Tag Archives: lord ashcroft

Ashcroft poll in Hallam: Clegg within a whisker of Labour with a lot of Tory vote to squeeze

Lord Ashcroft has released a last minute poll on Nick Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam. It’s the third he has conducted in the last 5 months. It comes with all the usual caveats on Ashcroft polls – he doesn’t mention the candidates’ names, and he has some weird methodology that he doesn’t explain to us about how he gets his final figures.

The results last month showed Labour two points ahead on 36% with Nick on 34%. The new poll shows Labour just one point ahead on 37% and Nick on 36%. The Tories are on 15%, UKIP on 7% …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 67 Comments

So how worried should we be about the Ashcroft poll on Bristol West?

Lord Ashcroft has released a further six constituency polls today. There is serious Liberal Democrat interest in only one of them – in Stephen Williams’ constituency in Bristol West. The results make depressing reading, showing Stephen in 3rd place behind the Greens. The figures, after they’ve been through Ashcroft’s magic manipulator, his not very transparent methodology.

Ashcroft Bristol West poll bar chart

 

As always he doesn’t use the candidate’s name, which makes no sense during an election. Let’s face it, the voters will be filling in ballot papers with the candidates’ names on them. Not only that, he doesn’t even name the constituency.

Party sources are quite bemused that Ashcroft hasn’t even tailored the poll to suit the seat. For example, with UKIP not a key player, he still asks if people have received literature from them. Yet the Greens are supposedly on 25% and he didn’t bother to ask if people had heard from them.

There’s also a feeling in the party that the truth on the ground isn’t as gloomy as the raw data would suggest for 3 reasons:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 47 Comments

That two horse race is on: Scottish Ashcroft polls show it’s Liberal Democrats against the SNP

As Scottish voters start to receive their postal votes in the next few days, they will have much to contemplate. To what extent will those who oppose independence be prepared to vote tactically to keep the SNP from winning Westminster seats.

Their decision may well be informed by yesterday’s Ashcroft polls which show potential SNP gains in all but one of the constituencies in question. Unfortunately, four of them were seats currently held by the Liberal Democrats.

I found the SNP fifteen points ahead in Charles Kennedy’s seat of Ross, Skye & Lochaber, up from five points in February. I also found the SNP leading by eleven points in Jo Swinson’s constituency of East Dunbartonshire, and by thirteen points in North East Fife, where Sir Menzies Campbell is stepping down after 28 years.

The poll found that Mike Moore is in a tough 3 way fight with the Tories in the Borders. He’s on 28%, the SNP on 29% and the Tories on 30%. It could barely be tighter.

All the polls show decisively, though, apart from the Borders, that it’s a clear two horse race between Liberal Democrat MPs and the SNP. The message to Tory and Labour voters is clear. Do they want an SNP MP primarily motivated by independence and forbidden from standing up for their constituents if their party doesn’t allow it, or a Liberal Democrat who will fight tirelessly for their area.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 43 Comments

Something nasty – why the Tories aren’t making headway

“I saw something nasty in the woodshed”- Ada Doom, ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ by Stella Gibbons
There is some bafflement in the Tory ranks as to why their party isn’t shooting ahead of Labour in the polls. David Cameron is very popular. People think Ed Miliband is a “muppet”. So why aren’t the Conservatives surging ahead?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 32 Comments

Ashcroft polls predict SNP gains – including Bob Smith and Charles Kennedy’s seats – but don’t panic yet

If tonight’s Ashcroft polls are worrying for Liberal Democrats, they will be petrifying for the Labour Party – and not just in Scotland where their new leader Jim Murphy’s seat is on a knife edge. Of the eight Scottish seats polled, six are predicted at this stage to go to the SNP. These include the seats of Liberal Democrats Bob Smith and Charles Kennedy. The loss of these  north east and highland heartlands would be a massive blow to the party.  You can see the figures in this table:

Ashcroft polls 4 March 2015

The race in Charles’ seat is pretty close, with just 5 points between Charles and the SNP with 22% of a squeezable Labour and Tory vote. It is very clear that this is a two horse race. Labour and Tory voters will have to think about who they want in Parliament to represent them. Do they want the independent minded, popular Charles or an SNP MP who will have to sign up to do exactly what his political masters tell them without criticism.

The situation in West Aberdeenshire is, in this poll, more complex with support apparently split between Liberal Democrat and Conservative. However that rather flies in the face of the Conservative retreat from this constituency. You would think that they would have some reason for making that decision. The Tories know that they can’t win. I suspect that Bob Smith will be making sure that everyone knows there is simply no point in voting Tory and he will pick up enough of their vote to hang on.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 62 Comments

Reasons to be careful about new analysis suggesting Lib Dems “set to lose several more seats than national polls with uniform swing would predict”

A new analysis by Oxford academic Stephen Fisher (a member of the team which was behind the scarily accurate BBC/ITN exit poll at the 2010 election) douses the comfort blanket to which many of us Lib Dems have been clinging, suggesting as it does that the Lib Dems are losing more votes in our strongest seats:

The most significant factor affecting party performance at the constituency level is prior Liberal Democrat strength. … the Liberal Democrats are clearly loosing most in the seats where they started strongest and losing least where they started weakest. Partly this is inevitable. There are over 100 seats where the Lib Dems got less than 16% of the vote in 2010 and so their vote share cannot fall by this much. Moreover it is unlikely that the party will fall exactly to zero even where it does very badly. So if the GB polls are right overall, the Liberal Democrats must be falling more where they started stronger, and the BES data suggest the drop is broadly proportional to their prior strength. This mirrors the pattern of change at the local authority level at the European Parliament elections this year, adding confidence that the effect is real. The implications for Liberal Democrat seats are straightforward. If they are indeed losing most heavily in the seats they are defending they are set to lose several more seats than national polls with uniform swing would predict.

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , and | 81 Comments

In 2015, if the Lib Dems hold on to as many seats as latest polling suggests, should we thank NO2AV?

liberal democrat tory conservative logosEarlier in the week, Stephen Tall covered the latest Ashcroft poll of Lib Dem held seats, which was encouraging. Over on Political Betting, our old friend Mike Smithson offers this intriguing thought:

If the LDs hold on to as many seats as the latest polling suggests then Clegg should thank NO2AV.

Posted in General Election | Also tagged | 92 Comments

Latest Ashcroft polls of Lib Dem seats: MP incumbency protects party in 10 out of 13 constituencies

Michael AshcroftThe Conservative peer and pollster Lord Ashcroft has released the results of his latest polling of key seats for the next general election, including 13 seats currently held by the Lib Dems and one (Watford) which the party is actively targeting. These seats are ones with bigger majorities than those he’s previously surveyed, and include MPs who commentators have speculated are under threat, such as Ed Davey in Kingston and Surbiton.

Across all Lib Dem / Conservative battleground seats, 11 of the 13, the standard voting intention question (“If there were a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for?”) shows the Lib Dems trailing the Conservatives significantly: Con 33%, Lib Dem 22%, Ukip 20%, Lab 17%. Based on this, the Lib Dems would lose all the seats polled.

However, as is his tradition, Ashcroft has also asked the really important voting intention question: “And thinking specifically about your own parliamentary constituency at the next general election and the candidates who are likely to stand for election to Westminster there, which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency?”

This produces a very different result: Lib Dem 36%, Con 27%, Ukip 17%, Lab 13%. On this basis, the Lib Dems hold 10 of the 13 seats surveyed:

Posted in Polls | 38 Comments

Six months from 7th May 2015: how the polls are looking and what to look for

There are three key things about opinion polls.

The first is what matters are trends, not individual poll fluctuations.

The second is they’re snapshots, not forecasts. (A point made by Lord Ashcroft, to his credit, every time he publishes his latest poll finding.)

The third is the next general election won’t be decided by national party vote shares but by who wins in 650 individual seats. (A point often made by PoliticalBetting’s Mike Smithson.)

Here are the trends…

Here’s a graph which focuses solely on the first of these. It shows the result of every single opinion poll – courtesy Mark Pack’s invaluable spreadsheet – in the 12 months from October 2013 to September 2014 (incl.):

poll trends 2014

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , , and | 69 Comments

Champagne corks popping at party HQ?

Champagne cork popping photo by Brent SchneemanTim Farron was on Radio Four’s Today yesterday morning. He was talking about Norman Baker’s resignation. In passing, when interviewer John Humphrys mentioned the party potentially losing lots of MPs at the next election, Tim mentioned that the Lib Dems went up by three percentage points in this week’s Lord Ashcroft poll.

When Humphrys said he would mention that this was just one optimistic poll for the party amidst many pessimistic polls, Tim joked that “at party HQ they might not hear you above the sound of champagne corks popping”.

Posted in Polls | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Ashcroft’s poll of Lib Dem battleground seats: incumbency is alive and well but 2015 will be a survival election for the party

Tory peer and pollster Lord Ashcroft has published his latest set of constituency findings. He polled some of the key Lib Dem / Tory and Lib Dem / Labour battlegrounds in the summer – he’s now followed that up by looking at a further 22 seats. Of these, 2 are Lib Dem targets, 15 the party is defending against the Tories, and 5 against Labour. You can see the full results here .

Here are the headline findings:

  • Of the 20 Lib Dem-held seats polled, the Lib Dems would retain just 6.
  • The Tories would gain 7 and Labour would gain 4. The other 2 would be a tie (though actually a further 5 are statistical ties within the margin of error).
  • The Lib Dems would win neither of their two targets.
  • Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 37 Comments

    Can moderate public engagement be a good thing?

    Scottish referendum ohot by gerardferryimagesWhile I was a governor at a primary school, we had a yearly dilemma. By law, we had to hold an annual meeting with parents. About a dozen usually turned up. Normally the same faces. Interested and engaged, they gave us good feedback and a nice time was had by all. Soft drinks and nibbles supplied.

    But a dozen parents for a school with several hundred pupils was considered low. So, annually, we considered ways of increasing parental attendance, only to be frustrated. After several attempts, I jokingly suggested that the only way to increase attendance was to announce that, at the next meeting, we would be showing a preview of an experimental Swedish sex education video which we were considering showing to pupils.

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

    Ukip may well win a seat in May 2015. But the least likely person to get elected is Nigel Farage

    Nigel Farage, Leader, UK Independence Party (UKIP)This week saw the latest in Lord Ashcroft’s polls of the marginal battleground seats that will decide the result of the next general election. This crop focused on 14 marginal Conservative-held seats where Labour are in second place.

    The overall news was half-encouraging for Labour. As it stands, Ed Miliband’s party is poised to win 11 of these 14 seats next May. The average swing from Tory to Labour of 4.5% would be enough to win 53 Tory seats, which, as as Ashcroft notes, “combined with the 17 seats my recent polling suggested they could gain from the Lib Dems, would be enough for a small overall majority”.

    Of course, this poll is a snapshot, not a prediction (as Ashcroft repeatedly stresses). A similar exercise conducted by Ashcroft for PoliticsHome in 2009 pointed to a Tory majority of 70 seats and we all know how that turned out a few months later. Usually the governing party picks up support as the election nears, while the opposition party loses support. We’ll see how that historical pattern bears out in Coalition conditions and as voting becomes yet more fragmented between five national parties, as well as the nationalists in Scotland and Wales.

    But the most newsworthy finding from Ashcroft’s poll was that Ukip would win two Conservative-held seats, Thanet South and Thurrock.

    Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

    Ashcroft battlegrounds poll: Lib Dems set to lose four marginal seats to Labour

    lib lab Labour Liberal Democrat logoThe second of Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft’s polls of Lib Dem marginal seats was published this week, focusing on four of our battlegrounds with Labour: Norwich South (held by Simon Wright), Bradford East (David Ward), Brent Central (Sarah Teather standing down, Ibrahim Taguri selected), and Manchester Withington (John Leech). Also included was Brighton Pavilion, which Caroline Lucas won for the Greens from Labour in 2010.

    Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 41 Comments

    Ashcroft battlegrounds poll: both Tories and Lib Dems down on 2010, but it’s the Tories who’d make gains

    lib toryLord Aschroft, the Tory peer and pollster, has published the results of a large survey of 17 Lib Dem / Conservative battleground seats. Six are Tory-held seats where the Lib Dems were runners-up in 2010; 11 are Lib Dem-held seats where the Tories were runners-up.

    Across those seats the voting intention (compared with the 2010 general election) is: Con 33% (-8%), Lib Dem 28% (-15%), Labour 14% (+5%), Ukip 18% (+14%). However, that conceals a lot of individual seat-by-seat variation. Here’s the constituency overview. The headlines are that:

    Posted in News and Polls | 64 Comments

    The poll findings which should encourage (some) Lib Dems and worry Labour

    I highlighted during Lib Dem conference season an interesting finding from Lord Ashcroft’s latest polling of marginal seats:

    Lord Ashcroft – the former deputy Tory chairman and the man who spends more on polling than all the political parties combined – released his latest findings this week. 13,000 voters in the 40 Conservative seats with the smallest majorities were surveyed, including eight where the Liberal Democrats came second in 2010: Watford, St Albans, Oxford West & Abingdon, Harrogate & Knaresborough, Camborne & Redruth, Truro & Falmouth, Newton Abbot and Montgomeryshire.

    Remember: these are seats which are potential Lib Dem gains in

    Posted in Polls | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

    Bob Worcester forecasts Lib Dems to be reduced to 24 seats in 2015. I’ll run naked down Whitehall if that’s the result.

    At a conference fringe meeting on Monday evening, the pollster’s pollster Bob Worcester, MORI’s founder, made a forecast of how many seats the Lib Dems will win at the 2015 election: 24.

    His prediction was based on current polling which he’d fed into the Electoral Calculus website and implied the number should be 17. His slightly higher punt allows for known Lib Dem strengths, such as our MPs’ habit of holding on tight in seats we win through sheer Stakhonovite grit.

    Forecasting the next election is a bit of a mug’s game, as the Coalition means there’s no past precedent to …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 77 Comments

    Ashcroft’s latest poll: a couple of interesting findings about the Lib Dems

    Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft — who spends more on polling than all three main political parties combined — published the latest of his surveys yesterday.

    It contained little good news for his party: ‘Perceptions of the Conservatives have been eroded further … This is the price we have paid for spending half a year talking amongst ourselves.’ And none of the party leaders would’ve been much chuffed by public perceptions of them, though Nick Clegg comes off worst, ‘ the weaknesses of the other two, being “weak”, “out of his depth”, and “out of touch” all at the same time.’

    One finding caught my eye, asking which outcome at the next general election the public would most like to see:

    ashcroft coalition poll

    Posted in News and Polls | 39 Comments

    Where Ukip won (or almost won) on 2nd May 2013

    Wondering where Ukip won (or almost won – see below) in the local elections on Thursday, 2nd May? Then here’s a handy graphic and breakdown by constituency…

    ukip vote may 2013

    My thanks to Lib Dem Ben Mathis (@binny_uk) for crunching the Ukip numbers, as below. We’ll update the list with any more found…

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

    Opinion: A rousing campaigning message from Lord Ashcroft (of all people)

    Lord Ashcroft has done another enormous piece of polling, this time into the Lib Dem vote. A few of the more encouraging findings:

      • More people want a coalition including the Lib Dems (31%) than a Conservative majority (30%)
      • 30% of people could see themselves voting Lib Dem at the next general election
      • Only 1 in 5 think the Lib Dems have no real influence
      • Lib Dems outpoll the Conservatives on:
      o“Represents the whole country, not just some”(24% v 21%),
      o “Its heart is in the right place”(47% v 35%),
      o “stands for fairness”(41% v 30%)
      o “Stands for equal opportunity for all”(39% v 28%)
      o “Wants to help ordinary

    Posted in Op-eds and Polls | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

    Final Eastleigh poll puts Lib Dems narrowly ahead of Tories – but all within margin of error!

    What will (I assume) be the final poll of the Eastleigh by-election was published this morning. Conducted by Populus and commissioned by Lord Ashcroft, it shows the Lib Dems sustaining a narrow lead — significant in itself, but the more so as Eastleigh voters were interviewed over the weekend during which the controversy over allegations against Lord Rennard were prominent. Figures shown are compared with the most recent Populus poll, published at the end of last week:

      Mike Thornton (Lib Dem)

    Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

    ++ 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 …

    Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

    5 reasons for Lib Dems to campaign in Eastleigh (just in case you needed any more)

    eastleigh campaignMark Pack has posted last night’s poll findings from Eastleigh, showing the Tories narrowly ahead with both Labour and Ukip out of serious contention. In case you needed some reasons to help the Lib Dem campaign in the next three weeks in whatever way you’re able here are 5 from me…

    The Lib Dems can win…

    Lord Ashcroft’s poll is pretty ideal for the party: it piles the pressure on the Tories as early front-runners, while confirming how tight the contest will be. The Lib Dems’ local strength is significant …

    Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

    5 initial thoughts on David Cameron’s Europe speech

    David Cameron - License Some rights reserved by Statsministerens kontor David Cameron delivered his long, long-awaited speech on Europe this morning (text here). Caron’s rounding up the reactions from Lib Dems here – but here are my five initial thoughts…

    This is the speech Cameron didn’t want ever to have to give.

    Let’s be clear, David Cameron is making this speech now to try and keep the Conservatives together. The threat from Ukip and the party’s right has proved too powerful to withstand. Offering a referendum was no longer …

    Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 37 Comments

    Did you know the Lib Dems have lost half a million voters to Ukip? Here’s what I think it means.

    UKIP logoConservative peer Lord Ashcroft — who, as ConservativeHome’s Tim Montgomerie has noted before, spends more on polling than all three parties combined — has today published the latest survey looking at the timely issue of the threat of Ukip. Nigel Farage’s party is now regularly polling around the level of the Lib Dems, seemingly taking voters disproportionately from the Tories, contributing to lengthening Labour poll leads.

    Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 51 Comments

    Your essential weekend reader — 12 must-read articles you may have missed

    It’s Saturday morning, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices…

    Where now for the immigration debate? – Sarah Mulley in the New Statesman with an excellent analysis: ‘the public don’t (on the whole) feel that immigration is a problem in their own local communities, although a large majority do feel that it is a problem for the country as a whole.’

    The Empire Strikes Back: Ofqual, and the omnishambles of assessment – Tom Bennett on the latest GCSE controversy: ‘let’s be …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

    What do the academics say? Ashcroft’s campaigning worked

    Welcome to the latest in our occasional series highlighting interesting findings from academic research. Today – the impact of the Ashcroft-funded Conservative key seats campaign in the run-up to the 2010 election.

    The latest edition of the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (Volume 22, No.3) includes, “Laying the Foundations for Electoral Success: Conservative Pre-Campaign Canvassing before the 2010 UK General Election” by David Cutts, Ron Johnston, Charles Pattie and Justin Fisher:

    Posted in Campaign Corner and What do the academics say? | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

    More questions raised over Lord Ashcroft’s business empire

    The business dealings of former Conservative Party Deputy Chairman and one of its biggest donors, Lord Ashcroft, are back in the news again.

    As The Observer reports:

    Fresh revelations have raised a series of questions about the links between the former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft and a company responsible for luxury projects across a string of islands…

    Who controlled Johnston International, which won building contracts across the Caribbean worth tens of millions of pounds, has triggered awkward questions for the Tories, and above all for their major donor, Lord Ashcroft.

    The Tory peer, who has given the party more than £10m,

    Posted in News | 1 Comment

    Lord Ashcroft, Panorama and a herbivorous Liberal Democrat Peer

    Yesterday’s Press Gazette  highlights that the Panorama programme broadcast, entitled Secrets of the Tory Billionaire, on Monday night may help the Independent defend the libel case brought against it by Lord Ashcroft.

    In a development that you couldn’t make up, the Independent, in its own coverage of the programme,  referred to Lord Ashdown when talking about the Conservative Party’s major benefactor.

    This prompted our own Paddy Ashdown to write to the paper with, The Voice suspects, his tongue firmly wedged in his cheek

    “It is one thing to misrepresent my position on the benefit cap as you did last week,

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

    Campaign Corner: What campaigning books are worth reading?

    The Campaign Corner series looks to give three tips about commonly asked campaign issues. Do get in touch if you have any questions you would like to suggest.

    Today’s Campaign Corner question: I prefer learning by reading rather than by hearing people speak at training sessions. What campaigning books would you recommend?

    Lots of possible answers, but in the spirit of Campaign Corner’s love of threes, here are just three, deliberately chosen as one each from the main party perspectives:

    Posted in Campaign Corner | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments
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