Lord Ashcroft has published a new batch of constituency polling. I hesitate to call it marginals polling, since we’ve moving up into some less marginal territory with today’s polls. Ashcroft has polled four different groups of seats in this set (all the tabs are here.)

The first is the next cohort of Lib Dem -v- Conservative marginals, this group are those seats with a Lib Dem majority of between 9% and 15% over the Conservatives, so we are no longer looking at ultra-marginals. The average swing from the Liberal Democrats to Conservatives in these seats is 2%, nowhere near enough to win seats like these. However, as we’ve seen in previous Lord Ashcroft polls of Lib Dem marginals there is an awful lot of variation between individual constituencies – some seats (Carshalton & Wallington and Thornbury & Yate) are actually showing swings from Con to LD. At the other end of the scale two seats are showing large enough swings for the Conservatives to win the seat (North Devon and Portsmouth South, which has a chunky 9 point swing from LD to Con, presumably at least partially connected to the scandal around Mike Hancock).

The second group of seats consists of two more Lib Dem seats with Labour in second place. Lord Ashcroft’s previous polling in LD v Lab seats essentially showed a complete Lib Dem collapse, raising the possibility of an almost complete wipeout for Liberal Democrat MPs where Labour was the main opponent. One of the seats here – Burnley – follows that pattern, with a ten point swing from LD to Lab. The other, Birmingham Yardley, represented by John Hemming, bucks the trend. There is still a 2.5% swing from LD to Lab, but it is smaller than we’ve seen in other LD -v- Lab seats and would be small enough for Hemming to hold on.

The third group of seats is two unusual seats – the close three-way marginal of Watford, and Wyre Forest, an Independent seat between 2001 and 2010. Neither of these really fit into any broader category, but looking at them as individual seats Watford shows little relative movement for the three main parties – all are down a little, UKIP are up a lot but still in fourth place, meaning the Conservatives retain a narrow lead. Wyre Forest was held by Dr Richard Taylor between 2001 and 2010. He’ll be standing again come the next general election for the National Health Action party, but I think under the same Kidderminster Health Concern label that he won on in 2001 and 2005. Ashcroft’s poll currently has the Conservatives holding the seat on 32% with UKIP in second on 27%, Labour 16%, Lib Dem 7%, Green 5%, Other 13%. The others aren’t identified in the poll, but is presumably largely Dr Taylor’s supporters.

Finally Ashcroft polled three of the four seats that will be contested by the main party leaders come the election – Sheffield Hallam, Doncaster North and Thanet South (presumably he didn’t do Witney because he thought it would be too boring… it would seem there comes a point when even Lord Ashcroft saves his money!). Party leaders normally do pretty well in their own seats. It is extremely rare for them to lose their own constituency and they very often outperform their party nationally. Such is the collapse of Liberal Democrat support however people have seriously raised the possiblity of Clegg losing his own seat – Ashcroft’s poll has it very close. Clegg is on 31%, Labour on 28%, just three behind (and this is on the question prompting people to think about their own constituency, the standard voting intention question had Labour a point ahead). Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North seat is traditionally a very safe Labour seat that should pose no concerns for him, but there was some speculation about how well UKIP might do. The BNP have held their deposit there at the last two elections and their was some significant support for the English Democrats too, with the far-right parties now collapsing and UKIP hoovering up that right-wing protest vote it looked as if there could be some potential. In fact Ashcroft’s poll did find UKIP in second place in Doncaster North, but 12 points behind Ed Miliband. Finally Thanet South, the seat where Nigel Farage plans to stand at the general election. Current figures there are CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 29% – so UKIP in a strong second place, but not currently quite enough to send Farage to Westminster.


ComRes released their latest poll of marginal seats today. As regular readers will recall, ComRes’s marginal polls cover the 40 most marginal Con-v-Lab seats (25 Conservative held, 15 Labour held). Unlike Lord Ashcroft’s marginal polls (which are actually a series of individual constituency polls in seats that are marginals, which we can aggregate together to get an extremely large sample across a group of marginal seats) ComRes’s poll is a more traditional marginals poll – a single poll of a group of marginal seats, meaning it gives us a measure of those seats as a whole, but has far too few people to tell us anything about the individual seats within that group.

Latest voting intention figures in these marginals with changes from the last time ComRes polled them in September is CON 31%(+1), LAB 39%(-2), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 18%(+1). These seats had Labour and Conservative equal at the last election so an eight point lead here is the equivalent of a four point national swing and a one point Labour lead in national polls…pretty much exactly what the national polls have been showing lately (actually if you look at the crossbreaks of the poll they suggest a swing towards the Conservatives in the Conservative held seats, a swing towards Labour in the Labour held seats, but given the sample size of those two groups and that the poll is only weighted at the level of all forty seats I wouldn’t put too much weight on that).

Note also that, judging from the tables, ComRes have switched over to prompting for UKIP in their main voting intention question in this poll – as with their last national poll, it does not seem to have had a major effect (UPDATE – I think this is because ComRes have changed turnout weightings, so that there is a tighter turnout filter for the Greens and UKIP than for the main parties). Tabs are here.

There should be another batch of Lord Ashcroft polls of individual marginal seats later this week.


We have our usual rush of Monday polls today, all showing a slightly healthier Labour lead than of late.

The first of Populus‘s two twice weekly polls had topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (tabs). Populus’s average so far this month has been CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, so this has the Conservatives a little lower than usual, UKIP a little higher than usual.

Lord Ashcroft‘s weekly poll had topline figures of CON 27%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 7% (tabs). Compared to his recent polls this has the Conservatives down a tad, Labour and UKIP both up a tad.

The daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 18%, GRN 6%. YouGov’s average figures so far this month have been CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16% – so again, the Conservatives lower than usual, UKIP higher than usual.

None of the figures are different enough from recent polls to be sure the difference isn’t just normal sample variation, but the fact all three are showing a shift in the same direction (Conservatives down, UKIP up) means it’s possible we are seeing a bit of a publicity boost for UKIP following Rochester & Strood last week. Time will tell. Note also what it doesn’t show – any decrease in Labour’s support following several days of fussing about White Vans and Emily Thornberry.


Full tabs for the YouGov/Sun on Sunday poll are now up here. The slightly larger sample than usual was to make sure they had a good sub-sample of Sun readers, which the Sun used in yesterday’s analysis of the poll to look at what their own readers thought. The Express, however, has decided to report the Sun reader crossbreak as a national poll – obviously it wins the coveted UKPR crap media reporting of polls award. Just to be crystal clear UKIP are not in second place in this poll. The headline figures for this poll were CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%. The figures quoted in the Express relate only to respondents who read the Sun.


Sunday polls

There are three polls in this Sunday’s papers – Opinium in the Observer and two separate YouGov polls, one in the Sunday Times and one in the Sun on Sunday.

Opinium has topline voting intention figures of CON 30%(+1), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 19%(nc), GRN 4%(nc) (changes are from their last published voting intention figures a fortnight ago (tabs are here).

YouGov’s two sets of voting intention figures are CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15% in the Sun on Sunday poll, and CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 6% in the Sunday Times (Sun Times tabs are here, Sun on Sunday should be up tomorrow) – so still showing the two main parties very close to one another.