Lord Ashcroft has commissioned a second poll in Corby (not Corby and East Northamptonshire – it might be the name of the Conservative association, but the seat is just called Corby). The topline figures are CON 32% (down 10 from the general election), LAB 54% (up 15), LDEM 5% (down 10%), UKIP 6%, Green 1%, BNP 1%.

The 22 point lead equates to a thirteen point swing towards Labour, a very strong performance indeed. Lord Ashcroft last polled the constituency back in August when they found a 15 point lead – more in line with the sort of swing we are seeing nationally. Given the national polls haven’t moved the difference between then and now seems to be campaigning – the Labour party are clearly putting up the strongest campaign on the ground: 33% of people reported having been canvassed by Labour, compared to only 11% by the Conservatives; 59% had received Labour leaflets, compared to only 42% Conservative ones; 14% had been phoned by Labour compared to only 6% by the Tories and so on.

Meanwhile last night’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 45%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 8%

162 Responses to “New Lord Ashcroft poll of Corby”

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  1. RICH O:

    “I just couldn’t vote for EM given he was effectively put there by the Union Barons like Mr Serwotka etc, against the vote of the rank & file members. That democracy. hmmm”

    Except that he wasn’t. The PCS (the union led by Mark Serwotka) is not affiliated to the Labour Party, and so did not take part in the ballot. Also, Mark Serwotka himself is not a member of the Labour Party. He used to be in the (expelled) Labour Organiser faction, which became the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty after 1990 and more recently has been identified as a supporter of the Socialist Alliance and Respect parties.

    So Mark Serwotka had absolutely zero say in the leadership election.

  2. A measured speech on Europe by William Hague.

  3. @ Croftee & Colin

    I was a teenage girl in those days. I thought Jimmy Saville was a weird old guy; if he’d looked at me the wrong way, I’d have punched him right in the cigar. But I was a feisty punk not an uncertain teenager in a hospital or children’s home.

    Back then, wedges were driven between the young & old, the strong & vulnerable; it was men like Saville who benefitted. We need to be aware of this; we are at a time when history may be on the cusp of repeating itself. One nation – regardless of Party colours – is an important message for days like these.


    You said “…A measured speech on Europe by William Hague…”(I assume this one[1])

    Yes. And no… :-)

    The Hague methodology has been consistent since before the election: make list of issues, travel to the EU institutions and EU27 to state issues and remedies, obtain remedies through persuasion, charm, and threat. It’s patient, methodical, and it works, as was shown by the timeshare agreement with Canada over embassies.

    We’re so used to government by spin, newspaper leaks and impossible demands we forget that this is how government should work. There used to be a Conservative minister (Peter Walker…oh, ask your mother) who understood that Europe is machine politics that you fix with tools, not an academic institution that you fix with debate, and Hague gets it on that level. Clever man. So I agree it was a good speech.

    But I’m not sure who it was addressed to. The EU-27-ex-us have started to discount UK demands[2] not because they disagree but because they don’t think we’re sincere: if we say “give us X else we leave” then that’s a negotiation, but “give us X and we’re leaving anyway” is a nonsense. And which of the two positions do you think honestly represents the current Parliamentary Conservative Party?[3]

    If Hague’s speech was the beginning of a negotiation (this is what we want. Give it to us or else) intended for its audience then it was a good speech. If Hague’s speech was a diatribe (you suck. We’re off) addressed to his MPs then it was an insult to its audience.

    So here’s the question: which one was it?

    Regards, Martyn

    [1] h ttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/foreign-secretary-william-hague-sets-out-plan-for-britain-to-claw-back-powers-from-the-european-union-8223319.html
    [2] h ttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/lord-mandelson-david-camerons-impossible-demands-are-alienating-his-natural-allies-leaving-britain-drifting-towards-eu-exit-8215434.html
    h ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9615124/Why-the-Tories-are-ready-to-risk-detonating-the-Brussels-bomb.html

  5. As always when a well known public figure is revealed to be something other than his or her once respected self, people queue up to say how they always thought there was something a bit dodgy about him or her, how they never could stand the person etc etc, blah de blah. It was ever thus and I now see that Jimmy Savile is coming in for the usual hindsight hatcheting. It’s possible, I suppose, that those who now say he had “dead eyes” or how he always “made their flesh creep” really did think that about him at the time (I’ve heard people say how they always hated Michael Jackson and Gary Glitter, but only after having binned their copious record collections once the truth about them was revealed! ), but we have to be very careful here to avoid the wisdom and retrospective sanctimony of hindsight. The truth is that Savile was a hugely popular entertainer who made well loved television and radio programmes. Why the hell do we think he became so popular? I quite liked what I thought I knew of him and found his well honed eccentric persona fairly entertaining. I also quite liked some of Gary Glitter’s music and was mildly amused to see his catchy tunes inspire a generation of memorable football terrace chants in the 1970s. Their manufactured and superficial personas were quite appealing at the time and I’m afraid I can make no disingenuous claims that I could spot a bad egg a mile off. In that respect, I think I was in the majority; easily fooled.

    Glitter and Savile, we now know, were probably deeply unpleasant men, but their public success and popularity reminds us all of how little we really know about anybody, particularly those fed to us in easily digestible chunks down television sets and across radio airwaves. I can quite easily see how both these men deceived colleagues, and probably members of their own family, for very long periods of time.

  6. Martyn: I’m comfortably old enough to remember Peter Walker. Just read bits of Hague and it certainly came over as a change from his x days to save the £ days.

    CB11: Not sure what your poit is but I can only repeat that I couldn’t watch any of his programmes and found him an intensely unlikeable person – no more and no less than that.

    Amber: “One nation” – I think its a cunning plan and has elements of truth in the broad-brush sense but my problem is that there are a lot of people in it I’m not happy about sharing the world with, never mind England. {see my brilliant song “A Perfect World” available on my new CD “From Willesden Green To Stanley Street” to be released…. um……….er…………….well, let’s say May 2013]

  7. @ Rich O

    ” I just couldn’t vote for EM given he was effectively put there by the Union Barons like Mr Serwotka etc, against the vote of the rank & file members. ”

    Mark Serwotka is head of the PCC union which is not affiliated to the Labour party, hence neither he nor the PCC had any input at all in Ed Miliband’s election as Labour leader.

    Also many rank and file members voted for Ed Miliband, if they didn’t the union votes would have been meaningless.

  8. I want us to be part of AN Eu, just not in it’s current form. I think the UK should be sort of Hong Kong to the EU’s China. Still technically a part of it, but with our own laws, currency, government and degree of autonomy etc.

    The UK have several vetoes and there are many big decisions which need all 27 to agree too. On issues when we’ve got them over a barrel, we should shamelessly use that to our advantage. Certain issues they then try to work around us, but on things such as budget and accession states they can’t get around us.

    I’ve got nothing against Croatia, I really want to go there, it looks beautiful, and think it would be good to have it in the EU, but before signing that accession treaty we should have made some demands like return of powers etc. Say to them, we’re not against you expanding, but we won’t let you expand unless you make this deal.

    I hope Cameron sticks to his guns on the EU budget as well. Although I think he’s a bit silly to rule out a compromise altogether. A deal can only be reached when both sides have something the other wants, if we’re not offering anything, it makes it impossible to negotiate. Agree to Merkel’s modest rise, to 1% GDP of EU, in return for, you guessed it, more powers, maybe even a nice little boost to our rebate, maybe 75%

    If I were DC, next Euro summit on something I had a veto on, something they couldn’t work around like they did last december, I’d take a shopping list of demands and see how many I could get from them while holding them over the barrel.

  9. @ Crossbat11

    “As always when a well known public figure is revealed to be something other than his or her once respected self, people queue up to say how they always thought there was something a bit dodgy about him or her, how they never could stand the person etc etc, blah de blah.”

    Okay, I will say that I did feel this way about John Edwards. But I think you are generally correct in your point.

  10. 45/32 Hooooray. Goodnight.

  11. Despite references to me earlier – this is my first post on this thread!

    Just catching up with the news now.

    Goodnight from New York.

  12. Good Morning.

    More down to earth poll today.

    Half term cometh.

  13. Con 34, Lab 42, Lib 9, UKIP 8

    Do you support the coalition?
    Support 28 (-1)
    Oppose 61 (-1)
    Net -33 (nc)

  14. RICH O: “I just couldn’t vote for EM given he was effectively put there by the Union Barons like Mr Serwotka etc, against the vote of the rank & file members. That democracy. hmmm”

    The position of Mark Serwotka and the PCS has been accurately explained above by danivon so I will add that the votes in the Trade Union section were also made by individual vote of those rank & file members who are opted in to paying the political levy, not by the “barons”.

    Sadly, as a member of PCS myself, I didn’t get to vote!

  15. @ Nick P

    “Have a read of Mr Kellner, Rich O.

    To be honest, I couldn’t understand where Romney’s support was coming from. But then they did elect Reagan and two Bushes.”

    RAND has been doing a poll like this where they ask the same large group of supporters. And they haven’t found a great deal of change. The problem though with RAND’s methodology is that they might not be right in the first place in their polling number.

    I always thought it was interesting that both Reagan and Dubya (not sure about Bush Senior) were represented by Democrats in Congress.

    Kellner’s peice is interesting but he’s missing out on the most important statistic here and that is the gap between Likely Voters and Registered Voters. And with only a few exceptions, there has been a massive gap in those numbers. To me, this means that Obama is in a stronger position than realized.

    @ Rich O

    “very good read nickp. my only slight caveat is they talk about their excellent track record, but I wonder if they predicted Bush Jnr in the first election? My guess would be no.”

    I think most people predicted George W. Bush in 2000. They were wrong. Had the ballots been counted as they were intended to be cast, Gore would have won. But that election was quite narrow.

    @ Paul Croft

    “Rich: Bush didn’t “win” that election in real votes though – he lost it.”

    Many pollsters and numerous pundits failed to pick up on the Gore surge at the end of that election. Gore’s biggest mistake in the aftermath of that election was to not ask for a full hand recount in every single county in the state of Florida. If there had been a statewide hand recount of the votes under a uniform standard (either the most stringent standard or the least stringent standard), he would have won. Nothing could be done about Theresa LePore’s butterfly ballot fiasco. Elderly Jewish voters did not intend to vote for a Neo Nazi. But there was nothing that could be done once those ballots were already cast. Unfortunate but true.

    This is something that you need to train your precinct leaders, your voter protection people, and your poll greeters to look for. Ask your voters (people who you identify as supporters who go in to vote) how the voting is going and be on the lookout for problems with the ballot so that you can step in before the problem gets out of hand. Because once you identify a problem with voting, you can start warning voters about the problem, you can get the campaign lawyers to come in and file an injunction, etc. If 10 people vote the wrong way by mistake and you catch it early, better to lose 10 votes than lose 1800 votes and complain about it after the fact (especially in an election you lose by only 537).



    A very perceptive opinion.

    I think you are right about attitudes in those days.

    There are some dark stones being turned over at present.
    If it is all handled sensibly , it will be a very good thing .

  17. Huge swings in YG Polls.

    What is the trend?


  18. “I just couldn’t vote for EM given he was effectively put there by the Union Barons like Mr Serwotka etc, against the vote of the rank & file members”

    Final Round – Total Votes:
    Ed – 175519 (54%)
    Dave – 147220 (46%)
    Ed won because people who contribute to the Labour party voted for him.

    In fact, the electoral college system that Labour used made it *less* likely for union members to have a say – MPs and Labour members disproportionately had far more voting power than union members.

    Of course, I dislike electoral college systems because you can end up with really odd results (a slight change in union member votes would have put David Miliband in charge, despite Ed having more votes), but that’s the system they chose to limit union member power.

  19. Colin,
    I suspect the last poll was the high end of MOE and I’d imagine (although I haven’t crunched the numbers) that Con 34, Lab 42 is more like the ‘actual’ figure.

  20. @Paul Croft

    “CB11: Not sure what your poit is but I can only repeat that I couldn’t watch any of his programmes and found him an intensely unlikeable person – no more and no less than that.”

    Don’t worry, I believe you, and I’m sure there were one or two others like you who saw through him from an early stage, but I still think we’re often too quick to pile into disgraced public figures, claiming retrospective insight into their failures and personalities. The point I was trying to make was that a significant chunk of the British public actually liked and admired Savile, including plenty in the BBC I would imagine, and, me included, we were all fooled by his zaniness and his public displays of philanthropy. We now know that this persona was probably manufactured to mask his considerable dark side, but it’s quite feasible, I would imagine, even for people quite close to him, not to see beyond his “Jim’ll Fix It” avuncularity. He was, self evidently, a very complex character and maybe all his charitable deeds were a benign product of a deep self-loathing, a sort of penance he felt he had to pay for the harm he knew he was inflicting on others. Another case, perhaps, of a bad man who did some good things. Life is never just black or white.

    Ditto a whole number of fallen idols we now categorise as pariahs.

  21. Workfare for pensioners?

    “Retired people should be encouraged to do community work such as caring for the “very old” or face losing some of their pension, a peer has suggested.

    Lord Bichard, a former benefits chief, said “imaginative” ideas were needed to meet the cost of an ageing society.”

    The story of how TONY BENN and his group got the Labour Conference (tigmoo) to replace the PLP vote by the College vote in 1979-
    1981 is very instructive and makes for depressing reading. Healey and Owen have written in detail about this.

    NICK P.Since I am now two years and seven months from my 60th Birthday and teacher retirement pension, I suddeny have an interest in this.

    Has anyone read the warnings about [Council tax benefit cuts] which some people have given about the Council Tax being extended to cover people who have had benefits to cover these payments?

  23. RICH O
    It is important to be accurate if you are reporting on “gate” prone incidents. The guy who threw an egg at Prescott did so from a distance of about two and a half feet; it was an unprovoked and planned physical assault. Prescott did not throw a “rabbit punch” but a straight left, which, if you know your boxing, is mainly a defensive punch used to keep an opponent at distance. P was a good amateur boxer, so I suppose the clown in question had not done his homework, and instinctively did exactly the right thing. My quarrel is with Blair for not sufficiently applauding him or fending off the mis-reporting of the weasly yellow press.

  24. Keir Starmer shakes up CPS in the wake of Rochdale.

    ” A generation of girls was betrayed by the justice system’s flawed approach to sexual exploitation”

    Great stuff-progress.

  25. @”maybe all his charitable deeds were a benign product of a deep self-loathing, a sort of penance he felt he had to pay for the harm he knew he was inflicting on others.”

    ” He targeted the institutionalised, the hospitalised-and this was known.
    Why did Jimmy go to hospitals?. That’s where the patients were”

    Paul Gambaccini
    BBC Radio 5 LIve.


    “This is something that you need to train your precinct leaders, your voter protection people, and your poll greeters to look for.”

    Can I ask, what are voter protection people?

  27. @Colin

    ” He targeted the institutionalised, the hospitalised-and this was known.
    Why did Jimmy go to hospitals?. That’s where the patients were”

    Not at all incompatible with what I said may well have been part of his overall motivation. Gambaccini might well be right, although it’s stretching credulity to think that Savile would have gone to the charity fund-raising lengths that he did just in order to gain access to vulnerable children and adolescents. As I said in my earlier post, I suspect his motivation was way more complex than that.

    By the way, in Panorama’s excellent documentary on Monday night, I thought the weaselly Gambaccini was one of the least credible of all the contributors. His mea culpa was convoluted and deeply unconvincing to me.

  28. CB11

    Reading your thoughts, I think you are coming at this with more goodwill for Savile than me.

    My current feeling can be summarised in the words “betrayal” & “hoodwinked”-both my children loved him . They are adults now.

    Neither of us know the truth – we never will know the truth about his “good” works now. (1)
    He is becoming persona non grata -his gravestone gone, his name erased from Charities.

    But I think ( hope anyway) that the Police investigation-Operation Yewtree-will be thorough & uncover all culpability so that at least we will understand the evil that he did, and the victims can feel some sense of justice.
    The Police have some credibility to retrieve too after recent revelations .

    (1) ” The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones. “

  29. @Colin

    What revelations?

  30. Donald Trump may be revealing that Obama and Mrs O are getting a divorce? What the hell?

    Polling implications?

  31. @Chris Lane “Has anyone read the warnings about [Council tax benefit cuts] which some people have given about the Council Tax being extended to cover people who have had benefits to cover these payments?”

    Like these for example?
    “The peer who designed what became known as the “poll tax” in the 1980s has warned that Council Tax Benefit cuts risk creating a “poll tax Mark 2?.”


  32. John Pilgrim:

    The only thing Prescott did wrong was not following up with a right hook.

  33. @Chris Lane

    There are also a whole host of changes to housing benefit taking effect simultaneously with the council tax change in April 2013. Here’s one for example:

    “Peers debated the housing benefit regulations in the House of Lords on Monday. The regulations introduce the bedroom tax, which will see an estimated 660,000 social housing tenants with spare rooms docked an average of £14 per week in housing benefit. ”


    The question is, as people directly affected become aware of their impending financial plight over the next few months, does this have the potential to move the polls significantly?

  34. The Council Tax relife is another example of central government not understanging local politics.

    Cutting the money available for council tax rebates andthen passing the task os saying who gets the rebate onto local councils under the localisim banner, was meant to push the blame onto local councils, which were expected to turn towards the opposition as they always do.

    However the electorate even those who buy into the whole cuts now agenda can see that this is central government attempting to push the blame onto some one else. The result is that those who are aware of the proposals are placing the blame onto central government AND seeing this as another under hand trick.

    as this unwinds I can see those who support the cuts looking to UKIP in the short term but with most returning at the GE. Those who are still tories but not have not bought into the plan A is the only plan being either moved to non-voters or voting Labour.

    This could well be a ticking time bomb.

  35. As I understand it there are two qualifications for housing benefit and both must be met:

    1. There is a maximum number of rooms
    2. There is a maximum cost

    So for example a mother in a rented flat receiving housing benefit whose son\daughter moves out will also have to move out or face a cut in benefit. Even if the rent is low.

  36. I’m surprised no one is talking about this;


    Mr king is saying that the banks are hiding huge loses and he seems to be implying that the funding for lending scheme is a con the only propose of which is to funnel more taxpayer money into the banks.

  37. @COUPER2802
    There will be various catch-22 issues with harsh changes which slip in under the radar. A single parent with a grown up child loses out when the child ‘gets on his/her bike’ and moves elsewhere to take up a job. Mum / dad is then penalised for the sin of having one bedroom more than they need. Once Polltax2 is established then expect the bar to be raised gradually year by year. Then you end up with polltax1.

    But – I don’t think it will move the polls much. There will be precious little sympathy from those who are unaffected.

  38. I do recommend the Chris Mullin diaries, 3 vols, for anyone interested in revisiting the Blair/Brown years.

    He is an leftist commentator who never conforms to the stereotype of the left-wing MP. He is remarkably, though not of course 100%, prescient. He’s half-captivated/appalled by Blair, mystified by his pact with Bush, reminding us that only TB could have got us into Iraq; he homes in on Brown’s massive flaws, insecurities from 1997, later cataloguing the plots against him, & reminding us that the financial crisis probably saved his leadership. He’s driven mad by New Labour’s control freakery & its endless pointless initiatives & sees that the marketisation of health/education is bound to be finished off by the Tories; is deeply worried by growing “welfare dependency” & notes that Labour’s v. considerable achievements go unrecognised by those who benefitted most: doctors [“we stuffed their mouths with gold”]/NHS workers noted as particular ingrates.
    He just about admits that he failed as a junior minister.

    He spots Cameron’s leadership potential when he is a shiny new MP; quite likes Hagues; dismisses Osborne & predicts that Clegg will argue that black is white (or any colour) if it suits him; suggests that Mayor Johnson will cause the Tory leadership trouble.

    His reports on African matters are excellent, not least his graphic descriptions of corrupt elections.
    The worse things get, the funnier he becomes. By the end he despairs & leaves the Commons as his expertise & abilities are ignored.
    A decent cove.

  39. Why are union leaders always referred to as “barons”? I wasn’t aware that barons were elected democratically in the old days.

  40. Chris Mullin is on record recently as calling the Police Federation ‘headbangers’.

  41. Robbie – I second your recommendation, his diaries are an excellent read (and his predictions are indeed so good at some points I did wonder whether he selectively edited out the bad ones!)

  42. Alex Harvey – because obviously he’s a reliable source!

    I suspect the impact will be zero, as the sort of people who believe it will be the sort of people who aren’t voting Obama anyway on account of their belief that he is a secret Muslim who wasn’t born in the USA…

    …and is possibly a lizard… in league with Prince Philip’s international drugs cartel… etc, etc

  43. Lots of talk that Cameron has hinted strongly at PMQ that good news will keep coming with the GDP figures tomorrow.

    I wonder?

  44. Interesting question raised by Tom Watson in todays PMQ’s. I won’t go into the detail of the question or what rumours there are on the internet about the subject matter of the question. But it is very concerning for British politics over the last 40 years, if the rumours have any truth about them. Both Labour and Tory polling could be hurt, which could have a really big affect on the outcome of the 2015 election. There are allegations about senior Labour and Tory politicians/aides, although most are not currently in parliament or in frontline politics.

    If the rumours are true, the press will stop talking about Jimmy Saville and start talking about politicians.

    For those that do look into this, don’t post anything that might get AW or yourself into trouble.

    [Let’s not go down that route please, I don’t think it’s the sort of discussion that is amenable to non-partisan discussion – AW]

  45. manufacturing output figures released just, “(Reuters) – British factory orders posted a surprise fall in October, the CBI’s industrial trends survey showed on Wednesday, fuelling fears that a recent timid economic recovery may not last.

    Britain probably came out of recession between July and September. Third-quarter gross domestic product figures due on Thursday are expected to show solid growth, boosted by a one-off rebound after an extra public holiday hit output in June.

  46. At the moment, even 0.1% growth would be trumpted as if it were the second coming.

    In previous months, the ONS has gone to great lengths to detail the effects of one-off events (snow, extra bank hol, etc) to give a picture of how the economy would have performed without them. One would hope that such a paragon of impartiality will similarly detail the one-off effects of the olympics/ paralympics, so we can see whether we really are out of recession. Any takers…?

  47. trumpeted

  48. @ AW………………Barack Iguana ? :-)

  49. [Snip – see comment under R Huckle’s – AW]

    On another long standing and now proven connspiracy theory, Bettison has quit. That’s a major Hillsborough scalp and proves these tightly woven establishment cover-ups can unravel very quickly.

    Hold onto your hats!

  50. Aw

    That’s not fair, moderating me for asking, what’s going on. I haven’t heard the rumors and I love a good scandal

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