LONDON, October 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Labour lead the Conservatives by 54% to 32% in the Corby and East Northamptonshire by-election, according to a new poll from Lord Ashcroft.
This represents a 13-point swing from the Tories in the seat since 2010 - enough for a substantial Labour majority if it were to be repeated on a national scale at the next general election.
The Labour lead is up from 15 points in mid-August, when Lord Ashcroft first polled the constituency following the announcement from Louise Mensch that she was to stand down from parliament.
Half of voters who supported the Conservatives in Corby in 2010 but intend to vote for another party in the by-election say this is because they are unhappy with what the Tories have done in government - though only a quarter of them rule out going back to the Conservatives at the next general election.
48% of voters in the constituency prefer David Cameron, Nick Clegg and George Osborne to run the economy compared to 33% for Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, but more than half (56%) say they expect the economy to stagnate or worsen over the next three or four years. While the Conservatives are more trusted to cut the deficit and the debt, Labour have a slight advantage on getting the economy growing and creating jobs.
Lord Ashcroft's commentary on the findings will appear on ConservativeHome.com on Tuesday 23 November. The text is below:
The week after Louise Mensch announced her departure from parliament, my first poll in Corby found a 15-point lead for Labour. My second poll, conducted last week, brings rather worse news for the Conservatives. Labour have consolidated their position and Andy Sawford is now 22 points ahead. All parties' supporters are now surer of how they will vote than they were at the beginning of the campaign, suggesting Labour's lead is now entrenched.
The 13-point swing to Labour is not on the same scale as those of Crewe & Nantwich in 2008 or Wirral South in 1997 - but it means a comfortable victory for the opposition and would mean a significant overall majority for Ed Miliband if repeated at a general election. Half of those who voted Conservative in 2010 but intend to vote for a different party at the by-election say the main reason is that they are unhappy about what the Conservatives are doing in government.
Only a quarter of voters in the by-election say they are satisfied with David Cameron's performance overall. Even so, half of the rest say they prefer him as Prime Minister to the alternative. It will be troubling for Labour that even though more than half of Corby voters plan to vote for Andy Sawford, only a third would rather see Ed Miliband in Number 10. Indeed a quarter of people planning to vote Labour at the by-election prefer Cameron to Miliband.
Most Corby voters (56%) are pessimistic about the economy, thinking that in three or four years time things will be no better or even worse than they are now - although the proportion of those who think the right decisions are being made and things will improve in three or four years (44%) has edged up slightly during the campaign. Cameron, Clegg and Osborne are preferred over Miliband and Balls to manage the economy by 48% to 33%, and indeed by three quarters of those who voted Conservative in 2010 but will vote for someone else at the by-election. Though the Tories retain a strong lead on cutting the deficit and the debt, Labour have a small advantage on "getting the economy growing and creating jobs".
Of those who voted Tory in 2010 but intend to vote for a different party at the by-election, only just over one in seven say they will "probably vote Conservative again when it comes to the general election". More than half say they will consider voting Tory again next time, giving the party some hope of regaining the seat, but more than a quarter of Corby defectors say they will "almost certainly, or most definitely" not vote Conservative in 2015.
In this campaign, Labour are winning the ground war. Just over half of our respondents had received leaflets or newspapers from Labour, compared to 43% from the Tories, and Labour were also ahead on canvassing and direct mail. The Conservative campaign may have found it hard to recruit volunteers to defend a seat they did so much to win only two years ago. Another possible explanation is that CCHQ may have decided to conserve resources for future campaigns it sees more hope of winning. Either way, 70% of voters now expect Labour to take the seat, including well over half of those who intend to vote Tory.
Unfortunately it looks as though Christine Emmett, the excellent Conservative candidate I wrote about meeting at conference in Birmingham, is going to do less well than she deserves.
Notes to Editors
- 1,503 adults in the Corby and East Northamptonshire constituency were interviewed by telephone between 12 and 18 October 2012. Results have been weighted to be representative of all adults in the constituency. A full summary of the results is below:
1. As you may have heard, Louise Mensch, the MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, is standing down and there will therefore have to be a by-election in the next few months to elect a new MP for the area. Which party will you vote for in the by-election?
[Change since 2010 general election in brackets]
Andy Sawford (Labour) 54% [+15%] Christine Emmett (Conservative) 32% [-10%] Jill Hope (Liberal Democrat) 5% [-10%] Other 8% [+3%]
- This represents a 13-point swing from the Conservatives to Labour since the 2010 general election.
- The Labour lead has widened from 15 to 22 points since the beginning of the campaign in August.
2. Are you fairly sure that is what you will do at the by-election, or do you think you may well change your mind between now and then?
[Change since August in brackets]
ALL Lab Con Lib Dem Fairly sure that is how I will vote 86% [+3] 89% [+4] 87% [+2] 68% [+12] I may well change my mind 14% [-3] 15% [-4] 15% [-2] 32% [-12]
3. If you changed your mind, which party would you be most likely to switch to?
ALL Lab Con Lib Dem Labour 17% - 39% 19% Conservative 22% 30% - 32% Liberal Democrat 17% 29% 16% - UKIP 13% 6% 22% 11% Green 3% 3% - 15% BNP 1% 1% - 0% Other 0% 0% 0% 0% Don't know 26% 31% 23% 23%
4. I see that you voted Conservative in the general election in 2010, but you intend to vote for a different party at the by-election. Which one of the following is the main reason you intend to vote for a different party in the by-election? [All those who voted Conservative in 2010 but saying they will vote for a different party at the by-election]
Because I am not happy about what the Conservatives are doing in government 50% Because I prefer a particular candidate 9% Because of particular local issues 8% Another reason 32%
5. When it comes to the next general election, expected to be held in 2015, which of the following statements best applies to you? [All those who voted Conservative in 2010 but saying they will vote for a different party at the by-election]
I will probably vote Conservative again when it comes to the general election 15% I will consider voting Conservative again at the next general election but I am not sure yet 58% I will almost certainly, or most definitely, not vote Conservative again at the next general election 27%
6. Which of the following statements do you most agree with? [Changes since August in brackets]
ALL Lab Con Lib Dem I am satisfied with the job David Cameron is doing overall as Prime Minister 24% [-3] 10% [-2] 51% [-4] 19% [-9] I am dissatisfied with the job that David Cameron is doing as Prime Minister BUT I would still prefer to have him as PM than Ed Miliband 31% [+1] 16% [-] 44% [+5] 49% [+22] I am dissatisfied with the job that David Cameron is doing as Prime Minister AND I would prefer to have Ed Miliband as PM instead 32% [+1] 67% [-] 3% [-1] 20% [-9]
7. Which party do you think would have the best approach to each of the following issues - Labour, the Conservatives, or the Liberal Democrats?
Labour Conservatives Lib Dems Getting the economy growing and creating jobs 39% 36% 6% Cutting the deficit and the debt 28% 47% 5% Improving the NHS 47% 23% 8% Improving schools 42% 28% 8% Protecting the environment 26% 21% 26% Dealing with crime 33% 41% 6% Defending Britain's interests in Europe 30% 41% 6% Reforming welfare to stop scroungers and cut dependency 25% 52% 5% Controlling immigration 25% 41% 6%
8. Thinking about Britain's economy, which of the following comes closest to your own view?
[Changes since August in brackets]
ALL Lab Con Lib Dem Although things are difficult now, the right decisions are being made and things will improve significantly over the next three or four years. 44% [+2] 30% [+5] 76% [+2] 41% [-18] In three or four years' time, the economy will be no better, or even worse, than it is now. 56% [-2] 70% [-5] 24% [-2] 59% [+18]
9. With our economy facing challenges in the months ahead, whom do you most trust to manage the economy in the best interests of Britain - David Cameron, Nick Clegg and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, or Ed Miliband and the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls?
[Changes since August in brackets]
ALL Lab Con Lib Dem Cameron, Clegg and Osborne 48% [-1] 18% [-] 91% [-3] 74% [+7] Miliband and Balls 33% [-] 72% [-1] 2% [-2] 12% [-13] Neither/Don't know 19% [+1] 9% [-] 7% [+5] 15% [+7]
10. We're interested in the extent to which people locally have heard from the political parties over the last few weeks. Please can you tell me whether Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have done each of the following:
Labour Conservatives Lib Dems Delivered leaflets or newspapers to your door 59% 43% 21% Put posters or billboards up in your area 18% 8% 3% Knocked on your door 33% 11% 3% Written a personally addressed letter to you 33% 22% 8% Set up stalls or handed out leaflets in your area 24% 12% 6% Phoned you 14% 6% 1% Sent you an email 3% 2% 1%
11. Regardless of which party you might vote for, which party do you think is most likely to win the by-election in Corby and East Northamptonshire?
ALL Lab Con Lib Dem Labour 71% [-] 87% [+3] 57% [-8] 59% [-11] Conservative 24% [+1] 13% [-] 40% [+7] 32% [+8] Lib Dems 2% [-1] 0% [-1] 2% [+1] 7% [+1] Another party 1% [-1] 0% [-] 0% [-] 0% [-]
Full data tables will be available on lordashcroftpolls.com on Tuesday 23rd October 2012.
Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is an author, international businessman and philanthropist. To learn more about him and his work, visit: http://www.lordashcroft.com.