Lord Ashcroft has commissioned a poll in Corby ahead of the by-election (while he doesn’t say, Ashcroft’s fieldwork in constituency polls is normally carried out by Populus). The full tabs are online here.

Topline voting intention in Corby is CON 37% (down 5 from the election), LAB 52% (up 13), LD 7% (down 8), Others 4%(down 1). This equates to a swing from Conservative to Labour of 9 points, the equivalent of an eleven point national lead. With a comfortable fifteen point lead Labour shouldn’t have any particular problem taking the seat.

There were also some specific questions on Louise Mensch. 35% of people agree she was a good local MP, 29% of people disagree. 82% of people agreed she was entitled to put her desire for a better family life ahead of continuing as an MP, but equally 65% of people think she should have thought through how she would balance family life and life as an MP before standing for Parliament.

158 Responses to “Ashcroft poll shows Labour 15 points ahead in Corby”

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  1. So, just under 12% of Con voters at 2010 GE have it seems moved directly to Lab. (42 – 37 = 5 / 42 x 100, I think). This seems broadly in line with the drop in Con support from 37% to say 33% (give or take).

  2. Montgomerie in his analysis said anything less than 10% for UKIP would be a poor showing (with others on 4%). Does he actually expect UKIP to get that high, or is he just doing a pre-emptive strike to undermine UKIP?

  3. Mike – no, it’s 5% of 2010 Tory voters. Look at the crossbreaks in table 2 of the detailed results.

  4. Only 24% of 2010 LD voters sticking to their guns. 19% heading to Labour, and most heading to don’t know/won’t tell land.

    Worrying for the Conservatives that 27% of their 2010 vote no longer know, although at least some of these must be a target for reactivation. Also interesting that UKIP doesn’t seem to be picking these voters up, an indication that they aren’t able to effectively transform themselves into a convincing national party (and a sign the YouGov is right not to give them undue publicity).

  5. On the contrary, I think the tory vote is holding up well at this stage in a Parliament.

  6. Ladbrokes and a couple of others are offering 1/8 on Labour. Frankly, I reckon that’s short but not bad value. Anyone think there is a reasonable chance of them losing?

  7. @Quincel,

    No chance of Labour losing. Labour were always going to take this bi-election comfortably, especially with it being a marginal seat.

    I think Labour has to win convincingly if they are to be confident of becoming the largest party in the 2015 GE.

    Big test for the Lib Dems.

  9. Very interesting that people are broadly sympathetic to Louise Mensch. We only have our children once, and we are only young with them for a short time.

  10. @AmbivilantSupporter

    That’s my logic. Not only are they ahead in the polls by enough to win it anyway, but it’s a by-election against the government, so add on a few points swing for that and they shouldn’t lose.

  11. I did not realise you were on to a new thread!

    You missed a (in my experience) large group:
    – people (mainly women and adult children) who vote for whoever the “head of the household” tells them to vote for
    … and another group:
    – people who have handed over (/or sold) their proxy and postal votes to a.n. other

    – “He felt it was wrong to keep chopping and changing governments.”
    I kind of understand where that voter was coming from. However, I consider that the better solution is to change to longer terms, eg. 6 or 7 years between GEs.
    Eg. I consider the standard 4 year mandate of the Scottish, Welsh and NI governments to be too short. At least 5 year mandates are preferable. For one thing, it forces voters to make a serious choice and not vote flippantly.

    Tinged Fringe,
    That Ashcroft poll has not moved the Corby prices (yet). I’ll check again this evening to see if the slower punters have adjusted their strong view that this is a LAB walk in. You can only get 1/8 on a Lab victory, which is hardly worth the effort.

    Mike N,
    – “The weakness of the LibDem vote is going to be a big problem for Tory MPs all over the country at the next election if they are facing a strong second-placed Labour candidate.”
    Indeed. Which is why David Mundell MP is out of a job come 2015, irrespective of new boundaries or not. If Scotland is not a Tory-free zone again at the next UK GE then I’ll be astounded.

    Nick P,
    – “The anti Tory vote is bigger than than the pro-Tory vote, and if it stays voting Lab, the next election is a shoo-in landslide.”
    Hmmm…. looks correct at first glance, but then, one wonders why you can still get a whopping 7/4 (Paddy Power) on a LAB MAJ at the next UK GE? Are the punters bonkers? I would suggest that the weight of evidence suggests not.

    Chris Lane,
    – “I think that the Lib Dem vote will collapse in places such as Corby, while it may well hold up in places which they hold such as in Bermondsey”
    In which case, their national vote share figures are going to look absolutely horrific, because there are far more Corbys than Bermondseys.
    Looks like the Lib Dems are going to get proportional representation after all, but by reducing their vote share to match the number of LD MPs, rather than vice versa.

  12. Chris Lane,

    Louise Mensch is quite right to prioritise her children over politics.

    Politics really is a mugs game, and I feel very sorry for the large number of people who flush their lives down the loo for the sake of a meaningless political career.

  13. Very good poll for Labour- if result is anything like this then that is a serious scalp.

    The interesting thing here IMO is going to be whether Tories leach to UKIP as a protest and just how low the Lib Dems go. Potentially more trouble for Dave and Nick from their right and left flanks respectively.

  14. @Stuart Dickinson

    It kind of depends on what you think your goal in life is. Although there were aspects of my (brief, minor) political career that really annoyed me, there were things that I did that really helped people. That certainly wasn’t meaningless, either to me or to them.

    I still believe that most people get into politics because they think they can do good. They may be deluded. They may have different concepts of what doing good is. But it’s got to be far less meaningless than most careers out there.

  15. Fellow geeks might be interested in the following report from HoC researchers


    “This paper presents an overview of results from UK elections since 1918. It includes summary results for general elections and parliamentary by-elections; local government elections including elected mayors; elections to the European Parliament and devolved bodies; and results from referendums. Data are also provided on the social backgrounds of Members elected to the House of Commons.”

  16. There is a long time to go, over 2 1/2 months to the poll so any thing can still happen.

    However it will be interesting to see what effect a poll like this one has.

    Could the fact that the Tories are well behind mean that UKip pick up votes as a protest. If you are a Tory and unhappy with the leadership and you know you can not win what better way to send a message than voting UKIP to give DC a bloody nose.

    Could the Labour team takes things for granted alowing the the Tories to claw back theor vote.

    If the Lib Dems have a big barny with the Tories and vote against them on an issue will that see their dont knows comw back and dent Labours lead?

    As I said still a long way to go.

    On polling issues is there ant data on how early polls have influenced the out come of the actual by election?

  17. I think the actual by-election outcome will hinge largely on turnout. Corby town is quite Labour but the East Northants part of the seat, from what I can gather, is solidly Tory. I can’t access the full tables for the poll on my mobile – is there any info/weighting on likelihood to vote?

    When the nominations are over we’ll get a better picture of how the “Others” vote stacks up; 4% seems a bit low given that by-elections usually attract a fairly large slate of independents, the far right and assorted Loonies, and that current national polling indicates that UKIP in particular should be in deposit-saving territory.

  18. Ed Miliband will be pleased with his comparative ratings (see table 16).

    He will have a very easy conference and should cement his leadership after Corby.

    I believe there is a lot of anger showing up in these results, especially from deserting Lib Dems but also shown in the Tory dissatisfaction data.

    I was surprised the ‘certain’ intention to vote Lab totals balanced the Con ones. Normally I expect Con lead thes significantly and turn out, come what may.

  19. nickp

    “Paranoia? I suppose it depends upon which side you were on.”

    No it doesn’t. Mote and beam.

  20. Stuart Dickson @ Mike N,

    “… David Mundell MP is out of a job come 2015, irrespective of new boundaries or not. If Scotland is not a Tory-free zone again at the next UK GE then I’ll be astounded.”

    He is more popular in the constituency than in the party in the consstituency. The party in the constituency is more popular than the party in Scotland as a whole.

    What he needed was Murdo Fraser’s Bavarianisation and he has lost his chance.

  21. @scotswaehae
    I think Montgomerie is indulging in kite-flying. It reminds me of the way way Warsi et al. spent local election day continually raising the threshold below which Lab would have ‘failed’, which just made them look silly. I would be surprised if UKIP poll 10% in Corby, even if it’s considered a safe right wing protest vote.

    I thought Ashcroft’s final comment wondering why Lab were not even further ahead falls into the Warsi category. 52% of the vote in any election is pretty darn good especially in what had been a marginal loss only 2 years ago.

    FWIW, although many UKIP-ers will return to Con in 2015, and LD will probably poll just over 10%, it still begs the question of where the extra votes Con desperately need to not lose outright will come from. I know a lot can change in 3 years, but I would bet on a comfortable Lab majority if EM holds the ship steady.

  22. Most by-elections, in themselves, are one-offs and are quite capable of producing eccentric and bizarre results, subject as they are to low turn-outs, maverick candidates and transitory political and economic circumstances that might apply at the time. The results are quite often reversed at the subsequent General Election and, unless they take place quite near a GE, they’re not really reliable guides to a national vote. They can, however, measure the depth of a government’s unpopularity and the attractiveness of the opposition so they’re never entirely without meaning or significance, particularly if they take place in critical marginals like Corby.

    Their real impact is how they can change the political weather and trigger a chain of political events. If Labour capture Corby, and do so by a reasonable margin, then the implications will go far beyond the Parliamentary arithmetic. I suspect coalition tensions will increase, especially if the Lib Dem vote collapses, and Tory MPs with small majorities, many already simmering on the back benches, will be getting nervous and, in that mood, likely to become even more rebellious. Why, a certain Mr Boris Johnson might afford himself a little wolfish smile as the king across the water starts to look an evermore attractive alternative.

    Of course, there’s pressure for Miliband too. He’ll be expected to win the seat convincingly and, any failure to do so, risks renewed doubts about his leadership.

    I love by-elections. I remember in the early days of my political awakening, when I was a callow youth of 15, we had one where I lived. It was in the Bromsgrove constituency that then included my home town of Redditch. The date was May, 1971, only 11 months after Heath had been elected in June 1970. The constituency included two large towns but had a significant rural element too and had been held by the Tories for as long as could be remembered. The sitting Tory MP, James Dance, whose death caused the by-election, had won the seat with an 11,000 majority at the previous General Election and, to all intents and purposes, it was a safe Tory seat. However, the by-election caused a sensation with Terry Davis, the Labour candidate, snatching the seat by 1868 votes. I remember standing outside the count in the early morning hours of Friday and watching the sheer surprise, delight and elation of the Labour supporters, both inside and outside the count. It was only 11 months after Wilson’s surprise defeat in 1970 and served as a great morale boost to a dispirited party. It also cemented a certain 15 year old’s interest in politics and I’ve never looked back since!

    Bromsgrove went back to the Conservatives in February 1974, but the by-election result sent shock waves through the Conservative Party at the time and it was never really glad confident morning ever again for Heath’s Government after that. The political weather changed utterly and the dark clouds didn’t clear again for the increasingly beleaguered Grocer.

  23. @Crossbat
    I remember The Grocer very fondly. We had this measure called ‘phase 3’ and every time inflation increased we got a wage rise.

    In another world and era, Heath would have been an Orange Booker – a bit like me! :-)

  24. Since the eighty’s when the seat was formed, the tory’s have won it 4 times Labour 3 its always been a fairly marginal seat especially in the last election. It would be a difficult seat to win by any goverment mid-term let alone a goverment dealing with a deep financial crises that has swepted across europe and beyond. I think it would be very premature to draw any conclusions re the result, the Tory’s will expect to lose and Labour to win, whatever the result it will soon be forgotten by the voters, as mid-term by elections go thay have never been a good way of predicting the outcome of a GE no matter how big the win.

  25. @Stuart Dickson

    Bookies base their odds mainly on how people are betting. So that merely suggests that despite the evidence, a lot of people are placing irrational bets. People usually don’t bet on political outcomes for very rational reasons, so the “Bookies Odds” and “Betting Markets” have never been good predictors for them.

  26. The size of the swing to Labour will probably be muddied by the fact that Mensch underperformed against the Conservative national swing in her election. So I’m not sure that there will be much that can be taken from analysing how big the Labour swing is, unless it’s massive.

    The race to watch here is probably for third place. UKIP have fielded a candidate, and a local one at that, who may well be able to pick up the dissatisfied and discontent right wing vote. If Margot Parker (UKIP) can gain enough protest votes from the right wing of the Conservatives, she could well place higher than the Liberal Democrat candidate.

    It would be an unexpected upset, and I still think it’s a stretch for UKIP to recover the ground game in a seat they abandoned entirely at the last election.

  27. TheSheep

    “… Also interesting that UKIP doesn’t seem to be picking these voters up, an indication that they aren’t able to effectively transform themselves into a convincing national party.. ”

    The arent’ a national party.They are English nationalsts and there is as much point in them putting up a candidate in Scotland as the SNP standing in London. Although they are free from the charge that they are the party of Thatcher, the fact that they are not able to pick up any votes in Scotland may mean that polls overstate.their vote. (It’s the Scottish cross breaks in reverse).

    Also, many of those with a UKIP VI will not have a candidate to vote for.

  28. Ladbrokes (the benchmark bookie) have just cut their odds on a LAB victory in Corby from 1/8 to 1/12. That is shoo-in territory.

    Are the only questions now:

    – size of the Lab majority?
    – Con to Lab swing?
    – decent turnout?

  29. @JBD
    I didn’t know that. Are you telling me that if a Scot writes in and asks Farage for membership, he is told ‘no thanks’?

    According to your point, Sean Connery could not usefully be a member of SNP. HaveIi misunderstood? (has been known).

  30. Howard,

    Technically you can be a member of the Labour Party even if you live in Northern Ireland. That, however, does not make the Labour Party a UK-wide party, just a GB-wide one.


    There is as much meaning in joining UKIP in Scotland as joining Labour in NI. It is purely a symbolic act and a personal act: it has zero impact on the actual body politic.

  31. The Corby by-election is not until November. By then, there will be more bad news for the government and I would expect a worse performance by the Tories.

    That is unless the Tories go for a well liked celebrity or business person.

  32. If, & it is a rather small if in these circumstances, Labour do win convincingly then the Tories are really in trouble. Because voters don’t blame Mrs Mensch, don’t hate David Cameron, don’t love Ed Miliband & do believe in a defecit reduction strategy – all the things which Tories have been trailing as factors which would undermine Labour doesn’t appear to stop people voting for them.

    Maybe by-elections are different… maybe these things would matter more in a GE. It looks like the Tories better hope that they do!

    Turnout by Labour supporters, both at the by-election & at an actual election, will be the determining factor. But contrary to what some folks are saying, I don’t think a big win for Labour is needed to cement Ed M’s leadership. By-elections can be unpredictable; so a win of any sort will do just fine.

  33. @AW

    You’ve put 53% for Labour in the write up when it’s 52%. :)

  34. Corby is my constituency. This is an area that should usually remain with labour. Corby itself is a reasonable size town surrounded by small villages and farms. There are a large number of warehouses here but usually employing a large number or eastern europeans. The feeling here is general apathy towards the government but not so much positive support for labour other than th fact they are not tories. however i think it would depend on your ownsocial circles. I would be amazed though, if labour did not win this easily. BUt then Bradford was a seat that Labour also should have won easily, lets hope respect stay away. Lol.

  35. I would be incredibly surprised if Lab did not win this bi-election. Corby is the most Labourish seat in Northants (the first seat Lab won in Northants on its all too long road back to power), the candidate in very local (I canvassed for his father in ’92 election when he stood in Wellingborough), it’s a mid-term bi-election and the govt is unpopular.

    The size of swing to Lab/majority etc won’t really matter – if its low probably means a lot of Labour voters assume they will win and don’t bother to vote, if it’s high it just confirms what the polls are telling us that the govt is unpopular.

    Funny things happen in bi-elections – but rarely do they indicate who will actually win the next general election.

  36. AW
    “…no, it’s 5% of 2010 Tory voters. Look at the crossbreaks in table 2 of the detailed results.”

    Looking at table 2, and the line for Labour, under Voting Intention, the last col which is headed “Con 2010 Not now” shows 12%.

    What do you read this col/figure to represent, please?

  37. Howard

    No they have members, but not enough to run a campaign in more than one constituency or even find candidates for more than one or two.

    They did not stand in the Glasgow NE bye-election when everybody else did.


    They could only gain a proportion of the Cons tiny vote: a *%

    I’m sure James Bond is an SNP member, but he isn’t the voter’s roll and can’t stand as a candidate I think. OLDNAT will gie you a definatave answer.

    If he has property in Scotland and is here on the day he gets citizenship. His money is very useful.

    If you believe the stories about Labour in Lanarkshire, then Michael Mouse votes there.

    Its a crowded field with five other parties in the Scottish Parliament, and the split socialists would be there too if they hadn’t given up poliics to spend more time with their lawyers and prison officers.

    in 2010 UKIP put up candidates in only half the seats and all but 4 gained less than 2% of the votes. The highest by a wide margin was 6.3% in Orkney and Shetland, an outlier is almost every respect.


    “Looks like the Lib Dems are going to get proportional representation after all, but by reducing their vote share to match the number of LD MPs, rather than vice versa.”

    – Nice one centurion!

  39. CROSSBAT 11 and HOWARD.

    I too remember Bromsgrove, seeing reports of the result on the Friday morning, on the way to Nick P’s school in Norwood, south London.

    He insisted on Civil Rights in Northern Ireland.
    He closed down Stormont since the majority of the MP’s believed in the concept of ‘A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People.
    He set up the Power Sharing Executive, in which Protestants and Catholics shared power.

    Wilson gave in to the Unionist and Loyalist para militaries and their General Strike, thus leading to the escalation of terror.

  40. On the older thread to do with schools; Michael Gove in a TIMES article last week said that Polly Toynbee paid fees for her own children to go a a private school.

    Surely not?

  41. ‘“how many by-election losses of tory seats would it take to tip the balance and make a rainbow coalition feasible?”
    Given that the 5 Sinn Fein MPs do not take their seats a total of 323 is needed for a bare majority. On a confidence vote I would be confident Labour could count on Galloway ,3 SDLP, Lady Hermon , ! Alliance and 1 Green. The support of LibDems gives a total of 321 pre – Corby. Plaid would at worst – from a Labour perspective – abstain – which means that arithmetically the Rainbow Alliance is an option now! What appears to be missing,however, is the political will to put it together.

  42. There is little chance the turnout will be low as Labour are throwing the kitchen sink at the seat.
    Come October the constituency will be overrun with Labour activists

  43. @Garham

    – which means that arithmetically the Rainbow Alliance is an option now! What appears to be missing,however, is the political will to put it together.

    Even if its arithmetically feasible, politically it is not. Look at the difficulties in the current coalition, where they arguably share more common ground than between the potential members of a Rainbow Alliance. In addition it would be far easier for one of the smaller parties to hold the gov to ransom than the LD’s can currently do with the Tories – if the current govt falls and there is an election the LDs currently face a wipping the polls, the nationalist parties wouldn’t face the same scale of threat at the ballot box if they bought the rainbow govt down.

    So the government would have a massive headache, would not have the power to deal with significant problems we face on the economic side and in all probability would not last very long. Our current system and political culture would naturally act against such a broad coalition – whose only defining point of unity, lets face it, would be that they weren’t Tories.

    ‘There is little chance the turnout will be low as Labour are throwing the kitchen sink at the seat.
    Come October the constituency will be overrun with Labour activists’

    I am not so sure about that. Living in Norwich North I remember so well the July 2009 by election which saw Chloe Smith’s election following the demise of Ian Gibson. Despite the intensive campaigning of the parties – including significant efforts from UKIP and Greens – turnout for the midsummer election fell short of 50%
    What I do expect is that turnout amongst Labour voters is likely to be relatively high visa vis the Tories.

  45. GRAHAM
    Every member of the Labour Party has been e-mailed by Ed Miliband asking for on the ground help and i gather the response was very positive.
    Also, the membership have given generously in sums of money to ensure that every voter in the constituency will be visited at least once.
    This is the reason which will ensure a high turnout

  46. I’d have thought itd be rather worse than these figures I’d have thought 55 30 7 8 or similar. by elections normally have high swings due to turnout favouring opposition. Polling is a much better guide to the state of thoings. Pity the by election wasn’t nearer the beginning or end of the parliament or it would have a decent chance of going blue. Think lm has dissapointed her parties faith in her

  47. @Redrich.
    ‘the nationalist parties wouldn’t face the same scale of threat at the ballot box if they bought the rainbow govt down.’

    Whilst I do not exactly disagree with your main point, a Rainbow Alliance would have a small majority even if the SNP voted against it – provided Plaid at least abstained. For the life of me I cannot envisage Plaid doing anything to help the Tories.. It is also worth remembering that when the SNP helped bring the Callaghan Government down in March 1979 they went on to lose 9 of their 11 seats in the election which followed!

  48. @jayblanc
    “The race to watch here is probably for third place. UKIP have fielded a candidate”
    In 2010 the BNP were 4th with 4.7%, so the race for 4th could be interesting as well.
    Could UKIP come 2nd?
    Will the Lib Dems retain their deposit?


    What you are describing is now pretty standard practice in important byelections – the Tories and others did the same thing here in Norwich in July 2009. It did not ,however, produce a high turnout – something which will be particularly difficult to achieve in the dark days of mid – November.

  50. I would imagine knocking on doors in the rural sections would cost labour votes

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