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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Swing to Labour extends deeper into Tory territory

The swing from the Conservatives to Labour is at least as great in seats with bigger Tory majorities as in the party’s most marginal constituencies, according to the latest poll from Lord Ashcroft. In the eight seats that rank from numbers 13 to 20 on Labour’s target list, the survey found a swing of 6.5% from the Tories. This compares to a swing of 4.5% in the twelve most marginal Conservative seats with Labour in second place, revealed in the previous round of Lord Ashcroft’s battleground research published last month.

The current round of research, conducted between 11 July and 11 August and involving telephone interviews with over 12,000 voters, also covered four Labour-held seats likely to be targeted by the Conservatives. Here there was an overall swing to Labour of 5.5%. Despite the overall Labour lead fewer than one third (31%) of voters in the Conservative-held seats – including only two thirds of Labour voters – said they would prefer Ed Miliband as Prime Minister over David Cameron. Nine in ten Tory switchers to UKIP said they would rather see Cameron in Downing Street than the alternative.

In the Tory constituencies, 69% of 2010 Conservative voters said they would vote for the party again at the next election; 17% said they would vote UKIP and 9% would switch to Labour. One in ten Labour voters also said they would support UKIP, who scored 17% across these seats. Those who voted Liberal Democrat in 2010 were more likely to say they would vote Labour at the next election (32%) than that they would stay with Nick Clegg’s party (27%). Around one in eight 2010 Lib Dems (12%) also said they would switch to UKIP.

The research is published today on Conservative Home, with full data tables available here and it includes the following findings:

  • Voting intention, Labour-held seats: Con 30% Lab 43% Lib Dem 9% UKIP 13%
  • Voting intention, Con-held seats: Con 30% Lab 40% Lib Dem 8% UKIP 17%
  • UKIP scores ranged from 2% (Hampstead & Kilburn) and 21% (Bolton West and Plymouth Sutton & Devonport)
  • The Lib Dems’ vote share ranged from 3% (Birmingham Edgbaston) to 14% (Bedford).
  • In the Conservative-held seats, 29% said they were satisfied with David Cameron’s performance as Prime Minister; 29% said they were dissatisfied but would prefer him as PM over Ed Miliband; 33% said they would prefer Miliband. Only 66% of Labour voters said they would rather see Miliband as PM than Cameron. 90% of Conservative-UKIP switchers said they would prefer to have Cameron as PM
  • Majorities said they expected the economy to do well over the next year both for the country as a whole and for themselves and their families. UKIP voters were the only group among whom people were more likely to be pessimistic than optimistic.

Lord Ashcroft Polls:
  • In the Conservative seats, 36% said they would like to see a Labour government after the next election and 27% a Conservative government. One fifth said they would like a coalition, either between the Conservatives and Lib Dems (10%) or Labour and the Lib Dems (11%). 
  • Lib Dem voters themselves were divided as to whether they wanted a coalition with Labour (41%) or the Tories (41%). 82% of both Labour and Conservative voters said they wanted their own party to govern alone; around one in seven of each party’s voters would rather see them in coalition with the Lib Dems.
  • In the Labour-held seats 21% said they had had literature, direct mail, visits or telephone calls in the last few weeks from Labour, and 21% from the Conservatives. In the Conservative-held seats the figure was 16% for both parties.
Commenting on the results, Lord Ashcroft said: "As with all polls, these results are a snapshot not a forecast. Though the overall result still points to a Labour victory, the research shows the swing is far from uniform – some seats look a good deal more competitive than others with similar majorities. We will see how much changes over the next nine months, particularly as the campaigns on the ground start to heat up.”