LONDON, June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Lord Ashcroft Poll:
Tories Set to Topple Lib Dem Marginals
More than a dozen Liberal Democrat seats could fall to the Conservatives at next year's general election, according to new polling published today by Lord Ashcroft.
The research, involving 17,000 telephone interviews in 17 constituencies closely contested between the Tories and Lib Dems, finds that the Conservative vote has fallen by 8 points since 2010 - but the Lib Dem share has fallen by nearly twice as much as many of the party's 2010 voters switch to Labour, UKIP or the Tories. Former Liberal Democrat voters were as likely to say they would vote UKIP as to say they would vote Labour.
Across the battleground, the poll found a 3.5% swing from the Lib Dems to their coalition partners since the last general election. This would be enough for the Conservatives to unseat 15 Lib Dem MPs if this were to happen across the board next May.
However, there are wide variations between seats, suggesting a uniform swing is unlikely. The poll found a 9% swing to the Conservatives in Newton Abbot, an 8% swing in Truro & Falmouth and a 7.5% swing in both Harrogate & Knaresborough and Somerton & Frome - but swings from the Tories to the Lib Dems that would see Nick Clegg's party holding Cheadle, Eastleigh and Sutton & Cheam.
The erosion of the Liberal Democrat vote suggests the party is also at risk of losing seats to Labour where Ed Miliband's party is in second place. The Lib Dem-Labour battleground will be the subject of the next round of Lord Ashcroft's marginals research.
The poll of the Conservative-Lib Dem battleground, conducted between 11 May and 14 June 2014, includes the following findings:
- Voting intention: CON 33% (-8), LIB DEM 28% (-15), UKIP 18% (+14) LAB 14% (+5).
- The Lib Dem-Con swing across the battleground was 3.5%. In individual seats the swing ranged from 9% Lib Dem to Con (Newton Abbot) to 4.5% Con to Lib Dem (Sutton & Cheam).
- UKIP vote shares ranged from 11% (Oxford West & Abingdon) to 26% (Camborne & Redruth). UKIP were in second or joint second place in Camborne & Redruth, Newton Abbot, Truro & Falmouth, and St Austell & Newquay.
- 71% of 2010 Conservative voters said they would vote Tory again; 17% said they would vote for UKIP. Only 55% of 2010 Lib Dem voters said they would vote Lib Dem again; 11% said they would vote Conservative, 13% said they would vote Labour, and 13% said they would vote UKIP. However, only just over one third (35%) of Lib Dems saying they have switched to the Tories, 55% of those switching to Labour and 61% of those switching to UKIP ruled out going back to the Liberal Democrats at the general election.
- Only one in five voters said they would rather see Ed Miliband as Prime Minister than David Cameron. Less than a quarter (23%) of Lib Dem voters and less than a fifth of UKIP voters (19%) said they would prefer Miliband as PM, as did just two thirds of Labour voters. 89% of Conservative defectors to UKIP said they would rather see Cameron than Miliband as PM.
- Overall, two thirds were optimistic about the economy over the next year, both for themselves and the country. Nearly nine in ten Conservatives expected the economy to do well, as did three quarters of Lib Dems and just over half of Labour and UKIP voters.
- Lib Dem voters were more likely to say they wanted to see another coalition with the Conservatives (42%) than with Labour (35%). Half of UKIP voters said they wanted to see the Conservatives in government either with an overall majority (35%) or in coalition with the Lib Dems (14%). One in five wanted a Labour government, 11% a Labour-Lib Dem coalition, and a further 19% said they didn't know. Nearly two thirds (65%) of Conservative defectors to UKIP said a Conservative government was their preferred election result.
- Half of all voters said they had had literature, direct mail, visits or telephone calls from the Liberal Democrats in the last few weeks. 48% said they had heard from the Conservatives, 46% from UKIP and 30% from Labour.
Commenting on the results, Lord Ashcroft said:
"More than any other party the Liberal Democrats' fate will be decided at a local level. Though they have managed to consolidate their position in a few constituencies, the overall trend is clearly in the Conservatives' favour.
"But like all polls, this is a snapshot not a prediction. There is nearly a year to go, and as my national polling shows, half of voters say they may change their minds before election day."
Notes to Editors
- 17,005 adults were interviewed by telephone in 17 constituencies between 11 May and 14 June 2014. Results have been weighted to be representative of all adults in those constituencies. Full data tables for individual constituencies and for the battleground as a whole are available at LordAshcroftPolls.com.
- The survey was conducted in the following constituencies: CURRENT CON-HELD: Camborne & Redruth, Harrogate & Knaresborough, Newton Abbot, Oxford West & Abingdon, Truro & Falmouth, Watford. CURRENT LIB DEM-HELD: Cheadle, Chippenham, Eastleigh, Mid Dorset & North Poole, North Cornwall, Solihull, Somerton & Frome, St Austell & Newquay, St Ives, Sutton & Cheam, Wells.
- This is the second 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. The next round of polling will be conducted in seats closely contested between the Liberal Democrats and Labour.
- 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).