LONDON, September 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
- 14% Labour lead in 32 closest Con-Lab constituencies
- 3% Conservative lead in 8 seats where Lib Dems are second
- Cameron holds lead as best PM across marginals
- UKIP share triples since 2010 election
- More say Britain heading in 'right direction' than 'wrong direction'
Labour remain on course for an overall majority at the next general election despite the Conservatives holding ground against the Liberal Democrats, according to a poll of nearly 13,000 voters in marginal constituencies conducted by Lord Ashcroft.
The poll finds Labour have made no headway in their target seats since 2011. However, despite David Cameron remaining in the lead as the best Prime Minister and Labour's failure to establish trust on the economy, the tripling of UKIP's vote share in marginal constituencies since the last election could put Ed Miliband in Number 10.
In the 32 seats where Labour are the main challengers, the swing of 8.5% since 2010 would be enough for all of them to fall to Labour. However, a small swing away from the Lib Dems would see the Conservatives holding onto the 8 seats in which Nick Clegg's party came second in 2010.
The survey of the 40 most marginal Conservative-held seats, conducted in August and September, will be published on ConservativeHome on Sunday 15 September. The results include:
- Labour led the Tories by 43% to 29% when voters in Con-Lab marginals were asked how they were likely to vote in their own constituency. This compares to a 35% to 30% lead in a comparison poll conducted throughout Britain. The result represents an average 8.5% swing to Labour in these key seats - enough for Labour to win all 32 of them, plus a further 66 seats were the swing to be repeated across Tory-held seats where Labour are second. This would give Labour 355 seats in the House of Commons, an overall majority of 60, even if no other seat changed hands.
- The Conservatives led the Lib Dems by 32% to 29% in Con-Lib Dem marginals - a fall of 9% for the Tories and 10% for the Lib Dems. The Conservatives would therefore hold all these seats were the result to occur in each of these constituencies.
- Labour have made no further progress in their targets since 2011. In a similar survey two years ago, Lord Ashcroft found Labour on 44% in their targets, compared to 43% today.
- David Cameron held a 10-point lead as best PM in Con-Lab marginals, and a 20-point lead in Con-Lib Dem marginals. He led Ed Miliband by 38% to 28% in Labour target seats, and 41% to 21% in Lib Dem targets.
- Throughout the marginals the Tories were most seen as "clear about what they stand for", "willing to take tough decisions for the long term" and "competent and capable". In Labour targets, voters said Labour were most likely to "share my values" and be "concerned about people like me". In Lib Dem targets the Lib Dems were slightly ahead on sharing values and tied with Labour on being concerned for ordinary people.
- In Labour targets, the Tories led on controlling immigration, the deficit, Europe, welfare, defence and crime. Labour led on the economy and jobs, the NHS and education. In Lib Dem targets, the Conservatives also had a small lead on the economy and jobs.
- Most voters (54%) in Lib Dem targets said Britain was heading in the "right direction" overall. 49% in Labour targets also said this, with 47% disagreeing.
- 36% in Labour targets said they had recently had leaflets or newspapers from Labour, and 33% from the Tories. In Lib Dem targets, 41% said they had received Lib Dem literature, compared to 36% from the Conservatives. However, the Conservatives were slightly more likely to have sent personally-addressed direct mail.
- UKIP's share has risen from 3% to 11% in Labour targets since 2010, and from 4% to 12% in Lib Dem targets.
Commenting on the results, Lord Ashcroft said:
"Though this is only a snapshot, the picture is clear - despite their narrow national poll lead, Labour are further ahead in the marginals where it matters. Labour have made no progress in the last two years, but if UKIP do as well at the general election as this poll suggests Ed Miliband could become Prime Minister with a comfortable majority.
"But it is not close to being over yet. Labour have yet to establish real trust on managing the economy, David Cameron is still seen as the best Prime Minister, and more people say Britain is heading in the right direction than say the opposite.
On the threat to Conservative prospects posed by UKIP, he added:
"The debate will continue within the party as to how far the Tories can tempt voters back by being more like UKIP, and how many will be persuaded that by voting for a fringe party they will open the door to a Prime Minister Miliband. But the priority must be to be a competent government with the right priorities and show that the Conservatives are on the side of ordinary voters.
"With 20 months to go until polling day I think we are in for a close and exciting election."
View the poll summary:: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/prne/operations/Lord-Ashcroft-Forty-Marginal-Polls.pdf
Notes to Editors
- 12,809 adults were interviewed by telephone in the 40 most marginal Conservative-held seats between 1 August and 5 September 2013. 300 interviews were conducted in each of the 32 seats where Labour were second at the 2010 general election, and 400 in each of the 8 seats where the Lib Dems were second. For comparison, 1,005 adults throughout Britain were interviewed by telephone between 30 August and 1 September 2013.
- 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?, MarginalTerritory, Are You Serious: Boris, The Tories And The Voters; and Small Island: Public Opinion And The Politics Of Immigration (2013).
- Full details of Lord Ashcroft's polling and commentary can be found at LordAshcroftPolls.com, where you can sign up for news alerts. You can also follow him on Twitter: @LordAshcroft.