Ashcroft marginals’ polls show Labour’s not ahead enough and now needs the other parties to fail

Where would we be without Lord Ashcroft? His metamorphosis from Belize-based Tory financier to philanthropic godfather of British psephology, has bequeathed to the statistical junkies of British politics a treasure trove of polling in marginal seats to chew over.

The latest tranche of data from ten Conservative/Labour marginals shows that the overall race remains tight, with the Tories edging the lead in five, Labour in three, while the parties are tied in the remaining two seats.

These are the kinds of constituencies that the governing party has to win. What the polls reveal is that two serious strategic threats remain for Labour.

The first, is that having successfully squeezed the Lib Dems, Labour can’t realistically harvest any more votes from them. They are down around the 5-7 per cent mark in all of the ten seats. This is rock bottom for them and the only direction they can now head in is back up. Any revival in Lib Dem fortunes during the remainder of the campaign comes at Labour’s expense.

The second, is that the Tories still have ample opportunity to squeeze UKIP. Their support ranges from seven per cent in Finchley and Golders Green, through to 21 per cent in Dover, with their support in the remaining eight seats clustered at around 15 per cent.

This gives the Tories something to target in their own attempt at squeezing their nearest rival, with Cameron’s plea to disaffected Conservative defectors to “come home” a lingering threat as we approach the midway point in this election campaign.

None of this is to discount the hard work done by Labour activists on the ground. On the contrary, these polls clearly show Labour’s ground war having an effect, with Labour’s candidates beating the Tories’ campaigning efforts by 64-47 per cent when voters are asked which campaign has been in touch.

Yet in the increasingly complex arena of British politics, the unmistakable message from these polls is that Labour is not far enough ahead in some of the seats it must win and finds itself reliant on the fortunes of the other parties.

It needs the Lib Dems to stay sunk and for the Tories to fail to peel off support from UKIP. Or to quote Gore Vidal, it is not enough to succeed, others must fail.

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4 Responses to “Ashcroft marginals’ polls show Labour’s not ahead enough and now needs the other parties to fail”

  1. Kieran says:

    This seems to me lazy analysis. It relies on the assumption that all Lib Dem voters have Labour as a 2nd choice and all UKIP voters have the Conservatives as 2nd choice.

    I’ve not had chance to look at all the polls but take Dudley South. There – 2010 Lib Dems are splitting Conservative 34% Labour 23%. UKIP are getting 15% of 2010 Tories, but also 14% of 2010 Labour voters.

    Therefore the position is complex and there is a lot of churn and switching going on.

  2. John P Reid says:

    If labour do t win, I stress don’t win, so the Tories feel they should have first choice at bother coalition,Ed must go straight away, as someone who backed him for leader,as the best result we’ll get is due the work of the activists, but it’s like campaigning with one arm tied behind our backs, it’s not even the feeling that, we must try to win, to prevent those nasty Tories winning, but our alternative is rubbish, the sort of feeling I had in 2005 or the last 2 mayoral elections,

    It’s not the feeling, we’re hoping for a dodgy 1-nil away win, due to the right wing vote being split by ukip,and getting a few ex libdems, the work I’ve seen canvassers, is just as strong, in unwinnable areas, where activists are getting out the token leaflet.

    Funnily enough, have visited north London a few times, the activists there are heading for the leafy suburbs ,in Islington, Golders Green, and the top part of Edmonton, forgetting the council estates, have we decided there’s not the vote on the working class areas anymore, and those who vote are the Guardian readers,with their Mockney accents?

  3. swatantra says:

    Labour seem to have the same problem as the Greens in that many voters simply cannot connect with their Leadership, however hard they try. Both Parties would have be streets ahead in the polls under leadership which could have found more empathy with the public at large. In the end it boils down to personalities and not policies; voters are increasingly more confused with a Party that claims to be more fiscal responsibility on the one hand and a Party that claims to be for the working people by bribing a gullible electorate with more Right to Buy, as if we didn’t have enough problems in housing and building more homes already.

  4. Tafia says:

    I lived in Belize for two six month stints. Beautiful country. Even went to nearby El Salvador on disaster relief following an earthquake while they were at the height of their civil war.

    Never bumped into Ashcroft though – but he probably never socialised in Raul’s Rose Garden or the Blue Angel.

    But speaking of polls, this is an interesting read out today from ComRes where they suggest that the reality is that the tories have been in front all year and casual observers aren’t looking at them deep enough:-

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