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Lord Ashcroft’s promised CON-LD battleground polls could either take the pressure off Clegg or add to it

June 12th, 2014

What’s going on in LD-held seats is critical

The 6% share for the Lib Dems in today’s YouGov/Sun poll is the lowest the firm has reported since it began its online operation in 2001. The party was just 1% ahead of the Greens. While Opinium, which generally has the worse figures for the yellows has had them at this level before the latest finding will add to the discomfort in the party coming as it does after the appalling performance in the Euros on May 22nd.

So far there’s been little pressure on Clegg himself. In fact he’s been rather helped by the cack-handed move by Lord Oakeshott at the end of last month with the revelation that he’d commissioned a series of ICM polls in key constituencies.

The difference between those surveys and the Ashcroft approach is the adoption of the two stage question which we’ve discussed here before. After the standard “which party will you vote for” the Ashcroft structure is to ask a second question in which respondents are invited to focus on their own seats. The results have generally seen a big uplift.

So the promised surveys from Lord Ashcroft “this month” could not be timed better. For if even with the helpful second question the LDs look set to lose a fair number of defences against the Tories then that will really knock the spirit out of the party.

    For the one thing that’s been keeping yellow hopes alive is the perception that things are different in their strongholds. If Ashcroft undermines that belief then who knows what will happen?

Quite when this month the polls will appear I do not know.

Mike Smithson

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