Lord Ashcroft has commissioned a poll of voters in Eastleigh ahead of the by-election, due for the 28th February. It’s due for release at midnight, but rather embarassingly the Guardian managed to break the embargo and shove it on their website at ten to six. While they’ve taken it down again, the whole of twitter have already retweeted it, so we know that it will show CON 34%(-5), LAB 19%(+9), LDEM 31%(-16), UKIP 13%(+9).
More to come after midnight, no doubt, but the poll would appear to confirm that the race starts out, as expected, as being between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Interestingly enough, while the Liberal Democrats have done extremely well at recent local elections in Eastleigh, the figures here suggest a decline in their vote of much the same size as in their national polling.
UPDATE: Lord Ashcroft’s analysis and tables are now up on his website. It is indeed extremely close – the difference between the Conservatives and Lib Dems is all down to turnout (the poll actually found slightly more Lib Dem voters than Conservative ones, but the Conservative ones said they were considerably more likely to vote).