Oops! 15 Ashcroft Scottish polls published early by mistake

With a hat-tip to Mark Pack, LDV alumnus.

We were expecting Lord Ashcroft’s Scottish polls today.

But for some strange reason they slipped out at dead of night when I was well tucked up in bed.

The SNP are ahead 43 to the Lib Dems on 26 in Gordon.

The SNP are leading 50 to our 21 in Inverness NB&S.

See, I wrote it quickly, so that it was quite painless… Move along there please, nothing to see here. (Whistles nervously)
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* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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84 Comments

  • Conor McGovern 4th Feb '15 - 7:40am

    Shows we need a Labour recovery in Scotland by May, not that I’d be shedding too many tears if Danny Alexander lost his seat.

  • Max Wilkinson 4th Feb '15 - 7:52am

    Oops indeed.

  • Paul in Tasmania 4th Feb '15 - 8:12am

    The Gordon poll is interesting because it shows a much more pronounced reduction of 8% in Tory voting intention versus 2010 than the other polled constituencies where Conservative support is down by typically about 3%. That suggests a significant squeeze is already under way. However the bottom line from this poll is that we are looking at 1 or maybe 2 seats in Scotland and lower deposits in virtually every seat we didn’t actually win in 2010. In that sense, the Ashcroft poll is simply reinforcing the evidence and message of other Scottish polls – and that message is pretty grim.

  • Finally will you realise the Lib Dems will be destroyed in Scotland? And no, this isn’t something I will regard with pleasure. It’s about time Lib Dems took a realistic perspective on just how unpopular the Coalition are in Scotland, how they’ve boosted the independence movement, not bothered to fix their mistakes and how Danny Alexander is a massive, massive disaster in the Treasury. At the very least Danny should have used whatever powers he has in Cabinet to veto, or at least publicly reject on the day, Cameron’s deliberate screwing over of Scotland the day after the referendum by campaigning for english votes for english laws.

  • It is not just Ashcroft —

    YouGov on voting intentions in Scotland. Liberal Democrats around 4%

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/a7awj68e8x/Final_Times_Results_150202_Website.pdf

    In 2010 we were able to get 11 MPs elected with around 19%.
    In 2015 we may be struggling to outnumber the pandas.

  • Simon Shaw

    If there is a very strong wind blowing, which way do you spit?

    I only ask so that I know where to stand if I am anywhere near you on a blustery day. 🙂

  • Jane Ann Liston 4th Feb '15 - 10:12am

    Who is the SNP candidate in INBS?

  • “When I put “alex salmond gordon” into Google it only produced 406,000 results.”

    Mind you “Hywel Morgan Gordon” produces 1.4 million results. Now I’m a modest man but…..

  • Helen Tedcastle 4th Feb '15 - 10:24am

    Looks like the people of the Highlands are going to give Danny a good kicking. Oh well. That’s what comes of cosying up to George Osborne and sounding as enthusiastic as a Tory about austerity measures – for four and a half years.

  • “When I put “alex salmond gordon” into Google it only produced 406,000 results.”

    When I put “simon shaw gordon” into Google it produced 9,600,000 – clearly the solution is to get someone like Simon Shaw with his firm commitment to and strong articulation of the Coalition’s achievements into Gordon.

    I think as well we should take these results with a rather large pinch of salt – fixed-term elections are clearly resulting in voters not focussing their minds on politics until the last week or so before the election. As the Coalition’s policies are clearly and logically what the country needs then this degree of support for the SNP can only be whimsical and temporary. I expect the picture to alter radically some three or four hours before voting starts.

    Further, I think it’s rather misguided and a distraction for LDV to cover – even infrequently – these so-called polls. The real battleground for hearts and minds will not be found among some distant, provincial population but in social media. Where it is crucial we focus our attention is on twitter, in its responses to our Leader on programmes such as ‘The Last Leg’ – here a commitment to vote Lib Dem is carved in stone, a real achievement we can base the further continuation of our Glorious Campaign on. Forget Ashcroft.

    As Simon Shaw states, these result are – if you know what to look for – encouraging. Soon Labour and the SNP will be lulled into such a soporific state they won’t know what’s going to hit them as the predominantly free-market-loving and socialist-hating voters of Scotland rise up on election day.

  • Seems like Labour are having a rough day as well, if the article by Mark Ferguson on LabourList is anything to go by.

    What is happening is much, much more than the Coalition – Labour MPs have seen poll drops akin to Danny’s.

  • Will the party at last realise the reality. Will Caron realise the reality. I thought we might hold Ross and Orkney Shetland, but on these figures see Scotland as a Lib Dem total wipeout.

  • Glasgow North. Lib Dem vote down from 31% to 4%!!!!!! Wow Wow Wow. Yes we must have the right leader?

  • The Lib Dems are paying the price for taking such an extreme unionist and British nationalist stance during the independence referendum campaign. As a reminder of some of the sort of people the no campaign they got involved with were attracting, here is a picture of some no supporters…
    https://twitter.com/jonfaec/status/513073434902138880

    If they had instead proposed real home rule (also known as Full Fiscal Autonomy or Devo Max) where all powers but defence and foreign affairs are devolved and had taken up the Scottish Government’s offer to put it on the ballot paper as a second question, they could have been pushing a distinct constitutional position over the last few years that is much more radical and nearer the centre ground of Scottish politics. They could have fronted their own third campaign through the referendum and been in much better shape for subsequent elections.

    Instead, they threw away the golden opportunity. They used their place in the UK government to do such things as waste tax-payers money producing distorted treasury reports talking Scotland down. They became part of the disastrously negative no campaign and are now seen as Labour’s country cousins and a Tory tribute act – just another one of the forces of conservatism. As such they have no cause to complain about these self-inflicted poll ratings.

  • @ Jane Anne liston

    Drew Hendry, leader of Highland Council

  • Paul in Tasmania 4th Feb ’15 – 8:12am

    European settlers rounded up the original inhabitants of Tasmania and eliminated them entirely.
    A few escaped to Flinders Island just off the north east coast.

    A possible lesson for Liberal Democrat MPs in Scotland?
    Orkney being latter-day Flinders Island.

    Perhaps those Liberal Democrats in Scotland who thought it was a brilliant wheeze to join up with the Unionists in the the Referendum campaign might now admit they were wrong?

    Perhaps they might now admit that making themselves identical to our political opponents The Unionists was not a very bright move?

  • matt (Bristol) 4th Feb '15 - 12:09pm

    Ahem. Turnout, turnout, turnout.

    Right, that said, It is very hard to sincerely believe that – solely based on polling – in the final event the SNP surge will be completely unabated and almost every high profile MP in Scotland will be Rifkind-ed (it’s like Portillo-ed but further north).

    BUT if that does happen (I guess it could), how is Scotland to avoid becoming a 1-party state(-within-a-state) for the foreseeable future?

    WIll Westminster opposition to FPTP suddenly recede (but only for Scotland, Northern Ireland and possibly Wales – well, it’s no less horrifically assymetrical than EVEL)?

    Will there be a reconfiguration and reduction in numbers of the ‘unionist’ and ‘federalist’ parties, with English parties getting out of Scotland completely?

    One can imagine a (nightmare for LibDems) scenario in which the mainstream opposition to the SNP is no longer split between 3 parties, but thusly:
    – Social Democratic and Home Rule Party (centre-left, interventionist, anti-separatist but increasingly anti-Westminster as the rhetoric plays well)
    – Free Democratic Party of Scotland (centre-right, free-trade, soft-unionist)

    Don’t ask me who the leaders would be. SNP would keep calling them ‘Labour’ and ‘the Tories’ to wind them up.

  • Peter Chegwyn 4th Feb '15 - 12:10pm

    As theakes says: ‘Will the party at last realise the reality?’ I doubt it. Some of us have been warning ever since 2010 that the party is heading for an electoral drubbing of epic proportions but still nothing changes. Same Leader. Same message. Same slogan. Same dismal poll results.

    Note that outside the two Lib. Dem. seats we are down to 1% in 6 of the 14 Labour seats surveyed, 2% in 4 others. How much lower do we have to go before people wake up and smell the coffee? Who is going to pay for all those lost deposits in seats where the Lib. Dem. organisation has ceased to exist?

    On a (possibly) more positive note, it’s a pity none of the Borders seats were surveyed. It would be interesting to know whether the Lib. Dems. or Conservatives are doing better in those seats closer to England where the SNP and the Yes vote in the Referendum are much weaker.

  • Al

    “The Lib Dems are paying the price for taking such an extreme unionist and British nationalist stance during the independence referendum campaign”

    So it is now extreme and nationalist to believe that everyone on this island is equal and that the sheer notion of dividing us up is a regressive step?

    Want to see the real face of conservatism and nationalism, look at the SNP. They view Scotland as Yes and No, either or, you are with us or against us. An utterly shameful position.

    And if you can’t see the problem of a having three options on the ballot in a ref…

    The SNP would see a sign at the top of a cliff saying “DANGER: DO NOT JUMP” and complain it was being too negative and argue it should say “YOU’D SURVIVE IF IT WASN’T FOR WESTMINSTER”.

  • paul barker 4th Feb '15 - 12:32pm

    We joined up with The Tories on the Independence question because on that question we agree with them, Home Rule is still a form of Unionism. Should we lie instead ?
    A lot can happen between now & the Election, the time to admit defeat is after we have lost.

  • David Allen 4th Feb '15 - 1:26pm

    “When I put “simon shaw gordon” into Google it produced 9,600,000”

    When I put David Allen Gordon in, it produced about 84,900,000. If I can raise the tone of debate on these pages above its normal level, er… Mine is bigger than yours!

  • Peter Watson 4th Feb '15 - 1:44pm

    @David Allen
    I like this game. “Peter Watson Gordon” racks up 28,900,000 results.
    It looks like the least well known man in Gordon is Alex Salmond!

  • paul barker 4th Feb ’15 – 12:32pm
    “…A lot can happen between now & the Election, the time to admit defeat is after we have lost.”. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Gems like this cheer me up on a cold February day.

    paul barker predicts that there will be more than 48 Liberal Democrat MPs in May.

    Of course there will be more than 48 Liberal Democrat MPs …. . .. in Japan.

  • Caracatus 4th Feb ’15 – 1:14pm
    “….I can’t help but notice 29% of people in Danny Alexander’s seat remembered being contacted by the Lib Dems in the past few weeks”

    What was that financial expressin about — “Throwing good money after bad” ???
    It seems the more money spend on Danny’s campaign the less likely the voters are to support him.
    I expect we can rely on a bright campaigner from party HQ to turn things around.
    Perhaps the taxpayers should fund someone to “Build Brandy Alexander”.

  • Jane Ann Liston 4th Feb '15 - 3:02pm

    “Build Brandy Alexander”.

    A delicious drink! John Tilley, you are on to something! Hendry is (or was) only a make of fizzy pop!

  • Malcolm Todd 4th Feb '15 - 3:28pm

    My Gordon score: 62,300,000! Puts me second to David Allen, I think.

  • Bill le Breton 4th Feb '15 - 3:34pm

    ” The problems you sow, are the troubles you’re reaping,
    Still, my guitar gently weeps.”

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 4th Feb '15 - 3:47pm

    On the Gordon Google thing, Caron Lindsay Gordon brings up about 11 million results which is not bad given the unusual spelling of my name. Am surprised Hywel produced so few results now.

    If I were a voter in Gordon who didn’t want the SNP to win, it would be very, very clear to me that I needed to vote for Christine Jardine. That’s the message of this poll. It also proves the sense of the Lib Dems’ shift in strategy across Scotland – that we’re all up against the SNP. And I would caution against rash predictions on Scottish politics on the basis of a poll 3 months out. Anyone betting on the results of polls in February 2011 would have put their money on a Labour victory, and we got an SNP overall majority.

    I think it shows that it really is Game On in Gordon. Christine can win.

  • 2.4m – my Gordon score makes me but a minnow

    (I think that is simply because of how Google searches for well known names…we are getting results for our seperate names and Gordon on the same page, whilst AS Gordon only looks at ones actually about Salmond….) 🙂

    PS Adolf Hitler Gordon is 535k

  • Caron Lindsay 4th Feb ’15 – 3:47pm
    “— It also proves the sense of the Lib Dems’ shift in strategy across Scotland – that we’re all up against the SNP. ”

    So why not change the name of the party to DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST ?
    That way you could join your natural allies in the DUP.

    “…. in February 2011 …. we got an SNP overall majority.”
    So you looked at that result and decided linking up with the Labour and the Conservative and Unionist Party for the referendum. Well that has worked really well hasn’t it? Nobody believes in independence any more do they? And you are on the same side as The Wueen

  • Paul Barker: the only thing that will change between now and polling day is a probable move to the Cons because of anxiety over a Lab/SNP coalition. So far as we are concerned, it will probably get even worse, if it could.

  • @caron Lindsay

    So all the Unionist parties will campaign on is “we are not the SNP”? Inspirational. It will be a triumph.

  • @ Caron Lindsay

    “If I were a voter in Gordon who didn’t want the SNP to win, it would be very, very clear to me that I needed to vote for Christine Jardine. That’s the message of this poll.”

    Alas, if one is not so partisan it’s clear that there is at least another message of this poll. If I were a voter in Gordon who didn’t want the Lib Dems to win, it would be very, very clear to me that I needed to vote SNP. Which message is heard louder depends on whether there are more who hate the SNP or more who hate the Lib Dems for propping up a Tory Government. I suspect among the political classes it’s possible that the SNP are more hated; among the population as a whole I’d venture that supporting the Tories is the bigger sin (judging by the rest of the poll results).

    Being partisan is laudably loyal – it won’t aid you in understanding why so many don’t currently support the party, however.

  • I think getting less votes than UKIP in Scotland at the euro’s was a clue as to how bad things were. How on earth did Clegg keep his job after that?

  • stuart moran 4th Feb '15 - 5:21pm

    Caron Lindsay

    Will only vote Lib Dem if there is a clear message that there is no possibility of a future coalition with the Tories – in Gordon I would vote SNP before Lib Dem

    We cannot another 5 years of Tory Government (even if there a little bit of Lib Dem in there!)

  • Jane Ann Liston 4th Feb '15 - 5:44pm

    Dear Stuart

    ‘ if there is a clear message that there is no possibility of a future coalition with the Tories’

    That, though, is up to the electorate as a whole, and the cards they choose to deal us. I think it’s called democracy.

    ‘in Gordon I would vote SNP before Lib Dem’

    Fine, if you want independence; that would be the obvious thing to do. Otherwise, I fear you might be cutting off your nose to spite your face, which would be a pity.

  • @Jane Ann Liston

    No its actually up to the Lib Dems. You could rule out a coalition with the Tories now but of course propping up another Tory government is what you want to do.

    And by the way a vote for the SNP in May will not lead to independence.

  • stuart moran 4th Feb '15 - 6:02pm

    Jane Anne Liston

    I am talking about MY vote and I would never vote for a party who, in my view, is only too ready to support a vicious Conservative Party

    I would still vote SNP….

  • Tony Dawson 4th Feb '15 - 6:24pm

    So we are doing rather better in Gordon, in a seat being fought by a brand new candidate against the long-standing leader of the SNP, than we are in the seat of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

    One wonders, ‘ why’?

  • Passing through 4th Feb '15 - 6:35pm

    @Jane Ann Liston

    “That, though, is up to the electorate as a whole, and the cards they choose to deal us. I think it’s called democracy.”

    So as a hypothetical, if the electoral cards meant a BNP-LD coalition was a viable possibility, the LDs wouldn’t rule out forming a coalition with the BNP. Or is it fair to say that there are some possible coalitions which can be ruled out well before a single vote is ever cast. Con-LD obviously isn’t one of them.

    Judging from LDV recently and the messages coming out of LD Central Office a Con-LD coalition appears far more favoured then any possible Lab-LD coalition and if it came to a straight choice the Conservatives would be the preferred partner. I think it is only fair that that is made clear to the voting public in advance of the election so they can cast their vote accordingly, as was noted in the Rose Garden the LDs and Tories found very little to disagree on, as the past 4-and-a-half years of the LDs cheerleading every abysmal policy produced by IDS, Gove, Osborne and Lansley has sadly proved.

    I don’t understand the shyness, if you are standing in 2015 on a policy platform that the current Coalition on the whole has been a good thing why not proudly put the desirability of its continuation front-and-centre of your campaign and don’t give us any weasel words about “campaigning for a LD majority”, that’s never going to happen and certainly not with current poll ratings.

    Another Coalition remains the only reasonable hope for the LDs to remain in power, the people deserve to know who you’d prefer to partner up with given the choice. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of forming another Coalition if the electoral maths dictates it, it just means we’ll know, in the ideal situation where you had a choice, which way you’d prefer to jump.

  • You cannot think with your emotions. What you would like to be true is not necessarily true and hoping it is true is no reason to believe it is true, and will not make it so. I think some of the comments here actually beggar belief. I’ll tell you what some of those are but these are just meant as my take on the situation and should not be taken in anyway as a personal attack on anyone one this site who more often than not make a lot of good points and give us good food for thought…

    @theakes “Glasgow North. Lib Dem vote down from 31% to 4%!!!!!! Wow Wow Wow. Yes we must have the right leader?” – It’s got very little to do with your leader. It’s what the party have done in government, you can wash your hands with Clegg but you can’t just wash off your record in national government. The problem the Lib Dems have is that nationally they had a different message in different party of the country. In Scotland for example, they were generally seen as the liberal left. A centre left alternative to Labour, social democrats without the authoritarianism. When they were in coalition in Holyrood with Labour this is largely how they behaved, they stopped tuition fees in Scotland and actually pushed Labour to the left and stopped a lot of the nasty authoritarian measures. This is a very different party to the party that brags about blocking social housing developments in the South of England and is supported by much of the upper middle class there who aren’t anti-EU hangers and floggers, just a bunch on NIBMY’s. Bottom line is this Theakes. You don’t enter a coalition with the Tories, attack the young and those who depend on state assistance and then win big in Scotland. And if you do this it can’t just be washed off by throwing the leader under a bus.

    @Peter Chegwyn “Note that outside the two Lib. Dem. seats we are down to 1% in 6 of the 14 Labour seats surveyed, 2% in 4 others. How much lower do we have to go before people wake up and smell the coffee? Who is going to pay for all those lost deposits in seats where the Lib. Dem. organisation has ceased to exist?” – They’re clearly not worried about those seats they never won in 2010. The current line is that the low poll ratings don’t matter much because they’re doing well in seats where they have an MP. Saying that, asking who will pay for all those lost deposits after the local parties have collapsed is a very good question… Perhaps the answer is that they won’t stand there all? After all if they’ve already written off every area where there isn’t currently a sitting Lib Dem MP, then why bother?

    @Caron Lindsay “If I were a voter in Gordon who didn’t want the SNP to win, it would be very, very clear to me that I needed to vote for Christine Jardine.” – Now that is just totally unprincipled and not what I’d expect from a liberal party against FPTP. Surely people should be encouraged to vote for who they, ummm, actually want to win? And as another poster said, consider the consequences in reverse. How would do you feel about that message being propagated nationally, bearing in mind that nationally the message is only the Tories or Labour can win this election so anything else is a wasted vote. Is that really a road we should go down?

    @ATF “The Lib Dems are paying the price for taking such an extreme unionist and British nationalist stance during the independence referendum campaign” – Most people are unionists in Scotland. The Lib Dems are being abandoned in Scotland because in national government they have turned out not to be the liberal social democratic centre left alternative to Labour that the Scottish voters thought they were. Labour are losing to the SNP because many of their voters believe that any westminster party will always be right wing. Under FPTP the large minority that support independence is largely clustered around the SNP, the small unionist majority (but they are still the majority) is split.

    @Caracatus “hopefully Danny Alexander losing his seat will herald the return of a Liberal Party.” – Emmm no. The way I understand it is that being in a coalition government with the Tories will cost the Lib Dems very badly in Scotland, badly in the Labour facing seats in the north of england and leave them with a fighting chance in the Conservative facing seats in the South of England. After paying the price of losing their seats in the parts of the country that tend to vote social democratic in order to form a coalition with the Tories the leadership’s priority will of course be keeping those seats that they still have and not upsetting the upper middle classes in the South of England that still vote for them. The party’s transition to the UK’s version of the German FDP will then be complete, that’s what is coming.

    @Simon Shaw “I thought the Gordon results were (compatively) encouraging.” – Hmmm think I’ll wait until after the election before commenting on this one. What I would say though is that bare in mind that if you lose Gordon this incumbency bonus will be quickly lost. Nothing else but a win in Gordon will do…

  • Tony Dawson 4th Feb ’15 – 6:24pm
    “..So we are doing rather better in Gordon … …than we are in the seat of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. “One wonders, ‘ why’?”

    Could it be that 79% of those polled have seen Danny on TV ?

  • @Peter Chegwyn “Note that outside the two Lib. Dem. seats we are down to 1% in 6 of the 14 Labour seats surveyed, 2% in 4 others. — Who is going to pay for all those lost deposits …”

    Could I suggest a hefty contriution from the person who is into his third year on a six figure salary for having joint responsibility for the Liberal Democrat Campaign?

    In LDV back in 2013, Stephen Tall included in a article these words from a Tweet —
    @libdemvoice @stephen tall. The trick in politics is to change the future, not predict it. Let’s focus on that.

    The author of that Tweet was Mr Ryan Coetzee.

  • Tony Dawson 4th Feb '15 - 8:24pm

    @Mr Wallace :

    “Surely people should be encouraged to vote for who they, ummm, actually want to win? ”

    Why?

    We have a constituency representative voting system. Each voter should surely vote according to whatever is the most important thing for him/her as an individual? In many cases, people are more sure of what they really don’t want compared to what they really do want. So why should anyone tell them to vote otherwise than in what they consider to be the way which advances their concerns the most?

  • Tony Dawson 4th Feb '15 - 8:27pm

    @ JohnTilley

    “Perhaps the taxpayers should fund someone to “Build Brandy Alexander”.”

    It appears Danny and Dougie are equally vulnerable to the ‘Wee ‘eck’ effect.

  • @Mr Wallace

    I was arguing against the SNP and Indy not for it – by and large, I agree with everything you say 🙂

  • Paul in Wokingham 4th Feb '15 - 8:53pm

    @Theakes – you comment that the only likely move between now and election day is toward Con as the electorate consider the binary choice of a Lab/SNP or Con government. I tend to agree.

    If (and at this moment it is an open question) the Greeks have funding withdrawn at the end of the month and suffer a liquidity crisis then we can expect a further round of “Eurozone in crisis” headlines and Cameron and Osborne will claim that only a strong Conservative government can keep the UK economy safe.

    Yougov regularly ask “what party has the best policies on the economy?” And we routinely get about 3% which I think reflects the deliberate eclipse of Vince Cable by the leadership. By the choices it has made the leadership has left us extremely vulnerable on what will be the defining issue of this election.

  • Tony Dawson 4th Feb ’15 – 8:27pm

    That sounds like a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ offer on Alexanders.

    Such offers are also known colloquially as BOGOFF.
    How appropriate !

  • Caracatus 4th Feb ’15 – 8:29pm

    Actually I was thinking of the other person jointly responsible for the General Election Campaign.

    I am told that a six figure salary in pounds sterling goes a long way in the land where he comes from.
    His three years in the UK will have netted him more than £300,000 before tax.

    But to answer your question —
    my father always used to say – ” The rich are rich because they are good at hanging on to money … .. . Our money ! “

  • stuart moran 4th Feb '15 - 9:54pm

    On another point

    Survation poll shows Labour 10 points ahead in Hallam

    Oooops!

  • Survation poll for Hallam

    Labour 33%
    LibDem 23%
    Tories 22%

    The LibDems are finding fault with the poll because it was sponsored by the UNITE Union, but Clegg – unlike Cameron and Miliband – does seem to be in for a very hard campaign to hold his seat.

  • Peter Chegwyn 5th Feb '15 - 2:06am

    @ malc – If The Dear Leader has to spend more time in Sheffield Hallam and less time elsewhere, that can only benefit candidates fighting elsewhere. The Dear Leader’s popularity with the electorate is so low that Leader visits to key seats are not going to be as helpful as in elections past.

  • stuart moran 5th Feb '15 - 6:35am

    malc

    Interesting isn’t it that Lib Dems will criticise a poll commissioned by a Trade Union but seems happy to discuss polls carried out for The Sun. Telegraph or Ashcroft who are not particularly without an agenda

    Any poll has to follow certain rules and be fully published – remember how Ashcroft was caught trying to say Miliband was close to losing Doncaster to UKIP – he was caught out on that because he had to publish the tables

    All polls should be considered for samples size, filtering, allocation of don’t knows etc but this should all be visible and so any methodology questions can be answered.

    I find ICM’s reallocation of ‘don’t knows’ back to the 2010 cast vote to be flawed in the current situation but at least I have the information to make that judgement

  • Tony Dawson 5th Feb '15 - 7:11am

    @Caracatus:

    “Lord Ashcroft commissioned Focus groups do at least show that the Lib Dems are getting a message across – just that it is the wrong message !”

    Caractacus, Lord Ashcrofts polls also show that in several dozen seats in the country, Lib Dems DO get a tight message across, and one that is winning. It just isn’t, apparently, the message that the leadership want to sell. Indeed one of those local Lib Dem parties has just recorded their best local election results in history (ie going back beyond Queen Victoria) two years on the trot, despite the vagaries of national opinion polls.

    Ashcroft’s polls also show that in the nation of Scotland, two UK Party Leaders, at least, appear to clearly ‘cut no mustard’ or have a negative effect on their Party’s support.

  • Peter Watson 5th Feb '15 - 7:59am

    It was reported last May that the polling that Lord Oakeshott commissioned by ICM in Sheffield Hallam also showed that Clegg would lose the seat to Labour with 23% vs. 33% (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/26/nick-clegg-and-lib-dems-face-battle-for-survival).

  • Bill Le Breton 5th Feb '15 - 8:06am

    @stuart moran “I find ICM’s reallocation of ‘don’t knows’ back to the 2010 cast vote to be flawed in the current situation but at least I have the information to make that judgement”

    It is interesting that Survation do not ‘cast back’ in this fashion.

    It makes the Hallam poll an interesting exercise.

    Who runs the campaign on the ground there?

  • Tony Dawson
    “……..Ashcroft’s polls also show that in the nation of Scotland, two UK Party Leaders, at least, appear to clearly ‘cut no mustard’ or have a negative effect on their Party’s support.”

    I assume Ashcroft will not reveal which is more popular in Scotland if voters are asked to decide between Gerry Adams and Nick Clegg ?

  • Caracatus 5th Feb ’15 – 6:14am. “I struggle with the whole Lib Dem thing since the coalition – he might as well be a Tory.”

    The odd thing is that in Hallam being seen as a Tory ought to help Clegg, if his strategy of attracting “soft Tories” has anything at all in it.
    Before the seat was won for the Liberal Democrats by Clegg’s predecessor in was a Conservative stronghold.
    The Conservatives did not put up candidates in some wards in Sheffield in last year’s local elections.
    Yet the polls (Oakshott, Ashcroft, Survation) all seem to indicate that Labour is in with a chance of winning.

    It is no exaggeration to say that as leader of the party Clegg has had more media exposure than any Liberal Party leader since the first world war. So maybe the voters of Hallam have seen the man and the message he personifies and decided that a shallow anchor in the centre is not for them.

    Bill Le Breton asks – who is running the campaign “on the ground” in Sheffield.
    I am hoping Joe Otten of LDV but also of Sheffield can give Bill the answer.

  • David Allen 5th Feb '15 - 1:02pm

    Iain Sanderson,

    There’s an interesting theory that you cure paranoia by conspiring against the patient, thereby bringing his world view into line with reality.

    Can you cure a pathlogical ditherer by giving him a genuinely insoluble dilemma?

  • @Ian Sanderson

    As the SNP have made clear that there will be no call for another referendum until it is clear that the Scottish electorate want one your scenario is irrelevant.

  • Michael B-G 5th Feb '15 - 9:03pm

    Last summer I spent some time looking at our MP seats and putting them into groups by how confident I was we could hold them. Gordon was in my third group of 12 or so. In the same group I had North East Fife, Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine, Argyll & Bute, while East Dunbartonshire I thought would be a worse bet.

    In my most secure group I had Orkney & Shetland and Ross, Skye and Lochaber. I believe that if we were reduced to less than 20 MPs we would still hold these two Scottish seats.

    In my second 12 were Edinburgh West, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross, Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk and Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey. Like Conor McGovern I will not be shredding many tears if Danny Alexander is defeated. I expect his electorate thought he was a social liberal and are shocked at how Tory he is.

    I haven’t look to see how the rest of these four seats voted in the independence referendum but I still hope we could hold at least two of them. Therefore I disagree with g and theakes, we will not be totally wiped out in Scotland but may well be reduced to four MPs which is one more than the Liberals had in 1979. You have to go back to 1945 to find a general election in which we didn’t win any seats.

  • Michael B-G, I think you’ll keep Orkney & Shetland easily, and Kennedy might scrape through. Any more than these two will be a good result, and I don’t ever see a recovery, the future of Scottish politics is Labour vs the SNP, with a small, but persistent Tory presence. The Lib Dems have nothing to offer to this argument. At best the party as a whole will become, like the Tories, a party that puts England’s interests first, and has no national appeals.

  • David Evans 6th Feb '15 - 12:38pm

    So many good Lib Dems have gone down the tubes since Nick became leader. Going into coalition was always going to lose us some support in Scotland, unless Nick could show that we really were a good anchor to keep the Tories in the centre. Then we could have actually have gained from coalition.

    However, year after year the voters have shown that he has failed and our support has plummeted. Our best chance still remains for him to apologise for his mess and go now. After he and Danny appear in the debates and remind people how good they felt about us in 2010, there will be very little left to rebuild from.

  • David Evans 6th Feb '15 - 12:54pm

    In Motherwell Ashcroft found two people out of a thousand who said they will vote Lib Dem. Never a heartland, but now a total wasteland. In 2007 John Love was our one Lib Dem Councillor and got 556 First Preference Votes, by 2012 his vote had fallen to 224. Good luck to you mate, whatever you are doing now.

  • Tsar Nicolas 7th Feb '15 - 9:44am

    David Evans

    ” Good luck to you mate, whatever you are doing now.”

    Given how many victims of the Coalition’s economic policy there have been, this could be the Lib Dem strapline.

    Somehow it seems more truthful than “Strong economy, fairer society.”

  • Lord Ashcroft has corrected last year’s poll in Clegg’s constituency, in line with the more recent poll, it shows Clegg is behind Labour and will likely lose his seat.

    http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/02/lord-ashcroft-sheffield-hallam-doncaster-north-and-thanet-south.html

    It also makes Clegg’s attempt to spin the more recent poll as UNITE shenanigans extremely misguided and absolutely puts your party in crisis. Losing your leader on election day, combined with losing nearly every single seat in Scotland casts serious doubt on your ability to play any significant role in politics during the next parliament.

  • SIMON BANKS 8th Feb '15 - 7:04pm

    Having recently read the “Little Yellow Book” and its follow-up, and knowing a number of Scots Liberal Democrats, I have no doubt at all we won’t be “destroyed”. We may lose nearly all our seats, but we can come back. A party destroyed is a party finished. The roots of Scottish Liberalism are too deep and it will flourish in due time either under a new British leadership or fighting the illiberalism of the SNP in power in an independent Scotland.

  • It’s what happens when a progressive liberal party severs itself from its philosophical roots to become a moderate unionist party. Tavish Scott’s decision not to join the first Salmond government because, eek, he might try to allow scotland to self determine is the reason for this, the pro-unionist jigging around and standing with the Tories since is just adding to the problem. Highlanders are well educated canny people, they know their public figures, Salmond might divide opinion but so does Danny Alexander. Is he really one of our very best MPs, to have been in cabinet all through the coalition?
    Anyway, Labour is clearly braced for joining the Salmond Uk government, and that may be depressing the SNP vote in the north east highlands (previously Tory territory) – just as it might see the Nats go on to wipe out Labour in its heartlands. Scots have had 300 years of being a little bit of the union, they won’t resist the temptation to get their own back, even if just for a few years. The UK is broken, its systems useless and it needs a hard kick to sort it out – and that might just be on its way. What a terrible pity that it’s not the LDs performing this public service though.

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