Some interesting non-GB polls today. First up Lord Ashcroft has released four constituency polls in Conservative held seats targeted by UKIP. The four seats are Boston and Skegness, Castle Point, South Basildon and East Thurrock and North East Cambridgeshire.

  • North East Cambridgeshire seems like a rather odd choice to begin with, it doesn’t look like an obvious place for UKIP success and while Ashcroft doesid find UKIP in second place, the poll gives the Conservatives a very solid 21 point lead. (detailled tabs)The polls in the other three seats were much closer though…
  • In South Basildon and East Thurrock Ashcroft found a clear, but not entirely comfortable, Tory lead of 6 points – Conservatives 35%, UKIP 29%. Labour were in an extremely close third place on 28%, so it’s a fairly even split between the three parties with plenty of potential for tactical voting to change the result (detailled tabs)
  • In Boston and Skegness Ashcroft found a close race, with the Conservatives just ahead. Topline figures are CON 38%, LAB 17%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 35%. (detailled tabs) Note that this was one of the seats that Survation had previously polled for Alan Bown, the UKIP donor, back in September. Ashcroft’s three point Tory lead is in complete contrast to the Survation poll which showed a twenty point UKIP lead.
  • Castle Point was closest of all, essentially neck and neck between the Conservatives and UKIP. Topline figures there were CON 37%, LAB 16%, LDEM 3%, UKIP 36% (detailled tabs)

Meanwhile the latest Survation poll of Scotland was in this morning’s Daily Record. Topline figures for Westminster voting intention are CON 15%(+1), LAB 28%(+2), LDEM 5%(-2), SNP 45%(-1), UKIP 3%(-1), GRN 3%(nc) (tabs here). Compared to Survation’s other post-referendum polls it suggests a slight narrowing in the SNP lead (their previous three polls had SNP leads of 22, 24 and 20 points) Looking across Scottish polls from other companies though there’s no obvious consensus on whether the lead is narrowing or not… and even if it is narrowing a bit, a seventeen point lead is still firmly in landslide territory.


189 Responses to “Ashcroft polls in UKIP targets & Survation in Scotland”

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  1. First?

  2. UKIP are looking good for seats on this evidence, but no doubt the cash rich Tories wikk be throwing the kitchen sink at the seats at risk.

  3. “Looking across Scottish polls from other companies though there’s no obvious consensus on whether the lead is narrowing or not… and even if it is narrowing a bit, a seventeen point lead is still firmly in landslide territory”
    ________

    It would put last years landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful into perspective.

  4. It would be great if Ashcroft could release constituency polling for key seats in England Wales and Scotland all at the same time rather than this patchwork mantra we are seeing which would give us a clearer picture of what’s happening.

  5. These seats are ones where ukip where always going to struggle, where the Tories have 45+% of the vote. 30-34% would will in a lot of marginal seats.
    I would like to see more constituency polls in the Midlands and in Lab v LD, and Lab v Cons marginals.
    Remember Ashcroft has an agenda, is he withholding info on polling in other areas that the Tories are behing? Strange we only get 4 constituency polls.

  6. John Curtice on the Survation/Record poll

    http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2015/02/oh-slow-progress-labour/

    Most Yes voters are still determined to vote SNP – at 84% the proportion that are minded to do so is almost exactly the same as it was both in November (83%) and December (85%). The progress that Labour have made since then seems to have been amongst No voters in September (up from 37% in November to 43% now). There is little sign that Labour are managing to woo back any of that large group of former supporters who voted Yes in September.

    To change the game voters are playing, Labour needs them to be willing to leave aside the debate about Scotland’s constitutional future. That requires persuading them that the prospect of a government led by Ed Miliband is something to which they can look forward with a degree if enthusiasm. Of that, however, there is little sign.

  7. Three of the four Ashcroft polls (including even S Basildon & E Thurrock) actually have UKIP leads even after those polled are weighted. It’s only after adjustments for don’t knows (based I think on 2010 vote), that the Tories overtake UKIP. What do people think about such adjustments? Not sure such assumptions can easily be made when the electoral map has changed so much since 2010. Very hard for pollsters to know how to get a true picture of UKIP support though, I admit.

    Also, anyone care to explain such a big difference between Survation & Ashcroft in Boston & Skegness? I know Survation tend to give UKIP high scores nationally, but even so…

  8. Politicianado

    Three of the four Ashcroft polls (including even S Basildon & E Thurrock) actually have UKIP leads even after those polled are weighted. It’s only after adjustments for don’t knows (based I think on 2010 vote), that the Tories overtake UKIP

    That’s not actually quite true for SB&ET. The figures do show UKIP ahead (by 2 votes) before you take likelihood to vote (LTV) into consideration on the standard voting intention (SVI). However after LTV the Conservatives are ahead as (unusually) UKIP supporters are less enthusiastic that Con or Lab. On the the constituency voting intention (CVI) Con get ahead by 1 vote.

    Repeating the pre-reallocation CVI figures from the previous thread (ignoring under 5%):

    Boston and Skegness

    Con 36%

    Lab 17%

    UKIP 37%

    Castle Point

    Con 36%

    Lab 16%

    UKIP 38%

    Other 6%

    NE Cambridgeshire

    Con 45%

    Lab 17%

    Lib Dem 7%

    UKIP 26%

    South Basildon and East Thurrock

    Con 34%

    Lab 28%

    UKIP 30%

    I suspect the ‘Others’ on Castle Point are Canvey Island Independents. As these seem to have an agreement with UKIP this might provide them with extra voters (though the English Democrats are also standing, so some of it could be for them).

  9. More from the professor.
    …..
    “Even so it has apparently taken Labour three months to knock just five points off the SNP’s lead (and in our poll of polls the lead is only down by two points over the same period). Now there are only three months left to polling day. If the party were to manage to knock another five points off during that time, it would still be facing the prospect of losing half of its seats north of the border”
    _____

    It’s grim and I do mean its grim for Labour but fortunately for Labour they do have David Maddox to cheer them up with such statements as………..”latest poll wows for the Nats” Labour at the brink of thwarting the nationalist fox” “NS authority in question” and then there’s ole Mike Smithson.

  10. “latest poll wows for the Nats”

    So not entirely unbalanced?

  11. @Allan Christie

    “It would be great if Ashcroft could release constituency polling for key seats in England Wales and Scotland all at the same time rather than this patchwork mantra we are seeing which would give us a clearer picture of what’s happening.”

    I’m not so bothered about that so much as the potential for him to selectively help the Conservative cause by releasing results he wants to and at a time of his choosing, and withholding results he would prefer to avoid an adverse headline with. We just don’t know whether he polled any other UKIP target seats apart from these three (not four, given that the other hardly qualifies) where the Conservatives ended up behind (even after the so-called spiral of silence adjustment).

    Ashcroft could allay my suspicions by the simple act of disclosing which seats he was polling just as the fieldwork for those seats ended, before results were collated and published.

  12. On Ashcroft’s questionable use of the “spiral of silence” adjustment in Conservative/UKIP contests:

    – The underlying assumption is that more Conservatives than UKIP supporters are unwilling to disclose their true intention

    – By contrast, in France it is the Front National that tends to be underrepresented because people are unwilling to disclose their true intention

    See this for example
    “….the FN voters are notoriously underrepresented in opinion polls and surveys…”
    https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00861115

    So those on the hard right extremities here are overrepresented in standard polling, but those on the hard right extremities in France are underrepresented in standard polling?

  13. Phil Haines

    I’m sure that Ashcroft is as keen to allay your suspicions as Murphy is to allay mine as to why he is spending money polling in his own constituency. :-)

  14. PHIL HAINES

    If that’s the case and I don’t doubt it then surely some other pollster paid for by the Labour party or any other party could carry out their own constituency polling?

    It is obvious Ashcroft will be biased with which polls he declares and every poll he disclosed in Scotland (minus 1) were all in Labour held seats. Ok depending on which side of the fence you are on that could had been contrived as bad news for Labour and good for the Tories or bad news for Labour and good for the SNP.

  15. Slightly off topic…

    I don’t know which one I’m looking forward to the most tonight…….

    Celtic v Inter or… @bbcquestiontime
    Our panel in Stockton-on-Tees: @NicolaSturgeon @DuncanBannatyne @CarolineFlintMP @normanlamb & Lord Heseltine.

  16. Good spot by Lesley Riddoch on the Survation polling. The gender gap between SNP & Lab seems to have gone.

    Nov – SNP M 45% F 32% : Lab M 19% F 21%
    Dec – SNP M 50% F 46% : Lab M 21% F 29%
    Jan – SNP M 40% F 39% : Lab M 25% F 21%
    Feb – SNP M 45% F 46% : Lab M 28% F 27%

    The Sturgeon effect? or LiS wanting to bring back booze to fitba?

  17. PHIL HAINES

    I tend to agree you with the spiral of silence adjustment when it is Tory vs UKIP.

    To be fair to Ashcroft, in Lab vs Con fights it may well be appropriate, and he has to keep a consistent methodology across different seat types. It is also an area of polling that is less developed than GB wide polling.

    The acid test is polling day I think. We can at least do a qualitative analysis of the various figures presented in the published tables after then.

  18. MR WELLS,

    ” a seventeen point lead is still firmly in landslide territory.”

    What have you been told about partisan comments…tut tut!

    Peter.

  19. @Old Nat

    Hardly surprising with Murphy’s focus on Glasgow man and alcohol at the football.

  20. @ Phil Haines

    Ashcroft could allay my suspicions by the simple act of disclosing which seats he was polling just as the fieldwork for those seats ended, before results were collated and published.

    He probably wouldn’t want to reduce the drama by doing this. My guess is that he is enjoying his novel role in this election and that partly explains the invitation at the end of his summary inviting all and sundry to attend his next set of revelations on March 4th.

    When he was polling in Scotland, various UKPR contributors seemed to have a kind of bush telegraph filtering information back about which constituencies were being polled. If word got out that he was sitting on a subset of his findings then I think his reputation would be tarnished. I rather doubt that he would risk that.

  21. You do wonder how either party can win a majority again. Labour win never again rule Scotland as at least 45% want independence. Conservatives can’t win seats in Scotland and Wales, so need to be dominate in England, which is scuppered by being unpopular in the north.

    Both parties have a very low historical core vote(which is shrinking) and an upper limit of at best 37%.

    Labour increasing are not going to win southern seats(ex London), which is an increasingly larger proportion of the UK.
    Conservatives can’t win in Wales, Scotland or the north.

    Ukip is the new opposition in the north and south, and possibly Wales. The greens too in the south east, and Scotland its the SNP, so new seats in large numbers will be hard to win.

    When Labour and the Conservatives are down to their core, there is not too many votes to win back, and ukip voters are anti politics and anti EU, so will not come back either.

    Conclusion, I can’t see a party getting an OM and we will see increasing fragmentation of politics.

  22. Labour are moving to the left but alienating more voters than they can gain, by losing centre voters and not radical enough to gain socialist voters.
    Conservatives too are losing centre voters and are trying to be right wing, yet not enough to win ukipers back.

    Right left, which way to go.

  23. Unicorn – that is true, we got reports of people being polled for Ashcroft’s Scottish polls in advance (and I got the same for some of his polling in Lib Dem seats too – people telling me they’d be been polled for it before we saw the results). Using the two stage VI question means people can identify who the poll is for, and I haven’t heard any examples of people saying they’d been polled for an Ashcroft poll that didn’t subsequently appear.

  24. John J

    eHarmony would probably say that they were a perfect match for each other. :-)

  25. @ AW

    Thanks

    @ Phil Haines

    Is that sufficient to set your doubts to rest?

  26. I’ve just noticed that ElectionForcast has now listed Bristol West as a Green gain. It’s the narrowest of margins with 30% of vote Green and 29% Labour. Still, I’m sure it was not listed that way two weeks ago. Has there been a constituency poll in Bristol West or is this just the very slight edging up in Green national VI being plugged into their model?

  27. “Labour win never again rule Scotland”

    Bit of a leap of faith.

  28. OLDNAT & COUPER

    I don’t know why Westminster Labour in Scotland or the Holyrood party are obsessed with trying to drum up more support for booze?

    In 2011 during the campaign Labour sent leaflets around university’s claiming the SNP will take your cheap booze away and now they want to introduce booze at football matches!!

    It appears votes are more important than public health and in any case a Daily Record poll a few days ago had most people voting against the proposals for booze at matches.

  29. JOHN J

    ” Labour win never again rule Scotland as at least 45% want independence. Conservatives can’t win seats in Scotland and Wales, so need to be dominate in England, which is scuppered by being unpopular in the north”
    ________

    Brian Wilson did say “when nationalists get into power they tend to stick around for a very long time”

    I’m not sure I would want one party to dominate every election in Scotland but what I would say is that the days of Labour hegemony in Scotland look to be well and truly over at all levels of government and nothing lasts for ever…..And the same goes for the SNP, they wont be in power for ever but they are driving the agenda for now.

  30. @SoCalliberal

    I think you’re still around as I’ve seen the occasional post. Are you still a big JM fan? I’ve warmed to him since he became Li S leader. Good to see him rolling his sleeves up and getting stuck in!

  31. Three of the four Ashcroft polls (including even S Basildon & E Thurrock) actually have UKIP leads even after those polled are weighted. It’s only after adjustments for don’t knows (based I think on 2010 vote), that the Tories overtake UKIP…

    the allocation of the don’t knows is crucial, but done on a 2010 basis when ukip polled 3% nationally i think it flatters the blues.

    I think the position of the tories in castle point is very serious and I think boston will be tricky to hold, although ukip’s choice of a man barely out of his teens, makes things a little easier for the blues up there.

    Ukip will be hammering down the labour vote and “others” in castle point, just as the liberals used to and I suspect that labour voters in castle point probably, but I cannot be certain, hate the tories more than they dislike ukip.

    I also think the ukip candidate in castle point, local county councillor, james huntman, is probably an active, mature and visible candidate…the boy mp fellow up in boston won’t have the same electoral appeal, but he’s certainly in with a shout.

  32. Valerie

    “Stuck in” what?

  33. PTHIERS

    Just swing/edging I assume, there haven’t been any constituency polls here as far as I’ve seen.

  34. PThiers

    I’ve just noticed that ElectionForcast has now listed Bristol West as a Green gain. It’s the narrowest of margins with 30% of vote Green and 29% Labour. Still, I’m sure it was not listed that way two weeks ago. Has there been a constituency poll in Bristol West or is this just the very slight edging up in Green national VI being plugged into their model?

    No polling as far as I know – that may be the reason. It may be the problem we’ve seen with EF before. Their overall model may predict a certain number of Lib Dem seats, but data from individual seats that ‘should’ be lost show them being retained. So unpolled seats which are far safer under UNS are made less so to balance up the numbers.

    At the moment their model is showing the same likelihood (55%) of the Lib Dems retaining North Devon (where there’s been a poll with them just behind) and Orkney and Shetland (so safe that the last time I looked none of the opposition parties had bothered to select a candidate).

  35. Roger Mexico

    O&S is the last constituency where a candidate will be selected. Closing date for voting is 23 February.

    Partly that is because of the time involved in holding hustings meetings across two island groups.

  36. I wish the good Lord would grace us with a Bristol West poll.

  37. “where a candidate will be selected” -> “where an SNP candidate will be selected.”

    Other parties may have similar problems.

    I still expect Carmichael to hold it, of course.

  38. @ PThiers

    I’ve looked back at a copy I took of the EF Nowcast (as was) on Jan 29th and at that point they had the Greens on 32 and Labour on 31. In all likelihood this margin would have been reversed in the projection/reversion part of their model – in which case the change will have happened very recently.

    Some weeks ago Bristol West came up as a potential Green gain in some modelling I had been doing and I posted a comment to that effect in the constituency section of this site. This was met with rather scathing disbelief by those with their ears to the ground. If you want to get an update it is well worth looking there.

    If swingback doesn’t make something of an appearance soon, I suspect that the EF projections will begin to look more and more like the ones I made by starting with their database and then adding trend-based rather than swingback-bssed assumptions to model future changes.

  39. I believe it’s infra dig to repost on a new fred but the below was one of my longer posts and one on which I’m genuinely interested in people’s views, so I have made an exception!

    Rafael Behr of the Raga Nudi gets good reviews on these pages, and I was struck by his column yesterday which for all intents and purposes concedes there will be a Tory victory in May and goes on to talk about the ‘inevitable’ EU referendum nightmare.

    His take seems to be that:
    a) the Tories are very chipper and
    b) the Labs are very miserable and
    c) the Tories look at the labs and get even more chipper.

    This rather chimes with something someone (I think it was RolandGateaunose) was saying on here but doesn’t chime at all with the vibes I, as an ‘umble and not very active activist, pick up. It also doesn’t seem to chime with the polls, though the punters seem to agree with Rafael.

    Thoughts?

  40. Another partial poll release by Ashcroft.

    While I appreciate that as the payer of the piper he has every right to call the tune, his choice of sets are starting to sound more Camden Lock than Loch Lomond.

  41. John J
    “You do wonder how either party can win a majority again. Labour win never again rule Scotland as at least 45% want independence. Conservatives can’t win seats in Scotland and Wales, so need to be dominate in England, which is scuppered by being unpopular in the north.”

    That is certainly true at the moment.What is needed are politicians who appeal beyond their core vote.Boris would do it for the Tories and a Blair/.Mandelson type figure would do it for Labour. But who?

  42. @Guymonde

    Your guess is as good as mine, really.

    I’ve never really understood the fatalist streak amongst Labour supporters. It’s almost as if the 80s was the only thing that ever happened. Those more aligned to policy (rather than party) can see that as things stand a Labour minority government is very likely.

  43. @UNICORN
    “Some weeks ago Bristol West came up as a potential Green gain in some modelling I had been doing and I posted a comment to that effect in the constituency section of this site. This was met with rather scathing disbelief by those with their ears to the ground.”
    —————————-

    I am sure that you were talking about Bristol North West? …..hence the disbelief.

    Bristol West is definitely a potential Green gain from the Lib Dems

  44. @Guymonde

    It seems very reminiscent of the US 2012 election – then lots of commentators went around muttering “too close to call” and the Republicans believed their own propaganda to the extent that Romney didn’t even prepare a concession speech. But the people who did the sums like Nate Silver knew what was going to happen – and it did.

    Journalists are very prone to believe that what they think should happen, will happen. To those brought up in the 90’s and 00’s, it’s very hard to accept that something other than centrist Blairism can work. You almost think sometimes that they really hope it won’t work and that it doesn’t deserve to. And most of them are stunningly innumerate and won’t understand how the forecasts work and what needs to happenn to make them come true.

  45. Fizzer
    UK is still the sixth biggest economy in the world, so most others would be happy to trade with us. EU would not suddenly stop trading with us either. Our trade with the Common Market was about 30% of the total before we even joined, and also the EU now exports a lot more to us than we do to them.

    In the event of a ‘No’ vote there would no doubt be a short period of volatility, but no reasoon why it would be total disaster.

    However, as UKIP look unlikely to get more than half a dozen seats this time it’s academic for the time being.

  46. @Fizzer

    I would say that Germany loves the EU and Euro, because as a big exporter, it would have a less competitive currency if it stood alone.

    The Euro has given them a more friendly export exchange rate for years and years.

    As for Greece, many people feel breaking the shackles of the single currency would be a great thing for democracy, and more flexible economy.

    The arguments are not just one way.

  47. GuyMonde, I wonder whether Tories who exist in a world where the majority of the media is broadly in line with their thinking hear more good news and less bad news than Labour supporters.

    That said, if you get your news from social media, as increasing numbers do, I think most people only really hear stuff that chimes in with what they already think – one of the valuable aspects of UKPR.

  48. Pete B, I am not saying trade would stop, but that many companies, including City firms would move and wreck the job market.

    It would not be short term volatility, but a disaster. A big one.

    The only surplus UK generates, is in services-but that also depends on single market. That’s clear as day.

    Also, Scotland would surely want to leave after that.

    I don’t think there will be a referendum, and even if there was, I don’t think there would be a NO vote- but just am saying, many of UKIP policies seem very “hollow”.

    Catman,

    Germany had a surplus even with DEM, it always has had. Even if currency is fixed, German wages are growing strongly. It’s just a different kind of adjustment.

    German competitiveness comes primarily from the strength of industry, R&D, even small firms.

  49. @Unicorn

    No, because we know that there is private polling going on, and because you don’t know the questions they are asking, you can’t say definitively that a just because it has a constituency/candidate question it is by definition an Ashcroft poll.

    I suppose though that if there were a follow up question polling the public attitude to the use of overseas tax shelters such as Belize for tax avoidance you might reasonably rule out that possibility.

  50. @Ann in Wales
    “Perhaps this would be a good election to lose
    regroup and get rid of some of the old Blairite dinosaurs and watch the Tories
    Tear themselves apart over Europe .”

    There is never a good election to lose. There is nothing a party can do in Opposition.

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