An update on how the blue-red battle is doing where it matters, the marginals
The big polling event of May 2014, exactly a year before general election, will be the publication by Lord Ashcroft of his latest mega sample polling of the marginals.
This is due to be made available during the weekend immediately after the May 22nd local elections and immediately before the results of the Euro elections are announced. The former usually come on the Friday while with the latter elections the UK follows the rest of the EU and makes the results known on the Sunday evening.
So in this short window we get the updated Ashcroft marginals poll which is a follow up to his last major survey of the key seats last September just before the start of the 2013 conference season.
- The main reason why we have marginals polling at all is to find out whether what is happening there is different from the country as a whole.
At a general election voters in these constituencies have a different experience from those elsewhere with far less intensive campaigning and where there has been little activity in the years leading up to the election.
The chart above shows the key numbers from the Ashcroft September 2013 marginals poll. As can be seen the national comparison poll pointed to a 6% CON to LAB swing. In the battlegrounds this was 8.5% which represents a massive difference in terms of seats and the outcome of the election.
A key element from the last poll was that there were twice as many 2010 LD to LAB switchers in the marginals which was a key reason why LAB was doing better. This was partly offset, however, by fewer CON to Ukip switchers. What will be the pattern this time?
Will there still be that differential between the two categories of seats? Given the general tightening of the LAB-CON position this data is vital.
Poll watchers are very fortunate that Lord Ashcroft spends huge amounts of money on this large sample polling and is ready to make it available.