Lord Ashcroft has released a good selection of new constituency polls, covering some interesting constituencies. Full details are here.

The least intersting is probably High Peak – a largely run of the mill Con -v- Lab marginal. Ashcroft previously polled it in February, finding a wafer thin one point Labour lead. In the second survey the Tories are now ahead by 2 points, but the changes are within the margin of error – it still looks like a seat on a knife edge.

He then looked at two seats that were effectively three-way marginals in 2010 – Colne Valley and Bristol North West – both seats the Conservatives won with the Lib Dems in second place, but Labour an extremely close third. In both seats the Lib Dems have collapsed completely and they are now Con -v- Lab marginals, in Bristol North West the Conservatives have a healthy nine point lead, in Colne Valley it is again on a knife-edge, with the Tories just two points ahead.

Moving on Lord Ashcroft polled Bristol West. This is one of the few Lib Dem seats we haven’t had a constituency poll of yet, but more interestingly it is one of the Green party’s main target seats for the election. The poll suggests they will fall well short – while it shows the Greens moving up to second place with 25% of the vote, they are far behind Labour on 38%.

Finally Lord Ashcroft polled two UKIP targets. One was Thurrock, an ultra-marginal between Labour and the Conservatives at the last election that appears to be one of UKIP’s best hopes for a gain – here Ashcroft found a four point UKIP lead over Labour in second place, the Tories just a point behind. The other was Rochester and Strood, UKIP’s by-election victory last year. Today’s Ashcroft poll gives the Conservatives the advantage in trying to retake it – CON 36%, LAB 24%, LDEM 3%, UKIP 33%.


587 Responses to “New Lord Ashcroft marginal polls”

1 2 3 12
  1. First?

  2. In the main those marginals look very good for the Tories and poor for Labour.
    High Peak and Bristol North West are particularly poor from a Labour perspective. Then again Lab will be doing better in London marginals.
    The Lib Dem vote is clearly collapsing in these constituencies. Can Clegg really survive as leader (assuming he is still an MP).

  3. When Ashcroft reveals the results of six constituency polls do we know whether those are the only polls he has taken?

    Am I being unfair when I assume that he has also polled in lots of other places, but is only choosing to reveal the results that will help the Conservative party?

  4. In Thurrock:

    CON 30
    LAB 31
    UKIP 35

    I can see some kind of Lib Dem Style chart where the Y axis starts at 29.5 and the slogan “Tories – Can’t win here” on it. Not sure who should produce it though, UKIP or Labour.

  5. KILLARY45 Am I being unfair when I assume that he has also polled in lots of other places, but is only choosing to reveal the results that will help the Conservative party?

    Polls are expensive – and, while he wants the Tories to win, he clearly like to tell them bad news too, so I think we’re getting everything.

    It’s clearly part power trip for him, and wanting telling your colleagues that they’re doing it wrong is not unusual in that context.

  6. @MIKEY

    You might be right about Clegg.

    On May2015.com Bristol West is currently down as a Labour in a lead of 2%. This poll suggest the lead is MUCH higher.

    The seat next to Bristol West is Hallam – at less than 2%. If anything similar is happening Clegg is in real trouble.

    The wild card is the Greens in Bristol – they dynamics in Hallam are likely to be very different – but if I was Clegg I’d be a lot less confident today.

  7. I think these polls confirm a neck and neck result and the probability of a (well) hung parliament. Of course, Tories may scrape slightly more seats than Labour and possibly be able to cobble together a 3-4 party coalition but the idea that libdems would sit easily together with (protestant fundamentalist) DUP and (rabidly anti EU) UKIP stretching imagination. I think Labour has slightly less steep hill to climb in this respect. But interesting times.

  8. @MIKEY

    Why would you say they’re poor for Labour? Colne Valley is the 71st most vulnerable Conservative seat, High Peak is 76th. If Labour are within shouting distance here, that’s not poor at all.
    Bristol North West is more vulnerable, but that’s based on the majority over the Lib Dems whose vote has collapsed, so in practice it’s much safer.
    This is all in line with the national polls and Labour can be satisfied with that.

  9. The seat next to Bristol West is Hallam.

    Next in the Labour targets on May2015.com – not geographically :)

  10. Toby

    Fair comment but its the trend I’m looking that. Con appear go be shoring up their vote in a lot of constituencies that were deemed Lab/Con marginals in recent times.

  11. Matt M

    Yes Sheffield Hallam will be one of the biggies to look out for. I suspect Cameron will be almost as keen as Clegg that its a Lib Dem hold. The bookies have Clegg odds on to retain the seat but the polling suggests he has a massive fight on his hands.

  12. that Bristol West result is awful for the LDs, having seen that they will struggle to get 20 seats.

  13. So my current guess as to the holds list:

    Sutton and Cheam
    Eastbourne
    Eastleigh
    Carshalton & Wallington
    Cheltenham
    Colchester
    Hazel Grove
    Kingston & Surbiton
    Lewes
    Southport
    Thornbury & Yate
    Orkney & Shet
    Bath
    Westmorland
    Norfolk N
    Yeovil
    Ceredigion
    Twickenham

    Leeds NW
    Cambridge
    St Ives
    Cheadle
    Birmingham Y
    Brecon
    Torbay

    So 25, but the bottom seven could all unexpectedly fail on the night. Prediction has moved down from 27 and floor level from 20 to 18 in the last few weeks – despite the Lib Dems gaining a point or so in the national polls, far fewer sevens turning up, I feel like their campaign may not be hitting their core vote in their defended seats effectively enough.

  14. Graeme
    Tories may scrape slightly more seats than Labour and possibly be able to cobble together a 3-4 party coalition but the idea that libdems would sit easily together with (protestant fundamentalist) DUP and (rabidly anti EU) UKIP

    From Cameron’s point of view he needs such a coalition to hang together only long enough for him to pass new boundaries and EVEL. Then it can all collapse and the Conservatives will have lost the battle only to win the war.

  15. @Couper / Amber / Others (FPT)

    It occurred to me that the arithmetic is very interesting. If we assume current polling has Labour on 280 and Con on 270. Let’s assume that many Scottish ex-Labour SNP voters shift back to ensure Labour’s election and they get 30 seats.

    What’s the result? Labour on 310. What then happens? Labour will never do a deal with the SNP if they can avoid it. Result?

    Lib / Lab coaltion.

    Vote Labour, get Lib Dem. :)) Heh!

  16. JAMES BAILLIE

    Add Ceredigion to that list. Plaid are mounting very strong challenge – it was a Plaid seat before libdems took it and large student vote (Lampeter and Aberystwyth). It is not a safe lib dem seat by any means and Lib dems I know in Wales are very nervous about result. It us not totally implausible that they end up with as few as 15 seats.

  17. JAMES BAILLIE
    I feel like their campaign may not be hitting their core vote in their defended seats effectively enough.

    To be fair they are trying the impossible. Every statement they make which may entice former red Libs back to support them threatens to drive away potential Conservative switchers and vice versa.

    Standing between all stools leaves them vunerable to losing votes in all directions, rather than, as they had hoped, gaining them.

    The core vote? Goodness knows if they had one of real substance at all.

  18. STATGEE

    That sounds ok to me!

  19. @ James Baillie

    A friend of mine (ex Labour, now helping LibDems) sounded very uncertain about Leeds NW.

  20. Bristol West

    Rather than ‘leaning Labour’ it seems to have fallen into their laps completely.

  21. As I said on the previous thread, the three Lab/Con marginal show a swing of a shade over 3% which would (based on Lab needing a 4%-5% swing) imply that Con ends up as the largest party by probably 20-30 seats if repeated nationally (say 290-295 vs 265-270). Think that Con + LD + Dup will then end up somewhere in the killing zone somwhere in the 320-330 range; marginally enough to form a government though weak, and hence DC pushing through the EV4EL rules asap to strengthen the government’s hand

  22. Daily geometric median report w/changes:
    con: 33.3 (-0.1)
    lab: 34.1 (+0.2)
    lib: 8.1 (+0.2)
    ukip: 13.9 (-)
    grn: 4.8 (-)
    oth: 5.9 (-0.1)

  23. KILLARY45

    Re: Lord Ashcroft.

    In fact I think he has incurred the wrath of some in the Conservative party who believe he should be polling for them and keeping the results from being public.

  24. FPT – meant to post on this one:
    Not bad for Labour.

    Most seats polled would only fall to Labour on a swing greater than Lab need to win the GE. High Peak and Colne Valley (where Labour lead before turnout weighting) fall into this category. Also, the polls show that Labour have a good shot at Thurrock, which I would not have expected.

    Finally, remember these are phone polls, most of which have Labour 4% down nationally. Online CVI polling would have Labour doing even better. By the way yesterday’s YG found the largest recent swing yet to Lab in E&W – 6.1%.

    Context is everything.

  25. CATOSWYN
    From Cameron’s point of view he needs such a coalition to hang together only long enough for him to pass new boundaries and EVEL. Then it can all collapse and the Conservatives will have lost the battle only to win the war.

    Fair point, but with or without Clegg, why would the LDs support boundary changes? Given Con behaviour over AV and HoL reform, I would anticipate that being a real red line. And why would they support EVEL? What goodies would Cameron have in his gift to change their minds?

  26. @ Matt M: oh God, I got a leaflet through from the Lib Dem candidate in Faversham and Mid Kent that did exactly that. It boldly proclaimed “only the Lib Dems can beat the Tories here!” with bar a bar chart of the 2010 result – Con 56%, LD 20%, Lab 17%, UKIP 4%. Somehow the Lib Dem bar was much closer in size to the Tory bar than it was to the Labour bar, which was barely any bigger than UKIP’s.

  27. @CATOSWYN

    The LD’s would never agree to boundary changes in the event of a Con minority administration, unless they got something very significant like House of Lords reform – they’re the ones who ensured it didn’t happen in this parliament. No way it could be delivered without a Con majority. Ditto EVEL.

  28. One other conclusion from these results is that UKIP arent running away with things in key seats for them. Thats obviously not to say that they wont have an impact via taking votes from others, in particular the Tories, however it doesnt suggest that they’ll end up with anything more than the expected say 2-5 seats

  29. Am I missing something but is not High Peak the only straight Labour/Cons battle in this batch. Although in 2 others Lab have become the challengers they can’t be consider typical Con/Lab marginal seats.
    As such it is difficult to draw any conclusions about the swing Con-Lab in their key marginals beyond that it might be a bit lower in High Peak than the E&W typical swing.

    Even then, this all within moe and also depends on what base-line one chooses to use as the E&W swing, Ashcrofts own for example or UKPRAve.

    I don’t think adds anything to what we already know beyond those specific seats which may affect local messages on tactical voting.

  30. In the last thread someone posted the 6.1% Con-Lab swing in England and Wales from the latest YouGov.

    If this Ashcroft tells us anything, it’s that we should be extremely wary of applying even England-only swings to marginals

  31. Dr Mibbles

    I would expect those things in a Con/LD agreement – EVEL, boundary reform and House of Lords reform

  32. @ AdamB

    I don’t know if the civil service has contingency proposals for EVEL, otherwise it would take an awful lot of time (essentially a new constitution – and now probably a written one) as most laws would have an impact on Scotland, Wales and NI.

  33. @POLLTROLL

    I believe it’s a classic from the 1950s book ‘How to Lie with Statistics’.

    The truncated Y axis. Depressing that a ‘progressive’ party use it as one of their main campaigning tools.

  34. @ Omnishambles

    You are right about possible uneven distribution of swings, but Rochester is not a Lab marginal – it is a less safe Con seat due to half way split between Con and UKIP. It would be a kind of miracle if Labour took it.

  35. Will DUP work with the Tories? They want the bed room tax repealed.

    Can’t see the Lib Dems agreeing to boundary changes.

  36. BARBAZENZERO
    DRMIBBLES

    I think the Conservatives will offer anything to get EVEL and boundary changes through and the boundary changes are ‘fair’ and easily supported by the Lib Dems in principle. However you may be right that the Lib Dems after the election will not be inclined to support Cameron. Hopefully not from my point of view.

  37. Catoswyn
    I agree that’s the Tories plan but applying it is a different matter. UKIP will only play ball on boundary changes if they get an eu referendum, I imagine the DUP will be the same but I also doubt the DUP will be totally happy with EVEL. The big wildcards are the lib dems though, we all know they don’t want an eu referendum and they’ve shown they’re willing to block boundary reviews. Why would they support Tory plans that would limit liberal influence over a Tory government? All labour need to do is offer the libs something good on that front (electoral reform is the obvious one but votes at 16 and Lords reform are more likely due to it being Inn both parties manifesto) and the libs are just as likely to support lab.

  38. From the previous thread in relation to the suggestion that Labour losses to SNP would have to be made up with equivalent Labour wins from Conservatives. This is only partly true.
    The SNP have already made it clear they would not vote down a Labour Government, so if Labour lose around 36 to the SNP they do not need to get 36 from the conservatives. IF SNP sat on their hands in any confidence motion then Labour needs 18 wins fro the Conservatives to compensate for this. If as I suspect SNP would vote against a no confidence motion then Labour do not need to win any seats from the conservatives to compensate.
    As to being the largest party. again Labour would need 18 seats from the conservatives to compensate for 36 losses to the SNP,
    These figures are just what are needed to compensate for SNP losses
    Realistically if Labour gets around 270 seats then with the SNP, SDLP, PC and the Green MP they would be able to vote down any Conservative Government. Mathematically the only choice open to the Liberals would be to support Labour.

  39. OK of these seats…

    They are Labour target list Nos:
    2, 69, 77, 88 – and Bristol West and R%S would require Lab swings of over 10% – not even on Anthony’s list of Labour targets!

    Thurrock is the only one where Labour ostensibly should be doing better as it’s nominally Labour’s No.2 target seat- but there are clearly Ukip factors here.

    In seats 69 (Colne Valley) and 78 (High Peak Labour are pushing hard and they are too close to call. Only in target 88, Bristol North West are the Tories safe (although even here the Labour vote is up 8%)

    I repeat my challenge for there to be online CVI polling.

  40. @laszlo

    Yes I didn’t mean the UKIP seats.

    Colne Valley and High Peak are in that key East Midlands area. Although the results are too close to call, the small Tory increases here correspond with the trends I saw in those monthly averages. It will be interesting to see if their trend of regional gains in this area continue – or not

  41. John Murphy fpt

    Very well put.

  42. Adam B

    A 3% swing E&W Con-Lab in marginals bring Labour just under 40 seats which would lead to Lab leading a Government as the right wing block plus LDs cant make 323 with this outcome.

    To fall to say 25 seats the uniform swing in E&M in Con/Lab marginals needs to be 2.3% ish so Con need to move up around 1.5% in these seats over Labour.
    To get below 20 seats – the swing in key marginals need to be less than 2% around 1.8.

    Hence a good chance of Con most seats as that requires a modest movement of perhaps 1% or so (actual size depends on SNP/Lab results) but to be able to form a stable Government they have some ground to make up v Labour; probably too much but could be close and then those LD MPs I mentioned on the previous thread become so important.

  43. CATOSWYN
    I think the Conservatives will offer anything to get EVEL and boundary changes through and the boundary changes are ‘fair’ and easily supported by the Lib Dems in principle.

    Putting Lib Dems and principle in the same sentence is possibly not a good idea, but I agree that DC would do a lot if the result is EVEL and boundary changes. Whether they are “fair” is only relevant if one supports the plurality system, which the LDs do not, at least in theory.

    If they learned anything from the last parliament, the LDs will want to see their quid pro quo implemented first.

    But hopefully it won’t come to pass from my point of view, too.

  44. @ADAMB

    “I would expect those things in a Con/LD agreement – EVEL, boundary reform and House of Lords reform”

    Being in an agreement and getting the votes through are different things – Cons couldn’t deliver House of Lords reform with a three-line whip on their MP’s and 58 Lib Dems. The chances of party unity holding together to deliver something many Con MP’s do not want is practically zero.

    Cameron has no chance of delivering HoL reform and boundary reform with at least 40 fewer MP’s in his voting bloc.

  45. BARBAZENZERO
    “Fair point, but with or without Clegg, why would the LDs support boundary changes? Given Con behaviour over AV and HoL reform, I would anticipate that being a real red line. And why would they support EVEL? What goodies would Cameron have in his gift to change their minds?”

    Indeed. Turkeys and Xmas came to mind. I cannot envisage Clegg having any say in his party after the election, as things stand. Farron will take over and support Labour with C and S, along with Salmond and the other friendly MPs. There will be no Coalition (with ministers other than Labour), IMO.

    As things stand!

  46. statgeek

    “Vote Labour, get Lib Dem. :)) Heh!”

    LOL

  47. @RAF

    “I repeat my challenge for there to be online CVI polling.”

    The YouGov nowcast is, I understand, based on several hundred thousand online CVI responses. Indeed, I was asked an online CVI question by them only the other day.

  48. RIVERS10
    All labour need to do is offer the libs something good on that front (electoral reform is the obvious one but votes at 16 and Lords reform are more likely due to it being Inn both parties manifesto) and the libs are just as likely to support lab.

    Good post and quite so, but maybe only if Clegg loses Hallam.

  49. Out of interest and anecdotally the Greens seemed to lose the writers and musicians communty this week. There was a lot of outrage and ‘was thinking of voting Green but not now’ from this group on line because of the Green’s stance on reducing copyright to 14 years.

    As an author myself I was appalled by the policy. Copyright has been fought for long and hard since the days of Dickens who himself led the charge to embed such rights. The reasoning behind reducing it seemed flaccid.

  50. Re: Clegg and the Lib Dems

    I think the key question on the various things Cameron could offer might not be ‘would Clegg agree?’ – he seems pretty desperate to continue the coalition, and has already made noises about backing down on (eg) the Eu referendum, I’m not sure he has any genuine red lines any more.

    I think the key question might be ‘Can Clegg take his party with him?’ If he loses his seat this would obviously be a hindrance. But even if he is there, I’m not sure he can get some of his less right-leaning colleagues to agree to stuff like the EU referendum or EVEL. In a scenario where the Tories are on 285-290 it would only take a few LD backbenchers to refuse and the Tory coalition theory falls apart.

    Given that, I find it bizarre that Clegg should be effectively ruling out working with the party that isn’t largest – you’d have a much more stable bloc if he sided with Labour, and worked to counter any undue SNP influence from within that bloc.

1 2 3 12