Lord Ashcroft released another batch of constituency polls earlier today, this time revisiting some of the Lib Dem seats where he had previously found close battles. In Lord Ashcroft’s previous polling in Lib Dem seats he’s often found wide variation from one seat to another, and it’s the same here – in some seats the Lib Dems are holding on against the national tide, in other seats they are doing very badly indeed.

Camborne and Redruth was an ultra marginal between the Conservatives and Lib Dems at the last election. In June 2014 Ashcroft polled the seat and found a close three way battle between the Conservatives, Labour and UKIP. The picture in this poll is far less exciting – a very lead 13 point Tory lead.

North Devon and St Austell and Newquay both had narrow one point Tory leads last time, this time they had more comfortable seven and six point leads for the Tories.

North Cornwall, St Ives and Torbay all saw much less movement. Torbay and North Cornwall both had neck-and-neck ties when Ashcroft last polled them, this time he found a one point Lib Dem lead and a two point Lib Dem lead. St Ives has gone from a one point Lib Dem lead to three points, showing almost no swing from LD to Con at all since the general election.

Turning to the two Lib Dem seats where Labour is the main challenger, Julian Huppert in Cambridge has now opened up a nine point lead over Labour, reducing the swing from LD>Lab to just three points, which would be exceptionally good in a LD/Lab seat.

Finally Lord Ashcroft re-polled Sheffield Hallam, Nick Clegg’s own seat. Naturally this is the poll that got the most attention, as he continues to show Clegg trailing Labour. Voting intentions were CON 16%, LAB 36%, LDEM 34%, UKIP 7%, GRN 6% – a whopping great swing of 19.5% from LibDem to Labour. The Lib Dems criticised the poll for not including candidate names, saying this would have boosted Clegg. Lord Ashcroft pre-empted the criticism by saying that he already asked the constituency specific question and feared putting candidate names in the question would give too much prominence to that as a factor and would risk showing too much of a candidate effect. Both are perfectly justifiable arguments – the reality is we don’t know. Constituency polls have been very rare in the past, so we don’t have lots of constituency polls with and without candidate prompting from previous elections that we can compare to results to make a judgement. There is simply no evidence that would allow us to judge whether candidate prompting in constituency polling is less or more accurate.


As usual for a Monday we have three GB polls today – Populus, Ashcroft and YouGov. In a election campaign that has so far seen polls that are virtually static these were awaited in the hope they’d shed some light on the impact of the Paxman interviews last week. In the two post-Paxman polls at the weekend YouGov had shown a larger Labour lead than usual, but ComRes had shown a larger Conservative lead than usual. The question was whether today’s polls would shed any light on whether there was any movement, or just normal sampling error.

Populus’s twice-weekly poll has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 4% (tabs). Populus have typically been showing a small Labour lead in their polls over the last few weeks, so this is more Tory than their average poll, but well within the normal margin of error.

Lord Ashcroft’s weekly poll has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 10%, GRN 7% (tabs). This is a small shift towards the Conservatives since Ashcroft’s poll last week, but a two point lead is very much in line with the average of his recent polls, so is nothing to suggest any real movement.

YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5% – back to more typical figures of neck-and-neck.

Looking at the five polls conducted since the Paxman debate, things are starting to look much more like “no change” that a Labour or Conservative boost – there is a bit of movement in either direction, but no clear consistent trend. The seven way debate this week may have more impact, if it’s not just a complete mess.

Note however, that a lack of change in voting intention figures doesn’t necessarily means the interviews last week had no impact at all. YouGov’s weekend poll also saw a significant improvement in Ed Miliband’s ratings and this was echoed in Lord Ashcroft’s poll today. While David Cameron still led on most measures, his lead over Miliband had dropped across the board since Ashcroft last asked in February: Cameron’s lead on representing Britain abroad was down 8 points to 28, on making the right decisions when they are unpopular down 6 points to 23, on having a clear idea of what he wants to acheive down 8 to 19, on leading a team down 6 to 30, on doing the job of Prime Minister down 5 to 26. Miliband’s lead on understanding ordinary people rose 8 points to 12. Of course it would be wrong to necessarily put this down to the interviews, there were signs of improvements in Miliband’s ratings in polls before last week, but it does look as if he’s narrowing Cameron’s advantage.

Meanwhile there were also Wales and London polls out today. The latest Welsh YouGov poll for ITV and Cardiff University has topline figures of CON 25%(nc), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 5%(nc), Plaid 11%(+1) UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(-1) – Roger Scully’s analysis here. A new ComRes London poll for ITV London has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 46%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 9%, GRN 4% (tabs).

Note that despite what you may be seeing on Twitter, there is NOT a new ComRes Scottish poll – it’s just people getting excited over a small sub-sample of 70 spitting out the sort of strange and outlandish results that are inevitable with small sub-samples of 70 people.


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Monday polls

I think we have just the three regular polls this Monday – Populus, Ashcroft and YouGov. ComRes this afternoon announced that their voting intention polls for the Daily Mail will be weekly for the rest of the campaign, but the first of those won’t be until later in the week. March’s Survation/Mirror poll is also due sometime this week, but I don’t know when.

  • Populus this morning had topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5% (tabs).
  • Ashcroft meanwhile has figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5% (tabs).

I’ll update with the YouGov poll later, but with seven polls conducted since the budget I think we can conclude it’s had no effect.


Lord Ashcroft put out a new batch of constituency polls today, this time revisiting some Conservative -vs- Labour marginals that were very close the last time he polled them. The average swing across the seats polled is 4.4 from Con to Lab, the equivalent of a two point lead in a GB poll. This is obviously bigger that the position in most national polls, but I suspect it’s more of an England effect than a marginal effect – all the seats polled by Ashcroft were in England, and because of the collapse of Labour in Scotland the Con>Lab swing in England is actually bigger than in GB as a whole. Full details of the polls are here.

Most of the seats Ashcroft polled showed results that were pretty similar to the last time he polled them at the tail end of last year, with changes well within the margin of error. The only big shifts were Labour doing much better in Chester than before, the Conservatives doing much better in Worcester than before, and Labour doing much better in Southampton Itchen. I expect the last one is just a reversion to the mean after the previous Southampton Itchen poll produced figures that stuck out like a sore thumb – this poll showed a fairly typical swing in the seat, when Ashcroft’s previous Southampton Itchen poll had shown a very dubious looking swing from Lab to Con.

TNS also released a new poll today with CON 33%, LAB 32%, LD 7%, UKIP 17%, GREEN 4%, OTHER 7%. TNS typically show a significantly larger Labour lead than other pollsters, so the small Tory lead is slightly surprising. It may be a methodology effect – TNS seem to have dropped the weighting by European vote that they introduced earlier this year (though its introduction didn’t seem to make much difference, so its dropping really shouldn’t), and have started reallocating UKIP and Green supporters in constituencies that don’t have UKIP or Green

Finally, tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 36%, LD 7%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6% – so a couple of Labour leads from YouGov so far this week. For the record, today’s poll has Labour at their highest this year, UKIP at their lowest this year… but of course, all the normal caveats apply, don’t get overexcited about individual unusual polls, watch the trend across all the pollsters.


Monday polls

The usual glut of polls for a Monday. Today we have the weekly Ashcroft poll, the twice weekly Populus poll, the monthly ICM poll and – later on – the daily YouGov.

  • Ashcroft’s weekly poll has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 29%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%. The Conservatives remain ahead, but not by as much as in the last two Ashcroft polls (full details here)
  • ICM show a similar picture (though, as usual with these two pollsters, there are higher shares for Con and Lab from ICM than from Ashcroft): a Tory lead, but a smaller lead than the unusually large one they recorded last month. Topline voting intention figures with changes from a month ago are CON 36%(nc), LAB 35%(+3), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 9%(nc), GRN 4%(-3).
  • The movement in Populus is in the other direction – their recent polls have been showing a Labour lead, today’s topline figures are neck and neck: CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (full details here)

So, two Tory leads and a dead heat today (so far), two Labour leads and a dead heat yesterday. Realistically I can see nothing that gives me any confidence that either party is sneaking ahead, all suggests they are still neck and neck.

Also today we had a new projection out – the Polling Observatory team’s model here, which unlike the other models I report in my Friday round up is currently projecting Labour to have more seats than the Tories (there’s a full explanation of the method through the link – but put crudely the difference between their model and Steve Fisher’s is that Steve assumes the polls will move slightly back towards the 2010 result (meaning the Tories go up, Labour go down), while the Polling Observatory assume the polls will move slightly back towards their long term average (meaning both the Tories AND Labour go up). They’ll be updating fortnightly, so I’ll add them to the Friday round ups.