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. Anthony, the change from the last Crosby-Textor was Con -5 LD +6 Lab nc, yet at the time of the last poll they indicated 74 gains from Labour, this time they are claiming 103 despite the drop in tory vote share. Presumably this means the fall in Con support is concentrated in LD marginals?

  2. @ Statto

    And that the bulk of the LD rise is in the Lab/Con marginals allowing the Tories to come through the middle

  3. Posted in previous thread but belongs here:

    There may be some interesting details in the Crosby/Textor if you root (warning sample sizes) but I can’t help suspecting it’s a bit of a con. Lib/Con and Lab/Con marginals are such different animals that looking at them in the same poll is basically pointless. (If you remember ICM did something similar last week)

    At least the Telegraph hasn’t done what it did last time (14th April) and combined the figures and them use them graphically to show that the Tories are massively ahead! (In fact it seems to have taken the wrong figures from the report anyhow uh?)

    By the way the Crosby in Crosby/Textor is Lynton Crosby the Australian maestro of the 2005 Tory campaign. :)

  4. @Matt

    On BBC just a few minutes ago

    7 million registered for postal voting.

  5. @PeterBell: that must be about a quarter of likely voters, assuming a 60% to 65% turnout.

  6. Good point Peterbell – and I suspect turnout will be very high among them.

    So probably more than 25% of votes have already been cast.

  7. The Crosby Textor poll also provides overall figures which are:-

    Conservatives – 38%
    Labour – 31%
    Liberal Democrats – 26%

    The average of tonight’s 5 polls is as follows:-

    Conservatives – 36%
    Labour – 28.8%
    Liberal Democrats – 26.6%

    The Conservative average on tonight’s polls is higher than the average that had in the Sunday Papers polls (35.8%). Hence, momentum is definitely with the Conservatives and with the data from the marginals, it all indicates that they are now on the edge of overall victory. The other main trend from tonight’s polls is that Labour are firmly back in second place and the Liberals are starting to slip back very badly.

    The Liberal’s dream of 3 party politics is well and truly over and any hopes Labour had of winning the election went with Bigotgate.

    My prediction remains:-

    Conservatives – 40%
    Labour – 30%
    Liberal Democrats – 22%

    There are those that may not like those figures but lets see what happens on Thursday night.

  8. Clear as mud.

  9. @JAMES

    Are you including a marginals poll in your national averages? Interesting methodology…

  10. re the overall figures above, that means just 5% for others. That’s a bit low even without considering where they were last summer (expenses scandal).

  11. @James

    “The Crosby Textor poll also provides overall figures which are:-

    Conservatives – 38%
    Labour – 31%
    Liberal Democrats – 26%”

    140 out of 160 are Lab/Con marginals. On that basis it looks a pretty poor result for Con and a remarkably good one for Lib.

    “The Conservative average on tonight’s polls is higher than the average that had in the Sunday Papers polls (35.8%).”

    Wow. A massive 0.2% surge. Some momentum.

  12. Any guesses for how may postal votes will be fraudulent?

  13. One point that I haven’t seen on this blog is that if the Conservatives get >291 seats, after allowing for 33 others, Labour and Lib Dems cannot form a majority coalition (i.e. achieve 326 seats). This would place Cameron in a strong position to head a minority government and challenge other parties to vote down the Queen’s Speech (like Harold Wilson in 1974). I doubt whether the Lib Dems would want to take responsibility for precipitating another election so would probably acquiesce even if Cameron refused to concede PR.

    So in effect the real Conservative target is 291, which they would achieve on 36% – unless Labour get above 30%.

  14. Anthony

    Do you know if ComRes are still using rolling polls, or if they are now getting the full sample within the 24 hours? I can’t really tell from the notes.

    Also when ICM do telephone polling they randomise the last digit, so as to pick up unlisted numbers. Do ComRes and the others do this and does anyone think it makes a difference?

  15. @PETERBELL

    I wonder how many postal voted before Mrs Duffy and the final debate – could that be significant for Labour?

  16. @ James
    What momentum?
    There was con momentum after the third debate but this has since reversed. YouGov, ICM, Opniniom and Comres all show this. Opniom and Comres show a dramatic shift. Opniom have Lab + 3 and Con -1. Comres (if we take today alone) have Con -4, Lab +2, LD +2.
    Now you may argue that the marginals show a different picture. I don’t think they do. I accept there is a Lab-Con swing of 2% above UNS in the marginals. But how much that will actually be will depend on Wednesday night’s UNS. If Labour keep closing the gap nationally, this will reduce the marginals swing, even if the premium remains 2%.

  17. one point of interest in the crosby thingy is the following:

    “63% have heard of their Labour candidate, 57% the Conservative candidate and 37% the
    Lib Dem candidate.
    o Awareness of Lib Dem candidates very high in their own seats though (at 83%),
    suggesting – in combination with their vote in those seats – a strong local campaign.
    o Awareness of NEW Labour candidates (where the local MP is retiring) lower at 51%.”

    Would suggest that sitting Lib Dems will be very difficult to budge and therefore that CONs strategy should focus on the LAB seats to secure an outright majority

  18. @ James

    Your analysis is very wrong! These are seats selected for Con/Lab (mainly) and a few for Con/LD marginality. It ignores any seat which is Lab/LD marginal (where the Conservatives are polling very low) and skews the sample in favour of the Conservatives and against the LDs.

    You can’t read anything into the National picture from this.

    All you can say is that the Conservatives are going to take a lot of Labour seats but will suffer a net loss to the Lib Dems.

  19. @ Matt, Derek, Andrew,

    As I wrote on this site a few nights ago.

    A few years ago (can’t remember exactly when but it may have been the last GE), in Newcastle (and I believe all of Tyne & Wear) as well as some other areas in the UK there was an election where all the electorate had to vote by postal vote.

    Since then it has been necessary to cancel the postal vote if you wish to vote in person. Consequently in the 3 Newcastle constituencies there is about 30 – 40 % postal vote.

    The only people voting in person are those such as my wife & I who indicated that we no longer required a postal vote or voters who have since moved house.

  20. This ‘fraudulent postal votes’ could be the next Big Thing in this fascinating election.. Completely unexpected results at the count. Outrage by the defeated. Is there a procedure for challenging a result on the grounds of suspected postal vote fraud?. The number of PVs in this election is unprecedented. Whatever it could be pretty chaotic.

  21. @Robin: Labour & LibDem could curtail the Tories’ power to implement their programme as a minority Government by voting against measures they didn’t like. Only mutually acceptable measures would be passed.

    As I’ve pointed out before, a group of parties including Labour, LibDem, SNP & PC could gang up to pass changes to the electoral system & the Tories wouldn’t be able to stop it without a majority or enough support from other parties.

  22. Interesting news. The FT has come out for the Tories. That suprises me greatly. I was expecting either no endorsement or for them to come out for St.Vince.

    Not that it will make any difference. FT readers don’t need any advice on voting.

  23. @James (11.39)

    “My prediction remains:-

    Conservatives – 40%
    Labour – 30%
    Liberal Democrats – 22%

    There are those that may not like those figures but lets see what happens on Thursday night.”

    James,
    It doesn’t matter whether I like them or not because they are pure fiction.

  24. @Robin

    “One point that I haven’t seen on this blog is that if the Conservatives get >291 seats, after allowing for 33 others, Labour and Lib Dems cannot form a majority coalition (i.e. achieve 326 seats).”

    It’s not that simple. If Con have 291 then the others have 359. It’s only if those 33 support Cameron that he could outvote Lib+Lab. If any abstain (and you can count out SF to start with) or oppose Con then he’s sunk.

  25. @Glyn,

    I can tell you the Crime Department of my force (I am a Detective) has cleared the decks on Thursday in anticipation of dealing with voterigging allegations. The police are ready for it.

  26. @Robin

    Doesn’t that assume that all those others will usually vote with the Conservatives? I can think of several that probably won’t – SNP, SDLP, PC total about 16. Abstainers – Sinn Fein about 4 (couldn’t care less probably)
    Possibly vote with Cons – DUP, greens, independent about 9
    Definately vote with Cons – UUP – 1 (?)

    It’s probably more like 300 on a good day.

  27. “Any guesses for how may postal votes will be fraudulent?”

    Well there’s apparently already 50 police investigations going, most relating to local elections. And a particular spike in postal vote apps from marginals, read into that what you will.

  28. I find Camerons suggestion of challenging the convention that the sitting party has the right to try and form a government slightly odd.

    I’m not actually sure how he could challenge it except through the media.

    Which could lead to some heated media exchanges in the days after the election if the Tories get around 290 seats and Brown tries to do a deal with the Liberal Democrats.

  29. @Roger,

    I think the point is that if a LibDem/Labour coalition was in itself a minority, and had to get support from either Tory rebels or small parties for every vote, it would make the government extremely unstable. I just don’t see it being able to make the fiscal changes necessary over the next few years. The small parties would be constantly demanding their pounds of flesh, and Labour rebels would cause constant trouble. A Tory minority government would be more united, and would only need support from the LibDems to get votes through.

  30. @PeterBell: James’ prediction makes Éoin’s seem relatively sensible. :)

  31. “Since then it has been necessary to cancel the postal vote if you wish to vote in person.”

    Even if you have registered for a postal vote you can still go and vote in person instead.

  32. @JAMESB

    Isn’t that a report from The Mail though James?

    Not a serious newspaper, especially at election times, so have to be careful about any ‘facts’ printed in the Mail.

  33. @ Neil A.

    That *is* interesting. Presumably if a result is challenged then the seat can’t be declared. If that happens in only a few seats In such a close election that could lead to complete stasis. No one knowing who’s won …

  34. @James
    My apologies. As someone pointed out on the previous thread, my analysis of the Comres figures was…well…absolute tosh.
    I still maintain though that the polling since Sunday has shown a fall in tory support and a rise in Labour support, and that this could be significant.

  35. @Gary,

    No it’s in the Guardian too as well as a few others.

    The Mail has ofcourse put it’s usual ‘view’ on things.

  36. @Neil A

    “I think the point is that if a LibDem/Labour coalition was in itself a minority, and had to get support from either Tory rebels or small parties for every vote, it would make the government extremely unstable.”

    True but even a government with a small majority will be unstable (In 1974 Labour would bring sick MPs in by ambulance and they’d be counted through without leaving the vehicle). A hung parliament could produce more stable government than a single party minority/small majority one.

  37. There is obviously a limit to how much I can divulge (even in the relative anonymity of this blog) but I will try to find out roughly the scale of the problem in my own force and post something about it on Thursday night or Friday. It’s unlikely I’ll be personally involved in the investigations because of my specific area of expertise but I certainly know officers who will.

  38. I seem to remember in the early stages of the 1992 election night, when it seemed possible that Labour might form some sort of minority government (flipping back and forth regularly with the same sort of situation for the Conservatives) and it was said that in general terms Labour usually found it easier to cobble together a coalition than the Conservatives – I think all they had to help them out then were the UUP (before it lost big time in subsequent elections) whereas Labour were assumed to be able to stitch together something with 2 or 3 other parties with relative ease.

    Not sure whether this assumption will be tested and not wholly convinced it’s true, but I think there’s something there and if it is true, then possibly Cameron’s coalition building might be harder than Major’s was assumed to be at the time.

  39. @ Derek Pierson (12.02)

    “@PeterBell: James’ prediction makes Éoin’s seem relatively sensible.”

    Agreed. I had hoped that Eoin would have changed by now but he seems to be insistant on the 22% despite the latest polling evidence. Friday morning will confirm who is correct.

  40. @JAMESB

    I stand corrected.

    But when previous concerns have been expressed about voting fraud there have been very few examples of it actually been found to be happrning.

    I expect, as with previous elections, there will be one or two anomolaies – maybe one seat where the result is contested and another election is called for by the courts.

    Storm in a teacup in my opinion.

  41. @Roger,

    Hmm, not sure about that. I think Tories with 300 seats would have less difficulty getting things done than a combined Liberal/Labour total of 300 seats.

    I just can’t imagine the hard-left of the Labour party agreeing to support measures that cost tens of thousands of public sector jobs, and I can’t imagine Clegg and Laws agreeing to support measures that massively increase taxes. The next government will have to one or the other, or both.

  42. @PeterBell: yes, it brings King Canute to mind. Still his 36% for the Tories won’t be far out. 8)

  43. @Robin

    You wrote “…One point that I haven’t seen on this blog is that if the Conservatives get >291 seats, after allowing for 33 others, Labour and Lib Dems cannot form a majority coalition (i.e. achieve 326 seats). This would place Cameron in a strong position to head a minority government and challenge other parties to vote down the Queen’s Speech (like Harold Wilson in 1974). I doubt whether the Lib Dems would want to take responsibility for precipitating another election so would probably acquiesce even if Cameron refused to concede PR. So in effect the real Conservative target is 291, which they would achieve on 36% – unless Labour get above 30%….”

    The minimum level for a viable CON minority government has been discussed on these boards several times.

    As you say, once CON reach a certain threshold, it prevents LAB/LIB combined exceeding 326, and the threshold is made slightly lower by the Speaker’s seat and the SF abstentions.

    But it does assume that CON are capable of acting as a coherent whole. According to the ConHome poll of CON candidates, they are fairly homogeneous (politically speaking) and I assume they wil pull together under difficult circumstances. So good news for CON there.

    The obvious faultline is Europe. The CON MPs will be remarkably Eurosceptic after the election, but the CON government explicitly does not want to formally leave the EU. So there’s potential for disruption there.

    You also have to consider losses in by-elections, deaths, illness, unavoidable absences, etc.

    Insofar as there is a general consensus, the feeling seems to be that CON will need ~300 seats to form a viable minority government (i.e. one that’ll pass at least 1 Queen’s Speech and 1 Budget)

  44. My wife is counting votes in the GE, and has volunteered for extra shifts this week to count an unexpected number of postal ballots. And this is in London, not the North East!

  45. @ Derek Pierson & Peterbell

    You two would have been great on the Titanic in terms of keeping your spirits up – fighting a desperate rearguard against the inevitable.

    We’ll see who’s right on Thursday night

    @ RAF

    Your maths are still in the clouds

  46. Glyn

    If there are queries about an election result, the result still gets announced and a high court petition then has to be obtained to overturn the result and unseat the MP or councillor. In the past a fresh election has usually been held. The Courts don’t like altering the results because it tends to interfere with the secrecy of the ballot.

  47. @James
    We shall see on Friday morning.

  48. @ Neil A

    “I think Tories with 300 seats would have less difficulty getting things done than a combined Liberal/Labour total of 300 seats.”

    It causes all sorts of difficulties – ministers away on foreign trips, etc., MPs sick and dying or just absent. I’m not saying it would be any better for a Lib/Lab combination either – it’ll be an unstable government – whoever’s in charge. unsure of getting its vote out from one day to the next.

  49. @DEREK
    “As I’ve pointed out before, a group of parties including Labour, LibDem, SNP & PC could gang up to pass changes to the electoral system & the Tories wouldn’t be able to stop it without a majority or enough support from other parties.”

    Derek – you are assuming here that Labour would like PR. I believe nothing could be further from the truth – we have had 70 years of two party politics, where one party at least stands a good chance of complete power for 5-10 years. Under PR the Labour Party and Tory Party would be guaranteeing themselves never to have complete governance again.

    I expect GB to resist very cleverly any attempt to bring in PR under a Lib Dem coalition. He has promised a referendum (question to be determined) in autumn 2011. Following that there will be a Royal Commission or some such investigation to decide exactly WHAT would be the right kind of PR. Before it decided (if GB/NC could hang on that long) he would call another GE – which if he won outright would ensure no PR.

    To all you PR hopefuls out there – remember, turkeys don’t like voting for Christmas. The Lib Dems only favour PR while it works in their favour. Given the chance I’m sure they would be content with national government on less than 50% of the votes cast.

  50. I can’t see the LibDem vote going lower than last time given what’s happened this time. The clegg effect is wearing off a bit but not fast enough to lose over 5% in 2 days. It’s come down about 2.5% in two weeks. He’d have to punch or insult a voter and maybe set fire to his home to get down to 22% by Thursday. Unlikely.

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