Lord Ashcroft has released two polls this afternoon, his regular weekly GB poll and a poll for the Newark by-election later this week. In Newark he has topline figures of CON 42%(-12), LAB 20%(-2), LDEM 6%(-14), UKIP 27%(+23) – changes are since the general election. Compared to the Survation Newark poll last week UKIP support is almost identical, but the Tories are six points higher, giving them are far more comfortable 15 point lead.
Figures are less positive for the Tories in Ashcroft’s normal weekly GB poll which has topline figures of CON 25%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 19%: a nine point Labour lead and a chunky 19 points for UKIP, once again the highest they’ve recorded in a telephone poll. I’m still getting used to the weekly Ashcroft polls, but on the surface they do seem to be quite volatile – a Tory lead here, a nine-pointer here. There is no obvious reason for that looking at the methods (sample size after taking away don’t knows is about 500, so it will be naturally more volatile than bigger online samples, but should be similar in volatility to ICM). Perhaps it’s just a perception created by having started polling around the European elections when public opinion genuinely is quite volatile.
Meanwhile this morning’s Populus poll had figures of CON 32%, LAB 37%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%. While that doesn’t look notable at first sight, Populus tend to show some of the lowest Labour leads, so five points is actually the largest they’ve shown since February.