… Meanwhile back in Richmond Park there could be a new poll in next day or so

… Meanwhile back in Richmond Park there could be a new poll in next day or so

Will Zac still be 27% ahead?

There’ve been reports on social media in the past couple of days that Populus is carrying out a poll in Richmond Park where Zac Goldsmith is seeking to be returned as an independent following his resignation as an MP because of the government’s decision on Heathrow.

He quit three weeks ago and the by-election is due to be held a fortnight on Thursday. Zac is seeking to make this about Heathrow while his main opponent, Sarah Olney for LDs, is trying to broaden it out to BREXIT.

If the yellows achieved a swing of Witney proportions then the outcome could be very tight. However a poll by BMG just after Zac’s announcement had him 27% ahead and this has made Zac a very strong favourite.

The Tories don’t have an official candidate though Zac is getting support from quite a number of his former MP colleagues including the pro-3rd runway Jacob Rees Mogg.

The seismic event that’s happened since the campaign started has been, of course, the election of Donald Trump. The danger for Zac was always that it was going to be hard sustaining his “send a message on Heathrow” pitch over the full five weeks of the campaign.

The yellows are chucking everything at it and LAB have put up the prominent railway expert, Christian Woolmar as their candidate. The Greens and UKIP are giving this one a miss.

The poor weather and dark nights have made the ground campaigning quite hard.

We don’t know who commissioned the poll or indeed whether it will be published. My guess is that Lord Ashcroft might be behind it. He’s done a lot of by-election polling in the past though no single constituency survey since GE2015. With one main exception Lord Ashcroft’s by election polls in the last Parliament proved to be good pointers to the final outcome.

Mike Smithson

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