Lord Ashcroft released a new batch of constituency polls this afternoon, this time returning to ten Conservative -vs- Labour seats where he found a tight battle last time round. Full details are here.

I normally look at the average swing across the groups of seats that Lord Ashcroft polls, but I’d be wary of reading too much into that this time. Because Lord Ashcroft has gone back to the tight races, these are seats that were showing a smaller than average swing before (an average of 2 points from Con to Lab). They still show a lower than average swing of about 2 points…but that’s probably because it’s a sample made up of seats that were showing a lower swing anyway, rather than a sign of a wider pattern.

Most of the seats don’t show much change in the Lab-Con race since Ashcroft previously polled them last year. The biggest differences are in Harrow East, where Labour are now ahead, and in Loughborough and Kingswood, previously tight races but now with healthier Tory leads. Most of the polls showed a drop in UKIP support, but none of these are UKIP target seats and the previous wave of polling in most of these seats was Sep-Oct when UKIP were on a Carswell related high, so this is to be expected. A positive finding for Labour in these seats is that they are ahead in the ground war – on average 71% of people recall being contacted by Labour over the last few weeks, compared to 59% who recall being contacted by the Tories.

Elsewhere, last night’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5% (tabs). Nothing particularly unusual, but note that YouGov are now on their election footing, meaning they weight by likelihood to vote in a similar way to ICM and Ashcroft polls (so people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote get a weight of 1.0, people who say they are 9/10 likely to vote get a weight of 0.9 and so on). In past elections this has tended to slightly favour the Conservatives, but this time round it isn’t actually making any substantial difference at all. YouGov have also changed their sampling slightly – taking samples from people who polled in January and February (a period when Labour had a very slight lead in the polls) and weighting them using Jan/Feb vote, rather than party ID from back in 2010.

It also means they are now seven days a week, so we’ll be getting a fresh YouGov poll every night up until the election.

539 Responses to “Lord Ashcroft re-visits some Con-Lab marginals”

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  1. I am going to a ex-colleague’s retirement drinks near Whitehall on May 8th.

    Better avoid Whitehall on the way or his naked form might mentally scar me for life!

  2. My last post was in reply to Spearmint

  3. Peter Crawford

    To be serious again, you are quite right.

  4. @anyone

    is there still an IPSOS / MORI and a YOUGOV for today as well?

  5. “f you have a big weapon, you never hide it in the short campaign. See how Tory spokespeople managed to say ‘we have a strong economic plan…’ five times in each 2 minute interview etc. They’ve been hammering the message home, but it isn’t working, so far.”


    Banging on about the economic plan when we are *coming out* of economic problems may be to bang on about winning the war when its over?


    There is to be a Full Scottish YouGov too, around 10.30. Said to be newsworthy, which may mean SNP breaching new heights at 50%.

  7. @Ciderman – completely agree with your characterization of the 1992 campaign. It was lost long before the Sheffield rally – indeed, it was never really won for Labour.
    The Sheffield rally was a complete red herring.

  8. UKIP rocketing!

    09/04/2015: A new poll by TNS UK shows that voter intention figures are as follows:

    LAB 33% (+1)
    CON 30% (-3)
    > UKIP 19% (+3)
    LIB DEM 8% (0)
    GREEN 4% (-1)
    OTHER 7 (0)

  9. @PROFHOWARD There is to be a Full Scottish YouGov too, around 10.30. Said to be newsworthy, which may mean SNP breaching new heights at 50%.

    Given Labour now have a lead in the last 6 polls is it likely that at the same time they’ve lost share in Scotland?

    If that were the case it would be frightening for the Tories in England.

  10. A little bit of panic might do the Tories some good if it brings some Bluekippers home.

    And before we get too excited, Panelbase are a bit new to this aren’t they? And Survation are a bit Laboury and a bit kippy, aren’t they? And so are TNS.

    And we had that four point Labour Lead from You Gov in the Sunday Times 11 days ago, which quickly disappeared.

  11. Interesting party leader ratings from Survation. All leaders are down, following all being up after the debates.

    However, the running order remains the same, except Ed overtakes Dave for third place behind Nicola and Leanne, who both eased back only slightly from the debate bounce. Of all the leaders, Ed has had the smallest easing, remaining well above his pre debate level, Nigel has had the biggest fall and is now marginally below his pre debate level, as is Nick, and interestingly also Dave.

    It’s as if more exposure is actually hurting Dave and aiding Ed. Not really what many expected.

  12. @ALEC

    “It’s as if more exposure is actually hurting Dave and aiding Ed. Not really what many expected.”

    It’s what Cameron expected.

  13. We rightly play individual poll results down on here but I think, even if we haven’t heard from some of the Tory-favouring pollsters yet, that there is enough evidence to say there has been a real trend over the last few days. Too early yet to say whether it is caused by Scottish swingback, English undecideds breaking to Labour or a bit of both. And of course changes often fade so every chance, especially if the Scottish equation hasn’t shifted, that we’ll be back to a virtual tie by this time next week.

  14. We shall get a Tory lead over the next few days…but a decisive day for Labour..Michael Fallon sounded desperate and farcical, I can only assume he knew the upcoming poll results and was informed by Tory HQ to attack Miliband. I doubt we shall see him again in this campaign.

  15. Polls showing UKIP up and Labour ahead are good for the Tories as they might scare undecideds and soft UKIP voters into votung for the Conservatives on polling day. Of course, if polls remain like that as May 5 approaches, then it becomes a problem. In any case, a short-lived Labour minority government under SNP influence , if it happens, might actually favour the Tories in future general elections.

  16. When is the next debate?

  17. and another thing,

    Dave seems strangely absent. Fallon has been in the news, as has Mili…

    every GE campaign, [since and including 1983] i can remember, the PM was pretty much centre stage the whole time.

  18. May2015 Have added Panelbase (though not Survation) and the net result is a 16 seat lead for Labour.

  19. “Polls showing UKIP up and Labour ahead are good for the Tories as they might scare undecideds and soft UKIP”

    Madness…polls that show the tories ahead are good for the tories

    Now polls that show ukip and labour ahead are also good for the tories!?

    Lots of crazy things are said in campaigns, but this is most bizarre.

    I would venture to suggest that the tories would rather polls showing them 4 points ahead at this stage rather than 4 points behind, but that’s just me i suppose.

  20. MBRUNO – you reckon? Not much evidence to support your view.

  21. MATT M

    “Given Labour now have a lead in the last 6 polls is it likely that at the same time they’ve lost share in Scotland?”


    It is quite likely, because Scotland is so small that English swings tend to dwarf what is happening in Scotland.

  22. The news bulletin I was watching (can’t remember if it was BBC or ITV) cut live to Kinnock’s 1992 rally just as he started saying those words. At the time I was pretty stunned and thought it would cause huge damage. It doesn’t seem so bad now. And I don’t know if it had much effect in the end.

  23. I really find the Tory campaign tactics perplexing.

    Their major problem is the perception that they are the ‘nasty party’, toffs and not on the side of ordinary people.
    So today’s approach is to wheel out Michael Fallon to personally attack Miliband in a way that would be distasteful to almost anyone watching. Fallon is not that kind of guy, so it was quite obviously a campaign decision and the words were Crosby’s. They then compound the problem by introducing IDS, from the right wing ‘cut welfare’ wing of the party.

    This is an election that the Tories should be winning if only they would concentrate on explaining to the British people how they are now due to benefit from their sound economic management.

    ‘Sunlit uplands’ not ‘backstabber’, surely.
    Its so stupid and so obviously wrong it beggars belief.

    And it isn’t working.

    I have a feeling that the panic button will be hit very hard by some senior Tories in the next 24 hours.

    Its one thing to make an unwarranted personal attack in the heat of a debate, but Fallon’s remarks this morning were so unpalatable precisely because they were planned well in advance, and he obviously felt uncomfortable being told to say them.

    The Crosby attack dog approach is doomed: it just doesn’t work in this country.

  24. The UKIP weakening being a plus for Labour seems to be holding true for now.

  25. I still think we need to wait until after the Easter break. Labour picked up over Xmas as well.


    Lynton Crosby is said to think that people will are not pay attention until after the full Easter break so the campaign will begin in earnest next week.

  27. @ProfHoward

    You are right at least in the Survation crossbreak
    SNP 51
    Lab 26

  28. @Geoff

    And The Guardian have updated their forecast, Con -1, Lab +1. For the first time the average of forecasters is showing Labour ahead (by one seat).

    see forecasts so far here:


  29. Good news from those 2 polls today – that is if you spent a few hours yesterday like me putting on my traditional GE bets. Not a betting man much at all but 2010 allowed anyone with a bit of political nouse to realise the bookies’ odds were understating Labour’s seat winning ‘bias’. This time I feel it has been more driven by lack of belief in Ed as PM material, which I hoped would lessen as he had more airtime to put his case. Of course to make my bets less of a risk I am just waiting to cover them when the odds of Labour doing worse lengthen. Still hanging on to the belief that they will!

  30. Spearmint,
    Loved your 5.12 post.

  31. We seem to be seeing the gradual adoption of the dual SVI/CVI approach being asked not just by Ashcroft. Survation have been asking both intermittently and do so here:

    SVI / CVI

    Con 31% / 31%

    Lab 35% / 35%

    Lib Dem 9% / 9%

    UKIP 15% / 16%

    SNP 4% / 5%

    PC 1% / 1%

    Green 4% / 4%

    So little difference, but equally well little sign that the smaller Parties are being squeezed by the ‘big two’ as you might expect – though that could already be built in SVI it seems unlikely at this stage.

    It is true that Lib Dem (35%) and UKIP (38%) voters are more likely to say they “might change my mind” than Con (21%), Lab (22%) or even SNP/PC/Green (23%). This may explain the rather odd Conservative tactics we are seeing. They seem to indicating to those stubborn UKIP voters “No, vote for us. We’re the real Nasty Party”.

    It’s worth pointing out that there does seem to be some up-weighting of 2010 Lab and Lib Dem and we all agree that Survation’s SEG weighting is very odd.

  32. @ Peter Crawford,

    Dave seems strangely absent.

    He’s been feeding baby animals and talking to small groups of people in enormous barns.

  33. M Fallon
    Does he think it is time to undermine Cameron? He sees himself as a leader. Labour has had the problem in the past of front benchers anticipating defeat.

  34. excellent post peter Crawford. I love the spin also. a tory lead is good for the tories as its evidence of swingback and all the hard work done by tory newspapers attacking miliband has worked.
    however a labour lead so close to the election is also brilliant news for the tories as it will frighten ukippers back to the tory fold.
    forgive my scepticism about this analysis. it sounds like a drowning man clutching at straws.
    after the election many books will be written telling the truth about this election. they will make very interesting reading.

  35. Did somebody say we were expecting an ICM poll today?

    According to Anthony’s wonderful house effects 2X2 of 29 Jan ICM is a more Conservative leaning pollster. If that poll is showing a Labour Lead or YouGov gives Labour another lead then we really have something.

    When do the postal votes go out?

    “I can only assume he knew the upcoming poll results and was informed by Tory HQ to attack Miliband. I doubt we shall see him again in this campaign.”

    And Fallonius is an honorable man
    Not one who would unbidden seize the passing chance
    Cry dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
    Attack the Tribune of the people, thus
    And talking of the mighty engines which
    In the defense of Rome our Fathers wrought
    As playthings to be bartered to amuse the plebs
    And cast aside to the abandonment of honour
    And the security of this our Realm, and mockingly
    of daggers and of the hate of brothers.

  37. COUPER2802

    You are right at least in the Survation crossbreak
    SNP 51
    Lab 26


    That is fascinating. Though of course that is not a Full Scottish so the usual caveats apply. We could be looking at England voting Labour and Scotland voting massively against.

  38. T Pilgrim
    Like it.

  39. It would be ironic if Scotland fails to get the government it votes for because it votes against Labour.

  40. Just in from beach run; Good Afternoon Everyone.
    Is this a rogue poll?
    Survation/Daily Mirror – General Election Poll

    Headline voting intention (with change in brackets since our last poll on 3 April):
    LAB 35% (+2); CON 31% (-1); UKIP 15% (-3); LD 9% (NC); SNP 4% (NC); GRE 4% (+2); OTH 2% (+1)

    Full tables are here. (http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Full-Mirror-V-Tables.pdf)

    For the first time in our series, Ed Miliband ahead of David Cameron in NET leader approval ratings

  41. @Little Red Rock

    When will I receive my ballot papers?

    Postal ballots can only be sent out once the deadline to become a candidate has passed (4pm, 9 April) and the ballot papers have subsequently been produced and printed. Contact your local electoral registration office for further information on when your postal ballot papers will be issued.

    Once you’ve got it, mark your vote on the ballot paper and make sure you send it back so that it arrives by 10pm on the day of the election or referendum). If it arrives later than this, your vote won’t be counted.

  42. @peter crawford Bizarre things …
    If a poll showing Labour ahead encourages Tories to vote, that’s not good for Labour. Getting your supporters to turn out and actually vote is the real key in a close election.
    Anyway, if C and L are level, some 4 point leads are to be expected, MoEs being what they are. If Labour were really 4 points up, polls should be showing 7 or 8 point leads from time to time.

  43. I don’t know if this is deliberate but the Conservative campaign so far is quite bizarre. Cameron himself has been reasonably prime ministerial but even he has overdone the personal stuff regarding Miliband. Perhaps this will all change but the Conservatives are completely ignoring their strengths at the moment.
    It reminds me a little of 1997 when Tory campaigners were told not to dwell on the economy because of black Wednesday and not to talk about it on the doorstep. The Labour campaigners could not believe their luck because the economy was fast recovering to the extent that Labour pledged to stick with the Conservative spending plans and now they didn’t need to mention it.

  44. @ Dave

    I thought it would be 2% – 6% lead, with odd outliers scattered.

  45. @Little Red Rock

    A very good report gives details of postal vote registration, votes actually cast, rejected etc…


  46. Quick question re: postal votes

    This is the first election I’ve followed in this kind of detail so I’m not sure. Is there any indication of who the postal votes are favouring before election day, or are they all counted on election day? What happens to the postal votes once they’re sent off, do they just sit in a pile until polling day or are they counted but it’s a secret?

  47. By the way everyone, on a non political matter,but of interest to those of us of a certain age:
    Mr Richie Benaud has been admitted to hospice care. He helped me through difficult childhood days with his commentary. Thinking of him; wit and wisdom.

  48. @dave

    Not sure of your logic, if what you say is true then we should be getting a few polls showing the Conservatries ahead by 3 or 4 points. The polls are going Labours way and we may get some 6 or 7 Labour leads or go back to level pegging, too early to say I feel.

  49. Thanks CL. Richie Benaud is a legend, Chris. Thinking of him too.

  50. Is this a Voodoo Poll?
    Prediction 2015 [email protected] · 3m3 minutes ago
    View translation?
    Panelbase – CON: 31%, LAB: 37%, LD: 8%, UKIP: 16%, GRN: 4%

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