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. richO

    “boring”

  2. @Billy Bob

    If you’re right, it raises the stakes for the outcome of “Specific but not Very Specific Gropergate”.

  3. I agree with Ann that Eastleigh will be a non event.

    Can tell you the results now

    1. Lib
    2. Con
    3. Ukip
    4. Lab

    Libs will say “wow we retained this marginal seat even in these tough times and we’re in government, governments rarely win by elections”

    Cons will say “we didnt expect to win, governing parties never pick up seats, but we still did well and came reasonable second”

    UKIP will say “wow look how much we’ve grown, and we’ve beaten Labour into fourth place”

    Not really sure what Lab will say, maybe something along the lines of we’re never in contention so don’t care, but somehow these results are bad news for the government/tories.

  4. Ah just worked out what Lab will say

    It’s terrible for the Conservatives because they came 2nd, and whenever Conservatives come 2nd we say its a disaster for them.

  5. Or maybe they will say, “well turnout was low therefore our bad result doesn’t count, actually the low turnout is bad for the Conservatives because…” and I can’t work out what reason they will find, but rest assured they will find one about how its bad news for the Conservatives/Coalition

  6. Nah, Labour will say “This shows that the Conservatives have no chance of winning the next election as they can’t even take their target seats from the LDs when they are on their knees and in the middle of a scandal”.

    What sensible people will say is “This is a by election. Move along”.

  7. Neil

    That’s the one. It’l be that.

  8. @MitM

    Something along the lines of “The coaltion parties each got less than half the votes they got in the General Election here. It’s a vote of no confidence in the coalition.”

  9. @NickP

    I’m starting to get a similar feeling to you about Eastleigh; I sense something interesting in the air. Maybe it’s Grillo’s extraordinary vote in the Italian election or the memory of how Galloway and Respect stole up on the blind side late in Bradford that’s spooking me a bit, but I think UKIP may nick this one, I really do.

    I’m hearing stories of a moribund and defeatist Tory campaign on the ground, a Rennard-ruined Lib Dem final push and a squeezed Labour vote. There seem to be a lot of voters still undecided too, if the Ashcroft polls are to be believed, and I think an anti-establishment politics vote could well be on the cards. Who better placed to benefit than UKIP in those febrile and volatile circumstances? A plague on all your houses, indeed.

    If I’m right and we wake up to our first ever UKIP MP on Friday, what a complete and utter raspberry that will be to Cameron’s recent EU posturings and how much wind might it put in the sails of the Reckless, Bone and Cash tendency in the Tory Party? Could put paid to Clegg too.

    What’s not to like about that little lot? lol

  10. I think the Tories will be looking at 4th place.

  11. Seriously you think UKIP can win this???

    If they were very very lucky, they might nick 2nd ahead of the Tories, but a win, no way.

    As for Tories coming 4th, I think even most Labour supporters would/should admit they are coming 4th in this one.

    You can argue over the reasons as much as you like “unpopular in the south” or “tactically voting Lib” but at the end of the day, I’m sure that will be the result.

    Just on the off chance that UKIP somehow win, any idea what the name of the UKIP candidate is? I can’t even tell you if it’s a man or a woman. Not much of a profile for the first MP of a political party.

  12. MiM

    If you can’t tell us if its a man or woman that says more about your lack of interest than her profile.

  13. Eastleigh is genuinely interesting, unusually.

    I posted earlier that I have been (and still am) struck by the reports from within the Tory party that they have lost hope, even as the polls suggest a close race. I really don’t think this is expectation management. In by elections, momentum is everything, but too many Tories are saying their ground campaign is hopeless to still the notion that they really believe they have lost it.

    Of course, for Tories, a Labour win would have been utterly earth shattering, but it isn’t going to happen. Any hope that reds had that Labour could capitalise on a split vote and nick the seat seem to have been roundly scotched now. This is a little sad, for the non aligned at least, as a genuine 4 way English by election is a truly novel experience.

    A Lib Dem win still seems most likely, but not a certainty, and this would cause consternation within Tory ranks. However, a UKIP win, while probably still unlikely, would lead to eruptions within the Tory party probably bigger even than if Labour won.

    Labour could only ever win this seat by happy accident, with such a result having little resonance beyond this seat at this time. A UKIP win by contrast would go right to the heart of the philosophical struggle within the right of centre in UK politics, and would shake politics with some very considerable aftershocks.

    I’m now going to talk briefly about George Osborne standing with no clothes in a moderate south westerly, as people seemed to appreciate my prose the last time I did something like this.

  14. I don’t see how that’s true Paul.

    Do you know the genders and names of all the candidates?

    I know the main 3’s candidates, Lab, Lib Con, I even know a little about each of them but granted can’t name any others. Is Mr Mozzarella running again? I don’t think that shows a lack of interest.

  15. @MITM

    Never mind all that. Stick to the important issues! What will the Beer, Baccy & Crumpet candidate say?

    :)

  16. Neil A

    REALLY sensible people will say, “Gosh. Labour squeezing the LDs in the North and Mids. LDs squeezing Lab in the South. UKIP squeezing the Tories across the country. Goodness! Where are the Con Gains for a OM in 15 going to come from?”

  17. He will announce after a poor showing he will form an alliance with Mr Mozzarella from the Corby by election to try and combine their vote potentials.

  18. I’m also just beginning to get a sense of how significant these Italian elections have been. A quarter of voters backed a newly formed party whose main manifesto commitments included a referendum on the Euro and backing a return to the Lira. That’s really rather shocking, as hitherto it has been commonly held that even in the crisis hit EZ nations, the commonly held view was that being opposed to the Euro was an insignificant fringe position.

    Financial commentators are also suggesting that these results are ‘seismic’, as the entire ECB bond buying scheme depends on countries accepting the tough conditions in order to receive ECB backing. The majority of Italians appear to have rejected this, spooking markets significantly.

    The final significant factor seems to be that, probably alone among the crisis nations, some analysts think Italy could return to the Lira and experience a substantial devaluation and return to competitiveness, without a significant funding crisis. If this is the case, this election result really could precipitate some interesting Euro action.

  19. @ Alec

    The final significant factor seems to be that, probably alone among the crisis nations, some analysts think Italy could return to the Lira and experience a substantial devaluation and return to competitiveness, without a significant funding crisis.
    ——————–
    What? No imploding?

  20. I don’t think people were voting for Beppo Grillo’s policies but more his anti politician stance.

    I reckon Michael McIntyre or David Walliams could come up with a whole host of policies on the spot and do quite well in a UK election.

  21. On the subject of Tories giving up on winning an Overall Majority

    I recently helped out in a by-election in a swing wards, in a swing seat Telford (on universal swing they would need to win it to get a majority of 5)

    Apart from Strong campaign from Lab, and well known local candidate, UKIP also campaigned hard, but the strange thing was that, in what should be a key by-election for them, they seemed to give up, hardly any campaigning, and they did not even (to our knowledge at least) give out a single coloured leaflet?)

    The result was a swing of around 10% from Tory to Labour, this isn’t just the general post 2010 swing, this was SINCE 2011!

    Indeed The Tories only beast UKIP by 60 or so votes.

    To me, this suggests that the Torys have no intention of trying to win an Overall Majority next time, although of course it is just one seat?

  22. I guess they think it’s inevitable they will lose.

    They’ve reached the lows of the last government in only 3 years, the last gov took 13 to get to this stage.

    As many have said, governments rarely gain seats, and I doubt the gov as unpopular as they are now will make a net gain of 20 seats.

    I think they want to get as much done before 2015, then start planning for 2020.

  23. @Alec

    I don’t see 5SM as an anti-Euro party. It’s more an anti establishment /anti-austerity party along the lines of the Pirate parties in other European countries.

    Markets overreact to everything. This is Italy, a country that works despite it’s politics. Everything will work out.

    If anything will change, it will be that Germany will be forced to take a more flexible line.

  24. @Danny Sweeney – that’s an interesting anecdote, and matches what they seem to be saying about Eastleigh.

    I don’t get the impression that the Tory party is particularly short of cash, but what a number of commentators on the right are saying is that there has been a steep decline in both numbers and willingness to campaign among their local grass root members.

    Traditionally this is the route by which governments die, but it does seem to be quite a dramatic turnaround on this occasion.

  25. Alec

    For myself I’ve spent the last six months or so increasingly thinking, “it can’t be going as easily as this” [the seeming ebbing away of both the support and willpower of the Conservative party.] but I am more and more convinced it is.

    I think almost everyone has been expecting a backlash, a fightback, but they seem bereft of ideas and fight to me.

    It is possible that, come the election, they will put everything into a really aggressive campaign but then turn even more people off.

    Its all a bit weird actually. [Though one mustn’t complain.]

  26. @ Paul C

    The Graun are reporting that the cabinet are fighting amongst themselves. Osborne has lost some authority with the loss of AAA & the departments which are facing cuts are arguing that ‘ring-fenced’ spending should be un-fenced.

    Allegedly Osborne & Cameron responded by giving some of the cabinet a hard time about their failure to roll out policies which would generate growth.

    Cats in a sack…

  27. I think it’s just “bad news fatigue”.

    2010 was “the election to lose” and whoever took over the reigns was doomed to a diet of constant bad headlines and cuts, cuts, cuts.

    Tory supporters, like everyone else, want money spent on stuff (although its more likely to be policing, prisons, armed forces etc)

    Everything is being cut. Of course it’s demoralising.

    I am not sure how it will pan out come 2015, but every slippage of the “recovery timetable” inevitably makes the problem worse.

    I am pretty sure that if the numbers had been a little different in 2010 and Labour was now presiding over a rainbow coalition, the situation would be almost an exact mirror (and yes, yes I know that the world economy would now be booming if only Ed Balls was in charge of the Treasury but lets not get into another pointless dingdong that’s going nowhere).

  28. @Amber,

    Surely cabinet ministers arguing “spend the money on my department, not his” is just business as usual?

  29. Is it just me, or can others see the similarity between Cameron and Macmillan? Both patricians with an aura of born-to-rule, with relatively benign (for tories) social views, and with party hinterlands which they neither understand nor are able to control.

    Cameron has avoided the “night of the long knives” phase, but how long before the Hailsham stab and Douglas-Home coronation?

  30. @ Alec & @Paul Croft, it is only anecdotal, but still very interesting.
    Will be interesting to see how active the Torys are in traditionally largely blue Shropshire in May?
    Also how active UKIP will be, and how many candidates they stand?
    Europe and Equal/gay marriage will be interesting to see how it effects them both. Nationally I expect Labour to have significantly more members than Torys for the first time in a long time come 2015?

  31. I see Farrell believes Eastleigh is a ‘two-horse race between Labour and the coalition’.

    Ooooookay..

  32. No Sun tweet, must be a decent poll for Labour…

    On the possibility of UKIP coming second, I think any Labour strategist would bite your hand off if you offered it.

  33. OK, question for the activist gurus on here: are the Tories possibly leaking a significant number of activists to UKip? Possibly a disproportionate number?

  34. We’re expecting another poll?

  35. Alec

    As Badger Monitor you really should contribute a poem about the little rascals.

  36. @ Neil A

    Surely cabinet ministers arguing “spend the money on my department, not his” is just business as usual?
    —————
    It’s the leaking of the details by somebody who was at the cabinet meeting which isn’t business as usual, no?

  37. Speaking of what’s not business as usual, over at the Graun, Rawnsley’s been checking up a bit on Tory opinion as well. ..

    “Some friendly colleagues of the chancellor were recently asking him to reveal to them his grand strategy for reviving the economy, his party’s political fortunes and his personal reputation. George Osborne became impatient with their notion that he could wave some kind of wizardy wand to magic away all their troubles. He responded with asperity : “My main aim this year is to avoid fucking up the budget.””

  38. Speaking of what’s not business as usual, over at the Graun, Rawnsley’s been checking up a bit on Tory opinion as well. .

    “Some friendly colleagues of the chancellor were recently asking him to reveal to them his grand strategy for reviving the economy, his party’s political fortunes and his personal reputation. George Osborne became impatient with their notion that he could wave some kind of wizardy wand to magic away all their troubles. He responded with asperity : “My main aim this year is to avoid f***ing up the budget.””

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/24/george-osborne-plan-economy

    Not many budget leaks so far anyway, compared to last year. ..

  39. Neil A
    I think it’s just “bad news fatigue”.

    But what if it is “I have had enough of working my socks of for that silly b-gger,” or “I thought you said your daughter was coming to help with the envelopes, Doris” fatigue?

    AMBER
    I agree this will likely be the policy; & it would surely be a good approach but it’s too little, no? The challenges which we face may require solid infrastructure as well as skills, IMO.
    Research facilities, power, effluent treatment for industrial waste (instead of off-shoring our out-dated, filthy production processes to poorer countries), zoning, transport planning etc. etc.

    Yes, I envisage that h.r.d. might be the national spine, with a classic 50’s or 60’s ;proven (Lothians, Welsh Valleys, Milton Keynes)0 to 25 year regional planning approach to infrastructrure and investment, including industrial and public service relocation, linked to regional land use and environmental planning and the possibility of regional health and educational authorities, and r and d.

    I believe a similar approach should be taken to overseas aid, providing planned development backed by major UK h.r.d. educational support,, and with research and TA provision, linked to 30 to 40 year IFAD /IDA soft loans. Preferably this would be linked to Chinese aid and investment in agricultural and industrial raw materials development in Africa and SE Asia in particular, if ED can do a Nixon in return for our educationa and technology support to China. It should have specific purposes of self sufficiency and self-reliance and steady reductions of the present self-generating aid systems.

    Re. “I’ve had to tell bosses that targets were impossible to meet. I think the brass should have ‘pushed back’, if the targets were too onerous.”

    I did an Arab Fund/IFAD mission some years ago to the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen, during which the project manager of the Hadramath (I think it was) Spate Irrigation Project asked for the baseline yield levels to be reduced as they had not yet been able to reach them in the third year of the project.

  40. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 26th February – CON 32%, LAB 42%, LD 12%, UKIP 9%; APP -37

  41. 20 to 25 years

  42. The Hamiltons were out campaigning for UKIP in Eastleigh yesterday. It’s a shoe-in now surely?

  43. “Nationally I expect Labour to have significantly more members than Torys for the first time in a long time come 2015?”
    Um.. according to a parliamentary research paper, until 2010, Labour had only once had more members than the Tories – in 1997 and then only very slightly higher. [1]
    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05125.pdf

    [1] Unless you count affiliated trade union members.

  44. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 26th February – CON 32%, LAB 42%, LD 12%, UKIP 9%; APP -37

    Seems odd that the LDs would record one of their higher YouGov figures in the midst of all the Rennard imbroglio.

  45. @Phil Haines.

    “I still recall waking up the morning after the GE and thinking along the lines that since the LDs effectively held a veto over whatever government was formed, we weren’t after all going to get full on Conservative government in the style of Thatcher.”

    Except the LDs really didnt hold such a veto.

    After the GE the numbers allowed a clear coalition to be formed between Con and LD, but every other combination would have required more than 2 parties to sign up.

    The LDs did of course launch talks with Lab about trying to form a coalition but these not surprisingly founded when Lab (in particular the non-Blairite wing of the party) correctly worked out that it wasnt going to work.

    It made much more sense for Lab after 13 years in office to accept a “minor” defeat and go into opposition. So they scotched their coalition discussions with the LDs pretty quickly. I for one have no criticism to make for that decision.

    The proposed Lab lead “rainbow” coalition would have been bad for Lab for the above reason. It would have been bad for LD too as they would have been accused of propping up a “tired govt” that had “ran out of steam”

    IMO it would have been also bad for the country since it would have had to have involved multi-party support to get the barest of majorities on anything. It would have been inherently unstable.

    Of course the LDs could have eschewed coalition altogether and allowed Con minority govt. If they had done so I believe they would have paid an even bigger price than they have now because they would have been open to accusations of “irrelevancy” having thrown the chance of office back in the nations face. Plus there is probably not a parliamentarian out their who wouldn’t believe he or she could make a difference given some real power.

    I also think that a Con minority govt would merely have fumbled for 6-9 months then held a 2nd election and got themselves a majority. (Probably on the back of delayed LD-Con swing as people in those constituencies decided they wanted their vote to go to somebody willing to make a difference). IMO it would have played out exactly as it did in 1974 or as it did in Scotland with Alec Salmond after 2007. Hardly a great outcome for non-Tories.

    I know we are probably very unlikely to agree on this topic, and I know there is a risk of sailing into the kind of partisan discussion AW decidedly doesn’t want on this board but after reading here for the past 3 years your side of things has been put up by Lab supporters many many times with very few LD counter analysis.

    Finally, I would just say that a quick tour of ConservativeHome should convince anyone that Con voters certainly do not believe they have a true govt in the style of Thatcher. And we constantly hear from Tories how they are “being held back by the the LDs”

    Surely if one of the outcomes of coalition is that Con support ends up turning on itself that is not such a bad outcome for non-Tories either?

  46. “I also think that a Con minority govt would merely have fumbled for 6-9 months then held a 2nd election and got themselves a majority. ”
    And the Conservatives would have had all the blame for the problem of “sorting out the country”, allowing Labour to decline and the LibDems take over as the home of the centre-left.
    The only reason that Labour are polling so high is because the ‘reunification of the left’ – if Lab didn’t have that, they’d be (all things the same) doing as poorly as the Tories are now.

    Ultimately it comes down to “we wanted to use the opportunities power afforded us”, which is the only reason why the coalition still remains in tact.
    Whether the LDs have used that power well or badly is irrelevant to that point (LDs would argue they’ve ‘held back the Tories’, the other side ‘they’ve enabled the Tories’).
    If that wasn’t the case, the LDs would leave the coalition now.

  47. @ Tinged.

    “And the Conservatives would have had all the blame for the problem of “sorting out the country”, allowing Labour to decline and the LibDems take over as the home of the centre-left.

    The only reason that Labour are polling so high is because the ‘reunification of the left’ – if Lab didn’t have that, they’d be (all things the same) doing as poorly as the Tories are now.”

    The Left would still be divided (Its speculation to say who out of LD and Lab would be stronger of the two) and it could just be like the 1980s when an unpopular Con govt could exploit its opposition being split.

    ***

    “Ultimately it comes down to “we wanted to use the opportunities power afforded us”, which is the only reason why the coalition still remains in tact.
    Whether the LDs have used that power well or badly is irrelevant to that point (LDs would argue they’ve ‘held back the Tories’, the other side ‘they’ve enabled the Tories’).
    If that wasn’t the case, the LDs would leave the coalition now.”

    Precisely. And I dont think any group pf politicians would see it differently. These people are in it because they really believe that they can make a difference.

  48. “The Left would still be divided (Its speculation to say who out of LD and Lab would be stronger of the two) and it could just be like the 1980s when an unpopular Con govt could exploit its opposition being split.”

    I am much happier that it turned out the way it has…both as a LD…well I would say that wouldn’t I? But also as a non-Tory.

    I am sure in their hearts, most Lab people recognise its turned out better for them too. (Although I understand them milking it for political advantage.) Surely that is a basis for some future agreement IF political circumstances dictated?

  49. @TingedFringe

    “Um.. according to a parliamentary research paper, until 2010, Labour had only once had more members than the Tories – in 1997 and then only very slightly higher. ”

    What, when that beastly, horrible “Tory in Labour clothing” charlatan Blair was leader? What on earth did anybody see in him, hey? lol

    “And the Conservatives would have had all the blame for the problem of “sorting out the country”, allowing Labour to decline and the LibDems take over as the home of the centre-left.
    The only reason that Labour are polling so high is because the ‘reunification of the left’ – if Lab didn’t have that, they’d be (all things the same) doing as poorly as the Tories are now.”

    Blimey, the non-sequitors and leaps of logic come thick and fast! I love these “brook no argument” assertions. Mark Miwurdz rides again! Your argument is a fine example of the “if my Aunt had a pair of whotsits she’d be my uncle” school. What’s happened has happened and, besides, there are all sorts of other, rather different, less “Labour-would-have-been-doomed”, scenarios that may have come about rather than the very negative one that you so confidently assert.

    Still, I suppose there may be some strange succour to be had in reminding people of how bad it might have been if this that and the other had happened, but it seems a rather pointless and futile debate to me, as well as being a highly speculative one too. None of us will ever know whether we were right or not.

  50. Interesting commentary on Five Star this morning .

    “!The Grillini are a novelty even to themselves. Candidates were selected & manifesto agreed on the internet.
    Grillo is going into Parliament with over 100 MPS & almost 60 Senators he has never met.
    They do not know each other or their leader. It is a mistake to think that Grillo’s movement is cohesive. It is not.”

    Giovanni Orsini.
    Politics Prof..
    LUISS University, Rome.

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