Did the Ashcroft polling find goodish news for the yellows?

Did the Ashcroft polling find goodish news for the yellows?

Could LD “considerers” from May make up some of the losses?

I am very tied up with personal matters at the moment and have not had the time to examine either of the two Michael Ashcroft polls on the Lib Dems. One survey, by Populus, highlighted what we have seen from other polling – a big loss in support from those who said they voted for Clegg’s party on May 6th.

A parallel survey was amongst what were terms “Lib Dem considerers” – those who thought about voting for the party in May but in the end did not do so.

Mary Ann Sieghart has devoted her entire column on the polling in today’s Indy.

She writes: “…only 54 per cent of voters who supported the Lib Dems this year plan to do so again in 2015. Of course, five years is a very long time in politics, and many of these conceded that they might change their mind between now and then…It will depend partly on how well or badly Labour is doing. In the ..poll, an astonishing 90 per cent of 2010 Lib Dem voters agreed that “Labour seriously lost its way on a number of important policy areas … and will need to change a lot before people will be ready to vote for them again.” And, in a ranking of politicians’ performance, they put Clegg a respectable fourth, behind Cameron, Cable and William Hague, while Ed Miliband came 10th and last.

Interestingly, Ashcroft’s pollsters also questioned 1,000 people who seriously considered voting Lib Dem in May but didn’t do so… The main reason why these “considerers” didn’t in the end support Clegg’s party was that they thought he would never be in government and it would be a wasted vote. By May 2015, that fear will have vanished. Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will be able to point to all that the Lib Dems have achieved in government, and where their liberal ideals have tempered the Tories’ rawer instincts. Already, two-thirds of Ashcroft’s “considerers” say the party has shown it is “prepared to take real responsibility, not just oppose from the sidelines”, that it is “making an important contribution to the Government of Britain”…

This is all fine but it’s all pretty nebulous. How much can we rely on the questions that were asked? Where it does chime with recent polling is in the big proportion of Tory voters who are still giving Clegg high approval scores.

Oldham east and Saddleworth could be a very good pointer to a lot of things.

Mike Smithson

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