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. ah, the 70s

    Free school, free university, collective bargaining, pre North Sea Oil of course but a central energy policy and publicly owned transport, too.

    Skinheads, mind. And racism. But we still have some of those.

  2. RiN

    @”Coalitions work well in europe because parties know that destroying their allies will come back to bite them in later parliments”

    ……so people such as Cable & Farron have decided no coalition next time then?

  3. One assumption I come to is that the Lib Dems as a party had only ever prepared for negotiation and coalition with Labour.

    They simply had no preparation, at all, in place for negotiation and coalition with the Conservatives. And they did not understand what it would mean to concede that they were “the minority partner”, or how the Conservatives would treat LD policies.

  4. @Jayblanc

    “He did not. And frankly, I think he has consigned the LDs to minority fringe party status, unable to attract new voters and clinging desperately to incumbents to keep their seats, for the next generation.”

    Although, for old time’s sake it grieves me to say this – you are probably right!

    But politically then, where do libertarian radical Liberals go? We don’t have a political home.

  5. Social libertarians can probably settle on the anarchist left fringe of Labour. Fiscal libertarians can probably settle on the tax-protest wing of the Conservatives.

    Those who are both social and fiscal libertarians really didn’t have a place in British politics anyway.

  6. COLIN
    Ah yes-those were the days to try & make a living, support a family & pay a mortgage.


    Oh we can all focus on the negatives but it wasn’t all bad now was it? Property prices shot up in the early seventies so you’d have done well there. But you could still afford to buy a house in London. Much better employment helped keep people earning better wages.

    Free tuition for your kids. Free dentistry etc., rent was affordable, beer was cheap, footie was cheap, you could actually fix your own car without a PhD, music woz good, utility bills weren’t through the roof, you could actually use your phone line without it being plagued by robocalls every five minutes. Children were able to play outdoors. Young people had proper apprenticeships and graduates could get jobs.

    Your TV wasn’t obsolete and incompatible as soon as you got it home. Booking a train wasn’t like trying to put on the Normandy landings. You knew your bank manager and your bank wasn’t just trying to sell you stuff all the time. We hadn’t sold off all those playing fields etc. Before care in the community one hardly encountered the homeless. You could do a masters and PhD without having wealthy parents to fund it.

    You could get a good job without being an intern funded by parents. Newspapers weren’t stuffed to the gills with provocative comment pieces intended to generate hits online. You didn’t have town centres all looking the same. People had time to spend with their children. The North hadn’t been gutted. Not many had even heard of AIDS or SARS or global warming. Man on the moon. Concorde in the skies. Vinyl. Gil Scott Heron. Monty Python. The Italian Job. Politicians who’d had a life outside politics…

    Polling wasn’t as good though. ..

  7. I wonder what Chris Huhne would have dealt with the 2010 election and its result if he was made LD leader in 2007? Then the court case…

  8. Had proper summers then, too.

  9. “But politically then, where do libertarian radical Liberals go?”

    Well I would have said America but our politicians of all stripes seem to beimporting the American way with considerable purpose. ..

  10. The seventies were hell, weren’t they? I left school, went to the careers office and was offered a choice of six jobs.

    Thankfully we have been freed and made flexible so now a school leaver can hope to have six or seven jobs in any given year, all of them rubbish.

  11. @Haruko

    “I wonder what Chris Huhne would have dealt with the 2010 election and its result if he was made LD leader in 2007? Then the court case…”

    Huhne was much more astute than Clegg. he would have maintained the position of the party on the left. He would have gone for Confidence & Supply with Cameron in 2010, and that in return for more than Cleggy got inside coalition.
    He also would have been way busier too, with less time for indulging in a mistress, and thus Vicky would still be happy…….

    and we would all never know about the “Love points”……

    and all this would have come to pass if Rennard had allowed the late arriving postal votes to count in the leadership election…..

    So, is it really Royal Mail who are to blame for the LDs current miseries? (Tee! hee!)

  12. @Mikems

    “Thankfully we have been freed and made flexible so now a school leaver can hope to have six or seven jobs in any given year, all of them rubbish.”

    …..and unpaid – you are working for your benefits remember!

  13. @Jayblanc
    “One assumption I come to is that the Lib Dems as a party had only ever prepared for negotiation and coalition with Labour.”

    How can this be if Letwin and Laws were discussing this before the election?

  14. @Lizh

    Considering that Laws was offered a seat on the conservative cabinet *before* the election, I’m not sure he counts as “the Liberal Democrat party preparing for coalition with the Conservatives”… He’s someone who I wonder if he would be entirely comfortable in the Conservative party should they jettison their social conservatives. And frankly, his preparation for coalition seems to have been to act almost identically to a moderate conservative MP.

  15. Alec –

    “I can see the argument for a looser arrangement where they permitted a Tory government without formal coalition, but as others have pointed out, leaving Cameron the power to call an election at any time could well have proved costly”

    Without having any firm opinions in the who-should-have-done-what debate, I don’t see that Cameron, as head of a minority government, would have had the power to dissolve parliament. He could resign as PM if the polls looked good for the Tories, but the “rainbows” could have then formed their own parliamentary majority in the (probably vain) hope that the polls would look better for them at some point before a general election.

    We tend to assume that PMs have the power to call elections, but I believe that stems from their being the only ones normally able to command a parliamentary majority, not from being PM as such.

    Assuming there had been a Tory surge after six months or so of minority government, Lab (under a new leader) and Lib might have found it in their interest to combine to prevent a snap election, and the Nats and Green probably wouldn’t want to be the ones who brought down the rainbow. There would certainly be a devo-max option on the referendum, and Climate Change minister Lucas probably has a clean driver’s licence.

    And George Osborne would be revealed imploding on a chilly windswept peak, but with good prospects for a 2019/20 election.

  16. @Eddie

    “Assuming there had been a Tory surge after six months or so of minority government, Lab (under a new leader) and Lib might have found it in their interest to combine to prevent a snap election, and the Nats and Green probably wouldn’t want to be the ones who brought down the rainbow. There would certainly be a devo-max option on the referendum, and Climate Change minister Lucas probably has a clean driver’s licence.”

    An interesting alternative scenario to TingedFringe’s “Labour would have been doomed” one. Like I said, there were many alternatives but they’re all fanciful now.

    What do Managers now say in corpo-speak? “We are where we are”.

  17. Colin
    The 100% debt issue. I assume you are talking about Reinhardt & Rogoff’s analysis which indicates that once above 90% debt to GDP, historically, countries have seen a reduction in their growth.

    Co-incidentally, this very day, Krugman has a blog on that very issue, commenting on how the 90% figure has become the standard value about when Very Bad Things will happen, although no-one who predicts very bad things seems to know why they will happen. Or why it is that Japan’s debt to GDP is 3 times that value and yet the bond vigilantes STILL haven’t turned up demanding higher interest rates.

  18. LEFTY

    I wasn’t -but I have read it.

    No-just do your own numbers.:-

    Say Debt =100% GDP

    Tax/Spend= 50% GDP ( a social democrat administration !)

    Gilt yields= Interest as % of Public Expenditure/Tax Revenue:-

    2% =4%

    When your Debt Servicing costs are over 10% of your Tax Revenue/ Public Spend , you must be heading for a death spiral of some sort.

    ( When Italian Gilt yields hit 6% it was there, as it’s Debt is over 100% GDP )

    Re Japan-I agree it is extraordinary.

    I may be wrong, but I thought the vast majority of JGB was held/bought domestically. Some sort of national loyalty factor at work too.

    Shinzo Abe is reported to be on the brink of ( yet another) spending spree to try & break out of deflation.

    Hope all those loyal Japanese are prepared for the inflationary effect on their investment.

  19. LEFTY

    THere is a factor on Japan I had missed-the “real interest rate” on it’s bonds as a result of domestic deflation.

    It is covered here :-


  20. 1973 was my A Level Year at Crown Point Grammar School in Upper Norwood. Second coal strike at end of that year, and GB became ungovernable.
    MUFC went down to Div 2 in May 1974, there was a riot there.
    Francis Beckett’s ‘When the Lights went Out’ reminds us of the collapse of the country in 1978.
    Inflation went to 20% plus after the Arab States tried to drive Israel into the sea, and lost-again. Barber Boom after McLeod died.
    Crosland, who went to Westminster School tried to close every ******g grammar school in England, thus kicking the ladder of mobility away from working class children. Maggie carried on the closures when she was Secretary of State.
    But I was sent to study History at Oxford in 1975 and then went teaching in 1978. Long dirty black hair.
    Anthony Wedgwood Benn became Tony Benn in the summer of 1970 having read his father’s diaries about the 1931 Split.
    Wales Rugby was top of the world. JPR, JJ, Gareth, Barry and Phil, Mervyn were kIngs. Llanelli beat the All Blacks.

    Memories of the past.

  21. @Richard in Norway and others


    Fascinating reading. Apparently the Gini index is the key indicator in terms of wealth distribution between different deciles of the population. Perhaps a future Progressive Left government should aim to lower the UKs high Gini index to that of say Denmark’s using fiscal redistribution methods over a 5 year period? This would be a very popular redistribution as there would be way more winners than losers – and it all needn’t involve raising public borrowing! However, it would re-inflate demand as the have nots would have more money which they desperately need to be able to spend!

  22. Lefty, Crossbat11, et al:

    I believe the LibDem mistakes were made before the election. The manifesto consisted of a series of pledges (fees, economic policy for example) made for tactical campaigning reasons and not because the leadership particularly wanted the policies or believed in them.

    This all unravelled spectacularly later, as debated above, but the mistakes were made before the election.

  23. @JayBlanc

    “They” prepared for a Coalition with the Tories as well as they could. What else was the “Orange Book” book for? What else was his pre-election pronouncement “The Liberal Democrats can’t just be the conscience of the Labour party” mean? And if that didn’t alert potential LD voters to what he had in mind Clegg’s statement before the election saying that he would negotiate with the largest party first was a pretty much a confirmation of what was to happen after. They’d planned the LibCon deal allright.

    No, his trouble in Coalition is that he miscalculated how many of his supporters were really just Anti-Tory fellow travellers, and misjudged how ruthless the Tories would be. As several leaders of the Liberal Party did before him.

  24. CL1945

    @”and GB became ungovernable.”

    You really musn,t look on the black side of things so.

    Your lefty colleagues do like to hanker after those times-doesn’t take much knowledge of the period to appreciate why.

    Was reading about when HW started on all that White Heat stuff after gaining power & putting the State Planning Quangos into place.

    The new Ministry of Technology-which was supposed to do all the R&D stuff was given to…… Frank Cousins, GS of TGWU.
    Cousins resigned in 1966 & MinTech was then run by Benn-the man Crossman described as “an intellectually negligible wizz kid”.
    The Dept, finished up with 39’000 employees & a questionable track record of mega mergers.

    The other White Heat vehicle was Dept of Economic Affairs. DEA was run by George Brown.who produced the infamous National Plan.-the supposed centre piece of economic policy.

    When it was published , in 1965, it promised annual growth of 4% pa, productivity rise of 3.4% pa & export volume increase of 5.25% pa over five years.
    All to be implemented through 39 targets & initiatives.

    Unfortunately, as Crosland again observed, this was all nonsense given the government’s deflationary policy in defence of sterling.

    The National Plan was a white elephant before it left the printing press.

  25. @Postageincluded

    “……just Anti-Tory fellow travellers…..”

    You cannot describe being a Liberal and being Anti-Tory as a “fellow traveller”. That is an oxymoron! By definition a true Liberal is anti-Tory – they have been anti-Tory since the 1840s (and before, if you consider Whigs and Radicals as proto-Liberals!).
    In a sense the Coalition LibDem leadership cadre are the fellow-travellers, as they used the party as a vehicle to get into a position to form a coalition with the natural enemy!

  26. Colin

    Yes. Thanks for that Japan article. We now come round full circle to my comment earlier that bond rates are primarily driven by market expectation of long-term economic performance (which is dire in the case of Japan, reflected in the long-term deflationary problem).

  27. The seventies just sucked.

    Rubbish NHS dentists, with teeth being routinely filled and removed, and bridges made of metal. Footie was cheap for your local ground but travel to another was expensive because you didn’t have a car, and when you got there you were knifed. The music was Gary Glitter, Mud, Showaddywaddy, the Barron Knights. You could use your phone line if you could afford a phone (most couldn’t) and if BT (monopoly) deigned to give you one. Children were able to play outdoors in suburbs that were still bomb-damaged, covered in rubbish and strewn with discarded fridges with lockable doors. Schoolleavers were greeted with an exciting array of jobs in the mining, weaving, farming, construction, steelworking industries, all of which employed machinery that would kill/maim you and did in industrial numbers. The only visible disabled were those who could walk: the rest were stuck in their houses or dead, and the former usually led to the latter.

    Your TV had three channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV) and the programs were salted with the sweat of quiet desperation (sit down one day and actually *watch* “On the Buses” or “Reggie Perrin”). The British film industry was on the verge of extinction. British cinemas had one screen each and damp. Newspapers were poorly researched and viciously prurient. News programs were an Oxbridge lock. No internet. No access to foreign newspapers. Information poor. The food was rubbish: not just poorly cooked, but poor ingredients badly prepared. The people were shorter, scruffier, balder, unsexy, smelly, twice as many adults smoked as didn’t, and the teeth were grotesque.

    No cars, no video, no news. Gays so invisible you could list the visible ones. Everybody was not just white, but from the same area as you. You spent your entire life within 5 miles of your birthplace.

    Law and order were random. About 5% of people locked up were innocent. Little/no divorce and contraception outside the middle classes. Child and spousal abuse by family members were ignored. Rape victims were routinely disbelieved. Lord Denning and Enoch Powell were well-regarded. Northern Ireland kicked off so badly the British state had to start torturing and imprisoning people in numbers that would make George W Bush blush.

    The Russians had three thousand megatons aimed at the UK. Polio, diptheria, malnutrition, rubella. No central heating nor double glazing. Launderettes. Three generations in the same damp house. Concrete high-rise flats were an improvement over rat-raddled slums. So much unrepaired bomb-damage from WWII the “meeting in derelict warehouse” was a cop-drama cliche. Holidays were at the nearest seaside resort to where you lived. Suntans were a rarity.

    If somebody from the 70’s came back and saw, say, Cheryl Cole, a working-class woman from the North East risen to riches through routes unimaginable in the 70’s, they’d think they were seeing an angel.

  28. ‘Unfortunately, as Crosland again observed, this was all nonsense given the government’s deflationary policy in defence of sterling. ‘

    In other words, a traditional strike of capital derailed an elected govt’s programme. The govt was forced into a choice between devaluation of the pound or deflationary policy at home i.e. our old friends spending cuts and tax increases. Then, as now, the economy shrank.

    That was forced on govt by sterling speculators.

  29. Martyn,

    Yes, I suppose everyone was used to the working class Lulu, Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw, from Glasgow, Liverpool and Essex. North East? Unimaginable.

  30. When I kicked the 1970s nostalgia off I did state the year 1970, rather than imply the nose dive that the decade produced from that year on!

    Many of the negative things folk have written were true.

    However, what I liked was that most people were nearer to each other in wealth. The community spirit, albeit in adversity in many cases, was more egalitarian. We still had many things that were still quirkily British, like shillings and ounces, and Mr Speaker Thomas who knew how to dress properly and look the part – and red phone boxes and red postal vans, and policemen who wore proper tunics with a whistle chain and helmet! We still knew who we were as a nation – not in a Conservative way, but in a politically neutral sort of way.
    You know, if UKIP had a social democratic wing I’d join them – trouble is they have policies like a Thatcherite’s wet dream…! Pity.

  31. 70s tv was fantastic.

    The Good Life
    Citizen Smith
    Are you being served?
    Whatever happened to the Likely Lads?
    Steptoe & Son
    Some Mothers do ‘Ave em.
    Rising Damp
    Fawlty Towers
    Reginald Perrin
    On the buses.
    Benny Hill
    Morecombe & Wise
    Till DEath us do part.
    Tommy Cooper
    Dad’s Army
    The Two Ronnies

    A Golden Age.


  32. Hal

    I meant in terms of sheer pulchritude. Beauty is now routinely accessible to even the poorest. You look at people now and compare it to then: we are *extraordinarily* better looking now (well, not me, obviously).


  33. Did I just read an ummoderated comment from TONY DEAN about dreams?
    Yes, Frank Cousins, Hugh Scanlon, Jack Jones, Clive Jenkins, Rodney Bickerstaff come to mind also.
    George Brown dancing with the Archbishop of Canterbury, tired and emotional.
    England two nil up on West Germany and losing 3-2. The Guildford Result early on 19th June telling us that Heath had won…

  34. Colin
    Ah yes-those were the days to try & make a living, support a family & pay a mortgage.”

    Ah yes, those WERE the days to do just that.

    By 1970, my grandfather, a miner, was 8 years away from paying off his mortgage. The first person in his family to do so.

    His daughter married another miner and at 21 they got a mortgage, bought a house and raised a family. My own dad was late at getting married, but he did so at 28 and got his own mortgage to buy a house and start a family, despite being in a really quite low paid clerical job.

    Their equivalents would not be able to afford mortgages on similar quality houses today.

  35. The seventies were hell, weren’t they?

    -Back in the 1970’s I left my local comprehensive, the product of a One Parent family of modest means , got into One of the Best Universities in the World, paid no fees and got a grant I could live on , had no trouble finding work in the summer at the equivalent of £400 pw on graduation,with no debts , got the first job I applied for (as a Met Police Officer) and was able to purchase a 3 bedroom flat within 8 miles of central London on a PC’s pay at the age of 23.

    Little of the above would now be possible.

  36. Monty Python

  37. LEFTY

    I,m with Martyn-except for the TV progs.

  38. @Chrislane1945

    Blimey! You are right – I have just realised what I typed – AND that it got through!!!!
    I think AW must have nodded off with all our chatter about the 1970s!!?

  39. Colin

    I know you are. I’m (as ever) providing a counter-argument. There are (in my opinion) many, many things that we have got badly wrong since the 70s. And (in my opinion) vilification of the 70s is part of the narrative that supports the belief that Thatcher saved us. Even though (as I’ve said several times on here) real GDP growth from 1980-2010 was identical to what it had been from 1950-1979.

    Society DID change after the 70s, but not everyone shared in the benefits.

  40. @Colin

    Fair point, and you left out Gangsters, the Goodies, Public Eye, Paint Along with Nancy Kominsky, Rainbow, Doomwatch, Bouquet of Barbed Wire, Jon Pertwee-era Dr. Who. Running Blind, the Sandbaggers, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (just) and other gems that aren’t remembered as much as they should be.

    But….look at the ones you’ve included. Many (most?) of them are about people trapped in situations they hate but cannot escape (Whatever happened to the Likely Lads?, Steptoe & Son, Rising Damp, Porridge, Fawlty Towers, Reginald Perrin, On the Buses, Callan, Till Death us do Part). It wasn’t until the rise of the execrable Ricky Gervais that British comedy stopped being about the problems of failure and started being about the problems of success. The seventies was about ugly people screaming for better lives, the noughties were about pretty people acting like spoilt brats. Arguably the former had greater moral worth, but either way you slice it, the 70’s still sucked.

    Besides, you also left out
    Rolf on Saturday
    Pebble Mill at One
    Softy Softly
    Emu’s Broadcasting Company
    Doctor In tHe House
    General Hospital
    Points of View
    The Virginian
    The Troubleshooters
    The Brothers
    The Good Old Days
    The Harry Seacombe Show
    The Galloping Gourmet
    Seaside Special

    It wasn’t all brilliant…


  41. @Nickp – “Skinheads, mind. And racism. But we still have some of those.”

    Yes – I still have my mind. Only just though.

  42. Yes,well.I would not dream of boring anyone with my experiences of the 70s
    But they as sure as hell did not involve watching Risng Damp.
    However Clegg indulging in a little triumphalism in Eastlegh and we all know
    What happens when you do that do we not?

  43. Leftylampton

    “Society DID change after the 70s, but not everyone shared in the benefits.”

    Too right. The old “gentle professions” part of the middle class was utterly destroyed by mercantile Thatcherism. That is why so many teachers, vicars, nurses etc went to the LibDems. They would have been solidly behind MacMillan or Douglas-Home, but the drift to the monetarist – largley non-traditionalist right, alienated them. Instead the Conservatives attracted artisan strivers in their place. It has changed British political loyalties fundamentally. That realignment all happened during the 70s.

  44. 1970
    No political correctness, Harrison Marks films at stag nights & you could wolf whistle at a pretty girl without being put on the sex offenders register. On the minus side, Penal levels of taxation & Watneys Red Barrel (fizzy water, looked like beer)

    Colin yes British comedy at it’s best.

    Martin I have always thought Cheryl Cole was an angel, albeit with a terrible choice in partners.

  45. @Robert Newark

    “….Martin I have always thought Cheryl Cole was an angel, albeit with a terrible choice in partners….”

    Isn’t it always the way, though? Sigh…:-((


  46. The ’70s were great.

    No they weren’t

    Yes they was.

    No they wasn’t

    Yes they were, Arsenal won the double in ’71.

    Oh… yes. They was.

    No they wasn’t. [enter stage Left……]

  47. I one had a hardback book titled “An End to Promises” by Douglas Hurd. It lent it out and never got it back – it was a superb insiders story to the 1970 General Election campaign and the troubled life of the Heath Government thereafter. I wish I still had a copy. Similarly lent out but never returned was “A Democracy that Works” by Prof Mackinstosh (Lab MP for Berwick & East Lothian, if my memory serves me correctly?). A brilliant little green covered paperback about West German democracy compared with the British system. Wish I still had them! Does anyone else know them?

  48. News progs still trying to keep Rennardgate alive. I would hate to live in Eastleigh the last week or so. It must be like having robocalls every 5 minutes.

    I can’t remember the early 70s. It was not that i was having a good time. 25 to 30 years old, we just thought the middle 60s (1962 ’till 1968) were the real times to be young and British and rather looked down on all that airy fairy culture of Stockwood (USA ugh!). The Beatles went all flower power and we lost interest)

    The only times that matter are from ages 17 until 24.

  49. My word, folk can’t deny that the standard of living was higher for the bottom third of folk in the 70s so they dwell on all the things that were wrong with the 70s. We all know that the 70s were crap but its even crapper now

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