LONDON, July 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
The Liberal Democrat vote has halved in key marginal seats where the party is challenged by Labour, new polling by Lord Ashcroft has found.
The research, involving 4,000 telephone interviews in the four constituencies most closely contested between Labour and Nick Clegg's party, finds the Lib Dem vote down from 38% to 19% since the last general election, with Labour up 11 points to 47%.
In addition Lord Ashcroft polled Brighton Pavilion, where Labour have a 1-point lead despite the Green vote holding up since 2010.
The 15% swing in the battleground constituencies would be enough for Labour to take up to 17 seats from the Lib Dems - nearly a third of the party's MPs - if repeated across the board at the general election next May. However, the heavily localised nature of Lib Dem support means such a uniform swing is unlikely.
In the survey, swings to Labour were as high as 19% in Brent Central and Manchester Withington, but 10.5% in Norwich South, where the poll found the Green Party in second place behind Labour.
The poll follows Lord Ashcroft's survey of Lib Dem-Conservative marginals, which suggested the Lib Dems could lose 12 or more seats to their coalition partners. Overall, the research suggests up to half of Lib Dem MPs could be at risk at next year's election.
The survey in the four Lib Dem-Labour constituencies, conducted between 11 and 22 June, includes the following findings:
- Voting intention, Lib Dem-Labour seats: LAB 47% (+11), LIB DEM 19% (-19), CON 12% (-6), UKIP 10% (+9), GRN 9% (+4).
- Voting intention, Brighton Pavilion: LAB 33% (+4), GRN 32% (+1), CON 18% (-6), UKIP 9% (+7), LIB DEM 5% (-9).
- Green Party vote shares in the Lib Dem-Labour seats ranged from 2% (Bradford East) to 20% (Norwich South). UKIP ranged from 4% (Manchester Withington) to 15% (Bradford East and Norwich South).
- 41% of 2010 Lib Dem voters naming a party said they would vote Lib Dem again at the general election. 30% said they would vote Labour, 14% Green, 7% UKIP and 6% Conservative. Two thirds (67%) of those switching to Labour ruled out returning to the Lib Dems before the election.
- Just over one third (35%) of voters in these seats said they would rather have Ed Miliband as Prime Minister than David Cameron. 26% said they were satisfied with Cameron, while 25% said they were dissatisfied but prefer him to Miliband. Only 62% of Labour voters said they would rather see Miliband as PM than Cameron.
- Just over half of voters expected the economy to do well over the next year, both for the country as a whole (57%) and for themselves and their family (60%). UKIP voters were the only group among whom more expected the economy to do badly for the country (53%) than well (45%).
- 60% of all voters in the Labour-Lib Dem seats said they would like to see Labour in government after the election, either alone (45%) or in coalition with the Lib Dems (15%). 14% wanted a Conservative government, and 10% another Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.
- 46% of voters in the Lib Dem-Labour seats said they had had literature, direct mail, visits or phone calls from Labour in the last few weeks, compared to 43% from the Lib Dems. 25% had heard from the Conservatives and 24% from UKIP.
Commenting on the results, Lord Ashcroft said: "This is a snapshot not a prediction, and the race in these seats may well narrow over the next few months. But as things stand things look very difficult indeed for the Liberal Democrats in seats where Labour are their closest challengers."
Notes to Editors
- 4,001 adults were interviewed by telephone in Bradford East, Brent Central, Manchester Withington and Norwich South between 11 and 22 June 2014. A further 1,000 adults were interviewed in Brighton Pavilion between 5 and 12 June 2014. Results have been weighted to be representative of all adults in those constituencies. Full data tables for individual constituencies and for the Lib Dem-Labour battleground as a whole are available at LordAshcroftPolls.com.
- This is the third in a series of battleground polls through which Lord Ashcroft will regularly track progress in the marginals until the general election in May 2015. His research in the Conservative-Labour battleground was published on 24 May, and in Conservative-Lib Dem seats on 19 June.
- Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is an international businessman, author and philanthropist. He is founder and Chairman of the Board of Crimestoppers, a member of the Board of the Imperial War Museum, Chairman of the Trustees of Ashcroft Technology Academy, Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University and Treasurer of the International Democrat Union. From 2005 to 2010 he was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.
- His political books and research papers include Smell The Coffee (2005), Minority Verdict, What Future For Labour?, What Future For The Liberal Democrats? (2010), Crime, Punishment & The People, Project Blueprint, The Leadership Factor (2011), Degrees of Separation, The Armed Forces & Society, Blue Collar Tories, Project Red Alert, They're Thinking What We're Thinking: Understanding The UKIP Temptation (2012), What Are The Liberal Democrats For?, Marginal Territory, Are You Serious: Boris, The Tories And The Voters; Small Island: Public Opinion And The Politics Of Immigration (2013), Cameron's Caledonian Conundrum (2013), and Europe on Trial (2014).
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