For potential tactical voters they provide a guide what to do
One of the many unique features of May 7th is the polling. We’ve never had so much and we’ve never seen so many studies of individual battlegrounds. Lord Ashcroft alone has produced more than 160 of them and there is hardly a key seat where we haven’t got any information.
At GE2010, when there were perhaps half a dozen such polls, the Greens’ victory in Brighton Pavillion showed how useful they can be. A party commissioned ICM constituency poll four months beforehand had shown Caroline Lucas in the lead and this was used very effectively in what was a 3-way marginal to make the case that the Greens were the main challenger to Labour.
Already Lord Ashcroft poll findings are starting to feature in local campaign materials and help specific parties to argue “Only XYD can beat ABC – the other parties “can’t win here“.
For the most important information for someone wanting to cast their vote against a particular party is a reliable pointer to which is the best to choose. Lord A’s polls fit the bill in many constituencies.
In Scotland there’s increasing talk of pro-unionist tactical voting and you can bet that the parties seen to be best placed to stop the SNP will go to great lengths to highlight Ashcroft numbers to demonstrate their case.
We’ve already seen in Sheffield Hallam how seat polling has had a huge impact. Suddenly LAB activists see the possibility of ousting Nick Clegg and the Ashcroft polling of the constituency has played a key part in convincing them that victory is within reach. Maybe the awareness that this is on the cusp of a LAB gain might encourage Tory voters to go yellow.
You can see all parties benefiting from this and all parties being hit.