves this morning sounding like a revivalist preacher before George Osbourne has even got out of bed
    Another strategic mistake by the media team, I’m afraid. The Tories will still be mounting their “major push” no matter how fervently we defend a situation which is largely of their own making.

  • http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/

    Update on the figures (see comment under mine)

    With a collapse of the Conservative vote, with those going to UKIP and Labour voters looking to embarrass the coaltion, it could see UKIP winning this one. They are not that far behind.

    If UKIP do well or win, this may give UKIP and the right of the Conservative party a false idea that their policies are needed and will drive the Conservatives further right ward or into a defacto general election agreement.

    From Polling Report

    UPDATE: Rick Nye has kindly sent me over the detailed tables for the Populus poll so here are a couple more things worth noting:

    First, there is a very high level of don’t knows or refusals. Populus interviewed 1001 people, but a quarter said don’t know and a further 12% refused to give a voting intention. In a close race that high proportion of don’t knows obviously have the potential to change things.

    Secondly, Populus don’t just ignore those don’t knows. Like ICM they assume that a proportion of them will end up voting for the party they did in 2010. This adjustment made no difference to the Lib Dem lead, but reduced the reported level of UKIP support (as they didn’t have many former 2010 voters to reallocate).

    Without the reallocation of don’t knows the topline figures would have been CON 26%, LAB 12%, LD 31%, UKIP 25%. The reallocation of don’t knows has worked very well for ICM and Populus at general elections, improving their accuracy, but I remain uncertain about how well it works at by-elections. Without it the position between UKIP and the Conservatives is very tight.

    Thirdly, everyone assumes that the UKIP support comes mainly from the Conservatives. It isn’t quite the case. 17% of 2010 Tory voters are saying they would vote UKIP, but so are 11% of 2010 Lib Dem voters and 10% of 2010 Lab voters.

  • I would like to add that anyone seeing the pick up for UK Independence Party should not assume that the public has become anti EC and agree with all the right wing policies. They are picking up the protest vote, of which a large portion of those would be against the majority of their right wing views.

    Of course, commentators of all political figures can use events, stats and results in politics to meet their particular agenda. No one is exempt from that, including myself.

    A pinch of salt from all sides on extrapolating the results is needed.

  • How ironic that two years ago, we thought we would now be fighting the Tories for the victor’s spoils on the back of a resurgent economy. Instead we’re fighting them to avoid looking like the political nag that’s most ready for the glue/burger factory. Events, dear boy, events!

    However, if it means we can still squeeze the Labour vote in constituencies where they have no chance of winning and the Tories are losing even more votes than we are to the Kippers, then it does hold out some hope for 2015, whatever our national poll ratings.

  • RC

    I think it is very possible that you will hold on to some of those votes. Eastleigh could be a very good result for 2015 as it will show that Labour voters in the South still may vote tactically, although it does look like the vote share will drop significantly.

    Psychologically, it will be a positive.

    I hope though that the leadership don’t think that this is a measure of things elsewhere in the UK. The midlands and North are a totally different proposition – even if Labour come 4th in this seat

  • Mike Smithson has pointed to large numbers of undecideds/won’t says in the Populus survey, and also possible sampling problems (as the percentage of those saying they voted Lib Dem in 2010 is “far” larger than it should be), and reckons the battle is still wide open between the Lib Dems, the Tories and UKIP:
    http://www7.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2013/02/23/very-high-levels-of-dont-knows-amongst-2010-voters-in-times-populus-eastleigh-poll-suggest-that-this-battle-is-still-very-wide-open/

  • paul barker 23rd Feb '13 - 5:11pm

    Looking at the tables for the latest poll it looks as though we ought to be focusing some of our fire on UKIP, there is a real danger they could come second & an outside chance they could win. This will be difficult, its always harder fighting on two fronts but in this case GOTV may not be enough.

  • Tony Dawson 23rd Feb '13 - 5:53pm

    @paul barker:

    “Looking at the tables for the latest poll it looks as though we ought to be focusing some of our fire on UKIP,

    That would be SUCH a mistake. I trust, though, that no one will try to explain here why not.

    WHY do some people believe they should be discussing election tactics in a public forum????

  • @RC “Even Labour, which benefits from its own client class of state dependents”

    I have overlooked your comments like this on many occasions but honestly, I struggle to see the difference between your outpourings and those of certain Tory MPs & frankly, you should all know better than to make unfounded remarks like this that do nothing to persuade the undecided voter to put their x in your party’s box.

  • but Labour DID create a client class of state dependants, that’s why the country’s broke.

  • @Steve Way
    ” The downgrade of the credit rating could hit both coalition parties but as it was mainly Osborne that hung his colours to that particular mast hopefully it will hit them most….”

    So the disastrous economic policies of the coalition government have nothing to do with the Lib Dems?

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