Lord Ashcroft has released a second poll of Eastleigh, conducted over the weekend.

Topline figures are CON 28%, LAB 12%, LDEM 33%, UKIP 21%. Like the Times poll conducted by Populus last week it shows the Liberal Democrats still ahead, UKIP in third place and the Labour vote squeezed right down. The poll was conducted after the Lord Rennard story broke, so it does not appear to have had any obvious effect on Lib Dem support in the by-election, although the story obviously has continued to rumble on since then.

Two days to go until the Eastleigh by-election so I expect this will be the final poll…

Full tables are here.


420 Responses to “Ashcroft polling shows Lib Dems still 5 points ahead in Eastleigh”

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  1. Didn’t Labour get 9.6% in 2010? So, technically speaking their vote hasn’t been squeezed.

  2. I think that what is interesting is that, rather than the Labour vote being squeezed, Labour voters are still prepared to vote tactically in a seat that is a two way race- Tory/ Lib Dem.

  3. I don’t wish to get the N.T.M.s union involved but two new threads in around an hour should precipitate overtime payments.

  4. Interesting that the Rennard situation does not seem to have had a negative effect on the LD VI. If memory serves me correct, this is the highest lead of the three recent Easleigh polls.

    Do the people of Easleigh agree with me that the media are making too much of the situation and we should just let the police complete their enquiries and then take action if there has been inappropriate behaviour on behalf of anyone in the LDs. Accordingly they see this as a possible issue re one person and not the LDs per see.

    Alternatively, the polling may have been done when it was only Rennard who was under suspicion before the attention turned to what Clegg and others knew. If this is the case then the attacks on Clegg et al (with little or no proof) may yet cause a major loss in support.

  5. Paul, so you are still awake. Bit slow for a new thread monitor aren’t you. (smiley thing)

  6. On ConservativeHome, Lord Ashcroft writes:

    “…even if it is true that half of guarded or supposedly undecided voters will vote for the same party as last time, a total of 27% of Eastleigh voters remain impossible to allocate – not least because nearly half of them refuse even to say how they voted in 2010. These people could yet produce a surprise.”

  7. Peter

    A magnificent nonpartisan post, lol

  8. RiN

    Don’t forget that I resigned from the LDs so while I guess I still think with a LD perspective I am no longer supporting them. In many posts on this site I have stated Clegg must go but imo. the attacks on him yesterday and today have been way over the top. It may well be the case that he knew what was going on but lets wait and see what the police come up with.

  9. Possibly close now that the right wing papers are using the crisis to beat the Lib Dems.They seem to have produced identical headlines to yesterday.If the Lib Dems win,it will be a blow to the media`s ability to influence an election too.

  10. It’s amazing how irrelevant Labour is in this contest , going from a decent second historically to fourth in ( from what I’ve read ) a constituency with a very mixed social demographic .

  11. “Q8. When deciding how to vote in the by-election, which of the following will be the most important in your final decision?
    Getting the best local MP for the Eastleigh constituency: 45%

    Sending a message to the government that I am not happy about the way things are going: 21%

    Voting for the party I most support: 17%

    etc etc”

    I think this nicely shows the point that AW often makes that voters really struggle to understand what makes them vote for what party.
    Voter Id is much more important. Even if a voter does vote for the candidate they regard as best, it is likely that they have chosen them out of two parties they were considering, rather than just ‘who would make the best local MP for the constituency’.

  12. @Peter Bell

    While you can’t be expected to think like every Lib Dem out there, looking at the Eastleigh UKIP polling, and given the traditional assumption that Con voters go UKIP, rather than Lib Dems, can you give an idea as to what makes a Lib Dem go UKIP (if polls are right and some have)?

    I have come to think of them as opposites in some ways.

  13. It’s the pure ‘protest vote’ element that switches from Lib Dem to UKIP – people simply seeking the most obvious tool to express dissatisfaction with the parties of government. The Lib Dems are now one of those.

  14. Statgeek, I reckon that Wes has got it in one. I can’t think of any other reason. Certainly as a left of centre ex-LD, I would struggle to vote Con (never have voted Con in nearly 50 years), never mind UKIP

    Anyhow, time for bed as I have to be up at 6.45 am as I am walking in my beloved Cheviots tomorrow (I mean later today)

  15. This morning’s YouGov – CON 32%, LAB 44%, LD 10%, UKIP 8%; APP -36

  16. So that would be headline figures (change since Ashcroft poll of Feb 4-5):

    LD 33% (+2), Con 28% (-6), UKIP 21% (+8), Lab 12% (-7)

    Changes from 2010 would be something like
    LD -13.5%, Con – 11.3%, UKIP +17.4%, Lab +2.4%.

    Ashcroft does make a comment about how LDs would be on 34% (a six point lead) if their don’t knows were reallocated on the same basis as Con and Lab – but no mention of how reallocation might be affecting the UKIP position.

    27% of the Eastleigh electorate are still don’t know/refuse to answer and are not being reallocated.

  17. “I think this nicely shows the point that AW often makes that voters really struggle to understand what makes them vote for what party.”

    Applying the same logic to voters as the judge applied to the jury in the Pryce trial, perhaps we should sack the voters? (ref Italian election results…)

  18. Beware unsourced quotes but –
    “A “senior Lib Dem MP” told the Financial Times Mr Clegg’s future “depends on what happens on Thursday””

  19. In advance of the PMI data which should be coming out this week, I’ve just picked up the Household Finance Index from Markit which was released last week. The February figures are poor, with the headline index falling back from January’s improvement to 37.7 (sub 50 = contraction).

    The poorest income group showed the biggest falls, while the second lowest group reported the biggest squeeze on their available cash since this survey started, although that is only 4 years. Higher income groups also reported worsening finances, but at a slower rate.

    The survey also reported worsening expectations for the next twelve months, and the strongly increasing perception of inflation in February.

    Workplace activity showed an increase, while job security declined and income from work also continued to ease back. There was also evidence of declining savings and increased debt, with the impacts f these most apparent in the lowest income groups.

    I don’t know how accurate this survey is, nor how well it has predicted trends in the past, but these results are really rather stark. Before we’ve even got into any serious inflation from the recent devaluation and fuel prices rising, we appear to have a reversal of recent modest improvements in household finances, and the squeeze on incomes is, if anything, tightening now rather than easing.

    The one bright spot is that it confirms the positive employment data, but there must be a question mark over how long employment can continue to rise if consumers have no money to spend.

  20. Good Morning All; late start at work for me.

    It seems, imo, that Labour’s lead is solidifying and widening, which the Lib Dems seem to be in some turmoil.

    It would not surprise me if Nick Clegg resigns if they lose in Eastleigh, and if there is perceived to have been a cover up over the allegations against his party organiser

  21. Looking forward to watching the Commission deal with n Italian Government with M5S in it.

    Brussels’ worst nightmare. EZ back in trouble .

  22. That poll looks like good news for the Lib Dems. It’s been conducted some way into Chief Executive Alleged Inappropriate Conductgate and is not showing any visible sign of denting the Lib Dem vote. Either that or it did, but the loss of the AAA rating hit the Tories more and the two cancelled out.

    I had my suspicions this might happen. Whilst this saga may harm the Lib Dems in the long run, this struck me as something that political pundits find fascinating but the rest of the country would find dull (a bit like PMQs).

    Anyway, we’ll see on Thursday.

  23. @Chris N-S
    ” Chief Executive Alleged Inappropriate Conductgate” is funny but way too long for everyday use. Anyone for “Buntergate”?

  24. I wonder if Bersani and Berlusconi might be tempted to form a “coalition of the losers” (where I have I heard that phrase before? lol) to spike Grillo’s guns? An outlandish and unlikely possibility maybe, but considering how poorly both the centre right and centre left parties performed, it could be both blocs best chance of salvaging something from the wreckage of this shambolic election result. It may be the best short term solution for their benighted country too.

    It worked in Germany quite successfully when Merkel, in her first period as Chancellor in 2005, headed up a Grand Coalition that consisted of her own centre right party, the CDU, and the centre left party, the SPD. I know Italian politics is a completely different animal, and the potential for the Berlusconi factor to cause division and chaos can never be underestimated, but I wonder if it may be the only way out of the political morass now. A spatchcock Bersani/Monti coalition looks untenable now and I can’t see how Grillo’s comedic protest party can feasibly participate in a serious government.

    The Italian people have spoken and no-one has the faintest idea what they’ve said!

    As for this latest Eastleigh poll, it tends to confirm the early thoughts that voting intentions have been largely unaffected by the Rennard furore. This is an atypical (aren’t they all?) by-election in the sense that the main protagonists are all falling back and, beyond UKIP from a farcically low base, no one is surging. By-elections tend to be fairly harmless devices to give the incumbent government a kick in the political goolies, but it’s quite possible in Eastleigh, probable in fact, that one of the two governing parties will sneak in with a much reduced vote share. Whoever wins, be it the Tory or Lib Dem, will spin the victory as an endorsement of what they’re doing in government but, by the look of these polls, it will be no such thing.

    Eastleigh will probably show that an undecided electorate couldn’t decide whether to kick the Tory or the Lib Dem harder. Whoever gets the lightest kicking wins. Very bizarre, but there you go.

  25. @ Danny Sweeney

    re the 45% of people saying they are voting on the basis of ‘getting the best MP for the constituency’ I would argue this is a terrible reason for voting for a particular person and a very bland general question that doesn’t define what makes the ‘best MP’.

    Personally I want an MP who most closely matches my views when voting in the House of Commons. That is what the job is. If they are bright enough to examine legislation for loopholes and problem areas and highlight this in debating a bill then that is a bonus.

    I’m actually less fussed about whether they are hardworking (which is open to doubt anyway as a ‘hardworking’ MP can appear that way just by getting their face in the local paper every week). They can be as hardworking as they like but if they consistently vote against things I believe in then I’d prefer a druggie on crack to represent me as long as they were still capable of voting along party lines for my given party!

    I think generally the role of an MP (and indeed local councillors) is misrepresented. Sure they can sometimes make a difference to a local constituent, either by raising awareness of that constituents problems or simply acting as a back up citizens advice with a bit of additional clout, but unless you are actually part of the inner government or at least influencial in the government of the day then your ability to make a difference on specific local issues is going to be quite minor.

    Local councillors can sometimes have an important role to play in picking up on local issues and feeding back into council policy but even there I would still prefer a councillor who prioritised cuts in areas I regarded as less important and defended the budget in areas I considered vital.

  26. I have just found out that in the 1945 General Election most of the then Winchester seat was what is now Eastleigh! (It was Eastleigh plus just the old little city centre of Winchester. And guess what….Labour won it! So the seat does have a history of Labour support. That they have failed to break through must be disappointing when the perception opnly a short time ago in Labour circles was that the LDs had so blown it that in swathes of the country that had become LD v Con since the 1970s Labour would re-establish themselves as the challenger again. This hasn’t happened! We are still in a period of multi-party politics – not the wished for return to two party politics perhaps?

  27. @ Crossbat11
    “I wonder if Bersani and Berlusconi might be tempted to form a “coalition of the losers” (where I have I heard that phrase before? lol) to spike Grillo’s guns? ”

    It is totally possible and in fact, according to the Italian newspapers this morning, it is looking likely, but if Bersani does a deal it will totally and utterly destroy his party. There is no way on earth he can justify teaming up with Berlusconi, which would inevitably include a “get out of jail free” card for Silvio.

    For the life of me I can’t see why Bersani doesn’t do the right thing and try to work out some kind of agreement with Grillo. But the PD refuses to work with someone who actually wants to change things radically. The PD are part of the “casta”, the political class, and don’t want their cosy, well fed world to fall apart.

  28. CB11

    @”The Italian people have spoken and no-one has the faintest idea what they’ve said!”

    They seem to have said -no more austerity to Monti.

    Further than that , it looks like ” one comedian is as good as another”.

    If the bond markets take serious fright on Italian Debt financing, EZ is back in trouble.

    Someone on another thread mentioned default. With Italy’s Debt that would be very serious.

    A lot of nervousness in Brussels one imagines.

  29. “There is no alternative to the structural reforms that are already underway and which include consolidating the budget and boosting competitiveness.”

    Germany’s economy minister.

    Yep-but they want an alternative. Hope the German Piggy Bank is big enough.

  30. ‘If the bond markets take serious fright on Italian Debt financing, EZ is back in trouble.’

    And a private banking crisis, held off for nearly five years with public money and public misery.

    European money is being used to prevent banking collapse, it is merely being described as national debt problems because the mechanism for pumping money into private banks is via nation states debts.

  31. I mean, even if the system you support is dying in protracted crisis, there is always schadenfreude to help you get through the day.

  32. MIKEMS

    Actually , although it would be a disaster , part of me really wants to see Italy do the things you would like.

    …to say , we don’t owe this money & we aren’t going to repay it, and we will not change our lifestyle for anyone.

    Yesterday GO made a point about Moody’s stated fear of a “lack of political will” to reduce sovereign debt.

    If Italy is the first country to crystalise Moody’s fears , you can explain to me , as the EZ implodes & Banks collapse like nine-pins, what happens next.

  33. @ Tony Dean

    “…. when the perception only a short time ago in Labour circles was that the LDs had so blown it that in swathes of the country that had become LD v Con since the 1970s Labour would re-establish themselves as the challenger again. This hasn’t happened! We are still in a period of multi-party politics – not the wished for return to two party politics perhaps?”

    I believe you…but lets get Thursday out the way first because as sure as eggs if the LDs lose there will be plenty of supporters from both the Big 2 going on about how only Con & Lab matter.

  34. “I believe you…but lets get Thursday out the way first because as sure as eggs if the LDs lose there will be plenty of supporters from both the Big 2 going on about how only Con & Lab matter.”

    IMHO, the Lib Dems have already achieved what they needed to achieve. At the start of the election, loads of people were firmly predicted that the Lib Dem vote would be annihilated as the voters desert in droves for Labour. Short of a major upset, that’s not going to happen. Bearing in mind the scandal that led to this by-election, if their vote can roughly hold, that’s a good sign for all the other Lib Dem seats defended against Tory opponents – even if it’s not quite enough to prevent the small swing the Tories need in this particular seat.

    Unless you’ve got a government with a wafer-thin majority, it doesn’t matter who wins the by-election – what matters is the swing. The only people who think this matters are political journalists who wildly exaggerate the importance of who got that seat. It’s possible this could matter if the Lib Dems start believing the hyperbole and implode (like Labour did in 2008-9, albeit against more worrying concerns). However, the Lib Dems have held their nerve remarkably well this Parliament so I doubt that will happen.

    Not so sure about the Tories. If they fail to take it, that’s not a big issue either, but the Tory Right will probably blame Cameron for supporting gay marriage or something equally ludicrous.

  35. @ Colin

    How does the EZ “implode”? Really, what does that mean?

  36. There is one detail I’ve spotted about the Italian election results that could have a big effect: the Five-Star movement won the popular vote in five regions for the lower house but not the Senate. I suspect there’s tactical voting here, because who wins the popular vote in a region matters a lot more for the Senate than the Chamber of Deputies. And until yesterday, no-one seriously thought 5*M could win a region.

    Now that we know they can, we might see an even stronger vote for M5S next time round. Or there could be a repeat of Greece election 2 when enough voters backed away for fear of uncertainty.

    A highly unpredictable moment for Italy, without any kind of precedent.

  37. @ CNS

    …if the Lib Dems start believing the hyperbole and implode (like Labour did in 2008-9, albeit against more worrying concerns).
    ———————
    Is “implode” the word for today? Really, what would the LibDems “imploding” look like?

    I am genuinely asking because Labour “imploding” in 2008/9 appears not to have made a big difference. It didn’t hand the Tories the 2010 election & the Labour Party is ‘alive & kicking’; also leading by >10 points in the VI polls.

  38. @Amber Star

    Whilst I agree with that, I still think Labour could have achieved more. Had they held their nerve in 2008 and didn’t tear themselves apart with the in-fighting, I believe it would have made enough of a difference to get them a Labour-led government in the 2010 election.

    Granted, Labour has got its act together remarkably quickly after the election – but it would have been a lot better to have got their act together two years earlier.

  39. ‘…to say , we don’t owe this money & we aren’t going to repay it, and we will not change our lifestyle for anyone’

    This is not ‘what I would like’. It is what is convenient for you to say its what I would like. It’s a strawman.

    In fact, and it is in the post you responded to, I said that the debt was being put onto nation states to protect the banking system and, by extension, its ‘investors’.

    But, as you mention it, I would like these debts to be cancelled not because the feckless Italians deserve to live beyond their means, but because it is odious debt piled onto the people to rescue corrupt and criminal gamblers in the financial centres, the people right-wingers in all three parties and in all western countries have legislated to ‘free’.

    Supposedly to make us all more prosperous. Now the real bill is in, we are told that people are too feckless, that we have burdened ourselves with a debt based economic system, that we ourselves have demanded the conditions that brought about our downfall.

    Politics these days, it seems to me, is all about trying to get basic truths into the debate at all, against the tide of lies and black propaganda that incessantly pours out in defence of corruption and misrule.

  40. mikems

    Precisely.

    What’s more in democracies, sooner or later the majority will vote the thieves out.

  41. Polling currently looks good for Labour, who have now probably secured an overall polling lead of around 10-12 points. The only slight negative for Labour is that Cameron and Osborne still have a fairly clear lead over Miliband and Balls on public perception of economic competence – this despite the debt rating downgrade. Maybe this will change in the coming weeks and months now, though?

    As for Eastleigh, it does look like the Libs will probably hold on to it. For now at least, UKIP are taking sufficient votes from the Tories to help the Libs, and the Tories are pretty much down to their lowest core vote (rather like the Libs). If true, this may be a cause of concern in many Tory circles, and only put more pressure on Cameron going forward.

    As for footballing (and non-political matters), I feel I must express every sympathy for all Chelsea and Arsenal fans out there. When Spurs were 2-2 with West Ham in injury time, they must have been jumping for joy, thinking that the gap was closing……only for Gareth Bale to step up and score a truly spectacular 30 yarder. He’s a lad!!!!

  42. Glee at the downfall of the EU on the back of a great crisis of capitalism in the west, is a double edged sword.

    It seems that many right-wingers don’t appreciate how thoroughly the EU embodies their own political doctrines.

    The EU has outlawed socialism in effect. In fact it has made socialism unconstitutional. How’s that for freedom?

    If the EU goes so does the illegitimate constitution and all the undemocratically imposed laws which makes for a whole new ball-game in the nation states of the EU.

  43. @chris nevile smith “At the start of the election, loads of people were firmly predicted that the Lib Dem vote would be annihilated as the voters desert in droves for Labour.”

    Im sorry they really didn’t. The pundits, the bookies and the political parties all said its between lib dems and tories. There was some hopeful musing that labour might be able to get in the running – but that was all.
    The question at the start was would the drop in lib dem support be matched by the drop in tory support to UKIP. Both tory and lib dem support has dropped, labour have picked up some but the major beneficiaries are UKIP who could very well end up winning – a result that nobody predicted.

    The low labour rating doesn’t really say much – my guess is that many who would normally vote labour are voting tactically, some sticking with lib dems, some for UKIP.

    If the lib dems win its only partially good news – it means that their vote when facing the tories performs better than the national average polling indicates – it does not mean that this will be the case in seats where labour are in the running to win it. All the other by-elections indicate that in that scenario the lib dem vote will be squished.

    And this result really does matter – both cameron and clegg will be in deep trouble with their own parties if they fail here. Both could face a leadership challenge in that scenario. A UKIP win would be a minor political earthquake.

  44. @Peter / Wes

    Thanks. I did wonder if some of those LDs shifting to UKIP (nationally) might be folk that shifted to Lib during Clegg-mania, so voted LD in 2010, but perhaps didn’t vote LD in other times.

  45. @Tony Dean

    “I have just found out that in the 1945 General Election most of the then Winchester seat was what is now Eastleigh! (It was Eastleigh plus just the old little city centre of Winchester. And guess what….Labour won it!”

    Crikey, how far do you want to go back?? I think the electoral map in Clem Attlee’s days looked a bit different to the one of today, didn’t it?. You’ll be harking back to the halcyon days when the Tories used to win seats in Northern cities like Manchester and Scotland soon! Any reasonable man looking at the recent electoral history of Eastleigh will know that from the early 60s to the mid 90s it was a rock solid safe Tory seat where, at their high watermarks, they racked up 20,000+ majorities. You’re being disingenuous to claim that this is a seat where Labour are under-performing. Most of the Labour vote, for what it is, has drifted to the Lib Dems as an anti-Tory insurgency vote. The Lib Dems are essentially the insurgents in a natural Tory seat in Eastleigh. The woe is all Cameron’s if it can’t be prised from the Lib Dems, however much they might try to spin the result on Thursday as a Labour calamity!

    I’m not sure either that I quite share your assertion that “the perception opnly a short time ago in Labour circles was that the LDs had so blown it that in swathes of the country that had become LD v Con since the 1970s Labour would re-establish themselves as the challenger again.” I think the jury was always out on that theory and that there was still a thought that the Lib Dems would be stubborn incumbents in seats they held, despite the decline in their national vote. Where Labour is likely to benefit is where they’re running a close second to the Tories and can benefit from Lib Dem votes coming their way and not the Tories. I don’t think many people ever claimed that Labour would replace the Lib Dems as the Tory challengers in southern Con/Lib Dem marginals, did they? Now Labour v Lib Dem marginals will be another thing altogether come May 2015.

  46. Chris Neville-Smith

    There is one detail I’ve spotted about the Italian election results that could have a big effect: the Five-Star movement won the popular vote in five regions for the lower house but not the Senate. I suspect there’s tactical voting here, because who wins the popular vote in a region matters a lot more for the Senate than the Chamber of Deputies. And until yesterday, no-one seriously thought 5*M could win a region

    It may be more to do with demography than tactical voting. You have to be 25 or over to vote for the Senate, only 18 for the Chamber. I suspect the 3.5 million 18-24 year olds who voted for one but not the other were big supporters of the Five-Star movement and this may have made the difference in those regions.

  47. Amber

    I am going to use the word “implode” in the third verse** of my pome “Hevvun” and dedicate it to you – provided the UK doesn’t implode in the meantime of course, which is always possible with a rotten ole tory govt.

    **[My second verse is too rude to publish I regret]

  48. @ Amber Star and Chris Neville-Smith

    Important By-elections always seem much more angst ridden and vital before they happen. They are important for the political class and the media – but for the voters their impact is often very temporary.

    Admittedly, they used to be much more important for Libs/LDs because wins gave them the oxygen of publicity when they weren’t in the news. Now they are always in the news I wonder if by-elections are so vital for LD VI into the medium to long term?

    It is Conservative and LD MPs and activists who have decided that this contest is so seminal – probably not the electorate at large.

    The underlying economic mood of the electorate and the Leaders’ TV debates in 2015, plus any scandals “real or trumped-up” will determine what happens on polling day in the GE in 2015, not who wins Eastleigh on Thursday.

    Chris’s point that they are important now for internal party morale reasons, rather than for influencing VI into the future, is well made.

    The LDs would anyway now have the perfect excuse if they fail to hold the seat “We was robbed by a massive media dirty tricks campaign” – If the Tories don’t win it what are they going to say? “Mid-term blues etc etc”…..but deep down they will know that the mountain to 326 has got that bit steeper without the prospect of an easy gaining of 20 or so LD seats. Again, vital for Conservative internal morale – but again a pretty irrelevant for electors choosing their VI into the future.

  49. Why woud the LDs want Clegg to resign? There is no upside for them personally or politically. Their only sensible course is to see it through to 2015 and either do OK and he stays or badly and then, at that point, someone else takes over.

    Well, unless they impode first I s’pose.

  50. AMBER

    I suppose I mean “break up”.

    You know the size of Italy’s sovereign Debt.,

    Is the German taxpayer really going to fund it-in order to keep a bunch of comedians in power; if they repudiate that debt-or if the bond markets react.?

    I don’t know what the detail looks like-but the prospect of a second election with a GRillo majority makes it something to think about.

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