The Telegraph tomorrow has a new poll of marginal seats carried out by Crosby/Textor, conducted in the 140 Labour seats where the Conservatives need the smallest swing to win, and the 20 Lib Dem seats where the Conservatives need the smallest swing to win. Full details of the polling are here.

The poll found a swing of 7.5% from Labour to the Conservatives in Lab-v-Con marginals, enough for the Conservatives to win around 103 seats on a uniform swing. In the LD-v-Con seats though, the poll found a swing of 3 points from the Conservatives to Lib Dems, so clearly the Conservatives would be unlikely to win any LD seats, and if the same swing occurred in Con-v-LD seats, they’d expect to lose some.

Looking at the technical details of the poll, Crosby/Textor essentially used a methodology very similar to that of MORI. It was a telephone poll using quotas, it was weighted by demographics but not by past vote, there was a squeeze question for don’t knows and it was filtered by only those saying they were 10/10 certain to vote. Perhaps not surprisingly, it also found a similar result to MORI’s poll of marginals today, which found a 7% swing to the Conservatives in marginal seats.

Two interesting things to point out. Crosby/Textor asked two voting intention questions: a standard one, and one prompting using candidate name and party. Prompting by candidate name increased the support for the incumbent party, reflecting the effect of the personal vote. The swings reported are from the candidate prompted questions.

Secondly, while it’s nice to have some LD-v-Con marginals polling, I’d treat it with some scepticism. I can’t find a break down in the tables for how many people were interviewed in Lab-v-Con seats and how many in LD-v-Con seats, but if it was in proportion to the number of seats being polled, the sample size for LD-v-Cons would be absurdly small. Secondly, the figures themselves look odd – CON 41%, LAB 3%, LDEM 53%. Now, I’m sure Labour’s vote is going to get squeezed in those seats… but 3%?


270 Responses to “Crosby Textor poll of marginals”

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  1. Xiby
    I’m glad you posted that about Bristol NW as I did not want to dispute with a colleague! BTW, there are more students in Bristol NW than may be imagined. This is because many of the more up market halls of residence are here. Before LD’s get excited, I am afraid the chief occupants of the halls are the children of Mummy and Daddy or Mother and Father.

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  2. @ Xiby

    “The polls already tell us that tactically voting LDs will split with about a third going Con not Lab.”

    I am sorry but the statement is simply unfounded.

    Fully admit I was wrong, it should have been a quarter not a third. I was just including in my own personal opinion on how GB is so unpopular amongst non Lab voters. I just do not get the feeling that LDs have such a vehment anti-Con opinion as some Lab supporters here think . The figure was of course for Lab tactical voters, of whom a third were thinking of voting Con.

    The effect of tactical voting, because they are not 100% to a third party actually lessens the net effect but with a huge penalty to the original party. For example: LD Tactical voters 1 for Con, 3 for Lab – net effect 2 for Lab but minus 4 for LD. Similarly for Con tactical voters 1 for Lab 2 for LD – net effect 1 for LD and minus 3 for Con. For Lab Tactical voters 1 for Con 2 for LD – net effect 1 for LD and minus 3 for Lab. The ‘net’ effect of tactical voting is likely to be less this year than in GE2005.

    @Jack

    My ‘won‘ was in quotes for this very reason. All the variations of PR also do not reflect the will of the people. It this campaign all the policies of the major 3 parties are distinctly different. Unless a candidate gets over 50% of the first choice votes, then No candidate can say they have the mandate of the people. By considering including second choice votes and claiming they are as valid as first choice votes is still a fudge, except by different criteria.

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  3. Eoin
    A most common Dutch expression is ‘behave sensibly and you’ll be daft enough for me’.

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  4. Eoin,

    Accurate analysis of composition of LDs.

    The problem for many LDs, including Clegg, is that they won traditionallly Con seats by being economic liberals not socialists. If they swing too far to the left, they put their own seats at risk.

    LD activists on the other hand include many big-state high spending types, or those who have been disillusioned with Lab. It is also much easier for LDs to pitch for ex-Lab voters than for ex-Con voters. This means that in general terms the party membership / support is more left of centre than its leadership.

    Clegg will have a difficult time over the next few weeks whatever the result on Thursday night . His negotiating position will actually be weaker than that of either Brown or Cameron unless he manages to overtake Lab in seats as well as votes, or by some miracle LDs emerge with an overall majority.

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  5. @Paulhj

    Actually, if their is a hung parliament, Cleggs position is incredibly strong. Remember all he has to say is he will vote for every finacial policy the tories put out.

    This will show the electorate, he’s not playing with our country, and allow the markets to know the tories will ‘fix’ the country.

    He can then vote on every other policy he feels are positive for lib-dems.

    It’s a win-win for him, regardless now. The tories are seen as cutting everyone’s jobs, while the lib-dems look like they are promoting the good fair social policies.

    A stable minority tory government, is better for the small parties.

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  6. Eoin
    I understand your analysis of the two wings of the LDs, and recognise that LD party wants to become the accepted opposition/alternative to the Cons.

    A split centre/left vote favours the Cons. It doesn’t help the LDs, IMO.

    NC and the LDs should heed GB’s words: get real.

    If there is no HP arising from this GE, under which electoral reform will ensue, IMO the LDs will be riven with recriminations about the campaign actions and strategy of the party leadership.

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  7. @Howard,

    Is there no way you could communicate that lesson to messers Clegg and Cable?

    @Mike N,

    I think there are Libs out there who would resent the term left wing being applied to them. Also they will not be that ‘riven'; they are all too nice for that. except their Brutus job on Kennedy of course (Sarah Teather ggrrrrr…!).

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  8. FrankG

    I note and agreed with the “won”.

    There is consensus though on some issues that are common ground to all the parties save the Conservatives.

    The key one is the economy where no party except the Cons want to be cutting ymore than what is already in Darling’s budget for this year.

    Another key one is electoral reform. .I actually don’t think any of the other leftist parties and the DUP for that matter, will argue much except the nuances on Vince Cable’s tax reform. So you could get a couple of years out of consensus. With PR we’d have to have consensus politics thereafter,any way!

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  9. Eoin “…Libs out there who would resent the term left wing being applied to them…”

    You’re trying to put words in my mouth. :-)

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  10. @MikeN: do you seriously think LibDems will be riven with recriminations after a 5% to 6% increase in votes & a 20 plus increase in seats? Nick Clegg, as the architect of this boost, will be untouchable.

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  11. @MikeN,

    Oops sorry- I did not mean to….

    i re-read your post I understand better now!

    Sorry about that :)

    Your forward slash threw me :)

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  12. Derek Pierson
    “do you seriously think LibDems will be riven with recriminations after a 5% to 6% increase in votes & a 20 plus increase in seats? Nick Clegg, as the architect of this boost, will be untouchable.”

    Yes, as there was (is?) something of far higher value to the LDs on offer. An opportunity existed (exists?) to chaneg the face of Brit politics. That opportunity may never arise again.

    But, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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  13. @MikeN: It’s unlikely that one election could change the face of British politics, but a hung Parliament with LibDems on 80 to 100 seats is a pretty big change. If as seems to be the case, young voters are now overwhelmingly LibDem, that will feed through into changing the face of British politics in future.

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  14. @Derek Pierson – My daughter, age 30, has never previously voted and after debate1 intended to vote LD. Since then she has changed her mind and is undecided about voting C or L. I would therefore suggest caution about relying on the current LD-leaning youngsters staying LD for too long.

    80 to 100 MPs would be a great achievement.

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  15. @MikeN: It’s unlikely that one election could change the face of British politics, but a hung Parliament with LibDems on 80 to 100 seats is a pretty big change. If as seems to be the case, young voters are now overwhelmingly LibDem, that will feed through into changing the face of British politics in future.

    Agreed. Since the initial success of the party under Ashdown in ’97 the Lib Dem story has been one of evolution not revolution. That may now change in the post TV debate world.

    Just how stable and intact do people think a post 6th May labour party will remain. Might not a few MPs (especially of constituencies where the Lib Dems came second in the vote) be tempted to join Clegg and Vince?

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  16. Fingerbob69 “Just how stable and intact do people think a post 6th May labour party will remain. Might not a few MPs (especially of constituencies where the Lib Dems came second in the vote) be tempted to join Clegg and Vince?”

    Why would any Lab MP move from a larger party that has greater financial support to a party – the LDs – that has fewer MPs and less support?

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  17. 15 years ago GB concluded that in order to realise his political mission that it would be best to support TB for the Labour Leadership.

    I have no doubt faced with his political life nearing its end; the Duffy affair striking deep into his sensitivities; combined with his experience at yesterday’s UK Citizens election assembly, has had a transformatory re-awakening effect on him. Yesterday he was greeted with the real world of non-partisan community organisers with a manifesto that touched on GB’s very purpose in life as he sees it. What a contrast to the sterile party conferences, to addressing the TUC etc. Yesterday he re-discovered in a hall 2,500 genuine fellow travellers after social justice the reason he came into politics. Anybody who saw his speech yesterday saw a man possessed.

    There is no question in my mind that given the opportunity he will step aside and support a progressive alliance of political parties for the greater good under a less divisive leader.

    If these polls hold Friday could be an extraordinary day.

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  18. @Xiby

    ‘In 2005 the vote distribution in Bristol NW was:
    27.9 46.7 20.1′

    Where on earth did you get these figures from?

    Boundary changes that returned a heavily Con area to the seat gave the following notional figures for GE2005:
    Lab 18671 36.5%
    Con 17596 43.4%
    LD 12423 24.3%
    Others 2468 4.8%

    Majority 1075 2.1%

    This seat is Con target 17 and is the no 12 on the Lab/Con marginals list.

    IMO it will most certainly be a Con gain.

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  19. Alan Paul,

    “Actually, if their is a hung parliament, Cleggs position is incredibly strong. Remember all he has to say is he will vote for every finacial policy the tories put out.

    This will show the electorate, he’s not playing with our country, and allow the markets to know the tories will ‘fix’ the country.

    He can then vote on every other policy he feels are positive for lib-dems”

    While that sounds fine in theory, it would be frightfully difficult for LDs to remain “united” in such a scenario. For starters, it is not the case that all LDs accept the Con financial platform. While there are many strands that are common to both Con and LD, the reality is that in a hung Parliament it is the differences that will come to the fore and cause ructions. There is also the danger that any such approach will lay bare the internal inconsistencies and contradictions in the LD manifesto.

    Maintaining unity and discipline within the LDs in such a scenario will be a far greater challenge than anything Clegg has faced to date.

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  20. Mike N

    “Why would any Lab MP move from a larger party that has greater financial support to a party – the LDs – that has fewer MPs and less support?”

    To escape a party mired in acrimonious internal feuding and which is liekly to be out of power for at least a decade to join a party which aspires to become the official opposition and which will present a credible challenge to teh government at teh election after.

    That will be especially true if LDs overtake Lab in share of teh vote, and doubly so if Lab drop below 200 seats. Remember, LDs have already overtaken Lab in terms of both councils and councillors in local government, and that situation is unlikely to be reversed anytime soon.

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