Tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph reports that CrosbyTextorPepper have repeated their poll of the 30 seats seats most vulnerable to the Conservatives (last time they did it I believe they used the top thirty seats on this list). The breakdown in support in these seats stands at CON 44%, LAB 20%, LDEM 18%. At the last election support in these seats stood at CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 25%, so the poll represents a swing of 8.5%, the equivalent of a 14 point national lead for the Conservatives, so much in line with national polling.

When CrosbyTextor last polled these seats (see my reports here and here), back in late June 2008, the figures were CON 49%, LAB 20%, LDEM 21% – so this poll actually shows the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats down on last year – not that this should come as a particular surprise to us, given that in June last year the national polls were giving the Tories leads of around 20 points.

This is assuming that the Sunday Telegraph figures are excluding don’t knows and wouldn’t votes – last year they published figures including them, and I had to get the tables from CrosbyTextor/Flying Matters in order to get the comparable repercentaged figures.

The poll was conducted between the 1st and 11th July.

107 Responses to “New CrosbyTextorPepper poll of marginal seats”

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  1. Today’s poll has party support in those seats at CON 41%, LAB 17%, LDEM 18%. Unless there is an unfeasibly high figures for others, I suspect the figures have not been repercentaged to exclude don’t knows so we can’t do a proper swing. Assuming the others are only a bit up on 2005, 8% say, the figures would be something like CON 49%, LAB 20%, LDEM 21% – the same sort of swing the national polls are showing.

    Have to disagree with your premise that the Tories and LibDems are down as you extrapolate in 2008 but not in 2009. Mike Smithson is not sure how reliable this poll is. Could you clarify how authentic you believe it is?

    P..S. You second link is restricted. It claims to be a draft…! :oops:

  2. Fluffy – second link is working now, and makes takes away the extrapolation! It has the actual repercentaged figures from last year, which did indeed turn out to be CON 49%, LAB 20%, LDEM 21%.

  3. It shall be interesting to see how all of this changes once we enter Conference season.

    But on the whole, good reading for the Conservatives, damn good.

  4. Can this underestimate Liberal strength at all?

  5. Anthony, should the long field work period raise eyebrows?

  6. Not really – suggests it was either done face-to-face, or piggybacking on the back of lots of other surveys and just asking people in the key seats.

  7. I don’t claim to be an expert psephologist, but isn’t this poll completely useless?

    It takes the top 30 Tory target seats, so the seats are all ones where the Tories have pretty high % and are nearly equal with the incumbents.

    21 of these seats are Lab held, 9 of them LD held, 1 SNP.

    So while the Tories will have high % in all of them, the Lab and LD votes will be depressed due to them being irrelevant in (1/3 and 2/3 respectively) a fair proportion of the seats.

    However well Lab or LD did in the seats where they were the incumbents, their share would be dragged down by poor meaningless 3rd place showings in other seats. And as such a Tory lead in a poll of this nature is to be expected by the methodology and tells us nothing.

  8. It does what it says on the tin – shows how well the Conservatives are doing in their easiest marginal seats. How interesting that is is a different matter.

    That they Conservatives are ahead is, as you say, not interesting – they were at the last election. The key bit is how far ahead, the size of the swing. It’s about 8.5%, so about the same as the country as a whole, suggesting the Conservatives are not outperforming their national swing in marginal seats.

    As for the seats themselves, given the current levels of support, these particular seats aren’t very interesting at all (the Lib Dem ones might be if they were singled out, but they aren’t). The interesting marginals aren’t the low hanging fruit, but the ones the Conservatives need to win to get an overall majority, or a large majority.

  9. AW

    Why does anyone think it interesting to poll Battersea, Harlow or Finchley?

    It would be more revealing if the constituencies polled were those that the Conservatives needed to gain a majority ie those over 125.

  10. Yes but we don’t really know how far ahead they are of their main opposition in those marginals. Are Labour down in their Lab/Con marginals or are they just being pushed even further down in LD/Con marginals where they were third anyway (likewise for the LDs).

    The Con figure is likely to be accurate, but due to the mixed constituencies we don’t know how big their lead actually is.

  11. We need to see a few more polls after the holiday season to form a measured opinion.

  12. Doubt Labour will be commiting much resources to trying to hold the 21 most vulnerable seats in fact the first 50 at least. LD’s will hold some of theirs though as incumbency works better for them and they will target resources.
    I agree with Richard targets 100-150 are the most interesting as the Tories need around half to get to majority.
    My guess, Tory swing in these key seats will be bigger than UNS, producing the odd surprise, e.g target seat 60 from Labour held whilst 145 goes. (maybe 100 held whilst 180 goes depending on the vote share margin.
    At least it supports the current lead in National polls around 15 as being pretty accurate.

  13. Its a bit unfortunate that during the lengthy period when this poll was taken only one nationwide poll was done, on the 11th. And it is never wise to rely on a single poll. Even a few days before and after this poll was taken there were no national intention polls done.

    This poll does add to the weight of evidence regarding the approximate position of the parties. It is not as helpful as it might have been had we some current polls to compare it with.

    Since this poll we have had the somwhat important event of the Norwich North by-election. The two polls that have followed showed the Cons to be 42, 41 and Labour 24, 27.

    The tantalizing question arising from the relatively large gap between the Labour scores is which one is more accurate?

    If we have a ICM poll soon showing Labour to be on 27% according to my analysis this would suggest that the lower Comres poll of 24% is more accurate. Although I am sure others would dispute that.

    What we really need is another poll from Yougov soon.

  14. I find a couple of things interesting that no-one else has mentioned –
    1) Combined total for the three main parties is 82%, compared to 94% at the election, which suggests that the ‘Others’ vote is still holding up well.
    2) Despite, by definition, the Tories not winning any of these seats at the last election, they actually polled easily the highest percentage (38%) of the three parties. This suggests to me a large amount of tactical voting, where Labour and Liberal must have generally polled very low in seats where they were 3rd. So even by 2005, after 8 years of Labour government, there was still a substantial ‘Anyone but the Tories’ vote. Will this still be a factor in some places in the next election, or will it have changed to ‘Anyone but Labour’?

  15. Corporeal’s point is very true – there is no value in the Lab/LD scores in this poll unless the exclude seats where they are a distant third. Interesting to note a significant fall in the Con vote however.

  16. I believe the most significant number from this survey is the Labour vote. It emphasises something that has become apparent from the last three months votes – that the “core” Labour vote is smaller than previously thought.

    We used to say, and the post Thatcher period ‘proved’, that the core Tory vote was in the low thirties.. I think we must now begin to assume that the core Labour vote is much smaller. As low as 20%? I doubt it. But a core vote of 24-26% appears plausible. Does it make a difference. I don’t think so. But it does make the LibDem ‘happy-day’ scenario of overtaking Labour believable.

    Will they go for it? I think they should. In my opinion, one of the few ways the LibDems might get votes back from the Tories would be with the promise to “bury Labour”. I don’t think they will though. Too much of the LibDem leadership is still wedded to the strategy of holding the balance of power in a hung Parliament, As many military men have been, they are fighting “yesterday’s war”.

  17. Cynosarges – I don’t think you’d expect to find much of Labour’s core vote in these seats. Labour’s core vote is in the deprived inner cities, industrial north, Scotland’s central belt, south Wales vallies (and, of course, in smaller quantities elsewhere – there will be some core Labour voters in even the safest Tory and Lib Dem seats). You would expect a poll of this sort of seat to not have a huge core Labour vote.

  18. Does anyone know what Labour’s current majority is with the new boundaries and the various seats lost in by-elections?

  19. With 8 months until Brown visits the Queen,i now believe the game is up for Brown & Labour.

    The only argument now is will the tory maj be 10-100+?

    There seems to still be this un-realistic attitude on posters on this forum & the media at large that a economic recovery still would change things.

    Wishful thinking rather than thoughtful comment.

    Even if we got growth in the 3rd Quarter,quite possible,there is one small thing the labourites on here and elswhere are overlooking.

    Even at the height of the biggest Brown bounce at the turn of the year,Brown got within 1 point of Cameron,the Tories were way ahead in dealing with the Economy post-recession.

    Since those bounces are now a distant memory the situation has changed further,DC is ahead in both dealing with the economy now and after the recession has ended.

    Incidentally what is Mandleson up to?

  20. According to this link, it seems there are plans for Mandleson to contemplate an Alec Douglas-Home move circa autumn 1963

    Interesting scenario. Brown throws in the towel like Macmillan did in that year within a year or less of the next election? And Mandelson decides the by-election in former Speaker Martin’s old seat will do nicely in order to get the key to No 10? Cameron must be rubbing his hands in glee.

  21. Further to the above, I’ve just had a look at one of those sample Sunday newspaper reports on Mandelson – no doubt they all say much the same thing.

    This one suggests he might stand for North-West Durham at the election if Hilary Armstrong is persuaded to retire, so maybe a quick by-election return is less likely. Even so – he seems determined to make more comebacks than Gary Glitter.

  22. Rich,

    I doubt if anyone knows for certain what Mandleson is up to but one can make a guess.

    It was he who pointed out that it would need a change in the law for him to resign his peerage.

    Surprise surprise, the law is about to be changed.

    His grandfather was Home Secretary and he’s always saying he’d like to follow in his footsteps

    When asked directly whether he’d go for leader / PM he declined to answer directly and said perhaps that would be a step too far.

    My guess therefore is that the current media speculation is probably correct and he’ll resign before the election and get himself elected in the North East at the GE thus being able to offer himself as the salvation for Labour next time round.

    Any other ideas?

  23. One further thought.

    If the Tories do win then DC could with some reasonable justification (totally un-connected of course with Mandleson) introduce a provision (unless it already exist) that no one could speak or vote on any matter or organisation in or from which he had any financial interest ,which would, for the absence of doubt, include receipt of any income however derived.

    As Mandleson is in receipt of a very substantial life pension from the EU that would effectively prevent him from participating in major issues and probably make him ineligible to be Leader of the Opposition. What would he do then?

    Mandleson doesn’t have a monoploy of Machiavellian tactics!

  24. DAVID

    Also i think DC could propose changes that would see an un-elected PM having to go to the country within 6 months of taking office.

    I think this would be very popular.

    Never again should an MP openly announce through his sources that he will only support an elected PM if he stands down allowing said MP to pervert our Democracy on a nod & a wink & take over without the peoples mandate.

  25. Cynosarges- I think you’re wrong.

    On the Labour vote, as I said above, in about a third of the seats in this survey they are in third place and irrelevant. Therefore we don’t know if their vote in the seat they care about is going down or are they just going from mediocre third place to bad third place.

    The mixing of Labour and Lib Dem held seats means that neither of those two parties’ vote % can be taken seriously.

  26. So apart from always overestimating Labour’s strength in national polls – they are still showing them miles behind
    And in the marginals they are doing even worse!!
    Cannot see a Tory majority of less than 100

  27. “And in the marginals they are doing even worse!!”

    Erm… no. This poll shows an 8.5% swing in these particular marginals, the most recent national poll also shows an 8.5% swing.

  28. Running polls in areas where Tories are expected as a dead-cert to win seems a little pointless; why not run polls in constituencies where UNS has implied tight contests?

    Then we might learn something about whether a 50-seat, 100-seat or 150-seat majority is on the cards.

  29. Waiting until the fifth year of a Parliament has always been seen as desperation.

    It breeds contempt for the party in power.

    No opinion poll can calculate the building attitude of teaching Labour & Brown a lesson that will inevitabaly build come Jan 2010 onwards,aided by the tories but labour would do & did the same in the Conservative position.

    I do believe however come Jan 2010 labour are going to panic,it reminds me of summer holidays when at school,it always seems so long before you have to go back,5 weeks later with 1 week left you realise the funs over.

    labour are not known for their ability to hide their dirty washing.

  30. 9 of these 30 seats are Lib Dem seats.
    If this poll is accurate, it must clearly worry the Lib Dems that this kind of swing is being picked up in those areas aswell, even if it is in the melting pot average.

    The Conservatives should most likely gain 28 of these 30 seats – the exceptions being Westmorland & Lonsdale (where it appears the local party is very shell-shocked by losing in 2005), and the seat in Brighton which could be Labour or perhaps Green.

  31. Anthony (and Corporeal)

    I wasn’t specifically saying that the 20% in this poll was Labour’s core vote. However, this number was sufficiently low to make me consider what is Labour;s core vote.

    Considering the most recent poll results (from Anthony’s tables) – 22, 22, 24, 24, 27, 25, 20, 22, 21, 25, 24, 25, 27, 23, 25, 26, 24, 25, 24, 27 – it seems reasonable to speculate that Labour;s core vote lies in the range of 24-26% Indeed, given real results of 22% from the local elections, possibly a little high.

    And yes, this excludes Labour’s 63% vote in Knowsley. But, equally,it excludes the 3% Labour achieved in Henley! I didn’t use this poll as a base. It just caused me to ask the question. As I am sure you will both acknowledge, the national polls Anthony reports include both Labour and Tory safe seats.

    So, what is your estimate of Labour’s core vote then? If it is higher than 27%, then it would appear that you are arguing that all of the pollsters have an inbuilt anti-Labour bias.

  32. Joe

    The Brighton seat in the top 30 is Kemptown and will be a Conservative gain – you seem to be thinking of Pavilion instead.

    I don’t think they’ll gain Eastleigh though.

  33. I’d love to see a poll for my seat Leicester West – if that turns blue we are in for a thunderous Tory majority.

  34. I started reading this about half an hour ago and have only just stopped laughing at the thought of Mandelson standing in Glasgow North East.

    I can just imagine Mandelson touring the streets of Provenmill; He’d last about 5 minutes.


  35. NEW POLL


    Lab 32
    SNP 30
    Con 17
    LD 15

  36. John Curtice: ‘Nats set for best result in 35 years – but little to show for it’

    “On these latest figures, just three seats would switch from Labour to the SNP – Dundee West, Ochil and Kilmarnock. The Nationalists are likely to need to pull well ahead of Labour to make major gains.

    At 17 per cent, the Tory share of the Scottish vote is up by just one point on their 2005 tally. But for the fact that Labour’s vote is down eight points to 32 per cent, the Tories would have little prospect of making gains at all.

    Meanwhile, there seems little chance that the Liberal Democrats can retain the second place they secured four years ago. At 15 per cent, their vote is also down by eight points, though fortunately for them all of their MPs are defending relatively safe seats.

    ComRes conducted a “poll of polls” analysis of voting intentions in Scotland. Figures are based on 1,034 interviews taken from all polls conducted between 29 May and 31 July, for which a separate breakdown of figures is available for Scotland.”

  37. Peter – re Mandelson in Glasgow NE – very true! But Roy Jenkins got back at the Glasgow Hillhead by-election in 1982.

  38. John from Devon

    Roy Jenkins was an liberal intellectual in a university constituency. In an Old Labour constituency Peter Mandelson would be perceived as the person most responsible for turning the Labour party away from socialism.

    There is a huge difference.

    I cannot imagine anything more certain to boost the SNP’s chances of winning the seat.

  39. @David D and Rich – re your points yesterday about lw changes DC might think about regarding speaking on issues and elections for new PMs. David D’s idea is particularly silly – most of Cameron’s backbenchers would be affected, all of his front bench, and he hinself would be unable to discuss anything to do with the media – he has a nice pension from Carlton TV don’t forget. Local councils will cease to function, and democracy would seize up. You might think that’s a price worth paying to keep Mandelson quiet, but I don’t.
    In terms of the point about elections within 6 months of a new PM taking over – it might be popular, but I doubt the Tories would consider this. Whenever people propse these ideas they always think their party will remain popular. Wiser heads know that what goes around comes around. It may not be that long until the Tories are grateful they can change leaders without having to rush to the electorate.

  40. ALEC

    Difference is as you fail time & time again to understand DC’s pension at Carlton does not come out of my pocket or any other tax-payer

    Now on to my point made above.

    I don’t care if it is the right political choice,it is the right moral choice.

    I do appreciate you not doing the normal trick of Socialists on here & elsewhere however by not mentioning Thatcher,as that was how the rules were supposed to be used in this regard.

    MT would have gone on for another term if she could,Brown used his influence in the Labour party although not in the country to get around the electorate before the previous election in doing one of the famous Blair Brown deals.

    Even as a Socialist you should appreciate how that demeans our democracy,especially when we pontificate to others about democracy.

  41. @Alec

    I agree, but I think that the main issue is this:

    Mandelson’s considerable pension is forfeit if he is considered to harm or undermine the EU. EU Commissioners are required “both during and after their term of office” to maintain a “duty of loyalty to the Communities” else they can be stripped of their pensions.

    I think this is extremely important; it curtails free speech in the Chamber, which is otherwise protected (rightly) from libel and slander laws.

  42. Some 18 months ago labour polled 25% in a opinion poll, from i think Youguv if i remember correct.

    The reason was the high cost of oil reflected in petrol prices,which had a knock on effect to goods in the shops being more expensive & utility bills were also rising dramatically.

    The economy however was doing fine with approx 3% annulized growth still just before the credit crunch hit.

    The reason for the drop in labour’s support was the Oil price effects hit labour’s core support hardest,it also hit OAP’s hard as well.

    Now i forecast Oil prices would soar a couple of weeks ago,i was told i was speculating to much by the labour posters here.

    Today the OIl price has hit its highest for over a year,experts on Bloomberg have just predicted it could go from $73 today to $90 by Oct,with the price rises on petrol and ultility bills being passed on for winter.

    If this does turn out to be correct,if labour can lose so much support through this issue when the economy is growing well ,what will be the effect come NOV-MAR in the current climate?

    Feb-March they predict it could reach a $100 a barrel.

  43. @Rich, 11.44am.
    I suspect your post would be amusing, if I could understand it. You omitted to mention in your original proposal anything about public/private income in terms of gagging elected representatives right to speak, and frankly the idea is so daft it’s not worth continuing with. Your assertion that I am a socialist is also highly entertaining – you clearly don’t know me, or what defines a socialist.

    @Richard Manns – I wasn’t aware of the stipulation on EU Commisioners pensions. While you would expect many such finanancial packages to include clauses specifying confidentiality agreements etc, the precise wording of the “duty of loyalty to the Communities” would be interesting. I would tend to argue that my loyalty to the communities would be to point out that the Commission is inefficient, undemocratic, presides over vast waste and corruption, and hasn’t even been able to persuade it’s own auditors to sign off it’s accounts for many years they are so shot through with errors. Essentially however, it’s a matter for the EU, and not UK electoral law. Mandy can still say what he wants – so long as he accepts the conditions of his pension, and so long as he declares his interest like any other outside interest that’s how Parliament works.

  44. ALEC

    Your posts are always amusing!

  45. The details of what restrictions there are on those in receipt of EU pensions is, strangely enough, one that the House of Lords seems to spend large amounts of time debating and having committee reports on – largely because UKIP’s Lord Pearson keeps raising it.

    The interpretation of the pension regulations made by Lord Pearson (that former EU commissioners would be stripped of their pensions were they to dare to criticise the evil empire) is not, as one might expect, universally held.

    The House of Lords privileges committee looked at it here….

    …and accepted the alternative interpretation of the rules that there is no such ongoing obligation on former commissioners, there was no way that speaking in Parliament could break any obligation, and as such it wasn’t necessary to declare it as an interest.

  46. @Anthony Wells

    Ah, fair enough, then. Since this covers him, I think that absolves the issue. And in any case, if he did “go Eurosceptic” and the EU tried to remove his pension, that would be powerful ammunition against the EU.

  47. Alec

    I have to comment on your attack on posts on here,& for the record i am fully aware of what a socialist is.

    David D’s idea is particularly silly (posted above by you)

    Well perhaps he does not think so

    Spend less time attacking posts that don’t agree with your ideas & be more constructive & give ideas of your own theres a good chap.

    For the record calling you a socialist is hardly a swear word.

    On the open forum i was called a right-wing nut & thats the polite version.

    sticks & stones.

    I was only old enough to vote under Blair whom i did vote for,i became a Conservative 2-3 years ago,i am hardly a right wing nut but i didn’t throw my toys out the pram.


  48. If the opinion of the electorate in the top 30 marginal’s reflects a 44 – 20 – 18 breakdown, then why would people’s opinions be any different in the top 50 or 100 or 200 marginal’s? Incidentally, on these figures, Nick Clegg loses his seat!

  49. @David E Jones

    True, but the parties put their main resources into “winnable” seats, and if you take the UNS model as accurate, then there are certain margins where a lot of seats fall for relatively little additional swing.

    And yes, Nick Clegg can’t be too happy in Sheffield Hallam (I think that’s it), but a “decapitation” would be something that the LibDems would desperately avoid (its having been a failed strategy of their own against Howard). I suspect that they’d devote an unusually large amount to protecting him.

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