Having made my way back from conference I’ve finally had a chance to look properly at Lord Ashcroft’s latest batch of marginal seat polling, this time looking mostly at Liberal Democrat seats – both the LD-v-Con battleground and the LD-v-Lab battleground. Full details are here.

Eleven of the LD-v-Con seats polled were the same as in the last round of Ashcroft polling. The picture in these seats is largely the same as it was then – a modest swing from Lib Dem to Con (2.9% average then, 2.5% average now), but significant variation. Then as now, the Lib Dems were doing much better in Sutton & Cheam and Eastleigh (both of which they’d hold), much worse in Chippenham and Somerton & Frome (both of which they’d lose). This round Lord Ashcroft also added four more LD-v-Con seats with slightly larger majorities. His polling found the Conservatives ahead in Berwick and in Taunton, neck-and-neck in Torbay but a hefty swing towards the Liberal Democrats in Eastborne. There is no obvious pattern to where the Lib Dems are doing better or worse in the LD/Con battleground. The Lib Dems are doing extremely well in Eastbourne where they have first term incumbent Stephen Lloyd, but they are also doing extremely well in Sutton and Cheam where Paul Burstow has been MP since 1997. They are doing extremely badly in Somerton & Frome where David Heath is standing down, but they are also doing extremely badly in Chippenham where Duncan Hames is a first time incumbent.

Ashcroft also polled five Lib Dem seats with Labour in second place. His previous polling of Lib-v-Lab seats was a little disappointing – he polled the four most marginal LD-v-Lab seats, all of which fell to Labour easily on huge swings. The more interesting question is what is happening in LD-v-Lab seats that have much bigger majorities, are the Lib Dems going to be wiped out there? In this round of polling Lord Ashcroft looked at some of those “safer” Lib Dem seats – Cambridge, Cardiff Central, Hornsey & Wood Green, Redcar and Bermondsey & Old Southwark. Four of these would need swings of 6-7 points to fall to the Labour, and Ashcroft shows them getting it relatively easily, the average swing across the five seats is twice that. The only LD-v-Lab seat where Ashcroft found the Lib Dems ahead was Bermondsey & Old Southwark – and there by only a single point.

Meanwhile the latest voting intention polls from the four companies who’ve polled so far this week are below:

Ashcroft – CON 32%(+5), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 17%(nc), GRN 4%(-2)
Populus – CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
ComRes/Indy – CON 29%(+1), LAB 35%(nc), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 15%(-2)
YouGov/Sun – CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%


Sunday Polls

I’m about to head up to Birmingham, so won’t necessarily be around much for the next few days (not least, when Lord Ashcroft releases his latest marginal poll at 2pm today I’ll be on a train!), but here’s a quick summary of today’s other polls.

ComRes in the Independent on Sunday have topline figures of CON 29%(-3), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 19%(+1). Changes are from their previous online poll a month ago. Tabs are here.

Opinium for the Observer have toplines of CON 32%(+3), LAB 34%(-3), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 17%(-2). Changes are from a fortnight ago.

Finally the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has toplines of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%. While some other pollsters have already shown the Greens in fourth place, this is the first time that YouGov have shown them catching the Liberal Democrats. Tabs are here.

There is no obvious impact in the polls from the Labour party conference – ComRes have their lead up, Opinium down, YouGov not far from their recent average. In YouGov’s survey they asked if Labour’s conference made people more or less positive about Ed Miliband – 13% said more positive, 15% more negative, 54% unchanged.

YouGov also had several questions on Iraq, showing majority support for British airstrikes against ISIS (58% support for attacks in Iraq, 53% for attacks in Syria) but continuing opposition to putting ground troops back into Iraq (26% approve, 53% disapprove). YouGov also asked about whether Britain should co-operate with Assad or Iran in fighting ISIS. People are evenly split over Assad – 36% think we should co-operate with the regime, 34% that we should not. With Iran people are far more supportive of co-operation – 54% of people think that we should co-operate with Iran, 18% are opposed.


As part of his speech today Nigel Farage showed off polling for various target seats. A couple of the polls were just the figures from previous Ashcroft polls that showed UKIP doing well, but three are Survation polls for UKIP that we haven’t seen before. They show UKIP well ahead in Boston & Skegness – on 46% to the Conservatives 26%, one point behind in Thanet North and on 37% to Labour’s 48% in Rotherham. Of course, polling conducted for political parties should be treated with a medium sized ocean of salt until you’ve see the tables with your own eyes (I’ll put up a link once Survation put the tabs up (UPDATE: here)), but the previous Survation polls for UKIP donor Alan Bown have used their standard methodology.

The polls got very brief attention as they were rapidly followed by Mark Reckless defecting to UKIP and precipitating a by-election in Rochester and Strood. Rochester and Strood probably won’t be the complete walk in the park for UKIP that polls have suggested in Clacton (Clacton’s demographics are absolutely perfect for UKIP and Carswell particularly well thought of). UKIP came top in Medway in the European elections, but that was hardly unusual and as an all-out unitary authority we have no recent local elections in Medway to judge from. The seat does not appear in Rob Ford and Matt Goodwin’s list of the most UKIP friendly Con seats. The unusual circumstances of a by-election though mean anything is possible – and from a national polling point of view, it keeps the UKIP bandwagon rolling, keeps them in the public eye, keeps the publicity coming, keeps them looking like a viable choice.


ICM Welsh poll

BBC Wales had a new ICM poll of Wales out this morning, conducted in the aftermath of the Scottish referendum. Westminister voting intentions in Wales, with changes from the previous ICM Welsh poll in February, are CON 23%(-1), LAB 38%(-4), LDEM 7%(-2), Plaid 13%(-1), UKIP 14%(+7). This puts UKIP up into third place in Wales, though on a uniform swing wouldn’t give them any seat (on his blog Roger Scully projects these figures would produce 28 Labour MPs (up 2), 8 Conservatives (unchanged), 1 Lib Dem (down 2) and 3 Plaid Cymru (no change)). Asked about Wales’s constitutional future just 3% would support Welsh independence, 49% would support extra powers for the Welsh Assembly, 26% support the status quo, 12% would like the Assembly abolished.

Meanwhile tonight’s YouGov GB poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LD 7%, UKIP 13%


We have our usual three Monday polls today:

The weekly Lord Ashcroft poll has topline figures of CON 27%(-6), CON 33%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 17%(+3), GRN 6%(nc). The drop in Conservative support looks striking, but is probably largely a reversion to the mean after the unusual neck-and-neck Ashcroft poll last week. Tabs are here.

The twice-weekly Populus poll meanwhile has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. Tabs are here.

Finally the daily YouGov poll for the Sun tonight has toplines of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%.